Tuesday, January 29, 2013

NEWS: men and high heels, wtfkery shit in Florida, when to DNF, YA giveaway, fuck you reality

Why did men stop wearing high heels? (2013 January 24)
"'One of the best ways that status can be conveyed is through impracticality,' says Semmelhack, adding that the upper classes have always used impractical, uncomfortable and luxurious clothing to announce their privileged status." 
No kidding. Wow, makes you wonder that perhaps in a parallel universe, men are wearing high heels, and women are not.

WTFkery shit in Florida (2013 January 23)
"In Florida, there are violent people, naked people, poopers and masturbators but rarely is one man the total package."

IMO: When To DNF (2013 January 29)
"The bottom line is, I read for fun and nothing else, so if I’m not enjoying the story even a little bit, even enough to mark it one star, I shouldn’t be reading it."
I couldn't agree more. Yet, DNFing is hard for me. I have this irrational need to finish a book when I start it. To lessen the suffering, I skim. Skimming is as close I'll ever get to consciously DNF a book.

YA Giveaway News

Awesome JANUARY Giveaway! ends on February 1, 2013.

 Picture of the Day

source: imgfav
Booyah, motherfucker!

Friday, January 25, 2013

NEWS: sex in YA Romance, sex in literature, writing non-western fantasy, 2 giveaways, alien vs ignorance

# Sex Content in YA Romance from the M/M Romance Community's POV (2013 January 11)
"Interestingly, there is no corresponding lack of extreme and excessive violence. Do our authors think that brutal and gory violence is more acceptable than sex in young adult romances?"
Sex scenes in YA is a foregone issue for me. I'm more worried about whether the romance is abusive or not. Visit my GR thread to see the discussion. On a related note, link via Wave...

A List of Published Fiction Containing Illegal Sexual Activities (2007 May 30)
"There are texts on here that are pillars of the literary canon, and there is shameless porn that comes wrapped in brown paper. There is material that condemns the illegal sex, material that celebrates it, and everything in between."
So if it's classified as literature, it's okay... O.o

# Writing Non-Western Fantasy for the Unqualified (2013 January 21)
"If I only wrote what I’m qualified to write, then all my stories would be about sheltered white girls in the suburbs."
I would love to read more Asian fantasy.

Giveaway News

YA blog Sparkles and Lightning has two giveaways! A Very Merry Christmas which ends on ends January 29, 2013 open to all readers and New Year 2013 Giveaway which ends on ends February 5, 2013 for those readers who love YA.

Best of luck... not! I wanna win! Give me all your luck! >:D

Picture of the Day

source: tumblr

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

REVIEW: Makeshift Miracle, Book 1 by Jim Zub & Shun Hong Chan

Makeshift Miracle Book 1: The Girl from Nowhere Makeshift Miracle Book 1: The Girl from Nowhere by Jim Zub & Shun Hong Chan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

+ the plot
The watercolor illustrations are beautiful, but there was no hiding the shallow story. I didn't see a plot. What I saw was a couple of extraordinary events strung together in a way that left me confused. For six chapters, containing 105 pages beginning with chapter one, not much happened. I got more out of the story by reading its summary on Wikipedia. Seriously.

The characters were no better.

+ the protagonist
I liked Colby because I instantly related to him, but I was quickly disappointed when I saw how quickly he came to care for Iris as if she was a good friend when the appropriate action, one more consistent with his demeanor, should have been his being wary of Iris. After all, the girl literally fell from the sky, naked, and when he tried to save her she teleported them both back to his house. Obviously, she's an alien, until the story says otherwise, and an amnesiac one at that. Colby's lack of prudence bugged me.

+ the alien girl
Iris was unbelievable. For someone who has amnesia and strange powers, she was disturbingly calm. There was no effort to discover who she was, where she came from, and whether or not Colby was an ally or an enemy. All she did was pull a woe-is-me act and cook. The relationship between Colby and Iris was surreal.

+ the steampunk guy
Esurio was my least favorite character. He annoyed me greatly. For someone who traveled to another world, he showed great incompetence. He shouldn't have assumed he was in friendly territory. He should have approached other people with caution, or at least adjusted his look so he wouldn't stand out. Does he not know the word 'discretion'? Moreover, why was he talking to himself? I think he was missing some screws in his head.

In Conclusion

I rate Makeshift Miracle, Volume 1 2-stars for it was okay. It would have been a better story if the story's elements were remixed to make a comedy manga. The story would have been stereotypical, but it would have been enjoyable and not confusing.

You can read this volume online for free at the official website. Be advised that the website hasn't been updated for years.

Goodreads | Amazon

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

REVIEW: The Devil You Know by K.H. Koehler

The Devil You Know (Nick Englebrecht, #1)The Devil You Know by K.H. Koehler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book, but there were too many small issues to tolerate.

The Characters

+ the hero
The only noteworthy thing about Nick was that he was bi. Other than that, he was a stereotypical Urban Fantasy protagonist. He has a destiny he doesn’t want to face, a power he doesn’t practice to attain mastery, and a tendency to jump into trouble without preparation.

I had a hard time believing the character was an ex-cop, a psychic detective, and a prince of Hell. He frequently let the bad guys get the upper hand. He solved mysteries slowly and often late so shit was already happening, and he’s scrambling to save himself and others. He pissed off his allies and physically hurt his best friend when she warned him against Vivian. Worst of all, he allowed himself to be seduced by Vivian.

+ the romantic interest
The biggest issue I had with the book was Vivian. I didn’t like it when she was introduced as a damsel in distress, and I outright hated her when she developed into a femme fatale. She wasn’t entirely unpitiable, but 97% of the time, it was all “Nick, save me,” “Nick, fuck me,” “Nick teach me magic so that I may later use it for evil purposes in future books.” Nick wasn’t Vivian’s white knight; he was her stooge.

The Plot

+ the beginning
The beginning would have better off starting at chapter 3. Chapter 1 tried to parody a mystery novel; the first line was “Like a bad detective novel, it started with a woman.” But it quickly felt flat and became the cliche it was parodying. Go figure.

Worse, when Nick told Vivian about magic being real stuff, trying to do that hide-in-plain-sight, tongue-in-cheek thing, he came off as creepy and an incredibly obvious mouthpiece for info-dumping worldbuilding.

On another issue, Nick didn’t ping Vivian as part daemon immediately, yet it was told multiple times how he had an above-average radar of sensing the supernatural. Either Nick was deluding himself which I don’t think is the case or the story contradicted itself which I think is the case.

+ the middle
The middle dragged. Many seemingly unrelated things were happening, and I doubted their relevancy to the plot multiple times. I felt that Nick should strongly reconsider his priorities and focus on helping the people he could actually help instead of taking every case that entered his door.

The sex scene was unexpected and admittedly hot but nevertheless I didn’t like it because it was with Vivian. Any scene with Vivian had me going red. She was a like a fly I couldn’t waved away.

+ the ending
The ending was fast-paced but done in a clunky manner. I didn’t like how Malach and Nick buddied up like cops to confront the bad guys. It discredited the multiple tellings of the mutual, supposedly sustaining enmity that was established for the reader in the beginning of the story.

On the bright side, the conflict was nicely wrapped up, and I liked the foreshadowing of a war between Heaven and Hell where the lines between evil and good are super blurry. In spite of the incohesiveness, all the little plotlines that I thought that were irrelevant were finally given relevance.

In Conclusion

I rate The Devil You Know 2-stars for it was okay. Nick needed a cold slap to common sense, and Vivian needed to fuck off. The pacing was uneven, and the story had many unignorable inconsistencies. Still, the series has potential, and I do sincerely look forward to the sequel.

Goodreads | Amazon

Friday, January 18, 2013

NEWS: 2012 literary drama recap, a selfless boy and nurse, YA freebie, book research unearth big breast mannequins

# 2012: The Year Everyone Lost Their Heads (2012 December 28)
"Grab some popcorn because this will be a long one."
No kidding.

# Smugglivus 2012: The Airing of Grievances (2013 January 3)
"In addition to BLOGGERS KILLING LITERATURE, apparently 2012 marked the demise of BOOKS, PERIOD because of the rise of the ebook."
Gotta love bibliobigots. And now for the happy news to balance out the drama.

# Boy Sends Letters & Money To Cat Rescue Every Year (2013 January 5)
"Within hours, City Kitties received more than $400 in donations, and they are still coming." 
What a selfless kid.

# As Nurse Lay Dying, Offering Herself as Instruction in Caring (2013 January 10)
"But Ms. Keochareon, 59, a 1993 graduate of Holyoke’s nursing program, was offering students something rare: an opportunity not only to examine her, but also to ask anything they wanted about her experience with cancer and dying."
What a bittersweet yet heartwarming story.

YA Freebie

Stray by Andrea K. Höst = ya science fiction.

Tweet of the Day
"I loved researching South Beach for my book. Interesting fact all the mannequins have double d breasts." 
Kenya Wright
source: twitter

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

REVIEW: Retrovirus by Image Comics

Retrovirus Retrovirus by Image Comics
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Retrovirus was unexpectedly not full of T&A shots, only 3-5 pages of them at the most. It would have been easy to go there because Zoe was the only female character in 98% of the story, surrounded by men, half of which didn’t bother hiding their disgusting lust towards Zoe. Thankfully, Zoe’s sexuality was never used against her or a part of the conflict.

I really liked Zoe. She was smart. She was driven. She didn’t let anyone push her around. I liked how she was actually one of the violent characters in the story.

What I didn’t care for were the male stereotypes. The men were either sexually uninhibited and sexists with shades of arrogance, or meek and naive and overall expendable, or thick-headed muscle dudes. Zoe was the only character who seemed to defy stereotypes and really the only likeable character around.

In Conclusion

I rate Retrovirus 3-stars for I liked it. The plot was action-packed. The pseudo-science was sufficiently believable. The art was great; there was nothing for me to nitpick. The ending was a tad rushed but it was satisfactory. I loved the romance that occurred at the last minute; Zoe deserved it.

Goodreads | Amazon

Monday, January 14, 2013

NEWS: strong female characters, reviewing issues, read faster, yaoi freebie, mojito shoe

# “Why do you write strong female characters?” (2012 December 31)
"The heart of the question implies that if a male character is 'strong' that’s to be expected, because boys and men are strong. Normal. Default. Go about your business."
On the flip side, when I think of "strong male characters," I think of wish-fulfillment and Gary Stus.

# Online Book Reviews: Games People Play (2013 January 6)
"But I admit to extreme naiveté. I knew nothing of the rampant gaming of online book reviews or the bizarre culture of Amazon reviewing."
Yeah... I'm going to keep not reviewing on Amazon.

# Can I Learn to Read Faster? (2013 January 4)
"Another trick often associated with speed reading is skimming the text."
That's the trick I use. Not every word or chapter is golden.

Yaoi Freebie

Not Yours, Am I? Volume 1 by Cinnamon Rub

Picture of the Day

This is a shoe. One odd looking shoe. Click here for more info.

The Mojito Shoe

Saturday, January 12, 2013

REVIEW: Pursued by Joel Gomez-Dossi

Pursued Pursued by Joel Gomez-Dossi
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The writing was good, the story was fast-paced, and that’s everything nice I can say about this book because it was crappy. I think it was going for a B-rated-teen-horror-movie thing or a parody of it, but either way the book failed. I didn’t cringe. I didn’t laugh. I just wanted to finish the book already so it would stop annoying me.

The Characters

Jamie, the MC, was stupid and naive beyond belief. I would list all the stupid things he did but I would simply be summarizing the entire story, and I say this with no exaggeration. Honestly, I can’t even give one example because I would be compelled to rant in long paragraphs.

Now I will say this: Jamie did do one smart thing...kinda. That one thing was trying to find evidence against the villain to back up his claim that the villain was a villain. Otherwise, no one would believe him because the villain was a well-connected, respected cop who was actively sabotaging the MC’s credibility. However (and this where the “kinda” comes in), if Jamie was an inch smarter, he and his friends would have hired professionals, i.e. a private detective and a lawyer, instead of amateurishly doing it themselves. It was no surprise to see that they quickly tipped off the villain who then targeted his friends too, escalating the already dangerous situation to the going-to-capture-and-torture-you level.

While Jamie was a moron, the villain was a caricature. His character seemed to me like it was based upon a hodgepodge of traits a serial killer would have.

The other characters were no better. I know everyone has problems of their own, but everyone in this book was screwed up in one way or another. Domestic violence, illegal immigrants, family estrangement, conversion therapy, etc., each issue was slapped onto a character, and wham-bam, there’s your character development.

The Ending

It was more than a case of lazy character development, it was also a lot of unnecessary and superficial drama. I didn’t like the shit-isn’t-over-yet ending, particularly the HIV issue that should have been dealt with early in the story. The obligatory bittersweet ending, recall that the book is a horror/thriller, was a shade of ridiculousness.

In Conclusion

I rate Pursued 1-star for I didn’t like it. I’m thankful that the story limited the POVs to Jamie and the villain. Multiple POVs would have make it insufferable.

Just when you think the stupidity is over, it’s BACK! There is a sequel, Deadly Cult, and I must confess. I am seriously tempted to read the sequel despite rationality. Now that’s scary.

Goodreads | Amazon

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

NEWS: shut up, book blogging survey, LGBT Vietnam, YA giveaways, bad grammar kills

# just shut up. (2012 December 27)
"In short, [Disney's Beauty and the Beast] is a movie that says, 'If you love your abuser enough, they’ll stop being abusive. You just need to love them more. It’s your job to love them, to fix them, to change them.' Which is, of course, a terrible and dangerous and very pervasive lie."
There is one angle I have never thought about regarding Beauty and the Beast.

# The Cost and Value of Book Blogging + Survey (2013 January 2)
"The most common accusation is we're in it for free books. Hah! As if a $10 book could ever come close to compensating the amount of time it takes to read a book, write a review, and promote the post. That's in addition to doing blog tours, interviews, cover reveals, etc."
This is why I only stick to reviewing and a little news reporting on the side. Book blogging is hard work.

# Real Faces, Real People, Real Love in Vietnam (2013 January 7)
"Vietnam has historically been unwelcoming to same-sex relationships. But its Communist government is considering recognizing same-sex marriage — a move that would make it the first Asian country to do so, despite past human rights issues and a long-standing stigma."
There are more pictures here.

YA Giveaways

The Book Fairy's Haven: Win a YA prize pack. ends on January 11

Sparkles and Lightning: Winter Wonderland Giveaway. ends on January 15

The Midnight Garden: January 2013 Prize Pack. ends on January 31

Picture of the Day 

click to see full size | source: explosm.net

Monday, January 7, 2013

REVIEW: Pantomime by Laura Lam

Pantomime (Pantomime, #1)Pantomime by Laura Lam
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

CAUTION: Long Review

Comments on this thread are heavily moderated, meaning I am trigger-happy with the delete and block buttons. For a similar but less ranty viewpoint, check out this review by The Book Smugglers.

How the Description is Offensive (to me)

I’m offended that the description for Pantomime misled me into thinking this was a story about star-crossed lovers. It is not. This is NOT a spoiler; I repeat, this NOT a spoiler. Gene and Micah are the same person. This is a story about an intersex protagonist.

This is NOT a spoiler!

Misleading description is misleading and offensive on two fronts.

NOT. a. spoiler.

+ 1st front

It deceive readers because you think you're getting a YA romance when in fact it's a YA fantasy. Yes, I did assume it's a YA romance, but let me ask you this. If the description mentions a boy and a girl character, and the story is YA, and most YA nowadays, as in 99% of them, that mentions a boy and a girl characters are YA romances, can you honestly tell me my assumption is unreasonable?

There is a romance subplot in Pantomime, but it's not a romance book. The plot focuses on Gene and Micah but they're the same and one person. Pantomime is a YA fantasy.

To me this is the equivalent of reading a YA dystopian for the dystopian part when in fact the dystopian part is only 5% of the book at the most while 95% of it is ridiculous insta-love romance.

+ 2nd front

It smack of homophobia because there's no hint anywhere on the cover or in the description, especially the description, that it's an LGBT book unless you read reviews, “spoilers” reviews. Treating something a reader learn about the protagonist at The Very Beginning, especially when the protagonist is LGBT and there is a history of marginalization of LGBT people and whatnot, as a secret is disrespectful to say the least.

Not to mention the implication that readers have to be tricked in order to read about an LGBT individual.

You know what this is called? Motherfucking straightwashing. Well, just straightwashing but I added the motherfucking in to express my rage.

+ my 2-cents, take it or leave it

I do not believe for a second that the author nor the publisher intended the misleading description to be interpreted as so, but interpreted by me it did. What I do believe is that it's a very, Very Poor Marketing Decision.

I would understand why the description prevaricate the protagonist’s “secret” if it was not for the heavy clues dropped from The Very Beginning: the narrative voice, the red hair, the big brother, and the acrobatic talent Micah and Gene shared. And oh yeah, there were also the male-like body parts Gene had and how traditionally male she acted. I mean, seriously. You would have to be very disengaged from the book to not make the connection. At 20% of the book, it was bluntly pointed out that Micah was Gene in a way that suggested if you haven’t realize it you’re dense or very bored and thus very inattentive to the book or couldn’t care less. This was in no way some twist revealed at the end like the unmasking of the murderer in a mystery novel.

The protagonist was the best part of the book, and I feel strongly that the description should have been upfront about his LGBT trait. I understand some readers would not want to read LGBT YA books because there is a belief that such books are usually issue books, dark and depressing, life is a bitch and then you die. However, the description could have avoided that by emphasizing the fantasy part of the book because that is what the book was about anyway.

I am well aware of the great possibility that I may be the only one who have this interpretation because, let's face it, I'm almost always in the minority opinion when it comes to ratings and reviews. Still, it's my 2-cents, a very important 2-cents, and I'm letting it be known.

UPDATE: I am not only the who thinks so. Shoutout to book bloggers The Book Smugglers and LGBT author Malinda Lo.

What The Book Is About

Pantomime is about Micah who runs away from home to the circus only to later end up in big trouble there too. He has an unrevealed destiny that could change the world, but he first got to survive circus life. The circus is like Hollywood. Behind all that fame and glam, bad shit is happening.

Pantomime is a dazzling YA fantasy. It is not an issue book like, well, anything by Ellen Hopkins.

Why I Love Micah

Barring the description of the book, not a thing written in the book offended me. Pantomime dealt with intersexuality in a respectful and preferably non heavy-hearted manner. I loved how the book made Micah more than about his intersexuality, that it was in the way of “this is how Micah is different but readers can relate to him anyway even though they don’t share his difference because everyone has something different about them that caused an issue for them.” It was easy for me to relate to Micah.

Micah felt real and tangible; he had an all around elegant character development. I liked his silent courage and his won’t-let-shit-pull-me-down-I’ll-be-okay attitude. His kickassness was subtle but no less awesome.

What I Didn’t Like

+ the love triangle

I liked Aenea and Drystan, but I didn’t like the love triangle. I quickly established myself as Team Drystan because Micah had a brighter future with him than with Aenea. Micah had many things in common with Drystan, and most importantly they were honest with each other later in the book.

Aenea, on the other hand, shared intimate details of her life which Micah did not reciprocate. Thus, it was absolutely no surprise that later in a revelation scene she felt betrayed. One thing I did not expect was how permanent things were going to be with Aenea.

Regardless, It was very predictable how the love triangle was going to be resolved, i.e. which romantic interest would win. The book would have been better off without the love triangle in the first place. I get that one of the reasons it existed was to show how Micah could be attracted to both sexes, that sexual orientation was a large non-issue and apart from Micah’s gender identity. I liked that about Micah, his clarity of love and attraction. However, passing attractions to strangers would have accomplished the same.

Poor girl, as if she had not suffered enough shit. Micah should have kept his relationship with Aenea platonic. That was one of the few things I did not like about Micah.

+ the over-extensive flashbacks

The plot alternated between the present and past, when Micah is Micah and when Micah is Gene respectively. For the first half of the book, I didn’t mind the flashbacks despite them being the singular reason for the slow pacing. I can plainly see the necessity for backstory building and character development.

But by the last half of the book, I quickly tired of it. I didn’t find the flashbacks to be necessary anymore, and my patience for the slow pacing reached its limit. I wanted the book to focus on the action in the present plot where things were heating up.

+ the domestic violence

It was a background issue. I didn’t like how it was kept as a background issue. I didn’t like how no one helped the victim except for passing concerns. I didn’t like how the issue was later pulled to the front stage for a climactic confrontation where the victim’s fate was revealed like some cheap conflict. How it ended bombs, in more ways than one.

+ the cliffhanger

The ending was a cliffhanger. Things were finally getting epic, and the book forced me to wait for the sequel to see our heroes’ fate. I felt cheated. I felt like the book finally gave me pure awesomeness to chew on, but then at the last moment, when it was at my fingertips, ripped it away from my reach. Cheated and steamed. I was mad to the point where I seriously considered downgrading the book’s star rating a full star level.

In Conclusion

I rate Pantomime 3-stars for I liked it. I came to this book hesitantly because it sounded like the YA version of The Night Circus, a book that I hold no interest for, let alone a YA version of it. Yet I decided to read Pantomime anyway because of the rave reviews. Great writing, vivid world building, and enchanting characters, the book merits the rave.

That said, I recommend waiting for the sequel to read the books back to back.

Goodreads | Amazon

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

NEWS: not really. it's about my morning

Go online. Read daily news. Check twitter. Incidentally see smutty picture.

*interest piqued* *click further*

See more smutty picture.


More smut.

*click* *click*

Smut there, smut here.

*waste entire morning*


REVIEW: The Red Knight by Miles Cameron

The Red Knight The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Red Knight (TRK) was a mixed bag surprises.

Great writing

I love the succinct writing. I love the subheading of the character’s name and their location every time the plot shifts in POV. TRK is a big Fantasy book, and I expected to be lost in a wall of text at some point, but I never really was.

Too many POVs

What I did not love was the boatload of irrelevant POVs. It took me a couple long chapters to realize the book was plot-driven given the focus on the large cast and how an unexpectedly small amount, about less than a third of the book, of the plot was told from the eponymous protagonist’s POV.

I never felt that the book attempted to make me feel attached to the characters. Many times I wanted Thorn, the main villain, to succeed and kill all the good guys because I was bored silly with their inanities, especially with 2-3 characters I wanted dead already. So bored I ended up skimming the middle of book; I wanted to be done with the book already and read something else. It would have taken a miracle for me to pay attention to the book again.

Amazingly, a miracle did happen, which was the biggest surprise of the book. I skimmed for a couple minutes but I stopped once the good guys and bad guys were finally duking it out. The excitement regained my attention. TRK shined for me in those battle scenes, and finally there was a purpose to all those POVs.

Lack of misogyny

More importantly, TRK didn’t have that tone of misogyny I usually see in Fantasy. There were usual references of rape, but it wasn’t done as gritty-realism fluff. All the female characters were strong. None all of them played second fiddle to their manly man partners, be they a romantic interest or a fellow warrior. Not even the queen was secondary to the king. Speaking of the queen, it was refreshing to read a Fantasy where the queen and king are alive and in love, and to see that one trivial character of a douchebag who threaten rape got quickly chastised. They were peripheral details but they made a big impact in my reading experience.

The lack of misogyny greatly compensated for the disappointing revelation of The Red Knight (the character), the secret for why he went by the moniker and hid his noble background. I thought it would be something more tragic and devastating, not something that happens in almost every normal noble family I have ever read in Fantasy.

Accessible world building

The world building was quickly graspable. I didn’t actively keep track; passive immersion was enough. The setting took place in a medieval kingdom walled against the Wild, similar to The Others in GRRM’s series, with a reference of a faraway kingdom that have French named knights. It didn’t take long for me to imagine TRK’s kingdom as a faux-England.

TRK had Christianity but TRK’s Christianity felt more like paganism; never once did the story feel religious or portray the religion in a black and white manner. I really liked how naturally interwoven the spiritual/magical element was with the religion.

Not a black and white book

It would have been easy for TRK to portray the Wild as bad guys who are destined to be defeated by the end of the series if the book has any intention to make the series’ ending satisfactory. Many times I empathized their plight, and I would have been okay if they won. I liked how diverse the Wild was with some as beasts and some as humanoids. It was not straight out demons who destroy for evil’s sake; in fact, it was strongly suggested that the Wild was of nature, and that there was a theme of nature vs. civilization at play in the book.

The Wild also have human allies called Jacks by their enemies. These Jacks weren’t barbarians or criminals that no human civilization would accept but the Wild. They were people who wanted freedom and the end of slavery and the monarchy, leading to another theme of divine rights vs. human rights.

In Conclusion

I rate TRK 2-stars for it was okay. While I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I wanted and skimmed some of it, I can plainly see why frequent Fantasy readers would. I liked that the book can be enjoyed as a simple adventure or a critical read. I would have liked TRK to have a tighter plot by doing away with the multiple POVs and move faster towards the big showdowns between the humans and the Wild.

I may not have enjoyed the book much but I would recommend frequent Fantasy readers to try the series out.

Goodreads | Amazon

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

NEWS: giveaways bonanza, new layout, bad boys & bad sex

source: cheezburger.com
Giveaways Bonanza

Happy 2013! To celebrate, many blogs are hosting giveaways. Many blogs. Enter at Cuddlebuggery's and then scroll to the end of the post to enter 35 others. Enter Book Sake's and then click here for their hop event to enter 194 others. Finally, enter a big one at Book Haven Extraordinaire. (These are mostly YA-focused book blogs, btw.)

Protip: Have at least one account either on Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Twitter preferably because you can tweet about the giveaway and follow the reviewer — that's two entries there.

Protip #2:  Use the best computer with the fastest internet connection you have access to. Some of the blogs have a lot of bling-bling making the website slow to load.

Last but certainly not least, visit Kara's blog to win the Shift trilogy, a YA series by M.R. Merrick.

New Layout!

Speaking of blogs that load slow, look at my new layout! Compared to my previous layout, it should be more readable, prettier and — most important of all — still load as fast if not faster. There are a few free services to test how fast your website load, but the one I googled yesterday, Pingdom Tools, was the most helpful.

Check out the footer, the bottom bar at the end of the webpage, to see what made the new layout possible. A big thank you to all those bloggers who blog about making your blog better.

Also, the About and Review Policy pages have been updated, and the tags have been re-organized. Now the tags have only reviews, news, x-stars, and genres with the latter being the stuffing.

Bad Boys & Bad Sex

# American Library Association to Little Kids: Women Are Second Best (2012 January 30)
"For decades the American Library Association has had a dismal record of honoring female artists with its Caldecott medal, given each year to 'the most distinguished American picture book for children.' That record just got worse."
Old-reported news, yes but it's still current.

# When bad boys are just plain bad. (2012 December 17)
"But whereas the classic bad boy allows women to escape from patriarchal control, new bad boys – abusers – reinforce it."
Ms Foz Meadows being her BAMF-self again, rocking readers with her intelligent perspective of popular literature.

# Sex and Sexual Violence (2012 December 29)
"When so many sexual encounters in fiction are negative, violent, coerced, or frightening because that is seen as 'proper' narrative tension, it is doubly important to depict positive sexual encounters as part and parcel of an exciting tale."
I see the word "positive sexual encounters" and I immediately thought of the NA mm-romance Making Ends Meet. I should go re-read it.

# Why is there so much slut shaming in novels written by women? (2013 January 1)
"A woman’s worth in romance novels is often measured by their sexual behavior."
Oh, double standard. How you sabotage society.

Picture of the Day, via Veela-Valoom.

Oh the Twi-shame, Rob Pattison.