Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Nerd List: August 2013

My second ever Nerd List! Hope you guys enjoy this list of stuff I’ve been mildly obsessing over this month!

See my Nerd List from last month.


Books I’ve read this month

Book of the month

I’ve read a lot of great books this month, but I have to say that the best one was definitely The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It was heartwarming and tragic, and it made me cry. It’s my highest recommendation at the moment, and I insist that you read it, no matter how old you are.

Book quote of the month

May I just say that there are so many new phrases that I have picked up from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series. “Holy crapola,” “holy crap on a cracker,” “adorkable,” and the timeless: “Oh sweet holy alien babies everywhere…” After reading Origin, I’ve highlighted countless phrases that I intend on using in real life 24/7, but I think this one was my favourite:

“Sporks are only used in the most dire situations.”

It speaks the truth.

Book boy of the month

I can’t believe I even had to think about this, because the winner is obviously Daemon Black from the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I mean, come on. He’s a ridiculously hot alien with superpowers who lives next door. Not to mention he makes his very first appearance shirtless. But this doesn’t even mean anything until you read his engagement speech (alright, alright I know I promised no spoilers but come on!). And I swear right now if anybody ever quoted that speech to me I would marry him anytime, anywhere with no excuses. But if it was Daemon Black, it would probably be a happier and easier marriage. Just saying.


Fangirl moment of the month

Jennifer L. Armentrout’s fourth book in the Lux series, Origin, came out two days before Pittacus Lore’s fourth book in the Lorien Legacies series. The house was in an uproar, especially just after I had finished Origin and still had to wait a day and a half for The Fall of Five, and when I had finished that… let’s just say it was not pretty. I still have nothing to read, and am sitting in my own private hellhole. Not to mention my parents are thinking of getting me checked for some massive mental disorder that causes me to freak out when books end on cliffhangers.

Facepalm moment of the month

Okay, so I haven’t even watched the VMAs yet, seeing as I was reading, and we’re currently on holiday at the South Coast, where WiFi is MIA (I have to go to Mugg and Bean every time I want to blog or go on Tumblr or anything, which is EXCRUCIATINGLY ANNOYING) but I’m not living under a rock, and still have my cellphone and Twitter (thank , so I have seen the pictures of Miley Cyrus’… performance. Wow. I am so not watching that. Can I just point out (as so many other people have) that just a couple of years ago I was watching this girl on DISNEY CHANNEL telling her dad that she wanted to preserve her current life, so she’d wear a wig as a popstar as not to let fame get to her head, and now she’s twerking against a thirty-something-year-old man in front of millions of people. Come on, Miley. Not cool.


Song of the month

Ever After by Marianas Trench has been on repeat on my iPod pretty much the whole month. I just love the meaningful lyrics, the tune, and especially the incredible harmonies.

Album of the month

This is a really hard decision to make. I am so incredibly torn, because Emblem3’s Nothing To Lose was absolutely my favorite album of the month – and I know I bought it last month, but it was at the END of last month so it wasn’t as though I had awfully long to listen to it – until I bought The Great Gatsby Soundtrack. But I guess I mentioned Emblem3’s album in my last Nerd List, so I’ll go with The Great Gatsby Soundtrack this month.

But you still have to go buy Emblem3’s album because it is amazing and catchy… okay I’ll shut up about Emblem3 now.

The Great Gatsby Soundtrack is absolutely incredible. Each song on the album is so unique, in the sense that they have all been created to combine elements of music from the 1920s with elements of music from the 2000s. And the result is… wow. My parents don’t really agree, because they got all excited that I was listening to old jazz music, until Fergie popped up and it all blew up into house music. They were not amused, especially by about the hundredth time that the song was playing. They’re pretty much ready to smash the CD and my iPod and send me to boarding school.

Lyric of the month

“A little party never killed nobody.” 
A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got), Fergie, Q-Tip, Goonrock


Movie of the month

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Directed by: Chris Columbus
Based on the novels by Rick Riordaan 

I just saw Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters with my sister, and it was excellent. I haven’t read the Percy Jackson series, so I haven’t really got anything to compare the films to, but I really enjoyed them. They follow the adventures of Percy Jackson (duh), the halfblood son of Poseidon and a human. The action-packed series revolves around Greek Mythology, not to mention that it stars Logan Lerman as Percy...

Tweet of the month

This is legitimately my life. Especially during the holidays. 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below on what you thought!

The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore

Date finished: 30 August 2013

Series: Lorien Legacies, #4

Rating: 4*

As per usual with this series, I feel really confused yet high on adrenaline straight after finishing The Fall of Five. It seems to me that every book is pretty relaxed, only with the occasional battle here and there, until the last thirty-or-so pages, when all hell breaks loose and I’m pretty much hyperventilating and curled in a ball by the time I turn the last page.

It’s a bit like Pittacus Lore is trying to blackmail me into reading the next book by saying, “Look, I guess this wasn’t my best, but let me just throw a couple of betrayals, deaths and major occurrences into the last few pages, and then end it on a cliffhanger, so that you re sure to buy the next book I write.”

It’s extremely annoying, and this book probably would’ve gotten three – or even two – stars were it not for that crazy, action-filled ending.

This series is a good one, and I’ve really enjoyed it since the beginning, but it really hasn’t been gripping me as much as it did in the beginning. The first book was excellent, but I sort of feel that it’s the reason that I keep reading the rest of the series: in the hopes that someday, Pittacus Lore will write another sequel as well as he wrote I am Number Four. Maybe I’ve just become more fussy as I’ve grown up.

The Fall of Five just wasn’t… “Sparkly” enough, if you know what I mean. Everything was there - the writing, the action, and the story – but it just felt a bit old and rusty. I had to push through the first few chapters to get into the book, because the writing felt stiff and forced. It also took a while for me to get used to the switches in narrative, because it wasn’t as though there was any indication as to whose point-of-view the story was taking place from at the beginning of each chapter (or at least on the Kindle edition there isn’t), and I found it a bit arrogant that the author felt it was beneath him to just write the name of the character at the beginning of each chapter, like in other books.

Speaking of arrogance, naming the great elder of Lorien after yourself is just soooo modest. In fact, I’m thinking of writing a novel in which I make all people on earth worship the great and powerful ruler, Amy Bouwer, who is the centre of the universe and demands… um… world peace. No, scrap that. I demand an endless supply of good books, tea, food and Titanic re-runs.

But anyway, back to Pittacus Lore. He is either an extremely arrogant man who feels that he needs to write himself into his novel to reach the pinnacle of self-importance, or is actually writing under the fake name Pittacus Lore, in order to create the illusion that his stories are in fact real. In the case of the latter, he/she is rather intelligent, and I apologize for calling him/her arrogant. However, if neither of those options is true, it is time for us to accept that aliens, both the Mogadorians and the Loric, have invaded our planet and we are all doomed, because the story of the Garde is true.

Overall, The Fall of Five was a great novel. I have been quite tough on it in this review, so it might seem as though it deserved three or less stars, but I actually really did enjoy it once I got into it. The Lorien Legacies series is definitely a good series to try out if you’re into young adult fantasy or even just the alien mumbo-jumbo, and I highly recommend reading at least the first book, I am Number Four.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Date finished: 27 August 2013

Series: Lux, #4

Rating: 5*

I am so ridiculously infuriated right now.

What is this? Like, genuinely? Why? Why would you do this to us, Armentrout? Why? I don’t think you have realized how long we have waited for this. So. Incredibly. Long. And there you go and end it on a cliffhanger.


I’m getting a little sick of this.

And it has literally just come out. It legitimately came out TODAY. TODAY. And now we have to wait another who-knows-how-many-months for the next one, because you just couldn’t end the story with Origin. Oh, no. You just had to delay the happy ending for who-knows-how-many-more books that I’m going to have to read.

Not that I’m complaining (much).

Anyway, now that my rant’s over… As I’ve said before in my review of Obsidian/Onyx/Opal, I’m pretty sure that I’m eventually going to be taken to a mental institute because of this series. After the ending of every single book in this series, I’ve legitimately had a miniature panic attack, followed by a screaming fit, a phone call with a friend who has also just finished the book (which co-incidentally consists of more screaming and panic attacks and usually results in my father threatening to confiscate my cellphone because the neighbors are complaining about the noise – obviously they are not Luxen, or they would understand why I was excited) and an angry draft e-mail to the author which never really gets sent because I am too busy Googling spoilers for the following book.

*sigh.* You have ruined me, Jennifer L. Armentrout. Ruined me. You know what I did all day today? I woke up at 7:01 am, because – as I have mentioned before – I live in the lovely country of South Africa, which has a time zone seven hours ahead of that of America, so at exactly 7 a.m. here, it is only just midnight over there. So at 7:01 a.m. this morning, technically Origin SHOULD’VE been released on Kindle, because in America it was officially the 27th of August. But it wasn’t. Just my luck, right? So I waited. And waited. And waited. And eventually went and did other, meaningful stuff (lying on the beach, trying – and failing – to get a tan) only to discover several hours later that the book had been released several hours ago, and that my friend – who has also been obsessed with the series, and actually introduced me to it – had already finished it. So what did I do for the rest of the day? Well, I read it of course. Only stopping to eat and indulge in pointless human conversation to ensure my family that I was not yet dead or suffering from a mental illness.

Yet. Not suffering from a mental illness YET. But it was worth it. As always, Armentrout never disappoints with her writing, or her stories, or her characters. Her novels are far too realistic for the sakes of her readers (I am STILL waiting for some super hot alien boy living in my neighborhood to reveal himself…). Only really the endings disappoint, and even then, it’s only because I have to wait SO INCREDIBLY LONG for the next book in the series to come out. But I will console myself in the meantime with the new Pittacus Lore book (which is being released on the 29th of August, by the way!) and attempt not to get myself admitted into any mental hospitals.

Armentrout really outdid herself in Origin. I honestly was wondering how it could've gotten any better than Opal, but somehow, it did. The surprises came in waves, each bigger than the last, as did each new obstacle, all building up to the teeth-grinding, hair-ripping, clothes-tearing ending. And the double POVs, switching between Daemon and Katy - just made it that much more incredible.

If you haven’t read this series yet: do it. If you have: we will definitely be friends someday. If you don’t plan on reading it: you suck (or are not a teenage girl… in which case, I forgive you.)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky

Date finished: 25 August 2013

Rating: 3*

I honestly had such high expectations for The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I just don’t even know what happened… The movie was so amazing, and yet the novel… just didn’t live up to it.

This is probably totally unfair, and going against all that I stand for as a reader, but seeing as Steven Chbosky wrote both the novel and the script for the film, AND directed the film, I’m going to do the unspeakable.

I’m going to compare the novel to the film.

Just pipe down, okay? Let me explain myself. First off: the excuse. I did actually want to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower before I saw the movie. In fact, I wanted to read it before the film even came out, or was advertised. I have proof, because it was on my Grade 8 setwork list for a reading project we had to do. Anyway, the book wasn’t available on Kindle, or at Exclusive Books, so I gave up and read Matched by Allie Condie instead, and pretty much forgot about it.

Then the film came out, but I didn’t go see it at first, because I STILL wanted to read the novel first. But the novel was STILL not out on Kindle. After my friends literally begged me to go and see the film, because it was such “an Amy movie”, I eventually gave in and watched it.

And it was beautiful. And my friends were right – I did love it.

But anyway, the novel. I found it in one of my Exclusive Books raids – coincidentally the same raid in which I discovered that Abandon by Meg Cabot had been released in South Africa – and decided to buy it, partially because I loved the movie, and partially because my younger self had wanted to read it, and I am quite persistent in getting what I want… eventually.

But it just wasn’t what I expected. It really wasn’t as good as the film, which is surprising because almost ALL novels are better than the films. No, actually. That’s a bit unfair. It was still a relatively good novel, and there were aspects of it that I enjoyed more than the film, but there were also aspects that I hated.

The one thing that seriously irritated me was the writing style. The diction that Charlie used in his letters was so formal, yet simple in the sense that it had such a childish tone. I guess that this was because Charlie was very advanced academically, and wrote the way he talks – as he explained it in the novel – but I felt that it almost put up a barrier between Charlie and the reader, which made it very difficult to relate to him. And seeing as The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming of age novel, I would’ve thought that it’s purpose was for adolescents to relate to it. But I don’t know. Maybe I’m missing the point.

And another thing that made me grind my teeth in despair: grammatical errors. Only a few, yet there they were. I’m thinking of writing a strongly worded letter to the editor for the misuse of “me” and “I” when saying, “So-and-so and I/me did…” But anyway, that’s a lecture on grammar that I’ll blog about another day. And I know that nobody’s perfect, and that we all make mistakes, but THAT’S WHAT EDITORS ARE FOR! To fix your mistakes when you publish a novel for the whole world to see.

Don’t get me wrong; there were good aspects to the novel as well. There were times where I would smile at the author’s choice of words, when I wasn’t irritated with the diction. There are so many quotes in this book that I will be using for a while. Such as, “We accept the love that we think we deserve,” and, “We are infinite,” and cheesy yet heart-warming stuff like that.

I also thought that the novel explained Charlie’s relationship with his aunt and his English teacher a lot better than the film did. But that’s to be expected with most books, because it’s easier to write about a relationship than to physically show it to somebody. But I understood the story more after reading the novel. It answered all of my unanswered questions.

So overall, I gave The Perks of Being a Wallflower three stars, because although I was annoyed with the writing most of the time, it was still okay. Not really deserving a fourth star, but also not bad enough to be considered “below average.”

I recommend it to all those of you who were confused after watching the movie, because it does explain the storyline a bit more clearly. Even if you’re not a reader, you should try it out. It’s very short – it only took me three hours to read cover to cover (it was a long car trip to the South Coast…)