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July 29, 2012

"Anna Dressed in Blood" by Kendare Blake

Finally! I remember picking this one up and just gaping at that mesmerizing and gorgeous cover for like, 5 minutes...a bit of a delayed review, but better late than never!

[Clickey the lovely cover for Goodreads!]

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication: 2011, Tor Teen
Summary: Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before
....read more


Review: A romping good adventure, this was! This book is full of heart-racing moments and action-movie-worthy scenes. Complete with a strongly driven pace, a refreshing male narration from Cas, and a great many of other characters, "Anna Dressed in Blood" made for an awesome and epic ride!

The reader is instantly thrown in and up close to Cas's life as a ghostbuster....? (okay, moving on -blush-) from the very first page and the plot moves quite rapidly from there. Cas is a very likeable hero: able to fight, good at what he does, good-looking, and not without a sense of humour. However, the main jewel of this book, I felt, was Anna herself. She was a very vividly created character that really inches up on you and before you know it, you'll be falling into her tangled world just as quickly as Cas did.

There were instances where something less convincing happens, as this book is not flawless, but the sizzling energy and pacing definitely tones all awkward spots down. There are enough flashback moments to colour in all the blank areas in the background of the plot, adding a great texture to the overall story.

The narration of Cas is incredibly funny and witty as well, so readers are in capable hands as he guides you through this awesome adventure! Although the gorgeous cover implies a chilling tale, the creep-factor is barely there, not that it lessened the impact of the book in any way. This is overall just one fast, rocky ride, complete with a slightly bitter and sweet ending so hang on tight and have fun!


Ratings: ✰✰✰✰ 4 Awesome Hoots

Final Notes: I really liked this! This is the best ghostbusting (omg, that word is stuck on me...sorry if it's not the correct term) YA book since I read "Deception" by Lee Nichols (which was also just as epic, if not a bit more). Anna as a character herself is fantastic, and having a male POV every once in a while is also great! With the next book coming along soon, hope you guys will also enjoy reading this one!


Thanks for reading!
Vivian 

p.s. A mini update! I've recently finished the entire The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa (-sniff- It's over... T_T) and I've yet to write a single review. However, will be getting on to that and it will be a 4-part series sort of thing, so look forward to that!

July 28, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (#4)


 

I skipped last week because there wasn't much to share...but this week was absolutely  AWESOME because....-drum roll- 

Clickey the covers for Goodreads!

"The Iron Knight" (The Iron Fey #4)
by Julie Kagawa

Behold! The holy jewel of this week's haul!!! My library copy finally arrived, but after finishing this one (I'm about a quarter of the way through...), I'm buying my own copy!!! I think I'll also buy my own copy of The Iron Queen while I'm at it too....just because I loved it so much...

I cannot read this slowly enough! I want to finish it, to know how it all ends, but I don't want this period of time to ever end either >_<


"Hemlock" (Hemlock #1)
by Kathleen Peacock

Finally got my hands on this one as well. Another wolfie book! I'm excited, since I've heard pretty nice things about it. From what I saw, you either find it decent or amazing, so I guess I can't go wrong with it!





"City of Glass" (The Mortal Instruments #3)
by Cassandra Clare

I haven't finished City of Ashes...yet. Will get around to it, but since I saw this sitting around on the shelf, picked it up as well, just in case I need an immediate continuation after finishing the second book ^_~





"The Wild Queen" (Young Royals #7)
by Carolyn Meyer

Gosh, there's a lot of author Meyer's out there... I haven't seen this one around, so if any of you have read it, please feel free to share what you thought of it!

I have this thing for books about royalty. Read tons of books of this sort when I was younger, but haven't read a good royalty book in awhile, so very intrigued by this one.


And that's it for me again this week! What'cha think? ^_^ Link me up and I'll be checking out all your lovely hauls! Happy reading~

Vivian




July 27, 2012

Feature & Follow #6

Feature & Follow is a Friday meme created and hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read! Answer a feature question, make new friends and gain new followers!

Q: Summer reading. What was your favourite book that you were REQUIRED to read when you were in school?


Grade 8 Vivi says, "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

This was a chilling book. Perhaps you guys would think differently but at that time I was 13 and it creeped me out big time, but I still really liked it!

Grade 11 Vivi #1 says, "Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures" by Vincent Lam

Best high school mandatory read for me so far. Very glad that I was required to read this one, since it's not something I'd usually read, but I'd recommend this one! Trust me, medical stories are faaaaaar from my taste, but I still loved this. It's compelling, very well written, and each small segment offers a special something.

Grade 11 Vivi #2 says, "The Virgin Suicides" by Jeffrey Eugenides

There's a movie for this one! This book I chose for my final English assignment out of a selection. And it was absolutely amazing. No kidding. If you're going to watch the movie, read the book first because the film represents the book quite well in essence and you'll appreciate both more!

-looks back- Okay. Now that I look at it this way, all three of these were pretty heavy, depressing reads. >_< -sigh-

What did you enjoy reading during school? Link me up and I'll be hopping! 

July 26, 2012

"Another Pan" by Daniel & Dina Nayeri



[Clickey the lovely cover for Goodreads!]

Title: Another Pan (Another #2)
Author: Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Publication: 2010, Candlewick Press

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling and her insecure freshman brother, John, are hitting the books at the Marlowe School. But one tome consumes their attention: THE BOOK OF GATES, a coveted Egyptian artifact that their professor father believes has magical powers. Soon Wendy and John discover that the legend is real—when they recite from its pages and descend into a snaking realm beneath the Manhattan school. As the hallways darken, and dead moths cake the floor, a charismatic new R.A. named Peter reveals that their actions have unleashed a terrible consequence:...read more

Review: A wonderfully paced and deliciously engaging retelling of Barry's "Peter Pan" that somehow, mysteriously, admirably, forces one to sip, not gulp, while still holding the reader's curious attention. This book has a stunning opening and unfolds in one tempting bit after another. 

With witty little sections of interlude, this retelling delivers an interesting and artistic literary production. One will enjoy the enticing web of the injected twists and layers to this classic children's tale. Each legend is written in a sophisticated and extremely authoritative and believable diction and contributes brilliantly to the Egyptian twist of the retelling. Surprisingly, the siblings-author team makes the magic last for a "never-never" worthy amount of time, yet it still turns out to be an absolutely mind-blowing journey by the end!

This book will require patience and a bit of brain-work, as it is not just a take-and-go thrill ride (which may explain a lot of the negative reviews on this book from Goodreads.). I was glad that I took the time to look past smaller areas that lacked satisfaction, such as the slightly shallow romance and the minimal character development. The writing and deeper content itself was fantastic, and the capturing of the magical nuances of the tale was executed very well. 

Instead of a chunk of filling chocolate, I thought of this book as something smaller, more of a delicacy that may not be immediately sweet and enjoyable, but overall boasts an endearing and high-in-quality nature.

Ratings: ✰✰✰✰ 4 Impressed Hoots

Final Notes: I'd recommend this book to those of you who are able to give the time to make this slow journey. It took me 5 days to finish this one (when I usually finish a YA book in a day and a half at most.), and it wasn't because I lost interest in it. 

If you're looking for a highly entertaining rollercoaster, then unfortunately, you'll be disappointed. I'm warning off like that because I really hope others will see and feel what I thought about the diction and moral stories in this one because it really deserves better.


Thanks for reading!
Vivian

July 25, 2012

Waigh in Wednesday #3

Weigh in Wednesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by Lauren @ Epilogue. It features a topic in which each blogger can share their opinions on.

This week's topic is....-drum roll!-

Light Blog Background vs. Dark Blog Background

Vivi will have to go with light background. My eyes are bad. Like, really, really, really, really bad, and it's not that I can't read on a dark background clearly; it's more like it's quite uncomfortable for me because my eyes don't like the sharp sting of contrast of a dark surrounding with light text popping out. It's great to have a dark background with light font, but for me, it hurts my eyes to read it. Sorry for sounding picky >_<

Anyway, I've recently found that I like white backgrounds the best, which is also one of the factors that caused me to choose this particular layout design.

What do you guys think? Light or dark?

♡ Vivian

July 24, 2012

"Would You Rather" Tag

 
Vivi's been (rather epic-ly) tagged consecutively by two lovely and awesome fellow blogging owls! This "Would You Rather" tag seems awfully fun, so huge thanks to Caitlin @ The YA Bookworm Blogger and Karen @ Cheerful Book Reviews for tagging me!

And of course, big thanks to Delaney @ The Random Ranterer for starting this wonderful tag!

The Rules!
  • Intros!-Tell us about yourself and your blog
  • Answer the 6 questions in anyway you want
  • Tag 6 bloggers (or however many people you want to tag)
  • Tell them they have been tagged and link back to your post
  • Put the Would You Rather...? picture to your post

Introduction!

Hello! My name is Vivian (my Chinese name is another story ^_~) and I'm 16. A rather intimidated but strangely excited high-school-senior-to-be. Aside from consuming books as a life source, I play piano, like to go for long runs, and enjoy singing songs in Japanese and German (yes, specifically those two languages...) in my spare time.


Questions Time!

#1: Reading - Would you rather read a classic book or a dictionary?

Oh, classic book for sure! I'm really big on classics, and since they're good for you, I try to always have one on my currently-reading shelf. (even though they take me so much longer to finish -wry smile-). I'm not Malcolm X so I think reading a dictionary would be very informative but (in British accent) awfully dull~

#2: Getting : Would you rather receive a $50 gift card to a bookshop or a library card?

This is actually hard...Toronto's library system is actually really quite good, but I've already got a library card anyway, so gift card all the way! Close family friends know that they can't go wrong with a sweet little Indigo & Chapters card any Christmas! XD

#3: Shopping : Would you rather look at books at a bookstore or a library?

Bookstore all the way!!! When in Indigo, I go into this sort of dazed-mode and float around as a fluffy Vivi-cloud of pure bliss. Heck, I'd be happy to move into a bookstore and live there!

#4: Sleeping : Would you rather stay up and see what happens in the book (and its a part where it's a must) or go to sleep?

I absolutely need my sleep, or else everything goes wrong for me: I break out, get in a bad mood, can't think properly, and the list goes on. That all happens if I don't sleep before 10:30-11:00. It really depends on the book, to be honest. Then again, for most books, I tend to just read along, finish it, then see that it's already 11:30 (which is REALLY late for me.....-blush-).

#5: Writing: Would you rather write on a laptop/computer or in a notebook/paper?

Good ol' pen and paper! Almost all my reviews are written in my Book Reviews Journal before I type them up. I find that I'm more thoughtful if I sit down with a pen. If you give me a keyboard, my pianist-fingers go off on their own and sometimes I end up with a too-convoluted review, or write a whole bunch of irrelevant stuff....

#6: Eating : Would you rather eat while you read or keep glancing at the bag of food while you read?

Water has to be there, first of all, haha! I don't tend to eat junk food while reading. If I do end up eating, probably it'd be fruit with a fork (so my fingers don't get the pages dirty), like I was reading "Fever" (by Lauren DeStefano) this afternoon while eating chunks of juicy, summer-y watermelon ^_^ (totally contrasted the depressing atmosphere of "Fever")

Blogs Vivi's Tagging!

Mel @ Life of a bookworm.
Hilda @ Catch the Lune!
Rachel @ Booktastic Reviews
Joie @ Joie de Lire
Kristina @ Ladybug Storytime!
Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life


That's it for me!

Thanks for reading!
Vivian

July 23, 2012

"Born Wicked" by Jessica Spotswood



[Clickey the lovely cover for Goodreads!]

Title: Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publication: 2012, Rutnam Juvenile

Summary: Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction
. ...read more


Review: This fantastically captivating read left me breathless and gasping for more!!! Set in a beautifully crafted setting, "Born Wicked" pulls the curtains apart with a dramatic and elegant swish on a tastefully written yet heart-stopping tale. 


Cate and her sisters are wonderfully animated characters and Ms. Spotswood's diction truly brings them to life, lifting them successfully from the pages and painting them 3D! The Victorian atmosphere is captured perfectly with gorgeous refinement and taste. Along with the characters, the author has presented a very believable tale, although the main plot is set deep in magical roots. 


The relationships between the characters are definitely one of the best aspects of this book for me. I loved Cate for Cate and fell hard along with her in her feelings for Finn (who is just so sweet!) This is a richly coloured romance that starts out as an ordinary spark, but turns into a dangerous sizzle, and finally to an explosion of fireworks with much passion! 


However, as delicious as the romance is, this book still thrives strongly on other themes as well. This novel will inspire you as a reader with the strong will, bravery, loyalty and love of its characters as they tumble through an enthralling and ground-shaking story.


Ratings: ✰✰✰✰ 4.5 Swooning Hoots

Final Notes: Another old review from the time of my hiatus. This was really an amazing read for me, especially since I really love a good witch-y book!!! The magic factor wasn't blown up artificially or anything, and therefore it was all very believable. Also, Finn has a major swoon-factor. I remember reading this book, and having Cate and Finn stuck in my mind for at least a week after! I think it's safe to say that for those of you who have yet to read it, you'll most likely enjoy it!

Thanks for reading!
Vivian

July 22, 2012

"Hades" by Alexandra Adornetto




With the release of "Heaven" coming up soon, I thought I should post this one! Enjoy!
You can find my review of "Halo", Book #1, here.

[Clickey the lovely cover for Goodreads!]

Title: Hades (Halo #2)
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Publication:2011, Feiwel & Friends

Summary: Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier’s love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well....read more

Review: To say that I am thoroughly smitten and captured by Adornetto's radiant story-telling would be an understatement. Never have I felt more akin to a YA author's fantasy-induced writing than this! Adding another tasty and immensely entertaining layer to this pulsing trilogy, "Hades" brings back our beloved earth-bound angels and their human friends, along with the enchantingly dark villain in tow. 


From a work of fiction, "Hades" let me escape once more to a vividly created world where Adornetoo, through Bethany, spins a ravishingly exciting and satisfying tale with all elements of love, faith, and more. This time, however, Adornetto proves that the universe of her trilogy is not all pretty and nice, as she unravels gory scenes in great contrast to her first book. If I were to imagine "Halo" in beautifully elegant shades of pastels, then "Hades" would be seen coloured with majestically dark swirls of black and deep purple!


From a more technical viewpoint, Adornetto still impresses with her skilful diction for someone her age. I've noted the addition of expansive and maturing vocabulary, however, it somehow carried a feeling of a rocky surface for me. It gave me the feeling that the author was trying a bit too hard and overdid it at times.


Any flaws that materialized were soon drowned out by the eagerness and passion in this book, yet I am still amused to find and enjoy the aura of naivety present as I feel even more connected to this author. It has been awhile that I have felt this much love for a trilogy, and I greatly look forward to "Heaven". "Hades" brought more fantastical landscapes into the readers' views, and it strengthened the magnetic pull of readers' affection to the series, hopefully grounding Adornetto to concoct a breathtaking finale for our beloved angel and her worlds. 


Ratings: ✰✰✰ 3.5 Enthusiastic Hoots

Final Notes: This is a really old review, so I went back and edited bits of it as I typed it up. "Hades" was super entertaining and really romantic in that naive, princess-y way! To be honest, it was a bit messy at times, but it's one of those books that you devour anyway in about a couple of hours. Plus, the ending's a horrid cliffhanger, so if you have yet to read this one, now's a fabulous time because you will soon be able to read "Heaven" as well!


Thanks for reading!

Vivian

July 20, 2012

● Feature & Follow #5 & Friday Goodness ●

Feature & Follow is a Friday meme created and hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read! Answer a feature question, make new friends and gain new followers!

Q: Christmas in July! Someone gives you a gift card for two books (whatever the cost) Which two books will you buy?

Oh man, that's a terribly hard question! Vivi shall choose the books in 2 different ways.

Way #1: The book that's sustained time
"The Metamorphosis" by F. Kafka  (I haven't read this one yet, but I've always wanted to! Kafka's one of my favourite figures in literature, Metamorphosis or not, so I know I won't go wrong with this!)

Way #2: The book currently stealing my heart
"The Iron Knight" by Julie Kagawa (because I'm hardcore Team Ash all the way! and I just finished The Iron Queen, and if I don't read Ash and Meghan getting back together within days, my dying heart will cease to beat.)

This was a fun question! Which books would you pick? Link me up and Vivi will be hoppin'!

VOTE FOR ASH!

Hey guys! It's YA Crush Tourney time for us all and today's a ridiculously heated match between Ash and Aiden. 


Vote for His Royal Iciness, because if we win, Julie Kagawa is giving us a super special scene with awesome (shirtless) Ash!!!!


And don't forget! Nikki from Fiction Freak is giving away a copy of The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa, and Eileen from Singing and Reading in the Rain is giving away ANY IRON FEY BOOK YOU WANT!

Let's show Ash the best we've got and help him pull through this round!!! VOTE FOR ASH HERE! 

Vivi will love you very much if you help support us -teary-eyed-

July 18, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday ● #4

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. It features books that you are currently anticipating releases of. 



Title: Scarlet
Series: Lunar Chronicles #2
Author: Marissa Meyer

Synopsis: This book will feature Cinder and Little Red Riding Hood and will take place in France.

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner


Thoughts: I really enjoyed Cinder (still need to up that review...), and out of all the books I'm really anticipating, I chose Scarlet because the way Marissa Meyer's laying it all out is intriguing. Cinder was loosely based on Cinderella, and as Cinder's continuing her journey (which I'm very excited for), she's....being tied into a Little Red Riding Hood concept? O_O So, is Marissa going to tie the next book with Cinder and Scarlet into another adaptation of a folktale/fairytale? 

What are you waiting on? Link me up! ^_^

July 17, 2012

[White Pine 2012] "Bood Red Road" by Moira Young

 Title: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Publication: 2011, Margaret K. McElderry Books

Summary: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back. ....read more

Review: This was a surprisingly slow (for me) yet still enjoyable and emotionally decent book for me. I feel that under the circumstances that I read this book, I may not have felt as strongly toward it as many of you.

 Is it safe to say that all you dear readers have had incidences of  bad food combinations? For me, eating Xiao-rong-bao-zi (a Chinese breakfast snack) and then drinking water would directly lead to terrible stomachaches. Well, this is my first time experiencing bad book conbinations. While reading "Blood Red Road", I was reading my compulsory book for English class. Which just so turns out to be a book with a title containing the phrase: "The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation!". Pair that up with a book completely lacking in proper quotation marks, ....oh boy.


Aside from being slightly annoyed (okay, okay, I was VERY annoyed) with the punctuation, and somewhat of the spelling (Spelling Bee champion here! ^_^), the story that Ms. Young put out there was actually quite compelling. The positive side to the interesting and unique writing style? The incredible picture it painted for me as a reader. One major impact of the "slang" that the author used was that, along with the use of first person, I felt like I could hear exactly how Saba was talking, and how her voice sounded like! This was the first time I felt like I could hear a character's voice so clearly and strongly, and that, I must admit, is pretty amazing.


The storyline itself is pretty well-paced for the most part, as the tension builds and the author pulls off a couple of nice twists here and there nearing the home stretch and end. Characters do take a bit of time to warm-up, though the intense climb in the closeness of inter-character relationships were great, so by the end of the book, I felt like they were closely knit. 

One aspect that I didn't like about the characters and relationships was how little time the author dedicated to Lugh. From the summary, you can tell that Lugh is the main drive for the plot. And technically he is. And he is not. We don't get to know Lugh at the beginning before he gets kidnapped, even though there are a couple of reminiscent pieces from Saba dropped in here and there. Therefore, I felt like I really couldn't relate to Saba's love for Lugh, so ultimately for me, the fire didn't reach hot level...it just stayed luke-warm. 


Overall, the characters (especially Saba, not including Lugh) are really well-developed, and I loved how much change Saba went through; she definitely won me over by the end. This was really an interesting read that's out of my normal, which I honestly appreciate! The plot itself is not bad, though not epic, but it's still enough to keep a firm grasp on you through this rocky and adventurous ride!


Rating: ✿✿✿ 3 Blossoms
Final Notes: Took me longer than I expected, but by the end of it, whew! Great journey, definitely! Didn't impress me as much as I wanted (and I'm saying that without any side-feelings for the style), though a decent read for the most part. I really do think this one's going to depend on you as a reader. Characters though? (Besides Lugh, again...sorry Lugh). Fantastic!

Vivian

July 16, 2012

*Spoilerific* In the Spotlight : Jem & Clockwork Prince!

Welcome! In the Vivacious Spotlight is a talkative type of post where Vivi shares with you specific thoughts, gush-worthy moments, and awesome characters from a spotlighted book/series/theme, etc. It is in truth, very much a discussion-like feature, and often contains questions from yours truly to you, so feel free to join in in the comments section! 

In this first edition of In the Vivacious Spotlight, the limelight shines Cassandra Clare's second book of The Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Prince, and in particular, the character James "Jem" Carstairs! (by the way, this is a loooooooooong post.)

WARNING! THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS SPOILERS AS I HAVE WRITTEN THIS WITH AN AUDIENCE WHO HAS READ THIS BOOK IN MIND. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. VIVI, UNFORTUNATELY, TAKES NO RESPONSIBILITY OVER SIDE-EFFECTS OF SUFFERING FROM SPOILERS, INCLUDING UNCONTROLLABLE WEEPING, TEMPER TANTRUMS, UNSTOPPABLE HYPERVENTILATION, OR ANY OTHER SYMPTOMS.

If you wish to continue, please enter from the doorway directly ahead. Seats in rows A to J are located to your left, rows K to O in the middle, and rows P to Z are to your right. ^_^

July 15, 2012

Renovation Time

RENOVATION-MODE- --OVER--

update: I'm done! I searched far and wide for a good template =_= and finally found one from Leelou's. I love this one so much because I've been seeing this particular Owls design a lot lately, and I really like it ^_^ (bought a notebook with owls on it, and I have magnet bookmarks with these owls on it as well XD) Feel free to drop any thoughts/opinions. Altered the HTML a tad bit to fit better.

P.S. Katie, the fish tank's gonna come later XD I might have to locate it on another page, or something... 
 
Hello everyone! Just as an announcement, Vivi's going into Reno-Mode for the next.....uhh... I'm not sure exactly how long -say, hour or so. I really love this first-time layout of mine, but since it's summer and all, it's starting to feel a bit dark and crampy here, so I will be layout-shopping and bouncing in and out of the layout-change-rooms, so if this places looks a tad askew, please excuse me ^_^ 

July 14, 2012

Stacking the Shelves (#3)

This week's haul for Vivi is rather puny, but EXCITING to the max for me, because I've been waiting upon these particular titles for a ridiculously long (or so it seemed...) time. I've been going around, and very envious of all your lovely posts! If I haven't seen yours, feel free to share a link in the comments! Doubt there's mutual books for this week, but if you do, eeee!!
New change: Clickey the covers for Goodreads!

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2)
by Cassandra Clare

Currently reading!!! The waiting period after reading Clockwork Angel was absolute torture! I'm definitely going to buy at least one book from this series, though I tend to read all of a series, then decide on a favourite to buy.... Anyway, was grinning like a fool as I practically skipped home from the library with this, haha! This copy was the special edition that featured Will's Letter to his parents (rather than the Love Letter to Tessa <-- Vivi wanted this one >_<; even though I've read all the extras already.)

Fever (The Chemical Garden #2)
by Lauren DeStefano

I've been waiting for this one even longer. I'm glad I'm only reading this now, though. Hopefully it'll make the waiting period between this and Sever a tad easier for me ^_^; Anyway, really excited about this one, though I've heard how much darker it is, etc.




Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)
by Anne Greenwood Brown

Finally got my hands on this one as well! I've already read it, and a review is waiting to come. It was pretty good, but I didn't find it spectacular. I did really like how the POV was a merman, though! Not an everyday encounter POV, that's for sure.

I see there's a second book for 2013~ -sigh- more waiting. (sorry...I'm sounding very impatient here, but I'm actually just super hyped up XD)


City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
by Cassandra Clare

More of Cassie! Haha, yes, I've finished City of Bones! It. was. AWESOME!!! (there's no other adjective for it; my brain feels fried from the smoking hotness). Definitely can't wait to start this one as well, though I'm going to finish Clockwork Prince first.




That's it for Vivi this week. Thanks for scrolling through, and happy reading to you all!

Vivian

July 13, 2012

"A Temptation of Angels" by Michelle Zink

Hope everyone's all having a safe and happy Friday the 13th! I've been rather lucky today, so I'll be super gushy for tomorrow's haul post, haha! Thanks for stopping by, and here's my belated review for amazing Michelle's latest book (finally!).

Title: A Temptation of Angels
Author: Michelle Zink
Publication: 2012, Dial Books for Young Readers

Summary: Even angels make mistakes in this page-turning epic romance

When her parents are murdered before her eyes, sixteen-year-old Helen Cartwright finds herself launched into an underground London where a mysterious organization called the Dictata controls the balance of good and evil. Helen learns that she is one of three remaining angelic descendants charged with protecting...
read more on Goodreads 


Review: This is a profoundly captivating piece of work! The whole book throbs with love, adventure, and purposeful life, all intertwined in a gorgeously told tale. 

Even with the use of 3rd person POV, Michelle draws the reader in to almost a frighteningly close extent to the beautifully portrayed aspects of this novel. Helen proves herself as a worthy and admirable protagonist with a cleverly concocted personality complete with bravery, kindness, determination and tenacity. Her main love interest, Griffin, is also vividly portrayed and it is near impossible not to fall in love with him! 

One minor negative tendency found was that I felt so close to the characters and story that the occasional reminder of 3rd person jolted me out of a trance. I felt as though Helen's presence through 3rd person is sometimes not strong enough.

The unfolding and propelling of this book was stunning. You begin knowing just as little as Helen knows, and slowly uncover the pieces and put them together alongside her. It was an extremely mesmerizing page turner that left you savoring each and every magical word and moment  


Rating: ✰✰✰✰ 4 Graceful Hoots

Final Notes:  I definitely enjoyed this. Even though the title shouts "Angels!!!!", the angel theme is actually incredibly subtle. Not that I minded, since the plot had great pacing and Helen was a strong main character to follow along with. You'll definitely feel really close to her! And of course, Griffin will make you melt ^_~

Vivian

July 12, 2012

Feature & Follow ● #4

Feature & Follow is a Friday meme created and hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read! Answer a feature question, make new friends and gain new followers!


I have the great honour to be the featured blogger on Parajunkee this week! This week's feature question is...-drum roll!-

Q: What drove you to start book-blogging in the first place?

A It was the scary feeling of slipping away from the book-lovers world. There was my elementary school stage in reading, where I gulped down one Boxcar Children book a day. Then, from 7th grade to 10th, I wasn't exactly connected with reading as much anymore. That was a terrible feeling. After discovering a book blog by chance on the web (Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf, to be exact - thank you, Lauren, for being my first glimpse into the book-blogging world.), I realized the amazing virtual realm that existed. Since I already loved blogging about other interests, why not blog about books? I didn't know many people from school who shared the same mind-set (plus I was shy -blush-). The thought of reading and sharing opinions, and making new friends with the same burning love for books was what finally drew me in.

Thanks again to the lovely hosts for having me as one of the featured blogs! I've included the blog hop Linky on my post this week as well. I'm still relatively a baby to book-blogging, so I'd love to hear from all of you, how you came around to book blogging as well!!! Thank you for visiting ♥

Vivian

p.s. I'm sorry, guys, if I don't get around to everyone tonight! I'll be hopping around first thing early tomorrow morning, though, and I promise to get around to everybody!  

July 11, 2012

Weigh in Wednesday #2

Weigh in Wednesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by Lauren @ Epilogue. It features a topic in which each blogger can share their opinions on. 

 Super hot topic for this week! Get ready for...

PEETA VS. GALE

Finnick! Haha, no, I'm kidding. I'm Peeta all the way (you can see my team button on my sidebar ^^). For me, Gale wasn't developed as much as Peeta in the first book, and after he rejoined Katniss and Peeta in the other two books, something just didn't feel....right about him for me.

Definitely, Peeta had the upper hand, and even though he had so many chances with Katniss in the arena, he was also extremely kind, yet still brave, smart, caring, and downright sweet. I felt like he had a lot of depth that resulted in me as a reader being drawn to him.

Gale, on the other hand, bugged me in the final book. It's been awhile since I read Mockingjay, but I remember being very opposed to his views and ideas regarding the rebellion. I am touchy when it comes to a person's sense of justice (a trait which my mother cultivated for me XD thank you, mother!) and I'm sorry I cannot bring out hard evidence, but I just did not like the way Gale thought in the last book. It's understandable, given the different circumstances in which Gale and Peeta were brought up. In terms of sociology, think Nature vs. Nurture, except in this case it's definitely nurture in action. I actually had nothing against him in the first book, but by the end, he was a definite no-no for me.

It's funny because I have so many friends who went Gale-Peeta, or Peeta-Gale, or Peeta-Gale-Peeta, etc.
Anyway, I'm not looking for a fight on this one, so feel free to comment even if you're for Gale ^_^
♡ Vivian

July 10, 2012

:,。★゚: Cover Reveal : "Clockwork Princess" ・。☆ ゚

Title: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)
Author: The Magnificent Cassandra Clare!
Expected Publication: March 19, 2013
Goodreads

Thoughts:

-shiny eyed- It's beautiful. I personally like the covers of The Infernal Devices more than The Mortal Instruments, just as an overall opinion, but this is definitely the most gorgeous cover in all respects for Cassandra Clare, not to mention one of the most stunning I've seen this year.

It presents such an exquisite main focal point, all the while being slightly different in feel from the previous two (or is that just me? o_o). Yet it still is undeniably Cassandra-Clare-and-her-series. Wow.


I was too late for the twitter frenzy, but thank you Natalia, for the link, and thank you Giselle on Facebook for my first glance at this epic cover! Haha! Everyone's falling head over heels for this one ^_^

♡ Vivian

July 8, 2012

"Bright Young Things" by Anna Godbersen

Title: Bright Young Things (Bright Young Things #1)
Author: Anna Godbersen
Publication: 2010, Harper

Summary: The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with
...read more (Goodreads)


Review: "Bright Young Things" is light and sweet for the most part, making it a perfect pick for a lazy rainy-day inside. With a setting all the way back in 1929, Ms. Godbersen once again portrays a nice image of what it is like to be a girl in that particular setting. 

The main characters were quite well done, created with enough depth and potential to keep the readers interested. With a two-tracks story, Cordelia and Letty both keep up to pace with their own unique adventures in New York City, which makes for a refreshing bonus for this book. Neither of the girls' storylines are exactly boring, but they aren't intense in the least either, making them simply enjoyable at most.


While Ms. Godbersen keeps the characters coloured in intriguing hues, the setting itself is a bit understated and gray, in my opinion. We hear much about the people, yet it seems as though these characters are acting on a stage with no proper or outstanding background for that time era, and that decidedly resulted in the book's imagery to be less vivid.


On to a major negative side. I am personally not a fan of Ms. Godbersen's writing. Unlike books where one might enjoy exquisite writing, but suffer from a bad plotline, this is a case where it is the other way around. Firstly, the presented ideas and actions are scattered. There is way too much jumping around and unevenness that before I can get used to one particular character's viewpoint, the author has already skipped onto another character completely, while I am left lost all the time, wondering who is being featured in which paragraph. Due to that, I did a lot of going back and re-reading. Even then, it was unclear. A well written book will reach the extent that without stating which character is saying what, one will be able to recognize a character through their manner of speech. This book is not near that point by far.


Secondly, the use of hyphens is messy and extremely worn out. They are used so often, yet rarely are they used well. The diction between the hyphens are so ridiculously long at times that as the reader, one is lost inside the hyphen, and by the time it ends, one is completely lost as to what the main point of the sentence was. 


Finally, as an overall personal opinion, I thought the writing lacked true refinement (which, to be fair, I understand is hard to ask for nowadays, especially in YA). Yes, at first glance, Ms. Godbersen presents a decent version of the time era's overall tone, yet due to the scattering of ideas/events, some too long, some too short, some cut off way too soon, the diction was altogether lacking a certain tidiness. It was uneven, no matter how amusing and okay the plot was, that was why it didn't hold the poise that one expects when one reads a book based on that time era.


This book was quite enjoyable, but the median through which the story was presented was lacking for me, therefore I found the overall experience to be mediocre at best. 

Rating: ✿✿✿ 3/5 Blossoms


Final Notes:  This wasn't a bad read and I didn't mean for this review to come out quite as harsh. Mind you, it wasn't a fast read either, and I've finally finished reading it after dropping it 2 times before. To be frank, I did enjoy it to the same extent as I did for the Luxe series, so if you liked those, you'll like this one.


(By the way, I typed this review up on the spot, a bit different than my usual write-in-my-notebook-then-type way of doing things, so the final product may have been a bit different. I'd like to switch things up a bit, because I feel that I'm losing depth in my written reviews nowadays..a bit of a writer's obstacle, shall I say. I'd love to hear what you guys thought of this particular review, as I don't do this sort of type-up review often!)
♡ Vivian

July 6, 2012

Feature & Follow ● #3

Feature & Follow is a Friday meme created and hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read!

This Week's Question:: Jumping genres - Ever pick up a book from a genre you usually don't like and LOVE it? Tell us about it and why you picked it up in the first place.

Oh, this is actually quite hard. This isn't going to be exactly a "genre", but I don't usually consciously pick up books with entirely or mostly futuristic settings with dabs of sci-fi, if you will. I would always go for the Victorian setting or historical fiction, etc. Some occasional instances where I give in to these books would be like for...

"Cinder" by Marissa Meyer - loved the synopsis and was really interested.
"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins - heard how epicly good it was from every other person I met.
"Academy 7" by Anne Osterlund - had NO idea that it was futuristic, fell for it anyway, and was a melted puddle of admiration after finishing it.

To be honest, I've read a bit of almost every genre, so although I have timeless favourites like my beloved historical fictions, I don't exactly have a genre that I'm really against or that I'd shy too much away from. Hoping to keep an open mind! ^_~

What do you guys think about this question? Link me up and I shall be happily hopping (tomorrow morning XD)
 ♡ Vivian


July 4, 2012

Weigh in Wednesday #1

Weigh in Wednesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by Lauren @ Epilogue. It features a topic in which each blogger can share their opinions on.

This will be Vivi's first weigh-in! Very excited, especially since the topic for this week is....-drum rooooll!!!-

FAIRYTALE RETELLING VS. THE ORIGINAL FAIRYTALE

First off, I'm a rather traditional person deep down. Therefore, I read all my classics, read all the original fairytales in their original written form (I even read the Brothers Grimm in the old-fashioned, unaltered German text.Great for my German studies, and also downright hardcore for the original fairytale. For those of you who haven't dabbed on the original, goodness...you have NO idea how gruesome the story of Snow White really is. O_O It was scary...)

Anyway, back on topic. Even though I fall for the traditional things, I really enjoy a well-written retelling or adaptation. Mainly because nowadays, the original seems just like an obligatory read, and as much as I enjoy them, sometimes it's just not grasping enough. Retellings can be tailored very well to suit the appeal of a modern day young adult audience, and that is probably why I fall so hard for retellings.

Overall, if I had to sum it up, the retelling side would win! Not by a lot, but it would still win.  
Do you guys have any amazing fairytale retellings you could share? ^_^

♡ Vivian

July 3, 2012

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins

Time for Book #2! Sorry for the delay! Summer-time studying is harsh, and I'd better get myself rolling on those SAT words before it's too late in the Fall -tired face- Anyway, I was super happy to read all the lovely comments on my review for the first book, so I hope you'll enjoy this review as well!!!

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication: 2009, Scholastic Inc.

Summary: Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol-- a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create....read more


Review:

The second book  in a trilogy should extend, bridge and build, and "Catching Fire" manages to achieve that and some more. Not losing the sacred momentum so well laid by the first book, this sequel pushes through the palpable sky to somewhere in the beyond. 

Abundant in ridiculously shocking surprises, "Catching Fire" soars and dances to and from many settings, some familiar and some not. The flames build nicely from some of the first book's wood, enough to keep readers oriented, but not as much that is repetitive. 

Collins has achieved an admirable balance in literary ingredients here. Added to the fiery mix are new characters that prove to be effective and skillful in swaying the plot to reach an exciting peak. A terribly smart and bolstering bridge that climbs even higher, "Catching Fire" will keep you hooked just as well as "The Hunger Games".

However, it is unfortunate that the end is a tad choppy and messy and deteriorated the feeling of the entire book, slowing down the possible final propelling wind toward "Mockingjay". Nevertheless, still a heart-racing and utterly entertaining sequel that can steal your breath and leave you hanging in mid-air for the finale.

Rating: ✿✿✿✿ 4/5 Blossoms

Final Notes:  I remember enjoying this (almost) just as much as the first book. I think it was really great how Ms. Collins brought the epic arena back, but altered it so smartly that it was not at all repetitive or boring for the second time around. For someone wanting more after "The Hunger Games", this one doesn't disappoint for the most part.
♡ Vivian