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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publication Date: August 3, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Sixteen-year-old Neva has been trapped since birth. She was born and raised under the Protectosphere, in an isolated nation ruled by fear, lies, and xenophobia. A shield "protects" them from the outside world, but also locks the citizens inside. But there's nothing left on the outside, ever since the world collapsed from violent warfare. Or so the government says...

Neva and her best friend Sanna believe the government is lying and stage a "dark party" to recruit members for their underground rebellion. But as Neva begins to uncover the truth, she realizes she must question everything she's ever known, including the people she loves the most. (Summary from 
 A world isolated by the Protectosphere - a dome which protects but also imprisons...

Neva lives in this isolated, dystopic future where people go missing - as if they've simply vanished - and everyone just seems to pretend they never existed. But Neva keeps a list, a list of names, names of all the missing. 

I had actually had my eyes on Dark Parties for a while so when it came up for review I was so excited! I mean the cover is just to die for! It's stunning! (Though I don't really know where the big, red dress came from?). And I'm a sucker for dystopian story with a side-plot of romance!

Dark Parties was a typical dystopic novel but still unique in its own way. The opening of the novel really drew me in - it was rebellious, intriguing and sexy - everything a YA plot should be. Within the first few paragraphs I already felt connected with Neva, I felt her fear and her passion; she started off as a strong protagonist and maintained this solidity throughout the novel.

The plot was actually quite simple but seemed more complex due to its characters and the secrets they kept. I did feel as though the plot slowed down slightly in the middle and that it wasn't really going anywhere after such a promising start but it picked up its pace towards the end which resulted with a satisfying finish. 

The characterisation has both its strengths and limitations. I thought that the relationships between Neva and her parents and also between Neva and her best friend Sanna were strong and believable, they were well thought-out and evocative. But on the other hand the relationships between Neva, Ethan and Braydon were a different story. This 'love-triangle' was messy and admittedly very sloppy. Ethan didn't really have a set personality, he constantly changed so I struggled to see who he actually was - I thought I knew him at the start but towards the end I was totally confused. Then there's Braydon. The 'instant attraction' wasn't good enough, it wasn't built up well and I just felt like Neva trusted him too easily and liked him too much for it to feel believable. There were no real 'sparks' in the relationships developed in the romance like there were between the friends and family. BUT having said that I still think the romance was a good element of the story.

As a whole I did enjoy this book and I plan on reading the sequel - I'd recommend it to fans of the genre and anyone who's not!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Book Review: Gotcha! by Shelley Hrdlitschka

Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pages: 259
It's "bead season" at slippery rock high. This year the bead-snatching grad game called "Gotcha" has been banned as an official school activity because the teachers have decided to put an end to a dangerous tradition. After paying an entry fee the players are given a bead and someone's name. The object of the game is snatch the bead of your victim and take their name. The winner ends up with all the beads--and all the money.

After the game is banned it becomes even more appealing. The game goes underground and more grads than ever are participating. Katie is reluctant to join in, but as a member of grad council she feels she has to go along.

The game quickly spins out of control. Katie finds herself losing friends and falling victim to her classmates' obsession with the game. She considers dropping out of the game but then devises a better way of getting even with her classmates. Katie finds herself sliding further and further down the chute that leads to disaster. Can she bring a safe end to this deadly game? (Summary from

So, this story is about a game called Gotcha being played in high school for the seniors. It's basically a gigantic game of tag, but it's also dangerous because people break into others houses. And through all this craziness, a girl named Katie is peerpressured into playing, despite knowing that it's wrong.

It's really not a book I would've chosen on my own. I'm not very good when it comes to choosing books, because I choose one genre to always circle. But, my teacher told me it was going to be a quick read and also that it seemed interesting.

I found out that apparently the events are real (for the most part) and they happened in Vancouver, which isn't actually all that far from me in Toronto. That was kind of why I read it.

Anyway, to the review. I was really conflicted by the time I was done. It only took me an hour to read because it's such a tiny book.

What I liked was the idea, but technically it really wasn't the author's "idea" per-se, just because she's writing it off real events so it's just like journalism or writing an article, but you're doing it in story format. I don't think that this book actually reflects off on the author's talent, not that I've read her other books... not that I really want to...

I can imagine my friend popping out of nowhere, screaming this...
Another pro was the author's writing style. I don't know if it was like AHMAZING, but I do know that I breezed through the book easy and there really was no moment where it was like "no, I can't keep reading... it's too bad!" It was simple to read and before I knew it, I was at the back cover.

Cons? Well, there are a lot of them, so brace yourselves.

Number one is that the story opened up to a series of emails between Katie and her father. The thing is that Katie uses "text talk" like "OMG" "enuf" "brb" etc.. Anyway, I loathe that kind of talking, so that nearly dissuaded me into reading the actual book. Of course, I got over it and skipped those parts, even though they were kind of vital to the story.

Also, in the beginning, the emails being exchanged made Katie look like a complete brat. I didn't know what was going on, but the conversation was that her father was apologizing about something and Katie was telling him where to go, if you know what I mean. It let me judge Katie before ven reading the story and I had her characterized as a stuck up brat, but she surprised me.

In terms of a first impression, this story didn't really have a good one.

But I still admired the idea and the way it was executed, for the most part. The story didn't go too fast or move too slow. The story's pace was good, but I felt like some of the events were far too fast. For an example, in chapter 1, Katie had a best friend and in chapter 3, her best friend hated her guts or something like that.

It was easy to ignore, but still makes for a bad story.

After all that is said, I still can't help but love the story. It had an amazing meaning with values of not doing stupid things, despite "tradition". People can seriously get hurt from things that started out with games and I know this because I, myself am in school.

Gah, I don't want to review anymore or I'll be more biased.

So I give this book 3 stars because pros minus cons equal middle ground or... 3 stars.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cover Compare (2)

Cover compare is a feature on BookBreather where we, well, compare covers. :D It might be covers from different countries, or maybe just original vs. redesign, etc. I know this is something done on several other blogs so I do not claim originality. I did not get the feature or the title from any specific blog.
As most of us in the blogging world know, Stephanie Perkins creates these cute contemporary books with super adorbz guys that everyone goes gaga over. Well, her books recently got a makeover. Luckily it was only the covers that got redesigned and not the words inside! 
(And I don't know that Isla and the Happily Ever After has an old cover?)

Gabbi's Thoughts: 
I actually like the new covers! Text-focused covers are something I've always loved because the designer is forced to pay more attention to the colors and the mood of the background. Perkins's old covers give off this totally cheesy rom-com vibe. At least to me. And in a way, that feeling is accurate, but at the same time not. I don't want to look at a book cover and think, "Okay. I predict zee story. Boy meet girl. Hardships occur. Boy and girl live happily ever after. And then the story is just going to blend in with countless other YA books I've read and I'm going to walk away satisfied but unaffected." Because I LOVE being affected by books. It's why I read. To be affected. It's why I love books. I can lose myself in them and acquire new friends and endless secrets. 

The only things I don't like on the new covers are the little heart, star, and flower on each of the covers, respectively. The darkness at the bottom of the covers, paired with the softness of the brighter colors creates a rich, romantic feel. When I see these covers I imagine a relaxed story that winds its way into my heart. The whole cityscape thing makes the book seem almost adventurous, a vast canvas for self-discovery and new experiences. 

And that is my AP analysis answer for ya! ;)
I want to know what you think. Genuinely. I'm a total cover cr33p and I get so frustrated about the generic and typical covers and I like to know what other people think. 

Nova's Thoughts:
Wow, now I feel like I'm making an argument. Sorry, I like the old covers. Maybe it's the "childish" 13 year old girl in me, but I find that the old covers were a lot more cute and interesting.
Maybe they were cheesy in the sense that it's a guy and a girl, but I found it easy on the eyes.

I thought that the girl and the guy were kind of cute and just based on the way they were looking alone would make me want to read the book.

For the new covers, I thought that they were boring. When I choose a book, I'm definitely those "first impression" readers. If I had seen the new covers in stores, I would've probably dropped the book. It wasn't interesting enough for me and though it had relevance to the title, it wasn't captivating enough for me.

I like covers with more graphics than text. For me, when there's more text, I always instantly get the impression that the book is either Adult fiction or boring. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Series: Warm Bodies #1
Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Publisher: Atria
Format: Paperback
Pages: 239
Sources: Purchased
R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between. (Summary from

Confession: I saw the movie before reading the book. Honestly, I'm glad I did. In my opinion, the book and the movie have two completely different feels. Seeing the movie first allowed me to just sit back and enjoy it with no expectations, and enabled me to be able to keep the book and the movie in completely separate vaults. In the end, they both deliver the same message, but the movie does it in a funnier way. Like I said, though, I am able to keep the movie and the book in separate vaults, so here are my thoughts on the book. 

I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters, really. R is a great narrator, but he's also a zombie--incapable of real memories, and true feelings. It makes it hard to connect to him when all one really knows about him is his present: he likes to collect thing, he lives in a plane, he likes to listen to old records. There's no trauma, no experiences, no fear: all the basic building blocks that make up a person. I think he is a character people can relate to because his desire for more is obvious in every thought.You can hear it, but you can't really feel it. Or at least I couldn't. I couldn't feel any of R's "feelings" because they're not really feelings, they're acknowledgements of feelings. And with Julie...I don't know. I just don' know why the connection wasn't there. She kind of annoyed me, but it was more than that. She felt flat. 

The relationship between R and Julie was not the greatest, not the most dynamic, not the most heart-stopping...but I still liked it. It was a zombie and a human and I thought it was cute. Sure, R had no reason to fall for Julie besides that he saw her in Perry's memories. Still, I enjoyed the romantic aspect of this book. 

So, in my opinion, zombies are pretty hard to pull off. Marion's zombie lore has some good stuff and some bad stuff. I loved the wedding, and "church", the bonies. It adds a little more depth to the classic "me heart brains" idea of zombies. However, even with that added layer, there were still some things I found a little unbelievable. Little inconsistencies and holes that prevented me from fully surrendering to the world Marion created. The story itself progressed quite nicely, though. There were a few times when I was like, "Okay. Enough of this random fluff. Get on with the story!" All in all, though, I think the pacing was decent and it got a lot better toward the end. There wasn't an abundance of action, but Marion does the action pretty well. 

All in all, Warm Bodies isn't the most incredible book I've ever read. The writing is a bit literary and it's pretty fluffy for a zombie book. But I certainly do not regret reading this. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, only those who are mature enough to deal with the obvious message in this book, told with a zombie disguise. I feel like I gained a little nugget of...something from reading this book. And I don't know how to describe that nugget to anyone who hasn't also gained it. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books We Recommend Most

I haven't actually asked, but I think I speak for all of us when I say that this was an extremely difficult decision. If I could have, I would have done my top ten recommendations for each genre, but that would be a long list, so I, personally, selected the books I would shove in anybody's hands, whether they enjoy its particular genre or not. - Gabbi
(In no particular order)
1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
3. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
5. Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble
6. Scarlet A.C. Gaughen
7. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
8. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
9. Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols
10. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
(In no particular order)
1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
2. Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
3. Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts
4. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
6. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
7. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia/Margaret Stohl
8. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
9. The Summoning by Kelly Armstrong
10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

(In no particular order)
1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
3. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
4. Star-Crossed by Rachael Wing
5. The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker
6. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
7. Forsaken by Jana Oliver
8. Amongst The Ruins by Saewod Tice
9. Slated by Teri Terry
10. Candor by Pam Bachorz
11. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Just One Day by Gayle Forman - Gabbi
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare - Gabbi
Going Under by Summer Walden - Nova
Fraction of Stone by Kelly Lynn - Nova
The Game by Shane Scollins - Nova

Currently Reading:
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare - Gabbi
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher - Charlotte
Delirium by Lauren Oliver - Nova
Shards and Ashes by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong - Nova
Across the Universe by Beth Revis - Nova
Seefer Elliot by Patrick Mallon - Nova

Up Next: 
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken - Gabbi
Crossed by Ally Condie - Nova

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Who needs McLovin when I have Bloglovin

I discovered this nifty little thing called Bloglovin, which most bloggers already know about and I'm late in joining. But I don't care because I hear that Google reader is shutting down and this is a great replacement!

*glances around shiftily to make sure Google isn't listening*

I haven't used it much, but from what I can tell, I really like it.


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

And while you're at it, check out the new tumblr I made for the blog, on which I will post bookly related things like quotes and whatnot. And I guess I'll ask you to "like" the blog's Facebook page.

Oh the social media fun!

It's Raining Bloggers! Hallelujah, It's Raining Bloggers!

Cool, now I have that song stuck in my head. I brought that upon myself, I suppose.
And yeah, that picture is kind of twisted. I'm writing this early, and I've barely had any coffee. Le result^.

Anyway, as all of you who have been following my blog for quite some time have probably realized, I've been having a hard time hanging onto the blog. I started this blog a couple summers ago when I had just moved to a new town and didn't have a lot of friends. When the school year started, it wasn't bad. I mean, it was sophomore year. Easy. I moved in the middle of sophomore year. Then came things like exams and projects and that was just the beginning. Come summer, I got a job and took trips. That was when blogging pretty much slipped from my life. As did reading. I started working over 40 hours a week on top of AP classes and Chamber Singers, which is the advanced choir at my school and we do a lot of things. Basically, I was gone from 6:45 AM until 10:00 PM every day.

My point is that I got busy.
I pretty much felt like this at all hours of the day:

Blogging dropped low on my priorities list.

Then, I quit my job and all of a sudden I have nothing but time.

But let me say, blogging still isn't easy. Turns out I surrendered more of my life than I had realized. Like church, like friends, like naps. OH HOW I LOVE NAPS!

School is harder now, and I need to be more serious about it.

I recently started up blogging again because it is something I can't just let go of. But like I said--not easy. So I enlisted some help. I put out a call for a blogging partner a few weeks back, but I was merely considering it. To be honest, I don't know that I had any intentions of actually getting a partner. However, I took a minute to evaluate myself and my blog and realized I NEED a partner.

That's what this post is actually about, people. It is to welcome my two new blogging partners, Nova and Charlotte!

You can also find them here:
Musings of a Blogder ~ Epona Reviews

Guys, I am so excited to have these girls on board with me! I hope you, my lovely readers, are too. It just means more awesome content for your viewing pleasure. And since I won't be expelling all my energy into all the posts for the week, I can focus more cleverness and charm into each of my posts.

It's going to be a strange transition, I know this. Technically speaking, this blog is something I've done all on my own. Of course I never would have made it without the unwavering kindness, generosity, and support from my fellow bookish people. But technically speaking, I brought BookBreather into the world, I shaped it to the type of blog I wanted it to be, I dressed it, I fed it, I dedicated my time in energy to it. It has always been MINE.

But now it is OURS.

And it will be great. This is definitely for the better. Lots of great things will be coming your way, reader. I promise. But in the mean time, give my new partners a warm welcome :D

It's NOVA!!!!! (No seriously, Nova is now writing. Say a little au revoir to Gabbi... she's letting me do a little self intro. YOU ROCK!!!)

So, from the cool intro above, I'm Nova! I'm so excited to be posting on here to spread my love of books, starbucks and cat gifs.

I could tell you a million and one facts about me, but that would be so boring. Anyway, I'm 1 of the 3(!) bloggers at Book Breather(maybe it should be Book Breathers) But I'm a 13 year old girl who is completely Canadian, EH?

Actually it's just the Newfoundlanders who use EH. they've got a COMPLETELY different agenda from the rest of us. I'm actually from a place called Mississauga, in Ontario... Toronto if you will.

My reviews are honest (duh?) and funny... at least in my head. I try to make things different and on my own blog, I design my own little labels from scratch (with the help of photoshop).

I don't consider myself serious in the least but I think that I can be. You should see the kinds of emails I write to authors, asking for an ARC. It's like:

"salutations (author's name). I'm a blogger and I would formally like to request a copy of (book in question). These are my blog stats and these are ways to contact me. If you would like to accept my review offer, kindly reply and I will surely send you the address in which to send it to".

GEEZUS! Someone say GRANDMA!!!

No, I did not mean a motorcycling Grandma... But that would be so cool!!!

I'm one of the mature less stupid teens of my school. Its kind of what makes my reviews not a total pile of garbage (again, in my head). I think I'm the one who you could talk to about anything, but still have a laugh.

OOHHH!!! And I'm a music freak. I forgot to mention that. I am obsessed with bands. Paramore, Jimmy Eat World, Panic! At the Disco, Marianas Trench, Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, Shinedown, Hedley, Florence + the Machine, you name it! I love books with strong elements of music and sexy guitarists. Gosh, I'm only 13, but a girl can dream :')

I don't know what I'm supposed to write or the fact that the definition of "short intro" is supposed to be short. Anyway, catch me on my blog and I'll be sure to answer to anything you may throw at me. Or you could shoot me an email: fakemail@HowGullibleAreYou?.com

Kay, real email?

And if you want to send me a bomb/grenade, here's my address.

42 Wallaby Way
Sydney, Australia
APT: 1234

And my name is P. Nemo Sherman. Happy hunting!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Bookly Gabbing: Movie/TV Casting

Bookly Gabbing is just a feature here where I ramble about book-related subjects. And sometimes other-related subjects :)

Movie/TV Casting

I, for one, am utterly thrilled that so many books are being adapted into movies and TV shows. Though the adaptations may not fit the book perfectly or "do the book justice," they still bring these characters and these worlds to life. These characters and worlds that we engulf ourselves in, that we fall in love with. A huge part of this transformation from paper to screen involves the casting of characters.

So let's talk characters. 

(I haven't read every book being adapted, so I'm not going to touch on those, but I'll talk about the ones I know.)

My favorite casting choices as of lately are: 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins movie adaptation
Surprise, surprise! I think Jennifer Lawrence makes da PERFECTTTTTTTT Katniss. Okay, so I kind of have a woman crush on JLaw. Is that so wrong? She brought the emotional sizzle that a movie like THG requires. She manages to capture the tough, calculating demeanor of Katniss, with the underlying shades of passion and loyalty. 

Yet she's so quirky in real life!
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare movie adaptation
Who doesn't love some good ol' Robert Sheehan. Especially as the nerdy and funny Simon Lewis. Okay, no. I guess I haven't seen him acting as Simon yet. But I don't need to. He's Robert Sheehan. I'm pretty sure he's got it on lock. 
Delirium by Lauren Oliver TV adaptation
Gregg Sulkin as Julian Fineman. Gregg just has that Julian look about him. He's cute and he has that good, vulnerable, naive look about him. He's just waiting for Lena. I'm excited, even though I'm totally team Alex! 
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 2013 movie adaptation
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. Really, does this need an explanation? Leo is capable of anything--especially of a rich guy turned mad by love for a girl who doesn't deserve it. 
What are your favorite casting choices?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Must Buys Still On The Shelf

I don't know why I haven't read this yet. I love this series and I was SO EAGER to buy it. 

Andrea Cremer is so fantastic and I was so excited when I found at she was making a prequel to her popular Nightshade series. I bought both of these books right when they came out, and I am yet to crack open either one.

I remember pretty much crying every time someone got an ARC of this...

Anything that has Jenny Han's name attached to it has to be awesome. I wanted this book so bad for so frackin long. 

Even now, I look at this shelf and want to read it. I don't know what is stopping me.

GAYLE FORMAN OMG OMG OMG I started reading this, but set it down when other books came out like it isn't important but it is important so so importsant

I saw a video or something that made me immediately go order this book and then I never touched it.

I actually won this but I remember dying around the time of the blog tour and yet I have not even take it off my shelf once. 

I actually bought two copies of this a while ago. One for giveaway (which I STILL haven't sent. I am so so so so sorry. I will do that sometime this week!) and one for me because its summary was pretty much the love of my life. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Next On The List:
Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
Just One Day by Gayle Forman

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday: Dirty Little Secret

This week, I'm dying for...

Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Cntemporary
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: MTV Books
Pages: 288
Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

I've read one book by Jennifer Echols: Such A Rush. It was amazing! Echols is a fabulous writer, and after reading that book I became a fan. I don't care what it is about, I'll buy anything she puts out. But it helps that this book is about music, which is one of my fave things evuhhhh! Plus, nobody writes about fiddles, so I'm intrigued.

What are you waiting on?