Saturday, 16 June 2012

My Last post (VACATION)

Hey guys, I just felt like I should leave a final message explaining that I'm going to be away on vacation until August the 24th, so I won't be posting unless I get my hand on a computer... even then. So, if you're waiting on reviews or updates, it'll have to be after I come back. Anyway, since this is my last post, I'm just going to let you guys know what new books I've got, and all the books I'm going to take with me. Plus, I'll have a list of all the books I'm going to review when I come back. Enjoy!

In My Mailbox!
This week, I only got two books, but both seem really enjoyable!

Eden's Root by Rachel E. Fisher was sent to me by the author for review purposes, and it's signed! Sorry I can't get my own pictures, camera's already locked. Anyway, here's a 'pre-review' blurb: The year is 2033 and the world hovers on the edge of explosion as unexplained crop deaths lead to severe global food shortages. In the United States, the Sickness is taking lives slowly, creeping its way into every family. Fi Kelly has already faced the Sickness in her own family, toughening her beyond her years. But a shocking confession from her dying father will push her toughness to its absolute limits. Saddled with an impossible secret and the mission of saving her little sister, Fi sets out to transform herself into the warrior that she must become to survive the coming collapse. Along the way, she will discover that evil can be accidental and that love can be intentional. Interesting, eh? By the way, I don't say 'eh' a lot (it's apparently a Canadian stereotype that we say 'eh' a lot). Moving on!

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith is, I'm pretty sure, a movie that's been adapted into a book, or the other way around. Any who, I saw it at the store and the cover reminded me to much about Darran Shan Cirque Du Freak, so I decided it couldn't hurt to buy it. Enjoy the blurb: Abraham Lincoln was just a boy when he learned that his mother's untimely death was actually the work of a vampire. From then on, he vowed to devote his intelligence, strength--and skill with an ax--to the elimination of the soulless creatures. It was a path of vengeance that would lead him all the way to the White House.
No one ever knew about Lincoln's valiant struggle against the undead... until author Seth Grahame-Smith laid eyes on Abe's secret journal--the first living person to do so in over 140 years. Putting a supernatural spin on revisionist history, Seth has reconstructed Lincoln's true life story--while revealing the role vampires played in the birth, growth and near-death of our nation.

That's all for this week.

Moving on to the books I will read over the summer. Here's the list:

-The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen  (really excited to read this) (check
-Mockingbird by

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Random Rant Thursday! (#3)

TODAY'S TOPIC: This is worth this many books

OK, I don't know if I'm the only one who does this, but I get really annoyed when I see people, mainly my family, spend so much money on things that aren't books. Some useless things that cost way too much. So what I do is I compare the amount of money we spend in a week, and compare that to how many books we could have gotten for that amount of money. Yes, I know different books have different prices, but I generally go with a book that costs 10 bucks. Like Illusions by Aprilynne Pike, in paperback format. If someone spent around $70 while out, it would be like having wasted 7 good books, and yes, seven books for a normal person like me is a LOT.

So that was me, ranting about how valuable money is (book-wise). What are YOU ranting about? 

Agents of Change by Guy Harrison

Series: (Agents of Change #1)
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 380
Published: February 13th 2012
My rating: 3 stars
An amiable corporate manager by day and a matchmaker whenever he can get around to it, Calvin Newsome's new dream job falls into his lap when he's recruited by a secret worldwide organization whose agents use uncanny abilities to empower and influence everyday downtrodden individuals. Disaster strikes, however, when an elaborate scheme leaves Calvin as a prime murder suspect...and his new employer is presumably to blame.
With the authorities on his heels and his life left in ruin, Calvin uses his new powers to blend in until a journey for freedom becomes a quest for peace. As the agency's rival organization threatens the security of all of earth's inhabitants, he teams up with unlikely allies and battles surprising enemies hellbent on unleashing their power in a twisted version of justice, innocent lives be damned

My Review

The first thing I could think of when I saw this book was, I love the cover. And, well, the cover is neat. So I proceeded to read the blurb and all the right things caught my eyes. This book, like many others, started off a little slow for me, but eventually is started to get more into the action of the plot.

Calvin Newsome is your above average man who seems to have one of those hearts that really reaches out towards others. He is caring, and a little too easy going on people. Too much for his own good. I guess I kind of liked that about him. I mean, how often do you see a character who is so whiling to do anything to make other peoples lives easier? So his life is just like everyone else's (sprinkled with a few childhood problems), but that all changes when he is recruited by an agency. The Agency of Influence, a group of people who want to do those little deeds that will help ordinary people who are going through hard times.

I found the idea of such an organisation very interesting and original, but there was one aspect of it that threw me in a flurry of questions. The change machine. It is a machine that can give you the power to change into anyone you like. The thing that got me was that on some occasions, when Calvin needed to change into someone, he chose really famous people. Now, how does that really work out? I mean, so I'm at a store, and Oprah just walks in... A little bit unreasonable if you ask me. But the whole change machine didn't throw me off course or anything.

I really liked Calvin's other job. Match making. The thing that I liked about it in particular was how he was willing to help a teenage boy while in the midst of a crisis. That was really touching.

All in all, I believe this book has a lot of potential, but I couldn't find it in myself to add an extra two stars to the three. The plot, in my opinion, just didn't seem... fiction enough. There were too many real life connections. The way the characters talked didn't seem I don't know, fluent enough for me. But everyone has their own opinion. I just happen to like a more fantasy/sci-fi kind of thing. Overall, though, for a first novel, it was well done.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

2012 TBR Challenge

I am- sad to say- one of those people who go out, get a few books, and not open them... Not because I'm a terrible reader who has no dignity, but because I have other TREMENDOUS piles to be attending. So when I came along this challenge, I thought, wow, this is just what I need!

Challenge guidelines:

1.This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.

2.As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!

3.Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!

4.You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

5.When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)

6.You can move up levels, but no moving down.

7.Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.

8.At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.

9.If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)

10.December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL.

11.You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea - @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - @mermaidvisions

Wrap-up POST Schedule:

January - Donna (Theme: Let It Snow + Book Cover Challenge)
February - Nicole (Theme: Un-requited Love/Love Gone Wrong + Advice Column Challenge)
March - Rie (Theme: Green or Pinched + Green Cover Challenge)
April - Bonnie (Theme: Easter + Mini Challenge)
May - Christa (Theme: MayDay - Disaster Books! + Cover Disaster Challenge)
June - Jenna ( Theme: Camping + Sentence Challenge)
July - Rie (Theme: International Day + Cover Comparison Challenge)
August - Angel (Theme: Summer Memories + Send Your Fav Character On Vacation Challenge)
September - Nicole (Theme: Life Changing Books + Mini Challenge)
October - Caitlin (Theme: Thanksgiving Theme + Share-A-Book Challenge)
November - Vicky (Theme: Spooky Halloween + Book Puzzle Challenge)
December - Evie (Theme: Xmas Bliss + Book Bachelor Challenge)

I will be going for level 21-30 and here are the books I want to get through:

1: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike
2: Thirteen reasons why by Jay Asher
3: Out of my Mind by Sharon M. Draper
4: TimeRiders (#1) by Alex Scarrow
5: The Mum Hunt by Gwyneth Rees
6: Home Truths By Jill Maclean
7: Halo (Halo, #1) Alexandra Adornetto
8: The Maze Runner by James Dashner
9: Across the Universe by Beth Revis
10: Twisted by Gena Showalter
11: Divergent by Veronica Roth
12: Bystander by James Preller
13:The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
14:Will Greyson Will Greyson by John Green and David Levithan
15:My Side of the Story by Will Davis

Friday, 1 June 2012

All Good Children by Catherine Austen

Creativity is a crime Max commits every day.

It's the middle of the twenty-first century and the elite children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens. Maxwell Connors, a fifteen-year-old prankster, misfit and graffiti artist, observes the changes with growing concern, especially when his younger sister, Ally, is targeted. Max and his best friend, Dallas, escape the treatment, but must pretend to be "zombies" while they watch their freedoms and hopes decay. When Max's family decides to take Dallas with them into the unknown world beyond New Middletown's borders, Max's creativity becomes an unexpected bonus rather than a liability.


Honestly, my review will do this book no justice. In fact, I should have written this review a long time ago, just never got around to it. Which is weird because I loved this book. Now, I'm not talking about the liked, love. I'm talking about the loved, loved. It is one of those novels that will bring tears to your eyes because of its ferocious writing style. Its power dripping in all the words, and oh, all the emotions. You guys noticing how I'm using all the italics? I can't emphasise my point enough. Let me start by praising the author. Because you know what? A lot of people don't think of it this way, but the power of writing is in the authors hands. Catherine Austen has made my top three, and to make my top three, you need requirements that go beyond the normal. Beyond the beyond. I can't even describe this requirement. It's like something that lives in my heart (sound too cliché? I don't kid when I say: I love books). I loved all the characters in All Good Children. I loved how they were all connected, and by the way, I'm the kind of person who loves romance in novels, but this book has made me realise that friendship is so much more stronger. I loved the voice of the main characters, and the not so main characters. I loved the plot and how it was intertwined with everything else in the book. It was very powerful.

The story takes place in the time we are living in, yet everything is a little bit tighter. Everything is more high tech, and parents can actually decide what kind of child they want. The richer your family is, the more perfect you will be. Like, say, Xavier Lavigne. No, he's not the main character, but he is the neighbour of the main character and also my favourite. Just picture the perfect, tall, athletic blond and you've got Xavier. What I like about him is that he has a very unique and original personality. For example, instead of greeting you with a 'hi' or 'hey', he'll launch into some sort of rant about something. Whether it be something nerdy about science, some new facts, or just about society. He's also a master mind hacker. He can get you in just about any network. In fact, while Max (main character) was away visiting some dead relative, Xavier marked him present for all his classes at school.

When Max, his sister Ally, and his mother return, things aren't really the same. In fact, ever since the death of his father, things haven't been the same. Max is almost as black as his mother, while Ally is white like his father, so there were some issues there. Also, ever since the death of their father, they've been really poor. Max, who loves creativity, and his friend Dallas, who has a rich father, notice that that the children in Ally's school are acting weird. Very obedient, like 'zombies' as they would refer to them as. When all the children in Ally's school become zombies, she must pretend to be one of them or else the authorities would have to give her the medicine they gave the other children. The whole thing is called 'NESTING', and it's supposed to turn children into obedient freaks. Sad thing is, when Dallas and Max get themselves into detention, it's their turn to be given the shot, but because of some reasons (read the book) they're saved, and now it's their turn to act like zombies. (Nesting, guys, look at the nest on the cover!)

What I really liked about the book was not really the plot, though it was still amazing. What I liked was how all the relationships were really a big part of it. Once you become a zombie, or see someone you love turn into a zombie, it's like watching your family turn against you. Turn into complete strangers who are totally incapable of emotions and that is just sad. Of course, it wouldn't be sad if you, the reader, wasn't given the opportunity to connect with the characters first.

That's another thing I loved about this book. The biggest development was that of the characters, yet there was still an active plot throughout the story. Max is this short, art loving dude who you just can't get enough of. He has a somewhat big ego, and is addicted to is RIG (which is kind of like an ipod touch, just more developed). He isn't the kind of character who's always talking loudly just to draw attention or seem cool, nor is he the quiet, good boy like in most stories. He's in between, and he actually has an original personality that actually shows in the book.

Oh, and then there was Dallas. There was a part in the story were I wanted to strangle him, but not because I didn't like him, but because he was acting like a zombie *shudders*. And I didn't care so much because he wasn't my favourite character (but I did like him) but because he was Max's best friend. And it was like I was watching someone important to me, ignore me like Dallas did to Max.

Overall, I can't praise this book enough. I can't thank Catherine Austen enough for making me realise that reading a book with a strong friendship is more heart-clenching then reading a book with a cheesy romance. I cried almost every other page, and it was only because of the importance of family and friendship. Definitely a five stars. Well, OK, 100/5. I'm not even kidding here.