Monday, October 31, 2011

Hunger Games Pumpkin Carving 2011 Edition

Last year I carved a Hunger Games themed pumpkin for Halloween. You can read my post about that little endeavor here. I wasn't originally planning on carving a Hunger Games pumpkin this year (mostly because there aren't many things you can carve other than the mockingjay symbol and I already did that last year...) but then I saw that was having a pumpkin carving contest and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to possibly win one of the comic con mockingjay pins. :P

It took me awhile to come up with a design but I finally decided to carve each of the mockingjays from the book covers along with the words The Hunger Games Trilogy. Here's the finished product:

It took FOREVER to make. Around 6-8 hours. :P

This can be attributed to the fact that I used the technique of carving out only a partial layer of skin that way I could do the trickier stuff like the thin lines on the catching fire mockingjay. I think it turned out pretty bomb diggity! What do you guys think?

Hope you all have a fantastic candy-filled Halloween!!!

Julia :)

Kawaii Monday: Pop Monsters

This week's Kawaii Monday features Pop Monsters! I ran into these little guys at the Changing Hands Bookstore when I went there for the Ashes event. THEY ARE SO CUTE!!!!

Okay, so they aren't you stereotypical cute but still. I'm a sucker for monsters..... And besides it's Halloween so why not talk about monsters am I right? My favorite is definitely the periwinkle one in the bottom right corner. There's something about his smile that is just so adorable.

The coolest thing about these is that their eyes pop out when you squeeze them. That's why they're called pop monsters! You can watch the video below to see one in action.

Pretty cool huh? Best stress reliever ever!

Which pop monster is your favorite?

You can buy these cuties here.

Julia :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Favorite Creeptastic Reads!

I've been wanting to do a post highlighting my favorite creepy reads for awhile now and its Halloween season so I would say this is the perfect time wouldn't you? So here is a list of some of my favorite creepy/mysterious/scary reads!

This book came out a few years back and when I read it I really enjoyed it. A slightly creepy summer carnival? People go missing? POSSIBLE MURDER?!?! So good!

I'm guessing this book would be on everyone's creepy book list. The cover alone just screams creepy! This one has some great paranormal frights. I've read scarier but it definitely kept me up at night!

All Unquiet Things is not half as creepy as some of the other books on this list but it deserves to be here because:

2. Its a mystery. And a good one at that!

Who said a book had to be super scary to win a spot on my favorite creepy reads list?

 I read this recently and it actually really surprised me with how creepy/scary it was! Don't be fooled by its pretty peach exterior because this book will give you serious chills!

Not scary persay, but anyone who has read Imaginary Girls knows how eerie and chilling it is!

These are some of the only mangas I've ever read (manga lovers don't hate me!!!) and they are amazing! Talk about scary mystery stories. I would always swear to myself I wouldn't read these at night because they freaked me out too much but then I would anyway. What can I say? Its fun to be scared sometimes. :)

Two things went wrong with this book for me: 

1. I listened to it on tape. There was creepy music. IT FREAKED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!
2. I listened to this at night. Such a bad idea.... >.<

I wouldn't say this book is a favorite of mine (in fact far from it) but it's worth a mention because its just so dang scary. Just thinking about it is scaring me... *shudder*

This is one creepy book! Of course you probably already knew that from looking at the bloody cover.... I'm pretty sure I hid this book from my mother when I read it because I didn't think she would approve of its freakiness..... >.<

Finally here are some books that I haven't read but have heard are really creepy:
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

So those are my favorite creeptastic reads! Or at least the ones I can think of right now.... Does anyone have any other good creepy book suggestions for me?

Julia :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cover Comparisons [14]

This past week Daisy Whitney revealed new cover designs for her books The Mockingbirds and The Rivals! I'm really loving the contrast between these two sets of covers. Let the cover comparison begin!

       Original Covers
New Covers

 Original Covers: While I liked these covers its almost like something is missing from them. They just don't have an "it" factor. They're good but not great. I do love that they match though!

New Covers: I'm gonna say it right now: These are total hipster covers! Photo booth photos? Check. Cursive handwriting font? Check. Bright red vintagesque lipstick? Check. Messy bedhead hair? Check. Yep, so hipster. I love it though! Sometimes hipster covers look cheesy but these aren't and they're really fitting for the books.

So who wins? I'm giving it to the new hipster covers! They have a sort of mysterious intrigue to them much like the books themselves and they look really classy! I still like the old covers but they just don't have the same "cool" factor that the new covers have. 

Which covers of The Mockingbirds and The Rivals do YOU like best? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

Julia :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Forgotten

by Cat Patrick
288 pages
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Source: My Bookshelf
Ever night, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.

When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting - before it destroys her future.

Forgotten is a book that (I apologize for the cliche) won't soon be forgotten. To me it was like a mixture of 50 First Dates, The Notebook, and a fascinating psychological thriller. In short: It was awesome. I read Forgotten over a week ago and I still can't get the story or characters out of my mind. It was that good.

London Lane is a girl who can't remember the past, only the future. But even so she only remembers the future the same way we remember the past; small bits and pieces that were really memorable. At first I had a hard time figuring out exactly what London's condition entailed. What exactly did the reminder notes mean? How much could London actually "remember" about the future? Was she born with her strange memory or did it just start happening one day? Stuff like that. Eventually it all became clear (sort of..) but I do think that there could have been a bit more time explaining London's condition.

Normally I'm not really the romance type but when its done right I can dig it as much as the next girl. Forgotten is the perfect example of romance done right: Sweet without being overly sappy. The way Cat Patrick had the relationship between London and Luke develop was an aspect to this story that I really loved. Plus they went on some of the cutest dates EVER! I want some guy to take me on a car date where we watch movies in the trunk and stargaze out of the moonroof! I just need to find a boyfriend and get a car with a moonroof first..... >.<

Along with the romance Forgotten also has a lot of intrigue and this is what really kept me hooked. Cat Patrick uses a series of flashbacks (or flash forwards?) to create some really great plot tension. The only gripe I have is that the ending felt unfinished. A lot of the mysteries in the story weren't solved until the last 2/3rds (if not 3/4ths) of the book and then the book was just over. I wanted more closure. I'm hoping Cat Patrick might write a sequel but I don't think she's planning on it. :/

Overall Forgotten is a fantastic read. Its got a great romance to pull in the contemporary readers but it also has just enough psychological intrigue to keep someone like me hooked! I give it 5 out of 5 ice cream cones.

Also you might want to take the time to watch Forgotten's book trailer. If I haven't convinced you to read this book, the book trailer most certainly will.

And lastly they might be turning Forgotten into a movie with Hailee Steinfeld starring as London Lane! Anyone have any thoughts on this casting? Personally I think Hailee is a great choice. She's such a cute little actress. Now we've just got to find a guy to play Luke Henry.....

Julia :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Oh my gosh goodness gracious me. I get online today and what is there to greet me but beautimous new Hunger Games movie posters!!! I just about died of happiness. Check them out:


You can see Cinna's gold eyeliner! Josh as Peeta looks so perfectly adorable! RUE!!!! *sob* And Effie? SO GOOD.

These are some of the most well designed movie posters I've ever seen. Clean, eyecatching, and unique! Love, love, LOVE them! Can I have one of each please?

The only thing that bugs me is that every character is facing the left except Katniss. Why not have them all face the same way? It kind of messes up the flow otherwise. :/

Which character poster is your favorite? My favorite is definitely the Katniss one. I wasn't totally sold on Jennifer Lawrence's look before but this poster just screams Katniss! I love it.

Now that they've given us movie posters I WANT THE FULL TRAILER!!!

March 23rd can't come fast enough!

Julia :)

When Classics are given unfortunate (and mostly Twilightesque) covers :P

When I was at Barnes and Noble the other day I ran across some classics in the YA section. While I'm happy that publishers are trying to market classic literature to the younger generation I have to say WHY MUST THEY DO IT BY GIVING THEM TERRIBLE COVERS?!?!?! *sigh* These are classics we're talking about here people! Isn't it a good idea to make them look at least somewhat classy? Okay so its not that the covers don't look classy (well, most of the covers...) its just that most of them look so, well Twilightesque. Behold, Classic Literature: Twilight style.

Okay first off I swear that the font they used for these covers is the exact same font as the Twilight books. Yep, its totally the same font. :P

Secondly what is with the super cheesy taglines for each book? They're just oozing with teen angst.

"Love Never Dies!"

"Love Beyond Measure!"

"The Original Forbidden Love!"

I am now fearing these books like I never did before. O.O

And lastly SINCE WHEN DO EDWARD AND BELLA HAVE A FAVORITE BOOK?!?! I didn't even know they could read.... Okay I kid, I kid! But honestly, I now have slightly less of an interest in reading Wuthering Heights just because of the Twilight reference. Not gonna lie.

Like I said not every classic got a Twilight overhaul. In fact the worst is yet to come. While at Barnes and Noble I also saw this "modernized" cover of Emma by Jane Austen.

*gag* I have no words...... Okay I take that back I do. This cover is just really, really horrifying. I mean could they have possibly chosen a worse color scheme? Bright yellow, hot pink AND puke green? I literally started laughing in Barnes and Noble because this cover was so ridiculous. I just couldn't believe it was real.... XD

I will say that if any of the above cover designs do get a Twilight fan girl or just a teen girl in general to pick up and read a classic when she normally wouldn't have then I'm all for it! Well all for everything but that Emma cover. I just can't endorse something that horrendous.... >.<

To save your retinas from the horror that was the Emma cover I give you a picture of beautiful leather-bound and foil engraved classics:

Now that's more like it!!! :D

Maybe I'm just old fashioned and strange but I find that classics are always at their most beautiful when they're made to look, well, classic! What about you guys? Do you like these new "modernized" covers for classics? Or are you more of a "classy" classics cover purist like me?

Julia :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [14]

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 Never Enough by Denise Jaden!

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special…even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship—and her sister—before it’s too late?

Okay firstly: look at that cover! Absolutely GORGEOUS! And secondly the summary sounds amazing! I'm always on the lookout for a good contemp involving sisters because I have one of my own and this one sounds right up my alley.

I really enjoyed Denise Jaden's debut novel Losing Faith and Never Enough sounds just as good if not better! Why must it not come out till July 2012? Torture! :P

What are you waiting on this wednesday?

Julia :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: Amplified

When privileged seventeen-year-old Jasmine decides she doesn't want to go to college, her father kicks her out. Left to fend for herself, Jasmine takes her savings and flees to Santa Cruz to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. She finds the ideal room in an oceanfront house, but she needs to convincce the three guys living there that she's the perfect roommate, and lead guitarist for their band, C-Side. Too bad she has major stage fright, and the cute bassist doesn't think a spoiled girl from Woodside can hack it.

In a Nutshell: While a bit predictable, Amplified still proves to be a fun and feisty story of music, first love, and discovering your own true worth.

Putdownability Factor: The teen speak in this novel definitely made it a quick, relatable read.

Cover Love: I'm not really digging the yellow color scheme (or the boots and fishnets for that matter...) but I do love that its an amp. Kind of clever considering the title is Amplified, am I right??? :P

My Thoughts

I throughly enjoyed this book. It's fun, and fresh, and basically makes my desire to learn bass guitar grow even stronger.* I haven't read any other YA books lately that have music as such an integral part of the novel, and after reading Amplified, I definitely would love to see more!

Tara Kelly was really able to capture the essence of the teen spirit in this novel. Each character had a lot of realism and integrity. They weren't just cookie cutter characters. They had a lot of unique qualities to them. My favorite character was most definitely Jasmine. She was kickass awesome! I loved her passion for life and music, and how she was willing to fight, fight, fight for what she wanted. I could totally relate to her character because we were similar in so many ways. I just love it when I have similarities with book characters! It makes a story that much more amazing.

One of the things I liked best about Amplified is that it addressed a lot of issues that teenagers with self-esteem and self worth. Oftentimes we sell ourselves short, or feel that we aren't worth much, when in reality that's just because we believe the lies that the world throws at us. There was one point in Amplified where Jasmine said:

"I wanted something real. I wanted to matter."

Who hasn't wanted that at sometime in their life? Who hasn't wanted to feel loved, feel needed, feel worthy, or feel accepted? I loved that Amplified stressed the fact that everyone has value, even if others can't see it, or don't appreciate it.

 The one thing that I sort of subtracted from Amplified was the cliche romance between Jasmine and Sean. It was the classic "girl hates boy, then realizes he isn't a jerk after all and falls in love with him" scenario. While it was an important element to the story I just feel like it could have been executed in a slightly less predictable fashion. But hey, I am the romance hater so it could just be me.

Overall Amplified was a fun and enjoyable read. It could have benefited from being a little less predictable in the romance department but honestly that was the only thing that bothered me. I give it 4 out of 5 ice cream cones!

Who would I recommend this to? Teens who like contemporary novels, or music or both!

Julia :)

*I've always wanted to learn a second instrument and bass guitar is the top of the list. Everyone knows the cool girls play bass guitar, am I right? XD

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review: Ashes

by Ilsa J. Bick
465 pages
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: September 6, 2011
Source: My Bookshelf
An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushed her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom - a young soldier - and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it's now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Alex treks out into the woods in order to face her personal demons, but what starts out as a routine camping trip quickly turns into a nightmare. What was the horrible scorching pain that killed Ellie's grandfather, made the animals go crazy and brought back Alex's sense of taste and smell? Why aren't any electronics working? And most importantly, why are young people everywhere turning into flesh eating monsters?

Ilsa J. Bick definitely knows how to craft a compelling story. Part survivalist adventure and part apocalypse craziness, Ashes proves to be nearly impossible to put down. But I will warn you: As awesome as this book is, it is also really brutal. Ilsa spares the reader nothing, especially not in the area of violence. There were several sequences that were so grisly I found myself cringing. And if you are particularly affected by animal violence (like I am) then be warned that there are several sequences of extreme animal violence.

The one great thing that comes out of Ashes brutality is that it creates the perfect apocalypse atmosphere. The character's desperation is palpable as they try to survive in this new and terrifying world. Speaking of the character's I really loved Alex as the protagonist. She felt very human; strong one minute, scared and guarded the next. Ellie and Tom were also great characters. Some people might find Ellie's whining attitude annoying but I actually liked her. She was almost comforting to me. Like a promise that even if there was an apocalypse there would still be small children around for me to babysit. :P

A lot of people have been talking about how a "twist" near the end of the novel made them dislike Ashes. I'm keeping this review spoiler free but I will say that I didn't even realize what this "twist" was until I finished reading the book and then looked back and really thought about it. Apparently my idea of a "twist" was completely different from everyone elses. :P As for what I thought about this "twist" I have to say that I'm on the fence about it. I still think that Ashes was a fantastic book, but the fact that this "twist" caused the introduction of a bunch of new characters kind of detracted from the overall story. The bottom line is if an author wants me to really care about certain characters they need to give me more than just 1/3rd of the book to get to know them. Otherwise I really won't give a crap about whether or not they live or die. That was really the only noticeable flaw I could find in Ashes.

There were plenty of other aspects to Ashes that I loved (freaky zombie-like teenagers? HECK YES! Crazy WTF ending? HECK YES!) but if I keep writing this review it would probably end up being so long no one would want to read it. So in conclusion Ashes is a great dystopian novel. It's a fast-paced, edge of your seat thriller and I encourage anyone who is a fan of dystopia's to read it! Ashes gets 4 and a half out of 5 ice cream cones.

Is anyone else dying for Ashes sequel? With a crazy cliffhanger ending like that I don't know how you couldn't be!

Julia :)

Cover Comparisons [13]

Its cover comparison time! This week I'm comparing the two covers for Jennifer Donnelly's historical fiction novel Revolution. I haven't actually read Revolution (have you seen the size of that thing? ITS A TOME!) but I've heard many great things about it and I really should get around to reading it.... Anyway let the comparison begin!

                                         Original Cover           Paperback Cover

Original Cover: The first time I saw this cover I didn't even realize Revolution was a YA book. It just looks so.... adulty I guess you could say? Anyway I'm not a big fan of this cover. It doesn't intrigue me in the slightest, in fact it makes the book look a bit dull. Not a good thing, especially when the book is already like 500 pages long. :/

Paperback Cover: This cover on the other hand I absolutely ADORE. I've always been a big fan of old keys so that image alone is enough to sell me on this book. It makes me want to open the book and discover what the key is for!

So who wins? Paperback cover all the way! I can't say no to that antique key. Its absolutely GORGEOUS. Plus you can still tell that the book is a historical fiction without it looking half as boring as the original cover!

So which cover of Revolution do YOU like best? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

Julia :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Meeting A.S. King (or how I dragged my mother to a book event and she realized that YA isn't so bad after all!)

So last week I got to meet the totally amazing A.S. King at Changing Hands Bookstore!!! I was absolutely giddy with excitement. I LOVED Please Ignore Vera Dietz (story of my life people!) and I was looking forward to hearing all about her newest book Everybody Sees the Ants, and of course getting my copy of Vera Dietz signed!

Normally I head to these book events with just my awesome friend Cristian in tow but this time I decided to drag my mom along. She had heard me raving about this bookstore and so she wanted to see it for herself. My mom has always been a reader but she's fairly skeptical of YA lit. She thinks its mostly a waste of time. So imagine my surprise when shocker of all shockers she actually ended up LOVING A.S. King and her excerpts from Everybody Sees the Ants, profanity and all! This may or may not be attributed to the fact that A.S. King used to be an organic farmer in Ireland but that's besides the point.... My mom actually wanted to buy a copy of Everybody Sees the Ants and not only that but she is now telling my brother and cousin that they need to read it. Oh and did I mention that she keeps asking me how she can email A.S. King to ask her more questions about organic farming? Yeah, that's my mom for you. >.< I'm thinking I'll need to drag her along to more of these signings that way she realizes that YA literature is really quite AWESOMETASTIC!!!

So enough about my mom. Here's a picture with me and the lovely A.S. King!

I don't look like a creeper in this picture! YAY!!!!

I also got a some video footage of A.S. King, again for the Library Facebook page.

A.S. King totally ROCKS and I can't wait to get started on her new book Everybody Sees the Ants!

Julia :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
by Jeanne Birdsall 
295 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Source: Library
When summer comes around, it's off to the beach for Rosalind...and off to Maine with Aunt Claire for the rest of the Penderwick girls, as well as their old friend Jeffrey.

That leaves Skye as OAP (oldest available Penderwick) - a terrifying notion for all, but for Skye especially. Things look good as they settle into their cozy cottage, with a rocky shore, enthusiastic seagulls, a just-right corner store, and a charming next-door neighbor. But can Skye hold it together long enough to figure out Rosalind's directions about not letting Batty explode? Will Jane's Love Survey come to a tragic conclusion after she meets the alluring Dominic? Is Batty - contrary to all accepted wisdom - the only Penderwick capable of carrying a tune? And will Jeffrey be able to keep peace between the girls...these girls who are his second, and most heartfelt, family?

The Penderwicks are back and as charming as ever! This time they're vacationing at Point Mouette in Maine. Skye has become the OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick, and therefore in charge) in her older sister Rosalind's absence and she doubts whether or not she has the fortitude to really handle the responsibility. Jane has a sudden bout of writers block, that is until she meets the strangely fascinating Dominic. And Batty is, well Batty. :)

I LOVE these stories. Really, I do. The Penderwicks is one of my favorite books of all time. Jeanne Birdsall uses a perfect mix of childhood whimsy and fun that makes each of her books a joy to read and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette is no exception. Its equal parts hilarious, and poignant and all around a fantastic novel.

Each character was marvelously multi-faceted especially the Penderwick sisters. Skye was just as tough and obstinate as ever, but this time she also showed a caring side as she took on the responsibility of being the OAP. Jane was perfectly overdramatic and lovestruck which led to a lot of humorous moments. And Batty was her same sweet hound loving self though this time she also showed a lot of maturity. I guess book characters have to grow up too. *sniff sniff*

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette is full of fun surprises. Family secrets, first kisses, moose watching, and accidental haircuts are just some of the wonderful adventures that are in store if you choose to read this book, which I certainly hope you do.

5 out of 5 ice cream cones for The Penderwicks at Point Mouette!

Julia :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amplified Tour: Jasmine Character Interview

I have the wonderful honor of hosting a portion of the Amplified tour today! I REALLY enjoyed this book and I'm so glad that I get to share some of its wonderfulness with you. Here's an interview with the main character Jasmine herself!

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Jasmine! Let's start off with a few easy questions: Favorite color, animal, and food?

Hmmm... purple, dolphins, and pizza.

Great choices! I love pizza too. Then again, who doesn't love pizza? Anyway I know you love music, so tell me what bands/musicians inspire you the most?

Classic rock, for sure. David Gilmour's guitar work in Pink Floyd has always been a huge inspiration to me. He wasn't afraid to pusht the envelope and do something different from what everyone else was doing back then, you know? I love guitarists who aren't afraid to break the rules. guitarists who put country riffs in the middle of a punk song, for example.

I'm inspired by female guitarists who hold their own, especially back in the day - like Nancy Wilson. she was and still is brilliant. I've also got a special place in my heart for Donita Sparks of L7. That chick is fearless. I mean, she threw her used tampon at a rowdy crowd. who does that?

Who indeed! That sounds pretty kick ass. So do you play any other instruments besides guitar?

No, I fell in love with guitar and never really considered playing anything else. But I'm not against trying something new. 

It must be cool to be the lead guitarists of a great band like C-Side. What's the best thing about being in the band? What's the worst thing?

Best thing: Those moments we're playing together and magic happens. It's like we're all completely in tune ith each other and we just feed off of each other's energy. I can't even really describe how that feels...other than it's a buzz like nothing else.

Worst thing: When you make a mistake onstage, you take everyone down with you. It's a lot of pressure.

I can imagine! You definitely have a lot of guts to put it all out there like that. Tell us, if you weren't dating Sean, what would your dream boyfriend be like?

Are me and Sean dating? I don't even know what we are... But my dream boyfriend would be honest, smart, completely supportive of my music, funny, and an amazing kisser. Emphasis on the amazing kisser part.

Well I've never been kissed so I wouldn't know about that but I'll take your word for it. Living in Santa Cruz has gotta be pretty sweet. What's your favorite thing to do there?

I live across the street from the Pacific Ocean... literally. So, I spend a lot of time sitting on the cliffs and playing guitar or closing my eyes and just listening to the ocean. I don't think about anything in particular. I just take in everything around me.

The ocean is amazing! I would probably just sit and listen to the waves too. I know that you struggled a bit when you first started playing live shows with C-Side. Any advice to newcomers to the performing scene?

The advice Veta gave me is so true - keep going, no matter what. If you stop to dwell on who might be laughing at you or a mistake you made, chances are you'll dig yourself a deeper hole. Close your eyes and pretend you're playing somewhere you feel 'safe', if you have to.

That is some awesome advice! So now that you've made it big with C-Side do you have any other goals that you want to accomplish? Sign to a label? Go to school maybe?

Well, we're about to go on tour and I'm simultaneously terrified and ecstatic about it. I think it's going to test a lot of ways. I'm planning on going to school in another. Maybe major in music. I'd like to be a music teacher one day.

Those are some great aspirations. Good luck with everything Jasmine and thanks for doing this interview!

Amplified is an AWESOME book and you should really give it a read! You can read my review of it here and check it out on GoodReads here.

Julia :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Book Character Clay Pendants

I ran across these super adorable Hunger Games Katniss and Peeta clay pendants the other day on Twitter:


This etsy seller has got some serious skills! Look at the attention to detail! My only gripe is that they don't have any mouth or nose which makes them look a bit odd.... But still they are darn cute. I wish there was a Gale pendant to complete the set but oh wells.

I visited the etsy sellers shop and they have a bunch of other awesome character pendants besides the Hunger Games ones! Like this Harry Potter set:

Or this super awesome one of the Mad Hatter:

Yep. I do believe the Mad Hatter is my favorite.

You should head on over to the persons etsy shop here and look at all of the pendants they're selling! There's so many and they're all so cute!

Which would you rather have: The Hunger Games set or The Harry Potter set?

Julia :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway Winners!

Its time to announce some winners! *throws confetti in the air* :D

(why yes I did just insert a lame picture of confetti. It adds to the festive atmosphere. :P)

So last week was my big blogoversary celebration! I hope you guys had as much fun entering all of my giveaways as I had hosting them! Without further ado here are the winners:

Divergent and Faction Tattoos: thegirlonfire27

Kawaii Prize Packs: Stephanie Rillon and Brittany Burton

Mushroom Eraser Sets: Throuthehaze, Aurora m, Mona Garg (didn't respond), Erin L and Tessa.

Writing Prize Pack: Lolawid

Confessions of a Shopaholic: Ashley Mckinsey

The Maze Runner: Rogier Caprino

Signed copy of Uglies: casey (didn't respond) Chandra

Swag Prize Packs: khyla and Beth S.

Favorite book from The Book Depository: Annie Yan

I have emailed each of the winners and they have 48 hours to respond or else their prize will go to someone else. If you see your name up there but don't see an email in your inbox then please email me and let me know! The only people I didn't email were the winners of the giveaways that were hosted by The Habermann Press (Confessions of a Shopaholic and The Maze Runner). You should have received or be receiving an email from him shortly!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaways and who read my blog! You guys ROCK and I love each and every one of you.
Julia :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cover Comparisons [12]

Earlier this week they revealed the new UK covers of The Hunger Games. Apparently they decided they want to market the books towards a more mature audience so they changed the covers from this:

To this:

I don't know about you guys but I'm definitely digging this change! The original UK covers were... well admittedly not that great (just look at that awful version of Katniss....). I would have NEVER bought copies of those old covers. But these new covers I would totally buy! They are both eye catching and sophisticated! So this week I've decided to do a cover comparison between the new UK covers and the original US covers. I'm sure you've all seen the US covers but just in case you haven't here they are:

And now for the comparison!

New UK Covers: These new covers are AWESOME. The black background really makes the mockingjay symbols pop and I love the attention to detail and the coloring. Everything about these covers is simple but effective. 

US Covers: Awww yes the classic Hunger Games covers. There's not much more I can say other then that these covers are iconic and absolutely perfect for the books. 

So who wins? This is a really close call. I love both sets of covers and honestly I wouldn't mind having a set of each on my bookshelf but there must be a winner and I have to choose the US covers. Like I said: they're iconic. I can't argue with that!

Which covers of The Hunger Games do YOU like best? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

Julia :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Review: Hate List

Hate List
by Jennifer Brown
405 pages
Publisher: Little Brown for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Source: Book Club
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Val was shocked as everyone else - but, despite her own serious injury, she's implicated in the crime because of the list. The list she and Nick made of people they hated. The list Nick used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seculsion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, her former friends, and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place, and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Valerie may not have instigated the shooting that happened at her highschool, but to her it sure feels like she did. Teachers don't know whether to think of her as a hero or a criminal. Most students can't even look her in the face. And her father seems to want to cut her out of his life entirely. Worst of all, Valerie herself feels at least partially responsible for the killings. Hadn't she been the one to start the Hate List? Shouldn't she have seen this coming and stopped it?

Hate List is a novel that explores a lot of deep themes and asks a lot of great questions. What do you do when someone you love dies under horrible circumstances? How do you cope when you feel like a killer yourself? And most importantly, how do you move past the pain, and eventually start to heal?

Valerie was an interesting protagonist. I found it a bit hard to connect with her, partially because she herself was so disconnected from her world, but I did feel sympathy towards her. Every once in awhile I wanted to tell her to snap out of her misery and live her life to the fullest, but overall I think her characterization was spot on for someone in her situation. Not only that but the growth of her character was huge, especially towards the end of the novel.

Hate List is one of those books that I think every teenager should read especially nowadays when bullying is such a huge issue. Valerie didn't even question her hate list. It was just a list right? No one was really gonna take it seriously, right? But that's just not true. Actions have consequences. Even if we can't see it right away they always do. Hate List has taught me to think twice before I say/write/do something that could be potentially hurtful. That's what made Hate List have such an impact on me. It was a story with a message. It taught me something. And that's something I'm always looking for in a good book.

I give Hate List 4 out of 5 cupcakes!

Big props to Jennifer Brown for writing a book about such an important and poignant issues! I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.

Julia :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Lord of the Rings Plush

This week's Kawaii Monday features some awesome Lord of the Rings plush! I never thought it was possible to turn Frodo, Legolas, and Gandalf into cute plushies but Funko has proved me wrong. Heck, even the orc plush is cute! Check them out.

Look at his cute little dress jacket! And his little mini Sting! Oh and did I mention that his jacket comes off too? SO COOL!

Gandalf is definitely my favorite of the plushes. Unfortunately he's basically impossible to find. Well, unless you're willing to spend over $30 for him. Yeahhh not happening.... >.<

Legolas!!!! He's even got a little braid in the back. I just wish he had some arrows to go with his bow.

Awww yes and finally the orc. He's pretty lame and looks more like an alien but oh wells. His sword is pretty cool I guess.

So I actually did purchase the Frodo and the Legolas plush. They were on sale so I couldn't resist. :P If you want your own set you can find them on sale at Think Geek here. It looks like they only have Frodo and the Orc left so sorry all you Legolas lovers out there! You can always search on eBay I guess.

Which of these lovely LOTR plushes is your favorite?

Julia :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway 7: Win one of my favorite books from The Book Depository!

Its the last day and last giveaway of my blogoversary bash! *sniff sniff* It's been fun guys! Be sure to enter all of the giveaways if you haven't yet already. You can find the entire list here.

So the last giveaway is simple. You can win one of the books below from the Book Depository:

I LOVE all of these books! I tried to have an eclectic selection so that there would be something for everyone. Action, contemporary, romance, intrigue. Take your pick.

I'm especially excited about this giveaway because its INTERNATIONAL!!!! Just make sure that the Book Depository ships to your country and you are good to go!

As always fill out the mandatory entry below and you are entered to win. The extra entries are always appreciated!

Good luck and thanks for celebrating my blogoversary with me!!!! I hope you enjoyed all the giveaways as much as I did.

Julia :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway 6: Book Swag Prize Packs

I'm really excited about todays giveaway because I just LOVE book swag! I hope you guys love it too because I've got some really good swag. There are two prize packs up for grabs and each one includes:

  • A signed Slide bookmark
  • An Ashes bookmark
  • A signed Mockingbirds bookmark
  • The Daughter of Smoke and Bones Eye Tattoos
  • 2 Changing Hands Bookstore "Born to Read" stickers
  • A Everybody Sees the Ants Bookmark
  • An Everybody Sees the Ants Prize pack (sticker, rubber bracelet, swedish fish, and plastic ants)

Things that have changed since I started blogging

 This is one of those random "Its my blogoversary so I'll post something slightly sentimental" posts. Actually I've been meaning to write this post for awhile now and I've just been lazy and haven't done it till now. I know, the truth comes out. :P Anyway here you go! A short (but awesome!) list of things that have changed since I started my lovely little blog a year ago!

1. My book collection has grown exponentially. Before I started blogging I just wouldn't buy books that often. Every once in awhile I would get something really cheap from Half Price Books but honestly I just didn't buy much. Now I buy several books a month. Its a blessing and a curse. And yes, my book shelf did look something like that photo about 2 months ago. I reorganized at its much better now. But not that much better..... >.<

(this was one of the first signed books I got. IT MADE MY LIFE!!!!!)

2. Signed books have turned into gold. I never had a signed book before blogging, but once I really started interacting with authors and realizing how awesome they were gosh darn it I WANTED THEIR SIGNATURE IN MY BOOKS!!!! Haha. :P

3. Swag is also now gold.

Bookmarks before: Kind of lame and unneccessary.


4. I finally understand the purpose of ARCs. They are just cool free books anymore. Now I realize their true purpose is to be a marketing tool. Receiving an ARC is a privilege and when you get one you should market the hell out of it!

5. I now have twice as many books in my TBR pile. Before I would just pick up random stuff that looked good on the new books shelf at the Library and every once in awhile I would scan through Borders with a notebook and I would take down titles that I thought looked cool. Now I find cool new books DAILY. The sad thing is that there is no way I'll get around to reading all of them. :P

6. I never forget what I read anymore! Before I might read a book and then a few months later someone would mention it and I would have totally (or at least partially) forgotten that I had ever read the book. I didn't have any documentation for what I read and the stuff I read between 5-11th grade is still somewhat a mystery to me.... I think that keeping track of what I've read over the past year is one of the biggest perks to having my blog!

7. When I first started blogging I thought Twitter was the most retarded thing known to man. I swore I would never use it. I resisted for several months and then I read one blogger say that Twitter had become the thing she used the most to promote her blog and reach out to authors and other bloggers. Reading that made me cave.... And now I use Twitter daily. >.<

8. Over this past year I have realized how much I truly love books and sharing them with others. In fact it was my blog that made me decide to no longer pursue a career in animal studies and instead pursue a career as a Librarian!

So those are the 8 things that have changed since I started blogging! I'm sure there are more but those are the ones I could come up with off the top of my head.

I have two questions to leave you with: If you are a blogger I'm curious to know whats changed since you started blogging! If you aren't a blogger has anything changed since you started reading blogs?

Julia :)
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