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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My Rating

Book: Catching Fire (#2 The Hunger Games)

Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication date: September 1st, 2009
Description from Goodreads: Sparks are igniting, flames are spreading and the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol-- a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before... and surprising readers at every turn..

My review: 
As you probably have read in my review of the first book of this wonderful series, The Hunger Games, I was completely sold! Luckily I bought the trilogy in one go, so I had the luxury to continue reading the next book as soon as I finished the first one! The first  book did not exactly end on a great suspense moment, however my fingers were still itching to turn the pages of the next book and find out what would happen next.

I gave this book a righteous 5 star rating! The beginning of the book was slower than the first book, however the twists were prominently present and just as unexpected and intense (if not more) as in the first book! The book picks up almost exactly where we left off, where Katniss Everdeen is coping with her victory of the hunger games, living in an exact opposite life she was living prior to her (forced) participation in the hunger games. She deals with the dreadful aftermath of the games, experiencing horrific nightmares which she can only share with Peeta. and Haymitch, as they are the only ones who can truly understand. Not only is she threatened by her continuous nightmares, she soon finds out that her actions at the end of the hunger games have serious consequences, and that these will not be ignored by the all-mighty President Snow. Peeta, as usual, is a very supportive character for Katniss, keeping her grounded and keeping her from going insane from her drastic thoughts, paranoia and nightmares. You can't help but falling in love with his character even more.

The characters and their relationship between each other really surprised me, as they all changed so immensely. Among these drastic changed relationships are Katniss as Gale. This was primarily a shocker as I  expected that after Katniss being away from her home so long,  that their secret admiration for each other would continue to grow. As a matter of fact, this was quite the contrary, and one can already guess that this change in their relationship has sooomething to with Peeta ;) They grew distant, only meeting on rare occasions when they hunted together. Another relationship development which really surprised me (and I secretly also enjoyed) was Katniss and Haymitch. After going through all their differences, they actually grew closer to each other due to their pain they shared during the games, which formulates quite a serious, dramatic, but also humorous bond.

The twists in this book were really unexpected! I don't want to give anything away to those who have not read this book yet, but there is one major twists which surprisingly doesn't happen until approximately towards the middle of the book. It changes the entire setting which puts the main characters, once again, in jeopardy and sets you on the edge of your seat!

The beginning might have been slower than what I was used to, but once the story picked up again I was once again thrown into the crazy, hectic, horrific, thrilling, dramatic and fast paced plot that keeps your attention at its peak and makes you want to read on and on and on (and on...)!

For those that have read the first book, all I can say is: what are you waiting for?? Get the next book right now, as I can guarantee you that you haven't read it all! Katniss & co have many more horrific and amazing 'surprises' ahead of them that will keep you ohh-ing and aww-ing throughout the entire book!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My blog is Carbon Neutral!

Honestly I had know idea about my blog leaving a carbon footprint behind on our planet. I am all about being green and using the most environmentally friendly products to prevent any (more) harm to our planet. So when I ran into this, I knew that I immediately needed to take part of it! 

About Carbon Neautral:
“My blog is carbon neutral” is an initiative, originally started in Germany by the “Make it Green” programme, that has the goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We plant a tree for your blog and thereby neutralise your blog’s carbon footprint for the next 50 years! Everyone can make a small contribution to the environment. Every tree counts!

According to a study by Alexander Wissner-Gross, PhD, physicist at Harvard University and environmental activist, an average website causes about 0.02g (0,0008oz.) of carbon dioxide for each visit. Assuming an average blog gets 15,000 visits a month, it has yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 3,6kg (8lb.). This can mainly be tracked back to the immense energy usage from (mainframe) computers, servers, and their cooling systems.

As demonstrated in the above calculation, the atmosphere can be relieved by an average of 5kg (11lb.) carbon dioxide every year by planting one tree. An average blog causes 3.6kg (8lb.) of carbon dioxide emissions. Consequently, a tree neutralises the carbon dioxide emissions of a blog. Since a tree lives for an average of 50 years, carbon dioxide emissions of your blog can be completely neutralised for this time period.

How great is this, right? You can go on blogging without worrying your leaving a nasty carbon footprint behind!

Want to make your blog carbon neutral? Click here to find out how!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking the Shelves is a brand new weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. " Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! "

For this week I have 2 e-books which I would like to share with you which I received from the authors via NetGalley! I am planning on going to the bookstores soon to purchase once again beautiful and great paperback/hardcover books!!

Title: Glitch
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Pages: 320
Expected publication date: August 7th, 2012

Description from Goodreads: In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network. When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she is caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers. As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they’re caught and deactivated, or worse. In this action-packed debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.

Title: Shadowfell
Author: Juliet Marillier
Pages: 416
Expected publication date: September 11th, 2012

Description from Goodreads: Its name is spoken only in whispers, if the people of Alban dare to speak it at all: Shadowfell. The training ground for rebels seeking to free their land from the grip of the tyrannical king is so shrouded in mystery that most believe it to be a myth.

But for Neryn, Shadowfell's existence is her only hope. She is penniless, orphaned, and utterly alone - and concealing a treacherous magical power that will warrant her immediate enslavement should it be revealed. She finds hope of allies in the Good Folk, fey beings whom she must pretend she cannot see and who taunt her with chatter of prophecies and tests, and in a striking, mysterious stranger, who saves her from certain death but whose motives remain unclear. She knows she should not trust anyone with her plans, but something within her longs to confide in him.

Will Neryn be forced to make the dangerous journey alone? She must reach Shadowfell, not only to avenge her family and salvage her own life, but to rescue Alban itself.

This first novel in a new trilogy from enchanting fantasy author Juliet Marillier is a captivating tale of peril, courage, romance, and survival

Title: The Lifeguard
Author: Deborah Blumenthal
Pages: 277
Publication date: March 1st, 2012

Description from Goodreads: It's an unsettled summer for Sirena. Back in Texas, her family's splitting apart, but here in Rhode Island, at the cottage of her aunt, it's a different world. There are long days at the beach and intriguing encounters with Pilot, the lifeguard with shamanic skills. Sirena explores her obsession with Pilot and discovers his mysterious--almost magical--gifts.

Which books have you guys & gals been stacking up?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Feature: From the Review Pile #1

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

~This is a new feature I am taking part of and I thought it was quite applicable as I have a HUGE pile of books which I have received to make reviews on!! I am very excited about this! With my busy schedule I am trying to get through most of them as quick as possible, but also at a pace that I can pleasantly enjoy the book!

So for this week I would like to showcase: Shadowfell

Title: Shadowfell
Author: Juliet Marillier
Series: Shadowfell #1
Pages: 416
Expected publication date: September 11th, 2012

Description from Goodreads: Its name is spoken only in whispers, if the people of Alban dare to speak it at all: Shadowfell. The training ground for rebels seeking to free their land from the grip of the tyrannical king is so shrouded in mystery that most believe it to be a myth.

But for Neryn, Shadowfell's existence is her only hope. She is penniless, orphaned, and utterly alone - and concealing a treacherous magical power that will warrant her immediate enslavement should it be revealed. She finds hope of allies in the Good Folk, fey beings whom she must pretend she cannot see and who taunt her with chatter of prophecies and tests, and in a striking, mysterious stranger, who saves her from certain death but whose motives remain unclear. She knows she should not trust anyone with her plans, but something within her longs to confide in him.

Will Neryn be forced to make the dangerous journey alone? She must reach Shadowfell, not only to avenge her family and salvage her own life, but to rescue Alban itself.

This first novel in a new trilogy from enchanting fantasy author Juliet Marillier is a captivating tale of peril, courage, romance, and survival

What do you guys think?? Sounds pretty exciting, eh? This will definitely be my next book to read after The Immortal Rules!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday will be a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases which I'm eagerly anticipating!

Title: The Glimpse
Author: Claire Merle
Pages: 432
Expected publication date: June 7th, 2012

Description from Goodreads: In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

Why I can't wait to read... Divergent much? This book really has some simliar aspects as that of Divergent by Veronica Roth! The story is set in a dystopian segregated (screwed up) society, the protagonist is once again sticking out like a sore thumb and seems to be attracting trouble and drama, and she seems very feisty, strong and devoted! As many familiar readers of my blog would know, I LOVE that in protagonists! I am hoping to get an advanced copy via Net Galley, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!

What are you waiting for?

Book Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

My Rating: 
Book: City of Ashes (#2 The Mortal Instruments)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publication date: March 25, 2008
 Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

My Rating
Book: Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1)
Author: Moira Young
Publication date: June 7th 2011
Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.
Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

My Review:

I received a copy from the author to read and review in return.

After I finished reading Divergent, a wonderful, hectic and adventurous dystopian novel of a tough girl surviving in a distorted society, I was once again searching for that book which had the dystopian similarity, however this time I was also looking for something completely different plot wise... And then I found Blood Red Road. I actually stumbled upon this book when I was browsing through some reviewers on YouTube. I soon found out that at that time there weren't a lot of reviews on this book, but the ones which were out were all extremely positive. So you can expect at what level my expectations were.. and I can tell you from  the bottom of my heart that these expectations are definitely met!

This book had so much to offer: romance, thrill, drama, chaos, deception, fighting and more! What I liked most from this book was the amazing and distinctive plot, the protagonist (Saba), the accompanied characters, the romance and more! I will touch upon the pros which I felt were the strongest in this book...

  • The writing style: I found the writing style genius! At first it seemed that almost every word was misspelled, the structure of most of the sentences were formulated incorrectly, when a dialogue took place there were no quotation marks, and so on! But knowing obviously that Moira Young, the author, did this on purpose, it portrayed a solid and covincing atmosphere for the reader. The characters living in this dystopian, unstructured world are not educated as you and I are. They speak in slang and the words are truly written in the way in which they are pronounced. Some reviewers found this very tricky to get used to and it took them a couple of chapters to get into the story... but personally for me, after 2 pages, it was as if this writing style was natural and most normal! It really helped me engage more in the ambiance of the book and helped me get an idea of the nature of the characters and the deviant world they live in.
  • The Protagonist Saba: Saba is the protagonist of this book. She is an amazing bad ass character! Her spirit mildly reminded me of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. She is very stubborn, but strong (emotionally and physically), extremely devoted, and mainly a very spunky kick-ass chick! She is completely blind-sided by what she is capable of and how strong she truly is. She is very independent which shows throughout the book as she always wants to solve problems without any help... this also quite portrays her as sometimes selfish and irresponsible. I recognize these traits of hers and they are very believable seeing her circumstances. Moira Young describes her feelings and emotions so vividly that I felt them as if they were my own. When her brother, Lugh, is kidnapped and she is compelled to find him to what ever extent, her true colors genuinely shine through. In the beginning of the book you can hardly sympathize for her, but once the ruthless and unpredictable plot develops, you cannot but help feel for Saba, and root for her all the way through.
  • The Plot: Kidnappings, mysterious villains, corrupt horrid cities, cage fighting, rebellions, giant lethal worms... what more can you ask for?? The plot had a consistent thrill which made the book extremely fast paced.

    From one mysterious and unpredictable happening to another, you were not able to go through the book without a chill going down your spine or shouting "WHAT?! REALLY?!" at the end of each page/chapter.  The characters Saba meets on the way of her dangerous journey are so well thought out by Moira Young, to each which you either totally hate or love! The book made me laugh, shout out in disbelief, cry (okay, silent tears :3), and hoot every time a hint of romance appeared.
The cons which I am going to elaborate on have no influence on the 5 stars I have given this book. I believe Moira Young has done an exceptional job, so not in any means did these cons hinder my positive perception over this book.
  • The cage fighting: Even though I really enjoyed the cage fighting experiences Saba had to go through, I found that it was a little unbelievable how everything seemed to continuously work out for her in the fights. The 'hot red' which Saba describes as her inner fury, would always come out which made her perform at such strength and cage-fighting-expertise, that I found it was a little unbelievable how such a girl all of a sudden had such fighting talent.
  • The final stage: the second to last action-packed stage of the plot was a little confusing for me. I found it somewhat hard to picture the setting they were in and how they managed to get away with (almost) everything. I am not sure if this has to do with the fact that Moira Young did not describe it as vivid as the other setting she depicted, or that I simply did not read well enough to grasp the idea of the circumstances (I still believe the latter...). However, I cannot stress enough on how this book was an amazing thrilling ride from the very beginning until the very end!

All in all, this book deserves a 5/5 star rating. It is definitely a quick read, action-packed, and an phenomenal book out of the ordinary! Pick it up at the bookstores now! I am sure you'll love it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Music Monday #2

It's Music Monday! You know what that means...
Time to pick out song which reminds you of a book, or a specific scene out of a book!

So here are the rules to make it a bit more clear. You can either:
1 . Choose a song you find most fit to a book you have read, or
2 . Find a song which fits to a specific moment (long or short) in a book you have read

Song Title: True Colors
Artists: Phil Collins
Type: Concert, Paris (Bercy) 2004
Book association: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

I am simply in LOVE with Phil Collins, especially his concert from his Farewell Tour (in Bercy, Paris). Anyone who hasn't seen it yet should definitely buy the concert CD or look it up on YouTube! It's simply stunning and breathtaking, he and his back-up singers are so extremely great and talented!
So I chose this song not only because I adore it, but also because it reminds me of the love story between Clary and Jace in the City of Ashes. I believe Clary and Jace always (try) to see the best in each other, whether they like to admit it to each other or not. They see each other's true colors which make their forbidden romance so genuine and special.

Review of City of Ashes coming soon!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My Rating
Book: The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication date: October 31, 2008
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?
 In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

Teaser Tuesday #1

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

The Rules:
1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) or so “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
Warning: Be careful not to include spoilers!

Book: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Chapter: A Stone of the Heart
Page number: 333
Teaser: "I don't get it,"Alec said. "How do you plan to get out of here in the first place?"Jace Grinned. "Watch,", he said, and jumped up onto Isabelle's windowsill. Isabelle cried out, but Jace was already ducking through the window opening. He balanced for a moment on the sill outside--and then he was gone. 

- So I have had this book since forever and I am reading it quite slow, not that it isn't a good book, but simply that I am so busy with my personal life: moving to London! Please bare with me! One of these days I will have to sit down and just read the book until its entirely finished ;)