Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (3)

In Trailer Tuesday memes, I spotlight two really cool book trailers I discovered in the past week!

First up, Beautiful Creatures.  This book has been out for a while, and I've been meaning to read it.  This video is gorgeous - I love the still shots - and the music/rain sounds give it a totally creepy, eerie vibe.  If I'd never even heard of Beautiful Creatures, this video would make me desperate to read it!

Next up, to continue the awesome/eerie trend, I present: Blue Is For Nightmares!  I stumbled on this completely by accident - I'd never even heard of the book before - but now I really, really, really wanna read it!  Seriously, this trailer is a-maz-ing!

What do you think of this week's trailers?  And what are your favorite book trailers (or, least favorite)?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Gone

One second they're there, the next they're gone.  Poof.  Everybody over fourteen suddenly vanished from the town of Perdido Beach, California.  The kids are trapped in their city, alone and scared.  Bullies rule and chaos spreads.  And things are changing; kids are changing.  They're developing superpowers.  Animals are changing too.  And a mysterious, dark force seems to be orchestrating it all...

Sam didn't want to be a hero, but when all the kids turn to him he has no choice.  With Astrid, he has to fight the Darkness, his own powers, the tyrannical Caine, and possibly himself.  And the clock is ticking, because when he turns fifteen he'll vanish too...

Entertainment: ★★★★★

First of all, I think this book gave me nightmares.  I had freaky dreams involving it.  It was that exciting.  I could not put it down.
Plot: ★★
Bonus points for being exciting, but it loses a lot of points on the basis of being simply confusing.  Even after finishing the book I'm extremely confused on many points and still don't understand some parts of the story.  Plus, the whole plot just seems a little haphazard, like the author kept saying, "I wonder what would happen if I added this completely random and weird element into the story!"
Charcters: ★★★

Astrid bugged me, I'll say that right off the bat.  And Sam started off cool, but turned disappointingly wimpy.  The protagonists, overall, weren't too impressive.  Caine and Diana, on the other hand, were awesome.  They were really freakin' amazing antagonists.  Really freakin' amazing.
Writing: ★★★

Grant's got a nice, entertaining writing style, but it just seems a little juvenile sometimes.  I can't explain it, really, but it just seemed like writing targeted for a younger/more immature audience.  Also, I mentioned above the (annoying) habit of throwing totally random elements into the story for no apparent reason, and the lack of explanation for a lot of what happened.  Still, it was an enjoyable story.
End Result: three stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review: Fablehaven

When Kendra and Seth are exiled to their Grandma and Grandpa Sorenson's home for seventeen days, they anticipate a lot of boring nothing waiting for them thereThey couldn't be more wrong.  Turns out their grandparents are actually running a preserve for endangered magical creatures like faeries.

Magic has rules, though, as Seth and Kendra are about to discover.  And breaking the rules can result in terrible consequences for everyone...

Entertainment: ★★★

It was "cute."  That's the only word I can use for this book.  Not in a good or bad way, it just seemed pretty immature and lighthearted and just a little pointless.  A fun read.

Plot: ★★★

Again, the plotlets were a little cutesy: "Let's experiment and discover nice Life Lessons, like Our Actions Have Consequences, sibling!"  The overarching plot, although it kind of runs in the background for much of the story, is actually a lot more interesting.  Although I didn't like its resolution much, I still thought it was worth the wait.

Characters: ★★

Kendra was interesting, but only mildly so.  The grandparents and really all the side characters were all pretty underdeveloped.  And I liked Seth at first, but got bored of him doing the same things, repetetively, throughout the story.  Also, I was a little annoyed by his distinct and concious refusal to learn anything from his mistakes.

Writing: ★★★★

The writing's funny, witty at times, and just plain interesting.  I like Mull's style.

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

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fashion Friday

So this week's book is The Charmed Return, chosen because I saw it on the internet and my mind immediately went to a shirt I used to love. This outfit was only loosely inspired by the book - the jeans and shoes I just did my own thing on - but I think the shirt and the cover were just made for each other.  They've got the exame same shade of pink and the gold sparkly butterflies match her hair and makeup beautifully.

What do you think?  Do you like this outfit?  Would you agree it goes with the book?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: Silver Phoenix

Ai Ling flees her home to find her missing father and avoid a betrothal to a nasty man with three other wives. On her journey to the Emperor’s palace, with only a magical jade necklace for protection, Ai Ling falls in love with the half-blood Chen Yong, meets gods, goddesses, dragons, and spirits of various kinds, and has many adventures. The immortals are taking an intense interest in her affairs, and she begins to wonder if she may be more important than she can imagine…

Entertainment: ★★

First of all, although I’m all for a more unique kind of mythology, I'd rather it be understandable. The monsters and spirits of Ai Ling’s world were sparsely described and rarely explained, leaving me very confused at several points.

Second, there was nothing unique about this book. I’ve read the same story with the same characters a hundred times before, just set in different worlds. There was very little memorable or interesting about Silver Phoenix. I keep waiting for a suprise twist or something unexpected, and when it never came I was more than a little underwhelmed.

Plot: ★★

See above comment. Nothing unique, except the setting. The ending was predictable, the action not particularly well written, the romance inevitable-feeling and almost clumsy. Basically, it was boring.

Characters: ★

Ai Ling, the stereotypical “rebellious princess” type of character, given an Unusual-For-Girls education by her doting father and raised to Think Daring Thoughts; these lead her to Stand Up For The Rights of Women. Hooray. Her boyfriend Chen Yong was almost as cardboard-cutout; he was Dark and Brooding, with an Unknown Parentage, and also some Really Good Looks and Epic Fighting Skillz. Also, he's a half-blood.  Snore. It would be nice if any of them had, you know, flaws. Or something distinctive about them.

Writing: ★★★

There was nothing bad about Pon’s writing. There wasn’t really anything exceptional either. It was just average.

End Result: two stars.  I was not impressed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday (3)

Another Wishlist Wednesday, where I spotlight upcoming titles I'm really excited about reading!  This is my third Wishlist, which makes three full weeks the blog's been running; I've gotten followers and comments and an award already!  Exciting!

Now, for this week's wishlist.... drumroll please...

Firelight by Sophie Jordan!

Jacinda is a shapeshifting dragon, in love with a hunter.  Awesome, no?  And the cover is basically amazing.  If you want to read more about Firelight, check HarperTeenFirelight will be coming out 09/7/2010; I know I'm excited for it!  What do you thinkg of Firelight?  And what coming-soon books can you not wait to get your hands on?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Trailer Tuesday

Trailer Tuesday: two cool book trailers I discovered in the past week.

Have you read I Am Number Four yet?  I heard about it a while ago, and it sounded pretty cool.  I just found the trailer, and it's awesome!  Reminds me of a spy movie mixed with... I don't know, something else cool.

And next up, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.  This is in my to-read queue, and I can't wait to start it (read about it here).  Here's the trailer; I love the eerie music, I love the sparkly words, and I love the little curly plant-things in the corners!

What do you think of this week's selections?  And do you have any trailers to recommend (or diss, if you'd prefer)?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Rampant

Unicorns exist. We’re not talking the fluffy, sparkly, rainbow, magic beings you’re probably familiar with, though. No, although there are a few different species, all unicorns have a few things in common: venomous horns, sharp teeth, cruel minds, and a vicious bloodlust. Everybody thought unicorns were extinct hundreds of years ago, and so they faded into myth and unicorns became innocent inhabitants of bedtime stories.

But now, they’re back. And their one weakness is hunters: virgin female descendents of Alexander the Great.

Astrid Llewellyn always scoffed at her mother’s weird unicorn stories, until a unicorn attacks her boyfriend. Now, Astrid is swept away to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter. She is surrounded by other hunters with their own agendas, vicious and bloodthirsty unicorns plotting her death, and one very handsome art student who could destroy everything.

Entertainment: ★★★★★

Wow. This was fabulous. I don’t even know what to say here. It was an incredible read.

Plot: ★★★

Maybe not the most original plot of all time, but still plenty unique and amazingly exciting. My only disappointment was that, except for some very minor details, the plot was extremely straightforward and never really had any twists. But still, Rampant has a fascinating storyline.

Characters: ★★★★★

I completely identified with Astrid; I understood the way she thought and her reasons for doing what she does. I loved Giovanni, her maybe-boyfriend, her cousin Phil, and the other hunters. All of the characters seemed very real, with very real flaws and very real personalities. And I loved the way they all interacted with each other.

Writing: ★★★★★

I was completely swept up in the story. Astrid’s voice was emotional without being whiny, and honest without being boring. Everything moved along at the perfect pace, never bogged down in long descriptions or skipping important details. And I loved the unicorns! What an amazing twist on a usually-boring stereotype!

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

Saturday, August 21, 2010

General Update

Sorry for being slow, I'm having a few computer issues and school is starting, so I've had no free time this week.  Anyways, everything should be back on track by next week, weekly posts and reviews and all!

To keep you entertained while you wait:

Are you surprised at some of the battles' outcomes?  I know I am.  And does anybody else really want to see a Howl-Gen showdown?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: The Lies Of Locke Lamora

In the island-city of Camorr, Locke’s story begins. He is a homeless, penniless, parentless child with a quick mind, a talent for thievery, and a flair for the dramatic. Chains, a faux priest, takes him in, along with a carefully chosen “family.”  Locke is raised as the ultimate con man. With the suave Sanza twins, the fighter Jean, and the scrawny Bug, Locke is soon fleecing the nobles of Camorr in one brilliant confidence game after another.

But as Locke’s gang, the Gentlemen Bastards, grow rich with their games, trouble is stirring under Camorr’s surface. A mysterious new force calling himself the Gray King is butchering the leaders of the underworld, and Locke soon finds himself caught between a powerful sorcerer, a murderous King, a vengeful nobility, and a dangerous group known as the Midnighters… all of whom want nothing more than to see Locke dead. Can Locke pull off his final, perfect con, or has he finally gone too far?

Entertainment: ★★★★★

This book is exciting. I literally could not put it down; I was dying to know what would happen. I think the right word to describe The Lies of Locke Lamora is “gripping,” and that’s really the only way I can describe it. Very few books can make me pause, and reread a passage, just because it so stunned me with its ridiculous, audacious awesomeness. This is one of them.

Plot: ★★★

The plot was extremely chaotic and at times so convoluted I had to reread a few pages to understand what, exactly, what happening. Despite this, it’s one of the most interesting storylines I’ve seen in a while! I would have easily given it four stars, except I disliked the ending very much. I won’t describe my exact issues with it here, due to major spoilers, but suffice to say I didn’t think it concluded things very well, there were dangling threads, and I just didn’t like what happened.

Characters: ★★

Locke is just brilliant with his plans; however, he gets stunningly brutal at times and he often does things erratically and with no apparent rhyme, reason, or explanation. Unfortunately, although Locke and his gang are intense and cool, I just didn’t connect with them. The main villain particularly fell pretty flat, at the one chapter where I assume I was supposed to connect with him. Also, I took issue with the fact that Locke’s love interest, although mentions of her were sprinkled liberally throughout the story, never once actually appeared. So although Lies is full of decent characters, I never really thought of them as people.

Writing: ★★

First of all, I have to mention that the chapters have an annoying habit of flashing back and forth from various timelines without any real warning, so sometimes it takes several paragraphs to figure out if this is child-thief Locke, young protégé Locke, or Gentlemen Bastard conman Locke. Also, the expletives are a little excessive – even the nobles feel the need to swear like sailors at the slightest provocation. Every now and then is fine with me, but we’re talking at least twice a page here. I got a little fed up.

(Younger or less adventurous readers, Lies is actually an adult book and definitely deserves that rating. It’s more than a little gory and graphic.)

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Versatile Blogger

I got my first award!

The rules:

1.Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.

2.Share seven things about yourself.

3.Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)

4.Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Thanks, Alison!
Okay, seven things...
1: I have pet guinea pigs.
2: I built and pained my bookshelf myself, and regardless of it being slightly crooked and a little unstable I'm very proud of it.
3: Traveling the world is my life goal.
4: I'm vegetarian.
5: I love to draw, and I wish I could get a teacher or better materials to draw with.
6: Tomatoes are disgusting, and I would rather starve to death than eat them.
7: Purple is my favorite color (although I love anything brightly colored)
Now, 15 fantastic bloggers.  Hmmm... a hard decision...
21 Pages
Another Book Junkie
Butterfly Book Reviews
Books With Bite
Dreaming of Books
The Electrical Book Cafe
The Frenetic Reader
Green Bean Teen Queen
Hot Girls Read Too
In Which A Girl Reads
Katie's Book Blog
The Page Flipper
Read This Book
Reviewer X
The Uncommon Nonsense
I'm not going to go into why I love each and every one of these blogs; visit them and let them speak for themselves!  And thanks again for my first award, Alison!

Wishlist Wednesday

First of all, some movie news, direct from Harper Teen's websit: Bestselling author Melissa Marr's popular teen book, Wicked Lovely, has been optioned by Universal Studios to be made into a movie.  I will definitely be watching that movie when it comes out!

Now then, this week's pick for Wishlist Wednesday is Z, by Michael Thomas Ford!

Check Harper Teen for more information! 

Alright, first of all, zombies?  Oh yeah.  Just for the fact that it's a hip book about zombies, Z is pretty cool.  But it's also got a fabulous cover and a virtual reality game involved!  Also a lot of fire, and I love fire.  Basically, I can't wait.

What do you think of Z?  And what books are you looking forwards to?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trailer Tuesday

Welcome to another weekly post I'd like to start (I think I'm the only one that does this, but if somebody else does too, let me know so I can credit them.)  Here I'll post some cool trailers for upcoming books!

Well, this week's selections are actually already published, but I just now found the videos so I think we can let it slide.  First up: Stolen, by Lucy Christopher.  The book by itself looks pretty cool, and I really like the artsy, almost watercolor feel of the video.  Also, I'm a sucker for cool accents.

Next up is Hush, Hush from Becca Fitzpatrick.  This book is in my to-read queue, and now I find it's got an awesome video to go with.  1: the cloud scenes are cool.  2: the falling feathers are cool.  3: the music is cool.  So overall, a pretty cool video.

So those are this week's lucky two trailers.  What do you think of them?  And what's your favorite book trailer?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Review: One Night That Changes Everything

Eliza has a notebook.  In it she writes everything she secretly wants to do but is too scared to try; silly things, serious things, huge things, tiny things.  Things like kissing a boy, singing kareoke in front of strangers, and confessing secrets.

And then her notebook falls into the hands of the 318s, a group of boys at her high school.  And along with her ex-boyfriend Cooper, they're blackmailing her.  She must do all the humiliating things she's afraid of doing, in just one night.  Or else.

Enjoyment: ★★★

This was a fun read.  I call books like this "fluff" - quick, fun, and cute.  Romantic-comedy-type books aren't my usual genre and this particular book wasn't particularly outstanding or exciting, but this was a sweet little story that made for a fun evening.

Plot: ★★

I liked the spin on a conquer-your-fear storyline, but honestly this plot wasn't very special.  I've read books with quite similar plots tons of times before.  For me, at least, there were no huge twists or unexpected surprises, and I don't really like books whose endings are apparent from the first two chapters.

Characters: ★★★

Again, the characters were cute but nothing really special.  The main character, Eliza, was nice and fairly well-written, but with no real surprises or interesting traits.  The can't-let-go-ex was a little overdone at times, and Eliza's sidekick-friends were really odd and unrealistic-feeling.  Regardless, I identified with Eliza's voice and I found myself liking the somewhat-villain, Tyler, very much.

Writing: ★★★★

Eliza's narrative was fun and I liked Barnholdt's style.  She did quite a good job of coming across as a realistic teenage voice, and most of the emotions felt very real to me.  I have to say, however, that using words like "pic" in published books is for me, at least, a no-no.  Yes, the voice is a teenager's voice, but at times it got a little too relaxed and slangy for me.  Also, while Eliza's emotional confusion about her ex and the challenges she faces on the Fateful Night is fairly well done, she reiterates it a lot and by the end of the book, frankly, it gets a little old.

End Result: Three Stars.  A decent book, but not amazingly excellent.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Review: Dark Life

When earthquakes and rising water destroyed many of the continents, humanity was forced to retreat to stack cities, where they live on top of each other with no space, no luxury, no freedom. The alternative? Move to the ocean floor and live the Dark Life.

Ty is one of the first children growing up entirely underwater. He lives a happy, peaceful life on his family farm... until outlaws attack his homestead, and Gemma appears, a girl from Topside searching for her brother. Ty is pulled into and underworld of intrigue, secrets, and mysteries of Dark Life...

And then there's the secret he must keep hidden at all costs.

Enjoyment: ★★★★★

Fun. Exciting. Awesome. A really interesting mix of Old West-style homesteading and banditry, and post-apocalyptic futuristic adventure. I couldn't put it down. I really don't have anything negative to say here; honestly, it was that cool.

Plot: ★★★★★

Amazing. Let me repeat that: a-maz-ing. One of the coolest plot ideas ever (and really unique, too!) An excellent mix of exciting bits, calm bits, villians, protagonists, secrets, revelations... and did I mention it's under the ocean?

So yeah. I loved this plot. A lot.

Characters: ★★★★

I liked Ty a lot, and Gemma was okay (although I wasn't quite as impressed with her.) I loved Ty's little sister. Kat Falls does an excellent job, in my opinion, of bringing side characters and villains to life, whereas most authors focus solely on their star. So there were a lot of characters worth loving in this book. I didn't give it five stars, however, because there wasn't a great deal of transformation/emotional growth/things like that. I like to see characters grow and change, and although Ty and the gang were pretty cool, they were also pretty static.

Writing: ★★★★★

Again, I don't have much to say here; it was excellently written. The only critique I can come up with (and it's pretty petty) is that the writing was a little simplistic and the vocabulary limited. Beyond that, nothing to complain about. And I have to admit, I'm a sucker for cool slang, and Falls does a brilliant job with her slang.

End Result: Five Stars. A really excellent book. Read it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fashion Friday

I had an idea this afternoon, and on a whim turned it into a weekly book blog meme-type event: Fashion Friday, where I put together an outfit inspired by a cool book!

This week's book is, drumroll please, Shadow Kiss from the Vampire Academy series!

That's the cover of the paperback, which is what I have.  Now, I have to confess I haven't actually finished this book yet... or even gotten halfway through.  Still, it's an awesome read so far and I love the cover.  So here's my take on Vampire Academy style!

The plaid skirt, of course, is a staple of all stereotypical boarding-school uniforms.  A black shirt, with the skirt, matches the cover's color scheme.  The necklace, to avoid a wannabe-Goth look, is actually a silver heart instead of a silver crucifix.  Finally, to match Rose's kick-ass personality and keep the outfit tough enough for a vampire fight, some nice knee-high boots.

What's your take on this?  A good outfit?  Do you think it goes well with the book?  Comment and let me know!  And feel free to suggest other books for me to outfit-ize!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review: White Cat

Cassel has a dark past; his is a family of curse workers.  With just a touch of their hands, they can change emotions, modify memories, give you luck, or take your life.  Since “working” is illegal, they’ve become mobsters, con artists, and denizens of the underworld.  Cassel is the odd one out, however, without the ability to do curse work.

Of course, there is the minor fact that his killed his best friend Lila.

Still, Cassel is doing his best to be a normal kid.  He goes to a nice school, and he’s careful to listen to the “right” music and hang with the “right” crowd and have the “right” girlfriend.  But his façade of normalcy is beginning to crumble, as strange sleepwalking incidents and dreams of a white cat haunt him.  His brothers are keeping secrets from him.  His mother’s in jail, again.  And oh, yeah, he has Lila’s death on his conscience.  Cassel is losing control, and he’s starting to suspect that he may be right in the middle of the biggest con he’s ever seen…

Enjoyment: ★★★★

I liked this book.  It was funny, engaging, and interesting.  Maybe not a revolution, but it’s definitely enjoyable and worth a read.  The idea is fairly original and I liked the premise a lot, although I do wish a little more page space had been devoted to world-building.  I did fall completely, utterly in love with the ending, however, which in my opinion really made the book.

Plot: ★★★

I have to say the plot felt a little… rough.  At times, even haphazard.  It moved fast, never completely explained some details, and had more than a few dangling plot threads that were never really satisfactorily tied up.  Despite that, however, it was pretty exciting.

Characters: ★★★★

If I were only talking about Cassel, I’d have given Characters five stars.  He was funny, engaging.  By the second chapter, I was already cheering for him; he felt like a real person.  He had believable flaws and a very believable voice.  Overall, I loved him.  Unfortunately, I felt the rest of the characters suffered from fairly extreme underdevelopment, and I was completely confused by many of their actions.  Luckily, Cassel’s three-dimensionality nearly made up for it.

Writing: ★★★★★

Maybe I’m a little biased here, because I’ve read and adored Holly Black in the past.  Regardless, her writing style remains next to flawless.  It's so smooth and realistic that I feel like I’m watching a movie instead of reading words.  She never bogged me down in too many details and kept up a lively narrative consistently throughout the whole book.  She even manages fighting scenes, the stumbling block of so many other writers, masterfully and realistically.

End Result: Four Stars.  A good book, definitely worth your time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Character Showdown

Have you ever imagined a face-off between your two favorite characters?   Katniss vs. Edward Cullen?   Hermione vs. Tally Youngblood?

Hold on to your seats, then, and click here: http://yafantasyshowdown.weebly.com/index.html

That's right, an official Fantasy Character Showdown!  Participation is simple: just vote for your favorite guy or girl in each match-up, (daydreaming about the fight scene is optional) and rally all your friends to help support them too.  Then check back to see who triumphs in the end!

Better hurry, though; the first round ends tomorrow!  Get out there, vote, and let the best man (or vampire, or werewolf, or ghost, or...) win!

Wishlist Wednesday

On Wishlist Wednesday, I spotlight a few upcoming titles that I'm really excited about reading!  This week's wishlist: Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1)

It's part of a prequel series to her Mortal Instruments series.  If you're interested, check it out on her website, http://www.cassandraclare.com/cms/works, or here, http://www.amazon.com/Clockwork-Angel-Infernal-Devices-Book/dp/1416975861.

This book is coming out very soon and let me tell you I am very excited for it!  1: I've liked nearly everything I've read by Clare.  Her writing is witty, fun, and exciting; her plots are fast, clever, and so intensely written I can barely put the books down.  2: I loved the Mortal Instrument series.  For me at least it was a pretty interesting take on the whole "shadow world," "urban fiction" type writing.  And I fell in love with the characters from page 1, and I've never stopped considering them some of the coolest characters I've read.  3: Things clockwork and things angel are always cool.  Both things, combined?  I can't wait!

Do you have a soon-to-be-published title you're excited about, or want to discuss this week's Wishlist pick?  Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

My First Little Post

Hi, and welcome to my blog! I’m Nova, and here at novapsych I’ll be reviewing books, book blogs, and authors, as well as throwing in some random extras like author interviews and my fascinating personal opinions on life in general.  Mostly I read Young Adult fiction, but occasionally I branch out.  Really, when it comes to books, I'm not picky at all!  If you want to follow me, comment encouragingly, send me large "Welcome To Blogging" packages with lots of books and flowers, or anything else, I'd appreciate it very much.

Well, here we go!