Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
*Book 1 of The Verona Trilogy

  • Reading Level: Young Adult 
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: The Fiction Studios
  • ISBN-10: 1936558025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936558025
  • Received From: Given for review via Pump Up Your Book

   From Goodreads:
There's hope for the future, but what about the past? It’s the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s) have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan.
In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities.
These three “hard cases” refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It’s hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but that’s exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history.

My Thoughts:
This book was a very very slow read for me. I could not quite figure out the direction the plot was heading and so that also made it a little harder for me to read as well. The author also put a lot of descriptions in the book. Most of them were unnecessary; I could skim two to three paragraphs and still be able to follow the storyline just fine. I also found the sudden setting switch from 2347 to the History Camp to 1347 Verona, quite jarring and abrupt.

The characters were not easy to connect with either, it took me awhile to get used to Lincoln's personality and I still don't quite know Shamira's at all. There was one character that I didn't like at all and that was Ugilino. Throughout the book I was repulsed by him and I couldn't get over it.  I liked Hansum's character better than the others but he's not on my favorite character list.

The story did pick up and get better at the end of the book. I also really like the idea of this plot a lot. So overall, I give this book 3 Quills because it was an okay book. I probably won't be rereading it but it was still an average read.
<3 Shannon

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Updates for The 24-Hour-Read-a-Thon

I'm going to post my updates/mini challenges on this page :)!

Total Pages: 915
Total Hours: 21 hours
Currently Reading: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (214 pages read)
Finished Reading: Possess by Gretchen McNeil
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

Beginning Meme:
1)Where are you reading from today?
South Carolina
2)Three random facts about me…
-I've been to England twice.
-I used to swim competitively
-My new obsession at the moment is: TERRA NOVA!! <3
3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
11 to choose from and I'll probably finish three
4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Read three books, do some challenges, and comment on some blogs
5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?
 This is my first time doing this read-a-thon.

Hour 6 Mini Challenge:
What are the 5 books you are looking forward to in the next few months or really into next year?
-Inheritance by Christopher Paolini - I LOVE this series!!
-Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare - I just got done reading Clockwork Angel and I LOVED it!!
-The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler - I've heard great things about this book!
-The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith - The title and synopsis sound amazing!!
-City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare - I can't wait to see where she takes IMS next!!

Hour 9 Mini Challenge:
This is a simple challenge, using the books you have in your home make a complete sentence out of the book titles.

Across the universe Leviathan hunted Guitar Girl, the wizard heir.

Hour 13 Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
-I'm about to start the Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
2. How many books have you read so far?
-One, Possess by Gretchen McNeil
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
-Across the Universe by Beth Revis, if I make it that far, I have two books that I have to read before that one
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
-No, I didn't have any plans for this weekend
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
-I had to go outside to see my dog for a little bit and my sister's toy poodle kept wanting attention. I played with Apollo (my dog) for 30 minutes and I put Amelia (my sister's dog) on my bed with me while I read.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
-All the comments I have gotten and how fast I am reading, I usually get more distracted.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
-Not really, it seems to be running just fine in my opinion
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
-Make sure that I don't get distracted as much in the first half (as a reader).
9. Are you getting tired yet?
-No, it's only 8:30 pm where I am
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
-Not really, since I am sort of behind on the schedule that I set for myself

Hour 16 Mini Challenge:
A list of your top favorite reads of all time.
-Harry Potter by JK Rowling
-The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld
-The Impact Zone Series by Todd Strasser
-The Diary of a Crush Series by Sarra Manning
-The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
-The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima
-The Redwall Adventures Series by Brian Jacques

Hour 19 Mini Challenge:
1. Leave a minimum of two sentences and max of two paragraphs of how your pets have helped or hindered your reading.
 My dog Apollo is and outdoor dog so I will have to go outside and spend time/play with him for 30 minutes or an hour. My sister's dog Amelia is an indoor dog and she will come scratch at the place where I am sitting so that I will pick her up and put her beside me so that she can sleep. Finally my dad's cat, Mr. Bigs, will come and sometimes lay in front of me or on the book until I move.
2. Share a picture (or two or three) of your pet with us!

 I have one dog, Apollo :)! I adopted him from the animal shelter he's a border collie, golden retriever mix. ----->

My sister's dog Amelia. She's a toy poodle.

My dad's cat Mr. Biggs. He's a stray that randomly showed up at our house.

Unfortunately our dog Daisy died Friday of heart failure while she was in the vet's office :(
R.I.P sweet Daisy girl!

<3 Shannon

Friday, October 21, 2011

The 24-Hour-Read-a-Thon!

Yikes! I've heard about this read-a-thon and I told myself that I wouldn't do it because it seems daunting...and yet here I am. I don't have the willpower to say no to a's a problem, why must I be competitive? I'm going to give myself a wide selection of books to choose from and if I fully commit I will hopefully get three read! *fingers crossed* So here goes nothing!

The Books I Am Going To Choose From:
Possess by Gretchen McNeil
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Across The Universe by Beth Revis
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Eulalia! by Brian Jacques
Doomwyte by Brian Jacques
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike
The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

<3 Shannon

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
*Book 1 of The Infernal Devices Series

  • Reading Level: Young Adult 
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: McElderry Books
  • ISBN-10: 1416975861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416975861
  • Received From: Checked out from my library.

   From Goodreads:
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

My Thoughts:
This book is fantastic!! When I first read the synopsis of this book I thought it sounded like it would be similar to her Mortal Instruments series, but it is very different. There are some themes that are similar but if they were they had their major differences. 

For example there are the three teenage shadowhunters, two boys and one girl, but the characters couldn't be different from each other. Isabella and Jessamine couldn't be different; Jessamine wants nothing more than to get out of the shadowhunter life and get married, while Isabelle seems to thrive in it. Alec and Jem are very different as well; Jem is welcome and inviting but holds just enough back to be mysterious, while Alec is cold and closed off to anyone but his family or Jace. Jace and Will have more traits in common than any of the other characters, they both keep people at a distance but for different reasons (though Will's isn't revealed yet). Finally the main characters Clary and Tessa; Tessa lives her world according to the books that she has read and proper etiquette, while Clary is more defiant and obviously more current.

Another thing that I liked about Tessa is that she was a little less damsel-in-distress than Clary was in the first book.She seemed to handle herself better with the new world that she was thrust into. Henry is by far my favorite character that Clare has thought up so far. He's a little ditzy and clueless but when it really counts he makes it work. It is also very endearing how Tessa's knowledge of the world comes from books. Jessamine's character is very fascinating. She's fighting her heritage of being a shadowhunter with everything that she has, she would rather go shopping than even go near a weapon. But there has been a few situations when she's pushed to it she will kick some ass. Oh and Charlotte's fantastic, much better than Hodge!

This book also has a very dark feel to it; that the Mortal Instruments series doesn't have. The book is more intense and has less humor but it has a few quotes that have you laughing to break up the tension. I also like how she sticks with the etiquette of the time period and doesn't make them go completely against it. The shadowhunters are a little more relaxed but they still use it. And holy crap does it have a twist at the end!! Another plus is that it wraps up one of the main problems of the book but it nicely lays out another problem for the second book. It's not some; BOOM! cliffhanger ending.

All in all I think I like this book a little more than I like City of Bones. The characters seem to have more layers to them than IMS' do and I can't wait to see the direction that Clare takes them in! I give this book 5 Quills!!

<3 Shannon

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

From Goodreads:
Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

I've heard some awesome things about this book from other bloggers and it has me wanting to read this book so badly!! This book comes out on Novemeber 21, 2011!! 
<3 Shannon

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Top Ten and Teaser Tuesday (9) + Tune In Tuesday (5)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Books I Read Because Of The Title Or The Cover

1. The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
This cover is absolutely gorgeous!!! It is probably one of my all time favorite cover to ever be in existence!! It was one of the main reasons why I was drawn to the book and why I wanted to read it.

2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
The title of this book is absolutely fan-freaking-tastic! This book is definitely on my TBR list when it comes out!!

3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous! This cover is way more amazing than your standard "girl in dress" cover (in my opinion anyways). I also really like the bird cage and the line/circle thing going on as well!

4. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
For some reason the title of this book is what made me decide to put this book on my TBR list (the cover isn't bad either!).

5. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
I don't think I have heard anyone say that this cover isn't absolutely amazingly gorgeous; and the rest of the photos that the photographer took for this series are amazing as well!

6. The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
For me this title also had a little help from the cover of the book to get me to put it on my TBR list. But the title does jump out at me however, it did more so with me when it was coupled with the cover.

7. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
I love love love masks! So when I saw this book I immediately grabbed it and read the synopsis. Plus when you see the cover in person the mask is shiny (which is also a plus)!

8. Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
The title of this book gives off the vibe that you are going to be laughing throughout this entire book (someone confirmed this for me as well). So this book is definitely on my TBR list and I can't wait to read it.

9. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
I love both of these covers but the blue one with the blue print on it appeals to me slightly more than the one with the "kissy couple" on it. However, I do like that one as well!

10. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The title of this book instantly grabbed my attention. Uglies? What kind of title is that? So I picked it up and read the synopsis which intrigued me so I read it and absolutely fell in love with this series!!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read, open to a random page, and share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

My Teaser:

"Remember when you tried to convince me to feed a poultry pie to the mallards in the park to see if you could breed a race of cannibal ducks?"
"They ate it too," Will reminisced. "Bloodthirsty little beasts. Never trust a duck."
-pg. 199 "Clockwork Angel" by Cassandra Clare

A weekly feature hosted by Ginger at GReads! that showcases music!!

For the month of October Tune in Tuesday will be featuring songs from soundtracks.
This week I am posting music from Never Back Down.

False Pretense by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Above and Below by The Bravery

Under The Knife by Rise Against
Happy Tuesday!
<3 Shannon

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten and Teaser Tuesday (8) + Tune In Tuesday (4)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time 

1. Harry Potter by JK Rowling
When I first read this book I was in a contest with my friend to see who could complete the series the fastest (there were only four out at the time) and I was in a hurry reading it, so now I would like to go back and take my time reading them.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
When I started to read this book I had a lot of other things to do for school so most of the time I was distracted while reading it and was also trying to read Saints At The River for another class as well.

3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
 I had to read this book for my 10th grade English class and I was only reading it a chapter at a time so I wouldn't get too far ahead of my class; so I want to read it all at once instead of chopped up into chapters.

4. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
 I love this book and I would just like to go back and read it for the first time again!

5. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
 When I first read this book I found myself skimming a couple of parts...which I really need to break the habit of doing.

6. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
When I first started to read this book it didn't immediately grab me so it took me a week and a half to finally get into the book, since I ended up enjoying it so much I would like to read it all at once.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read, open to a random page, and share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

My Teaser:

"Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry,” said Tessa.
-pg. 87 “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare

"It was Henry, to Charlotte’s surprise, who replied without turning, 'Inanimate objects are harmless indeed, Mr. Mortmain. But one cannot always say the same of the men who use them.'"
-pg. 150 “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare

A weekly feature hosted by Ginger at GReads! that showcases music!!

For the month of October Tune in Tuesday will be featuring songs from soundtracks.

This week music is two songs from The O.C. These are some of my all time favorite songs!

Running Up That Hill by Placebo

Hallelujah by Imogen Heap

Forever Young by Youth Group

Happy Tuesday everyone!
<3 Shannon

Monday, October 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a meme created by The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie! It is a list of what books you have received over the previous week, either for review, from the library, from the bookstore, or from trades.
Books I Borrowed From My Sister:
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Cut by Patricia McCormick

Books I Got For Review:
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman (from Pump Up Your Books)
The Bronze and the Brimstone by Lory S. Kaufman (from Pump Up Your Books)

Books From the Library:
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Willow by Julia Hoban
Eulalia! by Brian Jacques
Doomwyte by Brian Jacques

thank you to Tracee from Pump Up Your Books for letting me review & be a part of Lory's tour.
That is what I go in my mailbox :) what did you get in yours?
<3 Shannon

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Review: Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

 Tris & Izzie by Mette Ivie Harrison

  • Reading Level: Young Adult 
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: EgmontUSA
  • ISBN-10: 1606841734
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606841730
  • Received From: netGalley

   From Goodreads:
A modern retelling of the German fairytale "Tristan and Isolde", Tris and Izzie is about a young witch named Izzie who is dating Mark King, the captain of the basketball team and thinks her life is going swimmingly well. Until -- she makes a love potion for her best friend Brangane and then ends up taking it herself accidentally, and falling in love with Tristan, the new guy at school

My Thoughts:
I saw this book on netGalley and it was the cover that drew me in and then the synopsis is really good as well, so I had high hopes for this book. However, sadly this book most definitely did not live up to my expectations. When I got to page 4 and I read this line: "Mark told me that if I really disliked him he would 'exile' him, which meant that no one would speak to him without Mark's permission.", it was a total *headdesk* moment! That is the moment when I started to get a bad feeling about this book but I kept reading  hoping that it was a fluke.

Reason #1: The characters in her book are just downright annoying, absolutely none of them had any redeeming qualities about them. Izzie, to put it simply she's a moron, a hypocrite, and someone who thinks that she knows it all. Branna, I think I actually hated her more than I did Izzie. These girls claim to be best friends but they have no consideration for each other at all. Izzie decides that since Branna doesn't have a boyfriend that she is going to use one of her mom's love potions even though Branna said that she didn't want one. Then Branna decides to break her promise, of keeping the secret that Izzie's mom can do magic, because she "loves" Mark (who is Izzie's boyfriend) and wants to prove to him that Izzie has lied to him while she hasn't. Mark, is a freaking douche bag and very flaky, end of story! Tristan,  isn't even a main character. Mark gets more time in the book than he does even though it's his name is in the title.

Reason #2: The plot is a problem as well. The first part of the story you spend reading about the immature characters living their life as high schoolers and then all of the sudden a two-headed dog tries to kill Izzie. This is also when she finds out that there is a giant serpent trying to kill her and she has to kill it to free the place where she was born from his evil dictatorship. The magic just felt so out of place in the book and wasn't very well executed either.

Reason #3: I just didn't care. I didn't care if Izzie got killed by the serpent or if she killed the serpent. I didn't care who ended up with who. If for someone reason all of her characters mysteriously died, I would have been fine with that as well. The only reason that I finished the book was because it would have annoyed me to not have.

Overall, I give this book 1 Quill. I wouldn't even check this book out from the library. The plot had the potential but it was just a flop.
<3 Shannon

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top Ten and Teaser Tuesday (7) + Tune In Tuesday (3)

Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open 
*I'm just going to list the titles and not give any descriptions so that it won't ruin any endings

1. City of Fallen Angles by Cassandra Clare
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
3. Burned by Ellen Hopkins
4. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
5. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
7. Blue Noon by Scott Westerfeld
8. Identical by Ellen Hopkins
9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
10. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read, open to a random page, and share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.

My Teaser:

"But she doesn't recognize herself. Maybe her face isn't any different, but the look in her eyes. Worse than dead, their expression is simply blank."

-pg. 25 "Willow" by Julia Hoban

A weekly feature hosted by Ginger at GReads! that showcases music!!
For the month of October Tune in Tuesday will be featuring songs from soundtracks.
This week I am picking songs from Across the Universe (a movie where they took a bunch of Beatles songs and made a movie around them), and since it's one my favorite movies and I could probably spend the whole month on it I am going to put my top 5 favorites

(my favorite from the soundtrack!)

I've Just Seen A Face
(my 2nd favorite!)

Hey Jude

All You Need Is Love

With A Little Help From My Friends

Happy Tuesday everyone!
<3 Shannon