My Secret Hideout

Welcome to my not-so-secret hideout, where the forts are constructed out of books and the adventures never stop.

 

http://www.goodreads.com/MySecretHideout

http://firestarbooks.blogspot.ca/

http://about.me/stellachen

Review: Mitosis - Brandon Sanderson

Mitosis - Brandon Sanderson

3.5 stars.
A nice, short burst of entertainment. Not as thrilling as Steelheart and the action felt a little NBC-esque. I wanted something that is more Showtime, or HBO-like. 

David got on my nerves in this. I'm not a huge fan of stories where the protagonist is head-strong and likes to handle things on his/her own. (And usually it leads to the character messing up, but eventually shows how badass he/she is and then saves the day.) Where is the awesome coordination from the team where everything happens in an awesome chain-reaction, timed-perfectly, well-executed plan.

Do you know what I am talking about? That sense of satisfaction? Like that satisfaction you get from peeling off that plastic protector thing off of your electronics? You know what I am talking about. This story lacked that. I wish Tia played more of a competent role in this story and not just another "techie through your earpiece."

You know what? Actually, just go and visit the entire Oddly Satisfying subreddit. Have fun.

Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/303852306080620503
Reblogged from Starry Reads

New E-Reader Powered by Solar Energy - Will it Shut Down Printing Press?

 

New kind of color e-reader is being developed in Finland. It's thinner, lighter, with color e-ink and cost effective as it doesn't require electronic charging. It's eco, it takes the energy from the Sun. 

 

Beta tests of powered by solar energy e-reader starts now in November. Several hundreds of readers will read daily newspaper on Leia ePaper which uses this new technology. 

 

Leia ePaper is primarily dedicated for newspapers. Finland reported that last year brought big drops in press branch, including sell and ads. Solar powered e-reader is supposed to be good alternative for printed newspapers. 

 

Many tried for foresee the death of press. Will this new "ecological, inexpensive and always ready to use" e-reader help to shut down printing press?

 

Read more: 

http://www.leiamedia.com/

http://www.digile.fi/article/203

http://goodereader.com/blog/electronic-readers/new-color-e-reader-being-developed-in-finland

Reblogged from Kate says

Jace Wayland....OH GOD NO.

Cuz we be Dauntless...no.

First date eating Dauntless Cake...makes sense.

 

This is probably the one I am most excited about: Our baby will be a Demi-God. Does this mean I am the God in the relationship? Better be.

 

From https://www.pinterest.com/pin/303852306080527178/

Source: http://Startorius.booklikes.com
Reblogged from Starry Reads
Source: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/81487074480234819
Reblogged from Starry Reads

It's time to revisit beloved tales.

Plague - Michael  Grant The Exiled Queen  - Cinda Williams Chima The Monstrumologist - Rick Yancey The Knife of Never Letting Go  - Patrick Ness

Sometimes, there are just waaaay too many books getting published and you begin to feel overwhelmed, like you are fighting against an incoming wave and there're nothing you can do to slow it down. That's why throughout the past couple of months, I decided to pick up some of my most beloved books for a re-read. Reading old stories really helped slow down everything, and I learned to shut out a lot of outside influences. Finally, it was just me, and my books, and everything felt right. :) I began my re-read this summer, with the fourth book in one of my most adored series.

 

In the summer, I re-read PLAGUE by Micheal Grant and the brutality of the story hit just as hard the second time around. If you have not picked this one up yet, do so immediately. 

 

This month, I plowed through The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima. Han Alister sounded even better the second time around. He is the one boy I will fangirl over. (But, damn. Fire Dancer is pretty enticing as well.)

 

I am hoping to move on to The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey next and finish the year off with The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. 

 

I hope you, yes you, take a couple of weeks between now and the end of this year to re-read some of your most treasured stories. 

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson

First 60% of the book: 3 stars. 
Last 40% of the book: HOLY CALAMITY 5 steel stars. 


Steelheart was one of my most-anticipated books of 2013 for two reasons: 

1) The plot sounded fascinating. It's almost as if in an alternate universe, the Justice League went rouge. The possibilities were endless for a story with this high calibre of an idea. 

2) I have never read a Sanderson. I know, I know. You're probably thinking: You visit the fantasy section at your local book store upon every visit and you've never picked up a Sanderson?! How could you even call yourself a fantasy fan??Believe me, I gaze at the Sanderson flock every goddamn time,but I'm doing it for all the wrong reasons. I'm doing it so I can a) make my sister feel sympathetic about my obsession with fantasy books and maybe she'll get me the Misborn trilogy series for Christmas. And b) to check out the cute boys who browse the sci-fi/fantasy area of the store.

Please don't judge me. I promise you I am a decent person. Come on, I actually bought a Sanderson this time! Wait, why are you moving your mouse to the little "x"? Please don't close this tab. I am actually going to review a Sanderson book! A Sanderson-Virgin I am no more.

Okay, okay. Here we go. 

So why did I give this book 4 stars? Here is where Steelheartwent wrong.......Actually, no. Let's start this off on a positive note. 

This is what drew me into the story:

description


1) The Legend of Korra feel to the story. Newcago (Chicago post-Steelheart's takeover) is reminiscent of Republic City from The Legend of Korra. It is a funny time in human history, where the old meets the new, where advance technology meets rudimentary set-up. The story had classic car chases, abandoned buildings, and my favourite, run-down underground living spaces. You know, shady happenings and exchanges that I won't mention here. Steelheart contained lots of these flakes of history that I just gobbled up. I felt like I was being transported back to The Great Depression. But like I mentioned earlier, it also had aspects of science-fiction: weapons which would give any physicist/engineer a heart attack, mobiles that would run Apple out of town, and oh, sweet sweet rides (Hey, wanna take a ride on my gravtonic motorcycle? No sexual innuendos intended.) 

This is what kept me reading:

2) Tia. My God was Tia ever amazing. If you read my review ofRick Yancey's The 5th Wave, I wrote about my definition of a "strong female character." And basically Tia was her. Tia was smart, caring, and a hell of a good hacker. She didn't wield a riffle in one hand and a pistol in the other. She never went all Fast and Furious on her enemies. She wasn't Megan. So who was she? She was incredibly resourceful, quick-thinking, understanding, and humorous. She knew how to smooth out wrinkles within the team, and tear fabric outside the team. She was essentially the Seamstress of the team. And of course, if I am to fangirl over Tia, the man who created her deserves some props. Brandon, thank you. For once, the scholar of the team wasn't a "fidgety, geeky, tech-savy boy." She was described as a middle-aged, red headed woman who was always impeccably dressed and obsessed with cola. Helloooo? Basically she is a fashionably hip, hyper-active, wise owl. Best. Combo. Ever.

This is what made me fall in love with this book:

3) Oh that freaking suspense! That dramatic irony! I've seen many reviewers praise this book for its high quality action scenes, its fabulous character developments, or for its plot twist. I'll be honest, I saw that plot twist coming about 60% in. But surprisingly, that's where things began to pick up. The thing is, now that I saw the general direction this story was taking, I was anticipating for the moment where this plot twist will be revealed. This is precisely why dramatic irony works so well. When the readers are let in on that secret, they get that gut-wrenching feeling, that giddiness of knowing something others don't. That anticipation for the reveal. That's what drove this book home for me. I was entranced for the rest of the book. Sanderson, you cruel. 

So what was wrong with the beginning? I actually hate myself right now because I have to mention the flaws in this book when clearly I had loved it so much. But bare with me, this will be quick. 

1) Too much of a Megan-David dance. I get where Sanderson is coming from. He is trying to avoid the plague: insta-love. Again, props to Sanderson for knowing his readers, but I really wanted to focus more on the epics, their power and their cruelty. I wanted this book to make me hate epics as well. Though Fortuity was a nice touch at the beginning, I really wanted to feel disgusted with all of the epics. I wanted more too see more Cersei, more Petyr Baelish, more Walder Frey. I wanted to hate Steelheart as much as David did but I didn't. Steelheart was the enemy simply because people told me he was; people told me he was evil and cruel and merciless, and I went along with it. But I didn't feel like. I kind of wish Brandon Sanderson had unleashed his wraith on the citizens of Newcago. 

Did I mention I am a decent person?

Another cover reveal! This is also by the incredibly talented Ana Correal. Darla's Story is a novelette (60 pages) that will be available for all ebook platforms for $0.99 soon. (November, worst case, but probably much sooner.) It's about everything that happens to Darla between the time the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts and when she meets Alex.

Reblogged from Mike Mullin, Author

Thoughts While Reading Steelheart (#1)

Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson

1) Oh great. I see a romance coming. The loser boy is going to get the bombshell.

 

2) FYEAH! For once the "scholar" is not a frigidity nerdy boy. You go Tia! (Who is a middle aged woman who has red hair).

 

3) Cody, Y U SO BIPOLAR?

 

More to come as I make my way through this book.

Getting a major Percy Jackson vibe from David.

Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson

So does that mean Megan is Annabeth?

""He was a sadistic monster. He claimed his powers worked best when practising an art called extispicy: the reading of the entrails of dead creatures to divine the future. Fortuity preferred to use human entrails and he liked them fresh.""

Brandon Sanderson, Steelheart. 7% of ebook

Up next...

Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson

Thank you guys for voicing your opinions on what I should read next. I am about to start Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. Is this like The Iron Giant turned evil? Or is it going to be similar to the movie Real Steel? 

 

We shall see...

What to read next....

More Than This - Patrick Ness The Bone Season  - Samantha Shannon Steelheart - Brandon Sanderson

I don't know which book I should pick up next.

 

Here are the books I'm split between:

 

More Than This by Patrick Ness

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon 

 

Or wait until September 24th and read 

 

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

New Partner: BookLikes Welcomes Kobo!

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We’re extremely happy to partnership with Kobo and that we can share one of the largest e-book catalogue in the world with book lovers on BookLikes.


To add Kobo books to your book search box, go to Settings/Search, tick Kobo and Save. Now you’re all set to discover awesome e-books and shelve them on your BookLikes Shelf.

Reblogged from BookLikes

ARC Review: Vicious by V. E. Schwab

VIcious - Victoria Schwab, V. E. Schwab

Book Hangover Alert!

Although The Archived by Victoria Schwab has been on my radar since last year, Vicious is my very first Schwab novel. 

And BAM. 

She has earned her spot on my "Automatic-Read" list. The Automatic-Read list is a factious list inside my head, containing the names of authors I completely trust. This means, if they come out with a new book, even if it's about astrophysics with a side of quantum mechanics, I am going to read it. So what does VICIOUS have that landed it on this prestigious (It's not the Giller, or the Man Booker but it's the most important list to me) list? 

description

Requirement Number One: You need a great cast of characters

I don't care if your plot has never been done before, or your book sends out a deep message; if your characters don't annoy me, you're off to a good start. A lot of times I have trouble reading about "smart" main characters because they come off as condescending, which leads me not wanting to hear the story they have to tell. But Victor, although smart, is one rung below his ex-best-friend, Eli, which makes his story much more engaging. I'm so tired of main characters written with the same formula: Kind, honest, average-Joe finds out he is the only person who can save the world because he has this abnormal power. Thankfully, Victor was Cinderella who ended up missing the ball, because he starts off the book with the short end of the stick. This makes his character worth reading, because he gets to display emotions that are often neglected in stories: jealousy, resentment, and regret. Never have I wanted a main character to get his happy ending, than I did with Victor. 

Coming off reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I didn't think I was going to encounter an awesome kid character quite so soon. Although Sidney isn't as young as Lettie from Ocean, Sidney was just as mysterious, and equally fierce. She gave off a sense of mystique and calmness, but her calmness hides a storm, which means I was sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for the moment she would unleash her wraith on her enemies. >:) 

If you are looking for a great set of characters, I highly recommend X-Men: First Class (especially since the relationship between Eric and Charles is a mirror image of Eli and Victor's.) If you are looking to read about smart, actually-get-things-done kid characters, I highly recommend the manga series Detective Conan (Case Closed). Ai Habara (Sherry) is almost exactly how I pictured Sidney.

Requirement Number Two: A great mood/atmosphere.
Although set in the present, where everything is about being flashy and going at break-neck speed, Vicious managed to bring in elements of from the Victorian London era. The mood of the story can give Frankenstein a run for his money. I think setting the flashbacks in a grande Victorian-style university really gave the story for a vintage feel. Especially when the story deals with the ExtraOrdinaries, Vicious did a good job making the story feel historical, rather than urban fantasy. This gave this book major props because urban fantasy is not my cup of tea, but sophisticated historical fantasy is. 

If people are looking to reading books with a similar feeling, I recommend The Madman's Daughter, or The Monstrumologist 

I'm trying very hard not to start jabbering about all the plot points in this novel, because I have so many things I loved about this book. Although marketed as an Adult novel, I can see many YA fans reading this. Because of the flashbacks that bring readers back to good ol' university time, this book actually read more like a YA book to me.

P.S.: Click here to read about VICIOUS' cover design process.

Scorched by Mari Mancusi

Scorched - Mari Mancusi

WANTED: Good dragon book recommendations.

Like many people out there, I love dragons. It is the reason why I chose to read this book in the first place. Whether they'reEuropean dragons or Asian dragons, I love them all. From Avatar the Last Airbender, to How to Train Your Dragon, to Game of Thrones - they are BAMFs in my book. But I haven't read an awesome book about them ever since the fifth grade. (Thank you, Dragon Rider and Dealing with Dragons.) These are the books I know that has awesome dragons in them, please tell me which one I should read next, or feel free to add other books onto this list: 
- A Game of Thrones, 
- The Hobbit, 
- Seraphina, 
- Eon, 
- Dragonflight and 
- His Majesty's Dragon. 

Okay, let's get on with Scorched and why I want to say Dracarys to it.



Disclaimer: This is a did-not-finish for me. I have this book a fair shot (35% - 120 pages out of 340) before giving up.

Now,
description

1) The main characters are unimaginative. Trinity represents 90% of the female characters in YA. She falls in the category of 

description

You can easily mistake her for Clary from The Mortal Instruments series or Meghan from The Iron Fey series. And guess what all those books have in common? They didn't receive good ratings from me. Here she is being cheesy and dependent on a guy she just met:

"Her heart stuttered. He was staying? He was choosing to wait? Even though he said it could be dangerous? Even though he needed to protect the egg? That was, as he said, his number-one priority. His so-called mission to save the world. So, why one Earth would he choose to stay? To keep himself and the egg in danger?

She bit her lower lip. There was only one explanation. For her.
"
 
- Page 48 of ARC.

JFC, grow a backbone, would you? This just screams insta-love and a weak character. 

And while we're still on the topic of generic characters, let me show you how Trinity describes Connor: 

"But Connor was different. The travesties he'd witnessed had made him strong, not scared. Determined, not demoralized." - Page 83 of ARC. 

Can you imagine if the Book Police told the neighbourhood watch to look for a man that fits the above description? They might round up 85% of the male population in YAville.

And the troubles don't stop there. This book had parts that made no sense to me. Maybe it's just poorly edited, because it is an ARC. But I'll show you what I mean:

2) Disconnections upon disconnections.
So you said the government is after us? Oh, okay. I guess we shouldn't be afraid of them if they all did this:

"...three men in black swarmed the empty lot behind them. The men screamed furiously as they all tried to scale the enclosure at once, succeeding only in knocking one another down." - Page 40 of ARC. 

LOL wut? Was it Rookie Humiliation Day and I was just not aware?

Oh, and we also shouldn't go back to where I live because the people who are after us could already be there. And they are after this egg? Then explain to me why this happened?

"She glared at the egg out in the living room, sitting innocently on the coffee table, where Connor had left it." - Page 46 of ARC.

Wait. You just left it sitting on the table? Oh wait. I guess it's because you already locked the door. 

"She heard a deadbolt click into place. 'If we're going to be waiting here, I'd like to reinforce things a bit,' [said Connor]." - Page 48 of ARC. 

YOU MEAN YOU DIDN'T EVEN LOCK THE DOOR? I'm seriously hoping these disconnections are there because secretly Connor is evil and these are tricks he used to get Trinity to trust him. But later on, when they had to leave, Mari Mancusi seems to have forgotten to write in the part where they grab the egg and leave. I was horrified because they had just left the egg on the coffee table. I was relieved to find out later that somehow the egg was in the backpack, even when the author didn't describe how the egg got there...False alarm, guys. 

3) This book was just not exciting. In tense moments, the anxiety a reader should feel is no where to be found. It's either disrupted by Trinity acting stupid, or by some cheesy hand-holding, or by a long paragraph filled with lots of questions. We've seen it before in the quote I included in 1). Now that had extra cheese AND never ending questions. This following one is also a downer - warning, sort of spoiler-ish:

"She was alone.

How could he do this to her? Just dump her at the end of the world - with no explanation as to what she was supposed to do? Where she was supposed to go? Was this simply a vision of an event that had already taken place? Or has he actually sent her forward in time? Was she safe and sound in her former home, still gripping Connor's hands? Or was she really here, her life in danger?
" - Pages 85/86 of ARC.

When you actually have to put "Was she really here, her life in danger?" down on a page, that really disperses the tension. 

-takes deep breath- Okay. That's it. That is my rant. I appreciate Mari Mancusi for writing a dragon book, because FYEAH DRAGONS. But the writing just doesn't live up to my standards.

P.S.: The main character's name is Trinity Foxx. Does that not sound like a stripper/porn star name to you? AND, the nickname people in the future gives her is Fire Kissed. Uh, honey, that is not fierce, but cringe-worthy to me.

In fact, it's almost as bad as...Moon Moon.