Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (19)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Top Ten Books That Would Be Perfect for Book Clubs

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Help

2. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief

4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Looking for Alaska

5. Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Going Bovine

6. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye

7. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath

8. The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giver (The Giver, #1)

9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Are you in a book club? What books do you read?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Book Review: The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Monday, January 30, 2012
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: The Katerina Trilogy #1
Website: http://www.randomhouse.com/book/206866/the-katerina-trilogy-vol-i-the-gathering-storm-by-robin-bridges
Source: Random Buzzers
Challenge: DAC #1

The Gathering Storm (The Katerina Trilogy, #1)

Duchess Katerina Alexandrovna Oldenburg is a necromancer, a secret she has kept all her life. However, her secret is discovered by a dangerous classmate, and she finds herself a pawn in a perilous scheme. Meanwhile, she's being courted by the charming Prince Danilo and trying to find a way to be a female doctor in a world that looks down on women. With no one to turn to, Katerina has to figure out a solution to her problems on her own. Or perhaps George Alexandrovich, the tsar's son, can help, if they can get past their differences...

When I heard the phrases "historical fantasy" and "necromancer", I knew I had to read this. It had so much potential, and the fact that it was set in Russia intrigued me even more. The setting definitely succeeds in being magical and, in fact, was my favorite part of the book. Bridges depicts it and all the glamorous balls beautifully.

But then it all goes downhill.

I could talk about some of the nit-pickier things, like how I don't think anyone really says "Mon dieu!" that much, or how it seems Katerina only knows three French phrases (mon dieu, merci, and another "m" word that isn't appropriate), but most books have their quirks. That's completely understandable, and I do have the ARC version. The most prominent problem is Katerina herself. As a narrator, she is just so irritating, and there aren't even any amazing supporting characters to make up for it. Despite having been a necromancer for sixteen years, she has done absolutely nothing; she hasn't even tried to learn why she was born one. Plus, she actually faints (who does that outside of romance novels?) and has a habit of being a little whiny. It's just so ironic since she wants to defy society by becoming a doctor and a strong, independent woman. I don't understand, therefore, why other characters seem to do most of the work for her. (At one point, she actually wishes for one of the characters to be her knight in shining armor and rescue her, and while this line may not be in the finished copy, it shows a lot about her character.)

As for the plot, it is developed poorly and some points contradict others. Most of all it's confusing, because it seems as though everybody has magical powers. And yet Katerina is still so shocked about having them herself. Everyone appears to know about magic, as well, yet no one talks about it. Is magic a secret? Is it not? I wasn't so sure, and The Gathering Storm didn't give me any answers.

And then, vampires and werewolves are introduced. If you read this blog, you know I don't really read vampire books because they've become fairly trite. (There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but I just haven't found one yet.) It felt like other monsters, ones that are less generic, could have filled their spaces. My whole reason for picking up a book about a necromancer was the originality, and I just felt very let down, so despite having high hopes for The Gathering Storm, I won't be continuing on with the series.

*2 out of 5 stars*

Other Historical Fantasy Books You May Like: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
What did you think of TGS? Did you have a different opinion than I did?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox (17)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!

No books this week! :/ But that meant I got to catch up on my TBR pile. (P.S. Stop by tomorrow for my review of The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges.)

In the meantime, check out the new releases you can buy this upcoming week:
ChopsticksArticle 5 (Article 5, #1)The Other LifeThis One Time with JuliaIncarnate (Newsoul, #1)

See anything you like? What did you get in your mailbox?

Friday, January 27, 2012

J.D. Salinger

Friday, January 27, 2012
I didn't realize that today was the anniversary of J.D. Salinger's death until a few moments ago. I should have waited to post the Thoughts on Catcher post! Well, anyways, thank you Mr. Salinger for all of your incredible writing and the meaning in your books.


Have you read all of Salinger's works? Will you be reading them again today to honor him?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award- Wow!

Thursday, January 26, 2012
 


I can't believe it, but Heather at Flyleaf Reviews nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! I'm so touched and surprised and happy! Thank you so much, Heather! (By the way, guys, you should check out Heather's blog. It's very cool!) 

Now I get to nominate some bloggers! This is so difficult, since I read so many amazing book blogs, but somehow I managed to narrow the list down to five incredible ones:

2. Sky and Mackenzie at YA Infatuation
3. Tara at Fiction Folio
4. Small at Small Review
5. Nicole at Word for Teens

If you're not on this list, this doesn't mean I hate your blog.  Not at all. A lot of factors went into who I nominated, so I could absolutely love your blog and it may not be included here.

And now I have to tell you seven random things about myself!

1. When I was young I always loved reading, but the book that made me want to write was The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. 
2. My favorite food? Pickles. My favorite meal? Chicken Parmesan. But without sauce.
3. I love playing sports, especially soccer, even though I lack the training (and probably the ability) to actually do anything with them. In another life, though, I would have loved to be professional soccer player. 
4. In elementary school, I actually asked for homework during the first few weeks because I looked forward to it.
5. Phineas and Ferb is one of my favorite TV shows. In fact, I'm such a nerd that I have a Perry the Platypus t-shirt. (: (Other shows I like include Once Upon A Time, Pretty Little Liars, Psych, Big Bang Theory, Glee (1st season, now I like it because of Blaine and Damien) 
6. Je parle un peu du francais. Et vous? Vous parlez un autre langue?
7. I love musicals and showtunes, especially Thoroughly Modern Millie, South Pacific, and The Wedding Singer. (1776 is great, too!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (18)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Top Ten Fictional Crushes
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


1. Augustus Waters (The Fault in our Stars)
The Fault in Our Stars
2. Miles Walter (Looking for Alaska)
Looking for Alaska
3. Harry Potter (Harry Potter series)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
4. Noah (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer)
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
5. Win (All These Things I've Done)
All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)
6. Bram (Dearly, Departed)
Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration, #1)
7. James (Audrey, Wait!)
Audrey, Wait!
8. Peeta (The Hunger Games)
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
9. Felix (Piratica)
Piratica: Being a Daring Tale of a Singular Girl's Adventure Upon the High Seas (Piratica, #1)
10. Kartik (A Great and Terrible Beauty)
A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)
This doesn't even cover half of my fictional crushes. (How could it when Zach from GG isn't on here?)
What Top Ten Topic did you choose for this week? Who's your literary crush?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Book Thoughts: Catcher in the Rye

Monday, January 23, 2012
Book Thoughts is a sporadic feature based here at The Page Sage for not-really-reviewing classics.
Genre: Classic
Series: Standalone
Website: N/A
Source: Bought
The Catcher in the Rye

I volunteer in a library, and it's a good time to think. As you might guess, my mind usually drifts to books. Today I was thinking about Catcher in the Rye (by J.D. Salinger) and why it still resonates with generations today. I mean, it was published in 1951. In the age of emails and iPhones, why is it still not out-dated?

The answer is Holden Caulfield.
(From Google Images)

Even if you think he's whiny, or are sick of "misunderstood" characters, you can't help but relate to Holden. He's the inner voice of every teenage girl or boy. Even those of us who are fairly confident and sociable can relate because- get this- everyone feels awkward from time to time. There's just that little bit of us that feels the slightest bit out of place, on occasion. Maybe we don't know how to talk to the person we like, or  how to tell anyone how we're really feeling, and sometimes we just feel so sick of people we want to put on a metaphorical red hunting cap to keep them away. But at the end of the day, we always take the cap off because we do need people and love them, even if it hurts. Holden speaks to the part of us that we try to hide and we realize that it's okay, because someone else feels that way, too. We're not alone. 

I doubt J.D. Salinger knew the effect Holden would have on his readers, but Salinger ended up touching thousands upon thousands of hearts. That's really the point of YA literature, and all kinds of books, in general: to enlighten, to support, and to give understanding. And that's why, despite it having been 61 years since Catcher in the Rye was first printed, it still reaches out to new generations of readers, and will for a long, long time.

What book do you relate to?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (16)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!

Purchased:
The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
It came! And it was amazing! AND I GOT A GREEN HANKLERFISH. (I'll see if I can post a picture of it later. :)

From Random Buzzers:
The Katerina Trilogy, Vol. I: The Gathering Storm
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges
ARC copy, bought with Buzz Bucks (:

Have you read TFIOS? Wasn't it incredible??

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (17)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Top Ten Books I Would Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read Fantasy
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

A decent number of my friends and family aren't really into fantasy books, while fantasy is my favorite genre. However, I don't see how anyone could help falling in love with these books. 

1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

2. The Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke
Inkheart (Inkheart, #1)

3. The Wings series by Aprilynne Pike
Wings (Wings, #1)

4. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
Eragon (Inheritance, #1)

5. The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley
The Great Good Thing (The Sylvie Cycle, Book 1)

6. The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

7. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis 
The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)

8. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Peter Pan

9. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

10. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Phantom Tollbooth

Do you love fantasy? What are some of your favorite genres? 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Review: Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

Monday, January 16, 2012
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Series: Beka Cooper #2
Website: 
http://www.tamora-pierce.com/books.html 
Source: Random Buzzers
Rating: 4.9 stars



Bloodhound (Beka Cooper, #2)

Beka is officially a Dog, but she isn't having much luck. She can't seem to keep a partner, Pounce is acting mysterious, and counterfeit silver nobles are showing up all over Corus. The coles seem to be coming from Port Cayn, a place Beka has only been to once or twice before. But now she's off to find the leader of the colemongers and stop them before all of Tortall falls to ruin. 

I love this series. Seriously, why did I wait so long to read Tamora Pierce books?? Her writing feels like a favorite jacket, something that you can just fit into so easily that you don't have to think about it. And the characters are fantastic. I felt just as homesick as Beka does, not seeing Rosto, Aniki, Kora, Ersken, or Tunstall, for most of the book! But the new characters introduced are also fantastic, and a certain new character is almost as swoon-worthy as Rosto. Almost. And the antagonist in this book is much better than the one in Terrier.

Naturally, the action is awesome; all of the fight scenes make me wish the Dog program was real so I could sign up! It's just so intense and exciting. One of the few problems I have, though, is that because the book is written as a diary, it's pretty obvious that Beka didn't die or even get a hand chopped off in a fight. That takes away some of the suspense, but there are ways Pierce might get around that in Mastiff. (I don't want Beka getting hurt, though! She's one of my all time favorite characters!) Another tiny issue is the slight predictability of the plot, but the high caliber of the rest of the novel makes up for it. Plus, the intrigue around Pounce is, well, very intriguing and will leave you wanting to know more about Beka's mysterious god-cat. I can't wait to see what will happen to Beka next.

Other Books in This Series: Terrier (Beka Cooper #1)
Are you a Tamora Pierce fan? What other books have you read by her?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In My Mailbox (15)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!

From the Library:
An Abundance of Katherines Will Grayson, Will Grayson

You can tell I was in a John Green mood this week. Did you get a copy of TFIOS? Because mine hasn't come yet. Not that I'm bitter or anything... haha


Also, it seems I'm having another glitch. :/ There are ugly green boxes around the comments for no apparent reason. (Update (1-15-12): Solved it. (:)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Author Interview: Stacey Jay

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Stacey Jay, author of Juliet Immortal, was kind enough to do an interview! You can check out my gushing review of Juliet here.
Stacey Jay 

About You:


1. What is your favorite Shakespeare play?

This changes with my mood. Today, I think…Macbeth. I just took a long walk in cold, moody woods, and that makes me feel Macbeth-ish.

2. Out of all of Shakespeare’s characters, who do you relate to most?
I have to confess that I don’t relate to any of Shakespeare’s characters at this point in my life. The men are so male and the women, though feisty, are products of a time in which being a woman was a hard, frustrating, often powerless thing to be. I enjoy the heck out of Shakespeare’s work, but it’s the language, drama, and relationships that draw me in, not an affinity with one particular character.

3. It says on your website that you had a lot of careers before you became a writer. Which was your favorite (and least favorite) and how did working all those jobs affect you as an author?
Favorite—working in a traveling improvisational children’s theater group. Something new happened every day, it was fast moving, we got to perform outside, and there were lots of cute kids and silly laughs. Good times.
Least favorite—telemarketer. I lasted three hours. I was hungry enough to try to make that job work, but in the end I couldn’t bear annoying people while they were trying to eat supper.
Each job taught me something different, but cumulatively, the thing I learned from working all of those jobs was to be darn grateful when I settled into a writing career. It feels so good to do a job that fits my personality and makes me feel useful, while challenging me and fulfilling me and allowing me to wake up excited to get down to my office AND provide an income for my family. A job you love is a priceless gift.

About Juliet Immortal:


4. Where did you get the idea for all the mythology in Juliet Immortal, such as the Mercenaries and the Ambassadors?
I wanted an epic battle between good and evil, but I didn’t want to use a religious tradition. I wanted something entirely new that wouldn’t offend legions of people when I played with the idea that the “good” guys might not be so good. (Going to stop there to avoid spoilers.)

5. Which character was the most fun to write about?
Romeo. He’s a cruel, insane character, but there is the seed of a decent human being inside of him. It was great fun to nurture that seed throughout the course of the two books.

6. What can you tell us about Romeo Redeemed? Is Juliet present in it at all?
Romeo’s and Juliet’s fates are intertwined. The decisions Romeo makes in the second book have an affect on Juliet in the past. The only way for them to find their freedom from the supernatural forces that have controlled them for centuries is for them to find it together. (So, yes, Juliet will make an appearance, thought the story is primarily Romeo’s and Ariel’s.)

Juliet Immortal (Juliet Immortal #1)

About Writing:


7. What advice do you have for writers, especially teen writers?
Read, read, read, everything you can get your hands on. And don’t just read bestsellers. Read those, but then branch out and try something different. Be the one who introduces your friends to great new authors. Someday that new author might be you! Also, try to write something every day. Even if it’s just a journal entry. Every bit of practice will help you get better.

8. After having many books published, what do you consider the best part about being a published author?
The email from my readers. When someone enjoys a book of mine enough to hunt down my website and send an email, that means so much. Also, seeing my book on a shelf is still a HUGE thrill. That never gets old.

9. When writing a new novel, do you like to do outlines or do you like to go in blind?
Well, I like to go in blind, but for the past few years I’ve been writing so many books per year that I haven’t had time to go in blind, make mistakes, and potentially have to rewrite large portions of the book. If I did, I would never have made my deadlines. So I’ve ended up outlining pretty extensively, down to a chapter-by-chapter outline in some cases. This year, however, I’m writing fewer books so…who knows. Maybe I’ll let myself wing it and see how things turn out.


Miscellaneous:


10. Are you a fan of e-readers?
I wasn’t able to afford one until this holiday season. My husband and I bought an ipad to share. So far, I’m enjoyed reading on it, but I’m still too nervous to bring it to the gym (where I do most of my reading). I’m afraid I’ll sweat on it or break it and my husband will strangle me for destroying our expensive new toy.

11. Who are some of your favorite authors? How have they inspired you?
Franny Billingsley and Laini Taylor have been a big inspiration for me this year. After reading their books, I’ve felt inspired to play more with my language and find the magic in the words again. I’m having such an amazing time writing my current work in progress. I can’t wait to share more news about that with my readers.

Thanks again, Ms. Jay! Have you guys read any of Stacey's books? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Glitch?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I hate technical glitches, not just because they're annoying, but because I don't understand them. It's like computers are just rubbing it in my face that I know very little about their intricacies. (Seriously, when it comes to things like glitches and html, I'm hopeless.) This is made all the more embarrassing by the fact that I'm supposedly part of the Digital Generation.

So why am I posting about this? Well, for some reason, I seem to be following my own blog in GFC, even though I definitely didn't click the button. And no matter how many times I try to un-follow my blog, it won't let me. So if anyone has experienced this, or knows the solution to the problem, please let me know!

Thanks!
Sara (The Page Sage)


Update (1~15~12): I figured out the problem! Thanks, Kate, for all of your help! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (16)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Top Ten Authors I Want to Read More Of
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Robin Benway
Author of Audrey, Wait! and The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June
My prayers have been answered with this one, and Ms. Benway will be publishing two more books! 

2. J.K. Rowling
Author of Harry Potter
Do I need to explain this one? 

3. J.D. Salinger
Author of Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey
Salinger might have actually written more books, but it doesn't seem as if the public will ever see them. I respect that if there are books, though, that his family is keeping them private. 

4. Markus Zusak
Author of The Book Thief and I am the Messenger
This guy is a writing genius, and I can't wait to see what he has in store next! 

5. Laurie Halse Anderson
Author of Speak, Wintergirls, Twisted, Prom, and many other books
Her latest YA book came out in 2009, which isn't too long ago, but I'm still excited to read a new book by her. She's incredible.

6. Wendy Wunder
Author of The Probability of Miracles
Although her debut novel just came out in January, I still want to read more of her writing! Probability was just so good! 

7. Jane Austen
Author of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and Emma, etc.
There's no such thing as too much Jane Austen.

8. Christopher Paolini
Author of The Inheritance Cycle
Apparently he's working on a sci-fi book, which should be so cool, but I'm really excited for Book V of the Inheritance cycle. Eragon and Saphira's story is over, but there's still so much to learn about Alagaesia.

9. Stephen Chbosky
Author of Perks of Being a Wallflower
Perks is so good (and is being made into a movie with Logan Lerman and Emma Watson!) and another book of Mr. Chbosky's would be great!

10. The Brothers Grimm
Author of The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
It would be so cool if they were able to write more fairy tales? That would give the writers of Once Upon a Time even more to work with! (:

What authors do you want to see more books from? (Also, do you watch Once Upon a Time?)

JGW: The Fault in our Stars (9)

The Fault in our Stars is out! It's the last day of John Green Week! Oh my gosh!

This book is going to be incredible. I just know it. Can we just admire the cover for a second?

The Fault in Our Stars

We've waited months for this, and soon we'll all be reading it! (Kudos to you if you've had it for a while and haven't opened it!) We'll get to see John's signature, what color Sharpie he used, whether it's Hanklerfished/Yettied... I'm so excited!

Thanks to everybody who's been following these posts this whole week! Let me know what you think of TFIOS once you're done reading it. (:

DFTBA. <3

Well? What are you waiting for? Go read TFIOS! 

P.S. For those who are still waiting for their copies, here are the first two chapters:



Monday, January 9, 2012

JGW: Why John Green is Awesome (8)

Monday, January 9, 2012
One more day! One more! Only 24 more hours till TFIOS comes out and John Green Week comes to an end! It's been such fun writing all these posts, and I really hope you liked all of them. There's still one to come tomorrow, but that will mostly focus on The Fault in our Stars, and today I wanted to discuss its author.

There's a reason over fifty book bloggers have dedicated a whole week to John Green: He is an incredible person. He understands teens, never belittles them, is not afraid to be himself, and continues to inspire his fans, nerdfighters or otherwise. He recognizes that it is not just okay, but cool in its own right to be a nerd. He says things like, "The venn diagram of guys who don't like smart girls and guys you don't want to date is a circle," and "Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan.'" And that's just the stuff he says in his videos. His books are even more powerful.

Thank you, Mr. Green, for being an all around awesome person!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

JGW: Cover Shot: Paper Towns Covers (7)

Sunday, January 8, 2012
I really liked doing the post with all of the Alaska covers, and I hope you did, too! In fact, I liked it so much I decided to do a similar post, but this time with Paper Towns. (: While it was published in many more countries than are shown here, these are the ones that featured different covers.

American:                                                       
Paper TownsPaper TownsPaper Towns Paper Towns
Chinese:                       German:                     Dutch:   
Paper Towns (Chinese Edition)Margos SpurenPaper Towns

I have to say, I'm really liking the Dutch version, although the American cover with the map will always be my favorite. What about you?
P.S. Formatting may be messed up in Google Reader.