Friday, April 24, 2015

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz: Book Review School Edition!


Hello, everyone! I'm back, and I'm here to review The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I'm reading this book for my post modernism class, and I'll start out by saying that I was pleasantly surprised. This book is about a kid named, you guessed it, Oscar. He's a fat nerdy kid who no one really gets, and everyone is trying to push him into being someone he really isn't. Not that the rest of the family doesn't have their problems. They definitely do, and they all get told in The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. But enough about that. Let's get onto the review!

As I said before, I was quite surprised with this novel. In case you haven't noticed, I haven't had much luck loving my school books this semester. I didn't hold high hopes with this novel either, but as I started reading it, I found myself wanting to continue it. Even when we had stopped talking about it in class, I felt compelled to finish it. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and it was one of the few books that I found myself looking forward to read when I woke up.

So let's talk about why I love this book. The characters are really something else. First, there's Oscar. Part of me feels bad for him, but then another part makes me want to throttle him. Then there's his sister, Lola. I really felt connected with her. She does what she wants, and does try to help her family, but she's ready to fight for herself if need be. Then there's the mama. She's had a hard life, and she isn't able to show any love to her children. Her back story is rather gruesome, and it was one part of the story that made me crave for more.

There's also some more aspects at play. There are cultural norms that none of the characters adhere to, whether they try to or not. There's a dictatorship that pressures them and forces them to think that they're cursed rather than face the actual problem. There's a weird family dynamic despite their problems. Then there's the mix of Spanish, fantasy, and scifi references. That's one of my favorite parts, actually. It's actually pretty cool when I was reading along and found a Spanish phrase I knew or fantasy reference, but they are in the book for more than my enjoyment. My professor was saying how these terms were describe everything because everything was so fantastically bad. It was the only way to describe the situation, which made me think about the book more.

All in all, I'm not surprised that this book has received a lot of hype and a lot of awards for how awesome it is. For it being a post modernism novel, I found myself both enjoying it and understanding it. With everything said and done, I'm giving this four and a half stalks of cane out of five.



That's it for this post! Comment down below with school books that you found surprisingly good. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email to the subscribe box down below and off to the right. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. Follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog for ridiculousness about my life and up to date information on the blog. Follow the tumblr dedicated to the blog, which you can find here. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!
Read More »

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day Reading List!


Hello, everyone! I'm back and Earth Day is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than by reading a books dealing with some concerns that we should be thinking about today. Each book gets a link to their Goodreads summary an what Earth Day problem they deal with. This post is going to be short and sweet, guys. You know, to save energy. Enjoy!



Overpopulation: Wither by Lauren DeStefano


Apocalyptic Weather Changes: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer


Use of Fossil Fuels: Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne


Deforestation: Breathe by Sarah Crossan


Pollution: The Ward by Jordana Frankel


Water Depletion: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Well that's it for this post! Comment down below on other books you think could make this list. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email to the Subscribe Box down below or off to the right. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ Button off to the right. Follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog for up to date information about the blog and ridiculousness about my life. Follow the tumblr dedicated to the blog, which you can find at this link. Read on, lovlies! I'll see y'all next post!
Read More »

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: Book Review!


Hello, everyone! I'm back and I'm here to review The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. This is the book of the month for Booksplosion, and if you want to hear more about this book by your favorite Booktubers, watch out for a link on my twitter for their Book Talk. This novel is about Kelsea, a princess who has been hidden away, but now she must come out of hiding and take her place as Queen of the Tearling. That is, if she doesn't get assassinated first. But enough about that. Let's get onto the review!

Let me just say how surprised I am with all the aspects of this book. It takes place in the future. So, we still have scientific advancements and a recognizable history. But something so sever has happened that the feel of the landscape, the customs, and the people are medieval. It's a very interesting take on a young adult book. Plus, there's magic. You can't beat magic. In conclusion, it has science, magic, and a medieval feel set in our future. You want to know how I know it's our particular future? Well, besides the references to both America and England, Kelsea makes some references to popular book titles of our generation. When she first did it, I thought I was loosing it. Then she did it again, and then I did loose it. I won't give you any specifics. Go find out for yourself.

Speaking of Kelsea, let's talk about our heroine. She's been living in seclusion for nineteen years with a couple who were loyal to her mother. She grew up learning how to be a queen without actually meeting anyone. Being cut off from everyone and seeing people who are struggling and have been hurt by the government, Kelsea immediately tries to help out everyone she can. She marches in and shakes up everything, and that causes some backlash, but I have to admire her tenacity.

I'm also liking a lot of the other characters mainly because none of them are entirely good or evil. They've all had their strife, considering that they've all been through a war together. Mace is sneaky in his own right but believes in loyalty. Fetch is a thief but his motives for helping the queen are still unknown. Pen is kind of like a child, but fiercely protects the queen. I could go on and on, but the point is that there are many pawns at play, and we're not entirely sure as to what move they'll make. It was one of the reasons as to why I was reading until three in the morning.

Another aspect that I loved about this book is that it holds nothing back. There have been Young Adult books that have shied away from the gore, sex, and downright brutality that should have been there. This book covers all of that. At first, it was a bit jarring, and I couldn't quite get my head on straight, but as the story developed, I really got the full picture of the world Johansen has created. It's not senseless gore to shock people. The descriptions are world building, and it began to feel more and more real to me.

This book also builds its world on a more meta level. As well as having some literature that we would recognize today, there were also excerpts from books that exist in the book's future. There are poems, history passages, and songs that are placed at the beginning of each chapter that will both give you hope and worry for the book's outcome. It's nice though to get to the end and realize what's been going on. There are also maps at the beginning of the book, which is very nice to see in fantasy books.

With everything said and done, I have to say that this book shocked me, made me cry and laugh, and is now forcing me to wait until June for the next book to come out. In case you haven't guessed, I really love this book. I'm giving this book five out of five wooden cages.



That's it for this post! Comment down below on sequels you can't wait to read. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email to the Subscribe Box down below. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. Follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog for ridiculousness about my life and up to date information about the blog. Follow the tumblr dedicated to the blog, which you can find at this link. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!
Read More »

Sunday, April 19, 2015

YA Cover Changes - Love It or Hate It? List!

Hello, everyone! I'm back, and I'm here to discuss cover changes. It happens sometimes when a book comes out in paperback, or in mid-series, or when a series needs a revamp. I'm going to list some of cover changes that I find amazing, confusing, and downright awful. Now, I'm not counting movie tie-ins, but everything else is fair game. It's time to do what everyone tells us not to. Let's judge some books by their covers.



Let's start off with the classics. That's right. It's Harry Potter. They've just had a recent book cover redo to go along with their 15 year anniversary. It was a bold move on their part. The first covers are considered icons, but I have to say that they did a pretty good job with the new covers. I like the overall style. There's a definite difference between the two, but I think they both convey the magic of the books quite well. Plus, the spines of the new covers look so magical on any bookshelf.



Up next we have the Vampire Academy Series. To be fair, the original Vampire Academy covers were a bit dated. To me, they look a bit like oddly constructed 90s covers. That's not saying that the new covers are much better. Now that all look the same but in different colors. Then you have the girl's face in the background, and, of course, we've never seen that before. The first covers may have been strange, but at least they had some originality.



One change that I really appreciated happened mid series for the Throne of Glass series. The first cover that they had didn't quite peg the feel of the book. The girl on the cover doesn't scare me the same way Caleana did. The other cover looks dangerous, and it's something that I haven't seen before. In case you haven't gotten it, I much prefer the newer covers over the old.

Now, all the books that I'm about to list I haven't read yet, but they're on my "To Be Read" list. I will be judging this books on their looks and how they compare to the summaries and how likely it would be for me to buy them.



So Stephenie Perkins gets her own category, and this is going under "Thank God for Cover Redesign." The first cover doesn't seem to have much depth. It tells a surface story. From the summaries, I'm getting so much more, and I think the new designs reflect that. Plus, they look so darn pretty. I mean, they've got to look good on my bookshelf, right?



Up next is Across the Universe Series. The premise of book sounds really amazing, which is why its on "To Be Read" list. Now, the book with the two silhouettes doesn't actually represent the book. It looks like a destined love story rather than a spaceship scifi mystery. I like the one with the girl in the mechanical eye. It says "YA Scifi" without it being the standard YA cover heroine. The other one with the bold title isn't terrible, it just doesn't have detail as the other one. So while the silhouette cover is more aesthetically pleasing, I like the other two for this particular book.



Speaking of girls in fancy dresses, thank goodness for the redesign for the Shatter Me series. They start the series out with a girl in a fancy dress standing in the wind. Granted they did make it a little less cliche with the background effects and sparkles. Even still, the design didn't really stand out among other YA covers. While I have seen eyes on other cover, they've never been this detailed or distinctive. I don't know how much they pertain to the plot, but I'd still buy the book.



Last but not least, we have the Fairytale Retellings series. Again, was a series that really needed an upgrade. It's not so much that the original covers didn't depict the story, at least according to the summaries, but it just didn't seem special. It didn't seem that someone really thought about how to design it. Sisters Red is just an ax in a forest with a bright light. The new one isn't just beautiful. It also gives the major players, the sisters and a wolf. The way that the hair and the wolf mix into each other is brilliant. Stellar redesign.

With everything said and done, we do tend to judge books by their covers. It's what attracts us to them in the first place. It's why book selfies are becoming popular and book shelves are becoming more beautiful. Book designers are becoming more and more important, and are able to show their creativity through their work. And we'll still be here judging them. So go ahead with your redesigns, but try to make all books in a series match. Please. For my sanity.

That's it for this post! Comment down below on some other cover changes that you found noteworthy. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email to the Subscribe Box down below. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. Follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog for ridiculousness about my life and up to date information about the blog. Follow the tumblr dedicated to the blog, which you can find at this link. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!
Read More »

Monday, April 13, 2015

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Book Review!


Hello, everyone! I'm back and I'm here to review Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass! I have to say, I was the gal who took the title metaphorically, and I was pleasantly surprised after I read the book. This story is about a female assassin who is forced into a competition to be the king's champion. If she wins, she gets to serve a power hungry king who could kill her any second, and if she looses, she will go back to prison and work in the mines, beaten everyday. Oh, and then there's her two love interests, but who cares about that when there's magic involved!? Enough about that, let's get onto the review!

Let's talk about point of view for a second. There are a few point of views, but I will say that making this book in close third person point of view made it so much easier to read. There was also something I could get from each point of view that weaved into the overall story. It also gave me a break from Celaena, which as much as I love her, she could get a bit gruesome at some times.

Which brings us to the discussion of our main character Celaena. She's both familiar yet completely strange to me. On one level, I can really connect with her. She sleeps until one, loves books, and loves dogs. On the other hand, she's prone to violence, finds most women to be hateful witches, and tries to kill anyone who degrades her. She's a book lover... who kills! Still, I think she's going to be interesting to follow just for the character growth alone.

I was a little bummed with the love triangle aspect of the story. When I realized what was going on, I was concerned. I've seen it before and experienced it before, at least in the literary world. But then I see it through Celaena's eyes. To say that she doesn't have feelings for the both of them would be wrong, but she also does her best to think about things logically. She's not just about the boys, she's about her freedom, which is something to be desired in a YA heroine.

If anything, the boys are the ones that are lovesick in this book. Chaol and Dorian remind me of Dimitri and Adrian of the Vampire Academy series, respectively. You've got your tough guy who won't let anyone close to him but somehow this one girl is able to worm her way in despite the odds. Then you've got your sensitive guy who loves books and dazzling women but hates that his father is a tyrant and hates politics and does what to do right by his people. She's got some good choices, that's all I'm saying.

Now we need to talk about the princess. Nehemia Ytger is a bit of a mystery, but I have to say that I liked her almost immediately. She's like the less blunt version of Celaena. She doesn't mind getting her hands dirty, but she also knows that she has people counting on her. She wants to do what's right for her country, and if that means practicing magic illegally, she's going to do it.

Which brings me to my next point, let's talk about magic. Magic is like the pink elephant of the book. Everyone knows of magic's existence, but no one is allowed to use it. The king, of course, has a political reason for banning magic, but then again, if they have power, they may rise up against him. I'd be careful about that if I were him. I cannot wait to see more magic and how it plays into Celaena's destiny in the next books.

That reminds me of one tiny problem that I had with the book, and I will say that it's completely a personal situation. Since I knew I was coming into a book that had sequels, I pretty much knew what the ending of the competition was going to be. But I will say that the journey to get to the end, was fantastic. I can't wait to read the other books. But for now, I have to get to work on some school books.

All in all, I'm giving this four wooden staffs out of five!



That's it for this review! Comment down below on some love triangles you found different from the rest. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email address to the Subscribe Box down below or off to the right. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. Follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog for ridiculousness about my life and up to date information on the blog. Follow the tumblr dedicated to the blog which you can find at this link. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!
Read More »

Saturday, April 11, 2015

How I'm Getting Out of a Reading Slump and Other Fun Things: List!


Hello, everyone! I'm back, and I'm here to tell y'all how I'm getting out of a reading slump. Just in case you aren't in the know, a reading slump is when you get into a mood where you don't feel like reading. I've been in a slump lately, and I thought I would just share my journey and fight of the reading slump.

First, you've got to recognize what the problem is. Whether it be stress, anxiety, laziness, or a book hangover, you have to recognize what the cause is and plan accordingly. Once you know the cause, it is time to take action!

If you think your reading slump is caused by stress or anxiety, try to resolve it. I think part of my problem is worrying about my future and what I'm planning to do after I graduate. One thing that has helped me is taking baby steps. I'm made some plans, one step at a time. One step then leads to another, and that makes me feel a bit better. It's help my stress and anxiety a bit. It may not be the same situation as yours, but the same idea appeals.

One of the more difficult causes of a reading slump to cure is laziness. There's no real trick for beating laziness except making an effort. Since it's reading, you've got to find something that makes you so interested that you can't help yourself. That means head to tumblr, the book blogs, twitter, whatever book news you can find, and use it in order to get the spark back. One of my favorite things to do is head over to Epic Reads and check out there awesome info graphics. They have one for princesses, books set in different time periods, dragons, retellings (which is my personal favorite), and so much more. Once you find something that interests you, well, you know what to do.

Lastly, if you're in a book slump because of a book hangover, it's time to get out of your box! We've all had our book hangovers. Recently, it was The Lunar Chronicles series, but that's neither here no there. One of the best ways to get over a book hangover is to read something completely opposite of the book that got you hungover or just getting out of your usual genre. Something that I found that helped me in going a different direction is the discovery of book clubs. I know, it sounds either like a bunch of old women getting together to knit and talk about Marlow or randy housewives drinking wine and gossiping about their neighbors, but by the way of the Internet, book clubs have gotten way more radical. Here's a list of some book clubs that I recommend:



Young Adult Book Club on Facebook

If you have a Facebook account, then you can join this group! They've read some cool things like Cinder and The Madman's Daughter. It also seems like they could use some love.



Forever Young Adult
This is a website where they offer book clubs in a real life setting. They provide a list of places for you to meet up with other book lovers that meet all over the United States and Canada. For this month they're reading Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff. And they have some real cool reads coming up soon. 



Goodreads Young Adult Book Club
Here's a book club from one of my favorite sites. One good thing about this book club is that it's audience is pretty darn big. There's also a message board where you can hash it out with other book lovers. Right now, the book of the month is Angelfall by Susan Ee, and they have one of my favorite books up next month.



Tracey Neithercott YA Book Club

This book club encourages you to go out and post on your own social media including blogs, tumblr, and twitter. After you do your own review, you can head back to Tracey Neithercott's blog and read her review! The last book they did was The Red Queen, and this book club likes to read books that have movies coming out that month, which deserves an A+.



Booksplosion

This is the book club that I'm most involved in. While they do have a website, most of the action happens on twitter and YouTube. This group of YouTubers bring many book lovers together to talk about up and coming YA books.

So I hope some of these tips and book clubs help you get out of your reading slump. Comment down below with some of your suggestions on how to get over a reading slump. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email to the Subscribe Box down below. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. Follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog for ridiculousness about my life and up to date information about the blog. Follow the tumblr dedicated to the blog, which you can find at this link. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!
Read More »

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Turkish Embassy Letters by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu: Book Review School Edition!


Hello, everyone! I'm back, and I'm here to review The Turkish Embassy Letters by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. This book is a collection of letters that were written by Lady Montagu on her trip through Europe to Turkey. They document her travels, experiences, and the different people she met while she was traveling with her husband and children. But enough about that, let's get onto the review!

I'll be the first one to admit that the travel writing genre is not my cup of tea. I prefer one continuing narrative that tells an overall story. However, I will also say that this collection of letters did contain some entertaining little tidbits that I wasn't expecting. Lady Montagu met a myriad of characters that told her great stories of their lives. She learned different customs and traditions that were a part of other people's cultures.

One thing I have to give Lady Montagu props for is debunking myths of travel writers that came before her. We mentioned this briefly is class, but I will say that there were some notions about the Turkish people that were less than positive. She made a point to mention several things she liked about their culture, even going as far as saying that she wished her own culture would adopt some of their customs.

The writer herself is an interesting "character." I enjoy her fascination with anything new, and I myself am fascinated with the company that she keeps. Being a Lady, she found herself in the company of many important people. She met with Queens, military leaders, and many more. She also met them in interesting places, including the Turkish baths and some harems. They were as interesting as they were adorned by lavish jewelry (which they all were, in case there was some confusion).

While I was impressed with her interest, she did have some elitist tendencies. As an aristocrat, she considered the lower class as completely different than who she was. They were dirty and didn't have any self-control, at least in her mind. Of course, that left a sour taste in my mouth. While she was more progressive in some ways, she was still a product of her generation and class, which wasn't as fun to read.

The last thing I feel like I should mention is my major critique of this novel: while it had it's moments, it was also filled with a few unnecessary details, at least in my point of view. That is sort of standard considering these were private letters sent to friends. They were filled with personal details that weren't that interesting. Some were just accountings of the history of particular places she passed through. This was a good chunk of the novel, and I found myself skipping over a lot of it.

With all of this said and done, I going to give this three turkey egg sized emeralds out of five.



That's all for this post! Comment down below on a vacation you could write a story about. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email to the subscribe box down below and off to the right. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. Follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog for ridiculousness about my life and up to date information on the blog. Follow the tumblr dedicated to the blog, which you can find here. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!
Read More »

Monday, April 6, 2015

To Be Read List - April 2015

Hello, everyone! I'm back and I'm here to share with y'all my To Be Read List for April 2015. I'm hoping that making the list at the beginning of the month will force me to get some of my reading done, no matter what kind of emotional/book slump I'm in. Let's get onto the list!


The first one I need to talk about is Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I'm currently reading it, so I'm pretty confident that I'll finish this one before the month is up. Expect a book review very soon.


The next on my list is a book from my modernism class. It's The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I haven't heard of this book before, but we'll be seeing how it ranks with the other school reads.


Another school read that should be completed this month is Old Filth by Jane Gardam. This is another one that I'm not familiar with, but we have talked about it a little in class. It sounds pretty interesting, but we'll find out later this month.


Of course, I will be reading Booksplosion's book of the month The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen. There are quests, princesses, and sorcerers. Sounds like a good time to me!


Another book I want to put under my belt, or maybe on my bookshelf, is Jackaby by William Ritter. Can you say "Victorian Paranormal Detective"? I'm so excited!


The last book that I really want to read this month is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. This book was published in February, but it really it it stride last month. After hearing all the hype, I can't wait to see if it lives up to its expectations.

Well, that's the plan for this month! Comment down below on some books you think I should read next month. Subscribe to the blog by adding your email to the Subscribe Box down below. Add me to your circles by clicking the Google+ button off to the right. Follow me on twitter @KK_Donna_Blog for ridiculousness about my life and up to date information about the blog. Follow the tumblr dedicated to the blog, which you can find at this link. Read on, lovelies! I'll see y'all next post!
Read More »