Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [17]

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 Fear by Michael Grant.

Despite the hunger, despite the lies, even despite the plague, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive. Creeping into the tenuous new existence they've built, though, is perhaps the worst incarnation yet of the enemy known as the Darkness: fear.
The Gone series by Michael Grant has slowly been becoming one of my favorites. Each installment has been better than the last and I'm excited and also a bit sad to see it come to and end with Fear. I've given up trying to predict what happens in this series since Michael Grant cooks up the craziest stuff but I'll bet Fear is gonna blow my mind. I guess I'll just have to wait and see!

Fear comes out on April 3rd from Katherine Tegen Books.

Julia :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: The Girl Who Was On Fire + Giveaway

The Girl Who Was on Fire: Movie Edition
Edited by Leah Wilson
Contributors: Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Mary Borsellino, Sarah Rees Brennan, Terri Clark, Bree Despain, Brent Hartinger, Adrienne Kress, Sara Darer Littman, Cara Lockwood, Jackson Pearce, Diana Peterfreund, Elizabeth M. Rees, Carrie Ryan, Ned Vizzini, Lili Wilkinson, Blythe Woolston.
252 pages
Publisher: Smart Pop Books
Publicaton Date: January 17th 2012
Source: Received from the publisher for review. Thanks Smart Pop Books!
Add this book to your shelf on Goodreads!

Katniss Everdeen's adventures may have come to an end, but her story continues to blaze in the hearts of millions worldwide.

In The Girl Who Was on Fire, thirteen YA authors take you back to Panem with moving, dark, and funny pieces on Katniss, the Games, Gale and Peeta, reality TV, survival, and more. From the trilogy's darker themes of violence and social control to fashion and weaponry, the collection's exploration of the Hunger Games reveals exactly how rich, and how perilous, protagonist Katniss' world really is.

Calling all Hunger Games mega fans! YOU NEED THIS BOOK! Okay so maybe need is a strong word but this book is awesome. It's a fantastic compilation of essays from a bunch of wonderful authors and every last one of them is worth reading. The topic of these Hunger Games themed essays range from Cinna's Fashion to SCREW THIS I'M TEAM KATNISS! My personal favorite essays were:

Why So Hungry for the Hunger Games? by Sarah Rees Brennan
I like this essay mostly for the hilarious part that basically says that Suzanne Collins refers to Katniss and Peeta scootily pooping at the end of Mockingjay but before the epilogue. Sarah Rees Brennan goes off on this whole "No dear reader I am not the lucky recipient of The Secret Naughty Edition of The Hunger Games" (direct quote!) tangent and its freaking hilarious. This book is worth picking up JUST to read that one paragraph of the essay. And yes, Sarah Rees Brennan you are a filthy-minded creature from the gutter (her words, not mine! I assure you this is all in fun). Go read some fanfiction. :P

Gale: Knight. Cowbow. Badass. by Jackson Pearce
As you guys know my love for Gale is immense. That being said when I saw the title of this essay in the index of my new Movie Edition of The Girl Who Was on Fire I totally squealed with joy. I'm not even exaggerating. I literally squealed and then ran to my Mom so I could talk her ear off about Gale's badass knight status. In short: This essay is my favorite thing ever. Finally someone who understands Gale's awesome and yet flawed nature! Oh and Jackson Pearce? Yeah, you're my new favorite person. Just thought you should know.

Team Katniss by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
For all those people out there who hate "Team Peeta or Team Gale" then this essay is for you! It discusses Katniss as a character without talking about the Peeta/Gale dynamic and it's awesome. After all there is a lot more to Katniss then just her admittedly swoon worthy male counterparts am I right?

Not So Weird Science by Cara Lockwood
This essay is downright creepy but that's what makes it so cool. Basically it's all about The Hunger Games trilogy in relationship to science and whether or not things like the muttations are really plausible. I love examining fiction in a scientific way so I thought this was just plain cool.

All in all The Girl Who Was on Fire is a fantastic addition to any Hunger Games fan's Library. And even if you don't buy it I would still recommend picking it up from your local Library or taking the time to look through it at your local bookstore. It's worth it I assure you.


I have one copy of The Girl Who Was on Fire to giveaway! Unfortunately it isn't the movie edition so it won't have the awesome Gale essay (I know all you Gale fans are terribly disappointed) or the two other special movie edition essays. Sorry about that! It's still an amazing book without those essays though and if you want you can always access the three extra movie edition essays digitally.

The only rule for this giveaway is that you have to live in the United States! Extra entries are the general follow my blog and my twitter and you get an extra entry if you comment on this post with who your favorite character from the Hunger Games Trilogy is and why! You might even get an extra extra entry for answering with Gale. ;) Haha just kidding!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Julia :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Animal Balance Erasers

When I went to California for the Holidays I stopped at my favorite little Asian goods store and they had these MAJORLY awesome balance eraser games. You know those balance games where it's like a semi-circle of wood and then try to balance as many wooden animals on top of it as possible? Well they make them in a mini eraser versions too! SO COOL. Check out all the different types!

Zoo animal erasers balancing game? HECK YES! I love the camel and the crocodile best.

Dinosaur erasers balancing game! I want this set so bad. I mean THEY'RE DINOSAURS. <3

Sea life erasers balance game. I just love this one! I think sea creatures are particularly awesome, especially eraser ones.

Unfortunately each set of these was $11 which is more than a little unaffordable. I wish I could add these to my eraser collection but I guess I'll just admire them from afar. >.<
Which set is your favorite? I honestly can't pick a favorite. I like all three of them too much.

If you want to purchase these erasers you can find the zoo set here, the dinosaur set here, and the sea animal set here.

Julia :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Cover Comparison [25]

In just a few days (on February 28th to be exact) Veronica Roth's AMAZING dystopian novel Divergent is gonna be coming out in paperback and I thought what better way to celebrate than to do a cover comparison! So let's get this thing started.

                                               US Cover                    UK Cover

US Cover: I really, really love this cover! It's eye catching, dynamic and its got FIRE on it! I wish it was a bit more flashy in real life but even without any extra textures or sparkles this cover still stands out on a shelf! The tagline is awesome and I love the symbolism and the way it relates to the story. All in all a fantastic cover!

UK Cover: You guys may or may not know this but I am not a big fan of pink. It's just such a girly color and I am not a girly person. Now I know they tried to make this cover as gritty and non-girly as possible but it's still pink and therefore rubs me the wrong way. Plus it looks less like a dystopian and more like a paranormal. Oh and the teen angst vibe I'm getting from this is insane. I am just not a fan.

So who wins? I'm giving it to the US cover by a landslide. The pink hues of the UK cover don't even come close to comparing to it's epicness.

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

If you have a suggestion for future cover comparisons feel free to leave them in this form.

Julia :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: Legend

by Marie Lu 
305 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: November 29th 2011
Source: Library

Once known as the western coast of the United States, the Republic is now a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors, the Colonies.

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a military prodigy. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country, she is being groomed for success in the Republic's highest circles.

Born into the slums of the Republic's Lake Sector, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered, and Day becomes the prime suspect. Now, caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June tries desperately to avenge Metias's death.

But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together and the sinister lengths to which their country will go to keep it's secret.

Wow. Just wow. Are you looking for an awesome dystopian novel? Then look no further than Legend. Marie Lu, you have garnered yourself a fan in me because I just loved your book! IT IS FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!

Legend tells the story of two very different character's from two very different worlds. June is a military genius who also happens to be from a very privileged family living in a very privileged district. Day on the other hand is a genius of another kind: a criminal genius, who grew up in the slums. He may be poor, but he's also the country's most wanted. And then one fated day June and Days world's collide and nothing will ever be the same again.

Sound awesome? Oh it is. Legend is told in the alternating perspectives of Day and June and Marie Lu does it to perfection. Both character's had unique and distinct voices and I had no trouble following along with their narratives. Day was a wonderfully cocky criminal but he also had a bit of a soft streak. Oh and did I mention he's a hapa? Yeah, he's totally awesome. Then there's June who had this total badass military spy vibe going on. I especially liked that even though Day and June were on different sides of the law I found myself rooting for both of them.

Like I said at the beginning of this review Legend is a great dystopian novel. It's chock-full of action and page turning suspense, and there were multiple moments when I was gasping in shock and also a few "OH MY GOSH THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN" moments. Marie Lu also did a great job at creating a dystopic Los Angeles: One of military prowess and tyrannical rule. It's creepy, totally crazy, and also buyable. In short: The world building was amazing.

Legend is fantastic. I loved everything from the plot to the character's and I can hardly wait for Marie Lu's next installment! I have a feeling this series is going to become one of my favorites.

I give Legend 5 out of 5 cupcakes!

One last fun fact! Marie Lu states in her author bio that she got some of the inspiration for Legend from Les Miserables which is totally AWESOME because not only is the book great but it's also a kickass musical. Pretty cool right?

Julia :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Dinosaur Candy Molds

This week's Kawaii Monday features super awesome dinosaur candy molds! So the wonderful Katie of Call Me Crazy YA Reviews (you should go check out her blog because its made of AWESOME) told me about this awesome craft idea where you melt down old crayons in a mold to make new ones. In order to make the crayons you're supposed to use silicone baking trays to cook and mold the crayons in. Unfortunately my mom sold all of the silicone baking trays she used to own so we started looking for some on cool ones on eBay. There were of course the boring old stars and heart ones but then we found these and I totally jumped out of my seat with excitement:


Seriously I just about died of excitement. Aren't they just SO stinkin adorable? I want these trays SO BAD. I would do just about anything to be able to make super awesome dinosaur crayons. :P Not only that but imagine all the other super cute things you could make with these molds! I would so make dinosaur candy. Just saying.

Fortunately these guys are pretty easy to find online but the thing is they only ship from Asian countries. Further proof that Asians always have the cutest things!!! :P The good thing is that they're actually pretty cheap at only $5 each. All I can say is I am so buying one. Everything I've bought off of eBay that's shipped from China has arrived safely in the past so I'm thinking this would too. If you want to buy your own dinosaur candy mold you can find the eBay listing here.

When I finally am able to make dinosaur crayons I will definitely do a post about it!

Julia :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Scarlet Tour Guest Post: Teenage Garage Sale

Today I have a HILARIOUS guest post from A.C. Gaughen the author of Scarlet! It's her teenage garage sale complete with pictures of an absolutely wonderful dried prom corsage. You know you want it. ;)

Welcome to the Bizarre Bazaar, the Auction of Adolescence, the Tradepost of Teenage Trials and Tribulations!  

What can I interest you in?  

First on the auction block is a lovely limited edition Beanie Baby bear.  Yes, you may argue, these “collectors items” have become absolutely culturally irrelevant, but just for you, I’ll make a special deal.  $20--that’s just fifteen more than I paid for it thirteen years ago (when I sort of hustled the guy at the local mall because I bought them from the store my mom worked at for cheap and resold them to him).  Imagine what a bargain this is, considering how incredibly rare they are now!  

No?  Not for you?  Don’t go, we’ll find something. about a lovely, black and white, corset back prom dress from my senior prom?  Floor length, A-line, semi-puffy skirt...I’ll take $15 for it.  I know!  A bargain!  Well, yes--that is mold on the hem.  But only because I had to bring it to college with me in Scotland (where my closet was quite damp) because they have BALLS there.  With actual Princes in attendance.  Of countries you recognize. I’m not saying I’ve seen Prince William play the air guitar at a party, but I’m not saying I haven’t.  Come on, $15 is a royal steal! Comes with optional dried corsage. 

Steve Madden platforms an extra $15.  Vintage is cool.

$5 for a riveting travel journal of my high school immersion trip to Spain--where I attended a 15 hour mass with my host family.  After being released from the hospital for food poisoning.  

$1 a pop for my complete Tamora Pierce collection of books--the TERRIER series is not for sale.  

$.10 per bottle of blue, purple, and glitter nail polishes. You know, because I have new ones now and I don’t need THOSE blues and purples anymore.  

$2 for a well-played and desperately loved Savage Garden CD.  Because unlike EVERY OTHER GIRL IN NEW ENGLAND, I somehow missed the Dave Matthews boat.  

Oh!  Oh, no, no--those aren’t for sale.  These were put out here by some, er, misguided family member.  No, THESE are every story I’ve scribbled in a notebook since I was 11.  NOT for sale!!

Ah, I see--the desk!  You want the desk?  $15.  Great deal!  It’s a huge desk.  Very sturdy.  Well...yes...those are copies of every poem I liked as a teenager taped to the surface of it.  And...yes..those are the tape residues of when I decided I HATED aforementioned poems.  

Fine.  $5 and it’s yours.  

I'm pretty sure my teenage garage sale would be just as junk ridden as this one. Only there would be a lot more stuffed animals....

Thanks for the great post A.C. Gaughen! If you want to find out more about her check out her website here and be sure to add Scarlet to your Goodreads here. You can also read my review of it here!

Julia :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Help Save My Local Libraries!!!

 Hey guys!

This is a call to arms for everyone who loves and supports their local libraries! I live in Glendale Arizona and for the 2012-2013 year the city is facing a really bad budget deficit. This deficit means that my local libraries are in a HUGE crisis because they're going to be the ones on the chopping block when it comes time for the city council members to vote on who does and doesn't get money. This could mean several things for my local libraries:

  • Their hours would get cut. The main library branch would only be open 3 days a week and the other branches would be open 2 days a week. That is a HUGE change that would definitely affect me, my family, and anyone else in our town who frequents the library.
  • All programming gets cut. This would mean no book clubs, no craft events for kids, nothing. Maybe even no summer reading program.
  • Shutting down all the library branches except for the main branch. This would be devastating for anyone who used those libraries and for the employees who worked there.
  • Shutting down the libraries altogether and then reopening small "store-front" libraries instead with no events or programming, and minimal staffing and materials.
As you can see none of these options are ideal and most of them are downright scary. I mean CLOSING THE LIBRARY?!?! I don't know about you but that sounds like one of my worst nightmares.

I will be the first to say that The Glendale Public Libraries have been more than just libraries to me. They have been a place for me to learn and grow as an individual, and without them I probably wouldn't have discovered my passion for becoming a librarian.

At this point you're probably asking yourself: What can I do?

First of all me and a bunch of other library loving teens have created the "Save the Glendale Public Libraries" Facebook page. Go and like the page. Even if you don't live in Glendale LIKE IT!

We also have a Twitter account! You can follow us here. Feel free to tweet it to people, tweet the Facebook page to people, etc. Let people know that The Glendale Public Libraries deserve funding!

Lastly if you're reading this and you happen to live in Glendale GREAT! Go to this link here  to find your council member and let them know how much you love and support your library.

Don't let the Glendale Public Libraries go down without a fight! HELP KEEP THEM ALIVE!

Julia :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hunger Games Valentines!

Valentines Day is almost over but I thought you guys would want to see the Hunger Games valentines I made! I didn't actually give them to anyone because some of them were my entries into the Hunger Games Trilogy Fansite valentine contest but I think they turned out pretty great and my Peeta entry ended up being one of the contest winners so that's pretty awesome! Anyway here are the 3 designs I drew.

You guys already know I love Gale so I obviously had to make a Gale valentine! Surprisingly this was my sister's favorite design even though she's a Peeta fan. She thought the whole snare thing was really clever.

It took FOREVER to draw Katniss' hair right and even now its a bit iffy looking but overall this one turned out really good! I especially like the way the message could be taken as murderous if it didn't have the valentine part tacked to the end. Bahahahaha. XD

And of course Peeta's is the cutest one of all. I may not like him as a character all that much but he makes dang good valentines cards! :P

You can see the other winner's of the Hunger Games valentine contest here. My personal favorite is the one that says "I'll take TWO Valentines!" Bahahahaha. If you see it you'll get why it's so funny. XD

Anyway happy valentines day guys!

Julia :)

The Top Book Boyfriends I would LOVE to have!

Happy Valentines Day folks! :D

In honor of Valentines Day I have decided to do a fun little book boyfriends post! I did one of these types of posts last year so I figured it would be fun to do it again. I mean who doesn't love talking about their favorite fictional guys? This list has a lot of new fictional guys that I've discovered in the last year and ff course there are some old ones who I just can't kick to the curb like Gale Hawthorne will NEVER be removed from this post! EVER! Anyway here's a small selection of my top book boyfriends!

Gale Hawthorne - The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I know everyone else loves Peeta but while reading The Hunger Games Trilogy I just couldn't get enough of Gale. I loved him from the minute Katniss first mentions him. I'm not even kidding, in fact after I finished The Hunger Games I went online and was shocked, I repeat SHOCKED, to discover that everyone else loved Peeta. Peeta?! BUT WHAT ABOUT GALE?!?!?! What can I say, I like my guys more rugged and outdoorsy like Gale not soft and artsy like Peeta. :P However I will say that I'm a HUGE fan of movie Peeta, and by movie Peeta I mean Josh Hutcherson. He's just about the most adorable thing ever. But Liam Hemsworth who is playing Gale? Yeah, unfortunately I'm not a fan. *sob* :/

Hale - The Heist Society Series by Ally C
HALE!!!! Yet another oldie, but goodie. And yes, the first two guys on my book boyfriends list do have names that rhyme. A third and it will start become a pattern.... Another irony is that the girls Gale and Hale both like have names that can be shortened to Kat. Definitely a little strange.... Anyway Hale is the quintessential best guy friend who starts to become more. He knows Kat better than almost anyone and everyone knows that the best boyfriends are the ones who are your best friends in real life! Not that I would know about this since I seem to be eternally single but it's what I've heard...

Augustus Waters - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Here's a new addition to my book boyfriend list! I think it's impossible to read The Fault in Our Stars and not fall in love with Augustus Waters. He's a perfect combination of sarcasm and philosophical wit, plus he's described as being blindingly handsome (anyone whose read TFiOS should get this reference XD). What's not to love? I need to find my own Augustus. HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER: But preferably one that doesn't die before we can live happily ever after together.... *sob*

Ron Weasley - The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

This is probably one of my lesser known book crushes but I just adore Ron Weasley. There's just something about him that I love but I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe it's the way he underestimates himself in Quidditch or how he's always so adorably awkward when it comes to his relationship with Hermione. He's just so human and that's what makes him great! Oh and I also love the Weasley twins. And Neville Longbottom too! Dang it who doesn't love Neville Longbottom? He starts out all awkward and insecure and grows into this awesome badass wizard who also happens to be pretty good looking. ;) But yeah I guess my Harry Potter crushes aren't reserved for Ron alone. :)

Percy Jackson - The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

This may or may not be directly related to the fact that Logan Lerman plays him in the Percy Jackson movie but I still really like this character. His sarcasm is killer and who doesn't love a guy who can trace his lineage back to the Greek gods? Pretty sweet if you ask me. :)

Matt - Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Okay so I know that Matt is dead and all that *sob* but gosh darn it I love him anyways! Not only was he totally sweet but he also appreciated books and literature in a way that no guy in real life seems to. I'm sure there are guys somewhere out there who love literature as much as I do but they are few and far between. Sure, it bugs me that Matt was keeping his and Anna's relationship a secret (Seriously dude? WHAT'S UP WITH THAT?!) but overall I like him. A LOT.

Noah - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Two words: British accent. If an author gives her fictional guy a British accent it's nearly impossible for him to go wrong. Top that off with the fact that Noah is a sort of artsy hipster with swagger and bedhead and yeah, he's definitely awesome.

Kenji - Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Awww yes my book boyfriends list always has to have the token Asian! When I read Shatter Me Kenji was hands down my favorite part of the book. He's sarcastic, hilarious, and just a bit douchey but that's what makes him so fun. I don't know if I would really want to date this guy in real life, but be friends with him? Heck yes!

So that's my nice new list of favorite book boyfriends! These guys are by no means replacing my old list (more like just getting added to it) but I figured you guys wouldn't want an entire rehash of last year. :P

If you want to check out last years post you can read it here.

What fictional guy would you choose to be your book boyfriend on Valentines Day? I would definitely pick Gale. If anyone knows of any ethnically ambiguous and swoonworthy guys who also happen to love the great outdoors AND be single send him my way will ya? :P

Julia :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Did Someone Say Dinosaur Lamp?! :D

You guys might already know how much I love dinosaurs (in case you didn't I LOVE DINOSAURS!) and I was shopping at Target the other day and ran into this gem of a dinosaur product:

SO STINKIN CUTE!!!! Who doesn't want a cute little green triceratops night light am I right? :D

Whilst trying to find this guy online (unfortunately I couldn't find him. If you want him check your local target!) I also ran into these super cool "do it yourself" dinosaur lamps!

I mean WHOA totally cool! I guess they come in kits that you have to assemble yourself. Hence the "do it yourself" title. Each kit is $25 though... Yeah I don't have the funds for that even if it is a super adorable triceratops lamp. :/

Which dino lamp is your favorite? Triceratops are my favorite dinosaurs so those are my favorite ones!

You can find the "do it yourself" lamps for sale here.

Julia :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox [27]

Time for In My Mailbox which is hosted by Kristi over at the Story Siren! I'm a little late with my IMM this week but better late than never right? Plus I got some super awesome stuff that I just had to show you guys! :D

Original Don't Breathe a Word Art
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala (Audiobook)

Never Enough/Losing Faith swag from Denise Jaden!

Legend by Marie Lu 

Finding a Job You Can Love by Ralph T. Mattson & Arthur F. Miller Jr.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Hunger Games Official Illustrated Movie Companion by Kate Egan
The Hunger Games Tribute Guide by Emily Seife

I absolutely LOVE the two new Hunger Games movie companion books. If you are a big Hunger Games fan then they are definitely worth buying! What did you guys get in your mailboxes this week?

Julia :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cover Comparisons [24]


Because I just read Looking for Alaska for the first time a few weeks ago (I know, I'm a little behind everyone else on reading this one. :P) I decided to do a cover comparison for it this week! There are a BAJILLION covers for Looking for Alaska but I definitely like some better than others. Lets compare then shall we?

       Original US Cover       New US Cover       Original UK Cover        New UK Cover

Original US Cover: I've never really been a fan of this cover. I think it's supposed to be all metaphorical and deep but it actually kind of scares me. I just don't dig its dark atmosphere.

New US Cover: I don't really like this cover and I know for a fact John Green doesn't either because he says as much in one of his vlogs. I can't remember which one or I would cite it here but he did say it I promise. :P But yeah, why did they have to zoom the picture so much? Talk about invading personal space! It just seems kind of awkward....

Original UK Cover: Now that I've read this book I finally understand the significance of the daisy! FINALLY! There's an element to this cover that seems a little, I don't know tacky and homemade but it's okay I guess. Not quite as creepy as the others which is good. I also like the tagline.

New UK Cover: I'm not a huge fan of covers that are obviously photoshopped and this one definitely falls into that category. However I love the color scheme. It's very pretty.

So who wins? Oh goodness so many options and none of them really stand out to me as great. I guess I'll have to go with the New UK Cover because it's the one I would probably pick up if I saw these on a shelf somewhere.

Which cover of Looking for Alaska is YOUR favorite? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

Have any ideas for future cover comparison? Leave them in the form below!

Julia :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Article 5 Guest Post: Character Book Picks

Today I've got a fun guest post from the author of Article 5 Kristen Simmons all about her main character's favorite book! I'm super excited about sharing this post because Kristen is a Hapa just like me! WOOT!!! Anyway, read on to find out more about Kristen's characters Ember and Chase, and why their favorite book is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein!

First let me just say that I’m so excited to be here because I’m a Hapa chick too (half Japanese)! Thanks for spreading the Hapa love and asking about Ember and Chase’s favorite book, FRANKENSTEIN, which makes several appearances in ARTICLE 5.

So why does Ember reference Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN? For one simple reason: because FRANKENSTEIN is one of the best books ever.  Ever ever.  Ember has loved it since she had to read it in high school English, before the Federal Bureau of Reformation deemed it Contraband and put it on the Banned Books List. It’s a story that resonated with her from the first read – not because it’s about crazy monsters with bolts sticking out of the sides of their heads (at least, not entirely), but because it’s about how people live with the crap that happens to them.  

In Shelley’s novel, Dr. Frankenstein creates a human from scraps of other corpses, believing that he is doing something brilliantly scientific and beautiful (wouldn’t anyone?) when really he’s setting a danger loose on the known world.  His creation on the other hand comes to life innocent, and only after constant fear and rejection does he become that which everyone thinks him to be: a monster.  

The concepts may have been written two hundred years ago, but for Ember and Chase, they still ring true. FRANKENSTEIN is a book for anyone who screws up given the best intentions, who wrestles shame and fear, who keeps secrets. Anyone who starts to believe the crap other people say about them. But also anyone who finds beauty in human connection, and who longs for peace and the ability to rectify their mistakes, even when things seem hopeless.

Now I will definitely going to go add Frankenstein to the list of classical literature I'm wanting to devour this year! A big thanks to Kristen Simmons for this awesome post and Teen Book Scene for heading up this book tour!

If you want to find out more about Kristen Simmons and her dystopian novel Article 5 check out her website here.

Also be sure to add Article 5 to your Goodreads here!

You can also add Frankenstein to your Goodreads here.

Julia :)

Book Review: Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi 
374 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Purchased
Add this book to your shelf on Goodreads!

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a save - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunger for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Under the Never Sky was a strange, strange, book. Maybe it was because of some late night reading that may or may not have been mildly incoherent, but honestly THIS BOOK CONFUSED ME. I still have no clue what half of the stuff in it meant. But, like I said, this could be blamed on me reading the first few chapters in a half sleeping stupor.

Lately world building has been a biggie for me and how I feel about a dystopian novel. Dystopians are becoming so popular nowadays that it's getting hard to weed out the good stories from the not so good stories. For me one of the distinctive qualities of a good dystopian is the world building. That being said I think that while Under the Never Sky did have some good world building, it was also really hard to follow. This was mostly because of the two completely different societies in the story (the ones living in the pods, and the Outsiders) each with their own systems of life, technology (or lack thereof), and hirearchy and I found it terribly confusing. It seemed like every time I finally started understanding one aspect of a society (like the Smarteyes) Veronica Rossi would throw something new into the mix and I would get confused all over again. >.<

I'm normally a fan of dual narratives but the dual narrative in Under the Never Sky didn't really work for me. Aria and Peregrine just didn't have very distinct voices so there wasn't really anything distinguishing them from each other. On top of that the book was told entirely in the third person which really made it hard for me to connect with the characters. The whole time I was reading I just felt very detached which made me sad. :( I appreciate that Veronica Rossi didn't rush the romance! It was definitely there but it wasn't the focal point of the story which I always think is a plus.

Under the Never Sky also had a very confusing plot. Maybe it was the fact that I sleep-read my way through the first few chapters that I was confused but for some reason I don't think that was the case. I think I've just come to discover that I'm not really into science fiction and as far as dystopians go Under the Never Sky was definitely more on the sci-fi side.

I don't by any means think that Under the Never Sky was a bad book. I just think it wasn't the book for me. The premise sounded quite ingenious but in the end it didn't capture my imagination like I thought it would. I give it 3 out of 5 ice cream cones.

If you like your dystopian novels to be a bit more on the sci-fi side then I would definitely give Under the Never Sky a chance! However if you're like me and sci-fi tends to confuse you then I might pass this one up.

Julia :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review: Scarlet

by A.C. Gaughen
304 pages
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Source: Teen Book Scene

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

I'm a big fan of Robin Hood and have been ever since I was a kid. I used to love watching the old Disney cartoon version and my family even used to have this fisher price Robin Hood playset. I guess you could say that Robin Hood (yes, even fox Robin Hood) was one of my first fictional crushes. So you can imagine that I jumped at the chance to read Scarlet. A new retelling of Robin Hood with a kickass female heroine? HECK YES! And I am happy to say that, despite a few minor flaws, Scarlet proved to be a fairly awesome read.

Scarlet is a bit of a mysterious character with a mysterious past. I found her to be flawed but perfectly so. She was aware of her faults and she didn't brush them off. The supporting cast of characters was also well developed. I particularly enjoyed the evil Gisbourne. He had that perfect old school bad guy quality to him that I just love. The only character I had a gripe with was Robin Hood. He was just so angsty! I've never been a fan of angsty guys and not even the gallant and fictionally attractive Robin Hood could change that. Sad face. :(

The story itself wasn't anything too special. If you've read/seen any sort of Robin Hood story then the formula should be familiar to you. But even with its fairly simple "steal from the rich give to the poor" plot Scarlet is enjoyable. There were also quite a few surprise plot twists that kept me on my toes!

If I were to point out one flaw with Scarlet it would have to be the romance. If you've been following my blog you should know that I'm kind of a romance cynic so this shouldn't come as a surprise to you. :P Anyway the main problem was that the author tried to create this love triangle between Scarlet, John Little, and Robin Hood, and honestly I found it to be completely awkward. When will authors realize that not all books need a love triangle? THEY AREN'T THAT EFFECTIVE!!!!

In conclusion Scarlet is an adventurous and imaginative tale that is sure to win over Robin Hood fans and probably gain some new ones. I found the love triangle to be unnecessary but it didn't detract too much from the overall story. I give Scarlet 4 out of 5 ice cream cones!

Julia :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Lord of the Rings Legos

I cannot contain my excitement AT ALL! I've dreamed of Lord of the Rings Legos since forever and NOW THEY ARE MAKING THEM!!!! They haven't released pictures of the full sets yet but I was able to find images of the minifigures and they are beyond awesome. Check it out:

 Just look at the adorable little hobbits! AND FRODO HAS THE RING!!! Seriously I can't get over how cool these guys are. The detail is great!

And of course you have to have your bad guys too. Not cute, but cool nonetheless.

I wish that Lego would sell minifigure sets separately because honestly I just want a set of the fellowship. But if they makeBag End I am SO buying it! What sets do you hope they will make for the Lord of the Rings Legos?

Which minifigure is your favorite? I just love the hobbits and Gimli is pretty badass too. 

Apparently the first sets will be hitting stores in June and then more will be coming out in winter to coincide with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hitting theatres.

Julia :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cover Comparison [23]

I got a suggestion to do a cover comparison for Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi AGES ago but I'm only just getting around to it now because I was finally able to read the book! If you want to know my thoughts on it the review will be up later this week, but now lets get back to what you're actually here for: the cover comparison! Behold the two covers of Under the Never Sky:

                                              US Cover                     UK Cover

US Cover: So you can't tell from just looking at the jpeg image but this cover is absolutely GORGEOUS in real life. It's both shiny and matte plus the title is extra shiny and you know how I love shiny! The only thing I don't really like about this cover is the girl. Not really her but her outfit. Why oh why is she wearing pleather pants? And that belt? And just the full black ensemble in the first place? I'm no fashion expert but I do know that this outfit is downright terrible. And why do her feet (or lack thereof) just fade into nothing? It's actually pretty creepy.... But other than that I am definitely a fan of this cover!

UK Cover: This cover is.... interesting. At first glance I thought it was cool but now that I'm examining it's a bit strange. The whole super pale girl with the shirtless tan guy comes off weird. Plus the fact that the girl is staring out at you creepily is not really helping. I do like the color scheme though!

So who wins? I've gotta give it to the US cover! I may not be a big fan of the girl floating out of nowhere or her outfit but the shininess is just too awesome for words. The UK cover just sort of scares me...

Which cover of Under the Never Sky is YOUR favorite? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

If you have any suggestions for future cover comparisons feel free to leave them in the form below!

Julia :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

The single "flaw" of The Fault in Our Stars....

I had to blog about this. I just couldn't resist. I loved The Fault in Our Stars. You probably already know this since I've talked about it non-stop for the past two weeks in the form of a review, my Tour de Nerdfighting experience, and then my favorite quotes and I've basically praised this book to high heaven. But the one thing I haven't yet talked about is the flaw of this book. The one flaw, that is not so much a flaw as it is a sad yet hilarious reality. And that sad yet hilarious reality is:

Augustus Waters.

Okay right about now you're probably scratching your head thinking "What the heck? I LOVED AUGUSTUS WATERS HOW IS HE A FLAW?!?!" Oh but it's not him. I loved Augustus Waters too. It's his name that just.... well cracks me up. I was so tempted to ask John Green why he picked the name Augustus when I was at the Tour de Nerdfighting in Phoenix because the name to me is just hilarious. Either you've realized by now why I find his name funny or you're still confused so allow me to explain.

It's not that I don't like the name Augustus. It's the fact that out of all the books I've read in my life there are only two with characters named Augustus:


Now you can probably see where I'm going with this! Honestly when I first found out that the swoonworthy guy in TFiOS was named Augustus I laughed out loud because the first image to pop into my head was not some terribly attractive and dashing gent like the book describes ala Drew Roy:

Note: I picked this guy because he was one of the first images to pop up when I Googled Augustus Waters and I didn't have time to find the "perfect" Augustus. That's not to say he isn't actually really cute though... >.<

 No instead the first image to pop into my head was this:

Yep. Unfortunate but true. :P

You would think that Augustus' nickname Gus would have helped the situation but instead whenever they called him that I would picture this:

Not that Gus Gus from Disney's Cinderella isn't cute and all, but he's certainly no swoonworthy teen boy!

Anyway this post has been random, and fun, and 100% true and I hope you got a laugh out of it!

I feel like this whole Augustus Gloop/Augustus Waters thing needs to be remedied by me searching high and low on the internet for my a picture of a guy who fits my perfect Augustus.... Too creepy and obsessive? Probably. >.<

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thought of Augustus Gloop at least once! XD

Julia :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Book Review: Don't Breathe A Word

Don't Breathe a Word
by Holly Cupala
299 pages
Publisher: HarpeerTeen
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Teen Book Scene book tour
Add this book to your shelf on Goodreads!
Joy Delamere is suffocating...

From asthma, which has nearly claimed her life. From her parents, who will do anything to keep that from happening. From delectably dangerous Asher, who is smothering her from the inside out.

Joy can take his words - tender words, cruel words - until the night they go too far.

Now, Joy will leave everything behind to find the one who has offered his help, a homeless boy called Creed. She will become someone else. She will learn to survive. She will breathe... if only she can get to Creed before it’s too late.

In a Nutshell: Don't Breathe a Word is a beautiful novel that doesn't back down, even when it comes to tough issues like abuse, and life on the streets.

Putdownability Factor: This book was SO GOOD. And once you got past the halfway point? Yeah, almost impossible to put down.

Cover Love: Gorgeous. It feels very ethereal and doesn't quite match with what the story is actually about but the cover is too awesome for that to really matter.

My Thoughts

After reading Tell Me a Secret I just knew that Holly Cupala was going to become one of my favorite authors. Don't Breathe a Word totally cemented that fact and it further proved the fact that Holly Cupala can write "issue" books like nobodies business! Seriously, I am such a fan. :P

The thing I love most about Don't Breathe a Word is that it is so honest. Abuse and homelessness are both really difficult subjects to tackle but Holly Cupala does it beautifully. She paints a portrait of friends, family, loyalty, forgiveness, and healing that is truly moving. There were countless moments when my heart would just break for the characters. It was raw, and real, and I loved every minute of it.

Joy, Creed, Santos, May, I just loved each and every one of them. I felt a real connection with each character, and what they were struggling with. The character development was some of the best I've ever read.

Don't Breathe a Word has definitely caused me to change my attitude toward homeless teenagers. I have a lot more compassion and understanding for what they're going through. This book taught me that you can't just judge people by their circumstances. You never know what kinds of demons they might be running from.

Overall I give Don't Breathe a Word 4 and a half out of 5 ice cream cones.

Who would I recommend this to? Older/more mature teens who enjoy books with edgier topics. Anyone who enjoys Ellen Hopkins would enjoy this book.

Julia :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Words Wednesday: The Fault in Our Stars Edition [29]

A chance for me to highlight some of my favorite book quotes! This week it's all about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green because I just can't stress how much I LOVE THIS BOOK. So here are all of my favorite quotes from TFioS! Well, not all my favorite quotes since some of them are spoilery. :P But have no fear the ones I chose are spoil free! So below you have all my (spoil free) favorite quotes from The Fault in Our Stars.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

Augustus half smiled. "Because you're beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence."

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

That's the thing about pain... it demands to be felt.

My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations

What a slut time is. She screws everybody.

“I'm in love with you," he said quietly.

"Augustus," I said.

"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.

Hint: That last quote? Yeah that was aimed at you guys. Namely: THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD DEPENDS ON YOU READING THIS BOOK!

Oh and could some awesome guy come along and use that love speech on me please? If a guy did, I would probably marry him on the spot. And yes, I do realize that the speech is epically cheesy and way overdramatic but coming out of a teen guys mouth it would probably be rendered irresistibly adorable. >.<

Anyway if I haven't convinced you by now that this book is a masterpiece and you need to read it then go check out my review. If I have convinced you add this sucker to your shelf on Goodreads here.

Julia :)
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