13 June 2012

COMING SOON: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

I am in love with this cover! That's all I have to say.

Have a nice week to anyone reading!

Black City (Black City Chronicles #1)
by Elizabeth Richards
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
13 November 12
373 Pages

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war. In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable--they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash's long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they're caught, they'll be executed--but their feelings are too strong. When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

27 May 2012

Heroine Cliches that are Annoying the MUFFINNUGGETS Out of Me

(Listed in No Particular Order)

1. The Super Bad Ass But Totally Bitchy in a I-Will-Rip-Your-Tongue-Out-If-You-So-Much-As-Look-At-Me-the-Wrong-Way Type of... Bitch
Now, I love bad ass heroines as much as the next person, but there is a thin(ish to wide-ish) line between being strong and being... a total bitch. And not in the I'm-going-to-pretend-to-be-your-friend-but-really-I-hate-your-guts-cause-your-pretty type of bitch, but the totally unapproachable and completely bitchy type of bitch that over reacts to everything. Okay, I get it. You're strong, you're tough. But you're also a total bitch, who bitches on the other type of bitch, and thinks that you're not like them. Yeah, you're not. But sometimes, you're so much worse.

2. The Sexually Repressed But Secretly, and Unknowingly, Sensuous Temptress
3. The One That Hasn't Ever Experienced Good Sex, till now...
4. The Virgin... till now...
Once in awhile, these three types are completely okay. But after awhile, I start to stop reading because this is just so annoying. It's okay to be sexually repressed, and it's okay to not have experienced good sex or just not liked sex. And it's fine to be a virgin. But I feel like there's a subliminal message that says that if you are that sensuous temptress or have had experienced good sex before, or any sex at all (and especially if you've had *gasp* more than 10 lovers), then guess what! No one's going to love you. No one. Not even that super player arsehole dude that you probably wouldn't love anyways, but it wouldn't matter because he only preys on the virginal.

5. The Utterly Beautiful But Doesn't Know It One
Okay, I kind of get this one. A lot of women, and men, feel this way so it's relate-able. It attracts readers that feel like this. But then the writer starts bashing, subtly or very obviously, on the beautiful-and-knows-it girl, as some writers bash on the girls who had more than *gasp* ten, and probably even five, lovers, and then it just gets really, really annoying. What's wrong with knowing that you look good? Especially if you look really, really good. Like some of the heroines, which brings us to...

6. Completely, and Utterly Fantabulously Perfect. In Every Way.
 So... you're super perfect. You're super nice. Or maybe you seem mean but actually, you're super nice. Inside. You know how to unlock the door... without a key! And guess what! It's your first time trying! And guess what else! No one likes you. But, wait! You're so perfect, that everyone likes you!

I can't think of anymore at the moment, but I'll add more when I remember! Till next time...

26 May 2012

Quick Reviews: Chicklits and Romances

Of all the chick-lit, YA, romance, and other books like these I'm reading, I'm starting to think I'm a closet romantic/idealist. I've always thought I was more of a realist, but maybe not... Too bad my mystery/crime book obsession was before I started this blog... hrmm... maybe this is just a phase. *shrugs* We'll see.

For now, here's some quick reviews on some chick-lits and romances I've read.


A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess
I absolutely adored this charming, little novel! I thought the main character, Abigail Wood, was such a doll. But a quirky one. She was fun and wonderfully smashing! The male lead, Robert, was definitely swoon-worthy. Oh. And funny, too.

This novel was, quite simply, beautiful, in only the way life can be. The struggles that the two protagonists went through were so nitty gritty and I could see a real person, like a friend or an acquaintance, experiencing them. It wasn't all charm and perfection. And the friendship that the two had may have had me wanting to pull my hair out, but it felt so real, as did all the feelings, both bad and good. The development of both characters, Dexter more than Emma, was drastic, but it was a slow development as it would in life. The way it was told, the same day annually over a course of two decades was unique and flowed very well.

This is a love story between the two characters and the problems thrown at them. Some of the situations had me laughing in my head, which is always a good thing. The two protagonists were silly, especially Heaven, but in an adorable way.


Out of all these stories, this one is probably the most cliched when it came to the protagonists. Neve was the run of the mill heroine, except with (huge) weight/self-esteem issues, and with little to no experience with pleasure in the bedroom (can we stop with this cliche? please?). And Max, the sexy lady killer who had a hidden depth. Of course, they were a bit more complex than the usual light chicklit (not that this wasn't a bit light), but their romance and time together was a nice read. An enjoyable read (hence the four stars!). They were sweet with each other and wonderful together. Both had their internal problems, and by the end of the novel, they were well on their way to getting over them.

05 May 2012

REVIEW: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Publisher: Random House
16 August 2011
372 Pages

It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

R E V I E W :
This virtual world within this bleak future that is our world was like a gamer's wet dream. I kind of wish it were real. Somewhere where one can escape the harsh realities of life and emerge themselves and most of their senses into a virtual reality with the right equipment. Where one can be whoever, whatever they want.

Basically, this guy (Halliday) made this super immersive, high tech mmorpg game in the future, which is really bleak and sad because we humans have pretty much destroyed our planet. So then he dies and leaves behind a clue to three keys for three gates, all hidden in the virtual world he had created (called OASIS) and declared that whomever reaches the end will win his inheritance (which is quite large. Think Bill Gates).

So Wade, our protagonist, better known as Parzival in the game, is one of the people who look for the clues (a gunter) by researching everything to know about Halliday and the '80s. In reality, he's a poor antisocial hermit, at least until he finds the first clue. Then he's an antisocial, middle class/rich hermit hiding from an evil company called IOI that is hellbent on taking over OASIS and monetizing it. Most of this story takes place on OASIS where he becomes a legend for being the first to retrieve the first key (clue). And we follow him as he scrambles to figure out where and how to get the keys and gates (clues).

Anyways, this story's bad guys vs good guys premise was very black and white, with the IOI company against pretty much everyone else. And of course, the good once again prevails. Oh. And the guy gets the pretty girl.

So that kind of makes this story seem cliche, but that's not completely true. It was action-packed and exciting (with a bit too much slow moments), introducing us into a new world (or worlds).

Some Negatives:
The beginning and sometimes the middle of was quite slow and dull. It wasn't until halfway through that it started to slowly and surely pick up. The only reason I kept reading was because of the plot and my love of gaming.

The book was chock full of over-explaining, in my opinion, and unnecessary and mostly uninteresting information about (now) obscure games from the '80s. Some people might find this very interesting though--probably gamer geeks (and I say this lovingly since I love games) or anyone interested in doing '80s jeopardy.

02 May 2012

REVIEW: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books
10 January 2012
318 Pages

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours
(btw... tumors is spelled t-u-m-o-r-s) tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

R E V I E W :
First, I expected to at least want to cry a little bit, but alas, that was not so. So even with its sad moments, this isn't a very emotional story (but then again, I'm not exactly emotional). But, the protagonists were very entertaining in the way they spoke to each other. Not the typical teen in the words they used, but facing death head on will probably do that to you (at least, you'd think it would).

It was told in the viewpoint of Hazel Grace who was a very intelligent 16 year old. There was much quoting, which was interesting and insightful. And I adored Augustus, aka Gus. He was such a wonderful character, fun and charming.

John Green is a literary wonder. Maybe not in the way of getting one to feel emotion, or developing characters... or... storytelling (good, but not the best). But truly, the writing is great!

What was most interesting was the way cancer, terminal illnesses and death were approached. It was nothing new, but it was... well... interesting. Different than what's socially accepted. But I haven't read much in the way of cancer-striken protagonists so I'm not sure if this is normal.

In spite of the heady topic, and looking past Green's literary prowess, this story of two star-crossed lovers was rather light.

And bonus point for not trying to leave the reader with a beautifully annoying message about life and death, as most books involving death seem to have.