Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I've had it polished and sharpened," her father said as Tali ran her fingers along the flat of the blade. "Take care with it, my girl," he added, his voice growing quieter. "This is no practice sword."

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Review: Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money - That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Rich Dad Poor Dad, the #1 Personal Finance book of all time, tells the story of Robert Kiyosaki and his two dads—his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad—and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.
MY TAKE:
I've seen copies of Rich Dad, Poor Dad at a local bookstore for years, but it wasn't until I saw it on NetGalley that I finally decided to give it a try.

In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki shares the things he learned from his rich dad (his friend's father, who is a successful businessman) and his poor dad (his real father, who is a teacher and worked for the government at one time), and how this can be applied in your life so you can break free from the Rat Race.

Honestly, I wish I had read this book before I finished high school. If I had, perhaps I'd have a more sizable nest egg and I had more investment experience and less fear about taking risks money-wise.

Some of the lessons and anecdotes he shares, while interesting and funny, can also seem harsh, especially if you've been taught all your life to be polite, get a good and stable job, etc. A few of the things he tries to teach readers may require a paradigm shift on your part, but if you're willing to at least consider what he sees, you'll see that he does make good points. One of the things I learned that I'll seriously try to put into action is actively looking for opportunities.

I also liked that he was able to discuss money matters in such an easy-to-understand way. Usually, books like this can get boring after awhile, but for the most part I was kept fascinated and entertained by his anecdotes and discussions.

It was nice to see that I had at least some of the skills he says one needs to have, and that I already understood and practice some of the things he says. However, I am only halfway or less than halfway there.

I don't think everything he says is easy to replicate, especially when you're in another country, since things may operate differently here. I do feel inspired, though, and I will make it my goal to practice most of what I've read here the rest of the year.

Thanks to NetGalley and Plata Publishing for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's quite inspiring.
  2. It forces you to think outside the box.
  3. You learn a lot about money and how you should approach making it.  

THE BAD:

  1. Some of his lessons and the phrasing he sometimes uses may feel a little harsh for some. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You want to retire early.
  2. You want your money to work for you.
  3. You want to break free from the Rat Race. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:



Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money - That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Little Miss Evil by Bryce Leung & Kristy Shen


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
When you live in a volcano, ride to school in a helicopter, and regularly see your dad on the news with the caption “EVIL GENIUS” underneath his picture, it takes a lot to rattle you.
Until you get a message that says: We have your father. Deliver the NOVA in 24 hours or we will kill him.
What’s a NOVA you ask? It’s a nuclear bomb capable of turning the city into a radioactive mushroom cloud, and ever since Fiona’s dad built it, it’s caused nothing but grief. But telling him to stop building weapons is like telling Michelangelo to stop painting.

And that’s why thirteen-year-old Fiona has a flamethrower strapped to her arm. After all, who’d mess with a girl who can throw fireballs?

Apparently, these guys. Big mistake.

MY TAKE:
The first thing I thought of when I read the summary for this book was Vanessa Doofenshmirtz.

In Little Miss Evil, Fiona is the daughter of a super villain but she doesn't want to be a super villain like her dad. When her dad is kidnapped, she now must step up and lead her family's army to get her dad back.

The first part of the book made me think like Fiona could be Vanessa when she was a kid. They just both want to be normal and not have a super villain for a dad. Fiona's dad is also a bit goofy at times, just like Doofenshmirtz. However, as the book progresses, the parallels disappear and it becomes very clear how different this book is from the show and from most children's books out there.

I remember reading somewhere that, compared to before, the lines between good and evil are more blurred now. For example, in wrestling, lots of people cheer for the heels now. In movies, one example that comes to mind is Loki. He's a villain, in Avengers, at least, but he has lots of fans because he's a complex character.

In this book, the characters are all super villains, but the funny thing is, you find yourself cheering for them. They may like causing mayhem and getting their way, but underneath it all, they want to keep their families safe. They're not pure evil, and that kind of complexity is fun to see.

The plot was interesting, and the twists made this one a fun ride. It resolved in much the same way as I thought it would. Really, it was the best ending for this. It leaves room for a next book but it can also work as a standalone.

The only thing I didn't like so much was Fiona. She was so naive and vulnerable during the first part of the book that it was painful to watch. Thankfully she was stronger and tougher later on. However, as a whole, I wasn't really a fan. Young girls who are just starting to learn how to assert themselves may find a role model in her, though.
 
Thanks to NetGalley and Spencer Hill Middle Grade for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a fun story.
  2. The super villains are entertaining to read about.
  3. The plot twists are interesting. 

THE BAD:

  1. Fiona wasn't my cup of tea. 

READ IT IF:

  1. Your young daughter needs a confident boost.
  2. You like stories about super villains.
  3. You like stories with interesting twists. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: Stupid Boy by Cindy Miles


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
From Cindy Miles, bestselling new adult author of STUPID GIRL, comes the next installment of her addictive Stupid in Love series – STUPID BOY.
Brax Jenkins and Olivia Beaumont are the most envied couple at Winston University—but the so-called “virginity dare,” orchestrated by Brax’s old fraternity, almost tore them apart. Now, a new dare is taking shape, and it’s sure to set emotions ablaze—more than ever before.
Winston’s “It Girl” Harper Belle isn’t just president of the Deltas—she’s also a master at keeping her ugly past a secret. So, when the Kappas’ dare hits closer to home for her more than anyone realizes, she devises a competition of her own as payback. Three sorority sisters will seek out a notorious womanizer on campus and—unbeknownst their “mark” —secretly train him to be the perfect boyfriend. Always up for a challenge, Harper targets the biggest player she can find: Brax’s wickedly handsome foster brother Kane McCarthy.
But, Harper discovers there’s much more to Kane than girls, games, and partying. His easy smile belies the quiet, old soul reflected in his deep brown eyes. All it takes is one night, one secret laid bare, and one kiss from Kane to shift Harper’s world on its axis. Suddenly, the girl who’s always walked a straight and narrow path can’t think of anything else except losing control.

MY TAKE:
I was in the mood for some bad-boy-good-girl romance, and I certainly found it here.

In Stupid Boy, Harper and her sorority decide get revenge for the Kappas dares that have humiliated women in the past. They decide on a bad boy reformation project, and Harper focuses on Kane. Kane isn't a student but he has dangerous dealings with the Kappas, making him a perfect subject. However, Kane and Harper both have terrible secrets in their past that could put a wrench in the works of their relationship.

First of, I'd like to say that because watching WWE shows on weekends have become a bonding activity of sorts for me and my husband, every so often, I would read Kane's name in the book and an image of Kane the wrestler would pop into my head. It was mostly funny for me, but occasionally distracting.

Anyway, back to the book. Kane and Harper are both damaged people, and by that, I mean they've gone through some stuff that requires serious therapy for many years to come. There were some flashback scenes but most of them stopped before it got too graphic. If you don't like scenes depicting abuse, mental or physical, or if they're a trigger for you, you may have some issues with the book. However, you can also skip over those parts if you'd like because the more important details of the abuse are mentioned in passing in other parts of the book so you don't have to delve too deeply into the more disturbing scenes.

Troubled past or not, I actually liked Kane and Harper. It wasn't too hard to sympathize with them, and because of that, I cheered the two of them on. They deserve to be happy, and the concern that both of them had for the other's well-being was touching and perfect.

The reason I didn't end up liking this book as much as I thought I would was precisely because of the bad-boy-good-girl thing. It's a very popular trope, which means that there have been so many variations of it that it's hard to come up with original lines and situations. Situation-wise and character-wise, there was plenty of originality in here while still staying true to the trope. However, there were also some lines that are pretty standard in these kind of romances. At first, I wondered why it bothered me. Then I realized it was because the other parts of it were so good and original and then at the crucial romantic moments, it went into conventional territory and I felt like perhaps there could have been some additional element there or something that elevated it so that it matched the rest of the book.

I don't know, perhaps it's a personal thing. It certainly delivered what it promised, though, so for the most part, I'm happy with it.

Thanks to NetGalley and TKA Distribution for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. Kane and Harper are perfect for each other.
  2. Kane and Harper's back stories are both interesting in a sad way.
  3. There are some really sweet moments here. 

THE BAD:

  1. There were some cliche romantic moments.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like bad-boy-good-girl stories.
  2. You like bad boy transformations.
  3. You like stories with characters whose flaws actually feel real instead of just tacked on so you can't say the character is too perfect.

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: Warigami: Combined Arms Origami by Jayson Merrill


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Origami enthusiasts with a particular interest in weaponry will appreciate this unique book, which presents instructions for folding fourteen war machines: six jets, three missiles, and five ground vehicles.Illustrated in full color, the step-by-step directions show how to assemble the models. Origami aircraft include a spy plane, strike fighter, and bomber, plus impaler, javelin, and harpoon missiles that can be mounted on some of the jets. Models of ground vehicles include the predator battle tank and guardian battle walker.
MY TAKE:
I went through an origami phase way back in the day and still dabble in it every now and then, so this book intrigued me.

Warigami contains instructions for creating origami versions of missiles, tanks, and jets.

Since it's been a long while since I've done anything beyond simple origami, I was quite rusty and I've forgotten what the folds are called. There's a guide at the start of the book that explains how some of the folds are done, which is great if you have a hard time remembering how to do the specific folds. I wasn't able to take full advantage of this, though, since I had a digital copy which made flipping back and forth between the guide and the model instructions harder for me.

The models are a pretty good copy, the best you can possibly get via origami. The different types of missiles, tanks, and jets require different sizes of papers, from 2 inches by 2 inches to greater. This means that you can attach some of the missiles to some of the jets. There's instructions on how to do this, which I thought was pretty cool, since that means you can do more than just fly the plane when you're playing with it.

The instructions may be too complex for beginners, though. Novices may be able to follow along, but it helps if you've practiced recently.

Thanks to NetGalley and Dover  Publications for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The finished products look great.
  2. The missiles can be attached to some of the jets.
  3. The drawings and instructions are detailed.

THE BAD:

  1.  Beginners may have a hard time following along.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like building model aircraft.
  2. You like origami.
  3. You like origami projects that you can play with after. 

RATING:
Photobucket 

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
MY TAKE:
As this series continues, things get more and more interesting.

In Clockwork Prince, more and more of the Magister's plan is revealed. Along the way, Tessa and the others see just how far his reach is and what it means for them and the other Shadowhunters.

This series is only the second book so while some questions from the first book are answered, a few more questions and mysteries are introduced here. I thought that the idea of including Aloysius Starkweather's family was a good call, and I'm curious to see the connection. The introduction of Will's sister was less welcome for me, although part of me does understand that this could potentially have a good payoff.

What I'm most thrilled about this book is the development between Tessa, Jem and Will's love triangle. Sophie used to be somewhere in there, but thankfully, she's moved on and things are slightly less complicated.

I've noticed that with a lot of the more recent books I've read that had love triangles, the choice is usually between an arrogant, sometimes rude, I-have-a-deep-reason-for-the-way-I-am guy and a nice, caring friendzone-material guy. Majority of the time, the leading lady goes for the first guy. Here, Tessa is a little more confused because while she feels passion for Will, she also cares for Jem and there's also sparks there. I can say that I am Team Jem, without a doubt. I'm tired of guys like Will always getting the girl. On occasion, I've cheered for guys like that, but here, I think that Jem is the best guy for Tessa. Will doesn't feel like he's at that place mentally and emotionally to be able to handle a mature relationship. There are still some things he needs to take care of, especially with his family, before he can focus on Tessa and think about settling down or being in a relationship.

THE GOOD:

  1. The love triangle isn't too over-the-top.
  2. More interesting details are revealed.
  3. Intriguing mysteries abound. 

THE BAD:

  1. The whole automaton army doesn't feel as scary as it should right now. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“Will has always been the brighter burning star, the one to catch attention — but Jem is a steady flame, unwavering and honest. He could make you happy.” 
READ IT IF:

  1. You're Team Jem.
  2. You enjoyed the first book.
  3. You want to learn more about the universe of The Infernal Devices. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“You haven't broken his heart yet, have you?"
"No," Tessa said. Just torn my own in two. "I haven't broken his heart at all.” 

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them....

MY TAKE:
I was reluctant to start this series because I was worried that Tessa would be too much like Clary and Will would be too much like Jace.

In Clockwork Angel, Tessa Gray goes to London after receiving a letter from her brother. As it turns out, it was a trick. She is rescued by Shadowhunters and now she must work with them to find out what is really going on in London.

I actually enjoyed this book a little bit more than The Mortal Instruments series. Not all the plot twists are fiendishly clever, although there was one major plot twist that I only really figured out just a chapter or so ahead of the other characters.

The presence of automatons and such felt a little strange to me because it seemed like it was a different reality than the ones in TMI. Of course, it is said that the past is a foreign country, so perhaps it's not as strange as I think.

I actually liked the main villain here. His plot was intricate and his planning was excellent. I also liked that he wasn't the kind of villain you'd expect, especially in this universe where the power structures tend to be rigid.

As for the characters, I was right that Will is a lot like Jace. They're both arrogant and self-confident, with family issues they don't really want to talk about or reveal too much about just yet. Tess, thankfully, is a lot more tolerable than Clary. There were moments when she annoyed me with her recklessness and impulsiveness, but away from the field of battle, so to speak, she is okay. As for the supporting characters, the servants at the Institute were all quite nice, although I'm still wary about Sophie. The only Shadowhunter character I really loathed was Jessamine. She was irritating and she really sets back women's rights by several hundred years. She certainly fits the timeline, though.

THE GOOD:

  1. The series could potentially be very interesting.
  2. The villain is a surprise, but not completely unexpected.
  3. The love triangle is more subtle than you'd expect. 

THE BAD:

  1. Will reminds me too much of Jace. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“Remember when you tried to convince me to feed a poultry pie to the mallards in the park to see if you could breed a race of cannibal ducks?"
"They ate it too," Will reminisced. "Bloodthirsty little beasts. Never trust a duck.”

READ IT IF:

  1. You liked The Mortal Instruments series.
  2. You like Jace Wayland.
  3. You like love triangles that aren't so in your face from the get-go. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:



The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Review: The Ship-Shape Shop by Frank Rodgers


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Salty’s junk shop is Janet, Sam and Granny’s favourite shop. But snooty Mrs Grimbly-Whyte wants it knocked down, and the town council agree with her. But ‘never say die’ is Granny’s motto… she comes to the rescue with a brilliant plan and soon the whole family is busy creating a wonderful new shop.
MY TAKE:
I was on the fence about requesting this book because while the premise intrigued me, I wasn't too sure about the illustration style suiting my tastes.

In The Ship-Shape Shop, a junk shop is threatened to be closed down by a snobby townsperson and the town council. To save their favorite shop, Janet, Sam, their parents and Granny, put a plan into action that just might change the town and the town council's opinion about the shop.

I'm very glad I have this book a chance because I really enjoyed it. It had a quaint, whimsical quality about it that reminded me of children's books I read when I was young and that had been published years, and even decades, before I was born.

The illustrations, which I had initially been skeptical about, turned out to be a perfect fit for the story's vibe. The layout was such that there were usually two illustrations per page, one smaller and one bigger, and it was certainly an interesting approach, but was a good call since this doesn't feel like the kind of book that works with a full-page illustration on each page.

The illustrations were quite old-school-ish in style, and they looked like they were done in colored pencils, which I rather liked. My toddler certainly like the illustrations when I showed it to him.

I really liked this book, and I hope to read more in the series, especially if they include Granny and Salty, who I totally ship together, even if this is a children's book and that sort of thing doesn't happen in these books.

Thanks to NetGalley and Hungry Horse for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a sweet, imaginative story.
  2. Granny is a very likable character.
  3. It's the kind of book that parents and children can both enjoy. 

THE BAD:

  1. Some may not be fans of the old-school feel of the book. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like children's books set in small towns.
  2. You feel nostalgic for children's books written years ago.
  3. Your child likes sailors and ships.

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: The Bunk-Bed Bus by Frank Rodgers


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Janet and Sam have the most dynamic granny you’ve ever met. She goes jogging, builds shelves and fixes cars - and when a snooty neighbour tells her she’s not artistic she’s determined to prove her wrong. Granny sets to work and creates a wonderful iron sculpture for the art exhibition. The local children think it’s great - but what will the judges think of the amazing bunk-bed bus?
MY TAKE:
I was unsure about whether or not the illustration style and the font use of this book would be to my liking, but I decided to take a chance anyway, on the basis of the premise of the book.

In The Bunk-Bed Bus, Janet and Sam's Granny decides to join the art exhibition after a snobby neighbor taunts her about not being artistic. She comes up with an amazing concept, but will the art exhibition's panelists be fans?

I enjoyed this book a lot. The idea of not giving up, working hard to prove that it's never too late to learn to do things, and not being afraid to prove doubters wrong are great lessons for children to learn.

I'm a huge fan of Janet and Sam's Granny. She's a cool grandmother, the type that you would love to have as your own. I liked how imaginative, active and inspiring she is. It made me think that this was the kind of book that would be perfect for grandmothers and grandchildren to read together.

It's a very promising start to a children's series, and I for one would love to read more of it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Hungry Horse for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a fun story.
  2. It has a good message.
  3. Granny seems like a cool grandmother. 

THE BAD:

  1. The illustration style may not be some people's cup of tea. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like books with an old-school feel to it.
  2. You are looking for books that would be perfect for grandmothers and their grandchildren to read together.
  3. You like books that have a positive message.

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review: AsapSCIENCE: Answers to the World’s Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors, and Unexplained Phenomena by Mitchell Moffit, Greg Brown


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
From the creators of the wildly popular and seriously scientific YouTube channel, AsapSCIENCE, comes entertaining, irreverent, and totally accessible answers to the questions you never got to ask in science class.
Why do we get hung over? What would happen if you stopped sleeping? Is binge-watching TV actually bad for you? Why should I take a power nap? In their first-ever book, Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown, the geniuses behind YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE, explain the true science of how things work in their trademark hilarious and fascinating fashion.
Applying the fun, illustrated format of their addictive videos to topics ranging from brain freeze to hiccups to the science of the snooze button, AsapSCIENCE takes the underpinnings of biology, chemistry, physics, and other hard sciences and applies them to everyday life through quirky and relatable examples that will appeal to both science nerds and those who didn’t ace chemistry. This is the science that people actually want to learn, shared in a friendly, engaging style. And in the spirit of science, no subject is taboo. Amid the humor is great information and cocktail conversation fodder, all thoughtfully presented. Whether you’re a total newbie or the next Albert Einstein, this guide is sure to educate and entertain...ASAP.

MY TAKE:
I've never seen any AsapSCIENCE videos, but after reading this book, I think I just may start.

In AsapSCIENCE: Answers to the World’s Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors, and Unexplained Phenomena, readers get to learn the science behind things like love, answers to questions like why do we itch, and get tips for lucid dreaming and avoiding hangovers, among others.

With some reference books, the problem is there are not enough illustrations and images to break up the text, so even if the topic interests you, at some point, your mind starts to wander. With this book, there wasn't really any danger of that. The illustrations are in black, white, and blue, and some of them were stick figures, but that's okay as most of them were quite charming. There was also roughly one illustration corresponding to each paragraph and since each paragraph acts more like a caption to the illustration and it's not straight text, it's much easier to keep from getting bored.

That's not to say that the topics are boring. The questions and information are actually all quite interesting. I actually breezed through the book. There aren't a lot of trivia books that you can learn a lot of scientific information on and still say that it's an easy read.

Some of the topics that stuck with me are: the five-second rule, why we tend to dislike pictures of ourselves, tips for avoiding hangovers, and tips for lucid dreaming. These were quite interesting and helpful. If you are prone to hangovers or would like to experience lucid dreaming, you should definitely get this book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Scribner for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's an easy read.
  2. The ratio of text to illustration helps keep you from getting bored quickly.
  3. There's plenty of interesting and useful information here. 

THE BAD:

  1. The font is a bit small. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like trivia books.
  2. You like learning new things.
  3. You wish that reference books had more illustrations and pictures. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review: Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous "Best of"€ lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived €”and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.
The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself, €”for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.
As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
Praise for Seraphina:
A New York Times Bestseller
An Indie Bestseller
Winner of the William C. Morris Debut Award
Winner of the Cybil Award for Teen Fantasy and Science Fiction
An Amazon Top 20 Teen Book of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Library Journal Best Young Adult Literature for Adults Selection
A Booklist Editors’ Choice
An ABA New Voices Pick
A Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author
An ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book
An ALA-YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
Recipient of 8 Starred Reviews
"Beautifully written, well-rounded characters, and some of the most interesting dragons I'€™ve read in fantasy for a long while. An impressive debut novel; I can't wait to see what Rachel Hartman writes next.€"
--Christopher Paolini, New York Times bestselling author of Eragon
"€œA novel that will appeal to both fans of Christopher Paolini'€™s Eragon series and Robin McKinley€™'s The Hero and the Crown."
--”Entertainment Weekly

MY TAKE:
I don't usually read books that are part of a series out of order, but when presented with the opportunity to read Shadow Scale, I grabbed the chance.

In Shadow Scale, in order to protect Goredd, Seraphina must find other half-dragons like her in order to create a protection that can keep dragons out of the city. However, Jannoula has found her way back and what she has in mind is too horrifying to even imagine.

It's been awhile since I've read a high-fantasy book so it took a few chapters to get accustomed to the strange names and places used. However, once I got a firm grasp of the basics, it was easy to get into the story, even though I hadn't read the first book. There are enough clues and explanations in this book for those who haven't read the first book to follow and appreciate the story in this one.

I haven't read a lot of books with dragons as main characters, so this one was a nice change. The characters were well-rounded and didn't feel like stock characters. The world was also well-thought-out and felt complete. Even though I only saw glimpses, I could see in my mind's eye the rest of the world, if that makes any sense.

The story was complex and it's not always easy to predict what comes next. Even during the moments wherein I couldn't understand why something had to happen that way, there was always an acceptable explanation later on.

For all that, however, I didn't connect with this book as well as I expected I would. I mean, the story was great, and so was the world, which is already half the battle for me. However, there were a couple of things that were probably what diminished my enjoyment of the book.

One, is Seraphina herself. I liked her most times, but there were also moments when she irritated me and I felt she needed to toughen up. I prefer my heroines to be a little bit harder than she is emotionally, and more naturally warrior-like, even if they weren't warriors per se in their worlds. As you can imagine, though, there aren't a lot of heroines I've read who were the perfect blend of warrior and vulnerable to me. In that sense, my disappointment with Seraphina was more of a personal preference thing, and I don't think the typical reader would mind it much.

Another thing that I found odd and not to my liking was how the love triangle was resolved. It made sense with the rest of the story, though, so I guess it really is one of those preference things.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The characters are complex.
  2. The world and its history feels real and complete.
  3. The story is intriguing. 

THE BAD:

  1. Seraphina can stand to be a little tougher emotionally. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the first book.
  2. You like books with dragon or dragon-offspring protagonists.
  3. You like complex characters and well-developed fantasy worlds.

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?
Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

On Tuesday afternoon the mystery of Mr. Hardy's absence took a strange turn.

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: The Scarlet Letter (Manga Classics) by Nathaniel Hawthorne


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter.
Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne's tragic saga of Puritan America.
Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions.
Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

MY TAKE:
Prior to reading this book, all I know about The Scarlet Letter was what I read secondhand from books and movies that referenced it.

In The Scarlet Letter, Hester has a child with a man who isn't her husband. Hester has not seen her husband in two years and is surprised to see him in the crowd when she is paraded in front of the townspeople while wearing a badge with the letter A on her chest. She refuses to tell anyone who her child's father is, but her husband vows to find out and exact revenge.

As I expected, this was a mostly sad story with a bittersweet ending. The townspeople were quite hypocritical and superstitious and they really got on my nerves at times. Obviously, this hypocrisy of people is a theme of the story, but so is guilt and how we deal with it and how people can manipulate it. I haven't read the book so I can't say if it's entirely due to the masterful writing of the novel, but this manga was able to convey well the themes of the story and the emotions of the characters. My favorite panel was one wherein Pearl hugged Hester and Hester just looked bewildered.

I found the art lovely, and definitely what I've come to expect from well-drawn and well-written manga. It's been awhile since I've read manga, so there was some initial confusion as to how to read the panels on each page. However, once I got into the groove, everything flowed quite easily. Hester was very pretty, and Pearl was cute, especially when she threw a tantrum or was angry at other children. There were times, though, when she creeped me out a little.

If you're curious about this novel but don't have the patience or inclination to read the actual book, you should definitely consider giving this manga a try.

Thanks to NetGalley and Udon Entertainment for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The drawings are pretty.
  2. It's easy to see and feel the characters' emotions.
  3. You get the gist and message of the novel easily. 

THE BAD:

  1. It would have been even better if it were in full color. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You've always wanted to read the novel.
  2. You want to know what happens in the story but you don't want to commit to reading a long novel.
  3. You need a refresher on what happens in the novel. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:



The Scarlet Letter (Manga Classics) by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review: The Writing Dead: Give Feedback Talking Terror with TV’s Top Horror Writers by Thomas Fahy


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Conversations with the creators, executive producers, and writers of today’s top horror shows
The Writing Dead features interviews with the writers of today’s most frightening and fascinating shows. They include some of television’s biggest names—Carlton Cuse (Lost and Bates Motel), Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies), David Greenwalt (Angel and Grimm), Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, The Terminator series, Aliens, and The Abyss), Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica), Brian McGreevy (Hemlock Grove), Alexander Woo (True Blood), James Wong (The X-Files, Millennium, American Horror Story, and Final Destination), Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files and Millennium), Richard Hatem (Supernatural, The Dead Zone, and The Mothman Prophecies), Scott Buck (Dexter), Anna Fricke (Being Human), and Jim Dunn (Haven).
The Writing Dead features thought-provoking, never-before-published interviews with these top writers and gives the creators an opportunity to delve more deeply into television horror than anything found online. In addition to revealing behind-the-scene glimpses, these writers discuss favorite characters and story lines and talk about what they find most frightening. They offer insights into the writing process reflecting on the scary works that influenced their careers. And they reveal their own personal fascinations with the genre.
The thirteen interviews in The Writing Dead also mirror the changing landscape of horror on TV—from the shows produced by major networks and cable channels to shows made exclusively for online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Studios. The Writing Dead will appeal to numerous fans of these shows, to horror fans, to aspiring writers and filmmakers, and to anyone who wants to learn more about why we like being scared.
Thomas Fahy, New York, New York, is associate professor of English and director of the American Studies Program at Long Island University, Post. He is the author of numerous books, including the young adult horror novels Sleepless and The Unspoken, and editor of The Philosophy of Horror and Alan Ball: Conversations (University Press of Mississippi).

MY TAKE:
I wouldn't consider myself a horror fan, but this book certainly had me reconsidering my preferences.

In The Writing Dead:Give Feedback Talking Terror with TV’s Top Horror Writers, readers get to learn more about some of the best writers and showrunners in the business and their thoughts on the shows they created and wrote for.

Most of the shows these writers wrote for were not new to me, even though I've really only seen one episode of Grimm, and maybe a couple or so seasons of Supernatural. When the writers were asked about their inspirations and characters, there were moments when I drew a blank on who they were, but for the most part, I was able to follow along and enjoy their answers. It helped that the questions were the kind that helped fans learn more about their favorite characters while non-fans still get insights on the genre.

The writers were also asked questions about when and how they got into writing, as well as what the best criticism they received was. The amazing thing I noticed was that a lot of them mentioned Stephen King as an influence. Also, they tend to agree that the best horror writing is when characters are well fleshed-out and viewers care about the characters and what happens to them. I guess I never really thought about it, but I'd have to agree with that.

Overall, I'd say this book is worth a read, especially if you're a fan of any of the shows these writers have done. Even if you're not, you may want to still read this. It's a fascinating take on what makes good horror television. It's also made me seriously think about watching more Grimm episodes.

Thanks to NetGalley and University Press of Mississippi for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It provides plenty of insights.
  2. You get a behind-the-scenes look at some famous television horror series.
  3. It's an interesting read. 

THE BAD:

  1. The format is really just transcripts of interviews, preceded by a paragraph about the person interviewed. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You're a fan of any of the shows the interviewees have created or written for.
  2. You are a fan of horror, in general.
  3. You want to learn more about television production. 

RATING:
Photobucket

SOUNDS INTERESTING?

Photobucket

Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...