Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Movie Thoughts: When in Rome

Watched this during my post-huge-exam-while-procrastinating-for-the-next-exam phase. This review is really rushed and really short!

**
My Expectations: A cute chick flick, my expectations weren’t that high.

Delivery: Fell short of my already low expectations, which made me sad.
**

I’m going to keep this one really short and quick. When in Rome is about a girl (who doesn't really believe in love anymore) who steals coins out of the "Fountain of Love" which causes the people who threw the coins to fall in love with her. Of course, these people are completely psychotic in an either haha-funny or cringe-funny way. During her trip to Rome (where her sister got married) she meets the guy who convinces her ‘love is real’ and all that jazz.

Okay, I really didn’t like this movie. The one thing I really hate in books (unrealistic "love" over the span of less than 2 weeks) is supremely over-glorified in this movie. The acting might have been okay, but the plot itself just couldn’t be redeemed and I either spent the whole time *facepalming* at clichéd lines or ridiculous sub-plots, or annoyed at the love in general. Even the ending was just soo cheesy! Ughh, not my style. That’s not saying I don’t think Josh Duhamel isn’t hott ;)

Popcorn Review: watch if you are in dire need of a chick flick and want the insanely unrealistic fall-in-love-in-14-days storyline.

5/10
– didn’t like it at all, sorry. Ughh, maybe I need to be in a better mood when I watch it or something, I guess it just wasn’t the movie for me. In the wide sea of chick flicks, this one sinks, it just ends up feeling like a poor attempt.

Have you seen When in Rome? Did you like it? And do you like romantic comedies in general?

Monday, June 28, 2010

BR: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

I know right?? It's like about time I've read this! Blame the library ;) Also, see my Friday's Finest quote from this book!
Will Grayson = John Green's Will
will grayson 2 = David Levithan's Will

Summary (goodreads):
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.


**
My Expectations: Originally, they were sky high, but after some lukewarm reviews they were about average. Expected kind of a let down.

Delivery: Exceeded lukewarm expectations :) Very enjoyable!

Put-down-ability: average, read in 3 sittings, 5/10
**

My Thoughts

Okay, so like I mentioned before, I actually expected this to be a let down. I thought the angst and predictability would cause me to drown, and that the only bright spot would be the massively fabulous Tiny Cooper. Boy was I glad I was wrong.

Let me also mention that this style of book with a more depressing protagonist (in the case of will grayson 2) isn’t for everyone, but it worked for me. I was also expecting a Q/Colin/Miles like character from Will Grayson 1 and I sort of did but sort of didn’t. Let’s elaborate.

Some books are strong in plot, and some in characters. This one definitely shines in the latter, I felt both authors captured the voices of these emotionally confused teens spectacularly. It was bloody brilliant, each voice so distinct and ringing with that grain of truth that can’t be forced. I could feel the feeling behind the words on the page, and that is definitely a high compliment. Even will grayson 2 and his I-hate-life attitude worked for me, it never really felt forced, just felt… sad. I was also glad that Levithan made sure his sexuality didn’t define him, it was a part of him that made him real and added just a level of depth.

If I had to choose a favourite, honestly, I would probably go with will grayson 2. Other people might just find him too depressed, but I thought the way he wrote, his voice, his conversations were incredibly realistic and a joy to read. Not all teens can be smart and witty like Jane and Will Grayson :p --And side note: omg Schrodingers cat was on The Big Bang Theory and when Sheldon talked about it I was all like "oh my god, thats from WGWG!!!"

Wastepaper Prose blog had a fantastic post about what literary devices authors like in YA books, and a lot of them chose an engaging voice. I strongly agree with this and it is really a relief that I finally found a book with not only one, but two distinctive ones. And Tiny Cooper? Win. Nothing more than that, he is the world’s awesome-est supporting character.

The plot itself was incredibly cool and original, I loved the idea of two Will Graysons the whole thing surrounding Tiny Cooper’s musical, and the two meeting one night in a porn shop only to have their lives twist because of that one moment that must be fate. It felt just ridiculous enough to tug the strings at reality, but I don’t think this is a story about Tiny Cooper’s life being gay and large.

It’s a story of love that is so intricately woven into every moment of self-loathing, friend hating, insecurity, and kiss, about how we need to keep trying and every try-and-error eventually becomes it. (Yes, I stole that from the book, sue me.) Another part I loved about the novel is how will grayson learns that it can be okay to depend on others, it’s a lesson that I do take to the heart and really spoke to me.

Lastly, I think we all know that when two talented authors such as John Green and David Levithan collaborate, the writing is undoubtedly flawless. It is. I’m a sucker for uniquely-well-written novels (like Speak, Wintergirls) and Levithan’s will grayson joins that exclusive group.

Parting Thoughts: I’m just so happy I finally read this. I would shove this in anybody’s face, but beware of: frequent cursing, angst, cute-ness, and unexpected-expected insight to life.
Also, I'm expecting Tiny Cooper's own novel...now... :P
Rating in HP terms (OWLs): Exceeds Expectations

9/10 – because I really, really loved the characters, writing and the story. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but there might be something missing (weird ol’ me) that prevented me from giving this an “Outstanding” OWL. Perhaps it was the ending which I thought was just a little bit movie-cheesy. The Will Graysons were incredibly well written and fleshed out (despite emo will and pining Will), along with Tiny Cooper stealing scene after scene with his boisterous lovability. A

Want an emotionally touching, original story about two boys’ journey for self-discovery and love? Pick this one up, you won’t regret it. (recommended to an older YA audience though)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My not-so-Secret summer Vacation

Everybody... I am going to CHINA!!

My aunt works in Shanghai, so my mom and I are leaving the beloved Canada for a whole 4 weeks! There will be a detour to Taiwan as well to visit other relatives :) This will be my very first time going to China... I think you can tell I'm excited. I am leaving TOMORROW! (June 27)

I'm keeping family details as vague as possible, but I definitely don't think I'll mind sharing some other things about my trip with people who are interested. This will be the one and only time I shall "pimp" my non-book related blog. It's called "china In My brain" because I'm random like that and I like the play on words in relation to "holes In My brain"... call me tacky :p

**I'm not sure how often I will keep it updated, it really depends on different factors like internet access, time constraints, camera malfunctions, getting mauled by a panda and general interest. It might go nowhere, it's really iffy right now.**

I will also include updates on other things going on, I am detouring to Taiwan sometime, along with going to Taiwan for the majority of August. I have tiny announcements on this blog, but mostly will be over there :)

Things I will be posting will include: pictures of things I find interesting (World Expo 2010, landmarks, food, people, shops, objects etc) along with maybe my daily happenings or stories. It's going to have very little book-related stuff.Please know that I honestly don't mind if you have no interest in it whatsoever, my book blog is still my baby, and the China thing is a side-plot. This whole post is a "just so you know" type of thing. Don't worry, I definitely will try my very best not to neglect this blog... but c'mon, it's CHINA! hehe

Things to see, people to meet.

Lastly (and perhaps most importantly) if any of you guys have any advice on what to do there, please leave a comment or email me! I want to sight-see the heck out of China (minus the Terracotta Army 'cause it's too far away). Preferably something around Beijing/Shanghai.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday's Finest (17)

Friday's Finest is a new meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts.

Rules:
~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn't a spoiler!
~If you'd like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it.
**

Haven't done this in a while! Don't you just love it when after a bunch of mediocre books, you find one where you can just read along and pick out the awesome-est quotes every other page?! Aahh, so many great ones to choose from this week, here's one of my favourite funny ones xD

Book: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by John Green and David Levithan

Quote:
I call Tiny. He doesn't answer. I get the voice mail. "You've reached the voice mail of Tiny Cooper, writer, producer, and star of the new musical Tiny Dancer: The Tiny Cooper Story. I'm sorry but it appears something more fabulous than your phone call is happening right now. When fabulous levels fall a bit, I'll get back to you. BEEP."
**

I don't know if the levels of fabulous can fall, because that quote is just ridiculous xD

Anyways, look out for my review sometime soon-ish! It's a great book :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

BR: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country

by Allan Richard Shickman

It’s been so long since I reviewed the first book! I’m so sorry for the delay, I just had lots of other books just stealing my attention away. I’m really glad I read the sequel to this prehistoric series though.

Summary (goodreads):
Zan s troubled twin brother, Dael, having suffered greatly during his earlier captivity, receives a ruinous new shock when his wife suddenly dies. Disturbed and traumatized, all of his manic energies explode into acts of hostility and bloodshed. His obsession is the destruction of the wasp men, his first captors, who dwell in the Beautiful Country. When he, Zan-Gah, and a band of adventurers trek to their bountiful home, they find that all of the wasp people have died in war or of disease. The Beautiful Country is empty for the taking, and Zan s people, the Ba-Coro, decide to migrate and resettle there. But the Noi, Dael s cruelest enemies and former tormentors, make the same migration from their desert home, and the possibility develops of contention and war over this rich and lovely new land.

**
My Expectations: Zan-Gah (#1) was decent, it wasn’t amazing but I didn’t dislike it either. I expected more or less the same from this one.

Delivery: Exceeded my expectations, but nothing really mind-blowing.

Put-down-ability: 8/10, read it in spurts.
**

My Thoughts

I was surprised by my enjoyment of this novel, I was genuinely interested in what was going on, and following the adventures of the Ba-Coro people into the Beautiful Country led by Zan-Gah. The whole prehistoric setting is a bit less in-your-face this time around, and personally I thought with a couple of twists and tweaks, it could really cross over into the fantasy genre quite well.

The conflict between the two brothers was well depicted in this instalment. My general dislike for Dael carried on throughout the majority of the novel, but it’s one of those things that I understand the reasoning behind it yet I don’t support or like it. The whole ending surrounding Dael was a bit anticlimactic, and really meh (I found it too unbelievable). The characters had a subtle level of depth to them, and I found them easier to pinpoint and remember (instead of getting confused with names all the time).

The plot itself was reminiscent of Zan-Gah in its constant movement, something was always occurring which was enjoyable. However, that being said it sometimes felt as if the story went in circles, with the fighting, conflict-resolving/negotiating, and back to fighting.

The writing was detached like book one, but I really wanted to comment on the expansive vocabulary portrayed within the story. I was impressed by the amount of more advanced words, so while the omniscient narration felt awkward at times, I felt that it could definitely be educational. Plus, the idea behind the novel will be appealing to teen boys. It’s tough to categorize this novel, because on one hand, it reads kind of like a MG novel with the action scenes, yet on the other hand there is quite a bit of violent battle scenes. If forced to pick, I would recommend it to boys grades 7-10.

Parting Thoughts: Extremely unique setting and plot, if you want to step out of your comfort zones, pick this one up!
Rating in HP terms (OWLs): Acceptable

7.1/10 – it was generally enjoyable but I felt that the action scenes were not enough to make up for a lacking in character development and growth. I was fascinated by the setting, however, and I really like how amazingly unique this whole prehistoric shenanigan is. The awesome vocabulary is beneficial to everyone too, overall a fast-paced, quick (150 pgs!) read. C+

source: Earthshaker books
Zan-Gah website


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday's 3 Couples (10)

Wednesday's 3 Couples is a post/meme I created to help me regulate posts. It is biweekly, and usually has a theme! It lets me share my love of YA lit couples with others.
**

It feels like forever since I've done this, probably only been like 2 weeks, haha. Okay, I'm having troubles thinking up themes so you guys make sure to leave suggestions in the comments.

This week's theme (you can tell I'm running out of ideas):
HARRY POTTER


Oh gosh, it's gonna be tough narrowing it down to just 3. I want to include semi-couples but... okay, just main couples. Oh, how I love Harry Potter..


1. Remus Lupin/ Nymphadora Tonks
-oh gosh, this one makes me so sad! The ultimate sad and tragic love story of forbidden love that overcomes the odds but ends in tears :(
-I love Remus' character and responsible-ness he brings, plus Tonks is just hilarious and awesomesauce.
-Aurors ftw
-*sigh* *sniff* *tear* *sigh*



2. Ron Weasley/Hermione Granger
-I'll admit it, I didn't really see this one coming even in the fifth book :P
-I think it's really cute! Think about it, they made it so far, all that bickering and fights and they manage to pull it together to save the world
-book seven interaction = love (even the messy Ron parts)



3. Bill Weasley/Fleur Delacour
-okay, I only chose this because I love Ginny's phlegm jokes (seriously!)
-and it is kind of cute how we find there's a level of depth to Fleur that is not limited to looks alone
-Bill and his fang earring and dragonskin boots sounds hot ;)
-not a die-hard fan, but I do like the two of them together

**
You might have noticed that I didn't include Harry and Ginny, but this isn't because I'm a hater. I actually do like the two together, but I dunno, they're only just okay for me. Honestly, I can't really see Harry with anybody else though... yeah they kind of fit well together. okay... fine. I'll add them.

Honourable Mention: Harry Potter/ Ginny Weasley
-uhm... it's the Harry Potter!
-Ginny's pretty bad-ass, I love how she takes after Gred and Forge
-they're wickedly awesome togehter.
-Ginny is kind of involved with the best line of the series... NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!

**

Who are your favourite Harry Potter couples??? Who did I miss?
And I'd love it if you left some theme ideas ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blogoversary GIVEAWAY!

As I mentioned earlier, today (June 21st) is the one-year blogoversary for 'holes In My brain'. I haven't blogged consitently for that long, but semantics. Semantics. Oh, and June must be blog-birthday month, seriously!

Like promised, I will hold a small giveaway for new-er released books, because I like the idea of building up interest for books that are either coming out soon, or recently released.. plus really Summer-y! I had you guys fill out a survey earlier about what books you would like to win and I got loads of awesome recommendations.

Some thought process: I originally just wanted to do a book that got the most votes (Linger) but I also wanted to give away books that I'm really interested in (Sea and Forget You). However, there were tons of other votes for tons of other books, so I decided to let you guys CHOOSE! I kind of didn't include books I wasn't dying to read, so these are all on my wishlist.

ONE winner will win TWO books from the following selection:
























Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Sisters Red
by Jackson Pearce
Sea
by Heidi R. Kling
Endless Summer
by Jennifer Echols
Forgive My Fins
by Tera Lynn Childs
Forget You
by Jennifer Echols
Glimmerglas
s by Jenna Black
Harmonic Feedback
by Tara Kelly
Everlasting
by Angie Frazier
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
by Morgan Matson
Shadow Hills
by Anastasia Hopcus
13 to Life
by Shannon Delaney

RULES:
-one entry per person, must be 13 or older
-open INTERNATIONAL (shipping from BookDepository, and I will preorder the ones that aren't out yet)
-Ends July 18
-winner chosen by Random.org
-Fill out the form below



*you may have noticed I decided to do only one extra entry, but I would still definitely appreciate it if you spread the word around. If you don't that's okay, I guess only readers will get to enter :P

thank you for this amazing year everybody :) here's to another one!

csn giftcard Winner!

To kick off the two-post blogoversary affair, I'm announcing the winner of the $40 CSN Store Giftcard! The winner is..

Meghan

I will email you shortly! And you better appreciate that picture! hahaa

And if you remember, my entry question was "worst/least favourite school subject". A TON of people chose: Math, Science (or Chem/Physics), PE and History! haha, my own least favourite is probably chemistry :P

Stay tuned, I will be posting my Blogoversary Contest soon!

**
And just in case you are wondering about that, the following people put in awesome suggestions about a month ago on what books to give away. They get a bonus entry to the blogoversary contest :) Thank you! And if your name's not there and you gave a suggestion, leave a comment. There were some entries without names.

Jenna, kimscarecrow, A.J., Okapi, Lisa (Starmetal Oak Book Blog), Sonia, blueicegal, kirthi, Raila (booksoutofthebookshelves), Adriana, throuthehaze, Sara Shalash, Kaila, Sage, Kit (goodreads: j. booker), Thuy, Hanna Barna, Madeleine, Alanna, Javier, Christine Hirth, Brodie, Sara (YA Vampire Books), Jenny N., Yan, KMichelleC87, Natalie (mindful musings), Alexa, alterlisa (lisa loves books of course), contestmom@yahoo.com, violet (eager readers)






PS- changed my signature :) opinions? I got sick of initials, it's not like I use them anymore, haha

Sunday, June 20, 2010

BR: Spirit Bound

by Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy Series #5

I debated writing this review with or without spoilers, and I went with the latter. I did NOT include a summary to avoid these spoilers, plus I don’t like the summary very much. So basically, if you haven’t read this series: 1) ignore this review because it’ll be confuzzling :P and 2) start reading the series RIGHT NOW.

**
My Expectations: Blood Promise was kind of a let-down, so I expected a big push from this one.

Delivery: So-so. On some levels it was amazing, on others it was disappointing.

Put-down-ability: Amazingly low! Whizzed through this one as soon as the library got it! 2/10
**

My Thoughts

Like I mentioned before, this is just my collective thoughts on the novel, not really paying specific attention to parts in order to avoid spoilers.

Let’s start with the biggest thing that I thought was utterly fantastic: the plot. Countless twists and turns kept me flipping the pages to find out what happened next, and Mead is anything but formulaic. The adventure, particularly through the first 400 pages was astounding, tons of action, along with tons of plot surprises. The story itself was pretty ingenius, and I definitely applaud Mead for her creativity and originality. I’m glad the series didn’t drag out the climax, I honestly thought it would, and I was glad I was wrong.

Lastly, I definitely appreciated the ending. It tied up a few loose ends, but left you with a huge cliffhanger and hundreds of questions. That said, I probably wouldn't have minded if there was a cut-off about 100 pages earlier. That woulda been just whoa.

Now to the things that didn’t work so well for me: the characters, more specifically, Rose. I shall make a short list for both our sakes:
  • It’s getting kind of hard to ignore the fact that Rose can kill those ‘practically-impossible-to-kill Strigoi’ over and over again with apparent ease. Sure, I know she’s talented but come on, she’s a bit too good at everything.
  • Her character development is kind of weak, and her constant stubborn and attitude (albeit works well at times) does get tiring. Yes, she's bad-ass and kick-ass, but I'd like to see some more character growth.
  • She could be incredibly selfish. She constantly put friends in danger for her own personal gain. People who died because of her decisions are pondered and offered a bit of guilt, then pushed aside never to be mentioned again.
  • I actually hated her relationship with Adrian. She used him as a tool to either get her money, information, or bail her out of situations; it was sickening (also influenced by my love for Adrian). I don’t think she deserves him, especially at the end of the book. (the whole thing made me upset)
I do want to rant and rave about a lot of other things she does, but I’ll just leave it at that.

The writing in this novel was okay, I am fond of Rose’s voice, but the prose is over-detailed at times. Descriptions that I frankly don’t care about are dished out in waves, along with the fact that it felt the author “told” instead of “showed”. Rose just kept telling me, “Oh, I felt this and this. Too bad, now I am off to do this, and doing that made me feel this and this.” Not a huge fan, I must say, but it does give good descriptions for the imagination, I guess. I won’t deny it keeps the action going and the reader engaged.

Parting Thoughts: Can’t wait for Book 6, Last Sacrifice! Also, I hope Rose grows up a bit and stops being irritating.
Book in HP terms (OWLs): Acceptable

7.9/10 – because despite the amazing storyline, I was annoyed by the main character too much. There has to be more to a novel than fantastic plot twists, and Spirit Bound really lacked character development. I loved the uniqueness of the series though, along with action and adventure presented. Better than Blood Promise, I think almost all Vampire Academy fans will love this one. B

And if you haven’t read the series yet, I strongly recommend it! The BEST vampire series out there :D

I'm sorry my review was kind of negative, but I would love to know what you thought of it! I completely understand if you think I'm a total wacko, feel free to tell me! I know tons of people who just adored this book. also...

... Team Adrian or Team Dimitri? ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Movie Thoughts: The Cove

**This was actually an assignment for school, to review a documentary. I'm not sure if you'll notice, but I put a lot of effort into this, and the restriction was one page only!... then I found out it was a complete/incomplete thing #fml

From the opening credits to the closing statements, 2009 documentary film, The Cove, unfolds not unlike a spy movie and exposes the appalling dolphin slaughter taking place in Taiji, Japan. Producers Fisher Stevens and Paula Pesmen, along with Director Louie Psihoyos, undoubtedly brought a previously unknown issue to the forefront of our minds.

The Cove succeeds in tugging at your heartstrings; the wails and shrieks of frightened dolphins will surely echo in your ears as you watch the cruel captures and slaughter methods being carried out. By revealing the horrors these dolphins face, viewers cannot help but sympathize with these intelligent creatures. Accompanied by a bitter and emotional narration, the addition of an overwhelming number of gruesome statistics adds authenticity and a healthy dose of realism—especially when concerning the food controversies.

From the haunting melodies playing during aerial ocean scenes to the suspenseful beat during the espionage-like events, background music keeps the audience utterly engaged. The advanced gizmos used by the activists will surely have some appeal to the younger generation, the very people who will play a crucial role in future efforts to save these animals.

Careful editing in this documentary enhances its message, from the zoom-in on the Japanese representative’s ugly smirk at the International Whaling Committee when poorer countries support their brutal causes, to the waves of red crashing against the rocks after a long day of murders. Such images imprint themselves on the viewers’ mind, searing a scar of both anger and sadness.

Going into this, I didn’t know what to expect, and getting my mind blown into a thousand tiny pieces sure is a good outcome. With a well-deserved Oscar and Writer’s Guild Award for Best Documentary Feature under its belt, there is little doubt that The Cove has delivered its message in a concise and passionate manner. By uncovering the slaughter of innocent animals, it allows the world to take its first steps toward change, a single dolphin at a time. 4 out of 4 stars.

9/10






PS- have you seen this before? If so, what are your thoughts? Also, do you have a favorite documentary, or one you strongly reccommend?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BR: A Match Made in High School

by Kristin Walker

I'M BACK! Well, I kinda am, I promised Thursday so here's my update, I've just got 2 more final tests tomorrow until school is "officially" over, but then I've got 2 other huge gov tests next week :( Anyways, I have a few posts scheduled, but I'll be back commenting on blogs and stuff this weekend!

Wow, this is like the first novel read in three-ish weeks! I’m sorry for the kinda bumpy review, I’m either rusty or just still kinda stressed! Bear with me :)

Summary: When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: Jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.

**
My Expectations: Somewhat high, I really thought it would be a hilarious, quick read.

Delivery: Meh, lacked a lot of spark if you know what I mean.

Put-down-ability: pretty high, but does it count that every time I was reading it it was one in the morning? Haha 8/10
**

My Thoughts

The quick and dirty is all said above; I really thought this would be the super funny read to get me through exams. It wasn’t super funny, but I kind of survived the exams so I’m not sure what that says. A rather pointless paragraph aside, here’s the real-ish review.

A Match Made in High School’s premise was quirky and funny enough, a fake marriage course with an exponential amount of things that could go wrong. Pranks started being played, nicknames, new relationships and old rivals, it all started out great. I thought the ideas at the beginning were really fresh and kept me entertained.

However, as the novel wore on it started getting predictable and really “soap-opera-y”. I make it sound worse than it is though, because it wasn’t a terrible one, it was just kind of predictable and messy. There were just so many things going on, and the way Fiona resolved her problems were just bland and not really something I cared about, they felt really forced. The whole cheerleading fiasco/blatant extended metaphor wasn’t my favourite part either.

**Spoilers of Predictability**


Plot aside, another thing this novel lacked majorly was chemistry. The one between Fiona and Johnny was pretty much predictable from maybe a third of the way through, but there was zero spark between the two. It felt like a device to keep the plot away from becoming too cliched but failed.



**End Spoilers**

I am glad Walker stayed away from the whole football player love interest— that might’ve made me want to scream. Fiona and Todd's relationship was constantly changing and remained funny throughout, which is a big plus. Marcie the bff was a fun supporting character as well, as well as the could-have-been-a-*facepalm*-disastrous-plot-device Amanda the cheerleader. Does that make sense?

A thing I did really love about the book was Fiona’s voice. Although some of her revelations were meh, the general tone of the story was so much better because of her. Definitely an enjoyable narrator that was sometimes annoying but sometimes fantastic. You can’t deny she’s witty and original, yes, Senor Shitslacks… :P

Parting Thoughts: I wish it was a bit more. Funnier, more engaging, better characters. However, it wasn’t a disappointment which makes me happy.
Book in HP Terms: Acceptable

7/10 – because I thought it lacked the “oomph” that is critical for these fluffy humour novels to be a success. Definitely recommended for people who want to relive high school with an new twist, read about pranks and interesting characters, or anyone just looking for a light and quick read that doesn’t carry too much clichéd-substance. A very funny narrator just comes with the package. C+

Sunday, June 13, 2010

some of us laugh, some of us cry

Some of us laugh, some of us cry,

Some of us smoke, some of us lie,

But it's all just the way that we cope with our lives.

-'Some of Us' by Starsailor


Hey everyone, taking a really really short interruption of my MIA-ness to bring you guys a song that's been on my mind (and helping me de-stress at times). I originally heard "Some of Us" on Bones (another method of either procrastination or post-exam celebration) and I loved it! I bought their entire album of iTunes and it's pretty great.

The singer's tone isn't something everybody will love, it's kind of raspy but in a more 'nasally' kind of way (that makes it sound bad but I like it!) The lyrics and melody are really wonderful, and I hope you check out some of their other songs!

You can watch this song on YouTube, or righ here!



What are some songs on your mind right now? I'll be back Thursday! :D

Thursday, June 10, 2010

temporary hiatus

Hey lovelies,

So how are you guys doin--hang on. Phones ringing.

*ring ring*

hello?

hi, this is Test calling. I'm going to be dropping by a lot this next week.

whaaaa?

Yep, I'll be seeing you....

*sob* *goes and studies*

...This is just a really quick post to do some explanations and get everybody in the loop :)

I'll be away from this blog until next Thursday-ish, I'm just completely SWAMPED with studying for final exams! I know that if I write more posts I'll just keep checking back to respond to comments, etc, and I honestly can't afford to do that right now. I'm such a cram studier so I really don't think my blog will be a great... distraction.

I probably won't be visiting all your guys' awesome blogs either. I've just got to focus myself for the final stretch of school, and make sure I don't accidentally spread my crazy pointless-knowledge-filled-brain onto you guys (trust me, you don't want that condition).

Also, not sure if you noticed but I honestly haven't read a book for over 2 weeks (minus Persepolis for school). Wayy too much work! I'm prioritizing smartly, I think. And I've run out of post ideas, haha. If you want to read my complaining and school-related grievances, I'm sure I'll be tweeting about it :P

I hope you understand, and I'll be back soon! xoxox

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday's 3 Couples (9)

Wednesday's 3 Couples is a post/meme I created to help me regulate posts. It is biweekly, and usually has a theme! It lets me share my love of YA lit couples with others. If you want to join in feel free and leave a comment below :)
**

This week's theme: Fantasy

So I know that when I first started blogging, I was a huge fantasy person. That's probably why the first time I listened to an online book reccommendation it was from the fantasy genre. This past year, however, I've kind of weaned off it and gotten a lot more into contemporary novels, but I will never forget my love for it!

This week's 3 couples are (in my opinion) some of the very best! So compatible, so kick-ass, so cute.. just perfect. And it doesn't hurt that they carry swords because swords = hot.


1. Alanna and George Cooper: The Song of the Lioness Quartet (aka the Alanna Quartet) by Tamora Pierce

-It took me a while to appreciate this one (I was initially team Jon) but after some mulling it over, I love it!
-George has always been there for her, ever since she was young he looked over her and I gotta say, being a thief is pretty wicked.
-Alanna is such a strong heroine, she doesn't give in to the king-to-be. She does what she feels is right, and I completely admire that about her. Definitely the reason why I liked the book so much.
-Plus, this is one of my favourite fantasy series!



2. Katsa and Po: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

-it was a toss-up between this pair or Fire/Brigan. I didn't want Cashore dominating this week, haha.
-Chose these two because they... well, they beat the odds.
-And they're awesome, and have cool eyes.
-And can fight like nobody's business
-Despite Katsa's reluctance for romance, I think her personal growth with learning to trust and love Po was incredibly well written.
-Po's name is even starting to grow on me... uh oh, is that a bad sign?



3. Finnikin and Evanjalin: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

-Melina Marchetta is the author (this is becoming a disturbing trend for "reasons" I like things...)
-I think both of these characters are extremely unique, and developed really nicely
-Evanjalin is tough as nails, and despite sometimes disliking her actions, I can respect her "what needs to be done" motto
-I kind of love Finnikin and all he goes through in the novel, a wonderful protagonist for sure.

-&-

So, which couples are your favourites? And what are your ultimate favourite couple from a YA Fantasy novel?? Leave a comment, I want to know!

Also, I'm kind of running out of themes/ideas. Do you guys have any suggestions? Like maybe a particular author, genre, series?

Monday, June 7, 2010

25 random things About Me

First, everybody who is reading this, go over to Natalie’s blog at Mindful Musings and wish her a ginormous Happy Birthday!! I’m still kind of in awe that such a talented blogger chose measly little me to tag. And as I hope most of you know, I am full of randomsauce just waiting to spill over.
Also, I was debating whether or not to take this thing the bloggy-route (like “I stalk people who stalk me back, in fact it’s a stalk-circle with no beginning”) but I kind of liked the idea of talking about myself... alright, now that I sound sufficiently self-centered and egocentric, let’s move on!

*Edit 12/23, I did delete a few for various reasons... mostly because we had a freaky guest speaker about internet privacy at school a few weeks ago*

Here are 25 random things about me that you probably (might’ve) not known

1. Awesomesauce is currently my favourite description of something made of awesome. In fact, I have started adding “–sauce” to the end of something. Coolsauce. Randomsauce. No-way-sauce. Woahsauce… you get the drift.

2. Actually, the second part of that is only partly true. I would never say woahsauce ;)

3. I love Maureen Johnson’s tweets. I love living in her jars. (anybody? No? okay!)

4. I am such a vlogbrother junkie, Monday Wednesday Friday, first thing afterschool is my John and Hank Green fix. And just between you and me, I like John a tiny tiny bit more :P *hides from flying objects*

5. Anyone who asks for a book recommendation will get a Melina Marchetta novel shoved down their throat (figuratively, of course).

6. I’m not a crier. I have, however, cried before.
6 b) since the previous statement was lamesauce, I shall elaborate. I rarely cry in movies or books or real life, but there are those super special instances where I am a sobbing mess.

7. deleted

8. I am a procrastination-BEAST. Anyone who follows me on twitter knows it’s true (it's my procrastination outlet).

9. I am such a TV addict it’s not funny. I am currently insanely addicted to Bones.

10. School is over in 2 weeks and I’ve got a huge load of exams to do (I counted 5 for this week) yet I am constantly doing blog-related things. Then at 11pm I ask myself (in between rocking back and forth and tearing my hair out), “Why do you do this? Whyyyyy?”

11. When people ask me what my favourite book is, I answer differently depending on who they are. Some of the choices include: Harry Potter, anything by Melina Marchetta, the Book Thief, and Pride & Prejudice.

12. Metaphors are not my strong suit. I’m not bad at similes though.

13. I amuse myself reading Twilight parodies. Don’t lie, I know you’ve done it too! “WHERE ARE MAH STICKERS!!” (anybody? No? okay!) I also love Twilight pictures like the following:

(image was deleted, dang)

14. deleted

15. deleted

16. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Next year, I’m applying to universities and I am scared out of my mind.

17. I want to visit Europe, Australia, and Yellowstone National Park. I want to see the world… just gotta find a travel buddy and a boatload of cash.

18. deleted.

19. Deep down in my heart of hearts, I would love to be an author. However, I kinda know I’m not really cut out for it.

20. I have a rule: if someone texts me early enough in the morning for my cell phone to wake me up, I silent-treatment them for the rest of the day (I take my sleep very seriously). I tell them beforehand, of course, so I’m not a total bitch. Most of them understand :P

21. I have too many pet peeves. Way too many. Most are insignificant though, plus I like to complain (in my head most of the time) an insane amount.

22. Has anyone seen the Old Spice commercial? It makes me laugh every single time. “Look at your man. And back at me... I’m on a horse”

23. I love Brad Paisley, and the name Delilah, the book title Fixing Delilah Hannaford, and the song, “Hey There Delilah”. Hehe Natalie :P I’m into all kinds of music, and love those kinda-indie, kinda folksy/alt-rock-ish bands.

24. I love the name Avery for a girl. Taylor and Eli and Levi for a guy. But if I were to have kids, I’m not sure what I would call them. Knowing me, I'd name them after my favourite literary characters :D

25. deleted

-&-

5 people to tag (Everybody should do this! It’s a great procrastination tool… tested and proven courtesy of me):

Madeleine Rex from Wordbird

AJ from Collections
Aly from Fantasy 4 Eva
Khy from Frenetic Reader
Kris from Voracious YAppetite
(and a bonus one for good luck): Linna from 21 Pages

Okay, did anyone manage to get through all that? I had tons of fun writing it and procrastinating even more. And if you did your own "25 random things" post, make sure to leave a link in the comments so I can check it out!






Also, check these other 25-R-T lists :)

Kit (Ghosts Of The Still)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

BR: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

by Marjane Satrapi

Wow guys, this is a Graphic Novel (first one ever)! And I had to read this for a school project (sigh. does this count as cross-curricular?) I thought why not review it as well since I haven't been reading novels recently? Plus, I can use this for my Take Another Chance challenge.

Summary (goodreads):
Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran: of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life and of the enormous toll repressive regimes exact on the individual spirit. Marjane’s child's-eye-view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a stunning reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, through laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

**
My Expectations: Uhm.. I really didn’t know what to think. I think deep down I thought it would not be pretty though.

Delivery: I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. I thought it was a good experience. Wow, this isn’t vague at all—I’m sorry.

Put-down-ability: not very low, I never found myself completely immersed. 7/10
**

My Thoughts

This is the one and only graphic novel I have ever read, so saying I was going into this with fresh eyes is an understatement. It could be jarring at times, unorthodox and atypical to my usual preferences, so my feelings and opinions are torn. Plus, it’s difficult to decide how to “judge” this type of novel. I really hope I don’t sound ignorant or offend anyone in my review because I just wanted to give my opinion despite the fact I don’t really have any experience/knowledge regarding graphic novels.

I think I’ll start with the story itself. It covered the life of Marji from when she was 10 and the revolution was just beginning, till she was 14(ish, I’m not exactly sure). Compared to a novel-novel, this was obviously lacking (despite the quite unfair comparison). The character development was only decent for Marji and I never truly got a sense of any of the other characters.

Marji, the protagonist and author, I admired but couldn’t relate with. At the beginning, she had the child-like naivety that isn’t unusual, and as the novel wore on I could see her character growth. I felt she behaved in some ways very realistically, but some of her other actions were questionable; perhaps it was just the fact that I couldn’t identify with her setting and time “era”. Her thoughts had a both an innocent and profound edge to them, and I felt she was very wise for her age.

The plot is straight-forward with a few layers to unveil, but relatively ‘basic’, if I can call it that. People did this and that, this or that happened, then someone would do something. I had very little previous knowledge of the history of Iran and its revolution so some aspects were completely foreign to me. Concepts and facts like, for example the Marx kind of threw me off guard because I didn’t know what they were talking about. I found that it was very political (not exactly my area of interest) as well, which I think had a negative affect on me.

This being said, I think most of us know that the true identity of a graphic novel is probably in its pictures, not words. Despite the fact that my eyes automatically drew to the words on the page as opposed to the picture (too much reading? Maybe) I could still appreciate the sometimes-simple and sometimes-complex frames. The black-and-white shading is used very well to convey different messages and depth. But, you can’t forget that this is my very first time reading a graphic novel so I really don’t have anything to compare it to.

Parting Thoughts: even after writing this review, my opinions are still kind of jumbled. This book is just 'in the middle' for me, not to mention really different.
Book in HP terms: Acceptable

7.8/10
–because for my first ‘graphic novel experience’ I was relatively pleased but I came out of this feeling mostly "neutral". The story was, for the most part engaging but the graphics was something that took time getting used to. I couldn’t connect much with the characters, however, which is something I look for in novels. The frames moved the plot along nicely, and I thought many ‘scenes’ were particularly insightful and thoughtful shown through the view of a young girl. It could be funny, it could be sad, and I definitely learned a lot about the Islamic Revolution. 7.8/10 is a B.

Would I recommend it? Sure, it’s not like I have anything to really measure it to. Want to try a graphic novel? Give this one a spin and tell me how you like it.

Also, there is a sequel, Persepolis 2, which I probably don't plan on reading any time soon.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

the big three-oh-oh

Dear Lovelies,

I seriously cannot express how enormously HAPPY I was when I turned on the computer this morning and saw the number "3o2" under my followers. I know it's tacky and shallow of me to care about it, but there's always that little part of me that feels immensely proud and grateful when that little number rises by one or two.

I definitely won't make this about me though. This is all about you guys and this whole blog couldn't be the way it is if it wasn't for you. I'm grateful for every one of my readers, and to those people who comment on so many of my posts (you know who you are) thank you!! You are ALL amazing awesomesauce.

Thank you so so much!! *MWAH* you are kind of making my year :)

In fact, if you want to see how happy I am, just look at the picture! -->

xoxoxoxoxo






PS- I just found out today, but my blog was spotlighted at Kristen's blog, Bookworming in the 21st Century. Check it out if you want :) I talk about igloos!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday's Finest (16)

Friday's Finest is a meme hosted by Steff & Justine from A Bookful of Thoughts.

Rules:
~Post a quote that really stuck to you after reading it in a book.
~Make sure it isn't a spoiler!
~If you'd like, expand on what you think it means and why you chose it
**

I am in a serious book-reading funk. But this isn't because I've ran out of awesome books (although I might've just a tiny bit), it's just that there are two weeks left in school and I am insanely busy and stressed out. But since I love my readers so much, I had to share a quote with you this week, from one of my favourite YA novels of all time by a superbly talented author.

It's not really a deep, meaningful life-quote, it's just one that I feel expressed both so much emotion and so much vivid imagery it sticks out in your mind... the whole book is like that, but here's a snippet.


Book: The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak


Quote:
He tasted dusty and sweet. He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist's suit collection.


-&-
Anyone who has read the book will probably know what scene I'm talking about. The Book Thief is seriously a heartbreaking and emotionally draining book, if you haven't yet, please read it!

And if you have read it, did you like it? And isn't Mr. Zusak just... brilliant? Also, have you tried any of his other books?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blogversary Countdown CONTEST! CSN Stores $40 Giftcard

So as some of you may know, my blogoversary is coming up June 21 and I was planning a giveaway and asked for some of your suggestions (more details later). However, just recently I was contacted by CSN Stores to host a wonderful giveaway opportunity, and I jumped at the chance.

Want some more info? Well, CSN Stores features countless items (not kidding), anything from super-cool track lighting, furniture, and cookware to mountain bikes and toddler cribs (and of course... bookshelves!) The wide array of selection offered means there's definitely something for anyone.

So what am I giving away? One winner will receive a $40 CSN Store Gift Certificate!

The gift certificate can be used in any of the 200+websites, and there's lots of selection (including beautiful bookcases and shelves for those book-lovers!). If you want, just click this link and start browsing!
I will announce the winner on my blogoversary, along with introducing another book giveaway as an encore celebration. I'm not one who wants to make a big deal about a blogoversary (since I did take a major hiatus so technically I might not've been blogging for the whole year), but I thought this would be tons of fun.


Rules:

-US/Canada** only (sorry! but next one is definitly INTL)
-Ends June 20, winner announced and contacted on June 21
-Winner chosen by Random.org
-Must be 16 or older (or get parent permission)
-one entry per person
-Fill out the form below








**Please note that there may be shipping charges (and interntional fees for Canadians) for certain products

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday

You see, as I was stalking Not Enough Bookshelves, I noticed she was participating in a meme-ish thing that looked like tons of fun. And I followed the links like a good little soldier and ended up on the very fabulous YA Highway (I've been there before, of course, but that is irrelevant) going 90 miles an hour.

I then felt guilty that I don't have any more back-up posts (a minor fib but again, irrelevant) so I thought to myself, this looks awesome, why not join in the awesome?

Although this week's topic is one I semi-covered, I thought that Road Trip Wednesday might be something I'd like to start participating in, so let's start now!

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: What's the best book you've read this month?


Well, if you want the long story, go to my May wrap-up post here :)

But here's the "short and ____" (fill in the blank, because my mind is blanking... that could be a song.... irrelevant).

This is a 2-way tie between The Piper's Son by the (YA author goddess) Melina Marchetta..
and The Demon's Covenant by the (super zombie-fied... jk) Sarah Rees Brennan.

Both books were outstanding in their own ways, and I can't recommend them enough. They were given 9.3/10 on my ratings.
**

Make sure to check out YA Highway (like, they're authors!), and answer me this: what are your favourite books this month in May? (hehe, thanks celi.a)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

whoa, it's JUNE?? what happened in MAY? This!

Okay, I'm not usually one for recaps but I just don't really have any posts planned, plus I'm kind of bored and I'm procrastinating... so why not? I'm including links to everything, and generally giving an easy guide to my (more relevant) posts in May 2010 + a funky title because everybody likes funky titles.


This is May In Review at holes In My brain


My very first Interview (yay!) with Kris from Voracious YAppetite! I had tons of fun answering awesome questions, read it here!

**

Book Reviews (10):

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Bloom by Elizabeth Scott

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Zan Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman


Thoughts: Wow, after listing these, I hate to toot my own horn but I'm kind of impressed by how many books I read and reviewed, especially with all that homework and stuff. Schools coming to a close and I have time to read 10-ish books.. no wonder I'm stressed out :P Please check out these reviews if you haven't already!

My favourite May read: The Piper's Son or The Demon's Covenant (I read some really really fantastic books this month, I'm extremely happy!)

**I also:
I finally got around to doing an Awards post :) which took forever!
*
Reviewed the movie Avatar
*
Held a contest for The Demon's Covenant and Spirit Bound (closed)
*
Offered a Blog Tip
*
Created a blog button (right sidebar)
*
Set up an "Honesty Box" thing for you to leave whatever comments you like anonymously
*
And shared my thoughts on TV Show Finales!
**

Parting Thoughts:
So overall, I think I really improved my blog this May, gotten into the routine of posting consistently, reading books, actually reviewing them, and generally smoothed out some kinks in my blog. I think I gained a lot of readers, which I am the most happy about. Thank you guys so so much, I could never have done this without your lovely comments and support :) mwah!


Looking Ahead:
Oh gosh, school is coming to a close and it's crunch time. I have tons of final exams for different courses, including some government exams! I'm kind of obsessed ("kind of" is the understatement here) with this blog though, but I think you can understand that I need to make sure that my priorities are straight.

This blog definitely won't be on the back burner, but I might be updating less constantly (probably 2 posts every 3 days). Don't worry, I will still reply to all your comments! Just expect perhaps a few less book reviews, but I'll still be around (albeit a bit crazed in the head from all that schoolwork!)

Looking Even More Ahead:
I'm going on a LONG vacation in July with my mom! We are going to ____ (haha, don't worry, I'll to you guys soon!) so expect a weird-ish haitus in July but I'll still update when I can and schedule as many posts I can beforehand.

--Also, I'm thinking about starting a blog about my vacation to _____ ;) I'll let you know if I do! It might be kind of like Adele's Japan blog.

**

Finally, I just wanted to thank all you guys again for being so so so awesome! I wish I could make an awesomecake with awesomesauce and just give every one of you a slice :D