Black Ships Before Troy~~

May 20, 2014

Hiya guys!!!

So last year at school we read Black Ships Before Troy. I found my notes (chapter summaries) and so I'm uploading them. However, in order to not clog up your feeds and also to not clog up my front page, I'm publishing them in "March 2012". There will be a page link in the sidebar where you can find all the summaries I've ever done and, eventually, an index of all my reviews... ............... eventually, haha.

Just wanted to drop in and let you know. Here is a comprehensive list of all of the links for Black Ships Before Troy, actually. Have a wonderful day!

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20

#feelinggood (book update)

Mar 18, 2014


On the other hand, been busy but haven't abandoned you guys yet, don't lose hope! >.<

I've just finished rereading Catherine, Called Birdy and Stargirl (one of my absolute favorite books).

I'm still ploughing through "The Deja Vu Experiment." Other people have said that it's like a "self-help book for the author," which I find difficult to understand; however, it does read somewhat like an organization of ideas, but not in a way that is coherent or interesting. I cannot think of anyone who would want to read this book, and I'm not sure why there are characters in it.

There is a character named Diana (I believe she is real, or at least a real person with the name changed), and she is basically the author/narrator's (I really cannot distinguish the two; I am not even sure if they are the same person or not) wife, who has taught said author/narrator a ton about some very very obscure and difficult ideas.

I am not in any way condoning the author for the way he chose to present these ideas, or about the ideas themselves; however, he might want to rethink why he chose to publish his book, as I don't believe this has any appeal (for its target audience, at least, which, according to NetGalley, is Science Fiction enthusiasts).

I'm also not sure: if it is classified as Science Fiction, does that mean that the author believes it is "fiction"? If so, then is the author the first-person narrator of the book (or is it based off of the author)? We never learn the character's name, I think; or it might be "John Galt."

Quickie Review: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Mar 11, 2014

Firstly I just wanna say that y'all continually surprise me with the pageview count <3 :D Keep it up y'all! (click that refresh button! <3) And um please, if you would, check out my other posts? :)

I'm going to actually start using more "jumps" so that I can get more pageviews :3

So click --> to read more.....

The Deja Vu Experiment by J.G. Renato

Mar 6, 2014

The Deja Vu ExperimentThe Deja Vu Experiment by J.G. Renato
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

ARC courtesy of NetGalley. Thank you NetGalley!

I heard someone say that it was like a "self help book.... for the author." While I don't necessarily agree, I thought many of the ideas in it were interesting, but altogether it was not interesting enough to hold my attention for long periods of time. The books seemed incredibly repetitive, repeating things a lot. What I had a huge problem with, though, was the utter lack of plot.

Now, I'm not sure what genre this falls in. On NetGalley, it was listed as Science Fiction, but that seems almost unbelievable now that I've read it. It's more like a spiritual book, somehow. But for a book this thick (I'm pretty sure it's a thick book. I read it in ebook format though.), I can't believe that it talks about the same exact thing over and over.

There are mentions of a certain "Diana," but the relationship between Diana and the narrator is confusing and not at all well explained: she was a widow, and then she met John, the narrator, and then they got married (?) and then (view spoiler) Apparently Diana is the one who taught John [you barely hear his name repeated throughout the book anyway, only once or twice] about "the gap", which I won't explain in further detail. "The gap" and the ideas surrounding it make up ~98$ of the book, probably even more. I'll give the author credit; the book does do a great job of explaining just what "the gap" is. But I'm not sure that many people actually want to know.... I was ready to stop reading at around 15% or 30% through...

Mostly, I didn't understand the author's purpose. Or the genre. Or a lot things, actually, about this book.

View all my reviews 


Book Update!

Mar 5, 2014

First of all, you may have noticed some changes going on concerning this blog :)

I've really worked hard to make an effort and review more books per year, and also achieve more pageviews ;)

But this time, it's actually crucial that I make this blog look good AND include great content and posts for my readers...

Because this blog is actually entered in a competition!

I'm really excited.... And to tie up this post: Once Upon A Book will start looking fantasmic!

I know that the current template is glitchy and buggy and I hope you'll forgive me...

Anyway, books rock!

Current reading list:

The Deja Vu Experiment (really difficult to understand...)
All my textbooks ;)

Pls refresh my page for me to get more pageviews! Just kidding... <3

20 Ways to Draw a Cat and 44 Other Awesome Animals by Julia Kuo *Quickie Review*

Mar 4, 2014

Note: As of the writing of this post, Once Upon a Book has 3997 pageviews! Just 3 more to go until 4000~ <3 y'all are the best :)

20 Ways to Draw a Cat and 44 Other Awesome Animals: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers20 Ways to Draw a Cat and 44 Other Awesome Animals: A Sketchbook for Artists, Designers, and Doodlers by Julia Kuo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know that this is a pretty high rating considering
a) it's not even a real book (at least by some standards, as it's partly labeled as a sketchbook )
b) at least 1/4 of it is blank... there's blank space on every other page at least.
c) most of the illustrations aren't even in colour.

However, the four stars I gave this book is not relative to others; my personal satisfaction regarding this book was insanely high for almost no reason, except that I really really like looking at the gorgeous illustrations and designs.

I knocked off a star because I didn't particularly like how it's designed as a sketchbook; the paper is not suitable for drawing, and I had thought it would be good as a reference book when making your own designs or copying these, but not to draw in.

Perhaps I'm somewhat biased as I received this book FREE from my school library's book fair book raffle, so I'm super pleased with that :3

Also, just to note, but I read the Chinese version of this; physically it's not much different though, with just an addition of the Chinese name for the animal under each page's heading and a Chinese introduction.

Obviously you have to look out because this book contains barely any words (I would say, fewer than 50 in all, except for the introduction/preface thing), so you may not find this purchase worth it (if you are buying...?) As another reviewer said, this book doesn't contain any how-to instruction, and it seems that some of the designs were produced with graphic-design software, which is pretty hard to replicate by hand. However, it's still a very nice book with pretty illustrations, so.....

More about the pictures:

I really liked them :) Even in (mostly) black and white, they were really inspiring at least to me. Clean lines and not cartoony looking, while still being creative-and-sketchy.

View all my reviews

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Good and Bad Review)

Jan 24, 2014

I first picked up a Sarah Dessen novel at the unreasonably small library at my school, since it seemed fairly interesting. This was last June and I was fairly new to the YA romance scene; now, I have been told that this first book was one of the best by Dessen. If so, then it unfortunately set my expectations "unrealistically" high. This book was The Truth about Forever, and you can read my review of that book here.

As I said, I guess I sculpted my expectations for Along for the Ride based on The Truth about Forever. It wasn't as though I'd only read one Dessen book-- I'd read two others besides: Someone Like You, which I disliked but thought was the exception, not the rule, and Dreamland, with its excellent writing (even with its topic making me uncomfortable.) Anywho, Along for the Ride was just not for me.


  1. Maggie & Co. are cardboard-cutout characters, vastly disinteresting. Mostly, I hated selfish and inconsiderate Leah (who just cares about going where she wanted ((TALLYHO))). Auden, the main character, was right in her first-impressions-judgement of them: They ARE superficial. Obviously, Maggie has more to her than meets the eye, but still: It's just her, and frankly it's not enough. (Think 4 Kaitlyns from The Fault in Our Stars, but one of them is quite intelligent.) Additionally, their taste in boys says it all (kind of), and makes them seem even more shallow, even Maggie, if such a thing is possible (it is).
  2. Jason. I understand that he was made to be unlikeable, but STILL. Weirdly enough he said things like "I wouldn't blame you if you were to never speak to me again," showing his emotions. I think he cares for Auden but expects too much from her: to wait until he himself has time for her, and sit idly, skipping a lot of fun/parties, when he doesn't. Also: is he Jason from The Truth about Forever? While this is kind of unlikely due to timing, they have similar personalities, and I have heard that Dessen commonly includes characters from other books into new ones, reprising their roles. (But usually, MCs from other books get small roles in new books, so...)
  3. Auden's actions? Like, specifically, Jake. >.>
  4. Sarah Dessen's book formula. Like, I understand that you are supposed to look at books separately from each other, especially if they are not part of a series, and treat them independently. But one has got to wonder if Dessen is just really really really overusing all her plot elements.
  1. Eli? He's quirky for sure, but.... the way he just opens up to  Auden & no one else, especially seeing that Auden is NEW TO TOWN, is really kind of unnerving. I love the laundromat-pie thing, though. It really adds an extra dimension to the Eli/Auden relationship (whatever it is).
  2. Heidi. YES YES YES. Auden was condescending about her in the beginning but that only made me love her more when she turned out to be..........nice.
  3. Auden....... but only sometimes. I'm glad she has a good relationship with her parents (Even if said parents are consistently make mistakes/use poor judgement regarding decisions).
  4. Auden's brother, Hollis. Agh! He's lucky, lucky, lucky, and quirky, and kind of a spoiled kid, but he seems to be a genuinely nice guy with an interesting personality (even if he just keeps sapping money from his parents).

Opera A to Z by Liddy Lindsay

Jan 2, 2014

Opera A to Z: A Beginner's Guide to OperaOpera A to Z: A Beginner's Guide to Opera by Liddy Lindsay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The following review was first posted on NetGalley. Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book! :3

I had a hard time enjoying this book, although I suppose that I'm in the target age range. Was it because of how difficult it was to relate to the subject matter? Perhaps, although I consider myself as being more open-minded among my peers...

I expected the paintings to be a big plus. While obviously the whole picture book thing was discounted because I read it on a Kindle (third generation, so it's still black-and-white), I looked up the author's website shortly afterward, and the paintings were not spectacular as some other reviewers on Goodreads have said-- in fact, they looked somewhat pitiful and amateur.

I mean no disrespect to the author by saying this; in fact, the writing was very informative. However, I was quickly bored, without any deviation from the almost monotonous structure to keep me interested.

I do give this book two stars, though, for the content, although I would not read this again.

View all my reviews