Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cover Comparison [29]

This week we're looking at the many covers of Blood Red Road by Moira Young! If you haven't yet read this awesome novel then you really should because it is a standout in the dystopian genre. Really: YOU NEED TO READ IT.

So back to the topic at hand. The cover comparison. Let's take a look at the contenders shall we?

                    Original US Cover        Paperback US Cover               UK Cover

Original US Cover: I love, love, LOVE this cover! It perfectly captures the harsh desolate desert setting of the book (and don't I know that well living in Arizona?) and the font and the way they did the color grading for it are AWESOME. Seriously this is one of my favorite covers EVER. So simple, but still so perfect.

Paperback US Cover: The first time I saw this cover was in the middle of WalMart and I seriously stopped and was like what the crap? What is this Dust Lands book I've never seen before? And then I realized it was Blood Red Road and I was like WHY ON EARTH WOULD THEY CHANGE THE ORIGINAL COVER TO THIS?!?! I don't know about you guys but this cover makes the book look almost like a sci-fi novel because of the font choice. And why oh why is Dust Lands bigger than the actual title? Plus I'm not a fan of the "better than The Hunger Games" quote. I mean keep it classy folks! There is no need to compare these books. They're both fantastic in their own ways. However I do like the covers color scheme.

UK Cover: I actually really like this cover. Saba's pet raven Nero plays a big part in the story and he basically kicks ass so it's nice to see him getting some cover recognition. I also really love the modern feel to the cover and the contrast of the black, red, and yellow against the white. It makes everything pop.

So who wins? My favorite is the original US cover. I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. The UK cover is pretty cool too but still not quite as cool as the original US cover. And the new paperback cover? Yeah, not fan. :/

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

Do you have any suggestions for future Cover Comparisons? Leave them in this form!

Julia :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by John Green and David Levithan
310 pages
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: April 6th 2010
Source: Library 
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is quite possibly the gayest and most fabulous book in all of YA literature. It has musical numbers, and secret online personas, and $100 fake ID's that turn out to be duds. In fact if there was one lesson I learned from Will Grayson, Will Grayson it was this: Don't buy a fake ID from a stoner. Well, that and don't be afraid to live life big. REALLY big.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is told from the perspective of two characters who, you guessed it, happen to both have the name Will Grayson. Yeah, it's a little confusing at first (okay a LOT of confusing) but David Levithan and John Green are successful at creating two VERY different Will Graysons. I may be a bit biased because I LOVE JOHN GREEN but his Will Grayson was definitely my favorite of the two. I don't think it helped that David Levithan's writing was completely lacking any sort of proper capitalization. I mean look at it:

For a grammar/punctuation nazi like myself THIS DROVE ME BATTY! I had gotten used to it by the end of the book but it was still terribly distracting. :P

While I liked John Green's Will Grayson I have to say he was not my favorite character in the book. Oh no. That honor goes to Tiny Cooper, Will Grayson's (yes, John Green's Will Grayson's) gay best friend. He was fabulous in every since the word and altogether not tiny. Hey Tiny can you please come and be my gay best friend? Please?

The story itself was the epitome of entertaining. I laughed uproariously throughout the entire thing. Plus there are musical numbers. MUSICAL NUMBERS. Musical numbers in YA are like crack for me. Oh and the ending was also sweet and touching and if I wasn't such a cold hearted person who doesn't cry at anything but death then I would have probably gotten a bit teary.

If you're looking for a fabulous book to read then I highly suggest Will Grayson, Will Grayson and if you're a John Green fan who has yet to read this book WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?! It's made of awesome!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson gets 4 out of 5 ice cream cones!

Julia :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Panda Bread

One of my friends posted a picture of this Panda Bread on Facebook and I just had to show it to you guys. Not only is it awesome but it's also one of the cutest edible things I have ever seen. I WANT TO MAKE IT SO BAD!

I mean look at it. How cool is that? You're probably wondering how the heck they got the panda image inside the loaf. Allow me to show you:

Interesting huh? Seems pretty straightforward but I'll bet it's harder than it looks. Just wait, I'll try to make this bread and it will turn out looking nothing like a panda.... >.<

If you want to try your hand at panda bread making you can find the recipe here!

Julia :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!

Even though The Hunger Games movie just opened in theatres 3 days ago I have already seen it 3 times and I am definitely willing to see it again. And again. AND AGAIN. Yes, I love it that much.

This was my very first midnight premiere and it was quite an interesting experience! We sat in line for 12 hours, attempted to do homework, and ate all sorts of unhealthy movie theatre food. I also dressed up as Katniss for the premiere:

I know, no bow and arrow. I figured they wouldn't allow weaponry in the theatre. :P

I don't know about you but my midnight screening crowd was pretty rowdy. We had a LOT of Peeta lovers so when he first popped up on screen in the reaping girls screamed. They also screamed during the kiss. Yep, it was real entertaining. Ironically when I went to the pre-screening the day before there was a man there who warned us not to scream at the actors. He literally said "I have a tazer and I'm not afraid to use it." I hope he was joking... >.<

Anyway I really enjoyed The Hunger Games movie and I'm not gonna lie I've sorta been putting off writing this post because I don't know how to put my love for it into words. Finally I decided that filming a video would be the best format to express my feelings of awesomeness. I really tried to keep my rambling and fangirliness to a minimum and only talk about Josh Hutcherson for about 3 minutes which is a real feat let me tell you. :P

So without further ado: My thoughts on The Hunger Games movie! Oh and it goes without saying but I thought I would say it anyway: THIS VIDEO CONTAINS SPOILERS! (as does the rest of this post)

If you don't want to watch the whole film here's a quick rundown of what I said:

Cried 3 times while watching the movie.

I loved every actors performance, yes even Liam Hemsworth surprised me and pulled off Gale.

Josh Hutcherson has actually made me like Peeta. I still like Gale better but I no longer think of Peeta as just a wuss. Now he's an adorable wuss. :P

Alexander Ludwig's performance as Cato was stellar and brought me to tears. I'm not even kidding.

I loved the costumes, the camera work, and the way they adapted stuff directly from the book to the screen.

Some favorite scenes were the reaping, the interviews, Rue's death, ROCK FACE PEETA, the cave scene, and Seneca's execution.


I wish that they had developed Rue's character a bit more and done a bit better on creating the Katniss/Peeta dynamic.

Overall this movie is a phenomenal adaption of the book and I CANNOT wait for Catching Fire! How on earth are we to make it to November 22nd 2013 guys? THAT'S OVER A YEAR! It's torture I tell you, TORTURE! :P

Now comes the fun part! What did YOU guys think of the movie? Did you love it? Hate it? Wish there was something they had done differently? And most importantly: What actors are your top picks to play Finnick Odair in Catching Fire?

And I apologize in advance but I couldn't resist leaving you with this lovely photo montage of Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. He's forever adorable. :P

Julia :)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

BlogLovin: Why you should be using it as your feed reader!

With all of the craziness of GFC disappearing for non-blogger blogs and what not (I am still confused out of my mind) I've heard a lot of people talking about how they need an alternative feed reader so I thought I would share the one I use!


I LOVE bloglovin. My sister introduced it to me several months ago and I never looked back. I'm going to break it down for you guys. Here are the reasons why I use bloglovin.

Something as simple as a feed reader should be easy am I right? Well bloglovin is the epitome of easy. All you have to do is sign up and voila! You can start following blogs. It's as easy as putting a blog name or URL into the search bar and clicking follow on the correct blog. There's also a page where you can manage the blogs you follow and easily unfollow them or recategorize them. Recategorize you say? That brings me to point number 2.

2. Convenience
Bloglovin is SO convenient. Not only can you easily follow blogs but you can also categorize them. Such a novelty right? Categorizing blogs? This is probably my favorite thing about bloglovin. I have categories for author blogs, hunger games fansites, favorite book blogs, etc. You can always see how many unread posts are in each category you have and you can easily flip through one category at a time. Oh yeah and speaking of unread posts bloglovin always keeps track of new posts and whether you've read them or not. On top of that if you see a post you like and want to remember it you can "like" it and it will get saved in your liked posts list. Never bookmark blog posts again!

3. You can "claim" your blog
All you have to do to claim your blog is go to "Blogs by Me", search your blog, and then put some spiffy little HTML code into a blog post and then BAM. The blog is yours. You can see its stats and all sorts of fun stuff like that.

4. Clean and Ad Free
For awhile bloglovin had the most obnoxious ads that would pop up everytime you accidentally ran over them with your mouse. Not anymore! Now bloglovin is completely ad free. Gotta love it. Plus you'll never get any annoying extraneous emails from bloglovin. Never.

5. It has cool Widgets
This is probably the lamest of the reasons but if you're one for cool aesthetic then you'll definitely find this a plus. Bloglovin has some of the coolest looking follow widgets around. Yeah, the pulsating the Eiffel tower is a bit much for me too but hey points for trying right!

So those are the reasons I like bloglovin. If you're looking for a great blog feed reader then I definitely suggest it! Oh and if you get an account be sure to follow me on bloglovin!

Julia :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Book Review: Fury

by Elizabeth Miles
370 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: August 30th 2011
Source: Library
Add this book to your shelf on Goodreads
Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.
Em and Chase have been chosen.

Fury has an awesome premise. A book in which the characters get punished for the bad things they do by creepy and beautiful girls? Can you say Karma? Like I said, it's a cool premise. Unfortunately the only way to execute this premise was to have the characters do bad things in the first place which leads to a story that is more frustrating than enjoyable.

The reason Em was getting stalked by the Furies was because she cheated with her best friends boyfriend. Yep, one of the main characters is a boyfriend stealer. The worst part was she kept trying to rationalize it. All I could think while reading was:

"Oh no you don't girlfriend! I don't care if it "feels right" YOU ARE STILL KISSING YOUR BEST FRIENDS BOYFRIEND!!!! Own up to your actions!"

Even though it was nice that Em got what was coming to her in the end I couldn't help but feeling a bit like a horrible person for rooting for the Furies. >.<

On the other end of the spectrum was Chase. You didn't know why he was targeted by the Furies until most of the way through the book (and I won't tell you here in order to stay spoiler free) but he basically spends the book awkwardly pursuing an unbelievably beautiful girl who was really, you guessed it, a Fury. Their relationship started out innocent but quickly turned extremely physical in a REALLY awkward way. You might have heard of it: The infamous paint scene. I'm not gonna go into it so let's just say that if this were a movie an R rating might not be considered sufficient....

Once I got past the boyfriend stealing and awkward sexy times Fury really did start to grow on me. There were forboding blood red flowers, and creepy Fury encounters that really made the story intriguing. However I couldn't help but feel the story was still really gimmicky. From the oversexualized nature of the characters relationships to their heavy use of swear words it just felt like Elizabeth Miles was trying really hard to stay "relevant" for her teen audience. All I can say is it doesn't take sex and language to make a book readable for modern day teens. Or anyone for that matter.

Overall Fury was an okay but ultimately disappointing book. I enjoyed it but the heavy use of language and sex really detracted from the story. I give it 3 and a half out of 5 ice cream cones.

Fury is a cautionary tale. Do something bad, and it may just come back to haunt you. Karma's a bitch. Literally. If you can look past the self-righteous boyfriend stealing and edgy content then I'd give Fury a read. Otherwise I'd probably pass it up.

Julia :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Tissues Packs

The Hunger Games movie is releasing this week (OH MY GOSH I'M SO EXCITED I CAN HARDLY STAND IT!) and I think it's safe to say that I will be a complete emotional wreck in the theatre. Normally I don't get emotional during movies but for this one its gonna be unavoidable. The reaping? Tears. Saying goodbye to Gale and Prim? Tears. Rue's death? Tears. Pretty much any scene with Peeta *cough* Josh Hutcherson *cough* being near death or unrequited? Tears.

Gosh darn it this movie is gonna turn me in to a sap.

Because my tear ducts will be working overtime I will definitely be bringing tissues to the theatre and fortunately, I have a ton of kawaii tissue packs. I'm not even joking.

See. I know you can hardly believe it. And to make it even crazier I actually got them for Christmas fro my cousin. Because Asian cousins give their Asian cousins kawaii tissues. >.<

Here's a better shot of all the designs:

Aren't they cute? I think my favorites are the frog pack and the penguin pack!

So you can bet I'll be marching into the movie theatre with a purse full of kawaii tissue packs. Funny but true.

Oh and even more hilarious is the caution instructions on the back of these tissue packs:

I'm really disappointed guys. I really wanted to put them near open flames and then I was gonna try to eat them! Hahaha.

Are you bringing tissues for when you see The Hunger Games movie?

Julia :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Version of Rue's Lullaby

Awhile ago I wrote and recorded my own version of Rue's Lullaby from The Hunger Games. I did it for one of the Hunger Games Premiere contests (I didn't win obviously) and it turned out really nicely so I thought I would finally share it with you all! Feel free to share it on Twitter and with friends and family if you want to. I won't stop you. :P

I hope you enjoy it!

And to any music perfectionists out there yes, I do realize my piano is a bit out of tune. I'm sorry if it's distracting. >.<

Julia :

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cover Comparison: Uglies UK Edition [28]

The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld has a TON of different covers. They just recently released new UK covers so I thought it would be perfect to compare them with the old UK covers! I had never even seen the original UK covers before I did this post. Both sets of covers are pretty interesting. Let's check 'em out!

Original UK Covers

New UK Covers

Original UK Covers: I don't know about you but these covers totally give me the heebie-jeebies. I mean the headless disassembled Barbie dolls? And then the creepy Barbie getting her waist measured? And then the last one is like a bloody razor or something? WAH?! I feel like the Uglies cover works pretty well and then the Pretties cover is okay but the Specials cover totally deviates. Why no more Barbies? Stick with the theme cover designers! 

New UK Covers: Anyone else sensing the new trend in UK covers of neon on black? No? Maybe it's just because these covers sorta of remind me of the UK covers for the Gone series. Anyway I like these covers. I really do. I'm a little iffy on the neon but overall it works and the use of the razors is really cool and creepy. Oh and the eyes. Don't get me started on the eyes.

So who wins? I'm giving it to the new UK covers. Both sets of covers do a pretty good job of capturing the essence of the series but the old UK covers don't really go well together. Like I said: Don't deviate from your themes cover designers! The new UK covers however match really nicely and they have a great creepy vibe to them. 

Which set of UK covers for the Uglies trilogy do YOU like best? Be sure to vote in the poll below and sound off in the comments about why you made your decision!

Oh and I didn't show it for the cover comparison because from what I can tell there isn't a newly designed UK cover for Extras but the original UK cover for Extras is the creepiest of all. Check it out:

Ummm wow Barbie heads in a bottle? That is downright nightmare inducing. O.O

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

Julia :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Do you have a Nook? Let's be friends!

Last week I caved and bought into the ereader craze. That's right: I bought a Nook.

I figured I was gonna buy one eventually so why not get it with great perks? Not only did mine come with a free ebook of The Hunger Games but I also got prescreening tickets to see The Hunger Games movie! :D *cue happy dance* So me and my sister are gonna see the movie next Wednesday night. We are VERY excited let me tell you.

So now that I have a Nook I need some help learning the ropes. Do you guys have any tips on how to get the most out of the Nook? Also, if you have a Nook WE SHOULD TOTALLY BE NOOK FRIENDS! Add me: a_hobbit_of_the_shire(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Oh and if anyone wants to use The Hunger Games character posters as their Nook screensavers drop me a line. I resized them and turned them black and white and I'd be happy to send them to you!

Julia :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TAG! You're it! :D

I guess a game of book blogger tag has been going around and guess what. I'VE BEEN TAGGED!!! I love these kinds of things because it's a great excuse to answer questions and talk about yourself. Is that a little too narcissistic of me? Probably.... >.<

A huge thanks to Katie at Call Me Crazy YA Reviews for tagging me!

The Rules
1. You must post the rules.
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
3. Tag eleven people and link to them on your post.
4. Let them know you’ve tagged them

My Answers
1. What is your favorite thing that you do on your blog? Reviews, Memes or a special Feature?
Hmmm this is a tough question. I guess right now I'm really loving the cover comparisons I post every week. It's always interesting to see how people feel about different book covers.

2. What is your go-to book for recommending?
Currently it's The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. My book recommendations normally vary depending on the person but those are 4 books I think EVERYONE should read and enjoy.

3. Who to you is the most swoon worthy character?

Gale Hawthorne hands down. In the words of Jackson Pearce: Knight, Cowboy, Badass. I don't know what more I could want in a guy. But just to be clear I'm talking about book Gale because Liam Hemsworth gives me the creeps.... >.<

4. How often to you go to the bookstore?

I would say nearly once a week and if not that then at least once every two weeks. I LOVE bookstores.

5. What's your favorite book-to-movie adaption?

The Lord of the Rings movies are the most epic book to movie adaptions EVER. That being said I think if The Hunger Games movie turns out to be as awesome as I think it's gonna be then that could very well end up tying for the top spot.

6. What are a few of your favorite YA Book Blogs?

Ohhh This is always a tricky question because I don't want to hurt people's feelings so instead of naming actual blogs I'll just say that the blogs I love to read the most are written by young people because I often relate to them better than the older/married sect.

7. Do you like stand alone books or books in a series more?

Haha this is a trick question. If you look at my favorite books then you would probably draw the conclusion that I love book series better. However there are times when I get frustrated from reading what I thought might be a stand alone only to discover it's the first in a "never ending" series. They each have their pros and cons so I really can't pick which I like more.

8. What was your favorite book when you were growing up?

I was quite the avid reader growing up so I had a lot of favorite books but I think the one I loved the most was The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. I've read the first one probably about 5 times. It never fails to be awesome.

9. Paperback or Hardcover?

Confession: I have clammy hands. So when I read paperbacks the cover tends to do that unsightly bending thing and I hate that. Other than that I just love hardcovers and their slipcovers and how durable and beautiful they look and feel.

10. How do you keep your place in books? Dog ear, book mark, etc. 

When I was younger I did the dog earring but fortunately I grew out of that. Now I use bookmarks or I memorize the page number.

11. If you could dress up as any literary character for Halloween, who would it be? 
I dressed up as a hobbit before which was fun even though no one could tell what I was. Nowadays I would definitely want to dress up as Katniss. In fact I already have a costume to dress in for the midnight premier! I even got fake hair so I can give myself the braid. Yeah, I'm a total geek but oh well. I also think it would be fun to dress as Hermione or just be a Gryffindor student in general. A good excuse to wear my scarf and Harry Potter inspired nail polish! :P

My Questions:
1. If you could inject yourself into one literary world which world would it be and why?
2. What fictional character do you relate to the most?
3. What do you think of e-readers?
4. What is your favorite book genre and why?
5. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what book would it be? And no, you can't choose a book series. :P
6. If the Zombie Apocalypse were to hit what would be your weapon of choice?
7. What is your favorite book cover?
8. What is a book that has been sitting on your shelf just begging to be read the longest?
9. Who is your favorite book villain?
10. What is your favorite book quote?
11. Be honest: If you saw Edward Cullen sparkling in the sunlight what would you do?
 Tag, you're it!

My Words Ate Me, iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books, Literary Exploration, Katie's Book Blog, Sophistikatied Reviews, holes In My brain, Books Over Boys, Recovering Potter Addict, Books of Amber, Booklopedia, and Ivy Reads!

I can't wait to read everyones answers! 

Julia :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [18]

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 Thumped by Megan McCafferty.

It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!

Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.

To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.

The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:

Tell the truth.

Bumped was one of the craziest books of 2011. I know it rubbed some people the wrong way but I thoroughly enjoyed its insanity. I have no clue how Megan McCafferty is going to end this story but I'm pretty sure it's gonna be awesome.

Thumped is coming out April 24th 2012 from Balzar + Bray.

Julia :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review: Slide

by Jill Hathaway
256 pages
Publisher: Balzar & Bray
Publication Date: March 27th 2012
Source: ARC from my Blogger Big Sis
Add Slide to your shelf on Goodreads! 
Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth - her sister's friend Sophie didn't kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn't actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else's mind and experiences the world through that person's eyes. She's slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed "friend" when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie's slashed body.

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can't bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she's been spending more time with Zane.

Emmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.
If you've read The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting then Slide is going to seem very familiar to you. It's got the same "girl has unexplainable supernatural powers and she uses those powers to solve murders" thing going on. In fact the entire time I was reading Slide I just kept thinking "Dang, this reminds me SO MUCH of The Body Finder and Desires of the Dead!" But even so Slide proved to be fairly enjoyable read in its own right. It might mirror The Body Finder series in a lot of ways but it also was a story in its own right. If you like Kimberly Dertings series then you will most definitely enjoy this new offering by Jill Hathaway!

The whole mystery of Slide is centered around a killing that everyone assumes is a suicide. Everyone that is, except Vee. Vee knows it wasn't a suicide because on the night her sister's best friend died she had slid into the killer. Creepy right? And that's just the beginning! Jill Hathaway did a great job at weaving together a complex and intriguing mystery. I can't tell you how many times I thought I knew for sure who the murderer was only to discover a few chapters later that I was dead wrong. The ending however was a little bit on the strange side. My first reaction was:


And then it was:

"Well of course I didn't see that coming. This ending honestly doesn't make much sense...." :/

It wasn't a bad ending persay,  but definitely a heavily contrived one. Like one of those horror/thriller movies you watch and enjoy and then when you really think about it you realize how strange the plot really was. That was what Slide was like. An enjoyable but also a bit strange mystery/thriller.

The biggest bummer for me was that Slide contained a treasure trove of romantic cliches. Best guy friend who likes the main girl? Check. Hot new guy in school who also happens to like the main girl? Check. But fortunately the romance is heavily down played in favor of the mystery/thriller aspects of the story. Really only a romantic critic like myself would nitpick these things. :P

Overall Slide is a fun supernatural mystery. It's a quick read and is perfect for fans of The Body Finder series. I'm pretty sure that Slide is also the first in a series so I'll have to be on the lookout for the sequel!

Slide gets 3.5 out of 5 ice cream cones.

Julia :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Monkey Bento Box

So lately I've gotten more than a bit obsessed with bento boxes. I have yet to make one (I will soon!) but I love looking at all the super cute designs people come up with. This monkey design is one of the cutest I've come across:

Awwww!!!! Just look at the little monkey meatballs. 

SO CUTE!!! And super clever right?

I feel like I definitely need to get into bento making. I even have two bento boxes so I really should put them to use. The great thing about bento is its perfect for portion control. Plus look at all the veggies! It just seems like bentos are perfect for making cute healthy meals. Provided you're actually trying to make something healthy of course, but I would totally be trying. :P

You can read all the info on this monkey bento box here.

Julia :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In My Mailbox: Hunger Games and Nook Edition [28]

In My Mailbox is a super fun meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren in which we share the awesome bookish things we procured during the week!

It's been AGES since I did an IMM. I got a lot of exciting stuff this week that I just had to share!

Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Yum-Yum Bento Box by Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa
Face Food: The Visual Creativity of Japanese Bento Boxes by Christopher D. Salyers
501 Bento Box Lunches

For Review
The Girl who Was on Fire: Movie Edition edited by Leah Wilson 

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (e-book)
The Hunger Games Movie Pre-Screening Tickets (for buying a Nook!)

People Magazine The Hunger Games Collectors Special
US Weekly The Hunger Games Edition
The Hunger Games Character Posters
Nook Simple Touch

Hunger Games Mall Tour
Signed Mall Tour Poster
Hunger Games Lanyard
Katniss Holographic Bookmark
Hunger Games Laptop Skin
Microsoft Store Bag

Be sure to enter the two giveaways I have going on right now! I have one for a copy of The Hunger Games Anthology The Girl Who Was on Fire which you can enter here and I also have one for some fun Hunger Games swag from the mall tour which you can enter here!

That's what I got "In My Mailbox" this week! What did you guys get?

Julia :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cover Comparison [27]

I've been waiting to do this cover comparison for awhile and since Pandemonium was released a little over a week ago I finally can! Check out it's two different covers below:

                                              US Cover                      UK Cover

US Cover: I'm a BIG fan of the newly designed Delirium cover so of course I love the Pandemonium design to go with it. You can feel the ruggedness of this cover which works perfectly since Lena spends much of the story in the Wilds. And is it just me or does this cover just scream revolution? It's perfection.

UK Cover: While I think this cover is gorgeous in it's own right I feel like it doesn't really fit the story of Pandemonium. It's so surreal and dreamy and Pandemonium is not a surreal and dreamy sort of book. However I do love the quote on the cover.

So who wins? For me it's close but I've gotta give it to the US Cover because it fits the essence of the book better! Both covers are gorgeous in their own right but book cover/story parallels always have the upper hand for me. And can I just say that I love that both of these covers have orange as kind of the main color? Orange is my favorite color!

Which cover of Pandemonium 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 put them in this form.

Julia :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hunger Games Mall Tour Bookmark & Lanyard Giveaway

I was able to grab an extra holographic Katniss bookmark and Hunger Games lanyard when I went to the mall tour stop in Arizona! If you want to win this awesome stuff just fill out the super easy Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is also open internationally!

EDIT: This giveaway now includes one of the Mall Tour posters! I got an extra one when I went to the pre-screening and I don't need it so I'm giving that away too! :D

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also be sure to enter my giveaway for the Hunger Games Anthology The Girl Who Was on Fire here! And in case you missed it you can read all about my mall tour experience here as well.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Julia :)

Tales of The Hunger Games Mall Tour (Arizona)!

So yesterday the Hunger Games Mall Tour stopped at Scottsdale Fashion Square mall and I attended AND got to go to the meet and greet/autograph signing! To say it was awesome would definitely be an understatement. The only thing that could have made it better is if Josh Hutcherson had been in attendance but he was at the Chicago tour that night. Lucky Chicogoans.... :P

So the cast line up we had was:

  • Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh)
  • Liam Hemsworth (Gale)
  • Leven Rambin (Glimmer)
  • Jack Quaid (Marvel)

The day started with me and my mom (yes I dragged her along and yes, she was as disappointed as I was that Josh wasn't gonna be there) rising out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. I know, it sounds crazy but we had to head down to the mall by 7 to get our official signing line wristbands. We had originally thought we were going to be made to stay at the mall all day but they actually let us leave once we were given the wristbands which was really nice! So we left and came back at 2 and by then the mall was crazy packed and we had to stand in the special wristband holders only line. The cast didn't come out till 4:30 for the signing but while we waited in front of the Microsoft store they did Hunger Games/Microsoft trivia for Hunger Games computer skins! My mom and I both won one which was very cool. You can bet I'll be putting it on my laptop!

When the cast finally did show up screams erupted from the crowd. IT WAS SO LOUD. There was this huge mob of girls standing on top of this couch so they could see into the store (they didn't have wristbands) and I'm pretty sure a few of them were crying... >.<

So the actual signing was pretty low key and only lasted maybe a minute. They had someone "guide" us through the line and move along the poster for us to make things go faster so you just sort of walked along with it. I wasn't able to think of anything to say to the cast members so I pretty much just smiled at them awkwardly. I am such a lame person. :P

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don't you can do so here) then you probably have heard me talking about how Liam Hemsworth always make me cringe because his face scares me. Sorry to all the Liam lovers out there. He just gives me the creeps. O.O So basically the big success of the day was actually speaking to him in the signing line and not cringing in his presence! And yes, I admit it: He was nice. When he asked me "How are you doing?" I was like CRAP NOW I'VE GOT TO TALK BACK TO HIM AND STILL NOT CRINGE. A real challenge but I pulled through. XD

As for the other cast members they were all really nice and basically just said hi and thanked us for coming out. Jack Quaid was the most laid back and he actually commented on my shirt (white mockingjay on one side, Down With the Capitol on the other) saying it was cool and that "I should bring them some" because they couldn't find those ones anywhere anymore. I totally thought he was joking until I went home and Googled my shirt and realized that he was right: Hot Topic only sells the movie shirts now. So I guess my shirt is kind of rare? Cool by me!

After the signing we went over to the upper story where the VIP wristband holders were supposed to stand for the Q&A. We were put on the story right above them looking down which sort of sucked not being on the ground floor. I guess it's only fair that people who didn't get a signed poster could at least get a really good spot for the Q&A. While we waited for the stars to come out they did some Hunger Games trivia which was actually really entertaining. One girl from our section (who had ironically been right in front of me for the signing line) got called down and went onstage and starting talking into the mic about how she was "going to marry Josh Hutcherson he just doesn't know it yet." The funniest part was that then the trivia question they asked her was to name the movie he was in that was oscar nominated last year and she didn't know the answer... Future Wife Fail. XD

They also asked another girl the trivia question "What does Peeta say the showers in the Capitol make him smell like?" and we were allowed to yell from the crowd what we thought the answer was to help her out and one group of girls kept yelling out "BREAD!!!!" Uhhh yeah because showers totally make you smell like bread. That was hilarious. Here's a photo of me and my friend Nicole waiting for the Q&A to start:

When the cast finally came out for the Q&A the screaming was deafening. Here are the few pics I was able to get:

 Dayo Okeniyi (in the gray jacket) and Jack Quaid (in the plaid)
 Leven Rambin (red dress) and Jack Quaid
 Jack Quaid again.
 Leven Rambin walking out to the stage.
 Dayo Okeniyi getting ready to walk out.
 Liam Hemsworth about to walk out.

Not a very clear shot at all but this is all of them on the stage for the Q&A

Unfortunately the mics they gave them on the stage were really bad and the only people I could hear really well were the interviewers, Jack Quaid, and Liam Hemsworth. The good news is that even though my video footage was REALLY crappy the radio show that hosted the interviews actually got really good footage and posted it on YouTube! I've embedded both of the videos below so you guys can take the time to watch them if you want to. They ask some really good questions so I highly suggest it!

All in all it was a really exhausting but awesome day. Even my mom ended up thanking me for dragging her along.

Here's a picture of all the swag I got at the event! Of course there's the laptop skin I won and the signed poster and then at the Q&A they were handing out Hunger Games lanyards and super awesome holographic Katniss bookmarks! I have an extra set of that stuff so if you want to win be sure to enter here.

If the Hunger Games mall tour is heading to a town near you I would definitely suggest going and be sure to call ahead to the mall to find out wristband signing info and all that. Even if you don't originally get a wristband for the signing each stop does plenty of giveaways for them at the actual event. There were about 50 extra people who won VIP wristbands from trivia and other things so if you go early you might still be able to win one!

Julia :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book Review: Article 5

Article 5
by Kristen Simmons
368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 31st 2012
Add this book to your shelf on Goodreads

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked and replaced with Moral Statutes. There are no more police - instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior - instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested don't usually come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. SHe knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what's worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings.... the only boy Ember has ever loved.
The premise of Article 5 sounds like just about any other dystopian novel on the market. It's set in a future with new rules and regulations, it's got a female heroine who tries to stay under the radar until absolutely necessary, and of course there's a bit of romance. Okay, a LOT of romance. Article 5 is the perfect example of a dystopian that tries so very hard to be dystopian, but ultimately ends up missing the mark.

Angst. OH THE ANGST OF THIS NOVEL! I haven't read anything quite this angsty since I read The Dead Tossed Waves over a year ago. I know there were other things going on in Article 5 but Ember and Chase's relationship definitely ended up taking center stage. The entire book was made up of Ember's feelings flip flopping like crazy.

Chase hates me.

Chase loves me!

He hates me...

No he loves me!



Yep. That's pretty much how it went. By the end of the book I had totally lost count of how many times they had a misunderstanding or a falling out. The angst eventually got so bad that it was actually good in that "Oh my gosh this is so ridiculous that its HILARIOUS" sort of way. >.<

Other than the angst I also felt like the plot was really disjointed. One minute Ember's arrested, the next she's put in boarding school, and then suddenly she's running for her life? All within the first 100 pages of the book? Yeah, everything moved way too fast.

The characters were okay, but I found it hard to root for them because like I said they were just so dang angsty. Ember and Chase weren't just angsty in their relationship with each other they were angsty about everything! The war, who they were as people, their lives in general, it was all one big ball of angst! I also wasn't a big fan of Ember's characterization. It was like Kristen Simmons was trying really hard to make her angry and badass and it didn't feel authentic at all. Angst ridden characters as a rule are not badass....

So as you can tell I was not really a fan of this book. It was a decent read but the angst and only so-so plot line just ruined it for me. I know a lot of other people loved it so if you like you're dystopian novels with a side of angst (a HUGE side of angst) then you should give Article 5 a chance. If not, then I would probably pass it up.

I give Article 5 three out of five cupcakes.

Julia :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm going to the Hunger Games Mall Tour!

Guess who got a first 100 people wristband for the Hunger Games Mall Tour meet and greet/autograph signing in Scottsdale Arizona? THIS GIRL!!!! :D


In case you don't know members of the Hunger Games cast are touring across America and stopping at malls for signings and Q&A. I am lucky enough to live about 45 minutes away from the mall that is hosting one of these events here in Arizona! To say I was ecstatic when I found out they were coming here is a complete understatement. I just about died when I found out. :P Anyway the cast members we're getting according to the press release from Lionsgate are:

  • Liam Hemsworth (Gale)
  • Dayo Okeniyi (Thresh)
  • Levin Rambin (Glimmer)
  • Jack Quaid (Marvel)

No Josh Hutcherson you say? Yep, I was devastated too. And so was my sister and mom. Hahahahaha. The guy who worked at the Microsoft store that's hosting the event says that he's been told Jennifer Lawrence is coming but who knows if that's true or not since Lionsgates press release differs. Apparently the list of actors coming keeps changing. But yeah if she does show up that would be the greatest surprise ever!

At each stop the first 100 people get wristbands and fortunately I did a little sleuthing and figured out when they started handing them out and I GOT ONE! My mom and I headed down to the mall yesterday night and waited outside for over an hour till they finally came out and gave a small group of us bracelets. We had to show ID and sign for them and everything. It was sort of crazy! So tomorrow morning we're heading back and tomorrow night my mom and I get to meet members of the cast! I AM SO STOKED! You can be sure I'll take lots of pictures from the event and post all about it!

Is anyone else going to one of the Hunger Games mall tour stops?

Julia :)

Sign up for the All Things Asian Blog Event!!!

So I've been planning this awesome event for awhile now and I'm super excited to get to finally tell you all about it! Me, Lucia at iLive, iLaugh, iLove, Books and Izzy at My Words Ate Me (be sure to go check out their blogs because they're awesome!) are hosting All Things Asian: A two week long event celebrating Asian authors, bloggers, and books!

Currently we are taking sign ups for guest posts and what not and we would LOVE to have you participate! Even if you aren't Asian you can get in on the fun. You can write about why you think diversity in literature is important, your favorite Asian book character, anything as long as its Asian related! If you're interested in getting involved please fill out the form below and we'll contact you with more info!

Even if you don't want to get involved with a guest post you can still join in the festivities! We'll be having giveaways and posts all throughout the beginning of April. Be sure to follow Lucia and Izzy's blogs so you won't miss out on any of the fun! :D

Are you guys excited? I'm excited!

Julia :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Storybook Stationary

This week's Kawaii Monday features storybook stationary! I stumbled across a bunch of stationary designs with storybook and fairytale themes and I thought I'd share them with you all because they are SUPER cute!

This one is a super adorable fairytale set! There's Little Red Riding hood, the three little pigs, Rapunzel, etc. I think this might be my favorite set. It's just so cute!

The three little pigs! This is one of my favorite stories and so I love this stationary. <3

I wish this Snow White set had more color to it (why all the blue?) but I think the little Snow White character is super cute!

 Alice! Isn't this one so fun? There's the Cheshire cat and all the playing cards and the mad hatter and queen of hearts! Definitely one of the coolest stationary sets ever.

Aren't those some of the coolest stationary sets ever? I just love them! Cartoonized storybook characters are just too cute. Which set is your favorite? I love the Alice in Wonderland set and the mixed fairytales sets best!

If you want to buy any of these just click their pictures and it will link you back to their webpages.

Julia :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cover Comparison [26]

This week's installment of Cover Comparison is all about Fury by Elizabeth Mills! I read this book last week and then stumbled across the UK cover while surfing the interwebs and I just knew I had to do a cover comparison for it. Especially since we all know how kickass awesome the original US cover is. Anyway, lets take a look at the two difference covers for Fury!

                                              US Cover                    UK Cover

US Cover: This cover is GORGEOUS. The red almost flame-like hair, the flowing font, all against a black background? So eye catching! I also love the way it gives off this sort of creepy vibe which is perfect since the story definitely has it's creepy moments.

UK Cover: I am just not feeling this cover. The color scheme is terrible (seriously? Red, black, and white?) and I don't know about anyone else but the image of the girl looks awkward to me. :/

So who wins: For me the clear winner is the US cover. It draws you in and is a great representation of the story itself. In fact part of the reason I read Fury was because the cover is so gorgeous! If I was living in the UK and saw Fury on the shelf there I don't think I would even have given it a second glance.

So which cover of Fury 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 put them in this form.

Julia :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

YA Romance: Fact or Fiction?

I know what you're probably thinking:

"Julia you hate romance! Of course you're gonna say all romance is fictionalized nonsense!"

Yeah, I know I'm a cynic but lets face it guys: YA romance isn't exactly the most reality based stuff. Just look at Twilight. I don't know about you but I've never run into any sparkling super beings in my hometown. And yeah, that's paranormal but what about all the contemporary novels with "hot British boys" and the like. How many of THOSE kinds of guys really exist in America? Yeah, not that many. So here I am to discuss the top YA romance trends. Are they complete and total fiction? Or can they be fact?

The Boy Next Door Turned Boyfriend

Seriously? When does this EVER happen in real life? Maybe I was just never lucky enough to live next door to cute guys my age (or any guys my age for that matter) but it just seems so unlikely, yet it pops up in YA fiction all the time. Has this situation ever happened to one of you guys? Because I if so I really want to hear about it because I wish so badly that this situation was real! :P

Verdict: Though it's never happened to me I do think this situation could happen. Or maybe I'd just like to think it could happen. :P  

Books: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.

The Blast From the Past Boyfriend

This romance situation is terribly unrealistic but I will admit it: I am a sucker for the blast from the past boyfriend romances. This is probably attributed to the fact that EVERY girl has a guy from their past that they wish would pop back up in their life and fall in love with them. Yes, even me the romantic cynic wishes for things like that. I am human after all. :P

Verdict: Like the Boy Next Door Turned Boyfriend romance I think this scenario COULD happen but honestly I doubt it.

Books: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler, Forgotten by Cat Patrick, and Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. Sweethearts really isn't a romance but it has a blast from the past guy so it counts. :P

The Hot Foreign Guy Romance

You know the romances I'm talking about. The ones with a foreign exchange student/new boy in school/random guy who just so HAPPENS to have a really schmexy accent (normally British) and then of course falls in love with the heroine of the story. Yeah, I love these guys too (who can resist a British accent?) but I really doubt this happens. At least not all that often. I mean how many of us have randomly run into foreign guys while living in America? Pretty much never. >.<

Verdict: Highly unlikely. Unless of course you move to Britain or some other country. Then you'd be surrounded by foreign guys. :P

Books: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

The Love Triangle Romance

Ohhhh the infamous love triangle. Probably the most overused and equally despised romantic cliche in all of YA literature. Twilight kick-started this one and it's been on a roll ever since. The funny thing is I actually know someone who was in a real love triangle. I'm not even kidding. Apparently my aunt was in a love triangle and not only were two guys fighting over her but the guys were also best friends. And now she's married to one of the guys. So as unrealistic, obnoxious, and terribly overused as these romances are they can and do exist. Crazy right?

Verdict: Highly, HIGHLY unlikely though my aunts story proves it is possible.

Books: So many I can't even count them all but the biggest ones that come to mind are The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith.

Best Guy Friend Romance 

I love the best guy friend romances because they feel real. Why? Because these romances actually happen in real life. Not only that but these are the romances you want to happen because who doesn't want to fall in love/marry their best friend? That's right: No one. However I do feel like this romance has been getting a bit overused.

Verdict: Fact. At least one of these scenarios is based in reality!

Books: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, The Body Finder Series by Kimberly Derting, and Heist Society by Ally Carter just to name a few.

The "Forbidden" Romance

I saw this pic and I just had to use it. So funny. XD

This romance comes in so many different forms its ridiculous.

Contemporary: One of the characters is from the wrong side of the tracks/a different social circle and so everyone at school thinks it would be CRAZY if the two characters got together as a couple.

Paranormal: One of the characters is a paranormal creature and so the romance is doomed (or really just extra sexy and forbidden) from the start.

Dystopian: Society dictates that the couple can't be together/they're fighting for different sides.

But what happens to the couples in these scenarios? THEY ALWAYS END UP TOGETHER. I will concede this does happen in real life (at least the contemporary and dystopian versions) but I am not really a fan of these types of romances because they often involve bad boys and bad boys are really just douchebags in disguise. Face it: You do not want to marry a bad boy.

Verdict: Fact unless of course we're talking about the paranormal scenario. I'm sorry but vampires are just not real folks. Neither are fallen angels.

Books: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, Fallen by Lauren Kate, Matched by Ally Condie and many, many others.

The "Oh My Gosh It Might Be Incest" Romance

(This topic may or may not be an excuse to post pictures of Alex Pettyfer....)

Yes, I am calling out Cassandra Clare on her oh so cliche Jace and Clary dynamic. I was late to jump on the Mortal Instruments bandwagon so I already knew that Jace and Clary couldn't be siblings since everyone sticks them together so much and I figured if they WERE siblings that was just gross.... So yeah I guess you could say I'm not a huge fan of this. It's just so gimmicky and lets face it: Absolute fiction.

Verdict: FICTION TO THE MAX. Long lost siblings who aren't really long lost siblings? Yeah, NEVER happens.

Books: The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare and believe it or not a random manga series (I've never read it I swear) Marmalade Boy by Wataru Yoshizumi.

And that is the end of my little examination of YA romance. There are a few others like the "Mysterious New Boy in School Romance" or the "Road Trip/Vacation Romance" but I decided that if I continued this post it would be forever long and you probably wouldn't want to read it. :P

So what do you guys think? Is YA romance too gimmicky and not realistic enough? Or do you like it's unrealistic yet fun nature? Which of these romances is your favorite? Which is your least favorite? And most importantly have any of these crazy scenarios happened to you? If so I want to hear about it!

Julia :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...