Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: City of Bones

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York city, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. then the body disappears into think air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to riding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Claryherself is attacked by a demon. but why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know......

For those who have NOT read The Mortal Instruments series this review contains spoilers!

Awwww the Mortal Instruments. Before entering the blogosphere I had never even heard of this series. I don't even remember seeing these books at Borders though I probably did and just brushed them off as creepy paranormal stuff. The shirtless guy on the cover wouldn't really help in that respect.... But anyway since everyone seems to love these books so much I decided to give the first one a read. I think this is one of the first, if not THE first, paranormal book I've ever read. Twilight kind of caused me to avoid the paranormal genre like the plague...... That being said I liked The City of Bones. It certainly hasn't made me want to run out and read a million other paranormal books, but it has helped me realize that the genre isn't all romance and sparkling vampires.

I can't help but wonder if everyone loves this series merely for Jace. Everytime I ask someone why the like The Mortal Instruments they say "Well.... Jace is hot!!!" Jace is your classic egotistical blonde. Obsessed with his own looks, but secretly a sad and tormented soul. Ohhh how stereotypical. I'm gonna be honest and say Jace did nothing for me. I didn't find him hot. But I didn't expect to. He's totally not my type. That being said I still found him entertaining. While his character is definitely one I've seen before (think Anakin in Star Wars. :P) I do think that Cassie Clare was able to make Jace unique in his own right. I just loved his sarcastic humor and great one liners about his own good looks. He never failed to crack me up! XD

Sarcasm, sarcasm sarcasm. This seems to be Cassandra Clare's go to dialogue. Nearly every character in City of Bones was hugely sarcastic. At first it worked but then I was just like "Seriously? This is getting really old, really fast...." Jace's sarcasm was the only thing that really worked for me. And sometimes Simon. Everyone else? Ehhhh just TOO MUCH.

The overall story was a bit predictable. Its the classic character who discovers their unexpected past story complete with awkward possible brother/sister romance (*cough* Star Wars *cough*) and a father who turns out to be alive after all but is actually evil (yet again, Star Wars! Maybe Cassie Clare just REALLY likes Star Wars....). I could pretty much see everything coming. Especially the whole "Oh my gosh Jace is your brother! (but not really)" thing. As soon as they revealed Clary had a brother who died I was like "Oh man its going to end up that the brother supposedly survived and its Jace!" and it totally happened! Of course I know they're not really brother and sister since they end up together later in the series but I still felt awkwarded out by the whole Clary/Jace thing. Kissing your supposed sibling? Even if you don't know its your supposed sibling? CREEPY!!!! I'm definitely interested to see how they find out Jace isn't really Clary's brother. I am right in thinking that he isn't really Clary's brother right? Because that would just be beyond disturbing otherwise......

Favorite character? Simon. Yeah he's a little lame, and he spends a lot of the story as a rat but still. Cute best guy friend? YES! Anyone who has read my favorite literary guys post knows that I'm always a sucker for the best guy friend in books. Hehe. >.<

The best part about City of Bones was how kick ass it was. There was tons of action. It seemed that every other page someone was beating the crap out of someone else! LOVED IT! Wow that statement totally makes me sound like some sort of violence loving freak.... That's not it at all! I was just pleasantly surprised that the main focus of the story WASN'T the romance. Like I said before, Twilight kind of misconstrued my idea of all paranormal books. I liked that City of Bones had more diverse subject matter then just love.

City of Bones has proven to me that not all paranormal books are of the Twilight breed. I need to start giving them a chance because some are definitely made of awesome! While I found the story to be a bit predictable and the overuse of sarcasm annoying I still was able to enjoy this book. City of Bones gets 4 out of 5 ice cream cones!

Can't wait to get started on the rest of this series. This book left so many unanswered questions! When will Clary and Jace realize they aren't really related? Will Clary's mom ever wake up? And most importantly, will Simon ever get a girlfriend? XD

5 Words to Describe this Book
Kickass shadowhunters save the world!!!!

Julia :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [5]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking The Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week I'm waiting on We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han!

It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.

This series is THE PERFECT summer reading! Beach house anyone? While I like this series I have to say that I'm not totally in love with it. This is probably because I made the mistake of reading the first one while I was in the show Bye Bye Birdie. For those who don't know about the show its centers around a Elvis kind of character named Conrad Birdie. Lets just say that while reading The Summer I Turned Pretty everytime Conrads name popped up this would run through my head: 

Yep, you can imagine how wonderful that must have been. XD

Regardless of the unfortunate Bye Bye Birdie connection I still enjoyed the book and the second one and I cannot wait to see what finally happens in the conclusion of this wonderful series! I'm rooting for Belly to end up with Jeremiah. ;)

Julia :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Pocket Pigs

This weeks Kawaii Monday features pocket pigs!!! Okay so I've always dreamed of having a pet pig and then I stumbled across these. Words cannot describe the cuteness. Seriously just take a look.

CUTEST. PETS. EVAR!!!!!! :D I want one so bad. But they're like thousands of dollars. Yep, not all that affordable. Why do the cutest most wonderfullest things have to be so darn expensive? Hopefully someday (after I marry someone with superfluous amounts of money! Haha :P) I can afford one! Until then I'll just look at pictures and dream about what it would be like to own such cuteness.

Julia :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bookish Questions: To abandon or not to abandon?

I've decided to now call all my discussion posts "Bookish Questions" posts. What do you guys think? I like it! Anyway on to what this post is really about.

So the Bookish Question I'm asking today is: Do you abandon books?

My little brother is always abandoning books. He reads half (or less) and then just decides its not "fast enough" for him and he puts it down. He does this so often that I often question if he ever finishes a book! Well I'm the opposite side of the spectrum. My problem isn't abandoning books. Its that I NEVER abandone books. Its pretty much impossible for me to stop a book once I start reading it.
Its a mixture of book reading guilt and my undeniable need to finish what I start. I think that I can count the number of books I've never finished on one hand. In fact the only one that I can think of right now is Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I was supposed to read it for school and goodness gracious that is one BORING book. I guess you could say that's the only thing that could cause me to put a book down. If it's unbelievably boring. Otherwise I'll finish every time. So what about you guys? Are you chronic book abandoners like my brother? Or can you not stop reading a book once you start it like me? Or are you inbetween? What factors into why you abandon a book? What are some of the books you've abandoned in the past? Have you ever stopped a book only to pick it up and finish it later?

Julia :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Words Wednesday [19]

A chance for me to highlight some awesome book quotes! This week's quote is from Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

"You should never be surprised when someone treats you with respect, you should expect it."

I like this quote but I also feel that its a bit.... I don't know presumptuous? Like "Hey everyone! Yeah that's right RESPECT ME!" I don't know. Maybe its because I don't get a lot of respect in my everyday life? That's what happens when you're only 5' tall. Everyone treats you like a Jr. Higher...... Maybe my view of respect is skewed because of that. So thoughts? Should we just expect to be respected? Or do you think we should have to earn it? Personally I think respect needs to be earned at least in some respects. 

Quote besides, this is my favorite Sarah Dessen book. It totally spoke to me when I was going through a really tough time in Jr. High. I. LOVE. IT.

Julia :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blooming Books Giveaway!

Welcome to the Blooming Books Giveaway! A multi-blog giveaway hosted by Enna Isilee of Squeaky Books and a bunch of other blogs! (including myself obviously)

In order to celebrate the coming of spring (my favorite season of the year!) ten lovely blogs have decided to join forces and give our readers the chance to win a giftcard of $100 to Borders, Barnes and Noble, or! Super awesome right? Who doesn't want to go on a book buying shopping spree!

So here's how it works: each of the participating blogs will hold a "Blooming Books Giveaway" post, and you enter however that blog wants you to. Some blogs may offer a prize, but what you're really entering for is the chance to win a nomination spot. Each blog will choose a 1st place nominee, and a 2nd place nominee. The ten 1st place nominees will be entered to win the $100 gift card, and the ten 2nd place nominees will be entered to win a $30 gift card. Make sense? And since this is just an e-mailed gift card, it is open internationally! 

Giveaway Rules
  • Open Internationally
  • You must be at least 13 years old to enter this giveaway
  • You DO NOT have to be a follower of my blog to enter this giveaway however I always appreciate it. 
So how can you enter this fabulous giveaway? Well to make this sort of fun I've decided that you can have up to 8 entries BUT you have to earn them by proving your Early 2011 YA Releases Cover Knowledge! Sound easy? Sound like fun? Okay then! I chose 8 newly released (or will soon be released!) YA books and took a section off of the cover. Your job is to guess which book each cover picture is from. The more you get correct the more entries you will earn!

Just fill out the form below with your guesses! And if you don't know what a cover is don't worry you can always leave it blank. :)

Additional Details:
  • Giveaway runs March 22nd-April 1st
  • Nominees announced April 2nd
  • Winners announced April 4th on Squeaky Books

Be sure to check out all the participating blogs and remember you can enter the giveaway 9 times: once through each blog. Good luck! 

Julia :)

The Elliot Review

Squeaky Books

That Hapa Chick


Pensive Bookeaters

The Mod Podge Bookshelf

Lisa’s World of Books

Fade Into Fantasy

See Scoot Read

Awesomesauce Bookclub

Monday, March 21, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Owl Watches

This Kawaii Monday features adorable owl jewelry!!! I don't know about you but I LOVE owls. They're are just so cute and intellectual looking pretty much all the time. I was browsing owl jewelry on etsy (that website is dangerous I tell you!) and I came across the cutest ever little owl pocket watch. Check it out:

Why hello little owl pocket watch! You're perfect. I love you. End of story.

"Antique" owl watches seem to be quite the thing right now because I saw a TON of them. I also thought this necklace one was pretty darn cute:

I rarely ever wear jewelry (which really means I don't at all...) so I don't know when I would have occasion to wear/use either of these pieces but they are awesome nonetheless.

Do you guys like owl stuff too?

Julia :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In My Mailbox Vlog [14]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted over at the lovely blog The Story Siren. The point is to blog about books that you have somehow procured during the week!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Thanks Hope Junkie!!!)
Sean Griswolds Head by Lindsey Leavitt
Check out Kimberly Dertings blog here!

While filming my IMM vlog I had this lovely little blooper. You guys can watch it if you'd like. XD

So that's what I got "in my mailbox" this week. What did you guys get?

Julia :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hunger Games fans aren't crazy: Or my arguments for why Katniss' ethnicity IS important!

So unless you've been living under a rock for the past few days then you probably already know that Lionsgate finally announced that Jennifer Lawrence is going to be playing Katniss in The Hunger Games movie.

Almost immediately the fandom erupted. Some people had positive reactions but most of the reactions were negative. I know that a ton of my reading buddies were disappointed by the casting decision. One of the main complaints from fans is that Jennifer Lawrence isn't ethnic enough to portray Katniss. And here's where things get messy. I've read a ton of news articles and also read a lot of tweets or posts saying things like "She's a great actress suck it up" or "Her ethnicity doesn't matter get over it!" And while I have to agree with some of the things people are saying, I also have to disagree with a lot of it and I would like to say why. Now before I say anything else I just want to let people know that I'm actually okay with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. I think she is a phenomenal actress and that she will portray the role wonderfully. If Suzanne Collins says she's perfect for Katniss who am I to disagree right? So with that being said I would just like to give my thoughts on this whole ethnicity issue.

I'm gonna be perfectly honest here and say that if you're arguing against this ethnicity thing with hair dye and self tanner you have TOTALLY missed the point. The point isn't that we think that Jennifer Lawrence can't change how she looks for the part. We know that. We understand that. The point is that you casted a fair skinned blonde to play a possibly ethnically biracial character in the first place. How would everyone feel if they ended up casting a white girl to play Rue and then people said "Hey its okay! They can always use full body makeup to make her look black!" We would all say "OH MY GOSH THATS RACIST!!!" Am I right? So why is it that its NOT okay to cast a white person to play a supposed black character, but it IS okay to cast a white person to play a supposed biracial character? Why the distinction?

Argument 2: Katniss' ETHNICITY doesn't matter! Her CHARACTER does!
Okay so Katniss' looks aren't her defining feature but they're still an important part of her character. Author Ally Carter on Twitter said that us fans are confusing characteristics with character. But aren't characteristics part of what make a character? I mean come on what would Edward Cullen be without his sparkling pale skin??? XD Or the Weasley's without their red hair? And not only that but how many times in The Hunger Games does Suzanne Collins talk about the distinction between the "Seam Look" and the "Town Look"? A lot. Countless times. I think its one of the greatest showings of Katniss' character that even though anyone who looked at her would know that she was from the poorest part of the poorest district, she was still able to incite a revolution. Kind of symbolic don't you think?

Personally I loved that Katniss was ethnic. There aren't too many biracial heroines in literature (Katniss is the only one I can think of) and being biracial myself it was just great to read a book that had lots of racial diversity. Now I know that Katniss wasn't necessarily biracial. Lots of people say that she could have been Italian, or Greek, or any number of other ethnicities with similar features. But the point is this: she could have been biracial. Just because her ethnicity is ambiguous doesn't mean that her character should be automatically defaulted to be European. And another thing to remember is that The Hunger Games is set in the future. Look at how mixed our culture is now and just think about how much more mixed it will be 100 years from now. I think it's pretty safe to assume that Katniss probably wouldn't be 100% European.

That being said I still support Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss even if she isn't ethnic. I just hope they will cast ethnic actors to play other characters like Rue and possibly Gale. (At this point I'm guessing they won't go ethnic for Gale just because then he wouldn't look like Katniss' cousin :/)

This post was not at all meant to bash anybodies ideas or feelings. I merely wanted to say that we Hunger Games fans aren't crazy and that the people who are saying they wish Katniss was ethnic are just as valid as the people who are saying that Katnisses ethnicity doesn't matter.

In closing I would just like to show you this awesome fan art that Katie over at Sophistikatied Reviews made of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss! You can see her post about it here.

Pretty awesome ehhh? And is it just me or does she look kind of like Kelly Clarkson in this picture? Haha.

So how do you guys feel about Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss? Do you think she's gonna be amazing? Did you have another favorite (personally I wanted Hailee Steinfeld.....) that you wish had gotten the part instead? Do you think Katniss' ethnicity is an important component of the story? Sound off in the comments! I would love to know what you guys think.

Julia :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book Review: Annexed

What was it like hiding in the Annex with Anne Frank? To be with Anne every day while she wrote so passionately in her diary? To be in a secret world within a world at war - alive on the inside, everything dying on the outside? Peter Van Pels and his family have lost their country, their home, and their freedom, and now they are fighting desperately to remain alive. Look through Peter's eyes. He has a story to tell, too. Are you listening?

Everyone has heard about Anne Frank. Well, almost everyone. I do have a friend who had no clue who she was until I told her about her (not even kidding!) but that's besides the point. The point is that even though everyone knows about Anne, not a lot of people know about Peter Van Pels or the other people that hid in the Annex. Annexed is a look into the mind of Peter. A chance to see what it might have been like for him while he was hiding. What he was feeling, and how he slowly came to love a crazy dreamer like Anne Frank.

While Annexed is a work of fiction, Sharon Dogar did try to stay as true to what we know about Peter as possible. I really loved that. Its always really hard to write about a real historical person, without making it come off as fake or unrealistic but I think that Sharon Dogar was really able to capture Peters voice with a great level of integrity. I could definitely tell she had an extreme level of respect for her source material.

It was interesting to see Anne Frank through the eyes of Peter since we only know of her from her own writings in her diary. I loved the way Anne and Peters relationship was portrayed and I really liked being able to see it evolve over time from merely friendship to something more.

The most heartbreaking part of Annexed is the last 50 or so pages because that part of the story is all about the the camps. Living in the camps, the selections, being ripped away from you're family and loved ones. Its so terrifyingly real and to think that it actually happened? Crazy. No one knows exactly what happened to Peter, or when he died but again Sharon Dogar took what we do know and fictionalized it to the best of her ability. She did an amazing job. Read the ending with a box of tissues. You'll need them.

Annexed is such a beautiful story. If you like historical fiction, or are curious to know more about the Anne Frank story you need to pick this book up. And even if you aren't interested in either of those subjects you should still give this book a read. Inside is a story that needs to be told. I give Annexed 4 out of 5 ice cream cones.

5 Words to Describe This Book
Beautifully heartbreaking, honest fictional retelling.

"I have to be me, to understand who I am. If Anne's taught me anything, it's this. It doesn't matter what we want, what matters is who we are, and we can't change that, not even if we were the last people left on the earth." ~ Peter Van Pels (Annexed pg. 256-257)

Julia :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [4]

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking The Spine. The purpose is to spotlight upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week I am waiting on Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter!

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners. 

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules.

If you read my Favorite Reads of 2010 post then you already know that I LOVE the Heist Society! And Ally Carter in general. Anyway ever since I read the first one in this new series I was dying for more Kat and Hale. I particularly love how Hale is referred to as "the gorgeous Hale" in the summary of this book. Hehe. He's definitely in the top 5 of my favorite literary guys. ;)

Uncommon Criminals is gonna be published on June 21st. Let the countdown begin! I'm not gonna lie, I don't really like the cover of Uncommon Criminals. Its not that its a bad cover. Its just that it looks kind of tacky. Like an older girl playing dress up or something? I mean why is she holding pearls like that? And the whole turquoise/purple color scheme just isn't working for me. But regardless I will read the book and probably end up buying it!

What are you waiting on this wednesday?

Julia :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Birdie Sponge

This weeks Kawaii Monday features a bath sponge shape like a cute little birdie!!!

Okay I know its super random but its also SUPER ADORABLE!!!! I actually had a bath sponge that looked like a cute little hamster holding a strawberry but alas it is no more. I think this birdie one was extra cute because its multi-dimensional! Haha. According to the eBay listing I found this in it says that its "perfect for  keeping things lively while bathing and have your baby's interest." Pretty funny huh? You can buy this little guy here. Awfully expensive for a bath sponge if you ask me! My hamster one was only like 2 bucks if I remember correctly. Anyway happy Kawaii Monday!!!

Julia :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox Vlog [13]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted over at the lovely blog The Story Siren. The point is to blog about books that you have somehow procured during the week!

Yet again YouTube gave me a bad set of video thumbnail choices. I look a little psychotic in this one. Like I'm losing my mind.... Don't worry I'm really not that creepy in real life! I SWEAR! XD

Tamar by Mal Peet
Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz

Freefall by Mindi Scott (Thanks for sending me a signed copy Mindi!!! YOU ROCK!)
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (SIGNED!!!)
Daisy Whitney's Facebook page (GO LIKE IT NOW!!!):!/mockingbirdsbook

So thats what I got "in my mailbox" this week! What did you guys get?

Julia :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Book Review: Desires of the Dead

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found. Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered - and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life. As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where tings went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

I LOVED The Body Finder. It was such a great mix of contemporary and paranormal mystery. So I was expecting Desires of the Dead to be equally amazing. However, in my opinion, it just didn't measure up to The Body Finder. It was still amazing! Just not quite as amazing.

One of the things that didn't really work for me was Jay and Violets relationship. Its not that I don't like them as a couple (because I totally do!) but Violet kept acting like their relationship dynamic had changed soooo much that she couldn't trust him with any information. I was like seriously girl? You don't think you can confide in your boyfriend about people possibly creep stalking you? Just because you're afraid of him telling your parents/uncle? Isn't that a GOOD thing that he wants to make sure you're safe? And its not like Jay wasn't protective of you before! He would have done the same thing in The Body Finder! Although I have to admit I do think that Jay is a bit overkill on the protectiveness thing.... But anyway I just thought that was a bit strange. But maybe that was just me.

I also thought Violet came off as a little whiny. She was jealous that Jay was spending time with Mike, but then she wasn't willing to open up to Jay when they did spend time together. She couldn't decide whether or not she wanted to trust the FBI so she just kind of waffled back and forth and then she just felt sorry for herself. I just kept thinking get a grip girl! But the awesome thing was that by the end of the story Violet really grew as a character. She had opened up to Jay and she had come to a decision about using her power and that was great. So Violets growth really did overshadow her shallowness in the beginning of the story. Its always nice to see a character learn and grow.

I loved that Kimberly Derting chose to continue having the intermittent sections told from another point of view! The sections in Desires of the Dead weren't quite as freaky as in The Body Finder but it was still a great aspect of the story.

I think the mystery aspect of the story could have been a bit stronger. A lot of Desires of the Dead was based around Violet grappling with her feelings for Jay and her feelings about her powers so it was less centered on a mystery like The Body Finder was. However I think that the mystery elements were perfectly placed to keep the plot moving along. And I definitely have to say that no one handles a suspenseful ending quite like Kimberly Derting! She really knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Desires of the Dead is an awesome book. It has mystery, suspense, romance, and unfortunately for me, a lot of teen angst. I really loved Violets character development, and Jay was great as always. If you liked The Body Finder you will most certainly like Desires of the Dead! I give it 4 out of 5 ice cream cones.

5 Words to Describe This Book
Creepy stalker, important decisions, suspenseful

Wanna internet stalk the author? (NOT REALLY! Hehe...) Check out Kimberly Dertings blog here.

Julia :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review: Trapped

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive. Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still it doesn't seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision.....

Because I live in Arizona (a desert wasteland of endless heat) I always imagine living in a place with snow and blizzards would be fun. A sort of adventure of sorts. You get stuck in your house for a few days, eat lots of soup, watch lots of movies, and read lots of books. Well this book has totally ruined my preconceived notion of snowstorms. They aren't fun. They aren't enjoyable. They are dangerous and gosh darn it they are SCARY!!!! Oh and cold. Don't forget cold.

Lessons to be learned from this book: 
1. Do not venture into a blizzard even if you are trapped in a highschool with seven teenagers and you're the only adult. You will die. DIE!!! Its just a bad idea.
2. You better start liking PB&J now because that could be all you have during a crazy snowstorm. That and artificial meat products which, as we all know, are fairly disgusting. :P
3. If the snow gets about 10 feet high you can bet that there will be no cell phone reception. So don't go sticking your phone out of a window to see if the reception is better outside. You'll probably drop it and lose it in the snow and then oh my gosh no more flashlight app!
4. Always stick extra food and clothing in your locker at school. You never know when it might come in handy.
5. And last but certainly not least, when there is a huge blizzard coming your way don't decide to hang out at school working on a go kart instead of going home! And don't lie to your teachers! The outcome could be disastrous.

Honestly, I really enjoyed this book. I know some people will fault it because of its stereotypical characters but I thought the premise was cool and overall the story was well executed. I also liked that the narrator was a guy. Its always cool to read books from a guys perspective. So entertaining! The one thing I thought was weird was that they set up a fire in a can in the school bathroom and just left it there with no one watching it. What if the can somehow tipped over? What if the fire got out of hand? THE SCHOOL COULD BURN DOWN!!! Seriously I just kept thinking that while reading. Isn't it common sense not to leave a fire unattended in a building? I guess when you're trapped in a building with 18 feet of snow outside then a fire is the least of your worries? I don't know.

I really enjoyed Trapped. The characters could have had more depth to them and the ending seemed a little rushed for me but overall it was an engaging and fast read. I give Trapped 4 out of 5 ice cream cones!

I will definitely never look at blizzards/snowstorms the same way again!

Julia :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Words Wednesday [18]

A chance for me to highlight some of my favorite book quotes! This week's quote is from Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

"I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now and live in it forever."

There are so many moments in my life when I've wanted everything to just stop. Of course that isn't a possibility but still. I wish there was a pause button for life. So that we could savor all the little things. The special moments that we don't want to forget.

Julia :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Thoughts on the Harry Potter Series: Part 2

So in January I participated in the January Potter-Thon hosted by Pure Imagination and I posted about what I thought of the first 2 books in the series. You can check out that post here in case you missed it. Anyway I have now read all the way up to book 5 (Order of the Phoenix) and I figured you guys probably wanted to know what I've thought of the other books. Sooo without further ado her are my thoughts on the Harry Potter Series: Part 2!

I LOVE THE WEASLEY'S!!!! Seriously can they be real and can I go live with them in their burrow? I think they are probably the best fictional family I have ever encountered. I just LOVE them. Then again who doesn't love ginger families! Or maybe that's just me......

Ron and Hermione's banter is pretty much hilarious. Its so obvious they kind of like each other yet neither one of them is willing to admit it. Ron just acts plain stupid about it! XD Their relationship in Goblet of Fire was just too funny with Viktor Krum asking Hermione to the dance and then Ron getting jealous but pretending not to be jealous. Ohhh so much romantic tension!!! I can't wait for them to finally express their feelings for one another! Hopefully it happens in Half-Blood Prince.

Wow.... Just WOW. Goblet of Fire was one of the most amazing books I have ever read. IT IS SO GOOD! The whole plot of the series just gets super intriguing and Voldemort comes back plus the super hilarity of the Yule Ball. Nothing can really beat awkward teenage boys and dances. XD Definitely my favorite book of the series so far!

I absolutely loved the way Order of the Phoenix really developed the characters and the spectrum of characters really broadened from the first 4 books. For one Ginny really starts to become more prominent tand I just LOVE her character! She isn't all gaga over Harry anymore (but you know they're gonna get together in the end!!!) so you can really see how competent and tough she is which is awesome. And Luna Lovegood shows up! I really like her even though she is a bit odd. But there is something wonderful about her oddness. All I can say is Dumbledores Army totally kicks butt! Can I join?

Fred and George and their pranks are totally awesome. Half the time I'm annoyed with them and the other half of the time I think they're just plain genius. Especially when they just fly out of school to make their joke shop in Order of the Phoenix! That was definitely an epic win. IN YOUR FACE DOLORES UMBRIDGE!!! Haha. :)

The one thing that I don't get is Hermione's extreme obsession with freeing the house elves. I mean its obvious that the house elves don't want to be freed! Except for a select few like Dobby. But honestly its like get a clue Hermione!!! Oh well. Dobby showing up with all of the hats that Hermione had knitted was super funny though. Him and his obsession for clothes. XD

I cannot wait to finish the rest of the Harry Potter books! Well I guess I can wait because the series is almost over which saddens me terribly. I don't want it to end! But I guess I the last movie is still coming out so that's something to look forward to right?

Who are your guyses favorite Harry Potter characters? Mine are Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, and Ginny!

Julia :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Giraffe Erasers

This weeks Kawaii Monday features super cute giraffe erasers!

I'm such a sucker for giraffes (hence the giant giraffe stuffed animal I have in my room....) so I LOVE these erasers! I know its a little strange for the giraffes to be multi-colored but I think it adds to their charm. Although the purple one in the middle does sort of look like a dog..... While I do think the multi-colored factor is fun I still think my favorite of these erasers is the orange and brown one which looks the most like a normal giraffe. A cool thing about these guys is that they are puzzle erasers so they can be taken apart and put back together again! I have a few puzzle erasers and I think they are pretty neat.

If you're interested in buying these erasers you can find them on eBay here.

Julia :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In My Mailbox Vlog [12]

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted over at the lovely blog The Story Siren. The point is to blog about books that you have somehow procured during the week!

I seriously think that it is YouTubes lot in life to pick THE WORST thumbnail picture for my videos. Normally I just pick an alternate one and it turns out looking fine. But this time there weren't even any good alternate ones. These were my options:

1. Its like a sad/confused/ehhh face??? I don't know. Not attractive at all. XD

2. Looks like I'm about to spit on the camera. Oh yeah!

3. No idea what this face even is??? I think I'll pick it. Its the lesser of  three evils.... :P

Anyways enjoy the vlog!

Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway
Drought by Pam Bachorz
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Hunger Games bow and arrow necklace
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (SIGNED!!!!)
Awesome book thong! (bookmark)

That's what I got "in my mailbox" this week! What did you guys get?

Julia :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Things I've learned from Dystopian books

So I don't know if you've noticed (note the sarcasm) but for the past 2-3 years YA lit has been taken over by paranormal romance. You can't walk into a bookstore without being bombarded with Twilight and about 10 other vampire/angel/werewolf romance novels. I'm not a big fan of paranormal romance (in fact I don't think I've ever even read one) so this age of YA has been particularly arduous for me. :P But I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel because a new "It" genre of YA is starting to emerge! And that genre is dystopian books. Books about a future that seems to be a utopia but is really overwrought with social dysfunction. Books with societies that need shaking up. And most importantly books with heroes and heroines that aren't afraid to rebel and stand up for what they believe in. Personally I LOVE dystopians and I love that its coming to the forefront of YA literature. What I like most about dystopian stories is that they always have a message. They ask you to question your society and what you believe in. Here are some of the lessons that I've learned from some of my favorite dystopian books. (links at the top will take you to my review)

War is brutal. War is ugly. But sometimes wars have to be fought because some things are worth fighting for.

You don't have to let others control your life. Its YOUR life. Don't be afraid to make your own choices and be your own person.

The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
Being pretty isn't all its cracked up to be.

Love is beautiful in every way, shape, and form. If we lose it, we lose the very essence that makes us human. Never be afraid to be love.

Living a life fueled by lies always leads to destruction.

Don't become so obsessed with how others see you, that you lose sight of who you really are.

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Never lose hope, even in the bleakest of circumstances.

I'm glad that dystopian novels are really popular right now, but there is one thing that I'm worried about: quantity over quality. This is what happened to paranormal books. They blew up and suddenly everyone was writing them but 75% of the books were not really worth reading. I don't want that to happen to dystopian fiction. I don't want people to merely crank the books out like an assembly line and put them into little cookie cutter molds of rebellion and love triangles and then expect success. So I want to know how do you guys feel about dystopian books becoming so popular? Are you afraid that the genre is going to go the route of paranormal and possibly get tarnished? And most importantly what kinds of things have you guys learned from reading dystopian novels?

Julia :)
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