Feb 17, 2010

A Place Called Here, Cecelia Ahern

My 1st review for the New Year, and my 2nd review for this Irish author, Cecelia Ahern.

Let's just start with why I've chosen this book. Having finished The Sorceress, waiting 'til May to get my hands on the next one of the series certainly left a big empty hole in me. I loved the book so much that I decided to wait for 2 weeks before reading another book (I was afraid that my love for it might ruin my next reading experiences). And when I finally did, I chose one that was popularly praised: Shiver. But ... well, let's just say I didn't get it, no matter how I wanted to like it and how I was supposed to love it. So I dropped it halfway through (but with an intention to try it again later). Thinking I was still affected by The Sorceress, I turned to something more action-packed and myths-filled than Shiver: The Lightning Thief. I saw the trailer for the movie and really loved it. Sadly, this time I gave up after 3 chapters.

And then I saw this book. The cover was pink and beautiful, so I thought: "Why not begin the New Year with this cover? Maybe I'll get some luck this time". Besides, Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors.

Turns out, I did get lucky. This book is not action-packed, nor is it myths-filled. It's very simple, but something in Cecelia's writing kept drawing me in. So I kept reading it, and I love it.

Sometimes when you search for the epic, you might as well settle with the simple and the obvious.


Sandy Shortt, who is neither sandy nor short, is obsessed with finding things. Since her childhood not-friend Jenny-May Butler went missing, she's been wondering: where do all the lost things and the missing people go??? That's when she started asking questions that no one can answer, and that's when she started finding things. If one of her socks goes missing in the washing machine, she'll mess up the whole house to search for it. If she can't find her brand new toothbrush in the middle of the night, she'll go out under the rain to look for it in the car.
When Sandy grew up, she started her own missing persons agency. She spends her life looking for lost people, including Jenny-May, who was the reason that started her obsession.

Somewhere along her journey, Sandy realized that in a lifetime searching for people, she's forgotten to search for herself.

Somewhere along her journey, Sandy found herself lost. Lost in a place where there were her lost socks and the people she spent her life searching for.

That's the place where all the missing things and people go.

That's the place called Here.

My review:

This book, like every other Cecelia's books, has just a slight touch of a fairytale. Here, magic is just the background. What truly beautiful is the journey of finding one's self, and finding the others'. Even though the plot may sound confusing at first, it is slowly and gradually developed through out the book. Knots are tightened and all solved in the end, pleasingly.

The characters are wonderful. Sandy is strong and different, even difficult. She's 34 years old, so she's not our usual 18-year-old stereotype (it's kinda funny because I always love young and romantic protagonists, but Cecelia writes mostly about the thirties, and I still love her books). Sandy has this kind of obsession, which may be annoying sometimes. When she loses something, it bothers her a lot that she can't put her mind into anything else beside searching for it. I don't want to spoil the plot, so let's just say she loses a lot of things, LOL.

Another character I love is Jenny-May. Throughout the book, she is missing. So we don't get to know her much, but she's such a mystery. She literally haunted Sandy, therefore haunted the whole book. As I read on, I felt haunted too. I yearned to know more about her, to discover everything. Why did she go missing? How is she now? What is she doing? And most importantly, where is she?

The story continued, and I love mostly every characters. Each one of them holds something, some knots, some keys, some evidences. The whole book was built strongly. There's no loose spot, that's what I like about it. My own questions were all answered in the end.

The thing about this book is that it touched me to my soul. When I read it, I realized that sometimes, people go missing. Maybe not literally, but if we don't hold them tightly enough in our arms, we may lose them right before our very eyes. And no matter how we love someone, time and fate might take them away in a blink of an eye. I think we all know that, but sometimes we just forget. I know I did. I forgot to tell someone I loved them. I forgot to tell someone I was sorry. I forgot to sometimes give someone a little smile.

I forgot to visit my grandpa, and he passed away when I didn't expect it the most. So I couldn't tell him goodbye. I regrets it all the time.

Sometimes, we might forget things like that. Important things. Sometimes we do things that we regret. And sometimes, it's too late. I don't hate losing things, but we all hate losing people.

Guess what I did right after finishing this book :D

I grabbed my Canon, and I filmed my mom and dad. Just those casual (even silly) moments, but I know I'll caress.

I recommend you all do so :D

But please, try this book. It tells many things, things that we forget and don't realize until it's too late. It's simple but it's really, really good. And it's got depth, which many young adults lack nowadays.

My ratings:

Plot: 9 (very original, very outstanding, very different. I have never thought about where the missing socks go, LOL).
Character: 9
Writing: 10 (deep and attractive, I told you ;) ).
Cover: 10 (take some times to look at it carefully. Recognize all those blue objects? Very meaningful cover).

In conclusion: Get out now. Buy it. Read it. And don't forget to think about it :D

Happy reading, and Happy New Year (New Reading Year, LOL).

Love you all.

Feb 7, 2010

Quick update!!!

This is just a quick update, to let you guys know that I haven't abandon my blogging.

I had a cold and have been feeling like hell all last week. Right now I'm still coughing, but it's getting better. So all I did last week was going to university and studying and when I didn't have to, I slept. I even slept from 5 p.m right through to 6 a.m the next day. Terrible as I felt, I didn't even touch my books, let alone my blog. Truly a bad week for me.

Last week was also the 1st one of my 2nd semester (I'm a 1st-year), and my schedule is super occupied with all those new subjects. So my blogging will surely be less regular. Each one of my reviews takes a lot of time, since I like to write them in details. Weekends are okay for writing reviews, but weekdays are out of the question.

I hope you guys won't forget my blog, because I know I won't :D "less regular" doesn't mean "forgotten" :D

We're having a 2 week holiday for our Lunar New Year (starting now), so hopefully I'll write some reviews for the upcoming days :D Actually, I have just finished The Sorceress, #3 of the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. It is truly outstanding, I was totally hooked from the beginning to the end. But since I already wrote a review for The Alchemyst (#1 of the same series) just recently, I decided not to review this one. However, you really should check it out, because after reading The Sorceress, I've chosen the series as my favourite series EVER <3

That's all for now. Happy reading and blogging, my friends :D Love and miss you all. Take care of yourselves, don't let the colds get you :P

Jan 30, 2010

The Host, Stephenie Meyer


The story is set in the future, when the Earth is taken over by alien "souls"_silver creatures that after being insterted into a human's body, will claim the body & mind.

Wanderer is one of the bravest souls. She has lived on many planets, although never found one that she truly belongs. Like all souls, she is naturally good, loves peace and is disgusted by violence. When coming to Earth, Wanderer is inserted into Melanie Stryder's body. What nobody expected is that Melanie's mind doesn't reconcile herself to losing her body. She fights continuously, speaking to Wanderer in her head, feeding Wanderer on memories of Jared (her lover) and Jamie (her little brother).

Under the influences of Melanie's body & memories, Wanderer finds herself falling fast in love with Jared and Jamie. She also feels guilty more and more each day for taking Melanie's life. So she escapes from the souls community and seeks for them in the desert, with Melanie showing her the way. But what will happen when she finds them ? Men detest souls for taking over the Earth, and souls think of men as violent monsters. So how can they believe her that Melanie's still alive in her head ? How can Wanderer fit in with the monsters who only want to kill her ? And what happens with one body and two minds, both deeply in love with one man ?

My review (spoiler alert):

First, I must say that I really enjoyed this book. It's long but quite a page-turner. Although the idea is not original (I find the whole aliens taking over human bodies thing terribly familiar with Animorphs), it's still developed in a unique way.

I love most of the characters, especially Melanie. She's strong, she's got attitudes, not to mention she's pretty & sporty. I don't know why but everytime I read about her, I keep thinking she must look like Ke$ha.

(Ke$ha's a GREAT singer that I've been obsessed with lately. Check out her video here to see if I got the right impression:


Wanderer (nicknamed Wanda) is okay, too. She's honest and caring, she always thinks for everybody else. That sometimes makes her seem a little stupid, but it's bearable since she's an alien, LOL. I also love Jared. He's the man.He knows when to do what needs to be done. He's emotional, but he knows when to put emotions aside. No wonder why Melanie loves him.

The only character that I hate is Ian. I know, hate is a strong word, and I'm not being fair (blah blah blah, LOL), but I really found him annoying and unbearable. He loves Wanda (the soul, not the body), and he's also very caring, but later it seems like he thinks for no one else but her. I find everything about his relationship with Wanda VERY UNREALISTIC. It's the same problem that prevented me from truly enjoying the Twilight Saga: relationship development. And it's not even love at first sight here. When Wanda first came, Ian tried to kill her. Then, after several days/weeks, watching her working (and being totally silent because she's scared of him), and later hearing her stories of how she invaded other planets, he falls in love with her. How ridiculous!!! I mean, Wanda may be all good and kind, but she's still an invader. I'm not judging her here (I like her, really), but when I try to put myself in Ian's view, this is what I see: aliens invading my dear planet, taking over the bodies of my family and friends whom I dearly love. Everything I'm surrounded with is lies. I have to escape with my twin brother and live in a cave with about 20 others, waiting for vengeance. Now we have captured an alien in the body of my friend's girlfriend. I tried to kill it but did not succeed. We let it live, but it has to work like all of us. It seems scared of me, it tries to be silent as much as possible. It seems sweet sometimes, but I'm not sure that is real or just a trap. I talk to it, I act nicely and make it less scared. But it still doesn't talk to me much. Later, it tells me stories of how it invaded other planets. Okay, that's it. I mean, I can try to be nice and befriend it. But HOW THE HECK can I fall in love with it ??? How can I love it when everything it's done is taking over my planet and it doesn't even talk to me ?

Okay, that's one thing. Now, let's just say Ian can fall in love with Wanda, no matter how stupid that seems. But he's still human. I know that love affects human bodies. That's why Wanda fell in love with Jared in the first place: she's affected by Melanie's body & memories. Now, Ian kisses Wanda in Melanie's body. When Wanda's inserted into a new body, Ian kisses that new body, no hesitation. That's weird. Later, he tells Wanda: "You're not Melanie. I was never confused". He doesn't even care whose body Wanda's in. Now what is that? What if when Wanda leaves Melanie's body, she's inserted into an old woman ? Or, an old man ??? Will he kiss her then ? Will his love still remain ? Will he say he's never confused and can always kiss Wanda not regarding the body ???

I mean, that kind of love is beautiful, wonderful. But it's so UNREAL, and Ian's just human. Good & honest & kind people are everywhere, you can't just fall in love with the first one you see. Moreover, when you're already in love with someone, you'll learn to love their body as well. You'll love their beauty, their defects, their faults. But that's not the same with "don't care anything about the body"!!!!!!!
Imagine you loving someone perfect. Then accidents happen, and their whole face is burnt or they lost their legs or something. That won't stop you from loving them, and loving their body, right?
Now, imagine you loving someone far from perfect. Someone whose whole face is... well, ugly. Suddenly they have surgery and they look perfect, but different. Will you still feel the same about them ? Can you kiss that strange perfect face immediately ? I bet you need time, to make sure they're still the same person. I bet you'll need time to adjust.
See what I mean?

Okay, I'm digressing, LOL. I just want to say that it needs to be more... real. I love all the books that I know can never be real but everybit is still so believable.

Apart from this, The Host is perfect (writing, pace, details, descriptions, ending,....). Which is a pity, because a little mark on the blank page can spoil everything. I really love this book, it holds deeply, I'm just annoyed that my feeling of perfection is disturbed by the freckle. No matter how I tried to ignore it, I still felt incomplete. And I can't fully & truly enjoy the book, which is supposed to be one of my favourites. This bothered me a lot. And I'm more annoyed because this is the same problem that happened when I read Twilight. Urgh, sometimes I wish I could ignore it and just enjoy a good read. But I couldn't, that would not be me, I take relationships very seriously. And all those complications result in bothering me even more. Urgh, I'm so torn.

My ratings:

Plot: 8 (good, but not so original)
Character: 7 (Urgh, I'm torn again)
Writing: 10 (AAAAAAhhhhhhhh, someone stop this book from tearing me apart!!!!!!! Should I hate it or love it ???????????????? )
Cover: 9 (I don't love it, but it really looks like it's saying: "Hey, look at me. I'm sci-fi, can't you see? Read me now!!!".LOL)

In conclusion, read this book. Maybe it won't bother you as much as it did for me (with all the "torn" problem). But I can't deny that I enjoyed it (not fully though, but I should have, urgh, torn again......................Sigh). Anyway, it's definitely a good read. I'm glad I read it, it will remain with you for a few days even after finishing (and that won't be too soon. As I said, it's a long book, but I'm sure none of you will mind that :D ).

Go HERE for a free excerpt and more information. As for me, the book begins boringly & confusingly, but it gets much much better. Don't miss it, it's sci-fi for even people who don't like sci-fi.

I hope you didn't find my review too annoying. I've just finished the book few days ago, and still very confused about how I feel towards it. Read "The Host", and please tell me how you guys feel.

Don't forget to check out Ke$ha, too. I LOVE LOVE LOVE her, she's new in the music industry but she's so different <3<3<3 And also tell me if you don't think Melanie looks like her, LOL.

Jan 25, 2010

The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary Pearson

Before I come to today's review, I'd like to thank Wings from Storywings (the one who always give me super-nice-comments, LOL) for giving me a super-nice-award: the Over The Top

Rules: Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it though.

Your Cell Phone? Essential
Your Hair? Long =))
Your Mother? Best <3>
Your Father? Hero <3>
Your Favourite Food? Ice-cream
Your Dream Last Night? Blurry
Your Favourite Drink? Fruit-juice
Your Dream/Goal? Secret
What Room Are You In? Living-room
Your Hobby? Reading
Your Fear? Loneliness
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Somewhere =))
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something That You Aren't? Boy =))
Muffins? So-so
Wish List Item? Nook
Where Did You Grow Up? VietNam
Last Thing You Did? Reading
What Are You Wearing? Clothes
Your TV? Friendly
Your Pets? Cute
Friends? Loyal
Your Life? Beautiful
Your Mood? Contented
Missing Someone? Yes
Vehicle? Bicycle
Something You Aren't Wearing? Shoes
Your Favourite Store? Bookstore
Your Favourite Colour? White
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Today
Last Time You Cried? Last-Friday
Your Best Friend? SUPER!!!
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? School
Facebook? Forgotten
Favourite Place To Eat? Bed

Wow, it's so hard to keep every answer a single word, haha. Like the "Last-Friday" one, I felt like cheating =))

Anyway, I'll pass this onto these wonderful bloggers:

Jenn @ Book Crazy
Brianne @ Brianne's Book Blog
Sasha @ The Sweet Bonjour
Melissa @ I Swim For Oceans
Valerie @ I Should Be Writing
Now, come to the review. My choice this time is "The Adoration of Jenna Fox" by Mary Pearson. I've just finished it last week, audiobook actually. And while it might be one of the best reads, it is definitely the best listen.


Jenna Fox has been in a coma for over a year. That's what people tell her when she wakes up from the long sleep. But she herself doesn't remember anything, even mother, father and grandma... So they give her videos & tell her stories, clearly hoping she'll remember the people who love her. But everyone is also keeping something from her, and their explanations don't seem right. Why did they move to another state right when Jenna woke up? Why does grandma hate her? Where are her friends, was she supposed to have some? What is the fear in mother's eyes? And what have they been hiding from her in the locked closets?

This is the story of how Jenna struggles to find her memories, and be herself again.


Short plot this time, isn't it ? I figured it's very hard to give a more detailed plot without spoiling it. Problem is, the more you don't know about this book, the more appealing it will be. So whatever you do, DON'T flip to the end. I did, sadly, and I regret about that, a little. Lucky for me, the book is SOOOOO GREAT that even when I could guess the idea before finishing it, it still got me hooked. Besides, the clues were all there, so if you pay attention, you'll get it in about several chapters, so no worry.

I normally do fantasy, but this one is clearly sci-fi, once you've read it. Quite the whole book is about Jenna's journey dwelling on the mystery of her life. There is romance. It's just a small part in small details, but I feel the book can never be the same without that element of love. This book is beautifully written, sometimes a little thrilling (if you listen in the dark night, like me LOL) and it is certainly haunting. If you decide to give it a try, be sure you have time to finish it in one sitting. Or it will run back and forth in your head, screaming and begging and preventing you from thinking of anything else. Well, like me, and I can say it wasn't pleasant, LOL.

I love every bit of this story. Although Jenna and I are not very much the same, I feel like I know her, and I like her. I can feel how she felt, her lost, her wonders, her love, her anger, her sadness... Pretty much 1/2 of the story happened in her head, so it's reasonable, though. It's hard to wake up having NOTHING in your memory, and Jenna survived it well. She was like a child newly born to this world, nevertheless the tough one.
However, my favourite character is Ethan, Jenna's new friend after she woke up. He was charming and endearing and very gentle, eventhough he also kept some secrets. He was a true friend to Jenna in any way, I think she'd never make it to the end without his support. When I imagined him, I imagined the best a male young adult could ever be <3

My ratings:

Plot: 9 (very original and creative)
Character: 10 (each character delivers something unique, although I gave an extra point for Ethan, haha)
Writing: 10 (very haunting, as I said, so beware. You won't be able to forget some sentences, even days after finishing the book. Trust me, it's like some kind of glue in your head, LOL)
Cover: 9 (beautiful, isn't it? It's got meanings, too. Later edition's cover is different, but I prefer this orginal one)

You can go HERE for book trailer and a sample chapter. But remember, if you want to try it, just buy it, don't spend time reading more reviews. Spoilers will REALLY SPOIL this great reading experience.

However, before you really get to it, I want you to consider choosing the audiobook. The thing is, when I listened to the first chapter of Shiver (Maggie Stiefvater), Grace's role was narrated very beautifully (Sam's was terrible, though). So I searched for the narrator's name (she's Jenna Lamia), and I tried to find every audiobook she played. That's why I came across this one. The cover, as well as the plot, wasn't appealing to me at first. I decided to skip, the idea of a coma and lost memories wasn't really my type. But after several weeks, I came back to try it (because I like Jenna Lamia's voice so much), and I'm glad I did. It was the BEST listen EVER. Jenna did a great job (thinking of it, both Jenna Fox and Jenna Lamia did great jobs, haha). I was hooked right after the first few lines.

You can listen to a small part HERE, to see if you like it. And I hope you all do, just like me. This book is GREAT, it deserves much more attention from us readers.

Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and thanks for following. I'm really happy to read your comments, really <3>

Jan 19, 2010

If You Could See Me Now, Cecelia Ahern

Since my exams are nearly over, I decided to pick this one for a quick review. If You Could See Me Now, by Cecelia Ahern. If you're a fan of YA, you might have noticed this name before. She's also the author of P.S., I Love You, which I remember being a bomb in 2007.

I read this book this same time last year. Well I was supposed to be studying for my exams, but this one caught my eyes, and I spent a whole night not studying, just to finish it (I feel so guilty, LOL). But it was worthy, and I never regret picking up this one. It's a great combination of love, friendship and just a slight touch of magic.


Elizabeth Egan is a business woman, literally. She likes everything to be in order, her life, her work, even her emotions. She's strict to herself and to everyone. Maybe that's the way she copes with all the disorder around her: a mother who left when she was little, a distant father, a regularly-drunk sister and a 6 year old nephew (Luke) that she has to take care of. She has sacrificed her childhood for everyone she loves, and now she just can't seem to have fun anymore.

That was before Ivan, Luke's imaginary friend. Yes, imaginary friends do exist, but you can only see them when you truly need & and truly believe in them. Of course Elizabeth didn't believe in any of those stuffs, and Luke talking to someone unreal always bothered her. But she never thought she would gradually feel Ivan's presence. And it calms her. Turns out, Elizabeth really needs a friend, imaginary or not. Ivan brings her life many new colors, opens her eyes to many things she didn't see before. And Ivan even brings her love.

"If You Could See Me Now" is the story of Elizabeth's struggle to balance her own life, and her path of finding how to love again.

My review:

This story literally brings me to tear everytime I read it. To be honest, the beginning was quite slow. It's like an introduction of Elizabeth's past & her life, so it was a little boring & hard to understand at first. But when I got through a first few chapters, I was hooked. The plot was very original. I don't have kids, but I can imagine how children sometimes talk & play with their imaginary friends. What if they're real ? And what if your nephew's invisible friend is not a child, but a handsome tall guy who knows how to ease people's loneliness ? That idea really got me <3 Similar to a guardian angel, but in a (good) different way <3 I really like the characters. Each one of them got their own place in the story. Elizabeth might seem tough on the outside, but somewhere deep down inside her, she was seriously hurt. I can't help feeling sympathetic towards her, and admiring her because she was strong enough to lead her own life in her own way, despite those wounds. Ivan, on the other hand, was a funny guy. He was unique, and he knew how to make people realize the importance of even the smallest things. Well, I can imagine that if I were as lonely as Elizabeth, I would surely need someone just like Ivan <3 Elizabeth's sister & father were also interesting characters. It was a strange family, every member had their own wound and they couldn't find a way to deal with it. They couldn't face each other & they didn't know how to love each other. It was sad to think of a family like that, since my family is really really happy. This is also something I love about Cecelia's novels. They make me realize how much I already have, and that I must appreciate every little miracles in my life. Cecelia's writing is wonderful. It feels magical, light-hearted and somehow it touches me deeply. I really don't want to spoil the ending. After finishing this story, I found myself crying, but not because I was sad. Maybe I just didn't want it to end, or maybe the ending was so special that I felt like a relief. Really, it's like a combination of sadness and happiness. You have to read it to know how it feels like.

My ratings:
Plot: 9 (like I said, very original)
Character: 9
Writing: 9.5 (it's a 10 actually, but minus 0.5 for the boring beginning, haha)
Cover: 10 (okay, this wasn't actually the eye-catcher type, but it was beautiful in a simple way, right? And the dandelion was really IN the book, so the cover relates a lot to the story. Read it, and when you've finished it, come back to the cover. You'll see :D )

So that's my 3rd review. By now, you may be thinking that I only write the possitive type of review LOL. It's true, because when I started this blog, I only wanted to write about books I love. I want the whole world to know how beautiful a story is (like this one :D). If I don't like a book, I simply won't write about it. Other people might love it, and I don't want to hurt their feelings. Neither do I want to change someone's mind about reading a book (which they might like but they don't read it because they trust in my review, haha). After all, likes & dislikes are our own choices :P

But trust me, you really need to read this book. It's one of the most touching books I've ever read. I held my chest when I read it, and I felt like I needed to stop my heart from blowing.
Read it, and tell me how you feel about it :D

Thanks for reading. Love <3

Jan 15, 2010

My first award and 2nd pick :x:x:x

So, Aye.Me? (her blog HERE), my very sweet new friend, and also my first follower (I'm totally in love with you LOL), has just gave me the Honest Scrap Award.

The rules are:
- Tell 10 honest things about yourself
- Pass this onto 10 other bloggers

Well, first, for the "10 honest things" part:

1. Sometimes I think I love books more than boys :)) I know this makes me sound like a freak, but don't booklovers think so too ? :D At least when I wake up at 2 in the morning, I know my books are with me LOL
2. I'm afraid of ghost. But sometimes I think it would be nice to have a ghost prince for myself (like in Meg Cabot's Mediator)
3. Last night I had a weird dream where I went to an award and had Shakira shake my hand (it's weird 'cause I'm not a superbig fan of her or something. I just like her. And I never had any dream about my biggest idols :D )
4. I love to sleep. If there are no books and there's no music, then I will sleep all day long LOL
5. I hate when people lie. Well white lies are ok, but I hate it when someone fakes & pretends to be something they're not.
6. I always wish I had a better voice. At least to sing out loud the songs I love, instead of just singing them in my head.
7. I envy all the book bloggers whose blogs I have visited. 'Cause their blogs all look so GREAT & they're all book-lovers, which is awesome :))
8. I love science, and I'm going to a university of technology.
9. I love all things fantasy and/or romantic.
10. All my friends think #8 and #9 seem like a weird combination LOL

Now, for the "10 bloggers" part:

Well I swear I would give it to 10 other bloggers, but (yes there is a but) I haven't made enough 10 friends yet. This is a little embarassing, but I forgive myself because afterall, I've just started my blog for 2 days :D

So I'll pass this onto 2 other bloggers (who gave me 2 of my first 3 comments) and one who I gladly discovered she's from VietNam too (yeah that's where I live <3)
I've found the 4th one :x A nice & beautiful girl, also my 2nd follower :x Quote from Melissa's blog: "51 followers?! Thank you so much, everyone! It seems like just yesterday I had two followers". Tomorrow I'll have 51 too, haha :x:x:x Visit I Swim For Oceans :D

Happy confessing, my friends :P

Today, I'll dedicate my 2nd review to one of my all-time-favourite books: The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott, #1 of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

BTW, I've finished Marked. I have to say the action part & the ending didn't really get me. It just didn't stand out enough. At least there's still some secrets veiled, so I'll get to read Betrayed soon.

Now, back to The Alchemyst. I assumed that you, if you are a fantasy lover, have all heard of Nicholas Flamel this way or that. And if you agree with me, his life, his work, his death, ... everything about him has always been one of the most interesting mysteries.

Before we begin, there's something I must point out first:

- This book has no romance. Well at least for the first 2 of the series. But there's this human boy with special powers and this 2000-year-old undead girl, so I hope there will be some love elements here. But no certainty, so if you're only looking for romance, this is not the book for you.
- According to some reviews I've read, some people might think this book is for younger readers. Well I don't. I'm still helplessly drawn to this one everytime I see the cover, and if you like Eragon or Harry Potter, you will like this one (I like it even more. Actually, as I said, it's one of my all-time-favourites).

Anyway, here's the plot:

Nicholas Flamel is not a work of fiction. He is a real man, in real life. He was born in 1330. He was a bookseller, until one day he bought a special book: The Book of Abraham (this one is real, too) (also known as the Codex). Rumors had it that Nicholas & his wife spent years translating the book, and that they had found the recipe for gold & eternal youth. Rumors or not, there's only one truth we know: his tomb was empty.

Well, Nicholas & his wife still live. And they are, surely, immortal, because of the Codex. Until one day Dee, their undead rival steal the book from them (this man is real too, he was one of Queen Elizabeth I's spies, a.k.a oo7). Dee is an evil man co-operating with ancient forces, so Nicholas must find a way to get back the book before Dee use it to destroy the whole human world. How can he do it when without the Codex, each day equals one year of age with him ?

The answer is his only hope: Sophie & Josh Newman. They're twins, with very rare aura (a kind of glow around one person, indicating their inner power). Sophie has pure silver aura, and Josh's is pure gold. The Codex's prophecies also mention them :"The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world". Now that Nicholas has found them first, he must train them to control & use their powers for good, at the same time prevent Dee from having the twins.

My review:

When I first saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to get it. Because I'd heard about Nicholas Flamel, I knew I would devour this book. I really did. This book has everything and anything that can draw me into it (except for romance). Myths, magic, undead heroes & evils, unnatural creatures,.... EVERYTHING. Even Egyptian Gods & Kings are in it. "witch", "Elder", "Hekate", "Bastet", "Excalibur" (yes, that Excalibur), "philosopher"..... Do these words somehow remind you of something? There's more. Scott's imagination has drawn a beautiful underworld, a world where there're hidden powers that we don't know of, because they're kept hidden. You can only know it if you're a teenager with super rare aura & one day the shop where you work suddenly explodes & someone tells you he's 700 years old and you're his only hope. Or you can know if you buy this book LOL

Scott's writing is awesome. Everything is described clearly & beautifully, it makes me wonder if there's really such a world, if such powers really exist among us. The story is paced a little quickly, but I don't mind it. Especially when each & every page only makes me want to know more. The one thing I love about this book is that Scott really balances between the characters. They're all described fully & in details, so that there's not too much but you still feel like you know all of them. I like that. Even the worst evil got me somehow.

This book also brings me an ancient feel. It's hard to describe, but if you've read tales & myths from the ancient times, you know what I mean. When everything is mystical & beautiful & unknown.
And the twins. Scott makes you feel like they're really teenagers, but it's still not overdone. No rude teenage vocabulary, no overrated anything. Everything is BELIEVABLE.

Awesome plot, awesome characters, awesome writing. And there's some actions too. How do you feel about standing in a dark realm, under a thousand-year-old-tree, using a historic sword to fight against mystical creatures, AND fighting beside you is the Master of all kinds of Martial arts ? Not to mention you've just lost your laptop & cellphone in that realm, and your sister is unconcious after being awoken by The Goddess with Three Faces?
Well that should do it, LOL.

I know this review might sound confusing, but if you're a myth-lover, you know what I mean.
Even if you don't, you should still give this book a chance. There're many references, and you'll find a new look into history. It's intriguing, fascinating, and you'll love it.

My ratings: Normally I like to rate books in categories. But this one is 10, as many 10s as I can give it :D

Anyway, this is just my point of view. I hope it helped you, but....I don't want you to trust me and then read this book but hate it and then never read my blog again, haha :D

You can check out the book's homepage HERE, Scott's website HERE, and buy it HERE or HERE. But don't read too much reviews or spoilers or trivias. Just get to the book and see it yourself :D

There's an audiobook version too, you can download and listen to the Prologue and see if you like it or not. Don't worry, the narrator sounds great <3

So, my second review :D I'm gonna have my final exams next week, so probably no reviews until then. I just want you to know that I'm not gonna abandon this blog. Writing about books I love is just soooooo wonderful.

Love you guys :D Thanks for visiting :D

Jan 14, 2010

1st pick, "Marked" by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast

I didn't know which book to begin with, so I chose the one that I'm reading right now: "Marked" by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast, #1 of the "House of Night" series. I've only gone through 3/4 of the book, but I've had enough to make up my own point of view.

Plot (written by me):

This book is about a 16 years old girl named Zoey Redbird. Zoey is quite normal, she has a mom & a stepdad (whom she calls step-loser), a brother & a cheerleading sister, a so-called-hot-boyfriend & a best girlfriend. She also has her grandmom who understands her the most.

Except that the world Zoey lives in is not anything near normal. There are vampyres, and they live freely before our naked eyes. They're somewhat like us but more talented & more beautiful (btw, Shania Twain is a vampyre). They all go to special schools: the Houses of Night. 1 more thing, they're chosen from human youngs. Almost anyone chosen to be a vampyre gets isolated & feared by even their family.

Zoey, too. When she is marked to be a vampyre, she was sent to the House of Night. There, everything happens. A mom-like mentor who is also a powerful High Priestess. A beautiful bully who thinks she's all that. A superhot guy (who happens to be the bully's ex-boyfriend). New friends, too. Then after the 1st day of school, Zoey discovers she & the evil bully both have special powers. And the bully's up to something bad. Does that mean Zoey must take the job to find out what's happening & to defeat the evil ? Will Zoey get the guy's heart ? And will she, the girl who gets nearly-abandoned by her own mom, finally find the place where she belongs ?

Oh, and any "student" in the House of Night, if not able to endure the Change & become an adult vampyre, dies. Not turned back to human, but dies. Will Zoey manage to keep her life ?

My review:

First, I must say this book is good. It's very different from other vampire series like Twilight or Vampire Diaries and such (no offense, I like Twilight too). The Casts' drawings of this very much alike, at the same time very different world really got me. There're like schools & uniforms & dramas & geeks & everything, so it's fun to read & somehow can be related to. The story is paced reasonably, easy to follow & quite a page-turner (I've just began to read it yesterday. Couldn't sleep so I stayed up the whole night for it lol). The writing is good. At first it seems a little awkward & overdone (just a little), probably because this is result of a mom-daughter duet :)) But from the part Zoey got to the House of Night, it really gets better. The descriptions of the settings are beautifully done, so I got the whole image of the school & the character quite clearly in my head. The storyline is good, haven't come to any big twist but it still keeps me going.

Anyway, I can't help feeling a déjà vu for this one. I mean, Zoey's got a Mark on her forehead, which every vampyre has, but her Mark is very, very different from the other students. So when she first got to school, everyone stared at her forehead. The High Priestess (which is practically like the principle) seems fond of her. The bully invited her to an exclusive group because she's special, but of course she hates the bully & prefers her not-popular friends. And then she has her super powers that No-High-Priestess-Has-Ever-Had-Before, so that makes her like meant for some super important mission, to defeat the bad & lead the good. Do you see any Harry Potter here ? Only a little more exaggerated, especially the No-High-Priestess-Has-Ever-Had-Before part.

Well, apart from that, I find this one very entertaining & good on the whole. The Casts have included some nice descriptions of the Rituals (because the vampyres all worship a goddess, Nyx). I like the whole school thing & the idea that study time is from 8 P.M to 3 A.M. So everything in the House of Night actually hides in the dark :)) And I can tell you that there's a love triangle here. Between a human boy who has been your boyfriend for years & loves you unconditionally & even gives you his blood willingly, although he's quite dumb & drunk & drugged, AND a super hot vampyre who you barely know anything about & who actually had some blow-jobs from the hot bully girl (I know, this stinks). Who will you choose in the end ?

There's an audiobook version of it, too. You can buy it, audio cds or on itunes. If you don't have time to sit down to read this, I recommend you choose the audiobook, you can listen to it in your car or while doing the housework..... It's not as terrible as some other audiobooks can get :)) Actually, the narrator's voice is really nice.

Overall, I like this one. I'm gonna finish it soon & I will surely get to the next ones in the series. My ratings are:
Plot: 7 (haven't developed much in storyline)
Character: 9 (well I like all the character, including the bully lol)
Writing: 8 (not good at the beginning, but gladly gets better)
Cover: 10 (really really love the cover :)) )
Audiobook: 8 (I like the voice of the narrator, but her take on Stevie Rae (Zoey's roomate) somehow sounds like an old lady)

So overall this is a 8.4 :)) It's good, and if you haven't, you should give it a chance. It has nice romance & fantasy elements.

Anyway, it's just my idea of this book. You can check out more reviews & buy it here or here. There are videos too. It's always nice to know more about a book before you buy it.

So that is my first review. Hope it helped you somehow & hope I can continue to blog more :D