Friday, December 31, 2010

End of 2010 Book Survey

Well, I found this cool survey!

It was created by Jamie from the Perpetual Page-Turner. (View her original post of the survey here.)

1. Best book of 2010:
Click here.

2. Worst book of 2010:
*Dark Flame by Alyson Noel
It drove me absolutely crazy, in a bad way. The story, the main character, the writing… It was all quite, well, bad.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010:
*Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
It’s not that I don’t like this book, because I honestly do. I just expected it to be… better. Well written. More exciting and maybe even a bit darker. Instead it went at nearly the same pace as Twilight (which isn’t bad, but I just don’t think it worked for this book).

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010:
*White Cat by Holly Black
I was quite hesitant to pick up this book, because I figured it would be just an average entertainer. I had no idea how complex and unique the storyline would be, or how much I’d like Cassel, the narrator.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010:
*White Cat by Holly Black
*The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
*Under the Dome by Stephen King
My two best friends are guys, so they aren’t going to bother reading my *girly* books, therefore no *girly* books are on this little list. I think all three of these books are entertaining enough to be enjoyed by just about the entire human population.

6. Best series you discovered in 2010:
*The Hunger Games (trilogy) by Suzanne Collins
Even if by some wretched chance the final two books are disastrous (I highly doubt they will be though), The Hunger Games (book 1) will always be enough.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010:
*Suzanne Collins
*Michelle Zink
*Jay Asher
*Holly Black

8. Most hilarious read of 2010:
…Did I read anything hilarious? =(
Sure I’ve had some fun book experiences. In fact, I usually get a few laughs out of each book, but none were “hilarious.”

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010:
*Burned by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast
Well, sometimes I had to put it down because it made me nervous, but other than that, I couldn’t stop reading! I never loved a House of Night book this much before! I just wanted to know everything that was about to happen RIGHT NOW.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010:
*The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
I love Stephenie Meyer, and I knew that Bree’s story would be quite tragic. That’s all I needed to get really excited.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010:
*Fallen by Lauren Kate.
Is there really a competition for this one? LOOK AT IT!

12. Most memorable character in 2010:
*Rephaim (from Burned by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast)
He’s so troubled and his form is so complex (half man, half bird). That’s quite unique. I feel for him, and quite frankly, think he can be beautiful.

*Katniss (from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
Katniss is the most amazing heroine I’ve ever read about. She’s so, so strong yet compassionate, and she’s smart. Don’t mess with her; she’s armed with a bow and arrow.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010:
Um… This is kind of hard…

*Fallen by Lauren Kate
Even though I had issues with characters and how real everything felt, I loved how this was written. Everything felt sort of sad, but some things were beautiful.

*Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
The writing reflected the time period, and the darkness of the situation.

*The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
Many disagree with me, but I love her writing style. You can tell she’s influenced by older works, and that makes everything more dramatic and theatrical.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010:
*The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This novel never really got out of my head… it’s so morbid and beautiful…

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read:
*The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This novel is absolutely stunning; I should have picked it up at first glance!

*To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Everyone needs to read this. It’s a classic, and it is so meaningful, so good.

There was an optional book blogging portion, but that part would be sort of difficult since I've only been blogging since April and have just eight followers.

I wish you all a very happy New Year, and high hopes for 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Divine by Mistake | by: P.C. Cast

Being a fan of the House of Night book series for young adults (and pretty book covers), I was very curious about this earlier adult trilogy from P.C. Cast.

Shannon Parker is an Oklahoma English teacher. She lives in the world as we know it; the only world she ever knew. But while on summer break, is sucked into a new world by an antique vase. Within this strange dimension, she is known as Rhiannon: Goddess Incarnate of Epona. In fact, she has stepped right into Rhiannon's role, which she has no choice but to play.

Immediately, she's treated like a (very rude and feared) queen and has to marry a centaur. Despite she's not the happiest about the situation, Shannon tries to be the kind, compassionate Goddess Incarnate that Rhiannon could never be.

Soon enough, she will see that dark creatures are lurking amongst this new world, and she knows that she must do her part to stop the sinister beings for the sake of peace as well as the people Partholon.

P.C. Cast is a really cool writer. I already knew that, and I've already established this here, but I may as well say it again. Though it's obvious that it's an earlier creation, it's still extremely well written and has her signature humor. It held my attention, and oftentimes fascinated me with the plotline and mythic creatures. As usual, each character had defined idiosyncrasies that were unique from other characters of the book (although Shannon sometimes reminded me of Zoey from the House of Night, but that was only because of slight smiliarities, or maybe just the way of the narration). With that being said, this book was not bland at all.

As I mentioned, I found it quite interesting to read about the creatures of this novel. Other than an appearance or two in a a few fantasy books I've read, I've never actually read a story that included many centaurs. P.C. Cast sort of makes me wish they'd appear more, since she makes them so beautiful and strong. I'm happy she included them.

The Fomorians, on the other hand, were quite scary. I know I talk about this book like it's so great (which it is) but there are other things I need to take account for, and these Fomorians have a little bit of something to do with it. Are they creative? Yes. After all, these beings only exist in this particular trilogy. Have I ever read anything so morbid? No. Sometimes their morbidity was too much for me, and I'd prefer to look away. It's not that their freaky description of appearance scared me away, it was the whole rape issue. I really can't stand reading about events of rape, or seeing it in movies. I don't care how good the movie/book is, if I know that there's rape in there, I avoid it. It disgusts me beyond words. I'm aware that it disgusts everyone, but the idea bothers me so much... you get the idea. So creepy monsters with no sense of goodness + rape was just way too much for me.

Divine by Mistake was just about exactly how P.C. Cast described it in her little note before the story began. It held my attention throughout the entire thing and turned out to be quite enjoyable, since there were no moments where nothing was happening. Even though P.C. left us with only a small cliffhanger, I plan reading the rest of the trilogy within the year.

This romantic fantasy is an entertaining and adventurous page turner that just gets better and better.

4/5 Stars

(Possibly a 3.5/5)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Best Books I Read: 2010

These are the best books I've read this year! In other words, these are the books I gave 5/5 stars to throughout the whole year. (Since I just started my blog this year, not all reviews have been posted, but most have been.) Books that have received a 4.5/5 star rating are considered the runner-ups.

I read so many awesome books this year!

Best Books - 5/5 Stars:

The Hunger Games
By: Suzanne Collins

A mesmerizing sci-fi! This one had me feeling so many different emotions! It's creative, beautiful, and morbid... a tricky combination done perfectly. The Hunger Games is always in my head.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella
By: Stephenie Meyer

Um... It's Stephenie Meyer. Therefore, it's a masterpiece. Bree's little story turned out to be moving and memorable.

BurnedBy: P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

I never thought I'd love a book from this series so much. It kept me interested the whole way through and I became so nervous I'd actually talk to the

Thirteen Reasons Why
By: Jay Asher

This novel was magnificently haunting, and made me tear up a few times. So sad. So memorable and remarkable.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
By: J.K. Rowling

When reading this series, I skipped ahead to the ones that weren't already movies, and never got around to reading this one until this year. Brilliant, as usual. All of the Harry Potter books are.

Under the Dome
By: Stephen King

I never knew it was possible to write a story with so many characters! This book turned out to crescendo from first page to last, with non-stop action, and even some meaning.

Walk Two Moons
By: Sharon Creech

This is my second time reading this since the fifth grade. Now, I realize that this is the saddest book ever written. I bawled my eyes out.

To Kill a Mockingbird
By: Harper Lee

This year, I read this classic for the first time in my life. I read it twice in 2010. The multiple themes interpreted through a child's eyes is just so deep.

Runner-Ups - 4.5/5 Stars:

By: Aprilynne Pike

I loved how innocent this novel was, as well as interesting. Throughout reading it, I just wanted to eat a can of peaches and wear a sundress, like a faerie!

White Cat
By: Holly Black

The intricate storyline made me thankful that I didn't have to write this amazing book... I would have gotten a headache from creating all the twists and turns! I was hesitant to pick it up, but it was definately worth it. Very unique.

What a great year! High hopes for 2011!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2011 Stephen King Reading Challenge

I'm going to try for the 2011 Stephen King Reading Challenge! It's hosted by Book Chick City, and you can sign up and read about all the details here. I've loved Stephen King for a while, and want to read lots of his books (I'm a bit behind). You can read six of his books (minimum) or twelve, but you can read more than twelve if you want.

I'm going to read six, since I don't really read as much as these other book bloggers per year. I'm more than likely going to chose six from this list: Carrie, The Shining, The Stand, Salem's Lot, Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Desperation. Probably some different ones will show up along the way.

You can read my review of the Stephen King novel I read this year, Under the Dome here. It was my first ever review.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Thousand Suns | Linkin Park

Linkin Park has had much success from the very beginning with their 2002 debut. A Thousand Suns is sure to draw the same enormous amount of attention that their earlier releases have, but this time, the creativity stands out like a shining star in the center of darkness. Or a black hole clouding the light.

With the very first track, "The Requiem", it is very obvious that something is quite different. Linkin Park has always been a good band... but this intro is epic. A small female voice cuts in, and this intro builds and builds into "The Radiance", which is the second part of the album's intro (it includes a quotation of Robert Oppenheimer speaking).

Before we know it, we're into the third track, "Burning In the Skies" and it's basically the first proper 'song' on the album. This is the first time, from all I can recollect, of a Linkin Park album opening with a pretty, mellow song. However, it is definately, in its sound's definition, classically Linkin Park. Clean, superior vocals, over nearly techno (but not quite) guitars and piano. Luckily for me, I consider this sort of sound to be the best part of Linkin Park.

A war-fuled intro called "Empty Spaces" leads us to "When They Come For Me". This song is more evidence of the creative diversity on the album; it is a very strange yet cool rap song, with a chorus and ending that'll make you throw your hands up. It's definately not in the same catagory as the ever-relaxing and empowering, "Robot Boy".

Just when you think you've heard the last of the intros, "Jornada del Muerto" fools you wrong, and it leads us into "Waiting For the End", which a head-bobbing repitition of piano... yet it sounds a lot like reggae. Prepare yourself so you don't get whip-lash, for "Blackout" is completely different than the previous track; it's bouncy, filled with screams, and somehow alternativey. Still, you must prepare yourself: "Wretches and Kings" is rock-rap at its best. That's right - you just experienced three completely different types of music in about nine minutes.

"Wisdom, Justice, and Love" continues to include a man speaking, just as "Wretches and Kings", but since it is yet another intro, the voice fades out creepily and desperately with piano in the background, and we are led to "Iridescent". It has the same piano used in the intro, and is absolutely a loveable song with a nighttime sound.

"Fallout" is the next and last intro on the album. It's creepy in a Star-Trek sort of way, and following it, comes "The Catalyst". This is perhaps the best songs on the album, and my personal favorite song from the band. It builds and builds throughout, and Chester's voice hovers above all others, declaring the beautiful lyrics with more meaning than anyone else ever could. It is both mellow and upbeat; it is perfect. I get chills each time I hear "The Catalyst".

Acoustic guitars rule "The Messengers" - the final track on A Thousand Suns. Unfortunately, it's technically the worst song on the album. Chester's voice can be so great, but it's quite screechy on this one, and there's not many instruments to accompany it either. However, it's meaning is enough for me. The peaceful end to a CD centered around war.

It's amazing how much this band has evolved over the years. A Thousand Suns has proved that Linkin Park is never what you expect them to be. We already know that they can make some good songs and have amazing voices and are incredibly talented. But this album is so much more than that. They have pushed the boundaries of creativity and made it all beautiful. A Thousand Suns is a constant crescendo and completely memorable.

4.5/5 stars

(I could give this a 4/5... but it seems a little low-ish...)