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Book Review: The Maze Runner

First off, I’d like to apologize for abandoning my blog for such a long time. Won’t happen again, I swear. I’ve been doing some reading while away and have a few reviews lined up over the next few weeks. I have a few movie and show reviews, as well, but we’ll save that for another day.

I’m reviewing “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner in this post. Here is the blurb from the Amazon page:

“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
 
Remember. Survive. Run.”

The Maze Runner is the story of a boy who wakes up in a lift with no memories, save for his name: Thomas. Throughout the story you learn about “the Glade”, the maze, the boys and lone girl, and why they were all sent there. Every day Runners go into the maze surrounding the Glade and search for a way out, but to no avail.

It’s a fast paced book with a ton of mystery surrounding it. I had fun reading it, trying to figure out the puzzles presented. There were some sad moments that I personally didn’t feel moved by, but the suspense of the story kept me interested. Thomas is a character you either want to kick or feel sorry for most of the time, but he pulls off some heroic plays that make you like him by the end of the book. The story is being developed into a movie, which I’m looking forward to watching. I’ll post a screenshot below.

On Goodreads, I gave The Maze Runner 4/5 stars. 4 because it was compelling and a good thriller.

mazerunnerpic

Book Review: Throne of Glass

frontcover throne glass

So my boyfriend bought me a new fantasy (more like YA) book two days ago called “Throne of Glass” by author Sarah J. Maas. I read it in a day, kind of devoured it a little greedily, to be honest, and I loved it! At the corner it says, “For fans of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games”. I’m thinking “those two books have nothing in common”. But Throne of Glass was a LOT like The Hunger Games. Love triangle, competition, crazy leader, lots of blood, mentors, beautifying the competitors, etc, etc.

Let’s move away from there, though, before I really start comparing the two.

Here is the Amazon blurb for Throne of Glass:

“After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.”

Throne of Glass had characters that felt very real to me, and it’s been a while since I’ve read about characters like that. The last few books I’ve read had very bland characters that I didn’t care about and didn’t care what happened to them at the end. The characters in ToG were witty, fun, and basically forced you to care about them. Celaena was a fun character to read about, and although sometimes she acted rather innocent and weak, you knew she wasn’t and could easily kill anyone in the room. Throughout the course of the book, she becomes less hostile to those around her and warms up to them, even considering them friends. She grows as a person, leaving behind her hatred (though not entirely), and adapts to life in the castle.

Honestly, I didn’t like Prince Dorian. I’m sure many others did, but I certainly didn’t. He was supposed to be charming and sweet, though I just found him annoying. His relationship with Celaena felt kind of flat to me. I liked him a little bit towards the end when he started to change, but I still didn’t entirely like him. I think I would like him, however, if he started bonding with Princess Nehemiah. I’m interested in seeing where their story could lead.

Chaol Westfall, the guard captain, was by far my favourite character in the book. I don’t think I’ve ever read of (or can think of right now, at least) a character so well put together as Chaol. His moments with Celaena were my favourite, as they always made me laugh. I like the way he slowly began to trust her and how Celaena slowly realized that she may have feelings towards him. There were a few scenes near the end that really stuck with me (the chalk line scene during the fight, for one). I feel that the relationship between Chaol and Celaena would make a much better ending to the series than Celaena and Dorian, mainly because Chaol feels much more real than Dorian and he seems to care far more, too.

Princess Nehemiah was a great character. She felt very mysterious and at times you wonder if she’s actually good or evil, caring or just looking out for herself. I want to see more scenes between her and the prince, though I’m not sure if the author is going to even go in that direction (but I hope she does!)

The other characters were all memorable, including Nox and the crafty Katlain. Sometimes I felt like the King wasn’t a big enough threat, that he simply hid beyond the shadows too much, but I guess it made sense in a way. Celaena wouldn’t exactly be speaking with the King much. Though, he was a little childish, I felt.

The world of ToG is very big, yet we don’t get to see any of it except for the castle and the route there from the salt mines. We are briefly told that Fae inhabit the woods along the way, but we don’t get to see the woods again. I’m thinking that in the next book, the characters will be out of the castle and into the world quite frequently. Wyrdmarks (mystical symbols that are important about halfway through the book) will no doubt return and be even more important than before, and we’ll possibly see the woods with the Fae people. The author tells us that magic is no longer in the world of ToG, but I think it may return in the sequel.

Story-wise it was very entertaining. I felt the story revolved more around the love triangle of Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol (even though for the most part Chaol doesn’t show off feelings) instead of the competition to become the King’s Champion. Some of the challenges were left out of writing and only briefly mentioned by Celaena, which was a little disappointing at times. The challenge involving climbing the castle was fun to read and I hoped to read more like it. You also get the scenes where Celaena explores on her own underneath the castle, which reveals quite a bit about the story’s plot.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to read the sequel that’s coming out next month (August 15th) called “Crown of Midnight”. I’m really hoping that Celaena ends up with the guard captain, but I feel like the author is pushing the other way, which is unfortunate. And I hope everything about the Wyrdmarks and the Fae is explained, because both are really interesting.

4.5 stars out of 5 for Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

~ Sandra

Hard to Say

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.”

- Stephen King

50 Shades of Grey Review

Well, tonight I am doing a review of 50 Shades of Grey. So much variation. Let me get straight into this long review.

 

#050505 – The darkest grey, closest to black.

#0A0A0A – Sounds like the lyrics to a Marianas Trench song…

#0F0F0F – Slowly getting lighter..

#141414 – Upside down it looks like “hihihi”

#191919 – The last of your teenage years

#1E1E1E – Almost there…

#232323 – My current age

#282828 – This is a good colour

#2D2D2D – Not as good as 3D

#323232 – Deja vu…

#373737 – A grey overcast, depressing

#3C3C3C – Explosive

#414141 – A dimly lit room

#464646 – Someone forgot to close the curtains in that room

#4B4B4B – Bingo!

#505050 – Halfway to a hundred

#555555 – Just a boring, repeated number

#5A5A5A – Getting lighter now

#5F5F5F – I’m sure that was a TV channel when I was younger

#646464 – I really liked the Nintendo 64, though this colour is a little lighter than the console

#696969 – A nice car colour to be sure

#6E6E6E – Angry storm clouds

#737373 – Wet rocks on a mountainside

#787878 – Pebbles in the brook?

#7D7D7D – The future of 3D

#828282 – Running out of grey things…

#878787 – Your grandmother’s hair

#8C8C8C – Wolf fur

#919191 – The  gleaming moon

#969696 – The moonlight gleaming

#9B9B9B – The moonlight gleaming upon the back of a wolf

#A0A0A0 – A-oh, a-oh, a-oh

#A5A5A5 – All I see is “as”

#AAAAAA – That’s a lot of A’s

#AFAFAF – Any moment now the dark grey will fade

#B4B4B4 – Texting slang

#B9B9B9 – Light grey is the way to go

#BEBEBE – Be yourself, like this colour is doing

#C3C3C3 – More explosive

#C8C8C8 – Night turning to morning

#CDCDCD – Remember those?

#D2D2D2 – Rain clouds, but not so angry

#D7D7D7 – A mellow grey

#DCDCDC – A district that is not grey

#E1E1E1 – The colour of a little mouse

#E6E6E6 – Okay, really, enough grey things. I’m sick of grey now.

#EBEBEB – A metallic colour

#F0F0F0 – This grey is much too bright

#F5F5F5 – Fluffy clouds, not angry at all

#FAFAFA – Nice layers of snow

 

Okay! I’m done! Phew, that was a lot of colours! Glad it’s over with.

~ Sandra

The Smashwords Sale

Hey guys! Smashwords is having a Summer sale! Books are going on sale all over Smashwords, and I have participated in the event. You can grab both The Secret World of Dragons and The Secret World of Magic for 50% off by using this code: SSW50.

Check that out here: Author page.

If you want to browse the many other authors and books on Smashwords, check out the sale page here: Sale page.

Happy reading, guys! : )

~ Sandra

Animal Crossing: New Leaf Review

WARNING: This game contains content that is highly addictive and may cause you to forget about the real world for long periods of time.

Hello everyone! Today I am reviewing Animal Crossing: New Leaf
for the 3DS. I absolutely LOVE Animal Crossing games. Maybe it’s because I like to collect things and AC has by far the biggest collection of things in any video game. Maybe I like to continuously expand my house and fill it with so many things I can’t even open the door (Hoarders: Animal Crossing Edition).

Either way, New Leaf is probably my favourite so far in the series.animal_crossing_new_leaf_box_art_north_america

Nintendo has introduced many new things in the series this time around. Firstly, there is Main Street – similar to the city in AC: City Folk. Main Street is a bit different, though, allowing new shops to open up over time and allowing you – the mayor – to build places there, as well.

But I am jumping ahead of myself. For those new to AC, let me fill you in.

Animal Crossing is a game where you control a character (name and gender up to you) in a village filled with animal neighbours. The game takes advantage of the system’s time/date system to change the time of year it is (snowing in December, sunny in June). You usually arrive with no money, no home, and no way of getting either, then Tom Nook (the local shopkeeping raccoon) shows up and offers you a part time job (amongst other not-so-great things, like a giant house loan).

So you continue on from there, completing your job and paying off your house, until you have established quite a collection of furniture, clothes, and wallpapers. You can befriend the villagers, annoy them until they move out, or completely ignore them and watch for the hilarious messages that pop up whenever you turn the game on next.

In AC:NL, there are various new features. Firstly, you are no longer the vagabond forced into cheap labour by the greedy raccoon. You become – by an odd turn of events – the mayor of the village (which you can name). As mayor, you have a tomnookcollection of duties to perform, such as constructing town projects, keeping the village clean, being a good neighbour, and monitoring ordinances.

Note: Up to four players can live in the village you have created, but only you can be mayor. They may also move out onto a new copy of Animal Crossing if they so desire, but that’s kinda mean.

Unlike in the other Animal Crossing games, you can now wear shoes and socks. You can store a multitude of things in your closets. You can go diving at the island and catch deep-sea fish. There are fortune cookies sold in the shop (purchasable by play coins) that give you cool Nintendo things for your home. You can sit on benches and use megaphones to annoy your neighbours (annoying neighbours is fun, okay!)

The upgrading in this game is far more advanced than previous games, as well. Not only can you add extra space, an upstairs and downstairs to your house, but you can add extra rooms, too! You can put rooms to the left and right, plus upgrade them further. Tom Nook has opened up a renovating shop in New Leaf, where you can change the exterior of your home quite a bit. There are many different themes, but whenever I see something that looks remotely medieval, I always buy it. (P.S. there is a castle upgrade you can buy when you finish adding all rooms to your home!)

The Re-tail shop is a new place to visit, run by two llamas. Reese will help you with the recycling (selling and buying) while Cyrus will remodel furniture that you own reese_cyrus_thumb(after he wakes up), another new features of New Leaf! You can even place your own designs on furniture with his help.

AC:NL also has co-op, so you can invite your friends to your town or you can go to theirs (and wreck havoc). The island is always a fun place to go with friends, because for the first time in AC you can play mutiplayer games. The island features many co-op games to play, and most of them are quite fun. You also get island coins for your mini adventures, which is the only form of money they will accept if you want to buy island things!

Remember the Able Sisters? Well they are back and with a QR code machine! If you talk to the sisters and befriend them, they will set up a QR machine in their shop Able Sisters (Clothes)that allows you to snap QR codes to collect new designs. It’s quite a nifty feature.

A definite great addition to the series, but forget about annoying your friends by digging holes around them. They can now press “Y” to kick the holes in. :/

I recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of the series (or the Harvest Moon series). I bought it several weeks ago now and I am still turning it on every day to check for new items, see what’s new, and work on my upgrading (I am NOT obsessed!)

If you’re a collector (like, a really, really devoted AC collector) you can check out Animal Crossing: New Leaf: Prima Official Game Guide. It has TONS of information about the game, plus a guide to all of the furniture collections. It’s a great and helpful guide for an Animal Crossing player, especially since it’s a new game and not much information is out on the web yet.

Have fun! :)

~ Sandra

Smashwords

This is going to be a fairly short post. I just want to give a shout out to everyone on Smashwords that has supported me. The Myth of Kalvartr has been doing really well so far and I’m pleased to see so many people downloading free copies. Thanks, guys! I really appreciate all the support! Writing a high-fantasy for the first time is challenging and requires a lot of work and research, so I’m glad to see a wall of support behind me. I’m hoping to release the book by the end of the year, so look forward to that. : )

Thanks again!

~ Sandra

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