September 20, 2009


Eyeleash by Jess C. Scott

Summary: Jade is a sexually repressed girl who goes to a catholic school. She meets up with her old love, the hot Novan, who used to be a geeky nerd that sounded like a duck. Novan is now in a band and Jade is in love with him. She wonders whether if she can give her heart without giving up her body.

Likes: I liked the idea of the blog. It's a different way of presenting the story and for the most part I think it works for the type of story told. I liked Jade and Novan at first, but as the story is progresses Jade starts to get a little more superficial than she thinks she is. I like the idea of having an unreliable narrator and .

Dislikes: I think I would like this better if it was set up  like a regular blog of a fictional person like on blogger or wordpress. I think parts of the story tried to hard to be like the modern teenager. Most teenagers don't talk with all kinds of little quips and sayings, not all the time. Teenagers talk like normal people. I didn't really get a feeling of the characters. Since we get the story through Jade's eyes, it's really hard to like her. She's not a particularly likable character and it's kind of  annoying to read in her point of view. I think there should have been a objective narrator telling the course of the story and reading things between Novan and Jade and Jade's blog would be easier to read with those breaks.

Overall: It's not really my type of story or maybe it was the format. I think it would be more interesting to read as a fictional blog with it's own blog setup for it and pictures and everything. It's a little bland to read in a book format. It reminds me a bit of Twilight, but I'm not sure whether that's good or not considering that I'm not exactly in the target audience either. It's okay, but it's not really my cup of tea.

cross posted on the e-Fiction Book Club

September 13, 2009

Mill Ave. Vexations

Mill Avenue Vexations by Kyt Dotson

Summary:  Vex Harrow is a taxi cab driver in Arizona and Mill Avenue is her domain. She deals with the strange mysteries of the occult. 

Likes: The premise is interesting. The dialogue is wonderful, it was one of my favorite parts of reading the story. The description of the city was nice and it made me feel like I was a part of the area with all it's local charm. Following the different characters made it a lot more interesting and readable opposed to just sticking with one of the other characters. I want more of the dialogue and more of the characters. I wish I could get more of this, but at the expensive of what? I'd rather take more characters and dialogue opposed to the vivid description of the area. I'd like to get more of everything without losing anything.

Dislikes: I tried to read this story on several separate occasions and for some reason I wasn't able to get very far. I found myself skimming a lot to get to some hints of dialogue or plot but it was almost too slow to get into. It's not exactly a boring story, but the build up takes too long to get to. On the internet, you can't exactly have a boring opening because there are a lot of other things that readers could be doing.

Overall: The premise sounds interesting. A taxi cab driver dealing with the occult, sounds like fun. It takes a bit too long to get to the fun and I find myself skimming until I find something, latch on and continue reading from there. I'm only on Volume 4 and there are at least 12 volumes at this moment. I hope to continue reading, because the premise does sound interesting, even if the writing, although solid, lacks emotion or drive.

Cross-posted from efiction Book Club

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Date Started: September 6, 2009
Date Finished: September 12, 2009

Summary: Susie Salmon was 14 years old when she was brutally raped, murder, then dismembered by a local neighbor. There in her Heaven, she meets some friends and has some good times there, but she still longs to look at her family and what happened to them. She sees them moving on, growing up, and falling apart as her death rattles her family to the core.

Likes: The premise and the writing I think was very well written. It was an enjoyable book about the afterlife and how people cope with things going on. I liked Susie's character because it's not overly weepy and sentimental or angry or regretful. It sounded like she was at peace with her death, her life, and the choices she made. She still had love and didn't long to be on Earth too much, but was invested in her friends and family and how they continued life without her. It was a really good story in the bare bones of it all (no pun intended. =/ ) but after the characters get older the story starts to lose some of its freshness.

Dislikes: The ending seemed too rushed and wasn't very satisfying in my opinion. Nothing is solved as far as Susie is concerned. The ending wasn't satisfying in a sense that everyone moved on and was able to do so later on, but there didn't seem to be any closure as far as the story was concerned. There wasn't enough of Susie's heaven to compare with life on Earth. I think the best ending in the world to me would be Little Susie, Lindsey's daughter, seeing the older Susie, since she was a baby and all. It might have been too sentimental, but depending on how it was written, it would have been the perfect closure. I wish that Susie was able to interfere in people's lives more, like she did toward the end. The scene with Ray was satisfying to read, but in the end something about it felt forced.The last half of the book stagnates and gets a little dull to read.

Overall: Like A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb, The Lovely Bones deals with death and the afterlife in pretty much the same manner. With Whitcomb's book, it takes a long time for it to pick up and get interesting, where as Sebold's book starts off interesting, but then gets a little dull towards the middle. If someone could write a book about this subject matter that never loses interest, it may be a really neat book to read. I liked both books and I felt like I liked The Lovely Bones more than I disliked it. With Sebold's book, I just wanted more everything, more grief, more about the afterlife for Susie and how the other people she knew died. More everything. I wish I could have that, but it might be hard to write something like that without getting melodramatic. It was a good read and I might try to read Sebold's other book Lucky at some point.

September 5, 2009

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
Date Started: September 4, 2009
Date Finished: September 5, 2009

Summary: Helen is a ghost who has been dead for over a hundred years. She's been finding new hosts and haunting them until they die. Helen is haunting a man named Mr. Brown, a teacher at the local school. When one of his students notices Helen in his classroom, she is intrigued and yet frightened. She learns that this student is James, also another ghost like her. She learns that he has taken over the body of a boy named Billy Blake. They set off to find her a body to borrow and stumble upon a girl named Jenny, being raised in a strict Christian home with a terrible secret. As these ghost inhabit these bodies, they learn memories about their deaths that hold the key to forgiveness and Heaven.

Likes: This story is bizarre. Like deeply strange and yet somehow beautiful. The idea of souls left on Earth to finish out some unfinished business is strangely interesting. The love scenes between James and Helen were beautifully written though bordering on purple prose. (Albeit, Helen did live in a different time where purple prose ran rampant). The story starts off slow, but picks up about the eight chapter and is truly hard to put down. It deals with life and death and taking things into one's own hands. Helen's journey is also Jenny's journey as well as both of them come to their realization that they need to take things into their own hands. Helen finally listens and learns of her death and Jenny saves herself and starts life over again. Helen joins James in Heaven along with all the peoples she's "haunted" and she meets the person that's been calling her name since her death.

Dislikes: It takes a long while to pick up to the point where I couldn't put it down. I feel that we should have started with James and that would have cut out a third of the book. I don't think the story would have suffered if we didn't get as much as we did about Mr. Brown. I wish we could have gotten more reaction for the people around them about how strange it was to see the Christian girl with the Druggie.

Overall: This was such a strange and beautiful book that crosses between mediums. The writing was solid, if a little overblown at times, but it was a unique premise and a wonderful execution. The back of the book states that this is Whitcomb's first novel and I certainly hope that it won't be her last.

September 4, 2009

The Vector

The Vector

Summary: Plagues are breaking out in the city of Prague. Eva, a young woman, finds herself being blamed for this mysterious outbreaks. The Healer has come to rid the world of its infestations and now with a horrible virus ready to be unleashed, Eva must find away to safety.

Likes: I found the story to interesting and encapsulating. The writing is solid and the story is a fun read. Eva's character is likeable and her adventures are fun to read about. The writing isn't as clinical as it is in most thrillers and I really like the description of the Healer in the first chapter. The first chapter was one of my favorite parts of the story because the writing was so emotive and gripping. The story starts off strong and kind of wavers around a bit, like jumping back from London to Prague, from low action to high action. I feel like there's enough balance between the different levels of action. On the one hand, there isn't so much going on that you get lost in the fray and try to piece together what just happened, but at the same point the action isn't dragged out so that you skim the lower action parts just to get to the action.

Dislikes: One reason why I dislike reading thrillers is because the emotional connection is missing. There was a little bit more emotion than most thrillers, but it wasn't enough to make me truly empathize with the character. Yeah, she's cool and I'm interested in what happens to her, but it didn't really connect with me in a truly emotional way where I'm invested with this character for the long term.

Overall: I'll be honest and say that I'm not a reader of thrillers. Genre aside, I found this a fun read.

cross posted to the E-fiction bookclub

September 3, 2009

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Date Started: September 3, 2009
Date Finished: September 3, 2009

Summary: Coraline Jones has moved into a new house with her inattentive parents. She is surrounded by strange neighbors, like Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, who used to be actresses and a crazy old man who is trying to start a mouse circus. While Coraline is out exploring, she comes across a door that leads to another world, the Other world, where she has an Other Mother, and an Other Father. They state that they love her, but Coraline knows better. Coraline uses her wits and the help of a black cat to save the day and free her parents and the others trapped by Other Mother.

Likes: I'll admit that I cheated on this one because I knew I could read it in a day. I also read it so that I can eventually watch the movie. That being said, I did enjoy the book. As an upcoming adult, reading it gives me a sense of nostalgia, longing for the days where you can just explore and get into trouble. The story is reminscent of Alice in Wonderland with Gaiman's dark undertones. I enjoy that Gaiman doesn't skimp on details even though it's a book for kids. He puts in just enough information to get the adrenaline running (if you're a kid, if you're an adult it's more like a nostalgic feeling), but not enough to gross you out. It's an enjoyable book for people at any age.

Dislikes: It's a kid's book. I enjoyed it, but I'm reading it through a different lens than I would have if I had been younger, like in elementary. I enjoyed it though, even though it's a little scary for kids. If I had kids, it's something that I'd encourage them to read, or rather, I wouldn't mind telling them that I had read it and would like to know what they think of it.

Overall: I enjoyed this book, but obviously it's not in my age group. The book just shows that Gaiman is a good writer who can write stories that everyone at any age can enjoy.

September 2, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Date Started: September 2,2009
Date Finished: September 2,2009

Summary: Christopher Boone is autistic and he witnesses a terrible crime. The dog next door named Wellington has been stabbed with a pitch fork. While he was trying to looking for the criminal, he comes across a startling secret. His father hid letters that his mother wrote to him every week and told him that she was dead. Christopher comes across the letters that his mother wrote to him and sets out on an adventure to find her.

Likes: I loved this book, even though it didn't feel like I was going insane and I had to resettle myself after it was finished. I think that was the point. That maybe how it feels for someone who is autistic. I haven't been around a lot of autistic teenagers, but I can imagine how frustrating it may be, trying to reach out to others but you can't. You realize that the world is more outside of your own sphere, and this world requires that you interact with people, even though you don't want to, or you can't because there is so much going on at once. The book itself was very well-written and it feels authentic (even though the Author himself doesn't seem to be autistic, he has worked with autistic people). Normally, I would be annoyed with the lack of description about characters, but in this case it works. The parents are at their wits end and the mother leaves because she can't handle it, even though she loves her son. It felt like a short read because there wasn't much in the way of outside situations like the details of the parents divorce and the wife's affair.

Dislikes: I just felt like I was going crazy by the end of it. It's a different thing working with people who have autism and then going inside the mind. It's rather overwhelming, which was the point. Maybe I shouldn't have read it after getting off of work.

Overall: I think this book has giving me a somewhat better understanding of what it's like to be autistic. It may not be completely accurate, but it gives me a new found respect for those with autism and their caretakers and loved ones.

101 Things In Progress

1.Finish Book 1 of It's All Relative soon(l0l).
I keep pushing the deadline back over and over again because the beginning isn't coming out right for me. I know I'm not supposed to dwell on beginnings, but it's really hard to make it through the chapters when I know the beginning isn't as strong as it could be. I'm going to try to push through it though and do a NaNoWriMo pace until the book is done. I'll have my whole life to edit it and send it out to the world. I probably won't post it until I'm absolutely done. I guess that final post can be my editing process.

Read 50 traditional books in a year (20/50)
This only counts traditional books, but if you count web serials and whatnot, then the count is probably over 35. There's a lot of books that I want to read, it's just about finding the time to do so. I'll probably try to read as many books as I can before the school year starts.

5. Study each class for at least 2 hours a day.
I did kinda get lazy this summer, especially in the psychology class. I could do a lot better in things if I just put 10% more effort into things. I have no one to blame but myself, but I passed and at this points that's all I care about. I do need to make some time to study and try to find a place where I don't get distracted. A place without computers or t.v. I can try it for the fall and read for at least an hour a day each subject.

6. Go to Office hours at least 3 times a week.
At least I went to office hours during the summer for math and psychology. It's easier when the teachers are more inviting and friendly. Hopefully this quarter none of the teachers will have office hours on the days that I work. I'm going to have to go to each teacher's office hours for at least five weeks at the beginning of the quarter.

26. Drink a Naked Juice OR Water everyday. (Naked Juice is expensive.)
I was doing this one as well, but I kind of went crazy because they were having a sale on root beer. Now that the summer is over, I can get back on track and get back to being healthy again. I have a lot of water, but putting it in the fridge makes it too cold and leaving it out makes it too warm. I'm very particular about my water.

September 1, 2009

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
Date Started: August 28, 2009
Date Finished: September 1, 2009

Summary: Scarlett Martin lives with her two sisters, brother, and parents in the Hopewell Hotel, a hotel that has been owned by the Martin family for generations. When one of the Martin children turns 15, they are given a room to oversee. It is Scarlett's 15 birthday and she is given the famed Empire Suite. She also is in charge of running errands for an eccentric former actress named Amy Amberson. With Amy's help, Scarlett finds love, ruins someone's career, reunites old friends, and saves her brother from culinary school.

Likes: It was a fun read. Something one could read on vacation. There isn't an overall moral, which is refreshing because it gives your mind a chance to relax and join in on the fun and mischief that Scarlett and her family and friends get into. Amy is a diva, but is a real character. She's eccentric and seems to be fully realized, even if her whole life story doesn't get told during the course of the novel. I enjoyed Spencer,though he talks too much (but what actor doesn't) and all of his quirks. The other characters, Lola, Marlene, and Scarlett can be imagined as real people in life, they aren't as interesting to read as Amy and Spencer. If the story could be told from Spencer's point of view, I think we'd lose it's grounded nature (since Scarlett seems to be a little more practical), but we'd gain a lot of personality.

Dislikes: There wasn't much that I disliked. Again, there is a tragic event that is alluded to, but we only get the after effects of what happened. I'd like one specific scene in which all the Martins are in the hospital with Marlene and maybe some thoughts about it from Scarlett, since she didn't seem to be as emotional as the rest of the family. I do like the fact that Johnson put in the resentful feelings that Scarlett has towards Marlene, because Marlene does get away with a lot. It's understandable, but it's a real thing that I'm glad Johnson didn't shy away from.

Overall: This story just seems to be the tip of the iceberg. I can't wait to read Scarlett Fever and see how this story continues. There seems to be a lot of unfinished business with all the characters and I'm dying to see how everything plays out.


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