Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#14): The Memory Key by Liana Liu

"Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating."

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The Memory Key by Liana Liu (expected publication March 3rd, 2015 by HarperTeen)

In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.

Lora Mint is determined not to forget.

Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.

But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?

Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with authentic and poignant emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride. In the end, Liana Liu’s story will spark topical conversations about memory and privacy in a world that is reliant on increasingly invasive forms of technology.







Top Ten Tuesday (#18)

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This week's topic is Top Ten (Male) Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Some of these guys I would like to take for a romantic island getaway only whereas I guess some of them would actually be kind of helpful if I accidentally got stranded at a deserted island.

1. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Peeta. I love you. So much. We could stay in a little cabin and you could bake me bread.

2. Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

He's just so funny and kind and handsome. And he has to be strong too because of all that farm work. And I guess he could so those ten thousand smiles at that island - that ought to be good entertainment for a couple of days.

3. Carson from All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

Though I am not big on football otherwise, I do like some fictional football players, Carson being one of them. He's super fit so he could do the heavy lifting at the island. (I searched for this photo using the words "hot football player"... I was so happy when I actually recognized him even when I don't follow football AT ALL.)

4. Matt from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

He could play me some guitar and sing and just me cute and handsome and hot. (I am starting to sense a team - I searched for this picture using words "hot guitar player". I have no idea who this guy is.)

5. Jace Wayland/Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

His shadowhunter skills would probably be handy at the island. And if there ends up being something dangerous there, he probably could protect me. (I did not agree with the casting for Jace AT ALL but oh well... And the film sucked anyway.)

6. Josh from Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

He's kind, caring and funny. And we could talk about ice-hockey. And he has that perfect hockey body. (For this one I had so many pictures I wanted to use, but decided to go with that perfect smiling Sidney Crosby - an actual angel.)

7. Ridge from Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

He could also play me some music. And maybe we could make some songs together.
(This picture is the result of "hot guitar player" search pt.2... Does anyone know who this perfect man is btw?)

8. Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

I have always had a soft spot for Draco. His magic could get very helpful at the island, especially if we end up there by accident and need food and other supplies. He probably would have to use his magic also for getting us some sunscreen because we probably would both have a strong possibility to get sun burned. :D

9. Rusty from In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Spending time with Rusty would almost be like spending time with Tim Riggins, one of the most perfect fictional men ever, and seriously, who wouldn't want to spend time with Tim Riggins? 

10. Roger from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Roger could make awesome playlists for us to listen in the sun while enjoying some drinks and good food. 
(The reason I chose Zac Efron is because he's hot - simple as that.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Release Date: May 21, 2011
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Feral Dream
Age Group: YA
Pages: 283
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.


Oh wow... from where shall I start?
I really wanted to like this book. I really expected to do so due to its very high rating on Goodreads. But all the way from the beginning the issues just started to pile up and eventually I just started to see negative things everywhere while reading the book.

Before starting to rant about all the things I did not like, I want to just say that I totally get why so many people have liked this book. The story is different from other YA books I have read and I guess for some Raffe is the total hunk - mysterious and handsome and so on. But I just did not feel the plot, Raffe or to be honest, anything about this book. 

I think the main issue for me about this novel was the lack of back story. The action just begins and Ee does not really take time to build the world or explain what has happened and why the characters are in the situation they are in. I get that angels have come down to earth and brought havoc with them, but WHY? I know the book is from Penryn's point of view and the information the reader gets is what she knows, but leaving so many of fundamental questions unanswered feels like taking the easy road when it comes to writing and world building. I know the following books in the series probably engage in world building as well, but I personally would have needed more information NOW in order to become interested about the series as a whole.

Other major issue I had was the fact that I did not really feel anything towards the characters. At points Penryn is extremely brave and resourceful, but when it comes to the most important questions (why the angel's are there etc.) she does not really question them that much, at least not out loud, because she does not want to give a certain type of picture of herself to Raffe. Also I get that she wants to do everything to save her sister, but since there really isn't any established back story, I did not root for the whole mission because I did not know much about Paige. Yes, she is in a wheelchair, but other than that, I was not really able to feel sympathy for her. I feel like Penryn's mother could have been such an interesting character, but for some reason I feel like she was just there to make Penryn seem like a stronger character - if the mother would be healthy she would probably take responsibility. Also, I have to write this down even though I am no expert on matters like this: it seems like the mother is a total nutcase, pretty much abusing her children etc. So how come she has been staying home til the apocalypse? You would think that a person like that would be institutionalized. Once again a little more world building/establishing the setting would have helped - is this kind of behavior common? Is the society not interested in it? And it is mentioned that the father left, and I guess the reason for that is the fact that the mother was so crazy, but the fact that he left and the children stayed with the mother does not really say much about the father either. But since neither, the condition of the mother and the leaving of the father, were properly discussed, I did not feel sympathy for the girls because of these things. It almost feels like the mother was written the way she was just to add some shock value to the story. I do not flinch upon gory details and events, and I really "liked" for example the part with the little girls and the cannibalism and such, but I feel like those did not do much for the story either and were there just to add more shocks etc.

Also, when it comes to Paige, I felt like she was the most unrealistic character of the whole bunch. She is described as a complete saint - vegetarian and the friend and cheerleader of all the crippled children. And she is only seven years old. I get that she was hurt and that her childhood probably was not the easiest one, but I feel like Ee somehow uses that as an excuse to make her look like a little mother Teresa. I have been seven years old myself and I have witnessed a lot of family members being seven years old. And let me tell you, they were all selfish sometimes and they all complained sometimes. 

I think the writing style as well as the building of the story can be linked to the lack of character establishment. Angelfall is full of action (it almost feels like the whole books is a one big climax) and this takes away from the building of the characters and their personalities. Because Penryn and Raffe are constantly on the move and escaping from something or someone, they do not really get to know each other properly and because of that I did not sense any chemistry between them. Raffe is supposed to be this hot, sarcastic angel, but when he jokes it feels like Penryn does not really respond. I guess someone might see the exchanges between them funny, but I just mostly found them awkward. I think the main issue with writing for me was the lack of dialogue - the book is quite descriptive, and mostly just Penryn's thoughts similar to something like "maybe it is a squirrel... or a deer... or a snake" - the emphasis is put on details that do not really matter that much. The ending of the book just gets so ridiculously action-packed that is hard to follow what is happening and to whom. 

I think I will next rant some more about the angels. I get that they are powerful and such, but when talking about their weapons, only swords are mentioned. When Penryn talks about the outlook of San Francisco after the apocalypse, she compared it to way the city looks in the pictures taken after the 1906 earthquake. 

As you can see from the picture, pretty destroyed outlook. I wish Ee would have taken time to tell the reader how the city became to look similar to the one in this picture. Fires and such are mentioned, but those probably were not started by swords. The lack of explanation about the motives of the angels just keeps bothering me. 

As I have mentioned before, I know a lot of people have completely loved this novel and I do not want to hurt the feelings of any of those people. I just wanted to be completely honest and tell my opinion about this one. I know I might have been too observant when it comes to certain things (I had notes also about the TV watching habits of the angels as well as the coloring of them etc.) and there are things I did not even mention in this review that I did not really like. 

As you can probably guess, I won't be picking up the second part of the series. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Post (#15)

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Weekly recap:

Coming up:
Review for Angelfall by Susan Ee
Top Ten Tuesday - characters I would like to have with me on a deserted island
Waiting on Wednesday
Review for Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Review for The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

What I read this week:
Legend by Marie Lu

What I watched this week:

As I probably mentioned a while ago in one of my Sunday Post updates, I decided to cancel my Netflix subscription for the summer. My brother, who had been using my Netflix account for like a year had decided to get his own subscription of which I heard about on Thursday... So I pretty much forced and begged him to give the sign in details for me because I had been missing Netflix LIKE CRAZY. Well, I got the info and spent Friday night watching documentaries. These are the ones I watched:

Miss Representation (2011) - this documentary explores the representation of women in media, discussing the possible harmful consequences of the representation especially for young girls. I've been interested in gender representation on film since high school and I really found this one super interesting! Definitely worth a watch!

The Woman Who Wasn't There (2012) - Messed up, just messed up. The documentary focuses on a woman called Tania Head, an infamous 9/11 "survivor". Obviously this woman is sick - it is very difficult for me to understand WHY someone would want to pose as a victim of something so horrific and wrong. I did find this story intriguing, but it made me very angry.

An Unlikely Weapon - The Eddie Adams Story (2008) - The name Eddie Adams might not ring a bell to you, but I bet if you have studied history, you've seen this photo (BEWARE - this photo might upset you. It is probably one of the most significant war photos ever taken and definitely one of the most significant, if not the most significant photo, from the Vietnam War). This documentary focused on the life of Adams and his photos and how some of the photos he took kept haunting him for the rest of this life. Very interesting story about a photo journalist who not only took photos but at the same time created history! 

20 Feet from Stardom (2013) - Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary on 2014. Didn't blow my mind or anything, but despite that I found it to be interesting and quite emotional.

Crazy Love (2008) - Oh wow, what can I say about this? Love indeed is sometimes CRAZY and something I cannot understand. A story about a couple, Linda Riss and Burt Pagach, who met in the 1950s and who became to gain media buzz after a horrific event that happened to the woman. I don't want to write too much about this because I feel like it is better to go to it without knowing nothing about the couple and the events surrounding them, but let's just say that love can sometimes be VERY messed up. 

In addition to these documentaries, I've been watching A LOT of Parenthood. Last Sunday while writing my Sunday Post I had watched eight episodes of season 1. I am now up to episode 8 of season 3. 

Around the Internet:

In other news:

The hot weather has continued to praise us here at Finland and I am starting to feel like this is what it must feel in hell - it is hot, sticky and just plain uncomfortable. Our house is so HOT it is impossible to sleep here. I actually moved to sleep on a mattress in this room that used to be a garage, just because it is a little bit cooler there than in the rest of the house. Next week is supposed to be even warmer - I am so not looking forward to that.

As you can probably see, I did not mark Stacking the Shelves and Sunday post for next weekend. That is because I am going to a music festival in my city on Friday and Saturday, which means I won't have the time to do those posts the upcoming week. I am very excited about this festival because I'll be seeing a lot of bands and a lot of friends! Can't wait. Below is a music video of one of the artists performing called Cheek is is probably the most famous Finnish singers at the moment. It probably won't make sense most of you since it is in Finnish, but people always tell me they find it fun to watch music videos on language they don't understand, so if that floats your boat, here you go! The song is called Timantit on Ikuisia which can be translated to Diamonds are Forever

This week on Instagram:

Blue skies and summer heat

I had a little freak out moment when I found Welch's grape soda from one of the stores here in Finland because they don't usually sell it here (and if they do, it's super expensive). I would literally sell my soul for some American candy (those Nerds Ropes - seriously, I WOULD SELL MY SOUL!) Two cuties from Parenthood on the laptop screen behind. 

My mother works in a library and one of their customers had brought in this box of bookmarks she had made so the customers could take them home. I of course went a bit crazy and took several to home with me. I'll probably give some of these to my friends though. 

The city square

I made some ice coffee using my new blender and oh my, this was so good!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (#17)

"Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!"

For more information, click here

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

"I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ."

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

Suddenly Royal (Suddenly #1) by Nichole Chase 

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.

Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.

While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

What did you add to your shelves this week?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Release Date: June 16, 2009
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Age Group: Young Adult 
Pages: 383
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.


I have been a fan of Sarah Dessen after reading 'The Truth About Forever' during my exchange student year in 2007/08, so I was super excited to finally get a chance to read this one.

I was really able to identify with the main character of the novel, Auden. She is smart and feels most confident while studying and learning new things. She is not very good at "girl talk" and gets kinda awkward around guys. Her parents have divorced and after that she has not been able to sleep during the nights - she drives around or spends time at the 24/7 cafe, drinking huge amounts of coffee. After her parents divorced, her scholarly mother has spent most of her time working or hosting dinners for her graduate students. Auden does not really have that much friends - she has always been more comfortable with focusing on the essentials like studying and bettering herself intellectually, rather than socializing and focusing on things that are not deemed as important.

After graduating from high school, Auden decides to spend the summer at her father's house by the beach. Her father has married again and his wife Heidi has just given birth to a baby girl, Auden's little sister, Thisbe. At first, Auden does not feel like much has changed - she still spends most of her time alone, riding around during the nights, trying to read her college books during the day to prepare for her freshman year. But when she meets Eli, who for his own reasons isn't able to sleep either, they just gravitate towards each other and start to spend more and more time together. 

"I sat there for a minute, in that pink and orange room,  thinking about what impressed my mom, and the either/or I'd been stuck in for so long. Maybe it was true, and being a girl could be about interest rates and skinny jeans, riding bikes and wearing pink. Not about any one thing, but everything."

As more time passes and Auden starts to work nights at Heidi's clothing store helping with the books etc., Auden notices that she actually has found girls she can call her friends. After some awkward exchanges and not knowing how to react to bitchy ex-girlfriends, Auden starts to learn more about friendships and more importantly, about herself. 

I really liked how this novel took its time in establishing the relationships and the story - Auden and Eli start as friends, pretty much by accident, and it really takes time for them to react to the connection between them, one way or another. And the way Dessen writes is so beautiful - the story flows well and you just want to keep turning the pages for more and more. 

Eli is one of those character you cannot but love - he seems kind of quiet and distant at the beginning, but as Aiden spends more time with him, you get to know more about him and understand why he is not able to sleep, why he might be distant and why he might have issues with really connection with someone. The other characters from Heidi to Maggie and the other girls are also interesting and despite the fact that the story is not mainly about them, you get to know more about them as well when Auden bonds with them.

At the beginning I really did not like Auden's parents, but as you read on, you kinda understand why they act as they do. And as Auden changes, there is also a change in them. 

All in all, Along for the Ride is one of those books that is perfect for the summer when you're looking for a good and romantic story, but also a bit of substance. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#13)

"Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating."

For more information, click here

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (Expected publication March 31st, 2015 by Bloomsbury)

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

It’s been two years since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.