Saturday, July 30, 2011

School Suggestions: Time Management

Rule number one of going to university: Manage your time. Time management is more important to your success than smarts. Smart, lazy people won’t get anywhere. Even if you don’t think you’re that smart, you can succeed if you work hard.

Working hard doesn’t have to mean skipping the parties on Friday night or staying up till 3AM studying every night. I managed to pull of fairly good grades while still directing a play, performing in another play, hanging out with my friends a couple times a week, staying up no later than 12 and keeping Sundays free for church.

How? I simply got started on things early. The first couple weeks of class are a great time to start reading. I read all of Paradise Lost in the first two weeks, so for the rest of the course I just had to go back and skim over the part we were studying that day. If your university has a reading break, this is also a great way to work a bit ahead to save time later.

This doesn’t just apply to reading. If you have an assignment coming up, work on it right away. Your essay might be due in three weeks, but if you start brainstorming right away, your unconscious brain will be working on it even when you’re not really concentrating. This way, when it comes time to actually write the essay, your ideas will be all sorted out. I once earned an A+ on an essay that I wrote in a day because I had been thinking about it for weeks beforehand.

There’s nothing better than the feeling of having something done before the due date. Going out with your friends on Friday night is so much more fun when your essay (due Monday) is already finished. This isn’t to say that you should start stressing out on anything weeks before the due date… starting things early is supposed to save you from stress! Rather than staying up till four the day the essay’s due, try finishing it early—then reward yourself with a movie or a favourite book. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

First-Impression Friday: Across the Universe

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Title: The title Across the Universe certainly isn’t bad. It immediately gives you the idea that this story is Sci-fi and probably takes place on a spaceship. While I think it’s not really that interesting, it gives a great feel for the story.

Cover: So many people have said they absolutely loved the cover, but it wasn’t until I actually got the book in my hands that I saw why. I never understood why it had the random squiggly pink stuff… then when I actually go the book I saw that it’s the black part that’s important. I’m so blind… Anyways, I think this cover is really original and inventive, as well as fitting the book perfectly.

Pitch: First off, I’ve always loved the idea of freezing people to make a long universe-crossing adventure. Then having the main character wake up fifty years early was genius, especially since her parents are still ‘sleeping,’ so whenever they wake up she’ll be older than them. And the idea that it wasn’t just an accident that she woke up, that someone tried to murder her… This is an excellent premise.

First Sentence: Daddy said, “Let Mom go first.”
This isn’t bad, but I’m not sure it’s as strong as it could be. It gives me a question, ‘Go first in what? Why does he want Mom to go first?’ but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with them travelling across the universe. It does nicely start in the middle of things, though.

First Chapter: This was one great first chapter. Amy and her parents are getting frozen, so Beth Revis describes the process in detail. Her writing is so descriptive that I was squirming through the whole chapter. So early on in the book Amy’s given a terrible choice, which lets us know so much about her as a person. We’re also given a tantalizing tidbit that should hopefully become a major plot point in the story.

Overall: I can’t think of anything I really don’t like about the packaging of this story. Maybe the title could ‘pop’ just a little more, but aside from that everything’s great. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Book Review: Unwind

By Neil Shusterman

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Why I read it: I saw this book highly recommended on several blogs. Dystopia is my favourite genre, and since this book deals with an alternate form of abortion, I was really interested to see how Shusterman deals with such a tricky subject.

What I liked: I’m strongly pro-life, and while Shusterman doesn’t exactly go out and say ‘abortion is wrong’ this story does a wonderful job of showing the horrors of ‘unwinding’—getting rid of a teen by taking them apart and giving all their body parts to someone who needs a transplant. It has a great message: a person is a person, whether or not they’re useful to society. The best scene of the book is where someone is getting unwound. It’s not gory at all, but it’s just horrifying. It’s one of those scenes that will haunt me for a long time.

The world building was also fairly believable. While I was sometimes annoyed by how little society had progressed in some ways (they still use cell phones and cars, for instance) the effects of the Unwinding law were well realized. There’s a process called ‘storking’ which lets young mothers get rid of their unwanted kids, and then there’s the religious people who now ‘tithe’ their children. All in all, this book is mainly about the issue of Unwinding, but there are so many aspects to it.

What I disliked: First off, I’ll say that I really wanted to like this book. But when I started reading it… I just couldn’t. The writing drove me nuts. It’s written in third person from several different POVs, which I normally like, but it was also written in present tense, which totally didn’t work. It just felt so very awkward. I like present tense when it’s first person, but with third person it was very jarring. He also had an annoying habit of jumping back and forth, skimming over important parts and telling them later… In short, I couldn’t connect to the narrative at all.

Also, this was a book with very strong characters that I just didn’t connect with like I wanted. While I quite liked all the characters, how they were good sometimes but just so flawed, they felt so distant. I think this was the fault of the third person present tense narrative, not the characters themselves. So, basically, the characters were great, but the narrative style made them hard to connect with.

From a Christian Perspective: There was a little bit of swearing, a couple kisses and some minor violence, but nothing terribly bad. In fact, I think Shusterman did a wonderful job of writing a book that deals with gritty subjects without too much explicit content.

While his portrayal of religion certainly isn’t all favourable, I thought it was fair. Some religious people were bigoted and blind to the evil things they were doing, while others came to realize that unwinding was murder and so they tried to stop it.

To buy or not to buy: I don’t think I’ll be buying this book because I just couldn’t stand the writing style. If I had liked the style, though, this would have been a must-buy. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

IMM: Week of Dystopia (again!)

Anyone who's been reading this blog for awhile will know that I love dystopia, so I was super excited to have a week of virtually all dystopia, as well as a random contemporary and a paranormal romance thrown in there for some variety. Like last week, I've actually already read most of these books but I'll do the IMM post anyways. :)

I really didn't know what to expect from this book, and even a week after finishing it I'm still not sure what I though about it. It was both disgusting and completely scary... I don't regret reading it, but I won't read it again.

I did a First Impression post on this awhile back, and after some though I've decided not to read it. I was never too keen on the paranormal romance aspect, and I really don't care for the writing. I don't have enough time to waste on a book I don't think I'll like. 

This book is almost like someone decided to write a combination of my favourite genres: dysopia, Sci-fi, mystery... I absolutely loved the plot. A new favourite. 

I read this virtually in one sitting since it's so short. It wasn't as good as I was expecting, but Gayle Foreman is certainly a good writer and I look forward to reading Where She Went.

After enjoying Incarceron I'm looking forward to reading this sequel. I've read the first fifty pages and I think the beginning is even better than the previous book. I just hope the plot twists hold up. 

So, there you  have it. None of these are absolute favourites, but Across the Universe was quite good and I have high hopes for Sapphique. Have you read any of these books? Do you want me to post a review for any of these soon?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ash 2 Nash Virtual Book Tour

I just thought I should mention quickly... there's a pretty awesome contest going on at THIS blog. You can win signed books like Across the Universe, Hourglass, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Anna and the French Kiss and Between Shades of Gray. While I've only read one of those books I've heard good things about all the others and I thought that some of you might like to enter the contest or just buy some of the books yourselves. :)

School Suggestions: It's Not All Exciting

In six week I leave home, possibly forever. Well, I’ll be home for Christmas and probably summers, but it’s likely I’ll never actually live at home again. The house that I’ve lived in for the past thirteen years will no longer be home. My room (which was finally decorated just as I wanted it) will become my sister’s. I’ll have a new apartment with a new room and new roommates and a new church and new friends, and I’ll have to cook for myself, all while trying to study at a new university….

When I take the time to think about it, I shouldn’t be worried. I’m an independent sort of person, and I don’t get homesick easily. When I was fourteen I flew to Ontario by myself and stayed with a friend for a month. Luckily, I already know a lot of people where I’m going and I have some extended family in the area. There are lots of good churches in the area so I’ll have support, and I’m sure my roommates are all going to be awesome. I’ve already gone to university for a year so I know what to expect.

Despite all that, I’m still scared. As much as I can’t help counting down the days (about a month now) until I leave, I can’t help obsessing over everything I’m leaving and worrying about what’s coming. It’s a lot harder than I had ever thought it would be. After all, I’m leaving my comfortable life with my wonderful family on the peaceful Island and moving in to busy Ontario with three people I’ve never met. Yes, I know everything’s gonna be fine, but right now it’s just a little scary.

On the other hand, it still hasn’t sunk in. I can’t imagine myself living in the apartment, not having my family around. I’ve never been to the campus so I can’t see myself in any of the classrooms or talking to the profs. Right now I’m stuck in my PEI life, working, reading, hanging out with friends, writing, etc, and despite it just being a month away, the fall term seems years away.

If you haven’t already gathered this, my emotions are in one big whirl. I know everything’s going to be alright, yet I feel worried, even while it still hasn’t sunk in yet. Moving out for university is a big deal, something I’ve been planning for all my life, and I can’t believe it’s actually happening. It’s no surprise that my brain hasn’t processed it yet. J

As for you, my lovely blog readers, are any of you starting university in the fall? Even if you’re not, I assume you’re planning for it, trying to decide what you want to study or where you want to go. It’s an exciting period, and I wish you all the best. And to help you all out in this time of transition, I’ve compiled a School Suggestions Saturday Series where I give some (hopefully) helpful tips for when you head off to university. I’m so glad I went to UPEI for this past semester, so I already know what to expect from university. I hope my experience can make some of you guys’ high school to college transitions just that much easier. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First-Impression Friday: Bumped

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.
Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Title: From the little I know about the book ‘Bumped’ seems to refer to the ‘baby bump’ you get when you’re pregnant. If this is the case then that’s actually kind of clever. However, by itself it just seems a little strange. In short the title doesn’t really draw me in, but it doesn’t turn me away either.

Cover: After so many covers with a girl’s face on them this is a nice change, but I find that it’s a little boring. Just black, grey, and pink. The spine is also extremely plain (just white with ‘bumped’ in pink letters) and if that’s all I saw of it in a bookstore I don’t think I’d give it a second glance. I like how they’re trying to make it different from the normal commercial cover but it still doesn’t manage to keep my attention.

Pitch: I’m not sure exactly what I think about the idea of teen girls being encouraged to get pregnant. It’s a great idea, as the point of dystopia is to mirror our own civilization closely, which this idea certainly does. On the other hand, it could easily turn into a really sketchy sort of book. I do, however, like how she also weaves in the story with the twins. This will let us see two different sides of her dystopia and I love long-lost-twin stories.

First line: I’m Sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet.
This is a great shocker first line. A MC being sixteen isn’t anything interesting. Them being pregnant adds a new dimension, but still, there are lots of pregnant sixteen year olds. Then, saying that she’s the most important person on the planet… That throws us for a loop. I couldn’t stop reading after this point.

First chapter: This introduces Melody, thinking about herself being pregnant and trying to convince herself to ‘own’ her pregnancy. I really liked her self-doubt in this short chapter. It shows that already she’s not buying into the mentality of her world.

Overall: Overall, this is a book I’m going to read. I can’t say I’m a fan of the cover or the title, but the stuff that actually matters has really intrigued me so far. 

Book Review: Crescendo

By Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever and even worse, he's started spending time with Nora's arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he's hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperatly searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.

Why I read it: I ‘accidentally’ won this book in a contest (meaning I entered the contest because it was easy and I didn’t think I’d win) but then I did win the book, so I kinda had to read it…

What I liked: Just like for Hush, Hush, the ending was the only good part of this book. For most of the book I was bored and everything seemed so random, but then at the ending it all made sense perfectly. It actually worked out more like a detective story than a paranormal romance, which I thought was great. I loved who the bad guy was, I loved how the climax happened, I loved how everything worked together…

What I disliked: Unfortunately, the ‘ending’ started at about page 390 of a 425 page book, so I was left for most of the book bored, confused, and completely annoyed with the characters. The plot was completely all over the place, full of random attacks and Nora’s problems that had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. She decides that she’s going to get a job (which her mother isn’t happy about… what mother wouldn’t want their 16 year old to FINALLY get a job?) and that’s talked about a lot but plays no role in the story. There were a lot of important things happening, but there was nothing actually holding it all together into a plot, so I had no sense of where it was going.

Nora and Patch made absolutely zero sense. Last book Patch was an annoying, egocentric, stalkerish, antagonist guy, in this story he’s actually super sweet and loving, only Nora decides to hate him for no reason whatsoever and he decides to go date Marcie Millar, Nora’s arch-enemy. Nora especially drove me nuts. She’s supposedly really smart, but she’s in summer school because she thinks it’ll be easier. She really likes Patch but she keeps telling herself she doesn’t like him because she knows she can’t be with him, and yet there are times she thinks she hates him… The problem with Nora was that she was switching emotions constantly so I never felt any connection to her.

From a Christian Perspective: This book was a little worse than Hush, Hush. There wasn’t much (if any) swearing, and actually less kissing, but there were a couple parties with drunk characters and Nora gets a little too close to having sex with some guy just to get back at Patch. The religious content with the fallen angels and Nephilim also got a bit worse, making it seem like the ‘good’ angels were actually really bad and were going to send Patch to Hell just because he loved Nora.

To buy or not to buy: I already own this, but since I really didn’t care for it that much I’ll probably be giving it away. It’s probably not actually such a crappy book—after all, it’s got 5600 five star reviews on Goodreads and an overall rating of 4.15, which isn’t bad—but it really isn’t my thing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

IMM: A week behind

This week was rather random, with books ranging from a sort of dystopia to contemporary to time travel. This week is also unique because (since I haven't posted an IMM in a couple weeks) I've actually read all these books. So I'll be able to tell you why I read these books, and a little bit about how I liked them.

I had high hopes for this book. The whole idea of an asteroid hitting the moon and throwing everything off sounded really interesting to me. Unfortunately, this book just felt boring and I had to force myself to finish it. 

This book, the companion novel to Life as We Knew It was slightly more interesting. Same premise, but since it was set in NYC it had a little more action. 

This story, about two girls who used to be friends but now are enemies, singing against each other in a prestigious competition, was much better than I expected. Sara Bennett Wealer is a masterful writer and I thoroughly enjoyed this story, even though I'm normally not a contemporary fan. 

Sadly, I didn't finish this book. I read the first couple chapters and didn't care for it at all. It felt just like what they're doing on Doctor Who with Riversong, only it wasn't near as cool. The writing threw me off, the characters seemed flat... I'm not going to write a review for it, since I only read about fifty pages, but I wasn't enjoying it at all.

So, that's what I got in my mailbox this (or rather, last) week. Have you read any of these books? Do you have them on your To-read list? Also, do you like it when I do IMM for books I've already read, or would you rather have me do it before I read them?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Problems with Poetry 1: Critiquing Other’s Work

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on how to take criticism on your poems. I suggest that you all go read that before proceeding here, where I’m going to talk about how to critique someone else’s poems.

Firstly, I suggest you read the poem over a couple times. If it’s really long (think Paradise Lost) then you don’t need to do this, but since most poems are less than 300 words you can probably afford to read it through about three times to get a good feel for it. Before starting to write your critique you should make sure you know what the poem is talking about. It’s often helpful to include a quick, one-sentence summary of the poem in your review, just so the writer knows if it’s too clear, or not clear enough.

Then, you’ll want to give some advice. Remember, be specific. It doesn’t help at all to say ‘I noticed some problems with the rhythm.’ Instead, say ‘The last line of the third stanza is a little too long.’ Also, don’t just say you liked the feeling of the poem. Say exactly what you liked. Poem critiques seem to be very vague, but those don’t help the poem.

Here are a couple specific things you can watch out for:
1.       Rhythmic problems. If you find yourself stumbling over words then they should probably re-word it. Tell them where you stumbled and why. You can give them a suggestion for how to fix it, but don’t expect them to use your exact words. It is their poem, after all.
2.       Boring words. This especially applies to rhyming poems. If I see one more person rhyme ‘night’ and ‘light’ and ‘bright’ then I’m going to hurt them…  Also, check for generic words like laugh, sing, night, day, happy, sad, gone, life, death, etc. Poetry is about being original, and those words aren’t going to help.
3.       Boring expressions. Writing about ‘a night black as ink’ or ‘silky smooth hair’ or something like that will just make the poem feel cliché. Point out any clichés you notice.

And of course, remember to be balanced. Don’t just point out the problems; make sure to mention exactly what you like. Be specific, but talk a bit about big picture stuff. In short, write a thoughtful, helpful critique, just as if you were reading a short story or novel. Why not head right over to and read some poetry right now?

Friday, July 15, 2011

First-Impression Friday: The Body Finder

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers. 

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him. 

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.

Title: I quite like the title The Body Finder. Even if you hadn’t heard anything about the premise of the story it already gives you an idea of what it’s going to be about.

Cover: A lot of people have said that the cover is pretty, and it is, in a way, but I’m not such a huge fan of it. Why is a flower important? Plus, I don’t like how the wording is being placed right in the center, on top of the picture. Yes, I’m being picky, but it’s really hard to explain why exactly I don’t like it.

Pitch: Firstly, I love how Violet has had this body-sensing ability for years now. I’m tired of paranormal books where the MC has to come to terms with their new ability. It’s nice that she’s already had it. I also love that she can sense bodies, and that her ability comes into play when a serial killer arrives in her town. That’s such an original premise that I decided to give this story a try, despite the ‘paranormal romance’ label. The one thing I’m not too excited about is the hint of romance already between Violet and her best friend since childhood.

First Sentence: There are really two first sentences, one for the prologue and one for the first chapter. The one in the prologue is a long, convoluted sentence about Violet walking around. The first chapter starts with an alarm clock waking her up. Hmm. Not too impressed so far.

First Chapter: I just read the first half of the first chapter (up to a section break) and I’m not impressed. First starters, it begins with an ordinary, boring day where she gets up and goes to school. Then it concentrates on her feelings for her best friend. It’s also clogged with backstory, telling about her special gift and her relationship with Jay over the years. Also, the writing feels overdone. This feels like something I’d read on inkpop, not in a published book.

Overall: I’m not sure what to think. I absolutely love the premise but I haven’t liked any of what I’ve read so far. I’ll certainly give it a bit more of a chance but this may well be a book I don’t end up finishing. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New posting Schedule, and awesome new blog!

Since my old posting schedule hasn't been doing too well (mainly due to the fact that my laptop's internet has been spazzy over the past weeks) I've decided to start a new posting schedule that I might be able to keep up with better.

Monday- IMM (a list of the books I picked up that week, along with a short description of what the book's about and why I decided to read it.)
Wednesday- Book Reviews (self explanatory....)
Friday- First-impression Friday (I'll take a book and post its cover, the pitch and the first sentence/paragraph and talk about how the various elements either drew me into the story or turned me away.)
Saturday- School Suggestions Saturday (This is for anyone starting university who doesn't know what to expect, or someone who struggled in their first year or two at university, or highschool students who are just interested.)

I'll also probably do some random writing posts which will appear either on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The reason that I haven't scheduled these is that they take a fair amount of time and I don't want to feel pressured to write them on a specific schedule.

Oh, and please note that this schedule will probably change again whenever I head out to school. I'll be staring University for real so I'll be super busy and I'll be living away from home. I know it'll be awesome, but it also means that I won't have as much time for this blog.

Now, I need to tell you about another awesome blog you really should be reading. My good friend Alex, who goes to musical theatre classes with me and is a fellow Doctor Who, Narnia, and Lord of the Rings geek, has started up a blog called Triple Threat PhilosoGEEK. She talks about random things, from her favourite music, to incidents in her life, to short inspirational posts. All in all, Alex is a lovely person and her blog is certainly worth reading.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: Hush, Hush

By Becca Fitzpatrick

For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Why I read it: I had heard a fair bit about these books, ranging from ‘This is as dumb as Twilight’ to people who didn’t like Twilight but loved these. Then I accidentally won a SIGNED copy of Crescendo, so I kinda had to read them.

(NOTE: I’m going to do my ‘What I liked’ and ‘What I disliked’ sections backwards today, since everything I liked was at the end of the book, and what I disliked was at the beginning.)

What I disliked: For the first two thirds of the book, I completely understood the Twilight comparison. Patch is just as dangerous, just as stalkerish and just as stupidly in love with a normal human as Edward is. In fact, Patch is ten times worse. Everything he does is just to antagonize Nora. From the very first day it’s clear that he’s going after her; when the Science teacher asks for the qualities of his ideal mate, Patch lists Nora’s attributes. He’s constantly trying to embarrass her. He makes sexual innuendos way too often, and several times he corners Nora in sketchy situations. Once he traps her in a dark alley and she’s (rightly) scared of him, but a minute later she’s accepting his offer to drive her home. I seriously considered putting this book down halfway through because I couldn’t stand Patch, and Nora’s reactions to him drove me nuts.

The other main problem with most of the book is that nothing happens. This reminded me of Twilight, where Bella takes 300 pages to figure out that Edward’s a vampire. Anyone reading Hush, Hush probably has a good idea that Patch is a fallen angel, so when it took Nora two thirds of the book to figure that out, I was just bored.

What I liked: However, once she does figure out he’s a fallen angel, things get interesting fast. The action heats up, the creepiness faction increases (but in a good way, not in a Patch-is-such-a-bad-boy-but-I-can’t-stop-being-attracted-to-him way) and the revelations come fast and furious. Things that I thought were just stupid earlier on actually ended up making sense. Some people have called the ending anticlimactic, but I thought it was perfect.

From a Christian Perspective: There’s just a little bit of questionable content (three kisses, Patch’s constant sexual innuendos, and a tiny dash of swearing) but the bigger issue is with the main content of the book, the Fallen Angels. The book supposes that angels can still fall, that they can lust and hate, but when that happens they are thrown out of heaven. It’s also a major plot point that they can be forgiven and become Guardian angels, or, by receiving a human sacrifice, become human themselves. The idea that long ago angels slept with men and created a new race, the Nephilim, becomes fairly important later on. While the book does begin with a biblical quote, the only religious material that’s actually referenced is the Book of Enoch, and apocryphal book that Enoch supposedly wrote. I’m not sure God was ever actually mentioned, so I don’t know if any of this could be considered to be blasphemy, but it’s certainly unscriptural.

To buy or not to buy: I already own Crescendo, but I don’t think I liked Hush, Hush enough to buy it, even to complete the series. Because of this, I may well have a SIGNED copy of Crescendo to give away soon….

Friday, July 8, 2011

My first blog award!

 A huge thank you to Kelly of Ink and Green Tea for giving me the 'Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.' I think what I'm supposed to do for this award is give seven facts about myself... let's see how this goes.

1- I just chose my courses for the fall in university, and they include one on fantasy and one on totalitarianism. I'm just that cool.

2- I've just decided to read 20 of Shakespeare's best-known plays over the summer. Supposedly, it's because I love Shakespeare. The real reason is because I'm trying to read a hundred books this year and Shakespeare is nice and short.

3- I'm really not Irresistibly Sweet at all. In fact, I'm probably a fair bit nicer online than I am in person.

4- I absolutely love Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who. Fantasy and Sci-fi for the win!

5-  In contrast to the previous fact, I have never read or watched Harry Potter, and I'm not a huge fan of Star Wars.

6- My novel, SIMULATE (formerly called The Web) is currently at 56k, but I haven't written in at least a week. *gasp!*

6- I am a total geek/nerd/super-cool-person, just so you know. :P

7- Yes, there were two '6' facts. But there are only seven facts because this one doesn't count.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Catch-up Read-A-Thon Signup

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Catch-Up Read-a-Thon, hosted by Keegan Shayne from Blabbing Books and Elanor Lawrence from Elanor Lawrence. This is our first Read-a-Thon, so we're super excited to be hosting it.

The Catch-Up Read-a-Thon will run from August 13 to September the 3rd, giving you plenty of time to 'catch up' on your reading and hopefully make a sizable dent in your TBR pile. This is also a great time to finish up any summer reads before school starts again.

To join the Read-a-Thon, please enter your name into the link below. Then follow both Elanor Lawrence and Blabbing Books so that you can receive updates reminding you of when the contest is coming up. It would be wonderful if you all could spread the word via twitter, facebook, your blog, Goodreads... anywhere you can think of. Of course, you want to spread the love of reading. And the more entries we get, the more prizes we'll add.

Because yes, there will be prizes! Each week everyone who participates by posting a progress report on their blog/twitter/tumblr will be entered to win a swag pack from our three sponsoring authors. These wonderful women are:

  1. Terra Lyn Childs (Forgive My Fins and Fins are Forever)
  2. Elana Johnson (Possession)
  3. Beth Revis (Across the Universe)

Also, we will both be running individual contests on our own blogs, so make sure to follow them both!

From Elanor:
1) Two Handmade Seaglass Pendants
2) One Query critique

From Keegan:
1) Three Custom Blog Layouts
2) Three Mini-interviews on the blog

The more you participate in the Read-a-Thon, the more prizes you'll be eligible for. For now, add your name to the linky below, follow bot
Blabbing Books and Elanor Lawrence, and (most importantly) start gathering a sizeable TBR pile. You'll need it in August!

If you are participating, please add your name in the link at the bottom of the post. The put this image in your side bar and link it back to this post to show your support. More information on progress posts, books and prizes will be given closer to the starting date. We hope to see you in August! :)


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

William and Kate visited PEI!

Right now the royal couple, Prince William and his new wife Katharine, are touring Canada. They stopped in Ottawa a couple days, and Sunday night they arrived on Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province. On Monday morning they visited Charlottetown and were joined by about 30,000 people (including myself.) Since I know the royal wedding was a huge deal, I thought some of you might like to see some pictures from my ‘royal stalking.’

First off, Charlottetown was busy. It’s the capital of the province but only about 30,000 people live there, so the turnout to watch William and Kate ride in the carriage from Province House down to the water was about as big as the population of the city. I went with a friend and we got there about two hours before the event actually started. There were already so many people there that you couldn’t get within five feet of the barriers.

I got lucky and we managed to find a place behind a news platform, which meant that I was looking through that rather than over peoples' heads. Since I’m short, trying to see over people really wasn’t working. As is, I didn’t actually see much, thanks to all the media in the way, but I managed to get some okay pics. 

At around 10:40 the royal couple left Province House and stood outside while the Premier and the Speaker for the house gave a couple short speeches. When they were done, William went up to the podium and talked for about a minute about how happy he was to be here, that sort of thing. Short, but sweet.

After the speeches they did a quick walk-around shaking hands. Kate went around the other side, covered by an umbrella (it was raining a little) so I didn’t get any good pics of her, but William came right around five feet away from me. Unluckily, those five feet were jam packed with people so I didn’t get anywhere near enough to shake his hand, but I got a couple nice closeup shots.

When they were both done, they waited under an umbrella for the carriage to be readied. It was the Governor General’s special carriage, brought all the way from Ottawa. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pics of them inside the carriage (thanks to someone shoving their cellphone up in the way just as my camera was taking a pic) but I certainly cheered as loud as everyone else as they drove down the street towards the harbour.

At this point the royals were off to a private function and I went to lunch, not with them, of course. Hence, I have no more pictures for you, but since they were followed by more than 1200 members of the media, you can find plenty of pics online. Here’s a news article that you can check out if you’d like some more information on William and Kate’s Canadian tour. I’ve just got to say that I’m so happy they chose to visit PEI and I was thrilled to be able to see the royal couple, even if it was just for a couple minutes. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

June Review

Wow... I can't believe it's July already! Canada Day has come and gone and it's already the 4th. Happy Independence Day to all my American blogger friends! I spent the day out in town, watching Prince William and Kate arrive. It was so tiring, and I ended up standing for two hours before they arrived and didn't even get the best view, but it was still worth it. My first royal sighting! If you're interested, I have some pics on twitter: William close-up, Kate and William by Province House, Kate and William under an umbrella.

That's my interesting news. Now, since it's July, I'm going to do a quick June Review:

Followers: 63 (up from 53)

Pageviews: 2700 (Up from 1200, but a lot of these were google images searches)

Day with the most pageviews: June 12

Most viewed page: How to get Published 3: Revisions

Website that referred the most views: Google

Country with the most views: US with 1000 (Canada was next with 500)

This is kind of a big change from last month. wasn't even on the list of top referring urls since I haven't been advertising there because they just redid the site. I really like the new look and the new top fives, but it's taking me a little while to get used to it. I plan to become active on the site again soon. It's just been a really busy summer so far.

And on that note, I owe all of you an apology. I've been super busy recently, what with starting a new job, and all the excitement over Canada Day and the royal visit, as well as working on my novel and trying to have some kind of social life, so I've really neglected my blog. This wasn't helped by the fact that I've just lost internet in my room, so now I have to post everything using my family's super slow computer. So, I'm sorry that I haven't been posting much, but I can't guarantee that things will get much better soon. I'll try to work out a new posting schedule that's a little bit more manageable.

P.S. I should point out that I'm just 37 followers away from my promised giveaway.... (and yes, you will get extra points for following early and for spreading the word about my blog even before the contest.)