Sunday, February 20, 2011

On Vacation

Hi all!

I just want to thank all of you for being super awesome followers. Unfortunately, I'm going to be backpacking through Europe for an indefinite amount of time, which means that I won't be able to update anymore! When I come back, I will resume blogging. Until then:

Happy gaming!

Monday, February 14, 2011

One Hundred Candles Review

Author: Mara Purnhagen
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub Date: February 22, 2011
Paperback: 240 pages  
Source: ARC (Thanks NetGalley!)
For Challenge: A-Z Reading Challenge
Summary: (Taken from Goodreads)

It's taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I'm settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it's not as if Noah is anything more than a friend….But my new life takes a disturbing turn when Harris brings me to a party and we play a game called One Hundred Candles. It seems like harmless, ghostly fun. Until spirits unleashed by the game start showing up at school. Now my friends and family are in very real danger, and the door that I've opened into another realm may yield deadly consequences.

I thought this story was interesting and creative, and I really enjoyed it. Charlotte certainly has a different life, and I liked seeing just how much her life revolved around the supernatural due to her parents’ job. The pacing of the book was perfect – it didn’t drag at all, and I was pulled in at all the right moments. I also enjoyed how Purnhagen pulls together the supernatural and the realistic. Adding the extra elements of protective crystals, candles, and ceremonies really made it stand out for me. Although this seems like stuff that would seem to be in all supernatural stories, I have found it in very few. 

It’s also a great stand-alone book, even though it was the second in the series. I was able to catch on quickly as to what was going on and wasn’t confused as to who the characters were. However, I think that if I had read the first book, I’d have had a stronger connection with the characters, which would have been nice.

As I said, I really enjoyed the story, but the writing was a little too simplistic for me. The characters are very black-and-white and predictable. The main character says everything that’s going on in her mind in a very simple, direct manner. I think it’s a classic example of the writer “telling” rather than “showing.” Instead of showing that the main character was worried or sad by having her do something or act a certain way, she directly stated, “I am worried.” It makes the story less interesting to read, and definitely made me feel distanced from the characters, because I wasn’t interacting with them as much.

I thought the climax and ending was wonderfully done. By the time I got to the high point of the novel, I couldn’t put it down – I had to finish.

I would rate this at 3.5 stars, but it has a cool cover, so I’m bumping it up.

My rating:

Happy gaming!

PS Sorry I haven't been updating as much as I used to. School just got REALLY busy for me. Thanks for being such great followers! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Who Is Saint Giovanni?" Event

Have you heard the news?

If you haven't, are you ready for it?

Rane, one of my friends and co-bloggers over at The Lit Express, is hosting an epic event. She has decided to post one of her novels online.  

This is how it will work:

Beginning on April 11, 2011, she will post weekly installments of the novel on the "Who Is Saint Giovanni?" Blog. (A rough draft of Saint Giovanni is pictured to the left.) After a year, the entire novel will be posted online. That's right folks, she's going old school on this. Ever wondered how they read novels in Victorian England? This is it. Well, except the installments were posted in newspapers rather than blogs. But you get the point.

Every installment will include an illustration drawn by a fabulous artist who has agreed to collaborate with Rane.

Every installment will also be available in vlog and podcast format.

Rane is SUPER EXCITED about this guys, and so are all of us at The Lit Express, so I hope you'll join her. And wait! There's more! You can win stuff from this, as well! (See below.)

Okay, so are you sufficiently interested? Check out this link to read the summary. I hope you'll join us!


1. Sign up for a chance to win an advanced reader copy
(5-10 people will be chosen by out of the whole blogging community)

One winner will receive a $15 dollar gift certificate to amazon or book depository

2. Post about this event on your blog

One winner will receive a $15 dollar gift certificate to amazon or book depository

3. Host a button on your page

One winner will receive a $15 dollar gift certificate to amazon or book depository


Every person who signs up for any or all of the options above will have a chance to win...their very own...Kindle Graphite 6" (or another model, or nook, of equal or lesser value). The more areas of participation you sign up for, the more chances you have of winning!

*The first round of winners will be announced within the first 4 weeks after this event begins (4/11/11). But the participation is ongoing until the very end of the event (4/12/11), which means there will be multiple drawings. Rane has the right to decide when those drawings will be held and what the next round of prizes will be.

**The Grand Prize winner will be chosen after the blog event is over (4/12/12). The winner will be chosen from everyone who participated. Winner will be chosen using

Thirteen Reasons Why Review

Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Listening Library
Narrator: Joel Johnstone, Debra Wiseman
Duration: 6 hours 24 minutes
For Challenges: A-Z Reading Challenge, Whisper Stories in My Ear, 2011 Audiobook Challenge

Summary: (Taken from Goodreads)
Jay Asher's brilliant first novel is a moving, highly original story that focuses on a set of audiotapes made by a girl before she committed suicide, and which explain to 13 people the reasons why she decided to end her life. Told in a highly effective duel narrative -- alternating between the girl s voice and the thoughts of a boy who is listening -- this honest, poignant story reveals how other people's actions shape, and by extension can ruin, an individual's faith in people. Intensely powerful and painfully real, Thirteen Reasons Why reveals how brutal high school can be, the consequences of spreading rumors, and the lasting effects of suicide on those left behind.


I thought this book was really good. I love the way Asher sets it up -- the dual structure allows the reader to hear Clay's thoughts even as we hear Hannah's story. Obviously, this topic is very raw and emotional and it's somewhat hard to comment on it. Suicide is a situation that teens need to be aware about, and this novel covers a lot of the factors and signs of a suicidal person. It also does a lot to show how the little things we do for (or to) people can have a huge impact.

The one thing that prevented me from really becoming involved in this book was the fact that I couldn't relate to Hannah at all. I felt sorry for her and for the things that happened to her, but I could not get a connection. I don't know if it's because we hardly saw any real interaction with her aside from the tapes, or because the way she joked about her own suicide came off as bizarre, but I could not get a feel for her. I did, however, relate strongly to Clay, which is what kept the book going for me.

I'm not sure I would recommend this. I think it's a good book and it has a good message, but there are other more powerful books about suicide out there.

Listening to this as an audiobook is a great experience. For one thing, it makes the story real-time. The amount of time it takes for Clay to listen to Hannah's tapes and the amount of time it takes the listener to hear Hannah's tapes is the same. It made me feel a lot more connected to the main character. Also, it was a brilliant idea to get two narrators for this one -- it really added an element of reality to it. If you get the chance, listen to this one instead of reading it.

My rating:

Happy gaming!