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!



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!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trailer Tuesday (7)

I read Leviathan almost immediately after it came out; I'm a huge Westerfeld fan. And I just stumbled across this lovely little book trailer for it.

Usually I'm not big on cartoon-y type trailers, but it really works for Leviathan. I thought the tone of the trailer fit the tone of the book quite well - light-hearted and just a little irreverant. And the ending made me laugh! It's a nice change from the doom-and-gloom trailers I usually post.

So what do you think about this trailer - love it? Or hate it? And what's your favorite book trailer?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Music Monday

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

Spinning - Jack's Mannequin

Now, I'm not a huge JM fan, but this song is just so amazing.  It makes me happy and sad and a little nostalgic, all at the same time.

This Week The Trend - Relient K

I am a huge Relient K fan. Interestingly, I didn't like this song very much when I first listened to it, but lately it's been growing on me a lot. It's got a good beat, and lyrics that everybody can relate to. Everybody's screwed up, given in to peer pressure, or felt like their life was getting out of control; and this song expresses those feelings perfectly.

Skyway Avenue - We The Kings

I heard this song called "dark," but I don't think it's dark at all. I think it's beautiful and incredibly sweet. It's the kind of song you have to play at 70 miles an hour on the Interstate, with the windows down and the volume up.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: Mockingjay

Katniss Everdeen survived the Games - twice. She's become the symbol of rebellion, the young, brave, and beautiful Mockingjay.

The real Katniss is tired.  She's scared.  She never asked to be the Mockingjay, or to watch her friends die because of it.

But Katniss doesn't get a choice.  Her world is depending on her to free them from oppression... but can a young girl really save anybody, much less an entire nation?

Entertainment: ★★★★

Okay, it got a little... gory at times.  And it was more than depressing.  But I couldn't put it down; I finished it in six hours. It's addictive.  For all that, though, I had somewhat mixed feelings about it. Read on and I'll try to explain.

Plot: ★★★

It wasn't predictable, exactly, but it was more than a little deja vu.  At times, the plot was nearly identical to those of the first two books.  And I found that I preferred either of the first two books to this one, plot-wise. It just didn't surprise me, or amaze me, like the first two did; it was only average.

Characters: ★★★

The characterization is pretty amazing... for all the side characters.  I was completely lost on Katniss herself, President Snow, and Peeta.  Katniss actually started to turn wimpy, which horrified me as she had been such a strong character before.

And Collins has a pretty consistent habit of building up really amazing characters and then killing them off, which is beyond depressing to read. Her deaths-per-number-of-characters figure has got to be sky high. By the time I read through Hunger Games and Catching Fire and started Mockingjay, I was suffering from some kind of PTSD; I was having a hard time connecting with characters, since I couldn't help but assume they'd all be killed off in short order anyway. But maybe that's just a personal thing.

Writing: ★★★

Again, I just felt like the quality and taste levels went down a little in this last book.  To be fair, I loved The Hunger Games and it's a lot to live up to.  But still, Mockingjay could have been stellar, and it was only "pretty good."  That disappointed me, a lot.

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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review: The Tree Shepherd's Daughter

Keelie Heartwood was, more or less, normal.  She had a funny allergy to wood and a dad who she'd never met, but overall she was just another California girl.  Until her mom dies, and she's forced to go live with her dad.  He travels around, working at Renaissance faires; Keelie's worst nightmare.

She's ready to get out of the Dark Ages geekland the second she arrives, but strange things are happening around her.  When she starts communicating with trees, she knows something's up.

Entertainment: ★★★★

It was a nice little read, very entertaining and just happy to read.  I had a great time with it.

Plot: ★★★★

Talking to trees is a new one, for me at least.  It's an interesting supernatural twist, that stands out from a host of books that write about the exact same supernatural twist.  And the plot itself isn't bad, if a little predictable.

Characters: ★★★★★
Most of the characters were very well fleshed-out and decently written, and a few actively impressed me.  Keelie, although appropriately angsty for a teenager forced into a Faire, isn't boring or overly repetitive, and her grief at her mother's death is realistic and not overdone.

Writing: ★★★★

The writing wasn't particularly standout but it was smooth and flowed nicely and Keelie's point of view was well done.

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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review: Heist Society

Kat tried to leave the life.  She said good-bye.  She enrolled in a high-class boarding school.  She thought her days of being a thief were over.

She was wrong.  When she's framed for a crime that (for once) she didn't commit, Kat is booted out of school.  And she discovers that leaving the life is a lot harder than she ever could have imagined... especially when her father is being stalked by Interpol and threatened by an angry billionaire, who will kill him and everyone else Kat loves if she can't bring back the paintings he's convinced her father stole.

The only problem is that her father didn't steal them.  Somebody else did.  Somebody brilliant.  Kat is in a race against time to outsmart the anonymous thief with her friend Hale, her cousin Gabrielle, and a mysterious boy named Nick...

Entertainment: ★★★★

Although Heist is more than a little cheesy at times, it was a fun book and I enjoyed it.  And I have to note, I loved the cover.  Really loved it.

Plot: ★★

I actually thought the plot was really cool, in theory at least.  Unfortunately, in the book, it wasn't nearly as impressive.  First of all, I really dislike characters that have "unlimited" money and are willing to throw it around on random billion-dollar ventures without asking for anything in return.  Fiction or no fiction, things just don't work like that.  Sorry.  Next, okay, these random kids - all 16 and under - are all criminal geniuses who've never been caught, despite commiting apparently hundreds of show-boaty, obnoxious crimes?  Really?  I don't think so.  I'm fine with a little suspension of disbelief, but Heist just came off as fake and silly.  Plus, the ending was incredibly cliche.

Characters: ★★

See above quibble: they all just so happen to be geniuses who've known each other since childhood, pulled off fabulous heist after fabulous heist, and have never so much as been suspected?  Plus, there's really nothing original or exciting about them.  And even their relationships sometimes feel contrived and fake.

Writing: ★★★★

Once you get over all the suspending of disbelief that Carter asks you to do, it's actually very well written and very enjoyable to read.

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

Friday, October 8, 2010

Feature Friday

   Book Blogger Hop
Not much has happened on novapysch this week, Hoppers, because I've been on vacation and writing college essays.  Still, feel free to poke around and follow if you like, novapsych should be back to normal by next week!

Now, the questions of the week.

How many reviews do you like to do a week?

My goal is to do two a week, one around Thursday and one on Sunday or Monday.

What's your favorite beverage while blogging?

This is kind of a trick question, because my actual favorite beverage is this delicious Ginger Tea that you can apparently get only in Georgia.  I've only blogged while drinking Ginger Tea once, but it was amazing.  Unfortunately, since I do not live in Georgia or near the Thai restaurant where that tea originated, I usually make do with straight black coffee.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Review: The Exiled Queen

Raisa, the heir to the Gray Wolf throne, is on the run to avoid powerhungry factions and a forced marriage.

Han "Cuffs" Alister, his friend Fire Dancer in tow, is off to school to learn to use his new magic powers, so they'll stop using him.  He also has an ancient treasure, the amulet of the Demon King, which apparently bonded to him.  He's also a street kid with a gang history and a major grudge against the queen and the Bayars.

Micah Bayar wants Han dead, Han's amulet in his possession, and Raisa as his wife.

Amon wants Raisa, but can't have her; he's cursed so that just touching her causes him enormous physical pain.

They all want to survive life in the Oden's Ford school, something which becomes more difficult by the day in the web of magic, thievery, assassination, politics, and cold-blooded murder that is the Seven Realms...

Disclaimer: I didn't realize that this was the second book in the series until I'd already started it.  So if the review's a bit muddled, I apologize.

Entertainment: ★★★

This was more than a little confusing, since the book just jumps right in to the action without any explanation of the world, characters, plot, etc., just assuming we've read the first book.  I hadn't, so it took me a while to catch up to everything.  Once I did, it was a nice read.  Just confusing for the first half of the book.

Plot: ★★

There wasn't much of an overall plot, beyond everybody trying to stay alive.  Or maybe the plot is very massive and subtle and won't be revealed until the last book in the series.  Either way, there wasn't any real goal or quest or anything for the characters to aim at, which was more than a little annoying.  Also, the sideplots were a little hit-or-miss; some were great, others basically boring.

Characters: ★★★

I liked Han.  Raisa was okay, a little indecisive for my tastes but still a fairly good character.  The side characters were excellent: Cat Tyburn and Fire Dancer, particularly.  Micah wasn't very scary, for an antagonist.  Overall, the characters were nice but really nothing special.

Writing: ★★

Again, it was a little confusing.  And it had the unfortunate habit of zig-zagging between some really good scenes and some that just dragged.

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

Friday, October 1, 2010


So, the ever lovely Nova is going roadtripping this weekend. There may or may not be Internet access and so there may or may not be new posts until Monday; until then, why not check out the Shay Doran puzzles (so cool!), or read some reviews?

Thanks for being awesome,