Friday, September 25, 2015

The Accident Season | Moira Fowley-Doyle


It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

+1 Cover Design

I'm not a huge fan of the cover. The aesthetic is cool, but I don't think it completely meshes with the plot and the concept of the book. It's a mysterious and almost creepy cover but something about it just doesn't appeal to me.

+4 Writing Style

I didn't have any significant problems with the writing style. Nothing bad about it, but nothing spectacular.

+2 Plot Development

To be completely honest, I didn't understand the arc of this storyline. I thought the majority of the book would focus on the accident season and unraveling the past behind it. And while we did get to the root of the accident season, there were too many other plot lines crammed into one, stand-alone two-hundred page book. I think that the storyline should have been more concentrated on the accident season. It would have made for a fluid and clearer story.

+2 Character Relations

I'm extremely conflicted on how I feel about this aspect. The relationships aren't something I would necessarily ship, but I wasn't completely repulsed by them.

Aside from the romantic relationship, the interactions between the mother and the children were mildly contradictory. A large part of this story was planning a party in a haunted house in the middle of the woods. Now I don't know about you, but if there was a season when the likelihood of the potential death of my children was fairly high, I wouldn't allow a party like this. Honestly a party in the woods seems dangerous on its own, add a season full of accidents and deaths, and it becomes a wish for death.

+3 Character Development

I found little to no character development throughout the book but I would attribute that to the storyline. There was nothing Cara had to grow from and change for, so she didn't. She got a more accepting throughout the book, but other than that there were no dramatic changes to her character.

+3 Likability of Protagonist

I was completely neutral to Cara. I didn't love her as a character, nor could I relate to her, but I didn't outright hate her.

+2 Necessity of Minor Characters

There were one or two minor characters that were crucial to the plot line, but other than that, I didn't really feel a need for the minor characters. They all had their own individual stories and didn't really serve to help the plot line.

+2 Setting Description

There was no constant setting, and again I felt like they didn't necessarily correlate with each other. The flow of location wasn't as clear as it could have been.

+1 Interesting Storyline

Like I mentioned before the storyline was too crammed for my liking. Because of this I didn't find the storyline as compelling as I would have liked to. Before going into this book I thought it was a contemporary, but it ended up having themes of fantasy and mystery as well, which I didn't particularly love.

+2 Predictability

I called the ending way before it happened. I mean what's the point of introducing a seemingly random character at the beginning unless they're going to play a significant role in the end. There were no big plot twists, or anything that made this book particularly original or unique.

+50 Finished

Final Total: 72; C-

Overall I didn't love this book. It definitely could have used more concentration in the central plot line and more development on the characters. I went into it with different expectations, expecting a contemporary novel, which ending being more fantasy/mystery. While I didn't love it, if you're looking for a dark, heavy read, I would give this book a try. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between | Jennifer E. Smith


On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

+3 Cover Design 

While this isn't the best cover I've seen, I absolutely love the font of the title. Any title with this font automatically gets some points. I also really like the color scheme of the cover, but the actual image of the cover seems a bit cliché.

+5 Writing Style

Smith does a fantastic job of weaving all the parts of the story together in a way that's interesting and deep.

+3 Plot Development

While the entirety of the book was more of an emotional journey over a physical one, a majority of the book had good plot development. I particularly loved the flashbacks where we got to see the development of their relationship. While I understood the indecision our protagonist was struggling through, near the end the problem less significant than it started.

+5 Character Relationships 

This entire book focused on relationships. Boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, father-son relationships, best friend-best friend relationships. And they were fleshed out so perfectly. Every interaction had some sort of significance, no dialogue seemed unnecessary and out of place. 

+3 Character Development

Since the span of the book is over the course of one night, we don't really see much development in the characters individually. But we do see a lot of development in their relationships with one another, which compensates for the lack of individuality of the characters.

+3 Likability of Protagonist

I have no complains about Clare or Aiden. I related a little more to Clare in her practicality of thinking, but I wasn't in love with her. I could see how Aiden is a fantastic boyfriend and individual, but again I didn't love him as much as I have with other characters.

+4 Necessity of Minor Characters

While the minor characters weren't necessary to the plot itself, they were extremely important in the development of different character relationships. These minor characters shaped the situation that set up the book, but didn't do as much for the storyline during the book. 

+5 Setting Description

A good chunk of this book focused on the setting since each particular place they stopped had a significant impact on their relationship. I really think that Smith did a fantastic job with giving us enough detail so we could realistically picture the scenes in our minds without being overloaded with unnecessary detail.

+4 Interesting Storyline

Personally I really enjoyed this book and I think a lot of it had to do with how close the scenes in this book hit home. While I'm not saying goodbye to a first love or anything like that, I am leaving for college soon and in the same way I have to say goodbye to all my friends. Like in the book I have friends staying right here and I have friends going as far as California.

+3 Predictability

I wasn't really looking towards whether or not Clare and Aiden would stay together. While I was reading it, I was more living in the moment of their relationship, not really worrying whether or not they were going to stay together.

+50 Finished

Final Total: 88/100; B+ 

This is more of an emotional book than an action-packed one. But it's a fantastic summer read and I definitely recommend it as a good way to feel nostalgic, especially if you're like me and about to start college.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Hero of Ages | Discussion Post #2

Welcome guys to another Hero of Ages discussion post! We're moving right along into post number two. If you've missed any of the previous posts, you can find them below. Let's get right into it! 

1. How do you feel about Vin as a character now?

Courtney: Vin can be a frustrating character, but she’s so real. In book one we were able to see her go from an untrusting, fearful street urchin to a powerful Allomancer, developing friendships along the way. In book two she was questioning herself a lot, trying to force herself into a certain role, but still managed to grow. I think she only continues to progress. She’s learned to accept and even started coming to terms with her role in Elend’s government as well as her role as a woman. I’m really enjoying the changes in her thought processes so far in this installment.

Saloni: She’s definitely progressed throughout the series and I love how she’s finally realizing that she doesn’t have to pick one identity or the other. I love that she’s been able to accept and embrace both parts of herself. I think the the dual genetic nature of her Mistborn identity really comes into play into how well she fits both roles of nobility and skaa. I still hope there’s some type of confrontation between her and her father, if he has survived through all of this. I think it would give us good closure on her childhood. 

2. What are your thoughts on the religious issues Sazed is facing?

Courtney: It’s interesting to see this new side of Sazed. He was always the faithful one, believing in so many different religions because they brought hope to those who stood by their precepts. Now that he believes he’s lost his faith and is struggling to find truth within any of them, he’s easier to relate to in many ways. His faith was somewhat blind up until this point and he’s reached a sort of cross roads. I think that is something we all face, even if it’s not in regards to religion. It’s definitely been interesting so far to see how his story is playing out and his interactions with the crew.

Saloni: I really think that everything Sazed is going through now is so relatable to what so many of us deal with today. He’s spending so much time trying to decide which religion is “true” but instead continues to find contradictions between different religions. I just find the whole process very interesting and I’m excited to see how Sanderson resolves it. 

3. Who do you think is telling the short narrations at the beginning of each chapter?

Courtney: These little snippets are something that I always enjoy about these books. They are insightful and give major hints as to what’s coming (if you’re looking closely enough). It’s hard to say who, exactly, is writing these, but since it surrounds the Terris people it would make sense for it to be someone closely associated with them. 

Saloni: In all of the previous books we've had similar narrations at the beginning of each chapter and, if I remember correctly, from the first and second books the narrator was the Hero of Ages not the Lord Ruler who was Rashek. The narration from this book involves facts from the present and the past which leads me to suspect a Terrisman, possible Sazed or Tindwyl.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Hero of Ages | Discussion Post #1

Hey guys!

It's been quite a while since I've posted a discussion post but I promise that our buddy reads is still going, slowly by surely! It's been a while so I'll remind you guys that we've actually read the first two books and we've done discussion posts for all of those books as well which I will link down below. In other news, we have also created a Goodreads group that involves buddy reading so feel free to join it! The more the merrier! 

The Well of Ascension


Now onto our first discussion post of the last book:

1. Do you think that Marsh will be able to defy Ruin’s control in any meaningful way?

Courtney: I feel really sad for Marsh. I’ve always found his character fascinating and I feel so bad for him being stuck in this position. He wants to eventually defy Ruin and end his own life, but he can barely move a finger without calling the creatures attention. I think that he will definitely play a part somewhere along the way, the real Marsh, not Ruin, but I don’t know how exactly. I just hope that he’s able to act in some helpful way on his own impulses.

Saloni: I think that the interactions between Marsh and Ruin are really interesting. I do think that Marsh will be able to defy Ruin and I think it’ll actually be a major way to pull the plot forward. Rather than completely overpower Ruin but I think there will be small moments in between where Marsh will be able to over Ruin for a short period of time, allowing him to perhaps reveal important information. 

2. The Inquisitors are exhibiting new and frightening abilities, where do you think this stems from?

Courtney: The Inquisitor that Vin and Elend fought in the beginning was fast, too fast, which worries Vin. I think it must have something to do with the extra spikes they’re placing in their bodies. And they kill people to do that. Including Keepers. I wonder if they’re somehow taking the power of the person being killed? Somehow they all become Mistborn, so it’s not too much of a stretch that they could gain more power.

Saloni: I agree with Courtney. It definitely has something to do with the extra spikes being put in their body, though how exactly the power gets transferred I’m not sure. Perhaps the Feruchemy in Keepers can transfer to Allomancy in the Mistborn Inquisitors somehow? I’m not sure how this would happen, but it’s just a theory. 

3. What do you think of the kandra society?

Courtney: So far I’ve really enjoyed TenSoon’s sections. We’ve not really had a view of the kandra as a people before, only being exposed to a few of them, and I find their hidden society intriguing. The control being with the older kandra and the fact that you never see the Firsts...It will be interesting to find out what’s going on there.

Saloni: I’m really enjoying these sections. I wasn’t sure we were going to see more of TenSoon, but I’m so glad we are. I think that the kandra are an interesting society and the way they operate based on generation is a strange yet intriguing form of government. I’m excited to find out how they deal with TenSoon and his betrayal. Perhaps they might go after Vin, but I have really no idea.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tuesday Talks | My Reading Experience

It's Tuesday again (well let's pretend it's Tuesday) and it's time for another Tuesday Talks post. Tuesday Talks is a Goodreads group started by Janie and Janelle where we discuss book-related topics every Tuesday. I missed last week and hopefully I'm back on track starting this week.

So this week we're talking about how reading began for us and who are biggest influences were in reading.

I started reading when I was very young, so I don't have that particular 'moment' where reading changed my life, it's just always been there. And quite honestly, it confuses me how I got into reading fiction. My mom hates the concept of reading, not that she prevents me from doing it or anything but she just finds the concept to be boring, which is understandable. And although my dad reads, he reads work-related books like "how to program" and things like that.

I do have a vivid memory of when I was little (about seven or eight years old) and sick and my dad came home with the Magic Tree House books and introduced me to them. I really think it was a mix of luck that the library was close by and that I was an only child. So a lot of my childhood was about keeping myself entertained and since the Internet wasn't as prominent of a source as it is now, reading was what I went to.

How did you guys start reading? Do you guys have any interesting stories? If so, let me know below! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The College Diaries | The Time I Ran for President

It's been quite a while since I've been able to post an update. While I could say I had a bunch of homework and tests and whatnot to keep me busy, I'll admit that it's just hard too find the motivation to write something and post it. But here I am with some amount of renewed motivation, ready to tell you all about my run for president.

So back in May when I finally decided which college I wanted to attend, I also wanted to run for President of my class. And about a week or so ago, I made it official by submitting my letter of intent.

This isn't a post about how I thought I was going to lose and then somehow got enough votes to win. Cutting straight to the chase, I lost, but let me tell you why running for president might have been the best thing I've done for myself since getting to college.

I'm an extreme introvert, which is apparent by the fact that on a Saturday night instead of being out partying, I'm here writing this post. So socializing doesn't necessarily come easy to me. Running for president gave me an excuse to talk to people. I admit, I got annoying sometimes constantly telling people to vote for me, but hey, it's better than nothing. People began to know my name and associated my name with a face.

The majority of my campaign was talking to people and telling them to vote for me. And even if they didn't vote for me, it was a great way to meet new people and get a conversation started. I love being able to walk to class and see at least five people I know wave and say hi to me and vice versa.

Basically, moral of the story: Run for president. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tuesday Talks | Buddy Reads

It's Tuesday again and that means it time for another Tuesday Talks. If you don't know, Tuesday Talks is a Goodreads group started by Janie and Janelle where we discuss book related topics every Tuesday. Today we're talking about buddy reads and what we think of them.

Buddy reads are a hit and miss for me. I think ideally it's a great idea. I love the concept of making an individual idea something collaborative and interactive, but on the other hand it's also really restrictive. Sometimes people don't read the pace you want them to or your schedules don't necessary line up.

Nonetheless I have been doing a buddy read over the summer and it has been relatively successful. It's definitely been harder to keep up with the reading and blog posts in conjunction with my classes, but it's a really good motivation to keep me reading. Because this particular buddy read has been so successful, we're actually trying to get a group of bloggers, which will us the opportunity to network and read fantastic books together. Our group is called Read Together, Blog Together so if you're interested feel free to join us, the more the merrier!