Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
Mature contemporary YA

Charlie is a freshman.

And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

I'm pretty sure everyone has heard of this book- even without the movie and Emma Watson it had a reputation. I'll admit I've seen the movie already so the story itself was spoiled for me. Why am I telling you this? Because the great thing about this novel is that even knowing the whole story (the movie was very true to the book) it was still TOTALLY INCREDIBLE. 

Charlie was wonderfully smart and naive the way real smart people are. (that makes sense I promise) He was funny without an ounce of sarcasm (where do you ever see that nowadays?) and practically a little kid with the head of an adult. His observations were unique and beautiful- the book is abundant with great quotes. You're left with lots of food for thought.

The writing was flawless. There was little dialogue, with Charlie telling us that she said this and that. It was brilliant; totally reflective of the way Charlie thinks. The whole book is like being inside his head. It also comes with a bit of a lesson- Perks of Being a Wallflower is written as a letter to you, (the reader) a kid in his school. 

Everything about the story felt REAL- nothing exaggerated, downplayed, ignored, too perfect or coincidental.  The only thing stopping me from shoving it under the nose of everyone I know? Not really age appropriate for a kid below the eighth/ninth grade. 

Good weekend everybody, and happy new Jewish year!

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Exemeus Blog Tour!


The Exemeus
Folami & Abeni Morris
YA Fantasy, Dystopia

Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she's been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.

In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime: inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she's been dead for 13 years.

Hi guys! I'm happy to let you know that I've been priveliged to be part of The Exemeus Tour hosted by Candace at Candace's Book Blog. Click here for the tour post. Here's my review:

The Exemeus was a really cool blend of modern-day fantasy and dystopian USA. In it we have a story of Dephon, an (arguably) normal boy living under the Treptonian dictatorship in the US in year 2021. When he's given a book of his mother's life to read, we have a story within a story about how the democratic government fell and how his parents had to do with all of it. And of course, what's a good book without magical powers, huh? :) 

I really enjoyed the part told from Hiyalee's (Dephon's mother) POV as a teenager, which was most of the book. I found her smart and badass and a fun character. We didn't get to hear so much from Dephon, something I hope will change in the upcoming sequel (The Azemeon- coming soon!). Also hoping to hear more about Oreland and Mallea (the first being a planet, the second a girl from there). 

My only complaint was that often things when unexplained for a long time and I would find myself wondering for 50 pages WHY they were doing what they were doing. Luckily, there was enough going on to distract me from the how's and why's, so not to worry:) 
Recommended- 3.5 stars (Anyone know an easy why to cut a picture?) 

About the Authors:
Folami and Abeni Morris are a sister-sister writing team. Together they wrote (and rewrote) The Exemeus, somehow managing to accomplish it without murdering one another. Despite their facial similarities, tendency to finish each other’s thoughts and stick up for each other constantly, no, they’re not twins and thus deserve their own individual bio.
 Folami Morris:
 Folami grew up in the tiny city of San Mateo Ca, where nothing ever happens and no one ever leaves. She went to Xavier University for undergraduate, getting her B.A in physics and her B.S in Biology. After graduation she returned to California, to live in an even smaller city, where even less happens, Antioch Ca. During this time she escaped the monotony by hanging out with her imaginary friends Hyalee and Dephon, and by writing the Exemeus. She finally escaped to Queens NY and now realizes that quiet and tiny aren’t so bad. 
Abeni Morris:
 As luck (and logic) would have it, Abeni grew up in the same tiny little town as her sister, then she too escaped to the tinier town of Antioch. She has yet to leave. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Cal State East Bay. She is the mom of two amazing kids, who swear that they deserve a percentage of the book proceeds and a ton of the credit. At least she raised dreamers.
Find the book: Amazon | GoodReads
Find the authors: Website 

Hope you all pick up the book and enjoy! And checkout the awesome giveaway with the tour below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book-to-Movie Review: City of Bones


Alright. I promised myself I will not write the whole post in capitals and instead be rational and objective. We'll see how I do;)

I HEARTED THIS MOVIE. A WHOLE FREAKIN LOT. I loved every minute of it. In fact, Lady in The Row Ahead of Me, I owe you an apology. I am sincerely sorry for the bother I caused you during the movie due to hysterical laughing, jumping up and down, quoting lines, smacking people, yelling at the screen, multiple suicide attempts and loudly making it known just how hot I think Jamie/Kevin/Godfrey/Robert is. So on behalf of all the fan people in the theater, I hope you enjoyed the two hours regardless. Now that my conscience is clear- moving on.

The fight scenes were really cool, the demons were all gross and realistic, the acting was genuine (does that make sense?). Like I really felt for all the characters this time. Honestly, I didn't really care about Simon until City of Fallen Angels, but in the movie, Robert Sheehan turned him into A PERSON. WITH LIKE, A DISTINCT PERSONALITY. AND FEELINGS.  He made me want to go back and reread the whole series and give Simon the love he deserves.  And Clary actually WAS the badass everyone wants her to be. Somehow, in the books I never looked at her that way. In terms of badassness, she was always overshadowed by Izzy. In the mortal movie she really shined through Lily Collins. 

Now for the controversial stuff.

Because I used to think the particular casting would fail, but boy Jamie proved himself.

Fine, he was not exactly the Jace I had in my head. I've already read complaints that he didn't smile and was pretty deadpan. What I was seeing? Pure snark and broken-ness, just the way Jace really is. True, he didn't smile almost at all in the movie, but when he did, (LIKE IN THE GREENHOUSE SCENE) IT MADE IT ALL THE MORE SPECIAL. Beautiful and broken Jace happy for the one second he let loose just to have his heart broken again when Simon comes out of Clary's room. And Simon, who just confessed his love, rejected by the girl who's been his best friend for years, and for someone he thinks is a jerk. IT WAS BRILLIANT. 

And the best part of all this? Was that with all the feels the die hard fans were feeling, it was A HUMOROUS ACTION MOVIE. Honestly, if I didn't love all these characters to death for years and know their pasts and futures, I wouldn't have detected all the complicated emotional thingies happening. It was two hours of scary stunts and fighting with demons and vampires with ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS LINES (Some from the book, some original) IN THE MOST TENSE TIMES THAT MADE FOR A HIT. Except for.... *nitpick time*


They're kissing in the greenhouse and then BOOM the sprinklers go on. 


And the freezing-the-portal-into-ice-and-then-shattering-it-(???)-and-then-it-snows-in-the-room? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM??

And Clary drawing a rune and then sweeping her and across the room to magically clean up her apartment??? EXCUSE ME. RUNES ARE NOT HOUSEKEEPING SUPPLIES. THANK YOU. 

There were a couple more^^^^ but in truth, these actually made for something to laugh about. Comic relief is good for us, people. The only thing that bothered me was Valentine really. Besides evil, he needs to be smart and charismatic. We need to see how Jace and Jocelyn and Luke loved him. All we saw in the movie is an insane megalomaniac. Scary, sure, but not half as scary as he would have been had they given him a script that reflected all of the above. And the dreadlocks? Didn't help.

Last thing: okay, WHO WAS IN CHARGE OF THE SOUNDTRACK???! Romantic scenes DO NOT call for pop music. Not in those cases. And usually, dramatic DUN DUN DUUUUNNNNS make things LESS SCARIER, and not more. Please rectify that for City of Ashes.

I realize this post is really long (Cassie Clare related things inspire MUCH to talk about. I'm not halfway done. If you'd like to rant with me about the good and the bad (Magnus: I'll let you in cuz of the hot one. Jace and Izzy: Why, thank you. Magnus: No. The one with the blue eyes *winks at alec*. Life=made) PLEASE EMAIL ME. I LOVE CRAZY PEOPLE FANS WHO LOVE TO FANGIRL DISCUSS! :)

So that, folks, is how I wrapped up my summer. Sunday is school for me. Hope you all had an amazing  vacation and an equally great year! Let me know what you think:)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we feature our Top Ten picks in their weekly subject! This week's topic is...

Top Ten Things That Make Our Life As Bloggers Easier/Better

1. Other bloggers- I don't know where I'd be without them. everyone is so wonderful and helpful! Getting me in touch with the right people and places, advice, technical help, and more. I love this community.

2. Google- I'm ashamed at the number of times I've just typed in "How to..." 

3. Twitter! - Such a great and easy way to keep up with all the challenges, giveaways, contests, etc..

4. THIS PAGE. Thank you Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

5. My planner - call me old fashioned but, I breathe through this thing. School, dance, work, appointments, blog, family stuff, babysitting, plans with friends.. this thing is a lifesaver. 

6. Netgalley- I know everyone probably lists this, but yeah, YOU GOTTA LOVE THIS SITE. Free ARCs!!!!

I can't think of any more right now but there are a lot I'm sure. Let me know what/who else deserves a shoutout!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra

James Clyde and the Diamonds of OrchestraJames Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra
Colm McElwain
Middle grade adventure, Fantasy

Alongside his friends Ben and Mary Forester, James Clyde must protect a powerful diamond from falling into the wrong hands. A strange and sinister man dressed in black is also pursuing the diamond and will stop at nothing to obtain it. James and his friends set off on a perilous journey to return the diamond to its rightful place. But they are being hunted every step of the way by the relentless man in black and his blood-thirsty army. Outnumbered, James finds he must use the power of the diamond to escape their clutches - or become another victim of their murderous quest. So begins a journey that will transport them to an alternative world where they must confront the mysterious man in black for a final, winner-takes-all battle...

So for those of you missing Narnia and Harry Potter, this is probably your book. In Diamonds of Orchestra you have your orphan, magical land, lost king, evil queen, special powers and of course, a prophecy:)

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I count myself among those nostalgic for boy-and-his-friends-on-a-magical-adventure. Also, the pacing of the book was great- always moving, always action. However, I did have my nitpicks.

For one, I didn't buy into the whole natural swordsman thing. He can be talented, but at 11 and his first time he shouldn't be able to best a master. Another was that I didn't feel we got enough of the backstory- who is Queen Abigail and why is she so power hungry? What about all those stories Wilmore used to tell the kids about Orchestra? And why did Wilmore deposit James in an orphanage in the first place?

It wasn't enough to put me off though- I guess there will be more filling in in the sequel;) Which reminds me- I liked the ending a lot. There was just enough to get me interested in reading book 2, but not enough that would get me annoyed that the book couldn't stand alone at all.

Have a great day and a wonderful last week of summer!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Sunday Post & Stacking The Shelves

Stacking the Shelves and The Sunday Post are weekly memes hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

I haven't done this meme in a looong time so I have a lot of cool books to show you guys!

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie books 1-3
Heidi Garrett
received for review and book tour stop- check out my review here.

James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra

James Clyde and the Daimonds of Orchestra

Colm McElwain
received for review- sounds like the good old boy-and-his-friends-set-out-on-an-adventure kinda book. Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Narnia, anyone?

Once Dead, Twice Shy

Kim Harrison
gifted by a friend- she was going to give some books to a second hand store and I was like, NOW WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? I since have added this, Wicked Lovely, Evermore, Blue Moon, and the book below to my shelves:)

Cynthia Leitich Smith
gifted by friend mentioned above. I read Tantalize years ago- is this one a new story (it sounds like it) or do I need to reread?

The Son of Sobek (!!!!!)
Rick Riordan (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
bought- Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicle crossover (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I have yet to read The Serpent's Shadow (Oh, the shame) but it's in my TBR! Anyway, I miss Percy's POV. So bad. Like a childhood best friend. But good news on that front- you can read the first chapter of House of Hades here. Did I practically cry of frustration when I reached the end of chapter 1 and realize I have till October until I could finish? Maybe. But hopefully The Son of Sobek will satisfy (temporarily) my PJ fix.

So what books have you received? Hoping you all enjoy them and have a great week!