June & July Wrap up

Today is 31/7 which means… it’s time for June and July’s wrap up!

I had finals in June for like 2 weeks and I couldn’t read so I decided to combine June and July’s wrap up post. In June I read 2 English books and a Chinese book:
  

In July I read 6 English novels, 4 novellas and 2 Chinese books:
(Click the cover for my book discussion posts)

         

 

The Book Blogger Test

Top 5 Favourite YA Dystopian novels
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The Harry Potter Tag
Emoji Book Tag
Sunathon TBR
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Sunathon Wrap up

 

School. Exams. School. Exams. Sounds boring right? 😛
I didn’t have enough time to revise so I had to get up early in the morning to do revision. Sometimes 2:30 am, sometimes 3:00 am. I remember watching FIFA World Cup while revising (oops I shouldn’t have done that. No regrets though). After 2 weeks of torture I could finally watch football matches without worries. So that’s how June went by.

You thought that I’d be on holiday after I’ve finished my exams? Nope. I still have to go to school. The teachers were supposed to teach as we don’t have enough time to finish the syllabus, but because a lot of my classmates were on study tours, we had free lessons! So I ended up reading the whole day (not complaining).
Three weeks went by and I’m finally out of school! I decided to resume my blog and went on the internet for some book blogging tips. These are some of the websites I’ve found that are quite useful:

http://www.parajunkee.com/category/feature/book-blogging-101/tips/

http://jennyinneverland.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/book-blogging-tips/

http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/2014/01/heck-blogger-tips-tricks-15.html

I also went to the Hong Kong Book Fair and bought plenty of books. Check out my book haul here:

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Music:

  

Movies:

   

Others:

How can this not be in my monthly favourites? Going to school after watching the match – BEST DAY EVER! (Just sayin)

Sunathon Wrap up

I had a wonderful week! I read 3 out of 5 books but I’m quite happy with it as I barely got time to read. Anyway, here are the book discussions:

  

[Destroy me is a novella. I’m going to include the discussion in another post]

Thankyou Emma from emmaloubookblog.wordpress.com for hosting it! I had a really good time and discovered some really cool book blogs on Twitter.

 

Book discussion: Four


Book Title: Four: A Divergent Collection

Author: Veronica Roth

Genre: YA Dystopian

★★★★★

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling divergent series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—The Transfer, The Initiate, The Son, and The Traitor—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the Divergent trilogy.

– Goodreads

 

I bought the novellas separately on Amazon. I remember buying Four: the Transfer immediately when it came out because I REALLY want to know more about Tobias Eaton.

I love novellas as they give me a different perspective on events happening in the book. It’s always interesting, knowing how different characters interpret their conversations, how different characters see the same situation.

Free four retells the knife-throwing scene from Tobias’ point of view, which gives us reader an idea why he needed to do that. I was mad at Four for hurting Tris when I was reading Divergent, but now, being presented the motive behind, I understand it.

Four, despite of being incredible by Dauntless standards, is in fact not an outgoing person. His secret of being Marcus’ son creates an invisible barrier between himself and other initiates. He isolates himself because he is afraid of what others would think of him once his secret was spilled.

I feel like life in Abnegation symbolises our childhood in some way, where drinking etc. is not allowed. Dauntless is our life after we’ve come of age – alcohol, tattoo, all this craziness. Of course it is a stereotypical description of an adult’s life. I’d like to treat them as a symbolism – it symbolises those ‘new stuff’ we encounter in our life. Sometimes we feel insecure when we try new things or socialise with people, but we have to pluck up the courage. Everything has its first time.

I didn’t realise that Tobias has contributed a lot in finding out what Jeanine Matthews was up to. I was too focused on the Initiation and Tris in Divergent I didn’t pay much attention to Four. His persistence on investigation despite of the threatenings from his leader earned my respect. His act of doing what is right and just despite of repressions demonstrates true bravery.

As a side note, Veronica Roth writes REALLY GOOD quotes. I’ve read books where there are not many inspirational quote but even in her short stories, quotes are everywhere.

So those are my thoughts on Four: A Divergent Collection. What do you think ? Did it change how you see Four? Well it definitely did, for me. Leave a comment down below!

Book discussion: Rebel


Book Title: Rebel

Author: Amy Tintera

Genre: YA Sci-fi/Dystopian

★★★★★

The sequel to the action-packed Reboot is a can’t-miss thrill ride, perfect for fans of James Patterson, Veronica Roth, and Marie Lu.After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn’t what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren’s instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he’s underestimated Wren and Callum.

The explosive finale to the Reboot duology is full of riveting action and steamy love scenes as Wren and Callum become rebels against their own kind.
– Goodreads

 
[This is a sequel to Reboot so if you haven’t read Reboot yet, please don’t spoil yourself.]

It’s a DUOLOGY not a trilogy. WOW. It surprised me. This book is EPIC. THRILLING. And the ending is beautiful. Tintera did a really good job wrapping up the story.

Rebel is better than Reboot, as you can see from my ratings. I usually have trouble enjoying books with duo/multiple pov, but it turned out alright this time. I was worried that either Wren or Callum would die, because

*SPOILER FOR ALLEGIANT*

Tris dies in Allegiant and that’s one of the reasons why Veronica Roth wrote the book in duo pov.

*SPOILER DONE*

I got to the point where Callum was shot and I saw chapter thirty-nine Callum’s BLANK. And I was like ‘NO NO HE CAN’T DIE THIS IS NOT HAPPENING’ (sorry for all the caps) I thought he was dead and it turned out that he is shot in the eye. (Phew)

The character development, again, is well done. Callum leads the Reboots with the absence of Wren and learns that his number doesn’t define himself. Wren, too, forgets about her number towards the end of the book. Wren refuses to kill Officer Mayer- she tells herself that she won’t kill someone just because she could. To her, killing Micah’s not even a victory. She changes from a ‘killer’ under HARC’s control to a girl who doesn’t even want to carry a gun.

By the way, I can’t decide which cover is better, Reboot or Rebel. I like both colour combinations and the futuristic designs. *Pat the book*

On the whole, this book is REALLY GOOD. Things keep happening and I flew through it quickly. This is probably one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read this year.

If you’ve read the series, what do you think? Do you like Rebel more than Reboot, or vice versa?

Book discussion: Reboot


Book Title: Reboot

Author: Amy Tintera

Genre: YA Sci-fi/Dystopian

★★★★

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

– Goodreads

This book is a page-turner. The story is fast-paced, gripping and action-packed. AND THE COVER. Just take a moment and admire the cover. It’s SO beautiful.

I love the character development of Wren. At first, being the least human reboot in HARC, she thought she had no emotion at all. She could not tolerate anyone who screams. She couldn’t cry. However, once Callum come into her life, she changes. It is him who notices Wren when she shows her emotion, and he is the only one who’s not afraid of her. She has found her human side.

The idea of Reboots is original and interesting. Reboots are not cyborgs or robots, even though I kept picturing them as cyborgs. Well, the similarity between Reboots and Zombies is that you have to shoot them in the head in order to kill them.

[Fun fact: I was eating when I got to the point where Callum turns into a human-eating monster and I lost my appetite for a few seconds.]

The reason why I didn’t give it a five out of five stars is because of the romance. The couple is cute and sweet, however, it escalates too quickly. It’s not an instalove, but still. It’s also kind of weird, because Reboots’ supposed to be less emotional than humans, yet Wren and Callum still have strong feelings for each other, like humans. Maybe Tintera want us readers to understand that as long as we have human inside us, no matter if it’s a lot or a little, we still have emotions. And maybe love is the strongest emotion (?)

Anyway, it’s a really enjoyable book, and I’ll definitely continue with the series. In fact, I’m reading Rebel right now for the 2nd book in the sunathon.

Tobias’ Tattoo Inspired Fan Art

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I was reading Four: The Son when I came across this line:

the Dauntless flames being cupped by Abnegation hands, the Amity tree roots growing beneath an Erudite eye, which is balanced under the Candor scales.

It seems that, unlike the current design, where each of the faction symbols is ‘wrapped’ by a circle, they should be linked together. So I got this idea of recreating Tobias’ tattoo. I did not draw it 100% according to the description though:

1st draft

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2nd draft

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And then I went on my computer and outlined it with Paint.net

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Finally, I coloured it with my phone

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Actually, I like the black and white version more than the coloured version 😛

Anyway, it was really fun recreating the tattoo. I’ll get my creative juices flowing so I can think of more fandom inspired DIYs. Hope you enjoy this post. See you!

 

Book discussion: For The Win


Book Title: For The Win

Author: Cory Doctorow

Genre: YA Sci-fi/Dystopian

★★

In the virtual future, you must organize to surviveAt any hour of the day or night, millions of people around the globe are engrossed in multiplayer online games, questing and battling to win virtual “gold,” jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, others seek to exploit this vast shadow economy, running electronic sweatshops in the world’s poorest countries, where countless “gold farmers,” bound to their work by abusive contracts and physical threats, harvest virtual treasure for their employers to sell to First World gamers who are willing to spend real money to skip straight to higher-level gameplay.

Mala is a brilliant 15-year-old from rural India whose leadership skills in virtual combat have earned her the title of “General Robotwalla.” In Shenzen, heart of China’s industrial boom, Matthew is defying his former bosses to build his own successful gold-farming team. Leonard, who calls himself Wei-Dong, lives in Southern California, but spends his nights fighting virtual battles alongside his buddies in Asia, a world away. All of these young people, and more, will become entangled with the mysterious young woman called Big Sister Nor, who will use her experience, her knowledge of history, and her connections with real-world organizers to build them into a movement that can challenge the status quo.

The ruthless forces arrayed against them are willing to use any means to protect their power—including blackmail, extortion, infiltration, violence, and even murder. To survive, Big Sister’s people must out-think the system. This will lead them to devise a plan to crash the economy of every virtual world at once—a Ponzi scheme combined with a brilliant hack that ends up being the biggest, funnest game of all.

Imbued with the same lively, subversive spirit and thrilling storytelling that made LITTLE BROTHER an international sensation, FOR THE WIN is a prophetic and inspiring call-to-arms for a new generation

– Goodreads

 

This is a YA dystopian/science novel, but for me, it doesn’t feel like a YA book at all. Cory Doctorow educates you on economic, social and political ideals, and that’s a lot to take in, especially for teenagers like me. The book has 496 pages, which is fine for a fast-paced and gripping story, but this one is slow. It has a lot of main characters, and it keeps alternating throughout the chapter. I am awful at keeping up with multi-perspective story, so I gave up after reading 1/4 of it.

I checked the Goodreads rating when I borrowed this book from the library along with Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. The rating is not that bad, so if this book interest you, go and read it.

[This discussion is short as I didn’t finish the book. I intended to include this in my monthly wrap up post but I decided to do it separately. ]