Friday, December 31, 2010

It's the end of the year as we know it...

Yup, 2010 is over.  It's been a huge year for me!  2010 milestones: I applied to colleges, I got a car, I started a book blog.

So in honor of 2010, here's a quick recap of the highlights.

Best book read in 2010: Looking for Alaska.
Best book tour/promo in 2010: Nightshade.
Best book published in 2010: Still a toss-up for me.
Best movie of 2010: Inception.
Best TV show of 2010: White Collar.
Best news story of 2010: Repeal of DADT.
Best song of 2010: Save Yourself, I'll Hold Them Back tied with Na Na Na, both by MCR.
Best concert of 2010: Sick Puppies.

Worst part of 2010: managing to get seriously sick a record four times.

Anyways, 2010 was a fabulous year overall, but I still can't wait for 2011!

Happy New Year, everybody, hope you had an awesome '10 and hope your '11 is just as grand!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Review: Audrey, Wait!



Audrey is music-obsessed, quirky, charismatic, and so over Ethan.  She dumps him, bored of his egotism and lack of personality.  There's only one thing.  Ethan's in a band.  And when Audrey dumps him, he writes the song. "Audrey, Wait!"  That song. The one that plays on every radio station.  It's a hit with everybody, zooming to the top of the charts.

And it's about Audrey.  Suddenly, she's a celebrity.  There are people taking pictures of her at school, mobbing her at work, talking trash about her online...  All she wants is to survive school, dance for hours at concerts, and maybe get to know her cute co-worker better.  But can she have a life that even resembles normality when Ethan and The Song are out there?

Entertainment: ★★★★★

I laughed until I couldn't breathe, couldn't wait to see what would happen to Audrey, Ethan, and everybody, and couldn't put the book down.

Plot: ★★★

I'll be honest, the plot was slow at times.  But it was a really interesting take on the whole suddenly-famous routine, and better done than most versions of the "I'm magically suddenly famous!" plot. And I adored the ending.

Characters: ★★★★★

I love the characterization.  The characters are introduced as real people, openly flawed, with real personalities.  The interaction between the characters, too, is amazing, particularly Audrey's blooming ice-cream-shop romance with her co-worker.

My only complaint would be that Audrey slumps a little in the second half of the book, going a little angsty and boring for a few chapters.  Luckily, she recovers and goes on to an amazing finish.

Writing: ★★★★★

See above comment; I laughed and laughed and laughed. Showing/telling was balanced perfectly, description nicely done, characterization nearly exquisite.  Let's just say I loved it.

End Result: five stars.  A really excellent book.  Read it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review: The Off Season



DJ Schwenk survived summer. She's got her best friend, Amber, back. She's got Brian Nelson, cute and popular and smart. She's made it onto her high school football team. Everything seems to be looking up... and then it all goes horribly wrong.

Entertainment: ★★★★

This book is the sequel to Dairy Queen, which has a place of honor on my shelf of good books. So I had really high standards, and The Off Season lived up to them.

Plot: ★★★★

The plot is basically DJ trying to survive the ups and downs of her tumultuous eleventh-grade year, and it's not thrillingly exciting or action-packed.  It is cute, endearing, and enjoyable, as is the ending.

Characters: ★★★★★

I'm just going to come out and say it: Murdock writes some of the best characters I've ever read about.  DJ herself is amazing, complex and realistic. Brian is a Prince Charming with his own personality and his own flaws, not just a little star to obediently orbit DJ, which is sadly rare in love interests. The only way I can describe the characters, really, is real. They're gritty, flawed, sometimes unpleasant, sometimes wonderful, and just so real.

Writing: ★★★★★

Murdock's writing is appealing.  It's not perfect, sometimes there's too much or too little description, all the things I usually gripe about in this section.  But there's just something intangible about her writing that makes her books fun to read.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, or the the holiday of your choice.  However you choose to celebrate or even if you don't celebrate at all, have a great day and enjoy life! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Vinyl Princess



Allie is all about the music. She can name just about every album ever commited to vinyl, as well as every band member, their personal history, the fate of the band, similar music, and so much more.  She's working her dream job at Bob and Bob's music store, a vinyl heaven.  And on top of that, she's just launched her new blog/fanzine combo, Vinyl Princess.

Entertainment: ★★

To be honest, I didn't recognize half the music Prinz rhapsodizes about.  That diluted my enjoyment a little, because I ended up feeling kind of stupid. Also, I just got bored.

And oh yeah, the girl on the cover looks nothing like Allie, who has short, dark hair. Seriously, why would they put a random blond girl on the cover? I'm a detail person, and this detail drives me crazy.

Plot: ★

See above comment: boredom. Nothing happens. Even the events that could be really cool are just kind of... plain.  I wanted to like this book, I really did, but I just couldn't read more than a chapter at a time; it was just too slow.

Characters: ★★

Allie is all. about. the. music. As in, there is disappointingly little other characterization.  She has a nice voice and could be pretty cool, but she just ended up never really becoming 3D. The side characters range from flat to decent, with varying levels of characterization and interesting-ness.

Writing: ★★★

Allie has a good voice, and the writing wasn't bad.  At times, it was even light and funny.

End Result: two stars.  I was not impressed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

100TH POST

That's right: this is the

ONE HUNDRETH POST!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Music Monday: Danger Days Edition

If you have not heard Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys yet, I am about to rock your world.

It's My Chemical Romance's new CD.




The music is excellent, of course.  Planetary (GO), SING, and Save Yourself I'll Hold Them Back are my personal favorites, although honestly they're all good.

The real selling point for me, though, was the world of the Killjoys.  MCR has released music videos for Na Na Na and SING (both brilliant) and I love how they fit together to form a storyline.  SING actually made me tear up a little when I watched it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Review: Ash



After losing her mother and father, teenaged Ash is treated as a servant in her stepmother's home.  But with the help of a little fairy magic, she's able to anonymously attend a sparkling ball and catch the eye of a prince.

But fairy magic doesn't come free: the mysterious Sidhean warns her that the price is to become his.  And Ash isn't really interested in the prince, anyways.  Instead, she's shyly courting Kaisa, the king's huntress.

Entertainment: ★★★

It started off well, but I got progressively less interested as the book progressed.  I had a few issues with the story.  One, apparently every female in that world is totally ambiguous about orientation.  If you want your entire world to be bisexual, authors, go for it; great for you.  I'm not a homophobe.  But in context here, it just didn't make sense.  I was completely thrown for a loop.  And left wondering what Ash was doing suddenly being attracted to girls, out of the blue.  And wondering why apparently a lot of girls shared Ash's orientation and not a single male did, as far as I could tell.  And wondering why Ash never seemed to notice that she spontaneously changed sexual orientation.  You'd think that sort of thing would, you know, at least inspire a sentence or two of introspection, not just be taken for granted.

Anyways.  There was also Sidhean (more below) and the ending (more below.)  But my general evaluation is: a great start, that sort of peters out into unfortunate-ness halfway through.

Plot: ★

In general I'm a fan of rewritten fairy tales; in fact I love them.  But I didn't like the Cinderella references.  They were scattered and heavy-handed, almost like the author wrote the story and then went back and stuck in a few paragraphs here and there to link the book to the fairy tale.  Fairy tale parallels should be subtle and/or original, and unfortunately Ash didn't really pull off either.

As far as the actual plot, it was largely unimpressive.  The romance was sudden and felt forced.  I strongly disliked the ending.  I felt that there was no resolution, no closure, and that there were an awful lot of threads left dangling.  Plus the "clever" or "feisty" or whatever conflict resolution seemed fake to me.

Characters: ★★

Not a whole lot to write here, because Ash didn't have a whole lot of character.  She came off as very bland, very vanilla, and not a lot of her actions really made sense to me.  Kaisa was just kind of odd - she seemed to spend the whole story performing her role as a love-interest prop without actually becoming a person.  Sidhean really annoyed me.  He started off cool but then turned cliche, plus he gets a little stalkerish.  I'm sticking to my spoilers-free style, but I hated his shall we say behaviour at the climatic point.

Writing: ★★★

There was nothing standout to report here: the writing was fine without being particularly special in any way.

End Result: two stars.  I was not impressed.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blog Hop/Follow Friday!

Hi, blog hoppers! Welcome to novapsych!



Book Blogger Hop


Follow Friday Question: What did you study in college, or are currently studying and did it lead to your current 9 to 5 or are you doing something totally different?

I'm still a senior in high school, so I don't think this totally applies.  The current plan, though, is to major in Anthropology.

Blog Hop Question: What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters?

Well, they're both important; I usually give them about equal weight in my reviews.  However, I am more likely to stick with a story that has a non-plot and great characters, than a story with a strong plot but weak characters.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review: Elixir



Clea has always had a charmed life: daughter of two world-famous politicians, talented photojournalist, independant young adult.  She has two best friends, Rayna and Ben, and a happy life.

Until she starts seeing him in her photos.  In the background, in the sky, in buildings, always watching her.  She's never seen him before in her life, but he feels instantly familiar.  And then the dreams start: dreams of her with him.  But she's not Clea; she's Olivia, a Roman, or Anneline or Catherine or Delia, living out a series of past lives with the mysterious man.

And then on a trip to Brazil, she comes face-to-face with Sage, the man of her dreams.  But is he her dream guy?  Or is he her worst nightmare?

Entertainment: ★★★★

This was a pretty cool book.  I liked Clea, who was an excellent narrator, and couldn't wait to figure out what would happen to her.

Plot: ★★

I've said it before, I don't love charmed-life setups, with infinite money and no apparent obligations to follow the law or behave like a normal person.  I also didn't love the ambiguity of the plot - half the time I wasn't quite sure what the plot was - and I felt like there was not nearly enough closure in the ending.

Characters: ★★★★

I loved Clea and Rayna and adored many of the side characters.  That said, Ben was whiny and obnoxious and I didn't like him at all (never a good thing for a love triangle member.)  Sage was absolutely ADD, bouncing around from one personality to another.  At times he was shy, naive, even cute, and I loved him.  At others he was all-knowing, or dark, or self-sacrificing, or childish, or a whole host of other personality traits that were just confusing.  Neither of them felt like great love interests, although I liked Sage marginally better.

Writing: ★★★★★

The description is perfect, not too much and not too little.  Clea's voice is loud, clear, and realistic.  Everything is balanced perfectly: not too mushy, not too scary, not too dark, not too anything.  Duff's done an excellent job here.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trailer Tuesday



So you've probably heard of Across the Universe by now - I know I've seen it on several different book blogs and websites.  The trailer just came out not long ago, and it's pretty cool.  I love the narration and the suspense the video builds.  It makes you really, really curious to see what the book's all about.

Across the Universe is due to be published approximately 28 days, 17 hours, 42 minutes, and 45 seconds from the time I write this post, according to the lovely website.  Check out the website and read the first chapter - frankly, it's amazing.  I can't wait until January!

http://www.acrosstheuniversebook.com/

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Review: Girl in the Arena



Lyn is a celebrity, the daughter of seven gladiators.  They fight to the death in televised neo-gladiator matches, and when one of her dads dies, her mother Allison remarries.  Again.  And again.  Bound by the strict rules of the Gladiator Sports Association (GSA), Lyn, Allison, and Lyn's brother Thad live scripted lives.

Until the seventh husband, the hero of the sport, Tommy, is slain by a new, young, skilled gladiator.  And the GSA hands down an unbearable sentence: Lyn must marry her father's killer.

Lyn is tired of playing by the GSA's rules and has no intention of marrying.  She'll do anything to be free... even enter the arena herself.

Entertainment: ★★

So here's the thing: the premise is fabulous, it's action-packed, and it's got social commentary.  From the description, Girl in the Arena sounds fabulous.  In practice, though, it's actually kind of boring.  I was very disappointed.

Plot: ★★

Bonus points for a cool premise, but negative points for being really slow and predictable.  I was never really in any kind of suspense about what would happen.

Characters: ★★

This is one of those things I can't pinpoint, can't say, "Well, clearly, this was the problem." But in some vague way, none of the characters felt real or interesting to me.  I wasn't emotionally invested in any of them.

Writing: ★★★

There's this weird thing, where there's no "quotation marks", -just these hyphens-, for dialogue. Once I got over that, the writing was decent... but not stellar.

End Result: two stars.  I was not impressed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What's in a Name Challenge



I'm on a roll with these challenges, aren't I?  Anyways, this is a cool challenge hosted at its very own blog: WhatsinaName4.  The challenge is to read one book in each of the following categories:
  1. A book with a number in the title: First to Die, Seven Up, Thirteen Reasons Why
  2. A book with jewelry or a gem in the title: Diamond Ruby, Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Opal Deception
  3. A book with a size in the title: Wide Sargasso Sea, Small Wars, Little Bee
  4. A book with travel or movement in the title: Dead Witch Walking, Crawling with Zombies, Time Traveler's Wife
  5. A book with evil in the title: Bad Marie, Fallen, Wicked Lovely
  6. A book with a life stage in the title: No Country for Old Men, Brideshead Revisited, Bog Child.
As usual I haven't decided which books to read yet, but I like how this challenges requires a little creativity in choosing titles.  I can't wait for January!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2011 Shifter Challenge



I decided, while I was sick, that I was going to be ambitious and sign up for multiple 2011 challenges.  So here it is, my very second challenge!

The Shifter Challenge, hosted over at Parajunkee's View, is a challenge to read 20 books in 2011 with at least one of the main characters being a shifter of some sort.  I haven't decided which books I'll be reading yet, but I already can't wait :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country



Having rescued his twin brother, Dael, from cruel captors, Zan-Gah expects a happy ending.  However, the girl he loves is in love with Dael.  Dael himself is much changed from the playful, laughing boy he used to be: where Zan has grown strong and wise, Dael has grown into an unpredictable, coldly distant, harsh killer.

Zan now wants to bring his tribe to a place he calls the Beautiful Country, a land of luxury and plenty.  There, he is sure that they can prosper and that Dael will find healing.  But the journey is a long and harsh one, and as much as Zan longs for peace, Dael longs for violence and bloodshed...

Entertainment: ★★★

Overall this book was a little simplistic for my tastes, but I enjoyed it as a quick afternoon homework break.

Plot: ★★

Things are a little too implausible in this story.  The miraculous timing of uncontrollable natural events, for example.  And I didn't like the ending much at all, although I won't spoil it by saying why.

Characters: ★★

I thought Dael was pretty interesting, with his somewhat warped personality.  Besides him, well, the book was really short so there just wasn't a lot of characterization.

Writing: ★★

I did prefer the writing in this book to the writing in the previous book, because it's less educational and more entertaining.  However, some scenes just fell flat.  Overall I was a little underwhelmed.

End Result: two stars.  I was not impressed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I have the flu...

...and of course I have been slacking off and I don't have any pre-written posts for this week.  So novapsych will be on hiatus for a few days until I feel better.

Thanks for being patient, readers.

I'm going to go back to sleep now.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: Zan-Gah, A Prehistoric Adventure



Zan, a boy from a brutal prehistoric world, sets out to find and rescue his twin, Dael.  Along the way he faces captivity, danger, and friendship in unexpected places...

Entertainment: ★★★

I felt this book was probably intended for an audience a little younger than me, so it was a little simplistic for me.

Plot: ★★★

Although it was a little predictable, the plot had an interesting setting and was fairly enjoyable to read.

Characters: ★★★

I liked the characters in and of themselves, and honestly they deserve a higher rating.  However, I was completely confused by their interactions.  Literally a few pages after meeting a female character, Zan-Gah exclaims to himself that he loves her.  I actually thought, "Wait, what? When did this happen?"  Dialogue was sparse and the character's relationships to each other were told, not shown, which left them feeling a little clunky and awkward.

Writing: ★★

Zan-Gah had odd little "teacher moments" that I wasn't sure if I liked - there would suddenly be an educational paragraph on the lives of Zan's real-life models, that really did nothing to advance the story.  I liked learning about the prehistorical people, but I wish it could have been saved for the end or somewhere it would not have slowed down the story.  Also, there was an enormous amount of telling-not-showing.  However, I liked the description, and enjoyed the wordplay on the names - for example, the character meant to "hold up a mirror" to Zan and his personality is named Naz, or Zan backwards.  I like when little details like that are slipped into a story.

End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: Watersmeet



Abisina is an Outcast, a hated child, hated because of the color of her hair and her unknown father.  Her mother's status as village healer has kept her alive, but can't restrain the villager's hate, disgust, and fear.  And then Charach arrives, a charismatic and seemingly beautiful leader.  Under his control, the Outcasts are hunted down and killed - and so is Abisina's mother.

With only her mother's dying words and a necklace to guide her, Abisina must find her way to her father, at a myserious place called Watersmeet.  But even if she is able to reach this safe haven, will she be able to escape Charach's spreading evil?

Entertainment: ★★

Here's the thing: I'm not a fan of Moral Stories.  You know, the kind that teach you to Play Nice With Others.  First, there were just too many Morals (at least three main Moral Lessons, plus plenty of minor ones).  Also, they got heavy-handed, even tending towards preachy.  At one point, a character laughs, then quickly adds, "It's not right to enjoy his fear. We won't get anywhere if we seek revenge!"  Not only is it confusing characterization, it's just ridiculously un-subtle.  Moral Stories can be okay, but this one was just overdone.

That aside, I really couldn't find much to enjoy in Watersmeet.  Maybe it's because I've read a lot of similar books lately, but it just came off as bland.

Plot: ★★

Okay, so, heroine who grows up hated and despised by her people, with a mysterious and absent parent, goes on Epic Journey.  And the story concludes with an Epic Battle.  It came off as Fantasy 101, the most basic outline for a fantasy-fiction story that has been used infinitely many times before.  Plus, the whole thing seems quite deliberately designed to faciliate Moral Lessons.  Please, put plot over Morals, or your plot suffers greatly and I'm forced to give it terrible ratings.

Characterization: ★

Abisani was... I don't know.  That's kind of the problem.  Her main characterization is the Prejudice she must Overcome (see above comments on the Moral Lessons) and also her emotions of anger/fear/need for revenge that she must also Overcome.  But as a person?  What she likes, dislikes, dreams of? I would've loved to get to know her - she had a great starting point - but unfortunately she ended up becoming more of a Moral prop than a character. And I'm still not sure what she really looks like, other than dark hair and green eyes.

The villian, Charach (aka the White Worm), fell victim to my least favorite flaw.  He was evil just because he is full of evilness.  Why does he want to conquer the world? Oh, just because.  Why does he hate goodness and light and small children? Well, come on, he's evil.  In fact, he oozes evil slime that kills everything he touches, just to add more unnecessary emphasis on his evil.  Villains, in my opinion, are often more important than the hero of the story, and Charach really fell flat.

A few of the other characters were interesting, many were only average.

Writing: ★★★

Abbott excels at character descriptions, and Abisani's internal conflict came off as fairly realistic. My only real quibble was that the Epic Battle was epicly lacking.  The actual fighting (beyond being far too short) was written more as a series of still, posed shots than a realistic, dirty, tangled, moving, crazy battle. Beyond that scene, however, the writing was decent.

End Result: two stars. I was not impressed.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Concert

I just got home from a Sick Puppies show.

My ears are still ringing.

I had the time of my life.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (12)

This week's trailer is for Vixen, by Jillina Larkin.  Now I'm not usually a fan of historical fiction books, but wow, I love this trailer!



The music is gorgeous, the clothes are fabulous... I love the "snapshot" style of this video, and the way that everything comes together perfectly!  I think this might be my favorite book trailer I've seen in a while now.

(If you're interested in Vixen, it's coming out in December and is the first in a new series!)

Music Monday

So basically Music Monday is where I tell you about some awesome music that you really should listen to.

Dance Floor Anthem - Good Charlotte

Good Charlotte in general is a pretty great band, but this song is one of their best.  It's got an irresistable beat, irresistable lyrics, and just makes you feel good.

Bad Day - Daniel Powter

This song cheers me up every time I'm upset, without fail.  Enough said.

Do You Know? (The Ping Pong Song) - Enrique Iglesias

So the lyrics don't make a whole lot of sense, nor are they exceptionally original... but this song is worth a listen (or three) just for the ping-pongs.  Seriously, I laugh every time I hear this song.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: The Last Song



Ronnie's parents divorced three years ago, and she's spent three angry, sullen years in Manhattan partying and making trouble.  And the summer before she turns eighteen, her mother decides it would be best for everyone if Ronnie and her little brother went to stay with their father, in remote Wrightsville, North Carolina, for a while.

Ronnie is outraged and resentful, determined to hate everything about her father and his town.  But as she slowly begins to open up, to her father and to her new friend Will, she starts to think that maybe, just maybe, she might have been wrong.  As she slowly falls in love with Will, she finds herself changing dramatically... and possibly for the better.

Entertainment: ★★

I'm not big on mushy romances.  And the mush and the romance is definitely here, and that's just not my kind of book.  Romantic mush-ness aside, Last Song is actually quite a decent book that I actually really enjoyed... at times. The non-mush times.

Plot: ★★★

Really, who hasn't read a similar plot line ten times before? Boy meets girl, boy and girl are of course soul mates forever, events conspire to try and push them apart... Kudos to Sparks for making an old plot line interesting, but there's no getting around the fact that it's just a little tired by now.

Characters: ★★★★

Now, I take issue with characters who lay eyes on another person and promptly announce to themselves, wow, I can't believe how gorgeous/amazing/etc they are. Obviously we are Soul Mates.  Especially when the characters are teens.

Putting that aside, however, the characters were fabulous.  They all had great dimensionality, and I really connected with all of them.  Even Marcus was a believable villain  and their interactions with each other were realistic and sweet without being sugary.  Overall I liked the characterization.

Writing: ★★★★

Sparks is a fabulous writer.  A little mushy at times, but overall fabulous.

End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Life Is Good Award



Thank you so much, Mad Scientist!  Basically, you are amazing, and your blog is absolutely gorgeous.  It's too bad you gave me this award, because otherwise I would have given it to you.

Awardation rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person that gave this award.
2. Answer the 10 survey questions.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic.
4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked to let them know about the award.

Questions!

1. If you blog anonymously are you happy doing it that way; if you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now?

Welllll to be honest, Nova isn't my one hundred percent real name.  So I guess that makes me anonymous.  Yes, I'm happy being anonymous, although if anybody actually cared about this enough to track down my real name I wouldn't really mind either.  I guess I just don't really think it's that important. 

2. Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side:

In my freshman year, I decided I wanted to graduate high school in three years instead of four.  I've known several people who graduate college early, but nobody who chose to skip a year of high school.  This idea outraged many adults, who for reasons I don't really understand apparently felt threatened by my attempts to graduate early.  Anyways, I've worked hard, and here I am in my senior year, finishing my third year of high school.  It took a lot of stubborness - probably downright pigheadedness - but I did it.

3. What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror?

I see a girl who's mostly happy with life, usually smiling, and (hopefully) going places.  No, make that (definitely) going places.

4. What is your favourite summer cold drink?

Honestly, water.  Ice water.  But I assume readers want something at least a little more entertaining than that, so my second-favorite drink is root beer.  The kind that comes in an old-fashioned glass bottle, because it tastes about ten million times better than plastic-bottled stuff.

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do?

I have a couple TV habits: Psych, White Collar, Caprica, and Bones, plus some British shows when I can watch them.  TV's my guilty pleasure.  I like to write, too, everything from blog posts to novels to short stories to poems.  And if I have enough time to myself, I go for a drive.  On the Interstate, windows down, radio up.  That's probably my single favorite thing to do, ever.

6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?

I want to travel.  See the world.  Visit every country in the world, backpack, fly, hitchhike, take obnoxious tourist pictures, meet people, eat things that kind of gross me out, everything.  I'd also really like to make a documentary about my travels, because I like documentaries.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching?

I don't really know what I am.  I spend all my time being lazy, reading or writing or goofing off instead of working, and I still get straight A's and most teachers love me.  So the people that are really into studying kind of hate me.  I'm not particularly outgoing, but I'm not at all shy either, especially when it comes to sharing my opinions.  Most people like me, and a lot of them listen to me, but I don't ever really do anything to take advantage of that.  I actually spent a while trying to figure out what sterotype I fit in to answer this question, and eventually gave up.

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment of your life what would you see?

It's actually kind of boring: I was sitting around with some of my friends outside, we were drinking Cokes, just talking.  I have no idea at all, actually, why that memory stands out to me, but it's basically one of the happiest moments of my life.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?

I don't understand this question, exactly.  I write basically all my posts about other people or events.  But that doesn't mean that I'm not sharing my true self.  I suppose it's easy for me to share my true self, because I've never really tried to hide my true self.  But I don't write ego-posts just talking about what I had for lunch, either; I write about books.  So I don't know what to answer here.

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?

Depends majorly on the book and the person.  Overall, I'd probably go with the book, mostly because I'm not a huge talker on the phone - texting or face-to-face is way preferable for me.

My turn to distribute the awards!

Krys, at Bibliopunkk 
Rowena, at The Book Scoop 
Cassandra, at Words On Paper 
Nely, at All About {n} 
Kare, at Epic Book Nerd 
Melissa, at I Swim For Oceans 
Everybody at Teens Read and Write 
Angela, at Reading Angel
Loretta, at Between the Pages
Jami, at YA Addict
Lady Reader and Peep, at Attack of the Book

You are all fabulous.  Enjoy your awards!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge (My First Challenge!)



I've decided to participate in my very first book blog challenge!  The 2011 Debut Author Challenge, hosted over at The Story Siren, is a challenge to read 12 books by debuting YA authors in 2011.

I haven't decided which books I'll be reading yet, but I'm already excited!  Wish me luck on my first challenge!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


And if you are not in the US, HAPPY THURSDAY!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday (10)



This week, I'm looking forward to Darkest Mercy!  I loved Wicked Lovely and its sequels.  Darkest Mercy sounds like another excellent installment - I've seen a couple five-star reviews around the blogosphere - and hello, gorgeous cover!

Darkest Mercy will be coming out in February... I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (11)

I discovered this week's trailer through Random Buzzers, and I liked it so much I had to share it here.



First of all, a book trailer that actually takes place in the pages of a book?  Pretty cool!  Plus the special effects - the animated-sketches feel - was really interesting and new.  After seeing this trailer, I'm pretty sure I want to read this book!  What do you guys think of this trailer?

(Also, The Emerald Atlas also has a lovely website here, if you want to know more!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Music Monday

So basically Music Monday is where I tell you about some awesome music that you really should listen to.

This City Is Contagious - The Cab

From a purely lyrical standpoint, this song is beautiful - the words, the metaphors, the meaning.  "We'll bring neon to its knees" is quite possibly my favorite line of all time.  Although "You're hearing more than sound" runs a close second.  Anyways, if you are only ever going to look up one song from my Music Monday posts, this should be it.


Weightless - All Time Low


If you've ever felt, as they put it, "stuck in a rut," this one's for you.  It's for anybody who's ever wanted to get out there and live life and be free.  I know I've felt that way and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in wanting to be weightless.

Share the Well - Caedmon's Call

This song's a little - okay a lot - out of my usual genres.  And I'll admit I didn't like it much at first.  But when you listen to the lyrics, it's actually kinda beautiful.  Also, the funky music I can't really categorize is kind of growing on me.  I have a feeling this song won't appeal to a lot of people, but it's got a great message that's really worth sharing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Drop



Sanjay needs the money so he can get out of the tiny, barely-getting-by family store. He wants to make it big.

Kat just needs the money to run. Her mother's getting out on parole soon and that's going to force Kat to face her mistakes.

Jerrica doesn't care about the money, she just wants to learn more about her psychic, or psychotic, ability to predict cards.

All of them need to beat the house... but can anyone be lucky forever?

Entertainment: ★★★★

Drop is really short - 169 pages in the hardback - but it packs a pretty big punch for such a little package. And that cover - can you say gorgeous?

Plot: ★★★

No big surprises or twists in Drop, and Jerrica's weird premonition things confused me a lot. But I liked the ending; it's not that sticky candy-sweet scene you'd expect, but still somehow hopeful.

Characters: ★★★★

Some were better than others, but I'd say they average out to be pretty good overall. Sanjay, in my opinion, was a little flat and obnoxious. But Kat and Jerrica made up for him easily.

Writing: ★★★★★

Let me just say, Papademetriou has this wonderful ability to throw in a beautiful but totally unexpected metaphor at just the right time. She also handles flashbacks/memories with much more tact and grace than many writers. She's quite talented, if you ask me.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Follow Friday Blog Hop!

Hi, blog hoppers! Welcome to novapsych!


Book Blogger Hop


Follow Friday Question: How long have you been book blogging?

Since August. It feels like way longer, but I'm actually only in my fourth month!  It's lots of fun so far. I love writing reviews and I just had my first author interview!

Blog Hop Question: Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!

Holiday traditions... I don't think I really have any, except enjoying the day (and the food!) with family at my grandparent's house.

What I'm most thankful for?  Oh, man, that's a long list.  I'm thankful for having friends and family, for being healthy and happy, for being accepted to at least one college, for enjoying (some of) my classes this year, for getting to read way too many books, for novapsych being pretty successful for a new little bloglet, and of course for all the great people I've met through book blogging!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Graceling



Katsa is a Graceling, one of those rare people born with a special talent.  She's been able to kill grown men since eight years of age.  Her uncle, the king, uses her as a simple thug to intimidate, hurt, and kill anyone who displeases him.  And Katsa can't disobey.

But when she meets Po, everything changes.  She feels friendship, and more than friendship.  She discovers new truths about her Grace.  And she is forced to face the monsters around her... and the monsters within herself.

Entertainment: ★★★★

Graceling was interesting, not incredibly original but a nice new take on the whole "I have special powers" genre. I like the little twists thrown in, like the fact that the Grace is marked by mismatched eyes.  I didn't exactly predict the ending, which is always nice, and overall I liked it.  Also, I loved the names, Katsa and Bitterblue especially.

Plot: ★★★

I was hardly blown away by its originality... it was cliche and slow at times, overfast and confusing at others.  A decent plot, but not really stellar.

Characters: ★★★

I liked Katsa, although she was a little slow about some things.  Po was okay, a little stereotypical and not flawed enough for my tastes.  Ditto for the rest of the cast: a lot of okay characters, not a lot of amazing characters.

Writing: ★★★★★

I will say that Cashore is an amazing writer, minus the fact that I don't particularly like her characters or her plot.  Her actual, technical writing is flawless.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday (9)

This week, I can't wait to read Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card!




Amazon description:
A powerful secret. A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.
 
Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.

Ender's Game is one of my favorite books and I've liked just about everything I've ever read by Card.  Plus, doesn't that summary sound exciting?  Pathfinder comes out next Tuesday and I'm looking forward to getting a copy... what books are you waiting for?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Monday

So basically Music Monday is where I tell you about some awesome music that you really should listen to.

This Is For Real - Motion City Soundtrack

I'm new to MCS; I just got the "Even If It Kills Me" CD a few days ago.  I fell in love almost immediately.  I'm not 100% sure on the meaning of the lyrics... I think parts might be open to different interpretations.  Still, it's a pretty awesome song.

Love Like Woe - The Ready Set

Some people don't like this song, I know.  But you can't deny that it's basically adorable.  When it's on the radio you really have no choice but to sing along!

According To You - by Orianthi

I can never actually decide if I like Orianthi's other songs or not, but I love this one.  It's upbeat and fun.  Plus, I happen to find the lyrics both hilarious and meaningful.  I've heard a few different interpretations of the lyrics, but I think of it as a "ignore the haters - somebody loves you for who you are" kind of song.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: Total Oblivion (More or Less)



The end of the world was kind of unexpected, for Macy at least.  But when the Scythians came sweeping down from the North, her family is forced to flee down the Mississippi.  Along the way, they encounter the armies of the Empire, a wasp-borne plague, talking animals, mythical submarines, and all the chaotic fear of a crumbling world...

Entertainment: ★★

Let me be honest: I didn't like this book. There were one or two worthwhile, thought-provoking and/or interesting scenes.  The rest was a mess.

Plot: ★

Plot? What plot?  Everybody ran around like headless chickens, making entirely illogical choices and making a mess of everything they encountered.  There was no plot, just a lot of weirdly-paced action scenes and odd interludes that detracted from what little plot there was.  If I gave out "zero stars" as a rating, this book would easily merit it.

Characters: ★★

Ciaran, a random side character, was actually quite interesting to me, but he was the only redeeming character.  Macy was drab and had little to no personality and was a generally obnoxious narrator.  The side characters alternated being boring and just plain bizarre.  And not in a good way.

Writing: ★

Okay, where to even start?  I don't think there was a single cohesive chapter in the entire book that made actual, logical sense.  Everything was haphazardly everywhere, chapters seemed out of order, nothing made sense
End Result: one star.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In case you were wondering (Victory & Illness)

I just got home from my first Tae Kwon Do tournament.  I placed third in my age group (which is supposed to be one of the most competitive age groups).  This made me happy.

I got home and discovered that I had a fever, which explained the pounding head and sore throat I've had all day.  In fact I am having a hard time staying awake long enough to post this.

Also, I have a few huge school projects due plus a service project plus the tournament, and now I'm sick.  I'll try to keep novapsych running as normal, but if things are a little slow for a few days, please be forgiving :)

Nova

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Rot and Ruin



Benny has turned fifteen, and therefore has to find a job to keep getting rations.  The problem is that all the good, easy jobs are taken, so he doesn't have a lot of options.  In the end he reluctantly apprentices to his older brother, Tom.  A zombie hunter.  Under Tom's guidance, he will leave the protected, fenced community and go out into the Rot and Ruin that used to be the United States to hunt down and kill zombies.

He expects the job to be dull and hard, and he is not looking forward to working with his brother.  Although everybody seems to admire and respect Tom, Benny's not sure what the big deal is.  Tom's nothing like the cool bounty hutners Benny looks up to; he's quiet, unexciting, and actually avoids violence.  Benny knows he's nothing but a coward.

What he discovers in the Rot and Ruin, though, will change his life, and him.  As he searches for the Lost Girl and the truth about his world, he will have to discover for himself where the line is drawn between man and monster...

Entertainment: ★★★★

I read Rot and Ruin alone and late at night.  This was a mistake, as I soon found myself desperately wishing for a nightlight so that the living dead couldn't creep up on me in the dark.  Rot and Ruin was a great book that I could not put down, and yes, it terrified me.  In a good way.

Plot: ★★★★

I read this until way too early in the morning because I could not put it down.  I kept telling myself, "I'll stop after one more chapter," and then of course I had to read just one more.  The setting and premise are both excellent, a well-done apocalyptic/dystopian arrangement.  I think the actual plot at times veered towards predictable, as far as the climax and outcome are concerned, but the simple appeal of it made up for that.

Characters: ★★★★★

I was only a chapter or two in when I was already thinking, "This Benny is a major brat."  And he was.  But over the course of the book, he grew, changed, and matured.  It was one of the most realistic character arcs I've read in a long time.  The side characters and villains were both well and tastefully done overall, and even the love interest scenes were realistic and natural-seeming. 

Also, I think I might be a little bit in love with Tom.

Writing: ★★★★

I thought that the book was quite well written, although maybe the action/fight scenes left a little to be desired.  But the characterization and the description were both done quite well, and I liked the take on the zombies.  I mean, everybody's read a zombie book and seen a zombie movie before, and there's only so much material to work with.  But Maberry still manages to make his seem unique and interesting, and they're appealing in that gruesome, non-appealing way that only zombies can manage.  I also very much appreciated that the gore was done tastefully: the book was not a nonstop campaign to gross out the reader, which unfortunately many zombie books devolve into.  Overall, I thought Rot and Ruin was very well done.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Author Interview: Jonathan Maberry

"In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human."

To read free prequel scenes to Rot & Ruin click here!
Or, read my review!
- - - - - - - - - -

You’ve written a lot of books, as well as several short stories and comics.  Do you have a favorite work (or works)?

Usually my favorite is whichever one I’m currently writing.  I fall in love with each new project.  Of my completed works, it’s an event split between ROT & RUIN (out now from Simon & Schuster), my first teen novel; and THE KING OF PLAGUES, the third in my Joe Ledger series of thrillers (due out March 2011 from St. Martin’s Griffin).  My favorite comic series (so far!) is MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE PUNISHER, which was released earlier this year and will soon be collected as a graphic novel. 

Rot & Ruin is your first YA book.  Would you say that writing YA is any different from writing for adults?

JM: Adult books tend to be more strongly forced into a category and sub-category, teen novels are much freer and more open to cross-genre writing.  Also, the teen readers I’ve met are so much more open-minded than most of the adults.  And they’re so much more imaginative.  You don’t have to lay everything out for them—they’re with the author from the jump, and they get the story and its implications.  As a result it’s more fun to include them in the collaborative storytelling process.
           
When the reader finishes Rot & Ruin, what is one thing you want them to take away from it?

JM: Hope.  The story about discovering the value of human life, the measure of one’s own courage, and the power of optimism.  The kids in the story are being handed a ‘broken’ world by a generation of adults who have lost all faith in any possible future.  The teens, however, expect to live long lives and to have those lives matter.  So, much of the subtext of the story deals with those teens discovering their own power, and learning how that power can sculpt any future they want.

Rot & Ruin is set in a dystopian world, fourteen years after the First Night zombie attack.  What was your inspiration for the world itself?

JM: Take a look around.  There are a lot of huge, dangerous problems in our world.  Wars, religious and racial intolerance, a damaged ecology, ruined economies, and political unrest. When writers tell a story about monsters, we’re usually using them as a vehicle in order to tell a story about our own world. 
           
That’s how the zombie genre got started.  George A. Romero used NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to talk about racism; DAWN OF THE DEAD was really about rampant American consumerism; DAY OF THE DEAD was about the runaway buildup of the military industrial complex.  And so on.  Max Brooks’ WORLD WAR Z was about our fears of a global pandemic (such as SARS).  That’s what drives the whole zombie pop culture –and all apocalyptic fiction—they’re stories that use monsters to tell important truths about our real world.
           
Dystopian fiction is much the same.  These are stories that express our fears about society taking dangerous paths.  We write these as truly ‘cautionary’ tales, stories in order to warn ourselves and each other about these dangers.
           
And…on a less complex level, they make darn good stories.  They allow use to explore the phenomenon of a hero (often a stand in for our own idealized selves) facing seemingly impossible odds, and then overcoming them.  

Benny's story is a coming-of-age saga; did you base any of his emotional and mental growth and change off of your own experience?

JM: In small ways, yes.  Mostly Benny is based on a friend of mine growing up, a kid name Jamie.  He was always a little ‘younger’ than the rest of us, even though we were the same age. Jamie was also angry all the time, largely because he was holding onto a lot of assumptions about his parents and the world.  It wasn’t until we were fifteen and Jamie started working summers with his dad that he ‘grew up’.  It was a pretty remarkable change, too, because he went from being grumpy and na├»ve to being very upbeat and worldly.  From them on, he really grew, and wound up outgrowing a lot of the kids in our group.  Sometimes it happens like that.

I probably have more in common with Tom than Benny.  I was a quiet, introspective kid and I’ve been involved with martial arts since I was six.  Of course, Tom is better looking and cooler than I ever was…but this is fiction after all.
           
Elements of my own childhood did play a large part in my first three novels, GHOST ROAD BLUES, DEAD MAN’S SONG and BAD MOON RISING (collectively known as the Pine Deep Trilogy).  The character of troubled teen Mike Sweeney draws heavily on elements of child abuse I experienced, and how I used martial arts to life myself out of that swamp.

You play with religion a little in Rot & Ruin, describing one group of people that comes to consider electricity evil and another that believes God wants them to care for, sometimes even feed themselves to, zombies.  If the zombiepocalyse occurred tomorrow, what effect do you think it would have on your beliefs?

JM: None, really.  I’m a very Big Picture guy when it comes to religion.  I more or less believe that everyone is right. My circle of friends range from the most cynical atheists to Right Wing evangelists. That said, if an apocalypse happened, AND if I was inclined to want to assign blame somewhere, I’d probably focus most of my attention on deliberate human action, human error, or human inaction.
           
I’m not entirely jaded, mind you.  More of a realist.  I’m idealistic enough to remain optimistic that we won’t actually bring about some kind of science-based apocalypse.  But I’ve also done a lot of research for my adult science thrillers, and have interviewed enough people in the military, government, and the sciences, to know that greed often outstrips both our common sense and our moral judgment.
           
 So…I doubt my religious beliefs would be affected, but I would be sorely disappointed in my fellow men.

You've written a lot about zombies in the past few years, so you know a lot about them.  What precautions do you take in real life against the eventual zombie apocalypse?  Do you lock your doors and stockpile automatic weapons, just in case?

JM: I’m not a survivalist, though I have friends who are.  I have a close friend who actually has an apocalypse bug-out kit in the trunk of his car.  And over the last few years I’ve been a guest on dozens of zombie apocalypse panels at SF and horror conventions.
           
So, even though I don’t have weapons and a stockpile of canned foods in my trunk…I have worked out escape scenarios.  Just for fun.  And as a way of getting in the mindset necessary to write these kinds of stories.  I’m also an experienced martial artist (46 years and counting), and as a former bodyguard I have extensive experience in real-world violent confrontations.   Bottom line: if an apocalypse DID occur, I’m pretty sure I’m getting my family to a safe place.  Zombies?  Well…there had better be a lot of them, otherwise I’m leaving a trail of parts behind me.

Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer.  His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.  His novels include the Pine Deep Trilogy: GHOST ROAD BLUES (winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel), DEAD MAN’S SONG, and BAD MOON RISING; the Joe Ledger series of action thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin: PATIENT ZERO (winner of the Black Glove Award for Best Zombie Novel of the Year, and in development for TV), THE DRAGON FACTORY, THE KING OF PLAGUES; THE WOLFMAN; the Benny Imura series of Young Adult dystopian zombie thrillers from Simon & Schuster:  ROT & RUIN and DUST & DECAY; and the forthcoming standalone zombie thriller DEAD OF NIGHT.  His nonfiction works include: VAMPIRE UNIVERSE, THE CRYPTOPEDIA (winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction; co-authored by David F. Kramer), ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (Winner of the Hinzman and Black Quill Awards and nominated for a Stoker Award), THEY BITE! (with David F. Kramer), and WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (with Janice Gable Bashman).  His work for Marvel includes BLACK PANTHER: POWER, KLAWS OF THE PANTHER, CAPTAIN AMERICA: HAIL HYDRA, DOOMWAR and MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN.  Jonathan has been a popular writing teacher and career counselor for writers for the last two decades.  He teaches a highly regard series of classes and workshops including Write Your Novel in Nine Months, Revise & Sell, Experimental Writing for Teens, and others.  Many of his students have gone on to publish in short and novel-length fiction, magazine feature writing, nonfiction books, TV, film, and comics.  In 2004 Jonathan was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame largely because of his extensive writings in that field.  Visit his website at http://www.jonathanmaberry.com/ or find him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GoodReads, Library Thing, Shefari and Plaxo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (10)

Today's trailer is for a book called Unwind.  I'd never heard of it until, browsing YouTube, I clicked on this video... well, watch it for yourself.





Can you say creepy?  But so exciting at the same time.  Plus, I love the music!  I wasn't too sure about some of the pictures flashed, though - maybe they make more sense once you've read the book, but for me they seemed a little disjointed.  Regardless, I have to get my hands on this book!

What do you think of this trailer?  And what's your favorite book trailer?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Dragonsong



Menolly loves music.  Above all else she longs to be a Harper, responsible for songs that entertain and songs that preserve the culture of her planet, Pern.  Too bad that she's a girl, and girls can't be Harpers.

After a tragic accident, Menolly flees her home for the wilds, and ends up being adopted by/adopting an odd group of friends: the mini dragons known as fire lizards.

Entertainment: ★★★★

I enjoyed reading Dragonsong a lot.  I actually read it all in one sitting, I was so curious to see how everything played out.  It's actually kind of short, and I found myself wishing it were a lot longer!

Plot: ★★★

The plot wasn't overwhelmingly original, the ending was a little cliche, and there were really no big surprises.  Bonus points for world-building, however.

Characters: ★★★★

Menolly was a very good character, and many of the side characters were excellent.  Dragonsong is pretty short - less than 200 pages - and yet nearly everybody in the story seems to come alive.

Writing: ★★★

I was definitely dying to know what would happen next!  However, I was a little put off by the occasional overload of information; for example, I now know too much about the anatomy of the packtail (a fish from Pern).

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Follow Friday, Blog Hop

    Book Blogger Hop


What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?

Since I've just started, I don't have many followers, so I notice when people leave and it does make me sad. But in the end I don't mind too much, because I'd rather have a small number of active followers that actually read my blog than a few hundred followers that never visit.


Have I ever stopped following a blog?  The simple answer is no, because I leave my name on the Google Connect boxy thing.  However, I do stop following blogs in the sense that I stop reading, commenting, etc.  If the blog changes focus, loses momentum, doesn't update often, gets sloppy, or falls prey to any of the other death traps for blogs, I will most likely stop visiting.


Who are your favorite authors?

My all-time number-one favorite author is Scott Westerfeld, no question.  He is quite possibly my idol.  I was hooked on the Uglies trilogy years ago, and since then I've read (and loved) every book he's published.


I also have a lot of other authors I like: John Green, Cassandra Clare, David Levithan, Tamora Pierce, Hilari Bell, and Eoin Colfer are just a few.


Well, that's the blog hop stuff.  Now, hopefully, you'd like to know a little about novapsych!
Here's what's happened lately:
Reviews of Hush, Hush, Magic or Madness and The Dark Divine, as well as Music Monday and Trailer Tuesday.  So that's novapsych! Click around, check it out, and follow if you like what you see! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Hush, Hush



Nora Grey is your average high school overachiever, with an almost entirely average life.  Until she is paired with Patch for a biology assignment.  Nora finds herself frighteningly attracted to him and terrified by his strange confidence and almost telepathic ability to know what she's thinking.

Soon she discovers that Patch is a fallen angel who wants to become human.  She can't decide whether to fall into his arms or run away... but time is running out, and she may not have a choice in the end...

Entertainment: ★★★

Here's the thing: in a general sense, Hush, Hush is a great book.  But I'm a nitpicker.  And there's a lot of things the reader is either supposed to ignore, not notice, or suspend their disbelief for.  And I don't like that.  Hush, Hush is one of those books where it seems like the author herself didn't notice these details.

So, yeah.  The detailing aside, I did like Hush, Hush fairly well.

Plot: ★★★

See above comment about the suspension of disbelief.  There's so many holes in the plot!  Seen from far off, Hush, Hush has a really cool plot.  But when you read it and pay attention... well... the premise is cool; the execution, not so much.

Characters: ★★

Nora and Patch seemed like just another Bella/Edward, Grace/Daniel, human/supernatural YA couple of your choice.  Neither offered anything really exciting or new.  I was actually disappointed; I'd heard very good things about the characters and specifically Patch.  But I don't think any of the characters are anything special.  In fact, I downright disliked many of the side characters.

Writing: ★★★★

If you ignore the holes everywhere, Fitzpatrick is actually pretty talented and the writing is quite good.

End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (9)

I read Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty a while ago, so the details are a little fuzzy.  I remember really enjoying it, though.  And so when I stumbled on this trailer, I had to post it.





Now to tell the truth, this isn't actually how I pictured these girls at all.  But it's got great atmosphere, I love the music, and I love the storytelling-narration style of the trailer.  What do you think of this trailer? And what's your favorite book trailer?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Music Monday

So basically Music Monday is where I tell you about some awesome music that you really should listen to.

Dancing Queen - ABBA

So, this probably won't appeal too much to my male readers. But it is a classic great song, so much fun to dance to or sing or just enjoy.

Let's Dance - Hawk Nelson

This is just a feel-good song. It's all about being happy with who you are, instead of trying to change yourself to fit the material world. You just can't stay unhappy after listening to it two or three times.

All At Once - The Fray

If you want to analyze the lyrics, there's a nice message about true love versus temporary love. But I don't even listen to the words, I just listen. There's just something indefinable and beautiful about this song that stays with me for days after hearing it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Alright, I have to admit, Halloween is near and dear to my heart. I just love it.

(And you're never too old to play dress-up and/or extort candy from strangers, no matter what they say.)

Have a happy Halloween, everybody! Dress up, watch some horror movies, eat double your body weight in sugar, and read some scary stories!

Boo!

Nova

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fashion Friday, Costume Edition

This afternoon, as I was throwing together a costume at the last minute, it occurred to me that I should do a blog post about Halloween costumes.  It's mostly just a rambling post about my opinions on various costumes.

Old favorites: vampires, ghosts, you know the drill.  My brother's being a vampire this year.  If you want to go for it, go for it!  Some of the best costumes I've ever seen are based on the classics.  My advice to you, though, is to mix it up a little.  After a while, all the vampires start to look the same, and so do the ghosts and every other popular costume.  Another black cape ensemble isn't too impressive these days.  You can be different while still staying true to whatever you are.

Store-boughts: the costume that comes in a plastic bag, fully assembled for you.  I am 100% anti-store-boughts. If you are wearing one, well, I have to say I disapprove.  First of all, it's clearly the easy way out. Second, odds are that three other people will be wearing the same costume, wherever you go.  Finally, they just aren't that great.  None of them are original, none of them are creative, and every single one I've ever seen just looks fake.  Call me old-fashioned or close-minded or whatever, I will never like store-boughts.

Homemade: ranging from a sheet with eye holes in it to some really elaborate creations.  I'm a huge fan of these, even the ones that come out looking pretty stupid.  I admire people who put time, effort, and work into what they do, and that includes Halloween costumes.  You never run into somebody with the same costume - even if they're the same general idea, everybody goes about it in different ways.  Plus, I've worn a home-mader every year I've dressed up, so I'm pretty biased.

Slutty: seriously?  You can look really good and really chic on Halloween while wearing something besides underwear. 'Nuff said.

So, that's it, a pointless and overly opinionated post on Halloween costumes.  Are you dressing up?  What's your costume?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Magic or Madness



Reason Cansino can walk for days through the Australian Outback.  She can reel off hundreds of numbers from the Fibonacci series.  And she knows that no matter what, she has to stay out of the evil hands of her grandmother, Esmeralda.  Her mother, Sarafina, has told her all about Esmeralda's crazy belief in witchcraft, how she kills animals and even people because of some delusion of magic.

Reason was happy living with Sarafina, but when Sarafina goes mad and tries to kill herself, Reason is forced into her grandmother's custody.  When she opens a door in Esmeralda's Sydney house and finds herself in New York City, Reason is forced to confront everything she thought she knew... and the magic within herself.

With the help of Tom and Jay-Tee, two other teens with the "power," Reason must figure out who she is and what she can do.  But there are predators eager to take advantage of their power and ignorance, and nowhere is safe for any of them... and nobody can be trusted.

Entertainment: ★★★

I had fun reading this book, and I was disappointed when it ended.  I was really interested in the "magic" of Reason's world, and I wish the book had explained it more.  I also liked the Australian slang (which, being a sadly undertraveled American, I've never really heard before) and I just thought the whole thing was really interesting.

Plot: ★★

Here, Magic or Madness loses a lot of points, for being largely uncreative and annoyingly un-subtle about a lot of things.  The plot itself was at times haphazard and didn't make a lot of cohesive sense.  And there really were no surprises for me.  I've read better.

Characters: ★★

Reason goes from wildly naive to worldly and mature, and back again, constantly.  It was practically giving me whiplash, all her personality reversals.  I still don't have a clear idea of who she is and what she's like.  The rest of the characters were equally confusing and unexplainedI never really had a connection with any of them or felt like they were exciting or special.  And their voices were all quite similar, even the American/Australian ones; practically indistinguishable.

Writing: ★★★

Although at times a little heavy-handed, Larbalestier is a good writer and Magic or Madness is decently well written.

End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday (8)

This week, I am dying to read... drumroll please... Bartimaeus: The Ring of Solomon!





For those of you who aren't aware of the amazingly amazing Bartimaeus trilogy, check it out here; I highly recommend it. It's snarky, fun, exciting, and one of them (I won't give away which, don't worry) made it to the highly exclusive list, The Four Books That Have Made Me Cry.

So, a follow-up prequel book? Of course I can't wait! I love Stroud's witty, sarcastic djinn! And is it just me, or is that cover pretty much awesome?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (8)

I've decided to switch to only one trailer, as there are only a limited number of cool book trailers and I'd like to keep this meme going for a while. But don't worry, they'll be good ones.

Here's this week's: The Forest of Hands and Teeth.





Things I Love About This Trailer:

-The narrator has the perfect voice for this!
-I am now majorly creeped out. Scary trailers are amazing!
-I desperately need to read this book, ASAP!

What do you think of this trailer - love it, or hate it? And what's your favorite book trailer?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Music Monday

So basically Music Monday is where I tell you about some awesome music that you really should listen to. This week is Fall Out Boy edition!

I Don't Care

Seriously, this is one of the most amazing feel-better songs of all time. Sing the chorus a few times and no matter what you'll be in a great mood.

Dance, Dance

A little frantic, but in a good way! This is on just about every upbeat playlist I've ever made, and it works great for everything from driving to running to, well, dancing.

Thanks for the Memories

This is an excellent venting song, when you just need to listen to music and think angry thoughts. It's also a great all-purpose song, just like Dance, Dance.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow Friday Hop Stuff!

Book Blogger Hop


Hi, and welcome to novapsych, Hoppers!

What are you currently reading? Basically, what book is that?

I'm currently reading Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy. It's a little more academic than my usual books, but I'm actually enjoying it a lot so far! I'm all the way to page 18.

Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?

Oddly enough, on the floor. I don't care which floor, or whose floor; I'll read on my friends floors, or my room's floor, or even on the ground ourside if it's nice.  I just like to read sprawled on the floor, for some reason.

And that's this week's Nova. Now, blog time! Wondering what novapsych's all about? Here's what happened this week:

Reviews of Mockingjay and Luxe
Music Monday here
Trailer Tuesday here
Wishlist Wednesday here (special, Nightshade-dedicated edition.)

So click around, check novapsych out! And go ahead and follow if you like what you see!

Also, I'm building my blogroll, so if you want your blog featured, let me know~

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Luxe



Elizabeth Holland glittered.  She was rich, pure, the perfect young lady at the start of the 19th century.  She was engaged to Henry Schoonmaker, the wealthiest, handsomest, most eligible bachelor in town.  She came from one of the oldest and best families in New York.  She was beautiful.

The book opens with her funeral.

Then we rewind to several months before, and discover the dark side of the New York social scene.  Backstage at the sparkling balls, behind the expensive frothy dresses and the flirtatious youth and the fashionable dancing, everybody has a secret.

And in the world of Luxe, scandal is a fate worse than death...

Entertainment: ★★★★

I really liked Luxe, which actually surprised me because I usually don't like historical fiction at all.  Although at times it was a little predictable, it was still and exciting, romantic read that made me wish I lived the lives of Elizabeth, Diana, and Penelope.

(And for the record, I am dead jealous of the dresses on all the Luxe books' covers.  Seriously, they are amazing.)

Plot: ★★★

The fact that the book opens with Elizabeth's funeral is both good (it builds a ton of suspense) and bad (it gives away a lot.)  And the plot twists were not that twisty and a little obvious.  Despite that, however, the plot was engaging and fun and very enjoyable.

Characters: ★★★★

Elizabeth Holland was actually really cool, although I didn't expect to identify with her at all.  She had a very realistic internal struggle throughout the book.  I really liked Penelope, a side character who may or may not be an antagonist (depends on your point of view.)  The rest of the characters, although none really stood out to me, were all decently well-written.

Writing: ★★★★★

Godbersen is a really stellar writer.  She made old New York balls come to life, as well as the sparkling socialites who inhabited them.  And I don't know much about that era, but Luxe seemed very historically accurate to me.

End Result: four stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday (7)

So, Nightshade came out yesterday! Insert confetti here! I've been looking forward to this book for a while, especially since I got the chance to help out with the really cool marketing (my post on that here). Unfortunately I've already burned through my book budget for the next two months, so I'm going to have to wait to read it (cue the depressing music).

But in honor of me wishing for Nightshade, today's Wishlist Wednesday is devoted to it. You might remember the trailer if you've been following for a while: it was featured on a previous Trailer Tuesday.






Cool, right? Normally I really don't like trailers that have no action, just words, but it kind of works here.  And it's really pretty, too.

So that's this week's wishlist; if you're as into Nightshade as I am (and have a bigger budget) you can find it on Amazon or the bookstore of your choice. And let me gush one final time: the cover is fabulous! Seriously, one of the coolest designs I've seen in a while~






Anyone else dying to read it? Or anyone lucky enough to score an advanced copy? Weigh in!