Monday, February 28, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Ochaken Cell Phone Charm

This weeks Kawaii Monday features an Ochaken Cell Phone Charm!

How could anyone resist that face? He looks so pitiful sitting in his little steaming basket. My sister has a collection of little ochaken figures. They're little dogs and their ears are leaves. I think the different ochakens are supposed to symbolize different types of tea leaves? But I'm not exactly sure..... Anyway here's a picture of the different figurines.

They're all pretty awesome. My favorite would probably be the green one or the red one. Which one do you guys like?

You can find the cell phone charm for sale here.

Julia :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In My Mailbox Vlog [11]

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!

So I wasn't actually gonna do an IMM vlog this week but then I went to the Library and ended up picking up a bunch of stuff so I decided to do one after all! My voice sounds kind of funny in this video since I'm still getting over my cold and my voice just came back like yesterday so yeah sorry about that.

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Cryers Cross by Lisa McMann

The Bundle at Blackthorpe Heath by Mark Copeland
Give My Regrets to Broadway by Bruce Hale
Murder, My Tweet by Bruce Hale
The Possum Always Rings Twice by Bruce Hale
The Malted Falcon by Bruce Hale

Hunger Games Keychain

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

Julia :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Literary Crushes :)

So Valentines Day came and went and I honestly didn't even think about it. Not surprising since I'm like the least romantic person in the world. Its funny because my sister actually asked me for advice on what she should do to celebrate Valentines Day for her and her boyfriend. She must have been really desperate because I am THE WORST person to ask advice for when it comes to Valentines Day. I thought it was hilarious. XD

Anyway I've never had a boyfriend (not that I've been actively searching for one) and that's probably a good thing because books have spoiled me when it comes to guys. I mean seriously guys are never half as perfect in real life as they are in books. This is probably due to the fact that most of these books are written by female authors who just write their perfect idea of a guy. Hehe. Talk about unrealistic. But they're great to read about right? So in honor of Valentines Day (even though it was like 2 weeks ago. :P) I will now give you the list of my favorite literary guys!

1. Gale Hawthorne from The Hunger Games

That's right. All you other girls can go swoon over Peeta and watch him paint pictures and ice cakes. Gale and I will be off in the woods hunting for our dinner together because that's just how we roll. I love Gale. Even after Mockingjay I still love him. Everything about him. His tall, dark, and handsomeness. His outdoormenness. His broody toughness. EVERYTHING. And I just hate what Suzanne Collins did to his storyline. GALE DESERVED BETTER!!! :P No I'm not one of those girls who thought that Gale should have ended up with Katniss. I think Katniss and Peeta are perfect together. Why? SO I CAN HAVE GALE!!!! XD

2. Hale from The Heist Society

Hale is awesome. He's Kats best friend, he's cute, AND he's not afraid of taking some risks. He's kind of got that bad boy vibe without actually being a bad boy! I also love that Hale isn't too overprotective of Kat. Sure, he likes her and doesn't want her to get hurt, but he also knows that Katarina can take care of herself. Hale is always there when Kat needs him. I wish I had a guy friend like him! Can I steal him? Please?

3. Cam from The Summer I Turned Pretty

This one is a bit unusual because Cam isn't one of the main characters of the book. In fact he's only in like a third of it. But he's part Asian. And he's straight edge. And he's just total awesome sauce. Lets just say that when Belly breaks up with him to go off with Conrad I was totally yelling in my head "NO!!! STAY WITH THE HALFIE!!! HES WAYYYY BETTER!!!" Haha. What can I say, I'm a sucker for cute Asian guys. :)

4. Theo from Dramarama

Another slightly random guy most other people wouldn't really think twice about. But Theo is Asian. And he does musical theatre. AND he plays the piano like no ones business. Yep. Like I said I'm a sucker for Asians. And guys who play musical instruments are just all around awesome am I right?

5. Jacob from North of Beautiful

Jacob from North of Beautiful is pretty much one of the most perfect guys ever. He's Asian, sort of artsy/goth (he goes geocaching, how cool is that?), and the best thing is that when he looks at Terra he doesn't see her port wine stain but instead sees her. Just her. For who she is. And he encourages her to be herself. That she's beautiful even with her imperfections. I love that. Jacob is AMAZING. And just talking about his amazingness makes me want to read this book again. Yep, Jacob is just that awesome.

6. Cameron Quick from Sweethearts

 Cameron is so sweet. He's just adorably awkward and cute. Sure he's got his problems but he's so stinking loveable!!! I love that when they were kids he would always stick up for Jenna. And he made her that doll house for her birthday. TO CUTE. I wish I had a friend like that when I was younger. One who could magically reappear into my life and be cute and wonderful and then we could live happily ever after. But I unfortunately I did not possess such friends. Oh well. I can always read this book and dream right? :P

So those are my top 6 literary crushes. Writing this post made me realize that you can put all my favorite literary guys into one of two categories. 1. Asian Guys or 2. The Best Guy Friend. Funny right?

So who are your literary crushes? Do they all fall into clear categories like mine? Or are they all pretty unique?

Julia :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Words Wednesday [17]

A chance for me to highlight some awesome book quotes! This week's quote is from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

"Dumbledore shook his head. 'Curiosity is not a sin,' he said, 'But we should exercise caution with our curiosity... yes, indeed....'"

Awww words of wisdom from Dumbledore yet again! I know from experience that curiosity can sometimes lead to bad things.... Hehe.

Harry Potter where have you been all my life??? The Goblet of Fire was definitely my favorite in the series so far!

Julia :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: So Yesterday

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Braque is a Trendsetter, on the second level of the pyramid. His job: find the newest, coolest thing for the retail market. His MO: observe, don't get involved. It's a pretty sweet deal until Hunter's boss disappears. Soon Hunter and his crush, Jen, become ensnared in a web of brand-name intrigue - a missing cargo of the coolest shoes they've ever seen, ads for products that don't exist, and a shadowy group dedicated to the downfall of consumerism as we know it.

Imagine you've found a pair of shoes. THE AWESOMEST PAIR OF SHOES YOU HAVE EVER SEEN. And then they disappear. And THEN your boss goes missing. You think she's been kidnapped but you can't prove it. All you have is her phone and two tickets to a high level party that could lead to the answers but could also lead to danger.  What do you do? Well if you're like Hunter and Jen you disguise yourself, head to the party, and then uncover a group of fashion underworlders!

Sound kind of crazy? Sound kind of random? Sound kind of INSANE? Well that's So Yesterday in a nutshell. Its a weird mix of espionage and fashion with a little dash of romance. Its like a fluffy teen novel for boys. There's not a whole lot of substance to it, but So Yesterday still manages to be an okay book.

I'm one of those readers who really likes her stories to be character driven. If a book has great characters then I will probably love it. Unfortunately So Yesterday is definitely more plot driven. Its all about the spy elements and uncovering the secret behind an awesome pair of shoes. The characters are an afterthought. Hunter is a bit one dimensional. He's a Trendsetter; someone who spots trends and makes them "cool." Hunter could be almost anyone. He's not particularly unique. Jen on the other hand is all kinds of unique. She's an Innovator: someone who unwittingly starts trends. I liked Jen. She was fearless and apparently her taste in shoelaces is pretty rad. Overall I would have liked Hunter and Jen to have a bit more character development.

The main plot of So Yesterday is a bit confusing and also kind of cheesy. I mean who kidnaps people over cool shoes? Apparently people in the fashion industry. Hunter and Jen spend the whole story trying to discover who the "anti-client" is. They disguise themselves, watch seizure inducing cartoons, and break and enter into an office building, all to find the makers of a cool pair of shoes. All I can say is those shoes must have been REALLY COOL. Because honestly who risks their life and limb for a PAIR OF SHOES?! I don't know it just didn't really make sense to me. :/

One thing I loved about this book was the random interjections of fashion knowledge. Or just knowledge in general. My personal favorite was one section talking about the history of the Phoenicians and purple dye. Random, but enlightening! I'm a sucker for strange facts.

I give So Yesterday 3 out of 5 ice cream cones.

It was definitely an interesting read. I mean how many times do you read a book that mixes fashion with spy elements? Not very often. So Yesterday is, in a word, unique. If you like spies, fashion, or just really awesome shoes, then pick it up. You'll probably enjoy it.
5 Words to Describe This Book
Awesome shoes, espionage, fashion underworld

Julia :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Pocket Ninjas

This weeks Kawaii Monday features Pocket Ninjas!

I LOVE NINJAS!!!! And these ones are cute AND cuddly! I definitely have a weakness for cuddly things.... These little guys are made by the company Shawnimals and all of their stuff is sooo stinking adorable. I looked at their website, and while those little plain colored ones up there are cute my personal favorite pocket ninja in the store is this guy.

Aviator ninja??? WAY TO CUTE! That aviator caps is just too perfect. And the goggles? Cuteness overload right there.

You can find the plain colored ninjas here and the aviator ninja here.

Which pocket ninja is your favorite?

Julia :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book Review: Across the Universe

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends, and planet behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber. Someone tried to murder her. Now, Amy is caught inside a tiny world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest's rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead. Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship's cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

When I started Across the Universe I didn't really know what to expect from it. In fact I don't think I even bothered to read the complete summary before I dived right in. All I knew was that it was a sci-fi/dystopian with some mystery, romance, and a huge twist at the end. I had read mixed reviews so I tried not to get my hopes up about it. I guess I didn't have to worry because this book ended up blowing me away! It was just FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! Literally the first word out of my mouth after I finished was "WOW!" Yep. It was that good. I read the last 250 pages in one night (staying up till nearly 2 AM while I was at it) because I was just so engrossed. I haven't been that glued to the pages of a book since reading The Hunger Games Trilogy. No joke.

The cover of this book is gorgeous. It drew me in immediately. But it also made me a little wary because it makes the book look like more of a romance. In fact I distinctly remember almost deciding not to put this on my book list just because I thought it was only about romance. Well never judge a book by its cover because Across the Universe is most certainly not a romance! Yes, there was a small amount of romantic subtext but the mystery/thriller storyline definitely took center stage. And boy did I LOVE the mystery of Across the Universe! And the twists. Oh my gosh the twists to this story WERE CRAZY. I saw some things coming but then there were others that were totally out of left field. I was pretty much sitting in my bed with my jaw dropped during the whole second half because stuff was so insane. All I can say is that Beth Revis definitely knows how to keep a reader on the edge of their seat. 

The world building in Across the Universe is pure genius. Everytime I picked up the book I would immediately be transported aboard the ship because the writing perfectly expressed the sterile and inhuman quality of Godspeed. Everything about the ship was just so claustrophobic and fake. Air that had been breathed and recycled for hundreds of years, open areas with "grass" and "sky." Amy and Elder's world is terrifying in its reality.

I'm a big fan of dual narrative in books and I especially liked it in this one. I loved being able to switch back and forth between Elder's mind and Amy's mind. They were both so different, her from earth, and him never setting foot outside of the ship, and yet they both had the same humanity to them. Elder wasn't cold and calculated like some of the others on the ship. He was thoughtful and he wanted to seek out the truth just as much as Amy did. Both Elder and Amy had good character development throughout the story. Elder had a bit more than Amy but overall they both realized the same things and had grown into brave new leaders.

Across the Universe is definitely my favorite read so far this year. It was just SO GOOD. If you haven't read it yet you need to. RIGHT NOW. I do have one warning though. There is this totally creeptastic part in the book involving the "mating season." It was BEYOND CREEPY. However it was a necessary aspect to the plot so I can't fault it too much. Just thought I'd warn you guys. Across the Universe earns 5 out of 5 ice cream cones!

5 Words to Describe this Book
Discover truth, surprising twists, AMAZING.

Fortunately for me Across the Universe is going to end up being a trilogy! YESH! The book doesn't end at a cliffhanger which I liked. Cliffhangers always kill me. I definitely can't wait to see what Beth Revis does with the sequels.

Check out Beth Revis' awesome website here and the official Across the Universe website here.

Julia :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

In My Mailbox [10] and I Am Number Four ARC Winner!

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 think I'll keep on doing vlogs since I find them rather fun. What do you guys think? Fun or not fun? Anyway here's what I got! (yet again another lovely still shot of me. YouTube really does do this on purpose doesn't it? :P)

Trapped by Michael Northrop
The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher
Foiled by Jane Yolen

The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Freefall by Mindi Scott (my review can be read here)
Awesome Gryffindor Scarf (knitted by the wonderful Mindi Scott!)
2 Signed Freefall Bookmarks

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

Also I would like to announce the winner of my I Am Number Four ARC Giveaway!!! There were a ton of entries (it took forever to tally them all up :P) but I finally was able to pick a winner! Congratulations to:

Carina L. Tai of Dystopian Desserts!!!!

I've already contacted Carina to let her know. Congrats again!

I saw I Am Number Four yesterday and it was FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. Everyone should head on down to the theatre and see it. It was definitely one of those see in theatre movies because action scenes are always better on the big screen and there were lots of fun jump out of your seat moments. Seriously. Go see it. You won't be disappointed.

Julia :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book Review: Fixing Delilah

Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart. She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition. Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful fast. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

I haven't read Sarah Ockler's first novel Twenty Boy Summer so I didn't really know what to expect from Fixing Delilah. I figured it would probably be just another run-of-the-mill contemporary novel that I would read and then forgot about a few weeks later. Not so! I LOVED this book. Everything about it was so amazing from the characters to the story itself. Fixing Delilah definitely reminded me of a Sarah Dessen book in the way that it was so honest about life and love. Its actually quite funny because I was thinking while reading it "Wow this reminds me of Sarah Dessen's books!" and then I looked at the back cover flap of the book and there was a quote from a review of Twenty Boy Summer and it said "Will satisfy fans of Sarah Dessen" and I was like Ha! Yes! So if you like Sarah Dessen I strongly urge you to pick this book up!

The thing I loved most about Fixing Delilah was the honesty of the characters. They felt SO REAL. And not only that but I really felt a connection to them. Especially Delilah. My family doesn't have any hidden secrets like hers does but I was still able to understand what she was going through. It would have been really easy for Delilah to go down the path of being the whiny protagonist but Sarah Ockler succeeded in making me feel empathy for her. Sure she had made mistakes, but honestly who wouldn't have in her situation? The point wasn't the mistakes she had made, but the lessons that she learned in order to change her life for the better. Delilah's character development was one of the strongest points of the novel. While I loved Delilah's transformation I have to say that overall my favorite character would have to be Patrick just because he's so perfect. I feel like I've been saying this about every literary guy lately but seriously. Patrick is great. AND he's a musician. Who doesn't want a guy who can sing to you, am I right? I absolutely adored this one quote from the book that Patrick says:

 "Delilah?" He's even closer now, whispers falling on my skin like feathers as his fingers trace my eyebrows. "You're beautiful, you know that?"

*swoon* Okay so I know that I've said that I'm not into romance and romantic things but I'm not gonna lie, I've always wanted a guy to tell me that I'm beautiful. That quote up there is pretty much my dream come true! Just saying.

Fixing Delilah tackled some pretty tough issues. Family secrets, mental illness, and emotional healing, and forgiveness were all big topics. Sarah Ockler was able to approach these topics without making them seem cheesy or over emotional. The forgiveness and reconciliation was written especially beautifully. Gahhh this book was just so amazing!

I give Fixing Delilah 5 out of 5 cupcakes!

If you're a fan of Sarah Dessen, or just love books that are emotionally beautiful then pick up Fixing Delilah! You won't regret it. Now I most definitely have to get Twenty Boy Summer from the Library. I can hardly wait to read more from Sarah Ockler!

5 Words to Describe this Book
Family secrets, emotional healing, beautiful.

Julia :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday [2]

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!

I'm waiting on Divergent by Veronica Roth!

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris, and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together, they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret: one she’s kept hidden from everyone, because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her.

So it was my wonderful blogger buddy Izzy over at My Words Ate Me who clued me in to this AMAZING looking book! (Oh and everyone should go check out Izzy's blog because its awesome!) I can't believe I hadn't heard about this book sooner. Its a dystopian, (my fav genre!) its got an amazing cover and summary, PLUS people are saying its as good as The Hunger Games! And you guys know how much I LOVE The Hunger Games. Anyway I definitely cannot wait till this book comes out on May 3rd!

Oh and Veronica Roth has a blog so you guys should totally check it out here. She's super awesome and only 22! Can you believe it? Yay for young authors!

Julia :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Follower Love Winner!!!! :D

Wow! Tallying the entries to this contest took FOREVER! Probably didn't help that I was googling sheet music at the same time..... Clearly I need to work on being less distracted. Hehe. Anyway I had exactly 150 unique entries in this giveaway and exactly 400 total chances to win. CRAZINESS! Without further ado the winner is:


Congrats! I've sent an email and if I don't hear back from her in 48 hours I'll pick a new winner. Thanks to all the people who entered the giveaway and to all my new followers! I hope you don't end up regretting following me. Haha. If you didn't win don't worry because I have another giveaway going on right now for an ARC copy of I Am Number Four! If you haven't yet you should go enter it here. Its even international!

Julia :)

Kawaii Monday: Fruit Bell Cell Phone Charms

This weeks Kawaii Monday features fruit bell cell phone charms! (Translation: Cell phone charms that are shaped like fruits and happen to be bells.)

Aren't they just awesome? I totally wish I had a cell phone so I could get one of these little guys! However I don't know how annoying the ringing bell noise might be.... But they're so cute that it wouldn't really matter would it? My favorite is definitely the red apple. I love how it has cute little flowers on its back! Which one do you guys like best?

You can purchase these little guys from Strapya World!

Julia :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: XVI

Every girl gets one. An XVI tattoo on the wrist - sixteen. They say they're there for protection. Some girls can't wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay. Then, with one brutal strike, Nina's normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there's one boy who can help - and he just may hold the key to her past. But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure.... For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.

What if we lived in a world that turned a blind eye to rape? Just allowed it to happen and sometimes, even encouraged it? A society that also took away all rights a girl had over her body? What about a world where nearly everything is under surveillance? One wrong word or action, and you could end up in prison, or worse: dead. That's the society that exists in XVI. Julia Karr did a great job building a world that was both scary and outrageous, but at the same time engrossing and plausible. I can only hope our own society never turns out like the one that exists in XVI.

There were a lot of characters in this book, and to be honest I did get some of them confused. But after awhile I got used to it and was able to get all of them sorted out in my mind. My favorite character was definitely Wei. She didn't allow society to force her into being a typical sex-teen. She rebelled but in silent ways like decorating her XVI tattoo with thistles, and learning awesome martial arts to defend herself against predators. Not to mention the fact that Wei was half Japanese!!! YESH! Haha. It seems like every book I'm reading lately has a halfie character in it.

One thing that confused me about this book was all the lingo. There were all sorts of abbreviations and names for things that were never really explained. I still don't know what FeLS stood for! I don't know if that's just because I missed it or if they never actually said it or maybe if it isn't short for anything? I have no clue. It would have been nice if at the end of the book there had been an appendix or something with definitions to the new vocab words so the reader wouldn't be as distracted by it.

While I liked a lot of aspects of this story I have to say that there was one major thing that just didn't work for me. And that was the romance between Nina and Sal. Their relationship didn't really make much sense. Nina meets Sal but isn't interested because she doesn't want a boyfriend. Then all of a sudden she has a crush on him and they're kissing?! Their relationship just didn't seem to evolve naturally. And there wasn't really any reason for them to be together in the first place! So that aspect of the story was just very mehhh. Plus I thought Sal was kind of a weak character. He was a bit one dimensional. But oh well.

I felt like the storyline of XVI was all over the place. It would jump from one thing (Nina and Sal's romance!) to another (The mystery of FeLS) and there was hardly any time to process it all. I'm still trying to figure out who exactly the underground rebellion people were, not to mention sorting out all the mysteries of the government. I didn't like that the ending of the story felt kind of rushed. It would have been nice if Julia Karr had spent a bit more time explaining everything and tying up the loose ends to the story.

Overall XVI was an okay but slightly confusing dystopian. Julia Karr did a great job building a scary future society and I really enjoyed some of the characters. However I felt like some points of the story weren't fully explained and that detracted from the story. I give XVI 3 and a half out of 5 cupcakes.

5 Words to Describe This Book
Scary setting, shocking secrets, confusing

One more random thing. There was one character (Mike) who volunteered at the zoo and worked with the cows which I totally thought was hilarious! Mostly because I volunteer at the zoo. However I do not work with the cows. Not that I wouldn't like to though. Come to think of it I don't even know if my zoo has cows? I think it does? Anyway yeah that was something I just had to mention.

Julia :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Words Wednesday [16]

A chance for me to highlight some of my favorite book quotes! This week's quote is from Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

"But I have a secret. You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal against hope, and without fear.
I love you. Remember. They cannot take it."

Gahhhh I LOVE Delirium!!!! It is such an amazing book. Love cannot be destroyed. Not fully. As long as there are people on the earth, there will be love. No matter what.

Julia :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Follower Love Giveaway!

I am participating in the Follower Love Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer! I'm giving away a hardcover copy of Fallen by Lauren Kate!

Here are the rules:

1. You MUST live in the U.S. for this giveaway! Sorry international peeps! Fortunately I do have another giveaway going on right now that is open internationally! If you want to enter that you can go here.
2. You have to be a follower of my blog. Since this is called the Follower Love Giveaway its only fair that a follower gets the love! Haha. :)
3. To enter this giveaway just fill out the form below!

Right now I also have another giveaway going on for an ARC copy of I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore! If you are interested in entering that giveaway as well you can go here. Be sure to check out the link list at the end of this post so you can get to all the other giveaways in the hop! There are over 200 blogs participating so there are a LOT of giveaways to enter. Have fun hopping!

Julia :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kawaii Monday: Stitch Plush Keychain

This weeks Kawaii Monday features a super adorable Stitch plush keychain!

Isn't he too cute? I got him in Disneyland when I went there for the first time earlier in January. I just couldn't resist his cuddliness. I thought about hanging him in the windshield of my car, but then I realized that the Arizona sun would totally bleach him out. :( So instead I have him hanging from the fan pull string in my bedroom.

Julia :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In My Mailbox [9] OH MY GOSH I MADE A VLOG! :D

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!

So I had been entertaining the thought of doing vlogs for IMM for awhile now because it just seemed like it would be a fun thing to do and I thought it would be easy since my laptop has a webcam that I can record on. Haha. Little did I know it would be a little trickier than just popping open my laptop and hitting record. My experience went something like this:

1st Vlog Attempt: Bad lighting. Good thing I realized this like 2 minutes into the video. Hehe.

2nd Vlog Attempt: At the very end of the movie my computer goes into screensaver mode and stops recording!!! CURSES!!!!

3rd Vlog Attempt: Computer goes into screensaver mode AGAIN. Needless to say I changed the screensaver settings this time....

4th Vlog Attempt: WAY too long. It was like nearly 20 minutes. I talk too much.....

5th-6th Vlog Attempt: Still too long!

7th Vlog Attempt: Finally short enough! But what is this? THE SOUND DIDN'T RECORD?!?!?! GAHHHH. :/

8th Vlog Attempt: FINALLY!!!!!! SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

As you can see it was way more complicated then I anticipated. Hehe. I still don't know why that one video didn't record sound.... mysterious. Clearly my computer hates me or something. :P The important thing is that I actually did get one that's presentable though right? Hope you guys like it! (and for the record I realized AFTER I recorded this that Dutch isn't Danish because the Dutch are from Holland and the Danish are from Denmark. Fail. :P) Oh and am I the only one who thinks that YouTube must use the most disgusting part of the video to put as like the main video still??? Gehhh.

So did you guys like the vlog? I hope it wasn't too much rambling and craziness. Hehe. Watching this made me realize that I really do talk fast.... I should probably work on that. Hopefully I'll get better at doing vlogs in the future. Would you like to see more of them?

Julia :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Am Number Four ARC Giveaway!

I don't know about you, but I am SO STOKED for the I Am Number Four movie to come out on February 18th!!!! My brother, sister, and I are all going on opening day and I can hardly wait! I mean come on: Action movie + Based off of a book + Alex Pettyfer = Major epicness!!! Haha. With that kind of combination you can't go wrong right? Anyway in honor of the movies release in two weeks I am giving away an ARC copy of I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore!!!

This giveaway is international (YAY!) and it ends on the movies release date which is February 18th. All you gotta do to win is fill out the form below! 

In case you have absolutely no idea what I Am Number Four is you can watch the awesome movie trailer below or read my review of the book here.

So are you guys as excited about I Am Number Four as I am? Are you planning on seeing it in theatres?

Julia :)

Book Review: The Body Finder

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies - or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world...and the imprints that attach to their killers. Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town,and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop them. Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer - and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer...and become his prey herself.

I read so many great reviews for The Body Finder all over the blogosphere. At first I thought the title was a little weird, but then I read the summary and I knew that I HAD to read this book! The Body Finder is a thriller that has the perfect mix of the contemporary and the paranormal. It was engrossing, and exciting and sure, there was some teenage love angst but the sheer amazingness of the mystery made me overlook all cheesiness this book possessed. 

Creepy, heart pounding and unexpected are the words I would use to describe The Body Finder. Kimberly Derting is a master at weaving a perfectly suspenseful plot line. I especially liked the way she had sections from the killers point of view. It added this undertone of eeriness and unease that I LOVED. Sure it was creepy, but it added so much to the story. It sort of reminded me of The Lovely Bones and how you know who the killer is but the other characters don't and you just have to watch everything unfold. It was a great way to add more suspense and intrigue into the story and I thought it was pure perfection. And then there's the crazy, never saw it coming twist at the end! GAH! Like I said the plotting and execution of the story was amazing.

The characters of The Body Finder were also great. I loved how Violet was a really headstrong character. She wanted to find the murderer even if it was dangerous and a bit fool hardy. The one thing that did bug me about Violet was that she was pretty dense when it came to boys. Ohhh you silly fictional girl characters who are so oblivious to guys and how much they like you. Speaking of guys there was a particularly awesome guy in The Body Finder. Violets best friend Jay. He was pretty much the epitome of perfect. He was sweet, thoughtful and chivalrous and there were countless moments in this book where he was like a knight in shining armor, come to save the day! Haha but no seriously he was (minus the armor)! Why are fictional guys always better than the real ones???

I have to say that while I LOVED this book (I really did!) I was a bit turned off by the amount of angstiness between Violet and Jay. Sure they made a super adorable couple but was all that romantic tension in the beginning/middle REALLY necessary? How many moments do you need of Violet starring awkwardly at Jay's lips? And, yes, that really does happen. :P I liked Jay and Violet! I just would have liked more mystery and intrigue as compared to more angsty love issues.

Overall The Body Finders was a surprising and suspenseful thriller! The creepy/eerie mystery factor was awesome and the plotting of the story was perfect. I really liked the characters and while I did think the romance was a bit overplayed it didn't take away too much from book as a whole. I give The Body Finder 4 and a half out of 5 ice cream cones!

The sequel Desires of the Dead will be coming out on February 15th and I can hardly wait!!! I already put it on hold at the Library but unfortunately I'm number 3 on the list. Crossing my fingers that the people ahead of me are fast readers! Haha.

Julia :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Words Wednesday [15]

A chance for me to highlight some of my favorite book quotes! This week's quote is from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling.

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are far more than our abilities."

I've just started reading the Harry Potter series for the first time and I'm LOVING them so far! While I was reading The Chamber of Secrets this quote really stood out to me. Its soooo true. I mean we all have the ability to murder or steal but its the fact that we CHOOSE not to that's really important!

Julia :)
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