blog about reviews writing

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Amazing Covers Part One

Here are some of my favorite book covers.  I dare you to tell me these are not awesome.

Raven Rise (Pendragon, #9)
I know, I actually like the new cover.   Isn't that awesome, though?  Especially if you know what the star stand for.

Infinity (Chronicles of Nick #1)
I haven't read this yet, but with a cover like that, how can you not want to pick it up?

The City of Ember (Books of Ember, #1)
I love the way "ember" is spelled out in the lightbulb.  That's just cool.
Whirlwind (Dreamhouse Kings, #5)
It's cooler in real life, which I would know because I own it.  The darker parts are raised and it's a tad shiny.
The Dragon Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #3)
I'm not quite sure what that...thing is,  but it's very interesting.
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)
He's glowing, which looks cool but doesn't really connect to the book.
Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)
It's purple and shiny, and I love her dress.  What more could you want?
The Bones Of Makaidos (Oracles Of Fire, #4)
This one is probably only awesome if you have any idea who those girls are and what on earth they're doing.

What are some of your favorite covers, Oh Faithful Blog Followers of Awesomeness?  What do you like in a cover?  Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Series Spotlight: The Books of Pellinor by Allison Croggan

The Naming: The First Book of PellinorIn the classic spirit of epic fantasy comes this glittering saga of a young girl who learns she possesses an uncanny gift - and is destined to use it to save her world from a terrifying evil.

Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child when her family is destroyed in war. She doesn't yet know she has inherited a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the noble School of Pellinor and enables her to see the world as no other can. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true identity and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now, she and her mysterious teacher must embark on a treacherous, uncertain journey through a time and place where the forces of darkness wield an otherworldly terror. 
The Riddle: The Second Book of Pellinor (Pellinor Trilogy)
The first book in a projected quartet, Alison Croggon's epic about Maerad and her remarkable yet dangerous gift is a beautiful, unforgettable tale. Presented as a new translation of an ancient text, The Naming evokes the rich and complex landscape of Annar, a legendary world just waiting to be discovered.

This series is definitely one of the hidden gems of YA fantasy, and honestly, it's got pretty much everything you could ask for in a book.  Of course, I love epic fantasy in the style of LOTR, so no wonder I loved these.  But honestly: they're amazingly well-written, with a rich, wonderfully war-torn (Oh yeah.*  Take that, contradictory adverb police!) setting that's unbelievably real.  It's got some fairly obvious fantasy archetypes, but hey...that's how I like my books!  

The Crow (The Books of Pellinor, #3)The characters are also wonderful.  They're so complex, it's almost insane.  As you read, you definitely grow attached to them.  Especially Cadvan, who was always my favorite.  Except the oh-he's-dead-just-kidding-nope-he's-really-dead-now-haha-fooled-you-again-no-this-time-I'm-serious-ha-you're-gullible-aren't-you thing.  Okay, maybe not that extreme, but you get the point.

The Singing (The Books of Pellinor, #4)I think the main reason to read these books, though, is that they're epic.  Epic as in all-out battle for everything, battle scenes everywhere kind of epic.  It will admit that it gets a bit slow, but it still grabs your interest.  I never got bored.  And besides...I've never cried during a book before, but the closest I've ever come was in The Riddle.  Don't you think that says something about the amazingness of these books?

The List:
The Naming (called The Gift in some other country or something)
The Riddle
The Crow
The Singing

*Apparently I say "Oh yeah!" exactly like Vector from Despicable Me.  Just keep that in mind as you're reading.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

ABC Saturday: G is for Glasses

Yes.  Annie wears glasses. They're purple, of course.   She's been a four-eyes since sixth grade.  Her vision isn't too bad, but she still needs them.  She won't run into walls without them, but she'd have trouble reading a billboard from inside the car. She hates it when she's not wearing them and people do dumb things like ask "How many fingers am I holding up?"    Why doesn't she get contacts?  She hates it when people ask that, too.  What makes contacts so much better than glasses, anyway?  She's happy with her glasses (though they're inconvenient for volleyball), so why change?
And anyway, lots of cool people wear glasses.  Harry Potter wears them.  Arthur wears them (ha).  And anyway, about three-quarters of Americans need some sort of vision correction.  So there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pathfinder (Serpent World #1) by Orson Scott Card

PathfinderA powerful secret. A dangerous path. 

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain. 

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.

First Look: ***** This looked pretty interesting.  The cover isn't all that exciting, but the premise looked fantastically amazing.  I love time travel.

Setting: ***** 
It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, either.  The world was richly imagined and complex, but I still just couldn't picture myself there.  Some aspects of it didn't even make sense and left me *metaphorically* scratching my head in confusion. And there was no map, which didn't help.

Characters: *****  
Again, they were interesting, well-developed characters, for the most part, but I just couldn't connect with them.  I felt no emotion whatsoever from them, even when I should've been crying or something.  I just couldn't find a reason to absolutely love them, and I never really cared whether they succeeded or not.  Rigg would've made a fascinating character, had I not felt so disconnected from him. Umbo was quite amusing, though.

Plot: ***** 
Aaaaargh. This is so frustrating.  This plot had so much promise, and there were moments where I was starting to really get into it, but it just didn't pull through for me. My main problem was that it was about three hundred pages too long.  Seriously.  There were action scenes, yes, but they weren't enough to keep my attention throughout the entire book.  It would just spend five pages with the characters simply going over their present situation and making plans.  We don't need to see that.  And besides, the intrigue fell a little flat.  The whole story just should've followed the spaceship; that would've been cooler.

Uniqueness: *****
It actually was fairly unique.  You've got a fantasy novel...with some story about a spaceship at the beginning of every chapter.  I loved that aspect of it.  

Writing: *****
Nothing was ever over-described, yet it was still too long-winded for me.  Things were repeated over and over and over, when I got it the first time.  The writing just felt so...disconnected from the story. 

I loved all of the complex time travel stuff.  Because I'm just weird like that.  And the spaceship stuff was pretty cool.

I've read the entire book, skipping nothing, and frankly, I still have no clue why the series is called Serpent World.  And to argue with the tagline on the cover: It was really Umbo that could change it, not Rigg. 

Total Score: ***** 
This was an okay read.  The premise was interesting enough, and some aspects really followed through with that.  Others, though, just fell flat. I couldn't connect with the characters, and the story failed to pull me in.  There was so much unneeded information during the story, making it way too long, even for someone like me who loves huge books.  If it looks really interesting to you, try it, but otherwise I'd pass. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Darkness in YA: From a YA's Point of View

If you've been on any sort of book blog, Inkpop, or whatever, you've probably noticed this huge outcry in defense of YA literature.  It's like someone dropped a bombshell or something, honestly.  Who knew that a simple little article could make such a splash?

For you information, the article is right here.  It's basically about how YA books these days are too dark and violent and explicit and aren't good for the young, impressionable YA minds.

Yeah, I know, it's old news by now, but I have to take my stand anyway.

Point 1: Pretty much everyone who reads YA fiction is just that--a young adult.  Sure, adults read it, and you've got the occasional ten-year-old *coughthatwasmecough* for whom the children's section isn't enough, but the audience is mostly teenagers.  With some exceptions, teenagers are mature enough to know what makes them uncomfortable and what doesn't.  If a book is too much for them, they're going to stop reading.  Simple as that.  They know their own limits in that regard.

Point 2: The point of fiction isn't to "prepare readers for the real world".  If that was the case, it wouldn't be fiction.  Readers read simply so they can enjoy the story.  We aren't ignorant; we know there are bad things in the world.  We don't need books to tell us that.  On the other hand, just because we read something violent doesn't mean we'll assume the world is that way.  If a reader can't make the distinction between real life and fiction, then they aren't old enough to be reading in the YA section.  Which brings me to point three...

Point 3: It's not the job of publishers, libraries, schools, the government, Voldemort, or any random person on the street's job to decide what is appropriate for teens to read.  That is the job of the parent alone.  If they don't feel that it's appropriate, it's their job to solve that problem.  I can't think of any way to put that more bluntly.

Point 4: FREEDOM OF THE PRESS, PEOPLE!  IT'S IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS!  Frankly, people can write whatever they want.  You can't tell them not to.  If you don't want to read it, then don't!  But don't interfere with what other people want to read.  It's not your problem.  (By the way, I'm extremely, extremely against book censoring.  Sure, there are books that I don't think are appropriate to read, but that's my personal choice, and I stay away from them.  It's that easy.)

Point 5: Alright.  Attack The Marbury Lens all you want.  I will stand in defense of it forever.

Point 6: To tell you the truth, I find the "books for young men" and "books for young women" thing really, really annoying.  So, what, girls can't read boy books?  I almost never read "girl books".  In fact, most of my favorites were heavily geared towards boys.   

Point 7: I know teenagers, because I am one.  And I'm fairly sure that banning books will make teens want to read them even more.  I'm just sayin'.  I also find it interesting that a few of the books that site recommended have actually been banned in the past.  (As a side note, the website I checked said that The Hunger Games had been contested for "violence and sexuality".  Sexuality?  What?  Are you kidding?  At least read the book before you ban it, people.)

So, there you have it.  What did you think of that article, and the subject in general?

Edit: So they'll bash books for being brutal, but then go and recommend Ship Breaker? *snicker*  Is this article supposed to make sense?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

ABC Saturday: F is for Flute

Annie has been playing flute for five years, and counting.  She'd love to know how many hours she's spent on it.  Let's just say it would be a very high number.  She plays in the high school band, and takes lessons, and lettered this year in what everyone knows is the coolest activity around (Ha.  Nice try.)...pep band! 

Annie also started playing piccolo a year or so ago.  It's so TINY and cute!  She loves it.  It's so much easier to carry than, say, a tuba.  Its name is Rodney, but there's a very long story involved with that and she doesn't want to waste blog space with it.

She has discovered that her piccolo comes in very handy when she's trying to get a large group of people to be quiet.  Just blast the quadruple high C, and bam, everybody stops talking and covers their ears!  It's almost surprising that those notes don't break windows.  Just image the treble clef for a minute.  Normal instruments can play a line or two above that, maybe.  Flutes can go seven or more.  And a piccolo?  Double that.  It's an insane number of ledger lines, so shrill that everything has to be written an octave lower to fit on the music.  What is the highest note a piccolo can play called?  For your sake, let's just call it insane.    

If she wasn't playing flute, she'd definitely be playing percussion.  Or bass clarinet.  She never wishes that she could switch, though...except when she's trying to trill the triple high C# or something.  Then percussion sounds like a better deal.  But she loves her flute. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lumatere...And An Announcement

I'm excited, Oh Faithful Blog Followers of Awesomeness.  You'll never, ever guess why.

Ha.  I'm sure it's easy to figure out.  I found out about a new book, of course!

I just saw the cover for Froi of the Exiles, and read the synopsis/pitch/thinger.  I'm so excited!  If you haven't read Finnikin of the Rock, go get your hands on it right this minute.

Blood sings to blood …
Those born last will make the first …
For Charyn will be barren no more.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes...

But when Queen Isaboe and her consort Finnikin send him on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, a surreal royal court, and soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess.

In this barren and mysterious place he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

Gripping and intense, complex and richly imagined, Froi of the Exiles is a dazzling sequel to Finnikin of the Rock, from the internationally best-selling and multi-award-winning author of Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, On the Jellicoe Road and The Piper’s Son.

If that's not epic, I'm not sure what is.  But, let's get to the announcement.  I've just found out the title for the final* Artemis Fowl book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*insert even more exclamation marks here*  Nobody knows anything about the plot yet.  But the title is.....*drumroll*


Yeah.  I know.  What?  I'm not a big fan.  It sounds a bit...generic.  Definitely not as cool as The Arctic Incident, or The Atlantic Complex, or The Time Paradox, or The Eternity Code, or The Opal Deception, or...I just named all of them, didn't I?   But, oh well, it's Artemis Fowl.

So while I'm at it, I'll share some other upcoming books that I'm excited about.
Inheritance (Inheritance, #4)

This can't come out fast enough for me.  Who isn't excited for this?  Let's be honest: the fans are clamoring to find out how it ends, and the non-fans just want the fans to finally shut up.  Later, I'll post my predictions, because I pretty much have figured out how I think the whole thing will go.

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Yeah, there's been a lot of hype about this.  But the cover is cool, so hopefully it won't disappoint!

Legend (Legend, #1)
This just plain looks awesome.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Through Her EyesEvery ghost has a story to tell. 

The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But it's the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar—a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal—that have the most chilling impact on her. 

Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry's dangerous reality—before she loses touch with her own life forever.

First Look: ***** I won this in another Inkpop Weekly Challenge (you have no idea how much I love those things).  The cover is very generic, but the premise looked interesting enough.

Setting: *****  
Eh.  The house was supposedly haunted, but it never really was described in detail. I couldn't picture it.  Other than the house, there was nothing to make it stand out. I don't understand; why do all these MCs have problems with small towns? What's wrong with them? I live in a smallish town, and we're perfectly normal people and we don't live in the Old West or something.

Characters: *****  
They were actually realistic. Yeah, I know, I'm bad...I went into this assuming that they'd be just so-so.  Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised.  Most of Tansy's feelings felt real, and I really got to like her when I was near the end.  Tate and Henry were so refreshing as love interests--they weren't too perfect.  They had flaws, too.  I think the author could've delved even more into Henry's personality, though; I'm still left with questions about him.  Why was he so...weird?  Why did he hurt himself?  And who doesn't want a friend like Bethyl Ann?

Plot: ****
Again, another pleasant surprise.  Once I got past the beginning, that is.  What, can you buy YA paranormal beginnings real cheap at the dollar store or something?  Honestly, most of these first few chapters are utterly interchangeable with any other paranormal book's first few chapters.  Girl moves unwillingly to tiny nowheresville town, resolves herself to hate it, goes to new school, bla bla bla.  Give us something more interesting, please, authors!  After that part, I finally started getting into the story.  The mystery was nicely played out, and I couldn't guess what was coming.  

Uniqueness: ***** 
It would've been four stars, except for the overly clichéd beginning.  Other than that, it was mostly unique. 

Writing: ****
There was nothing that outright bothered me.  I have a few minor nitpicks here and there, but nothing really worth going into detail over.  I loved, loved, loved the poetry!  I wish we could've seen more of it.  

Nothing that hasn't been mentioned above.

I wanted to learn more about Henry, but we never did.  And it didn't give off the creepy vibe that a story involving ghosts should.  Other than that, again, nothing that hasn't been mentioned above. 

Total Score: ****
This was actually a pretty good read!  I can't say I outright loved it, but I definitely enjoyed it.  I don't think I've ever read this much of a ghost story before; maybe I should get more into the genre.  It's nice to read a real paranormal book that isn't a ripoff of Twilight*; it was fresh, with a concept that hasn't been done over and over and over.  The characters were interesting and realistic.  I liked how it combined a past story with the present one.  I'd recommend it to people who like actual paranormal, mystery lovers, or people who just plain like a decent ghost story.   

*Which I don't understand anyway. Why write a ripoff of a book that is only a two-star read to start with?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Song and A Message

I was going to post about block description or something today.  Look at that: I can't even remember.  Wow.  Anyway, I had a post all planned out.  That is, until something slightly weird happened.

I don't know.  I was probably just too emotionally involved in my book that I wasn't quite processing the real world.  But take awesome weirdness as it comes, right?*

You've probably experienced a weird moment where it feels like God is speaking to you.  Through your iPod.  You're just sitting there, and suddenly, a song plays that fits exactly with whatever you're going through, whatever mood you're in.  Sure, shuffle is random, but the timing is just way too perfect to be coincidence.**

Well, yesterday I had a moment like that.  It was like God was speaking through my characters through my iPod.  I found the most amazing, perfect song, for my characters, and for just my writing in general.  Yes, the song is about life, but it could also be about a writer's characters.  I played the song twice.

And here you have it: Beautiful Words, by The Afters.  From the album Never Going Back to OK.

Enjoy.  The Afters are amazing, anyway.

Have you ever had any weird iPod-communication moments?  Or just any awesome songs that played at the right time?  Please share!

*Well, that's my life motto, at least.  (Okay, not really.)
**This is not counting the time when I asked my iPod "How will I die?" and pressed shuffle.  The first song to come up was "Dragon Battle" from the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack.  I felt amazingly epic.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5) by Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate. 

 First Look: ***** People, people, people.* This is Percy Jackson we're talking  about here.  How could I expect anything less than amazing?  If you've been paying any attention to my reviews, you'll have noticed that I try to match the star colors with the book cover.  Well, The Last Olympian has a green cover but blue stars.  Yes, this has everything to do with blue waffles and cupcakes.  Why have I waited so long to actually finish the series?  Let's just say it has to do with getting shiny new HarperTeen books, being appalled at the Percy Jackson movie (Though it is fun to make fun of, and it does have Logan Lerman...), and a very, very, very slow library.

Setting: ***** 
Sometimes the best settings are the ones that are like our world...but not.  This is exactly the case with this series.  It's Earth,'s got cooler stuff, like demigods.  And centaurs.  Riordan doesn't even need to describe anything, but he does a fabulous job with making his world real around the reader.

Characters: ***** 
This has always been the number one reason to continue reading the series, for me.  The characters.  They're just so incredibly likable, and they're so real.  Even if they are a cyclops.**  Annabeth has always been my favorite.  This has everything to do with the fact that she's a lot like me.  We have a very similar personality, and the same attitude towards Percy.  He's lovable, yet he's the most obnoxious person on the face of...erm, Olympus.  I outright hated him in the first few books, but I learned to like him as a character. 

Plot: ***** 
Epic.  Very, very epic.  I love it!  Going into this, I was half afraid that the ending might be very anti-climatic, but of course I didn't have that problem. It was an amazing, breathtaking end to the series. It did not disappoint in any way.  I couldn't put it down.  Luckily I got to read it pretty fast, because of finals week (I finish tests really, really fast).  

Uniqueness: *****
Well, duh. What do you expect?

Writing: *****
I wish I could write like this.  The writing is intense, yet hilarious.  Emotion-packed, yet perfectly paced and never leaving the reader behind.  Nice.

Um...all of it?

The ending with Luke was just a bit predictable.  I called it from book one.  Or maybe I'm just mad about him to start with, because in the first book I though he was such an awesome character, then...boom!  He just pulled a Murtagh on us!***

Total Score: ***** 
Five stars for Percy Jackson.  Five stars for the series.  This is definitely a satisfying end to the entire series.  It's action packed, and exciting, and hilarious.  It won't disappoint.  I'd recommend this series to anyone, anywhere.  Especially if you like Greek mythology, because the way Riordan uses it is purely awesome.  Read the series!!!  It's definitely one series that actually goes uphill.  But now I'm sad, because it's all over....

*Or demigods, monsters, or Olympians, or hippocampi, or...whatever. You get the point.
**I love Tyson.   He's awesome.  'Nuff said.
*** To pull a Murtagh (v.): 1. to have your favorite character suddenly turn evil. 2. when an author makes your favorite character turn to the dark side, all the while saying "Ha!  Gotcha!  I'm the author, so I can do this!".   This is not always a bad thing, but can get annoying when every one of your favorite characters decides to turn villain.

ABC Saturday: E is for Eeyore

When Annie was really little, she got a stuffed Eeyore and instantly fell in love with it.  She's had that same stuffed animal ever since.  It sits on her bed, even now.  It's adorable.  She'll probably end up taking it to college.

Let's face it.  He's just so cute!  
In seventh grade, Annie went to Disney World.  At that point, her original Eeyore was starting to show his elderly-ness, so she decided to get a smaller, newer version to take on trips.  His name is Eeyore Junior, but he's better known as "The Travel Size".  He's just as cute, and softer, but definitely not as special.  But Annie still loves him.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Team Flair

If you haven't already guessed, I like flair.  You know, those little buttons you can collect on Facebook.  I've got 290 and counting.  Yes, 290.  And only three of those were given to me by a friend. I'll tell you what each one is a reference to at the end, just so you can try to guess them all.  If you got 'em all (You're supposed to imagine me singing that like in the Pokemon theme song), comment!  You'll get an...e-cupcake!

I've noticed that ever since the Team Edward/Team Jacob thing started, a lot of other 'teams' have come about.  Here are all the team whatever flair that I have in my collection:

1. You don't want to know how hard I laughed when I saw this.
2. Yes.  He is.  Of course.

3. I just like this movie.  And I wish I had his talent.
4. Self-explanatory.
5. You're right!  He's more than that!  He's also my favorite character!

6. Take that!  Frosting is the final defense of the dying!

7. Then life would've been better for everyone.

8.  (The small print says: "because for some people, it's hard to see who the real hero is". )  He will always be my favorite character, no matter how many of my other favorite characters he ends up killing.
9. This one is making fun of the "Come to the dark side, we have cookies!" flair.
10. Yes.  Or Jayfeather, actually...

11. "The pen is mightier than the sword", they say.  I'd be team pen.  But why choose?

 1. Lord of the Flies 2. The Gone Series 3. August Rush 4. Dragons in our Midst/Oracles of Fire 5. Gone 6. The Hunger Games 7. Twilight 8. Eragon 9. Flair 10. Warriors 11. Percy Jackson and the Olympians                              
This has been another by Annie.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure. 

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain. 

Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn

Note: Did you see my little technical difficulty, there, with the early posting? *glares at Blogger*
First Look: ***** I won this in another Inkpop Challenge.  Yay for free books with at least some shininess on the cover!  I like the cover, and the whole pirate-ish aura it gives off.  And it has a girl with a sword, which is good because I like swordfights in books.  (And apparently, swordfights isn't a word.  Oh, shut up, spellcheck!)

Setting: ****
I'm going to let you in on a little secret: I like ships. A lot. Well, in books, anyway. I've never been on a real ship, especially not a pirate ship. But I want to! So, since it was mostly on a ship, I liked the setting. And I liked the historical aspects of it.

Characters: *****
Jill was straying way too far into Mary Sue territory for my liking.  She didn't have a hard time at all adapting to a new culture, being away from her family, traveling through time, for goodness' sake.  She fit in way too easily, and everything just seemed to come easy for her all around.  Edmund Blane really didn't work out as a villain for me.  He didn't seem to have any motives other than "Well, I'm supposedly evil, so I might as well do something villainous." Captain Cooper was the one that I liked; she had some nice internal conflict going on there, and I could really feel her personality coming through.

Plot: *****
It was alright.  There were some pretty decent action/swordfight sequences, but it just didn't come together for me.  Probably because everything way too easy for the protagonist, when the opposite should be true.  Protagonists should have to face everything that's difficult for them, within reason.  And the climax went way too fast, and again, they beat the "bad guy" too easily.  And, I don't care for romance, so I was okay with this, but still.  One of my book pet peeves is when the jacket says something about the book that isn't a lie, but it's twisting the truth. This one did that. There was no romance, people. She kisses the guy once (and randomly, too, just out of nowhere), and they hug another time. What?

Uniqueness: *****
I felt like this was trying to be very Pirates of the Caribbean-esque, but it just didn't seem that original. 

Writing: *****
It really bothered me.  It got better as the story progressed, but the beginning was way too rushed.  Nothing at all was described.  Especially the part when she fell over the side of the boat.  Seriously, it was just "she fell", and then that was it.  I've never reviewed a book before that actually under-described things. It just didn't flow right. The pacing was off and it just...I don't know, felt too amateur.

I'm a huge fan of time travel.  And, confession number two: pirates are cool.

There was a magic sword?  Cool!  How does it work?  Oh, wait, nobody but me cares. There was magic, apparently, but nobody bothered to explain how it worked. Another pet peeve of mine.

Total Score: *****
It was alright.  It was exciting and grabbed my attention in some places, but there were too many places where I just wasn't connected to it.  The characters were just meh.  If you like pirates, or just plain straight-up no-vampires-involved adventure stories, it's probably worth a try, especially with all of the Pirates of the Caribbean hype lately. Otherwise, it's just an okay read, and you'd probably be better off watching Pirates anyway, if you're looking for something truly amazing and attention-grabbing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm not a chick. I'm a young female human being.

Rant ahoy!

 The million dollar question:

There are girls in this picture.  There also are chicks.  Can you figure out which is which?  

This is something that's been bothering me for a long, long time.  Why do people refer to girls as chicks?  It doesn't make sense.  It drives me nuts.  I'm a girl, and I don't appreciate being called a chick.  Chicks are premature chickens.  Girls are young female people.  Guess what...there's a difference!  
So, people, remember this.  Next time you toss out the word "chick" instead of "girl", keep in mind that some people won't appreciate that.
For your information: here is an actual chick.  Just so you know.

Rant over.  This has been another by Annie.
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