Archive for June, 2013
Oh wow, June is over.
What happened this past June?
- I blogged more than I did the previous months (which is awesome!). Each week, I did Top Ten, Waiting On, In My Mailbox/Stacking the Shelves, and a review. I know that doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but for me, it’s the beginning of a blogging schedule. I felt like I was in a funk in the first five months of the year, but then Armchair BEA came around and kicked me right in the ass, motivating me to write and connect. This regular blogging schedule will hopefully get me to post more reviews and write more posts that branches out from what I’m used to doing.
- Design changes! I made changes to the header and the text images to make my blog more personal. It’s crazy how much the blog changes when you change the typeface. I really love it. I’m just in awe that I actually made it. (I guess graphic design is easy when I have typefaces.)
- I wrote a review every week.
- I discontinued my participation in In My Mailbox and started Stacking the Shelves. No special reason whatsoever.
- I watched The Great Gatbsy and wrote a ridiculous letter to
Leonardo DiCapriohim, preaching my love for his face.
- I rejoined Top Ten Tuesday after not doing it for two months.
- I wait on these books:
- No more Google Reader. (I don’t require people to follow me there since it doesn’t work for WordPress.) I’m going to post the obligatory “Google Reader is gone. Follow me here!” tomorrow.
My goals for July:
- Post more often. More reviews. More classic literature. More letters. And discussion posts.
- Connect/interact with bloggers on Twitter.
- Find a job. (Unemployment sucks!)
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.
First sentence: “Seated in the council room of the Assassin’s Keep, Celaena Sardothien leaned back in her chair.”
What we have in The Assassin and the Pirate Lord is an introduction into the Throne of Glass world and Celaena Sardothien, the main character/teenage assassin. We see her and another assassin, Sam Cortland, on a mission to collect something from Captain Rolfe for their leader/mentor, Arobynn Hamel. The mission was to collect slaves, but Celaena, with the help of Sam, have other plans.
I really love the way Calaena was portrayed. She still has her morals and isn’t coldhearted (ie. freeing the slaves). However, I had a problem with her arrogance, which I found to be really unattractive. I understand that her arrogance and her brash attitude emphasizes that she still has a lot to learn and has yet to lose anything. Also, I had expected Celaena to showcase her talents in the novella, but nope. We get a mild version of it – Celaena fighting. No assassin-y type actions, which disappointed me.
The novella was an okay introduction to this world that Sarah J. Maas created. It set up the relationship between Sam and Celaena nicely, which I have a feeling will be extremely important in the first book. It really made me ask questions about the assassins and it made me interested to see how everything will be developed. However, I felt there was something lacking in the plot that made me hesitant to grasp onto the next novella/book. Despite that, I will continue. I’m sure my heart will be ripped out of my chest since I’m hearing Sam becomes the catalyst of some sort of change in Celaena.
Waiting On is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
December 24, 2013
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Sarah Zarr’s Twitter | Tara Altebrando’s Twitter | Goodreads
Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
It’s time to meet your new roomie.
When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.
As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.
National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.
Why I’m waiting?
Honesty hour! I never had a roommate when I was in college. (I know the “how is that possible?” question will come up, and my answer is…I don’t know? I’m kidding! I mostly lived off campus since it was relatively cheaper than to pay room & board at my college.)
Despite that, I’m excited because I’m fascinated by relationships between roommates (Actually, I’m just a big fan of friendships, in books). I wonder how friendships flourish and whether they connect before or during their college experience. I have many friends that became close friends with their college roommate and I have some that only became acquaintances for the duration of their living situation. (See, you can tell I’m a novice when it comes to roommates.)
What books are you waiting for on this Wednesday?
(btw, I changed my blog header, I would really appreciate it if you tell me what you think over here! :D)
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we list our top tens! This week’s topic is “top
ten eight books I’ve read so far in 2013.” I couldn’t come up with ten books because some I read this year weren’t really standouts. If I’m indifferent to a book or pretty “meh” about it, I won’t put it on my top ten.
What books are on your list? Link me up!
(btw, I changed my blog header, I would really appreciate it if you tell me what you think over here! :D)
See, I have followed through on my desire to redesign my header. I am very pleased at the results.
Here is what it used to look:
And here it is now:
Ahhh, what a difference!. It’s gorgeous. Maybe because it’s new. New things always make me giddy. (I’m sure I’ll be sick of it a few months from now.)
Now, it’s time for a Q & A about the changes.
Why did you want a change?
I got tired of looking at my header. To me, it looked…stiff and impersonal all of a sudden. I felt that the typeface of my old banner was dated, and that it didn’t fit with the books I’ve been reading. It felt awkward and unnatural. I wanted something more fun and, in a sense, more representative of me…now.
What did you change?
The colors I used and the layout is still the same. I wanted to maintain the cleanliness and simplicity of the two, so I didn’t change that. I redesigned the header and the weekly meme images. The weekly meme images used to be circles, but I changed it for flags because it didn’t take as much space. (Although, I might change the flags for squares with rounded corners. We’ll see.) I changed the “hello” in the sidebar and the social networking icons.
Tell us about your header.
My blog name is “The Novel Hermit.” I wanted my header to be simple, and not glaring/annoying to look at. On the sides of the name, I placed a blur of blue, which is actually a watercolor image of a hermit image. It was accidental – the watercolor. I had always intended to find a hermit image (to reflect my name) and I found a hermit image in the typeface – “SeaLife.” When I placed it next to the name, it looked awkward because it was too sharp/clean cut, so I began messing with the filters on Inkscape, seeing which one would soften the hermit image. And voila!
What typeface is your header?
Belta Bold! Everything else (the images) are in Belta Regular.
I really love it. When I first saw it over at Carrie Loves, I fell in love with it. I knew that was what I wanted to use for the typeface of my header.
Who made it?
I did! For someone with no artistic talent whatsoever, I did well.
And now, I have a question for all of you, my readers: how do you like the new header? Thoughts? Criticisms? Questions?
Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art — until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.
Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all — with enough distance, maybe she’ll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.
With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.
First sentence: “I was six the first time we found Grayson at the quarry.”
A book dealing with a disorder. OCD! Finally! I really enjoyed the book. This books is so much more than a road trip or about OCD. It’s about Kendra confronting her feelings/issues with her brother and coming to terms with them. And a road trip is the perfect setting for everything to be laid out on the table and to be addressed. They have to deal with their problems in a small space (the car) in a big world. The only major problem I had with the book was the awkward usage of language and unnecessary suspense, but other than that, I thought Jennifer Brown did a splendid job with the book.
- OCD at its worst!
Jennifer Brown did her research! I really enjoyed the way she was able to portray OCD. She showed how it affects/controls the life of the person who suffers from it and their family. Everybody’s lives are forever changed because of it. I loved that we got to see both sides of it and see how the characters deal with it (like the scene where Kendra finally tells Grayson what she did and about how she had to be absolutely perfect for their parents to get their parents to notice her, and Grayson responds that he wishes he could do the normal stuff that he sees Kendra do with their parents). We see people who accept Grayson for who he is, people who walk on eggshells around him, and people who resents him.
- Sibling relationship!
I find Kendra’s and Grayson’s relationship fascinating. Their interactions were cute. They argued with each other, they were frustrated with each other. They clearly love each other, but Grayson’s OCD gets in the way of everything. Kendra has this resentment against her brother because her life is flipped upside-down and he, in a sense, affected her relationship with their parents, her best friend, and…Grayson himself. On this road trip, they begin to understand a bit more about each other. They both are able to put their feelings on the table.
- The ending!
I like that the ending didn’t solve Kendra’s and Grayson’s problems. It wasn’t tidied up in a neat little box with a bow. I know many people had a problem, but I thought it was fitting because their problems won’t immediately solved. It’s extremely realistic that it’ll take some time to completely deal with OCD and the cheating scandal. The ending was optimistic. With every issue out in the open, they are on a road to recovery.
- The wrong type of suspense – the “mysterious” reason for the road trip.
I was annoyed that we spent the majority of chapter 5 dwelling on this “mysterious incident” at school that made Kendra run away from it (which I had already guessed that it was a cheating scandal). The incident was continually referred to, but what happened wasn’t explicitly said out loud until Chapter 21, nearly 3/4 into the book. I understand the reasons not to reveal the entirety of the scandal because Kendra was still running away from her problems. I just thought it was unnecessary to only reveal a small portion of it when there were chapters spent talking about it.
- Awkward phrasing – the gerunds + “and”
I feel like I’m just being nitpicky, but I noticed that sentences are frequently started with “and.” Sometimes, sentences have no verb or subject, in favor for gerunds (verbs that end in “-ing” to make a noun). That annoys me. Yes, I know that sometimes sentences do not necessarily need a subject or a verb for the general plot of the story. However, when I read the book, I became confused at certain points in the book as to what the narrator was referring to. At those points, I wished that Jennifer Brown had rewritten the sentence so the sentence had a subject/verb to clarify certain things.
And Rena giggling, then whispering back, “That’s Mother Goose, you dork.”
And then drifting and drifting into a world where bricks were falling and opening up to the sun, which bore down on my face and made me smile. (p 282)
We start new paragraphs, but it’s unclear as to the subject. Wouldn’t it be easier to change the sentence to be more…active?
She’s such a sweetheart. At first, I didn’t understand her role into the road trip, but as I read, I realized that she served as a person who accepted Grayson for himself. Her presence is for readers to compare the way that she treats Grayson and how Kendra treats him. It’s interesting to see how Rena (and other people) are able to accept Grayson for who he is, but Kendra, Grayson’s blood-related sister, is unable to fully do that.
- A shit friend!
I am mad that Zoe was a shit friend. I couldn’t believe that she did not even pick up her phone when Kendra texted/called. I cannot imagine having a best friend who refuses to answer your texts on a daily basis.
- Go read it. You may come across a few issues (like I did), but the message of the story outweighs those issues. OCD + siblings + a road trip, what more do you want?