Monday, 13 May 2013

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

Hello everyone. Today I am going to be sharing with you my reading goals for the Bout of Books read-a-thon. Find out about the read-a-thon here!


  1. Post your intentions on a blog post
  2. Add your link to the "linky" in the post
  3. Read more than you usually do
My Goals:
Since I usually read 1 or 2 books a week, I have decided to try and read 3 books this week. I also have 3 back-up books just in case I don't like one of the books, and just can't finish it, or if I end up reading more than the first 3 that I have chosen.
  1. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
  2. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
  3. Fracture by Megan Miranda
Back-Up Books:
  1. The Different Girl by Gordan Dahlquist
  2. Partials by Dan Wells
  3. Revoulution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
Happy reading!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Archived Book Review

Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
# of Pages: 328
Reading Span: 11 days
Rating: **** (4 stars)

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My Thoughts: 

The characters were likeable enough. My favourites were Mac, Owen and of course Wes. <3 Mac was a strong female lead for the most part, although I didn't like a few of the choices that she made. <spoiler> With Owen... Aw man, don't use HIM as your drug. Don't use anything at your drug for that matter. STAY STRONG!!!! Or even better, lean on Wes... Watch the next book be about Wesley's betrayal. </spoiler> And let's not forget Owen... oh Owen. I hated him, but only as a person. As a character was great... not that he lived a good trait/character, but he was good way of portraying the character that he was. Overall: good character, but a not-so-likable person. And Wes... ahhhh. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 Enough said.

The plot was great. Fast-paced the whole time. Don't get me wrong, the beginning was only okay (goodreads updates would have told you my feelings on this), but that wasn't because of the pace. The pace was fast. Whooshy (I feel like this word should be in the dictionary, simply to describe things like this). The thing is, I missed all of that juicy stuff because I was confused. Before you pick up the book, you should no the following facts... THEY ARE NOT SPOILERS!!

- The Archive is made up of different branches (which we don't find until abut 200 pages in)
- Da is Mac's grandfather (which we don't find out until about 70 pages in)
- And, if you couldn't see the connection... Mac = Mackenzie

I also really liked the setting. The Coronado reminded me of something that I would see in a beautiful history magazine... with a little "h". That reminds me... Rachel Hawkins' praise quote at the back of the book... LOVE IT!!! Only people that have read the book will understand it. Anyways, nothing much more to say about the setting. It was just beautiful, the perfect place for this story to evolve in.

I think that many people would enjoy this book. If you are any young adult, looking for a good read, I think that you should give this a go. Happy reading!

Book Review by jessethereader:
Victoria Schwab's Vlog:

The House of the Scorpion: Characterization

Hello everyone! Today I am going to be going over the characters in The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. I will be defining the type of character for each of them, but only go in-depth with one or two. I will also be sharing some of my initial thoughts that I had when reading the book. I hope you enjoy!

Initial Thoughts:
- So many characters were introduced in the first couple of chapters of the book! It's really confusing. (Page 7)
- I don't like any of the characters, really. The only ones that I can connect to is Maria and somewhat Celia. (Page 49)
- Tam Lin is sort of witty (Page 85)

In The House of the Scorpion we get introduced to a whole bunch of characters. Most of the characters had a purpose, but they got introduced in such a way that it's a bit confusing. It took away from the book a bit, but after reading more of the story I learned so much more about them and could connect to them.

Let's start with Matt. Matt is the protagonist of this book, and to be honest, he wasn't my favourite, at least at the start. He was a bit naive and just plain annoying. Later on though, he turned into a stronger person, and I adored that. He's defiantly dynamic and round.

Now onto El Patron. El Patron appeared to be dynamic, changing from a nice man into an evil villain, but later on we learn his true purposes, which gives us the information we need to know that he is static. Personally though, I didn't like him, even before I knew of the horrible things that he was going to use Matt for. He's very vain, which is a trait that I look down on.

Tam Lin was actually a very nice character. He isn't very dynamic, and doesn't have very much character development throughout, but he is also quite round. We learn quite a bit of his back-story, which readers can use to give them clues about the decisions that he makes. He is also a bit of a stock character. In many books that I have read, and movies that I've watched, I have seen characters like him. People that have does terrible things and have lived through terrible things, and that couldn't live with the reality. For example, Jerome, from Gattaca (see Film Study post).

Last but not least, Matt's allies that we meet in Aztlán. Chacho, Ton-Ton, and Fidelito are all very supportive of Matt. They accept him for who he is, not where he was made or whether or not he's a "zombie". I loved that. Although they were very flat, and static, they were a great addition to the story and they had a purpose.

What did you think of the characters? Comment below, and happy reading.

The House of The Scorpion: Film Study

Hello everyone! Today I am going to be doing a film study comparing protagonists of the movie Gattaca to The House of the Scorpion.

In Gattaca we meet Vincent, a boy who was conceived into the world with imperfect genetics. His brother, Anton, is then conceived, but with perfect genes. Anton grows up perfectly healthy and equal to those around him, where as Vincent was left-out. This is very similar to the way that Matt was in The House of the Scorpion. Matt was different than everyone else, and because of this he wasn't accepted like other children. Both of the protagonists face an inequality that is a hardship to them for part of their lives.

As we watch more of Gattaca we learn that Vincent and Anton created a tradition when they were young. They would swim out into the lake and see who was strong enough or less cowardly to go farther. Each time, Vincent lost the game until one day, Anton started to drown. Vincent saves him, and realizes that although he may be different in the way he was born, he's still a human being. This sets him off on a journey. Throughout The House of the Scorpion, Matt goes events and plot-points of the story while figuring out his true self, and how he isn't as different/bad as everyone makes him out to be.

Then Vincent meets with a man named Jerome, who has suffered a terrible accident where he became crippled. He offers his genes tp Vincent, and soon Vincent transforms into Jerome. I think that the real Jerome is sort of like Tam Lin. They share a tight relationship that mirrors the one that Matt had with his bodyguard. There are a couple other reasons as well...

In the end, all turns out well. Vincent is able to fill his dream, and Matt becomes leader. Jerome also kills himself in Gattaca, but guess what. So does Tam Lin! I think that this a strong connection that I can make from the film to the book. Although these aren' the protagonists, they have a strong connection to them. That connection is so strong that when Vincent/Matt left them, they have nothing left in the world, so they kill themselves.

When Jerome kills himself, Vincent is left with plenty of blood and urine samples to last him 2 lifetimes. What does this mean? Vincent becomes the new Jerome for good. T
he same thing happens in the book. El Patron dies, thanks to Celia, and Matt is declared Matteo Alacrán.

There are a couple of other connections to be made, but I don't have that many words... But you do! Comment below with your opinions of Gattaca compared to The House of the Scorpion, and happy reading.

The House of the Scorpion: Connections Real World Issues

Hello everyone so today I am going to be talking about connections from The House of the Scorpion to issues in the real world. So I started flipping through my notes that I took throughout the reading, and came across a note on page 279 about pollution. I decided to go a bit deeper into this because I think that it's a huge issue that needs to be dealt with.

This is what I wrote in my book: Why? <why does the air smell>  Pollution? Oh wait... it was Fidelito... Wait, just kidding. As you can tell, my note was a bit of rambling, and I was quite confused on what it really was. In fact, I still am a bit confused, but after looking into the issue of pollution in Mexico, I think that it is quite plausible. Click here to view the article that I read and looked over for information on May 12th, 2013.

"As the vehicle population has reached more than 700 million, numerous cites experiencing rapid industrialization started to suffer from air pollution." - Outline of Article

"Some of them [cities in Mexico] reduced the air pollution level; however there are still some that are considered to be the most polluted cities in the world." - Outline of Article

These two statements combined really just stuck out to me. It explains why, in The House of the Scorpion, we come across this issue. This book is set in the future, and as you can imagine, this problem would be much worse as more vehicles are bought and used by billions of people. In the book we come across horrid scents of vomit and rotting fish (Farmer 279), which could have easily be caused by pollution. The story could have turned out differently without these details. Maybe Fidelito would have been accepted better, or the girls at the convent wouldn't feel so badly for Matt and his comrades. This could of resulted in less allies.

"What caused the problem: Air pollution is mainly caused by vehicles." - Background of Article

This is where we come in. Now that we know what causes most pollution, we can act on it. If we can stop using vehicles as much we can stop this problem and face a different future. If pollution had stopped, maybe Matt would have been happier with the place that he was staying at, and not felt as much need to escape.

Pollution is a growing problem that needs to be dealt with. We see evidence of this, even in fictional stories such as The House of the Scorpion. What do you think of this issue? Comment below, and happy reading.

Friday, 10 May 2013

The House of the Scorpion: Theme

Hey everyone! Today I am going to be discussing the theme of The House of the Scorpion. The theme is basically a universal truth that the author is trying to communicate to the reader through his/her work. This message is rarely stated, so the reader must use his/her knowledge that he/she knows from reading the text to figure it out.

My Theme Statement: A corrupt world is one without equality. Corruption will bring us down, but peace will build us up.

In the big house you weren't treated well if you didn't belong to El Patron, but if you were of El Patron's "belongings" then you never left his possession. If they didn't do as they were told, they would become brainless zombies, so they really didn't have a choice. He had the most power because of force, which is unfair. pg. 169, 170, and 274

Later on in the book, Matt escapes from El Patron's grasp. He takes a run for Aztlan,  hoping for freedom, but when he gets across he's stuck with Keepers, who send him to a plankton factory to do labour out of force. The other boys at the factory are also doing work, and he is treated the same as them. It's hard but it's fair! Later on in the story, though, we find out that the Keepers live a better life-style. Not only this, but when the boys find the tattoo at the bottom of his foot, he doesn't get treated the same. It's only his friends that accept him after this information. pg. 262, 266, 286, and 287

That brings me to my next theme of this book. I defiantly think that The House of the Scorpion provides more than one. For my theme statement of this one, I would replace the word "equality" with "friendship".

At the big house, Matt starts to develop a father-like-son relationship with Tam Lin. Tam Lin teaches Matt essential things about surviving out in the wild, and society. This information gives Matt the opportunity and the strength to continue foreword in his journey and escape. pg. 149

When Matt goes to the plankton factory, he starts to bond with a few characters. These characters go through tough moment together, which they may not have been able to push through on their own. This friendship also has trust. When Jorge accused Matt of being a clone, Chacho and Fidelio refused to believe it because of their relationship. It's a cycle. Because of the trust, they stay together and help each other which results in trust. And it keep on going until someone looses their trust. This never happens in the book, and I think that Farmer is trying to tell her readers that we need trust and friendship in this world. pg. 287, 321, 357

What did you think the theme was? Comment below, and happy reading. 

Dualed vs. Stung

Hello everyone! So I've had a poll up for a while asking which book you would rather have me read. Dualed by Elsie Chapman, of Stung by Bethany Wiggins. Unfortunately though, the poll gadget isn't working, and votes randomly appear and disappear. So instead, could you please just comment on this post which book you would rather have me read? Thanks so much! Happy reading.



Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The House of the Scorpion: Narrative Structure

Hello everyone! Today I am going to be discussing the narrative structure in The House of the Scorpion. So yeah. Let's get started!!

The exposition lasted for way too long. And I mean way. The first section of youth was 52 pages, and that was all really dull. It started to pick up speed there, but I wouldn't call it rising action... Not much of one anyway. If I were to draw this out, which I have, the rising action would be a shallow line.

On page 370 of the book we reach the climax. Ah, good times. The excitement sure didn't last long though, shortly after, the intensity slowed down a lot, and plummeted for the next 9 pages. The last page was used as an exposition, which was way too short. I think that if the rising action started rising faster and at a quicker pace, and then the falling action to be stretched out a little bit more as well. A larger exposition would have also been nice.

I didn't like the structure for this book. It was kind of crazy and strange. If I wasn't reading this for school, I would have stopped reading this book really quickly because the rising action was just so slow. I'm glad I didn't, as the climax was worth it, but it would have been better if it was faster for at least the beginning so that it would hook the reader.

The ending was also dissatisfying. I felt like a finally got to the good part when bam. It's done. Over with.

See what I mean? It makes you feel really lost and confused to have such a short resolution. We all say that we don't like them because they are too slow, or not important enough to be put into a novel, but after reading this book I realize how important it really is. Not only did I learn about the importance of the resolution, but also exposition, rising action, climax, and falling action as well.

There are so many good things about this book though, so don't read this and think that The House of the Scorpion was terrible. That's not what I'm saying. I still haven't discussed character, connections to real world issues, theme, or a film study. Stay tuned for those posts! Until then, I would love to know your thoughts on the narrative structure in this book. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Comment below! And happy reading.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

May TBR 2013

This is going to be a really rushed post but that's okay. I need to get this up for you guys!

For this month I put all of the votes into a hat/bowl thing and pulled out three (I will be posting a video on YouTube of this process). I decided to do this because I don't have that many viewers, so there's a whole bunch of ties.

The first book that I picked out of the bowl was The Name of The Star by Maureen Johnson. This book was voted for twice, and I am super excited to read it.

The second book that I picked out of the bowl was Partials by Dan Wells. This thing is big, though not incredibly huge. It sounds so good, and I'm excited. 2 people voted on this book as well, as I got my sister to vote (but she didn't comment).

The final book that I picked out was Fracture by Megan Miranda, and I'm so glad I got this. I was been wanting to read this for ages, and I'm finally getting around to it this month. Only one person voted on this though... Oh well.

What are you planning on reading? Comment below, and happy reading.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

April Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! Today I am here with my April Wrap-Up. In April I read 10 books and 1 novella, however two of those books are super short, but goodreads counts them so I'll go with it.

The first book that I read/finished in April was Mind Games by Keirsten White and I was a bit disappointed. This book was my most anticipated new-release of this year, and... it wasn't as good as I had expected. I shouldn't have been too surprised because of the reviews that I had read prior to picking this book up, but none-the-less, I was. 3 out of 5 stars. Still good, but not amazing.

The second book that I read in April was Altered by Jennifer Rush and oh my goodness. This book. This book is absolutely amazing, and I couldn't put it down. It was so addicting that I finsihed it at 2:00 in the morning. The characters were amazing, and the plot... It was just. So. Good. 5 out of 5 stars. Read it now!

The third book that I read in April was Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce and this was, again, a disappointment. Danika over at Books to Dream raved about this book, but I didn't think it was worth as much as she gave it. Again, I shouldn't have been that surprised as many people only gave it an okay review, but... Yeah. 4 out of 5 stars. Still worth the read, just not the best book ever.

The fourth book that I read in April was A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. I have no words. The ending left me literally shaking. The plot twists were totally unexpected and overall, a super awesome read. I only gave it a 4.5 though, just because of the slow beginning. The rest of it, though, was superb! I defiantly recommend it.

The fifth book was really short, as it was the first book in the Spiderwick Chronicles Series, The Field Guide by Tony DeTerlizzi and Holly Black. I gave this book a 3 out of 5 stars, but I was expecting more. I saw jessethereader and astridthebookworm talk about these and they gave it 5 stars. For me though, the plot just wasn't there so I just couldn't give it a higher rating.

The sixth book that I read actually put me in a reading slump (which you would't be able to tell I was in from the amount of books I read but still...). This book was Eve by Anna Carey. I do not understand the hype that surrounds this book at all. It was dull and not enjoyable and ugh... 2 out of 5 stars. The only people that I would re

commend this book to is people who love cheesy romance. And I mean love.

The seventh book that I read was Pivot Point by Kasie West which is also a 2013 new release. I also really loved this book. I loved debating what team I was on throughout the story, the plot twist was crazy, and the characters and just... everything was amazing! I recommend it to everyone! 5 out of 5 stars.

The eighth book that I read was the second book in the Spiderwick Chronicles by the same authors. It's called The Seeing Stone. This book was much more enjoyable than the first. The story actually went somewhere, and it was actually a really nice read. 4 out of 5 stars.

The ninth book that I read was Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. This book was the 2012 debut on my April TBR. It was fairly enjoyable, but not amazing. I gave it 4 stars. It wasn't what I was expecting at all, and it didn't blow me away.

Next I read a novella by Veronica Roth... Yes, you guessed it. Free Four. I didn't give this "book" a rating because it was only 13 pages, and I didn't think that was enough content to judge upon. That being said, I still really enjoyed it. It was really cool to hear part of the story from Four's point of view, and I think that the scene that Veronica Roth chose was very powerful. If you have read Divergent (which you should if you haven't) then I would defiantly give this a go.

The final/tenth/eleventh book that I read in April was The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Long. This was also on my TBR from April. I am unsure of what to tell you about this book. It was a bit confusing in parts and the main character wasn't very strong. To top it off, the plot didn't really go anywhere either. The plot twist, on the other hand, was well done, and the ending pulled this book up from what I thought was going to be a 2 star to a 3. I recommend that you read this book, even though that I didn't think it was that good just because it isn't too incredibly long, plus it's a stand-alone so it doesn't take too much investment. You never know, maybe you will just be blown away!

I am currently reading 3 books, the first one for school: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. I'm scheduled to finish this on Monday, so hopefully that will happen. I am also team-reading Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (The sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty) with Danika @ Books to Dream (link in side-bar), and the last book on my TBR, Slide by Jill Hathaway. I am 142 pages in and liking it, and expecting to finish it soon.

Be sure to look out for reviews for the TBR books for sure, as well as the first 4 books I read in April. Also, if you would like me to review one of the books that I haven't said I would, leave a comment below and I would be happy to do that for you. Happy reading!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Reading Update (6): Rebel Angels

Hello everyone! I'm just making this post to tell you about a team-reading activity that I am participating in with Danika @ Books to Dream (link on the side-bar). She's amazing, by the way, so you should go and follow her. Anyhow, throughout our reading we will be discussing certain parts in the book, and perhaps doing some special "challenges" together such as a cover to cover or something like that. It will be quite like the thing that I'm doing at school for The House of the Scorpion. Be sure to look out for a reading schedule perhaps coming soon. We haven't planned too much yet, except that we have to read to page 29 by tonight.

Leave a comment below with your ideas of what we should do together, and happy reading!

The House of the Scorpion: Setting

Hey everyone. Today I am going to be talking about the setting of The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. Also, know that this post/discussion is not spoiler-free. You have been warned.

The general setting of The House of the Scorpion is on the border separating the U.S. and what we call Mexico today (which is called Aztlán in the book) (Farmer 57). They call it Opium. If we were to go scene-specific, I could go into detail about the poppy fields (Farmer 6), oasis (Farmer 79), El Patron's house (Farmer 25) and so many more, but I am going to be talking about the main setting, the Alacrán house.

I chose the Alacrán house because it is the place where the overall plot takes place. It's where Matt is taken and kept as an animal; where he lives afterward. A secret passageway is also there with a red scorpion (Farmer 221). Now that I look into it more, it is actually on the front cover of the book as well! Although the scorpion hasn't been mentioned any other time but that scene (yet), I think that it will play a big part in the book later on. After all, Nancy Farmer chose to name her book The House of the Scorpion for a reason. Now I'm getting the idea that it is describing the Alacrán house. First of all, there is a scorpion on the arch and Rosa's name-tag (Farmer 21). Secondly, El Patron describes the people from Durango as scorpions (Farmer 57) . And of course, the passageway leading outside.

There are still a question (or two) about the setting that I have unanswered though. What is happening in this time period that could be affecting Matt's story? I'm hoping that as we read on and finish this novel study that these questions will be answered. Until then, I can only guess.

For starters, I think that the story takes place in the future. There is evidence of this in the text as well. What we know today as Mexico is now called Aztlán (Farmer 57), plus there is so many new technologies. How can El Patron live so long? It’s with the new technologies that this book includes. I can't even fathom these developments happening in the modern day, but who knows? Maybe it will happen in the future.

What else is happening or has happened that could be affecting the story? Maybe Canada doesn't exist anymore. There is no mention of its existence in the text, so it’s a possibility. But if it did, how? Perhaps there was a war. Perhaps that's why there are clones, and why people need to live so long... To repopulate. Whoa! Mind blown.

Now lets talk. What did you think of the setting? Leave a comment below, and happy reading!