Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Release Book Review: Pulse

 Pulse on Amazon Books
Title: Pulse
Author: Patrick Carman
Publication Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Science fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 384
Age Rating: Readers above the age of 12
My Opinion: 6/10

Hi, Readers!

       Pulse, by Patrick Carman, is a fairly cookie-cutter Young Adult novel.  It includes adventure, excitement, and romance in a formulaic plot line.  There are some suspenseful moments and a dramatic ending, but the book is fairly predictable.  However, Pulse caught my interest because of its focus on building deep character relationships that will carry throughout the entire series.

Pulse image
A quote from Pulse along with
a picture from its promotional video
         In the year 2051, the earth has suffered from numerous natural disasters and the entire United States population is confined to two States.  Faith Daniels is one of the few stragglers who refuse to move into the states.  When she is forced to switch schools, she meets new classmates like the sketchy Dylan Gilmore, the intelligent Hawk, and the popular twins, Wade and Clara Quinn.  Faith develops a relationship with Wade, but he quickly disappoints and she moves on.  Dylan Gilmore suddenly enters her life and tells her that she has telekinetic powers, and Faith's entire life is thrown out of wack.  She develops a rivalry with Clara and Wade because they also have powers.  Next thing Faith knows, the entire fate of the world rests in her weak, telekinetic hands, and there is little hope that she will be able to save her friends.

       Pulse is written in many different points of view.  Throughout the book, almost every character has a section where they are telling the story.  Sometimes it is a little hard to follow what is going on due to these multiple perspectives, and Carman's writing style is not always pleasing to the senses.  Carman has rough writing that could use to be edited and cut down.  Extraneous details are included in the plot line.  If you are looking for a book that is well written, Pulse is not the best choice for you.

       Another reason that Pulse did not get a higher rating from me is that Faith discovers her telekinetic powers more than halfway through the book.  Her powers are introduced in the beginning of the book, but they become significant much later on in the novel.  They almost seem like an afterthought in order to make the dystopian novel into a science fiction novel.

       However, the most successful aspect of the novel is Carman's creation of deep and interrelated characters.  Faith is not very relatable to the reader, but her best friend, Liz, is definitely easy to connect with.  Also, Faith's friend, Hawk, has a geeky aspect that makes him lovable, yet he also partakes in illegal futuristic drug dealing, adding an element of danger.  Clara Quinn appears to be a bully on the surface, but she really wants to be loved and feels separated from the rest of society.  Wade Quinn wants Faith to like him, even when he messes up big time on their first date.  Each and every character in Pulse has little quirks about them that make them interesting to read about, which is why I would recommend the book to avid readers.
Another quote from Pulse

       The final verdict - if you do not read many books, do not start with Pulse.  It is not worth your time because the writing style is extremely rough and choppy.  However, if you read a lot, Pulse is great for you because you will really connect with each character individually.  Pulse is followed by a sequel, Tremor, and more books are following.

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Liebster Award

Liebster Award
Hi, Readers!

       While I was busy exploring some various blogs, I read a comment on my Top Ten Tuesday post last week that invited me to accept the Liebster Award.  From what I can tell, this award is a cute little way to recognize certain blogs that you enjoy reading by passing on a short survey and linking to other blogs.  I decided to accept El's nomination from So Bookalicious! blog and nominate some other blogs for the award.

Rules for accepting the award: 
1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Answer the questions they set for the blogs nominated.
3. Nominate 10 blogs of your own (with under 100 followers if possible), and be sure to let them know with a link to your post!
4. Ask 10 questions for the blogs you nominate to answer in their post.
5. If you do accept, please send me a link to your post!

Questions from my nominator, El, from So Bookalicious!:

1. Why did you decide to start a book blog?
I have loved to read since I was little, and books have always been a major part of my life.  I figured, why not share my love of books with the world?  Plus, I am interested in editing and journalism as possible career options, and a blog is a great way to practice the necessary skill set.

2. Which book character would be your ideal boyfriend/girlfriend?
My ideal boyfriend would have to be Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series.  He has an excellent sense of humor and he enjoys adventure.  Plus, he is extremely loyal and passionate about protecting his loved ones, and he is willing to risk his own safety to protect them.  Also, his family seems like so much fun to be around.

Ron Weasley

3. If you could live in any book of your choice, which one would it be?
Living in the Harry Potter series would be my first choice, and living in the Fablehaven series would be my second.  However, my third choice would have to be living inside of The Magic Faraway Tree series, by Enid Blyton.  In this world, there is a ginormous and ever-changing tree that leads to different worlds, each bringing new adventure and excitement.  Some of my favorite worlds are the Land of Goodies and the Land of Presents.

4. What's your favorite book from when you were little?
I was a big fan of The Everything Fairy Tales Book, which was a huge book filled with tons of stories.  I also enjoyed reading my pop-up Wizard of Oz book and my Disney Princesses book.

5. What do you like to do in your free time besides reading?
I enjoy playing basketball year round and volleyball in the fall.  In addition, I love participating in my church youth group and doing community service.  When I am bored, I like to watch Dance Moms, my favorite TV show (don't judge!).  Hanging out with my friends is also another favorite past time.
Do not read this book!

6. What's the worst book you've ever read?
The Devil's Breath, by David Gilman.  For some reason, I could not stand this book.  It seemed like the author was trying to include suspense and action, but I was bored to death.  I don't think I ever ended up finishing it because I gave up about three-fourths of the way through.

7. Dogs or cats person?
I am not a big animal person in general, but if I had to choose, I would say dogs.  They are adorable to look at, but they kill my allergies.

8. What's your favorite food?
My favorite food is bread.  I know that's pretty boring, but I love many kinds of bread, especially garlic bread and Italian bread.  I also enjoy eating cheese burgers and mozzarella sticks.

9. What do you hope Santa will bring you this year?
Actually, I'm not sure!  I should really start a Christmas list.  I would like some colorful Nike Elite socks for basketball.

10. If you could make one wish, what would it be?
I would wish for everybody to be happy.  Or for more wishes.

My 10 blog Nominations:
1. Jasmine @ High on Books
2. Amie @ Magic of Words
3. Leah @ Yummy Reads
4. Britt @ A Not So Teen Reader
5. Holly @ Absorbing The Content
6. Jen @ A Little Knight Reading
7.  Esther @ Are you sitting comfortably?
8. Becky @ Bibliophiling
9. Tara @ Cinema Fiction
10. Emily @ Emily Hearts Books

My 10 questions for my nominees:
1. Who or what introduced you to blogging?
2. If you could summarize your blog in three words, what would they be?
3. Who is your favorite character of all time and why?
4. What is your least favorite book?
5. If you could meet one author, who would it be?
6. What is the longest book you've ever read?
7. What is your favorite blogging meme?
8. What book would you recommend to everybody?
9. If you could have a superpower, which would you choose?
10. If you were to write a book, what would it be about?

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top Ten Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

Top Ten Tuesday
Hi, Readers!

       It's that time of the week again... Tuesday!  Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish blog, there is another fun and exciting Top Ten Tuesday list to create.  This week's theme was bad book covers.  I place great importance on book covers because they are how I decide what to read - a boring cover means that it will continue to collect dust on the shelf.  I took this Top Ten Tuesday as an opportunity to throw in a bit of my own Cover Snark, inspired by A Reader of Fictions blog.  Below are ten books from my personal bookcase whose covers disappointed me.  Click on the title of a book for a link to Amazon Books for more information.

1. The Goddess Test, by Aimee Carter

Girl, sleeping in the forest is generally looked down upon by society.  Plus, you're going to get poison ivy, hypothermia, or get eaten by a bear.  AND, your white dress will be stained by dirt.  What a tragedy!

Quick fix - pose standing up.  It's an easy way to avoid many of the dangers of the forest, and it is much more realistic.

2. Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld

To start off, this book is about people who are ugly.  And that girl is clearly not ugly.   Also, what exactly is she standing next to?  Is that a plant?  It looks too tropical for the Northern forest setting of the novel.

Quick fix - make the subject something other than a person in order to avoid the whole ugly versus pretty dilemma on the cover.

3. Faerie Wars, by Herbie Brennan

Moth.  Ew.  Well, this book really has nothing to do with moths at all, so I guess it just represents faeries.  This cover does not represent how much drama there is in the book.  Plus, the color scheme is too monotoned.

Quick fix - nix the moth.  Stick to a faerie illustration because it shows a whole lot more about the topic of the book.

4. Tithe, by Holly Black

Seriously, what is with moth covers?  Cover designers for some reason got the false impression that it is acceptable to portray faeries as moths.  Well, it's not.

Quick fix - NO MORE MOTHS!

5. Kandide and the Secret of the Mists, by Diana Zimmerman

It's quite ironic that this book is about a Fae princess who is obsessed with beauty, yet the cover is so ugly.  That hair and dress look like Rapunzel got attacked by pearls.  Plus, all of the floating heads in the background cheapen the image.

Quick fix - remove the floating heads and beautify the princess.

6. No Such Thing As Dragons, by Philip Reeve

Judging by this book cover, there is a such thing as dragons.  And they need some manicures ASAP.  However, I do like the contrast between the dragon's foot and the snowy mountains.

Quick fix - make the dragon's fingernails a different color, preferably a shade of cream or white.

7. Plan B, by Jenny O'Connell

Peek-a-boo, I see you!  One would think that MTV would be a little more creative with their book covers.  Give this cover some more glitz and glam.  After all, it's about a Hollywood bad boy superstar.

Quick fix - add more Hollywood.  Maybe include some bright lights, sparkles, or color.

8. Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett

Both of those two kids are having the worst hair days of their lives.  Also, that coat...  Those characters do not look like the type to be solving important mysteries.

Quick fix - modernize the hair and outfits.  Making the trench into a navy pea coat would instantly bring the image back to the twenty-first century.

9. Whistling for the Elephants, by Sandi Toksvic

Haha, I just noticed that the parrot is hanging onto the "C" with it's beak.  But why do we see only half of an alligator/crocodile?

Quick fix - show the entire croc and add a couple of other animals.

10. The Wizard, the Witch, and Two Girls From Jersey, by Lisa Papademetriou

This reminds me of that poppy field from the Wizard of Oz that puts everybody to sleep (including the dragon, who is catching some shut eye on the title).

Quick fix - make the image background more defined to avoid haziness.

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday.  Please comment with your perspective on my book cover critiques and link your own TTT lists so I can check them out!

Read on,

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Book Review: Top 8

Top 8 on Amazon Books
Title: Top 8 (Book 1 of the Top 8 Series)
Author: Katie Finn
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Publisher: Point
Genre: Realistic fiction
Pages: 244
Age Rating: Readers above the age of 13
My Opinion: 2/10

Hi, Readers!

       I purchased Top 8 for fifty cents at a library book sale because it looked like a cute book about high school and social media.  Well, my prediction was dead on.  The book was ALL about social media.  On almost every single page, characters were wondering how others would feel about their virtual profiles and how they would affect their lives.  I mean, who cares?
Top 8's sequel,
What's Your St@tus?

       Madison MacDonald's Friendverse profile is hacked while she is on vacation in Ecuador.  Nasty gossip is posted about all of her friends.  She discovers the changed profile as soon as she gets back, but she is too late to stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her and her friends from hating her because of the posts.  Now, Madison has to try and regroup her social life both on and off of social media.  She goes on a mission to discover her hacker, and clues lead her to suspect almost all of her friends.  Along the way, Madison reconnects with a cute boy that she met in Ecuador, named Nate.  Finally, Madison realizes that the hacker has been under her nose the entire time.  She also learns the important lesson that gossiping can hurt people's feelings.  Yawn.

Instead of ranting on and on about how silly this book was, I decided to compile a list of Five of the most unrealistic and impossible things that happened in Top 8:
  1. Madison meets a cute boy, Nate, in Ecuador on vacation.  Then, they just happen to live ten minutes away from each other in the United States.  THEN, their families just happen to have dinner together after the trip, even though they barely know one another.  Can I say, Awkward!?
  2. Madison's boyfriend of 17 days breaks up with her because her profile is hacked.  He's a real keeper, Madison.  She then spends the rest of the book trying to get back together with him.  WHYYYY?
  3. Clues about Madison's hacker are practically handed to her throughout the novel, but she either gets sidetracked in the middle of an important conversation or forgets a major clue.  The funny thing is, Madison continuously references Sherlock Holmes and Clue, but yet she's the worst detective alive.
  4. Madison never tells an adult that she was hacked.  If she just told someone, she would fix the entire situation and simultaneously avoid being hacked again.
  5. Madison's Friendverse account is hacked TWICE and she never even considers deleting her account.

       Ugh, so many aspects of this book made me want to slap some sense into Madison.  She is obviously not responsible enough to use the internet in the first place, no less have a social media account.  She makes so many assumptions about her friends that she doesn't know what is the truth and what is a lie.  She spreads vicious gossip about all of her friends behind their backs, and when it is posted on social media, she has the nerve to think she is not at all guilty.  Plus, she reads way too much into simple conversations (example - "After twenty minutes of staring at Nate's messages and trying to decipher hidden meanings in them...").

       My advice - don't read this book.  You would be better off spending your time on, well, anything else.

Keep reading!