Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TTT #19



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s theme is Top Ten Freebie, and since I’m unimaginative, I went and looked at past Top Tens (like, from before I was blogging) for inspiration. And I found that they’d done a Top Ten about Top Ten literary characters they’d name their children after.
It just so happens that I have several names picked out for children I may or may not have, and many of those names have the names of characters incorporated in them!

So, I have four girl names and four boy names. I’ll alternate between them.

  1. Rachel Irena: This is my first choice for a girl name, so the first baby girl I have WILL be named this. Rachel is a character in the Animorphs series, which is a favorite from my childhood. And from High school (twice). And the summer before college. And probably later in life, too. Animorphs is one of those series that, even though its for little kids, you keep coming back to it as you get older. A lot of people don’t get through it, because it’s a big series, but if you get through the whole thing… Anyways, Rachel is one of my favorite characters from the series. She has a dark side that she has to struggle with throughout the entire series. And even though all six of the main characters had their own personal, intense struggles, Rachel’s really connected with me. I feel she had to be stronger than the other characters, because the other characters didn’t have to go through what Rachel had to. Rachel was violent and bloodthirsty, often described as the darkest character in the series, the one most likely to turn bad, but she got through it, and I think that took a really strong kind of strength. (the middle name, Irena, is more of a family name)
  2. Tobias Iago: Tobias is my other favorite character from the Animorphs series (yes, I really liked that series). Tobias, unlike Rachel, was not naturally violent, but his life circumstances forced him to become harsher than he would’ve been. His life (before the Animorphs) really touched me, and how he pieced his family history together over the course of the series was really powerful. Also, like Rachel, he had a certain kind of strength that I really appreciated. And the middle name, Iago, comes from the villain in Shakespeare’s Othello, which is my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays (though I haven’t read them all). And I appreciate a good villain, and I thought Iago was rally well developed.
  3. Jasmine Faye: The name Jasmine comes from another favorite childhood series of mine, Deltora Quest. When Jasmine was really little her parents, uh, disappeared. And she was left alone living in a sort of vicious, unforgiving forest, and she survived. And then, when the other two character show up and she meets them, originally intending to steal from them but ends up trusting them and helping them instead, that took a sort of strength. And Faye is another sorta family name.
  4. Ari Thomas: the name Ari has been in a couple series that I’ve read, but the specific series I’m thinking of is Maximum Ride. Throughout the entirety of that series, I was on Ari’s side, sympathizing with him and feeling sorry for him. (Okay, maybe not the FIRST time I read the FIRST book, but every single reread I was on his side). And when… what happened to him happened to him, it broke my heart a little. He was kind of always like a little kid, and I could never not feel sorry for, not want to protect him or change what happened to him. I got the name Thomas from another fave childhood series, the Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce. Thom was the main character’s twin brother, and he was a little… ambitious, selfish, cold. At one point in the series another character described him as a real ‘piece of work.’ He did some really bad, deplorable things, but he came through in the end.
  5. Joy America: This name is actually not bookishly-inspired at all, so I’m gonna skip talking about it.
  6. Simon Christopher: Simon. Wow, there so many characters named Simon. That nerd from TMI, the guy from the Summoning by Kelley Armstrong, there’s a character named Simon in the Demon Trappers Daughter, the jealous older brother that kinda turns evil in Septimus Heap… wow, tons of Simons. I can’t really explain which Simon I’m basing this name off of, other than I just really like the name Simon. And then there’s the name Christopher, which is also pretty common. Right now, though, I’m thinking of Christopher aka ‘Kit’ from Team Human because I liked the character.
  7. Emilia Lovelace: I told you I liked Othello, right? Because I’m getting the Emilia here from Othello. And the name Emilia also means to strive or excel, which is something I hope my children will do. And Lovelace, as some of you may know, is Jessamine's from TID by Cassandra Clare last name. I'm choosing this name because, 1, it is lovely, and 2, I do think Jessamine's character was important and deep and intense, and she had a purpose, and she grew from her first appearance to her last.
  8. Sebastian Derek: Like Simon, there’s a lot of Sebastians in literature. Also like Simon, I just like the name. And then Derek. I’m thinking of two Dereks from books: Derek Novak from A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest (one of my favorite books of the year) and Derek Bae from the Summoning by Kelley Armstrong. I liked both characters for different reasons, but both possessed one of those unusual but specific kinds of strengths I tend to like. Also, I like the name.

Keep in mind, I don’t actually PLAN to have eight children. Like, I want two or three, but I’m pretty sure four would be, like, the limit. But I might have all girls and no boys or all boys and no girls and I just want to be prepared, you know?
And no, my future husband will have no influence over these names. HE does not get to change them. AT ALL. :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Artists I’ve Been Obsessed With this Week #1


Hey, this a little something I’m going to host on my blog every week or two (whenever I spend a week obsessing over a new artist or two) just to get my musical obsessions out into the world as well as my book obsessions.

Basically, if during any given week I obsess over a particular musical artist or two, that Friday I will put up a post like this one in which I talk about that artist and one or two songs I really like by them, why, and link you to youtube videos and possibly iTunes links.

 

So, the two artists and songs I’ve really been obsessing over this week are:

 

Three Years Hollow: Chemical Ride

I was obsessed with this one earlier in the week, and I’m re-listening to it to write this post. The tune is really good and catchy, and though my younger brother doesn’t like it because he’s thinks it’s about drugs, if you watch the music video, it’s much more than that.



Watch the vid! Obsess over this amazing song with me! Click replay a thousand times!!!
 

And

Beth Crowley: Warrior

This song is inspired by the Mortal Instruments series, and how cool is that? Plus, the music is really good and I love her voice!



So go check out the video, and remember to like it! Click replay as many times as you want! (god knows I’ve listened to this song at least 30 times in the last three days)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TTT #18



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s theme is Top Ten favorite books covers of books I’ve read.
Muhahaha. I like this topic. I’m doing this one in REVERSE ORDER, to keep you on your toes.

10. Red Riding Hood: I like how its white, which makes the red elements really pop, and the gray, ghost-ish wolf. It makes it look really cool.




9. Darkness Before Dawn: This one just really Pretty.





8. The Selection: to me, the colors of this one make it look sterile, and I like the sterile look.





7. Burn for Burn: Love the book, and I like how we see all three of out MC’s on the cover, and they’re all connected, and they’re behind the words. Also, if you look close, Mary’s wearing the necklace that Reeve gave her in a flashback in the book.





6. Misfit: I like the simplicity. It’s all, you know, this book needs nothing more than the title, especially cuz the title looks REALLY cool.





5. Grave Mercy: I love her dress, I love the crossbow, I love her hair, And I love how she looks strong yet vulnerable at the same time.





4. Across the Universe: Preeeeetty stars. No, really, the colors are amazing, and the silhouettes, and the fact that they’re ALMOST but not quite kissing, and then we have that star that looks kind of like the sun shining right their in between their lips. Ah. Gorgeous.





3. For Darkness Shows the Stars: this one is remarkably similar to Across the Universe, yes? Well, again, I love the stars and how the one in the middle is brighter then the rest. I also love the window she creates with her arm and the dress and her back. Also, I like the title. Look at the title. Not just the font, but that too. Look at the WORDS. Aren’t the words GORGEOUS???



Man, I’m down to the last two. It’s really hard to choose which book gets the top slot.

2. Everneath: This cover it just catches and I find myself staring at and oh, I just—I just love it. Red is my favorite color to wear, she obviously I envy her dress, and I love the effect of how dissolves into smoke. It just—it’s amazing. third time in a row I’m using this word: GORGEOUS.





And number 1 is….
The Host: I love this cover for it’s, one, simplicity, and two, relevance to the story.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

TTT #17

I know! It's not Tuesday. I don't what i was doing yesterday, that I didn't post this.



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s theme is Top Ten books dealing with heavy subjects, like abuse, suicide, grief… other. Some of these are heavy to me, but not be to other people.

  1. A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young: if you go look at my review of this one on Goodreads, you will see the emotional breakdown I had on the whole idea of Being Forgotten—for forever. It’s just—I don’t think I’d be able to stand being forgotten. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/378356382
  2. Team Human by Justine Labralestier: I know what you’re thinking: “But, Monica, this book is about vampires. Vampires aren’t a ‘tough’ subject.” Well, I beg to differ. Think about it: IF vampires were real, and IF you were given a choice to become one (and you life is not in immediate danger). Think on it: Would you become a vampire? Why or why not? This book made me think about that. My answer is on my review:
  3. UnWind by Neal Shusterman: The one dude who had a shark tattoo (I forget his name). Man, that scene, when he was getting UnWound… even though I didn’t like him, that scene was… it was intense. I distinctly recall hyperventilating.
  4. Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler: I needn’t explain for this one.
  5. Hold Still by Nina LaCour- I read this one a while ago (before I got on goodreads) but I remember that it really touched me.

I can’t think of any more, sorry!

The Mercy Series By Rebecca Lim—Review

SUPER LONG POST COMING UP. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.



Okay, so, here’s what happened: Some months ago, in the summer of 2012, I checked MERCY BY REBECCA LIM out from the library. And read it. And loved it. And knew there were more books in the series. But the library did not have those books. So, when I got, like, three B&N/Amazon giftcards for my birthday in September, I used some of that giftcardy-ness to buy the first three books: Mercy, Exile and Muse. But I had other stuff to read. By the time I finally had some time put aside to read this series it was December. BUUUT—I was on goodreads and I found out that there WAS ANOTHER book in the series. That was already out, no less. So I had to buy that one before I could read this series. I didn’t buy that one until February (and let me tell you—is quite an ordeal actually finding it.) Then I finally had the whole series—or so I thought. Because THEN—Rebecca Lim put up a blog post saying she was currently working on the NEXT INSTALLMENT of the Mercy series. I groaned, then commented on that blog post, explaining my predicament (because I wanted to read the whole series in one straight shot—that was the point of all this. And now I couldn’t. Now I’d have to wait for this fifth one.). Rebecca Lim commented back to me that it would take her a while to write and I should read the series now anyway. And you know what? I wanted to. So, it was this pas weekend when I finally cleared some time to read the Mercy Series. And read it I did.
But, since I did not review them separately (like I read the second one, then launched straight into the third one without pausing to review it) It will now be sort of impossible for me to review them separately—so I’m just ding a full series, spoiler-free, review on my blog.

The Plot: 4.5/5
Mercy (book 1): Mercy ‘wakes up’ in the body of Carmen Zappacosta, who is singer that’s traveling to a town called Paradise with her school to participate in a singing competition. She’s staying with a host family, the Daley’s. From Mercy’s memories of the past two people that she ‘soul-jacked’ they had some pretty sucky lives, that she went some way to fixing. But there seems to be nothing untowardly awful in Carmen’s life—Besides a bad skin condition and being one of the unpopular girls. But there is something untowardly awful with her host family—their daughter, Lauren went missing two years ago, and is presumed dead. But Ryan, Lauren’s twin brother, insists she’s alive, that he ‘feels’ her. Luc, who Mercy knows is one her true love though she knows little else and who always visits her in her dreams urges her to do nothing and he will find her. But Mercy as Carmen decides to help Ryan find Lauren anyway.
So, we kind of have a little murder-mystery going on here, but also a very interesting rhetorical choice that Rebecca Lim made for this series overall. In my literature classes, Dramatic Irony has been defined a when the audience (or reader) knows something the characters don’t. In this book, we know Mercy is an angel—whilst she has no idea. And knowing that Mercy is an Angel, it’s fairly easy to infer that Luc is Lucifer. Mercy, however, does not discover this til book three. And we also have the romance plot—Luc wooing Mercy in her dreams, but her and Ryan falling for each other as they search for Lauren.
Exile (Book 2): Mercy ‘wakes up’ as Lela Niell of Australia, whose mother is terminally ill and dying. Lela works at a coffee shop and… Lela actually has a pretty boring life. This book had the weakest plot, if you ask me. Anyways, Luc tells her in her dreams to find Ryan Daley—a human boy who fell in love with her, Mercy, in her past life, as Carmen Zappacosta. (Mercy remembers nothing of her life as Carmen) Luc says if she finds him and returns to his home—Paradise, that he will find her. So Mercy as Lela promises a guy who comes to the coffee shop a date if he’ll help her look up some stuff online. First she has him look up Carmen Zappacosta—because she can’t remember anything of her time as Carmen. Then she asks him to look up Ryan—and he does. I THINK that they find Ryan on Facebook (not sure, though). So anyway, Mercy asks this guy to help her set up a facebook account so she can communicate with Ryan. The guy, Ranald, sets up a facebook account for her, using his email because Mercy doesn’t know if Lela has one—or if she does, what it is. I’m not the most internet-savvy person in the world, but as soon as Mercy started communicating with Ryan, working out a plan where he’ll come and get her before her promised date with Ranald—I saw the problem. Long story short, we had some pretty epic stuff at the end of this book.
One thing that drove me to distraction whilst reading this book was the dialogue. They did the dialogue with single quotation marks, instead of double. Showing this to some of my friends, they agreed that it would drive them insane too. If I had given up, it would have been at this book. With that quotation fail and a weak plot—but I soldiered on, and I’m glad I did.
Muse (book 3): Mercy ‘wakes up’ as Irina with an unpronounceable last name, who is a nineteen-year-old famous Russian supermodel. Mercy now remembers her life as Carmen—and her other lives—and other things in general. She finally starts figuring out some of the things. It’s in this book we meet by name a lot of the other angels and have conversations with them, and generally start getting the whole story on what exactly happened to Mercy. We also have a quite a large battle at the end, when Mercy finally also figures out that Luc is the devil.
It was in this book that I realized that Ryan and Luc look just about the same. I mean, I think there had been something about hem looking similar in one of the dreams with Luc in Exile, but I didn’t actually realize they look the same. I mean it was in this book Mercy said that they could be twins except Luc had golden hair, eyes and skin and Ryan had pale skin and dark hair and eyes.
The quotation fail continued in this book, but it bothered me less. Maybe I’d been getting used to it, maybe because the plot was stronger here, I don’t know.
Fury (book 4): There’s not much I can say about this book without spoiling. Mercy finally gets and uses her own body. She and Ryan have quite a few cool moments. Um… more stuff with angels. The rest of the plot about what happened to Mercy and why gets unraveled some more. There’s this whole internal struggle—because if Luc gets his hands on Mercy, he’ll be able to end the world as we know it. And it would be so easy for him to get his hand son her—if anyone says her real name, the shit hits the fan. There’s quite a lot of action going on this book. It’s just—when I closed it late last night, I could say nothing for about five or ten minutes. When I finally could say something it was: “Oh. My  God. So. Frigging. Epic.”
I honestly don’t see how there will be another book in the series. I mean, okay, there were a couple things left unexplained—the connection between Luc and Ryan, for example. Lim went to all that trouble to make sure I realized they looked like twins—so they must be somehow related or connected, because I don’t buy coincidences. Not like that, and certainly not in a book. We also didn’t learn Mercy’s real name, but I think I’ve guessed it. And, I mean, with how this ended—I’m just not sure how another book could be written with out pointlessly drawing out something that’s already ended.
And, more than that, it ended. BUT I’M OKAY WITH THE ENDING. Do you have any idea how much I detest endings? I am NEVER happy with endings. NEVER. But I am cool with this one.
Also, though the quotation fail continued in this book as well, I BAREY NOTICED IT. Either because I was finally used to it or it was just that good of a plot, or both, I don’t know. But I barely noticed it.

Now, there’s a lot more of the plot that threads overall through the series that I wasn’t able to explain in my individual plot breakdowns, but it’s all very good.

Characters: 5/5
Humans-
Ryan: Ryan is the most awesome, beautiful, amazing, character—and he was real. The doubts he had, when he had them? They were real and they were at the places here they would have happened for a real person. More than his doubts, his love. He chased Mercy around the world. The only thing was, maybe, at one point he could’ve questioned Mercy as to why he looked exactly like Luc—which probably would have led to us figuring out their connection.
Lauren: I kind of wish we’d had more interactions with her. She was one of the main forces driving the plot of book 1, and we had one real interaction with her, in book 1. We had a couple more interactions with her in book 4, but one was phone conversation, and in the others, there were so many other people there. But Lauren’s conversation with Michael—that was cool.
Ranald: Ranald was I’m calling a mini-antagonist. Meaning, the real antagonist was unable to do anything to really drive the plot forward, but something needed to happen, so the author employed the technique of using the mini-antagonist so that something would happen. Not saying that I don’t like him as an antagonist. I do. His role as the mini-antagonist is pretty much what made book 2 for me. If he hadn’t been there, I may have actually stopped reading at book 2.
Justine: Oh, wow, Justine. Her back story is so… so awful, but real, you know?
Gia: I LOVE Gia. She has got to be my favorite secondary character in the series. I actually wouldn’t mind a spin-off centering on Gia, if the author has anything like that in her mind. My favorite Gia line: “Oh, the sexy ex,”
Angels-
Uriel: I feel like all the angels are ‘related’ they’re all brothers and sisters, but in a sort of abstract sense. But Uri and Mercy are more literally brother and sister. Probably because they were described as looking alike. And when they were in Peru, the natives thought they were brother and sister, too. And also, the interactions we have with him in the fourth book, just make me feel like they were more closely related than the other angels.
Gabriel: You know, I sort of wish that if Rebecca Lim is writing more to the Mercy Series, instead of going forward (which I believe is pretty much impossible at this point) she’d go back so we could get the FULL story on what happened, and also we’d get a more in-depth look at Mercy’s relationships with all of these angel characters. But from what we have seen so far, I think Mercy’s relationship with Gabriel was amazing. It was a friend thing. I love friend things. Even though I’ve said boy-girl best friendships are hokey unless one is love with the other, but recently, I’ve been wanting more boy-girl best friendships WITHOUT one being in love with the other. Call me a hypocrite.
K’el: You know what, I really liked him. I feel out of all the Angels we interacted with, we got the most out of this character in the interactions we had with him. I did pick up some intense romance vibes from him to Mercy.
Nuriel: Again, I wish we could go back in time for the next book to get some more in-depth looks at the character relationships here. My favorite Nuriel line: “Tell him I broke when I couldn’t bend.”
Raphael: We had exactly (what amounts to in my mind) one half of a character interaction with him. But he caused everything.
Mercy: Well, here is our main character. I wouldn’t be reviewing like this if I hadn’t liked her, because if I hadn’t liked her, I would not have read the whole series. I mean, in the first two books, she had this situation where she didn’t know anything. She didn’t know the what of it, the why of it, the how of it, but she did the best she could. And also, I agree with her views on free will—nothing is preordained. And in the last two books, how she took everything that was thrown at her and did what she could with it—and the human reactions to what was happening to her: Who lies to me? Who lies? Figuring it out, yet still feeling something for Luc, even knowing what he did to her. Still wanting him, being jealous of him—very human reactions. Especially for an angel.
Luc: And here is the main antagonist. He’s—I understand. I kind of understand what drove him to—you know, fall. It’s the same thing in every story, he was vain, he was arrogant, he thought he was better than God. And I sort of understand that, I sort of—empathize with that. You know the worst thing for a reader? Is when you’re reading, and all the sudden you realize that you wouldn’t be the main character. You’d make different choices, selfish choices. And the worst thing is realizing the character you’re most similar to is the antagonist. That’s happened to me before. Not with this book, not quite. With this series, I’m probably more similar to Nuriel or Lauren. I kind of wish I’m most similar to Gia. But what I’m saying is—I get why Lucifer, the Devil, did what he did. And that’s kind of scary.

Romance: 5/5
Mercy seemed to be in high demand. Because, there was obviously her romance with Luc, but there were also some major hints dropped about there being something between her and Raphael. I also think I picked up on some romance vibes in her interactions with K’el, too. You know what? Maybe there are just too few female angels.
But the main romance was that of Mercy with Ryan, which I just loved. I’ll be talking about their romance as it is in the last two books Muse and Fury. I loved how profound it was, because there were boundaries between them, and Mercy knew—she knew it was dangerous for him, so she tried to push him away, and Ryan, he knew too—that it was dangerous. There was this sort of tug-of-war thing going on, especially in the last book here at some points Mercy would try to push Ryan away, because of the danger, but he’d insist on staying. Mercy always made it very obvious that it was his choice. At one point, he said something like “I can’t help it, it’s fate.” And Mercy said: “No, I’m not your fate, Ryan. I’m your choice.” That whole choice thing was very important to her, and he chose to stay when she was pushing him away. But then, at other times, Ryan would suddenly be like “I’m a liability, aren’t I? Without me, you would go faster, be stronger, be able to do what you need to do—I’m unnecessary.” And Mercy would say, “You are necessary, you’re necessary to me.” so, in the last book, there love was very much her pushing him away but his insisting to stay, then him pulling away, but her puling him back—and it went back and forth, back and forth. But it wasn’t tedious. It all went down the right way, to make sense, made it seem real, like the way two real people would react in their situation. 


Overall grade: 14.5/15
And the only reason it's not 15/15 is because of book 2.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TTT #16



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s theme is Top Ten books when you need something light and fun. Well. I don’t often read light and fin book, but (in no particular order) here goes:
  1. Evernight by Claudia Gray: this one was fairly light, if I recall.
  2. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout: Not really light, but I had fun reading it.
  3. Jane Bites Back: This one was sort of funny and hilarious.
  4. Drink Slay Love: this one was a cool read. And it had WERE-UNICORNS.
  5. Eyes like Stars: LOVED THIS BOOK. It was really fun, too, and might have been light… I read books two and three and can’t separate one from the other in my mind.
  6. Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn: This one was pretty light
  7. A Kiss in Time: When I DON’T have fun reading a book by Alex Flinn, alert the media.
  8. Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter: this one was funny, with the whole switch-a-roo thing going on.
  9. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine: This was a fun book. And if you think you know what happens in it because you watched the movie, trust me, YOU DON’T.
  10. Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney: This was a really funny take from the boys side of things on the vampire craze. I loved it.