review: the unbecoming of mara dyer

30 June 2012

book info:
ages: 13 and up
grades: 8 and up, Years 9 and up
on sale: now
copy from: library
pages: 456

title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
author: Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

I've read this book in about a day. I was, an unsuspecting girl looking through the shelves of my young adult section at the library. There are old, faded spines and books I've seen there since the beginning of time...and then this. I was so thrilled to find this! I'd expect there to be a queue of like, a hundred people, but for this to be left on the shelf? Magnificent.

On with the review! It's absolutely amazing how Ms. Hopkin's can suddenly change from normal to extreme. One moment, the story is going along like any young adult teenage-problem story to something dramatic and severe. That sort of transition is really unexpected, and the unexpected nowadays (young adult literature-wise) is truly a gift.
Mara's character is not the usual shy, bookish nerd girl. She's strong, snarky and a bit rude. The love-interest  Noah (an English kid!) isn't the typical knight-in-shining-armour. He's got his own, strange personality as well. I think Ms. Hopkin's has achieved this remarkable tale of originality. Coming up with an original story, as original as this, is hard to do. 

I must say, I was a bit biased against this book because of the title. Yeah, that's right: the title. It sounded like other chick flick books like "The true confessions of ______" or "the ramblings of a teenage _____" And the full name "Mara Dyer" She says it so often, like when people ask for her name. When people do that to me, I respond "Kirthi". My last name isn't important. Yet Mara finds it necessary to say "Mara Dyer" every time. Her last name is strange as well. It sounds like "Die-er". Perhaps it was meant to be like that, a morbid hidden clue to readers. 

Back to the title. There was one word that truly intrigued me, and it was "unbecoming". I thought of someone unraveling, or slowly turning into something inhuman, like a monster. Or just someone changing so much, that he or she doesn't recognise himself or herself any more. It turns out the actual definition is "detracting from one's appearance, character, or reputation;unattractive or unseemly" (Random House dictionary). That definition could be applied to the story, but I think mine is more suiting :)

All in all, I love Ms. Hodkin's writing. She's a true writer, with such beautiful and lovely and stunning simplicity, with an underlying, haunting feel about it all. Love her writing, and I'm definitely a fan. 

Now, I'm not into horror or mystery or paranormal that much, so I'm going to have to mark down this book to a four tree rating, purely because of my taste in books.




review: xor the shape of darkness

book info:
ages: 9 and up
grades: 3 and up
on sale: now (amazon)
copy from: author
pages: 295

title: XOR: The Shape of Darkness
author: Moshe Sipper

On his twelfth birthday Lewis Nash comes home from school to find that his house has blown up to smithereens, killing his father. Having lost his mother in an accident four years earlier, Lewis realizes he is now an orphan — but he has no time to dwell on it. The moment he gets off the school bus a fearsome wolf-man tries to grab him. The boy is saved in the nick of time by Master Long, who reveals to him that he’s a Shaper from a place called Xor, which is being devoured by the Realm Pirates. Lewis learns that he must do his utmost to become the powerful Shaper he was destined to be.

Because, it would seem, he’s the one and only chance Xor has.

I was asked by the author, Moshe Sipper, to review this book. I thought, of course, that it was a science fiction for young adults, and eagerly accepted. But I soon found out that it's a more appropriately middle grade book that's ninety-nine percent fantasy fiction.

In the mind of a middle grader, I still would not have enjoyed this book. There are so many things I didn't like, so I'll make a bullet point list. Hopefully, it'll be constructive criticism and not just plain rude thoughts:

  • The beginning is WAY too fast. I'd like some time to adjust and fall into the story, not be forced into it head on
  • There's too much "explaining". It's like Lewis asks questions so often and gets them answered that it seems like it's just a book with little story and too much explanation going on.
  • Xor is not a believable planet. Apparently, it was once part of Earth and split off. Where did it go? How can it be far away. All these questions aren't answered.
  • Writing a whole new planet, I've discovered while writing my science fiction one, is incredibly difficult. For instance, one doesn't call a Spaniard "Earthling". One calls him a "human" or "Spaniard". We don't say "He was in the continent of Africa", we'd say "He's in Namibia" Xor seems too...unrealistic and too...poorly written? 
  • There's little characterisation and not enough small details written in about each character
All in all, I think this book could use a lot more work on it. I wouldn't recommend it to guys, but maybe consider it for a primary school-er or elementary school-er. So I, to my regret and sorrow, have to give this book one tree. I don't post a review if the book is bad, but since the author sent me a copy in exchange for one, I've written it.

feature and follow friday: with a twist

29 June 2012

I don't like Feature and Follow Friday's because it forces people to follow this blog, of whom are not really interested in my content, and are only interested in getting followers for their blogs. I know this isn't true for everyone, but it's an underlying concept. Therefore, I've changed it a bit to fit me. Why? Because a blog that doesn't grow is stale and boring. And as a blogger and person, I'm constantly craving meeting people and interacting.

SO If you're visiting (thank you so much!) here's what's happening:

  • If I followed you, you are NOT required to follow me back: only if you want to
  • If you follow me, I'll seriously consider following you back, but it's not guaranteed
I know it's part of the hop, that it's basic courtesy to follow you back, but...I'm not sure I can do it. I don't believe in following a blog that I don't think I'll enjoy, even though you're an awesome person. Gosh, I feel like I'm just ruining the fun of this hop. SORRY!


Birthday Wishes — Blow out the candles and imagine what character could pop out of your cake…who is it and what book are they from??

Puck. There are so many variations of Shakespeare's original, but apart from that one, I'd say Puck from Michael Buckley's The Sisters Grimm

puck as a walrus
 He's mischievous and fun, and can turn into anything. He could turn into a squirrel, hide inside the cake, and just when I blow out the candles he'll shoot up and wish me a happy birthday! We could do soo many things! Trampoline into space, draw food and make it turn real, make Puck turn into a massive eagle and fly around town yelling "TO MOUNT DOOM! HURRY!"


If you haven't read the books, which are mainly geared for middle grade readers, I think you should. It's a perfect mix between maturity and humour, and is absolutely thrilling to read! And thank you so much for stopping by! Drop a comment and I'll hop over to your blog :)


review: life of pi

25 June 2012

book info:
ages: 15 and up
grades: 9 and up
on sale: now
copy from: library
pages: 319

title: Life of Pi
author: Yann Martel

Growing up in Pondicherry, India, Piscine Molitor Patel - known as Pi - has a rich life. Bookish by nature, young Pi acquires a broad knowledge of not only the great religious texts but of all literature, and has a great curiosity about how the world works. His family runs the local zoo, and he spends many of his days among goats, hippos, swans, and bears, developing his own theories about the nature of animals and how human nature conforms to it. Pi’s family life is quite happy, even though his brother picks on him and his parents aren’t quite sure how to accept his decision to simultaneously embrace and practise three religions - Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.

But despite the lush and nurturing variety of Pi’s world, there are broad political changes afoot in India, and when Pi is sixteen, his parents decide that the family needs to escape to a better life. Choosing to move to Canada, they close the zoo, pack their belongings, and board a Japanese cargo ship called the Tsimtsum. Travelling with them are many of their animals, bound for zoos in North America. However, they have only just begun their journey when the ship sinks, taking the dreams of the Patel family down with it. Only Pi survives, cast adrift in a lifeboat with the unlikeliest oftravelling companions: a zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.


This is yet another summer reading books I had to read. I knew it was pretty popular, having seen others with the copy, so I wasn't to disappointed on reading it. See, I have a good feeling on books I want to read and want I don't want to read, and even when I had first heard of it, I didn't want to read it.

You can probably tell by my tone of that first paragraph how this review is going to play out. The first pages was Mr Martel's background on this story, and then the pages afterwards was a boring, with a report on sloths.  The rest of the story maintained this boringness continuously. The only time I was ever interested was reading about Pi and Richard Parker on that boat together, and even it wasn't well done. The last few pages were difficult to understand.

I think I'm not thinking deeply enough, or just not seeing what I'm supposed to be seeing. Mr Martel said in one interview, "The theme of this novel can be summarised in three lines. Life is a story. You can choose your story. And a story with an imaginative overlay is the better story" This latter was what I knew is present, but what I thought was not effectively, or rather clearly, shown in the story. He mentions that the best overlay is religion. The story started off with this, and I thought that I'd love to read more on his religious journey through the world. But it abruptly changes with ending up on a boat with a tiger. I fail to see the connection between these two significant aspects of the book.

With respect to the author and lovers of of this novel, I won't continue pointing out particular flaws, and will end with...if it sounds interesting, then read it. But I wouldn't recommend this. So it gets one and half trees. To be honest, it's one of the lowest ratings I've given so far. I think I remember my vow to not review a book if I didn't like it, but this is a summer reading book, and I hope to catalogue these thoughts for later use. So sorry!



review: the agony and the ecstasy

24 June 2012

book info:
ages: 15 and up
grades: 9 and up
on sale: now
copy from: Barnes and Noble (my brother)
pages: 760 (small pages and print)

title: The Agony and the Ecstasy
author: Irving Stone


From the tumult of life, his brilliant work made a grasp for heaven unmatched in half a millennium. Now, in a special ediction celebrating the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo's David, Irving Stone's towering triumph: The Agony and the Ecstasy

The Renaissance was a turbulent time of plotting princes, warring popes, the all-powerful de' Medici family, the fanatical monk Savonarola... and the brilliant young artist Michelangelo Buonarroti.

under construction

23 June 2012

dear Readers:
  this blog is undergoing some maintenance and editing, so if you'll not take into consideration any of the changes that are going to be happening until it's all done. Sorry for the inconvenience!

 Also, the lovely absolutely amazing designer that's helped me with all this is creating her design blog, so I'm going to wait until it's complete to introduce her to you all!

interview: marissa meyer + giveaway!

21 June 2012

I've got a treat for everyone! My first interview in ages, with a brilliant author called Marissa Meyer. In an age of dystopian novel frenzy, she's created a unique story of her own, set in futuristic China, striking a balance between the old and new world. It's called: Cinder (in case you don't know, being stuck in a box or something, haha) And I'm absolutely thrilled to have her here! She's so sweet and incredibly kind and I hope you all enjoy this interview as much as I have!



K: Hello Mrs. Meyers! Thank you so much for stopping by! How are you?

M: I’m fantastic, thank you! Very happy to be interviewed on Pages today. J



 1. What was most challenging about writing a novel set in the future?

Trying to balance the world-building with the story. I wanted to create a futuristic world with technology that was both impressive and realistic, but I didn’t want the reader to feel like they were drowning in techy terminology and explanations of how things work. I found myself frequently over-writing and using all these interesting tidbits I’d found during research, and then having to go through and cut it all out because it didn’t matter to the story. In the end, I wanted New Beijing to seem real and tactile, but to still be in the background to what was happening with my characters.


2.       If you could hang out with one of the characters from Cinder, who would it be? What would the character say to you?

      Iko – Cinder’s android sidekick. She says the wackiest things, without always knowing that they’re wacky, and she has fabulous taste in clothes and accessories. I’d love to take her shopping, because I don’t think she would hold back any opinions. She’d probably tell me that I need to expand my shoe collection.



3. Were Cinder to be made into a movie, who would you pick as your cast?

I’m afraid this is a terrible question to ask me, as I honestly don’t  know! I’m pretty out of the pop culture loop. The only one I can think of is Ian McKellen for Dr. Erland, except they’d probably have to do some fancy camera work to make him seem really short.

K: I totally understand this. I cannot think of actors to play my stories because I don't know the right actors! Sorry for the odd question!

4Are the names of characters important? There are many unique ones you've included, like Peony, Adri, and Kai.

    Definitely, I spend a lot of time thinking about names. I even once broke out into hives because I’d spent an ENTIRE DAY stressing over the perfect name for one of the main characters you meet later in the series. That’s so overkill, but it’s true. The Eastern Commonwealth has kind of an east-meets-west feel to it (with an emphasis on Asian traditions), and I wanted that to be reflected in the names. I also wanted to make sure that the names were approachable for western readers. I ended up mixing and matching names and sounds from many different Asian cultures. Peonies (a flower popular on kimonos) and pearls both make me think of Japan, hence the names for Cinder’s stepsisters. Adri is an Indian name, and there are also names like Li (Chinese), Fateen (Arabic), or Chang Sacha (Chang is Chinese, while Sacha is Greek). Kai was one of the few names that popped into my head and has been the same since I started brainstorming the series. It’s actually a Hawaiian name, but it seemed to fit.


     

     5. There are several different covers for Cinder, but of them all: which is your favourite?

      Oh gosh, what a difficult question!! I truly love them all and feel so lucky to have such wonderful covers. If I HAD to choose, I would probably say the Spanish edition with the doll and the gorgeous dress. I want to wear that dress, and I love how they made one of her legs more human than the other. (Also, the back cover has the missing shoe sitting on a pillow, which I think is quite clever.)


      6Authors have to face bad reviews: how have you taken them?

      I actually made the decision very early on to not read reviews, so the worst criticism that’s crossed my path is the complaint that the book has some very predictable elements. For a fairy-tale retelling, I think that’s not too bad! Generally speaking, though, I understand that not every book will be for every reader, and while it’s hurtful to think there are readers who won’t like these stories we slave over, we have to move past that and be grateful for the readers who do like it. Dwelling on bad reviews serves no useful purpose, and will only drive a person crazy. 



      Random Quick Questions!

     1. Coffee or tea?

               Coffee! I wish I could like tea—it seems so quaint and civilized—but I pretty much think it’s disgusting.

      
     2. Favourite flavour of ice cream?

       Chocolate chip cookie dough.


    3. Do you brush your teeth before or after breakfast?

       After.

     
     4. Do you laugh at your own jokes?

          Ahahahahaha. All the time. Otherwise, what’s the point of making them?

   
    5. Favourite foreign sweets?

       Toblerone

    
    6.  Look to your left. What’s the first thing you see?

        One of my framed NaNoWriMo posters.

            Awesome :)

And now for the giveaway! Mrs. Meyer has graciously donated a signed UK paperback edition of Cinder to one lucky winner in the US only.









shakespeare

18 June 2012

I've always wanted to read Shakespeare, with so many lovers of it and so many references to it. So I just came back from Barnes and Noble where I purchased this beautiful thing:


When reading complicated or hard to understand works, I enjoy having my own copy to write and take notes in. I could've just gone to the library and checked out each of his books but having my own copy, and it being all in one is amazing.

I'm so thrilled and I can't wait to start! Do you have any advice or experiences you'd like to share about reading Shakespeare? I'd love to hear it!

topic: parents in YA

16 June 2012

My god, I just have it going with these topic posts, eh? Sorry sorry! Actual reviews to come up soon :)

I'd like to discuss parents in YA, or rather, the absence of them.

How?

   Most frequently, I've seen, is the car crash method. Most of the family dies in a tragic car crash. But it's an effective method, really.
Another would be the too-rich-to-care parents who are so rich, that they leave their child alone a lot. Or maybe the parents are divorced, and the one with custody of the MC goes on vacation or something. The possibilities of getting rid of these troublesome characters are endless.

Why?

   Once again, an writer has several reasons for doing so.

  • Not wanting to take the trouble to write them in
  • They're a hinderance 
  • Not important
  • Very important (them being dead or absent may be the centre plot of the story, revolving around the MC)
  • "lazy writing"
   There are some stories where the parents die, and it's all about the main character coping with the loss and trekking on a journey of self-discovery. Or maybe the death and/or absence of the parents in a negative way impacts the personality of the character or why he or she acts the way he or she does (gosh, proper grammar is a mouthful)
my favourite comic :)

Is It Good Or Bad?

   Parents are important. They shape children to become who they are, and are key in the early stages of a child's life, and most importantly during the teenage years, where these "children" are going through so much. Teens need their parents (though they don't admit it) until the absolute moment of independence. I think it'd bad that readers don't get to see this development--relationship--between parent and child.

  However, I understand why they're not present. Adventure and independence are near synonymous in YA Lit, and in order to have that adventure, one has to have independence without parents. Many great stories, like James and The Giant Peach and Harry Potter, have been written without parents and adventure ensues. 

 So I guess I'll have to say that I'm in the balance on this point. What do you all think?

topic: following

15 June 2012

In the past few weeks, I've heavily considered doing this post about following,  and what it means to follow.

In a perfect world, readers would follow a book blog purely for the enjoyable, intellectual and enhancing posts, the well written reviews and up-to-dates on book news. However, that's just not it.

The Bad

It'd be best if I get this part over with :) The...undesirable part about following is when people do it for the wrong reasons, though it may seem the only way at first. For instance, giveaways. I require people to follow me to enter giveaways for the wrong reason: I want followers. And that's something I am hoping to change in the future. I feel like I'm bribing readers to follow me with free things, but I want to achieve that steady base of about seven hundred. After that point, I think, I'll just let anyone enter and win.

But people who follow just to enter a giveaway, in the end, backfires. I've done it many times because of all the fantastic items I wanted to win, all those brilliant books and so on. But now, when I look through my feed, I see reviews on genres I don't read/appreciate, adult themes sometimes, and generally expressed ideas that I wouldn't want to see. That's why I've been un-following inactive blogs, and blogs that I wouldn't like to read more of.

Sometimes, I see incredibly popular blogs with over a thousand followers (or close to, at least) with not a single comment on posts, and no involvement other than extreme participation in giveaways and contests.

People to follow due to blog hops, like Follow Friday. I've recently done two of them, and that's where a massive load of new followers arrived (thank you!). But I followed blogs on that hop that looked like a blog I'd like. I followed because it looked interesting, and I've seen and read many great blogs that way. However! Part of the Follow Friday blog hop (hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Reads) is that when someone follows you and comments, you've got to return the favour and follow back. I don't want people following me because I've followed them. I want them following me because they like me and my blog! It seems like such a whimsical concept to have, but it is.

Though I'd really not like it to come down to this, but if you don't like my blog, you have my permission to unfollow me. I know my giveaways have kind of forced you to join, or because you feel required because of the Follow Friday. OR because you just generally don't enjoy what my blog has, content-wise.
That's a strange picture, and I don't think I'm an old lady and I don't think you all are black pigeons :)

The Good

The good part is actually the function of following: to read updates and interesting posts bloggers write. As I mentioned before, I've deleted a lot of blogs that are non active and that I don't enjoy (thank you to The Lost Entwife for that advice) and now I can actually, and actively, follow blogs. Wholeheartedly get myself involved and into discussions and posts and truly soak in what blogs and their writers have to offer.

topic: models on YA covers and YA covers in general

10 June 2012


What do these new 2012 books have in common? The models on their covers. It seems that many of the young adult books you see today have young, enticing looking models on their covers. There's swirls and smoke and misty flowers and an ethereal quality to all them
Timekeeper looks like some sort of eighties cover with the boy and his haircut and random tux. Sigh. 
An airbrushed girl wearing a lacy white and black dress on massive rose petals staring seductively at me.
The Fallen covers have really bugged me. I don't like how Luce (presumably) is just like "Ohh, let me stand around in pretty dresses posing with my arms in my hair, and walking around innocently in dreamy backdrops" The story of Fallen itself is weak, so choosing one central idea or item that could be on the cover is not an option. 
And the Temptation of Angels cover: the model's face is heavily airbrushed, and she's just looking off into the distance with a gorgeous, lost look in her purple-contact-lens-ed (or photoshopped) eyes.
And the cover of Finale totally looks like it was done in a cheap studio set. Why is Patch shirtless? Does he need to be? And why is Becca wearing a ghostly white dress? Is she going to a party? NO. She's fighting to be with Patch! In the first book, all she wore (I'm guessing) are tops and jeans!




But what I don't understand is why they are necessary. The idea, the content and the overall theme of the book should be reflected on it's cover, not a person or model.
I think the identity of the book is lost with false covers. There has got to be a more deep message designed in only a way art can portray. However, these books I've portrayed are pretty self-centered (I'm not sure about pandemonium. Delirium was brilliant though) I mean, Becca and Patch? Starcrossed lovers. Same with Daniel and Luce. It's all about that couple facing supernatural obstacles. I guess it's reasonable that the covers should have the couple, or at least one of them, on the cover.

 Perhaps it's just that young adult books have become so shallow, that the covers must automatically reflect this shallowness, or maybe not. I believe, based on Delirium's amazingness, that Pandemonium is just as amazing, and deep and meaningful. It doesn't deserve an orange cover with Lena (presumably) staring seductively at the us. This isn't about her seducing anyone! Let's compare the covers for Delirium.



The original cover is brilliant. It shows how Lena is trapped in this world where love is a disease, where she can't love and where she's being smothered by a misled society.

The new cover is terrible. It shows Lena, look seductive with her glossy lips slightly parted, and her eyes saying "Look at me". The flowers are a nice touch to fill in the rest of the the space. But it doesn't reflect the brilliance of the book! It has no hidden meaning, or depth to it at all.

What I never understood was the cover of The Dark Divine (and the other books in this series) by Bree Despain.

These books are not about pale, slender legs and nailpolish. Nor is it about Grace wearing thin shawls across her legs or lower half of her body. This is about Grace who is searching for a way to cure her dark and mysterious werewolf boyfriend, Daniel and rescuing her brother. What does spindly legs have to do with anything? You call tell with my tone that I'm quite passionate about this subject that I've been trying to express something. Maybe I should provide examples of good covers, instead of focusing so much on the negative aspects.

 This covers are beautifully done. Shiver had a lyrical simplicity to it, almost fairy-tale like, and the light blue trees and detailed leaves represent that perfectly, in a lovely, realistically twisted tree branch pattern. The faint wolf in the background is there for many reasons: because Sam keeps his identity secret so few people know that he exists as a wolf. Or that he's distant from Grace because he can't be with her if he's a wolf. The red, bloody dot represents a darker part of the book, something that may seem small, but is present in the deep parts of the story. I mean, aren't those valid observations, all based on just looking at the cover alone?

Now this lovely cover is brilliantly done. The subtle map in the background, hidden by light blue waves of sea water, calm and peaceful, with a boat containing two lovers about to kiss...how magical! Everlasting is fairy tale like in a way too, with a story of adventure and romance and ships and pirating and islands and fights and a quest and a villain: all while shipping across the world. The map is ideal for that reason, and in the romance is a beautifully simple one: the font of the title giving it a cute feel.  

Now I have spent nearly two hours trying to get this post together. Blogger is terrible when it comes to trying to move pictures around effectively. Phew! Nonetheless, I hope I'm brought light to an issue I hope you all agree with me on. What do you think? Did I insult a cover you enjoyed (I am truly sorry, I mean no offense)? Do you think cover artists should put more thought into books, or marketers should try different tactics?

winners!

I have two giveaways that end today.

ARC of Fracture by Megan Miranda: Entry #1: Bethie

True Random Number GeneratorOut of 7 entries1Powered by RANDOM.ORG
armchair BEA prize pack: Entry #30: Viari Rose

True Random Number GeneratorOut of 46 entries30Powered by RANDOM.ORG
And my five hundred follower giveaway (that I never announced): Isa

Congratulations to all of you and thank you very much for entering! The winners have been contacted and have twelve hours to respond, or I'll pick another winner.

I haven't gotten any of these books out to shipping yet partly because I've never shipped any books before, it's always been my Dad. And while he's away on a two-week trip, I'm going to have to find a way to send all these. I apologise for the delay in getting these to you!

review: the lady elizabeth

09 June 2012

information

book info:
ages: 16 and up
grades: 10 and up
on sale: now
copy from: local library
pages: 473

title: The Lady Elizabeth
author: Alison Weir
stars: 4.5


Even at age two, Elizabeth is keenly aware that people in the court of her father, King Henry VIII, have stopped referring to her as “Lady Princess” and now call her “the Lady Elizabeth.” Before she is three, she learns of the tragic fate that has befallen her mother, the enigmatic and seductive Anne Boleyn, and that she herself has been declared illegitimate, an injustice that will haunt her. (I will not include the rest of the summary as it contains spoilers)

my thoughts:

   I will start by saying that this is assigned summer reading for AP European History. I've always been deeply fascinated with court life in England, and the Tudors as well. I've heard loads about the television drama, but have deemed it too inappropriate to my young eyes. I'll watch it when I can, haha. 

   Now I started this book and got bored about fifteen pages in. However, I kept reading (I didn't have an option) and did not regret it. This being my first Alison Weir novel, I was astounded by how rich and thrilling it was, and how brilliant the characters shone. It's something that YA literature can't achieve, that subtle characterisation, and that smooth change from the ages of Elizabeth's life into the flawless weaving together of fact and fiction.
 
   I felt as if I were beside Elizabeth herself, and her and I both being Virgos, I felt a strong connection towards her as portrayed in this book. I believe that getting reads to connect with the character is the most important aspect for a writer to achieve, and Ms. Weir has done it. It's a classic historical fiction piece and I cannot wait to read more from this splendid author.

 This is a book I'd definitely recommend to all mature readers! 

feature and follow (2)

08 June 2012

Hello everyone! This is my second time participating in this Feature and Follow hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read :)
I have a feeling that I should post some sort of content on here for you blog hoppers to possibly comment about. I think this merits some funny pictures :D I love funny pictures, I hope you know!



I was going to post another Harry Potter picture but, this just cracks me up all the time!


Now, this week I'm supposed to feature a blog I love. Well :D
">The Norwegian Book Girl


There's something that I just like about reading this blog. There are lots of great reviews and The Norwegian Book Girl updates me on what's new in the book world. :)



I hope you've had a good laugh :) Thank you very much for stopping by!

fangirl moment

of fangirls
Alright. BEA is over! I can post whatever I'd like to now! Well, as you all have probably seen The Avengers and maybe Thor, I think it won't be too exclusive to post about how much I absolutely adore Tom Hiddleston. He is the perfect man. He's got the looks, the voice, the charm, and the gentlemanly manners that add up to perfection. Honestly. I don't think I can write anymore but to inform you all that he is my idol. I had a dream about him last night. I met him and we had ice cream together and we talked. Oh it was so real.

But I have reason to be a fangirl. He's inspired me to be polite and more composed and to put aside my bad moods and be good to everyone despite how awful I feel. I don't know why, but when I'm feeling particularly destructive, I think about Tom Hiddleston, and I just become a nicer, happier person :) I'm not going to post this to his twitter, which he's quite active in, purely because of embarrassment. But on my quest to post about more personal things about me, I think that this should be somehow relevant.

He also has a history of Shakespeare and is very learned in literature, which makes him the epitome of perfection, and also relevant to a book blog! I've seen all his interviews, and he speaks in such depth abotu his character Loki, with intellectual comments on him. It's obvious he's done his research and that's incredibly attractive!
Yes. <3

I am in love.





Thank you very much for reading this fan girl post :D

armchair BEA: the future of book blogging

I think blogging for four years merits me the opportunity to give advice. I have a feeling this has been repeated in yesterday's post, but here it is nonetheless.

"Something I never want to repeat [in blogging]"

Getting obsessed. I used to visit hundreds of blogs, read tons of reviews, dig into books for days and ignore everything else. I used to jump onto my computer every hour to do something blog-related. I recognise that it's happening again (with the sudden gain of followers) and I hope that I can prevent it before it goes full on.

"What makes blogging easier"

Having fun. The reason why I had taken several long hiatuses from blogging was because I thought it wasn't fun anymore. I lost interest in posting reviews and I didn't read as much. Blogging then was like a job that was necessary, that I had to post a certain number of times a week, and that I had to be involved. It was a commitment problem, I think, that I didn't fully understand. Naturally, I'm back, and more matured. Now it's about having fun posting, having fun meeting new people, having fun reading. I'm truly enjoying blogging now.

What I've learned about book blogging 

I made a point in that previous sentence, and I'd like to expand on that thought. Is it possible that blogging, book blogging especially, makes one a better person? I've learned:

  1. To think before I type. I'm only human, and I've definitely posted things I regret posting, and have offended people that way. I, in a fit of passion, have written strongly about certain things I believe in personally that was not appropriate for a book blog, and I've learned that media is a strong tool that shouldn't be abused.
  2. To articulate my speech. I'm more eloquent when I type than when I speak. When I type, it's truly me speaking and not me speaking in common accepted speech as social culture dictates. I used to say "Hey! Ohmygosh, I love your shoes!" and I felt like some girly girl that wasn't me. But now, because I've had the opportunity to type out my thoughts, describe books and make my point clear using only words and no facial expressions or hand gestures to guide me, I would say "I really like your shoes! The blue totally fits you" and I feel like me. I have definitely sounded like myself, much smarter and more intelligent, because of my writing posts.
  3. To develop my own tastes and opinions. Blogging has been an outlet for me to really take a look at what I think as a whole. I realised that from all my negative reviews of paranormal books, that paranormal books aren't my thing and I really should stop reading them instead of posting negative reviews. Book bloggers don't enjoy posting negative reviews. If we had it our way, it would be five star ratings all the way though. And I have defended and upheld my opinion while getting a rounded view of everyone else's opinion. I'm really learning a lot.

What I hope will be the future of book blogging

I hope that my book blog is and would be considered a book blog of the future. Because I hope that 
  1. There won't be In My Mailboxes or obsessing over ARCs and such. I gave IMM a shot, but I realised that it was an opportunity to show off to others what one has recieved from publishers and friends, and it looked more like a popularity contest than anything else. Readers on this blog will only know I've gotten an ARC on my review, where I state where the copy was from (I'll just name the publisher who gave it to me, so really it's obscure whether or not it's an ARC or a finished copy). 
  2. There will be more thoughtful and deep felt content. I've seen more blogs posting good, brain-racking content and I'm very proud of them for that. Maybe this good trend will spread to others.
  3. Comments. I've gotten very good feedback from other bloggers who've commented on this post about detailed and well-thought out comments. I hope that in the future that readers will comment better, instead of "Nice post! Visit mine here" or "Wow! Good review! Check out mine here" and all. Honestly, that's just spam.
It's taken me all morning, with the distraction of reading this online manga (Koukou debut), to finish this. Phew! And it's been a long week that has finally come to an end!

Thank you

To all my new followers an readers. I hope I've replied to your comments and messages properly. I want to thank you so much for being part of Pages and for participating in this awesome armchair BEA. It's my first and I'm so glad I've done it. I was to thank Sabrina from About Happy Books for mentioning it briefly enough for me to have heard about it and want to join. I've met loads of lovely people and thoughtful bloggers and I'm thrilled it have you here. (don't forget to join my armchair BEA giveaway) I hope to hear more from you all soon! Happy end of armchair BEA! :)

P.S. For those you do not know, I enjoy posting funny Harry Potter pictures. I'll do more soon :)

armchair BEA: beyond the blog

07 June 2012

Tips that will help you move your blog forward or perhaps your own personal goals of writing and making an income from what you love to do.


I am a writer. I truly enjoy writing, and I'll had nearly twenty Chapter 1's for many brilliant ideas I've gotten. But of course, it's so hard to shoot off from there. Hopefully, I do get published. But I want to get published just so other readers can read my writing and enjoy it, not for the money aspect. But if I did earn any money, it'd go straight to my parents. Like you may have noticed, we're in a tough financial situation and they're kind enough to support my blogging and pay shipping for my giveaways. I should tone down on them, come to think of it. Yeah....

I'm inexperienced in publishing and making money in that sense, so I don't think I should try to give false advice. However, I've got tips on moving one's blog forward (based off of experience with mine)

Tips On Moving One's Blog Forward

1. Be patient! Getting five hundred followers isn't going to happen over night
2. Host a couple of giveaways to get possible followers interested, but don't just rely on them. Readers deserve good content as well.
3. Comment on other blogs. It's both interactive and courtesy. You get to meet new people and they'll be aware of you, plus it's just nice to be active in the community. It's a way to put your blog out there and make people know it exists
4. Have a good blog design. I know it sounds like a very superficial thing to say, and some blogs are popular even with normal minimal blogger templates, but it's still good to have a decent design. A blog's design is something a reader will see for the first time: it's that first impression and it should be something that reflects you and your blog's content.
5. Book blogs: post frequent book reviews. It's the reason people follow (I think?) But stay true to what your blog is about. If it's YA fiction, than don't post cooking recipes, or adult fiction all the time.

Personal Goals on Writing

1. Finish a good majourity of the rough draft by the end of this summer (since I'll barely have time once school starts)
2. Edit. Edit Edit. But don't overdue it
3. Finish rough draft by end of this year
4. Next year: start editing like mental
5. Then, work on selling it.
 These sound like terrible goals! I'm so sorry, I'm not used to setting them. Therein lies my problem with never getting  anywhere with these half-baked novels I've written. This is a good start! And thank you all for stopping by today! I've said this thousands of times, but if you haven't entered my armchair BEA giveaway, you should enter. I've simplified the process, without all the extra entry stuff.

Anyway. I look forward to your tips to blogging and goals of writing! I hope they inspire me :) Feel free to send me the link to your post, I'd love to read!

armchair BEA: networking in real life

06 June 2012

Ever since I was five years old, I've been going to the library. My mum took me there and taught me how to read. I used to check out Arthur the Aardvark cassettes, and bag fulls of picture books and Junie B. Jones books. Nevertheless, these librarians have known me for quite a long time.

I used to go to their arts and crafts events when I was younger, but with budget cuts, there aren't many frequent activities. Using my book blog benefits, I donated the books I had won from other blogs or received from companies (they were not ARCs) which consisted of about twenty books. And---I feel like I'm bragging here. But yes, that's how I've been "networking" in real life. I've never really attended an actual books signing, and the closest I've gotten to that were the midnight magic parties for the Harry Potter books' release.

The idea of getting together with other book bloggers in real life is inconceivable. I'd love to do it, I would! I've just never known any bloggers within the area. Plus it's a bit like online dating. One has known these people from only online, from blogs, and maybe Skype, but never in real life. Part of me would be frightened, and the other part: excited. I do hope it's something I'll be able to do in the future!

OH! And don't forget to enter my BEA giveaway! An awesome prize pack of three ARCs and a surprise!
Thanks for stopping by :)

armchair BEA: giveaway

05 June 2012

Yesterday was introduction day for Armchair BEA and I killed my eyes visiting so many blogs and commenting. Thankfully, today is a relief!

It's an ARC prize pack that includes:

Out for Blood by Alyxandra Harvey
After Obsession by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
A special surprise :)

Unfortunately, it's only for U.S and Canada residents. Many apologies, my international friends! I should have one for you guys sometime this year! I considered doing a book depository gift card, but my family is strapped for money and we need to save on anything, even ten dollars. Shipping books in the US and Canada is cheaper. I'm sorry: once again >_< But if you do live in these areas, whopee!

It ends exactly five days from now: June 10th 2012
All one has to do is fill out the form below:

(closed) This giveaway is over



The topic for today is also to share a favourite book of 2012. Now I haven't been reading modern 2012 books actually, let alone have a favourite: so I'm going to pass on this question :)

armchair BEA: interview

04 June 2012

With me! Hello everyone :)
   As part of this event, I'm to choose out of ten questions, five to answer. I reckon I'll bore you all with my answers. I'll keep them as concise as I can :D

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I'm Kirthi, an introverted teenage book blogger. I've been blogging for nearly four years now! How did it all start, you ask? My friend Nathan and I were global warming activists in our own, young way. We thought that we could bring awareness by starting a global warming blog, which we did. First, we went to the obvious: blog.com, and realised it was a failure. So we moved to blogspot. And after blogging quite a lot on global warming issues, I thought that I should make my own blog, but about something I enjoy personally: reading. I wanted, at first, to just log and keep record of the books I read and whether I enjoyed them or not. Then I realised there was a whole community of bloggers, hundreds! And then joined into that community. 


What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

I really enjoy my topic posts. They're posts in which I pick a book related topic and just discuss it. Like "series or sequels" and "unbearable books" and "vampires" I post them to bring to light certain subjects that are not often discussed in the book blogging community. These topic posts allow me the opportunity to show readers a problem, my views on this problem, and then allow other opinions through comments. It's something that's only on my blog, though other blogs may do something similar with different titles or concepts.

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

Dead or alive? I'm only joking! It's be J.K. Rowling, for the author dinner. She's my inspiration to write. With her origins in a coffee shop writing on the backs of flyers to becoming a successful, world renowned author: she's brilliant. J.K. Rowling  believed in her writing, and it got her far. Just speaking with her for five minutes would be enough for me, haha :)

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

It may sound ridiculous compared to other fantastical locations, but I'd visit Oxford. The campus is BEAUTIFUL, with old buildings and a uni where many great writers attended. And close to Oxford is the city of London, which is beautiful as well, in it's misty, rainy weather and classical locations, like Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes) and Foyles Bookshop (London's oldest bookshop) There are hundreds of other locations I'd go to afterwards, but I'd start of with Oxford and London!

What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?

random happy reading giraffe :)
My favourite part is the sense of...community! The way that bloggers support each other and come together with a love of books. It's a place where people who share a common interest immerse themselves in a passion for reading. I like to compare it to a network support group, where someone has always got another's back, in a sense. 

I've witnessed many changes in this community. The abrupt rise of affiliates, the button crazy moment where it was all about getting others to post one's blog button on the other's blog. The extravagent giveaways era where ridiculously incredible giveaways were hosted (I guess it's died down with people not having so much money as they once had). As to what I'd like to see changed? The communication.
 There are some blogs where comments are abundant, and others where there are none. And comments have got to be meaningful to me, to show me that someone has actually read my post, and has contributed is or hers own opinion. I want discussions and thoughts in comments, not just "Great review!" and such. For those whose blog's I have commented on, you'll know how much thought I like putting into comments. Yes, so that's what I would want to see change! It's like that follower concept. I was never really into getting more followers, but put my energy in making quality posts for my existing followers. Anyway :)

I believe that's the end of my five questions. I hope you've enjoyed your visit here :) Happy reading and enjoy visiting other blogs: I know I will!

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