Monday, August 27, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Penguin Water Dispenser

So yesterday I was cleaning my room desk when suddenly the thought dawned on me "I should get a mini water dispenser to keep in my room so I can stay hydrated while studying." Of course as soon as this thought hit I had to find out what kinds of mini water dispensers were out there and if it was actually a legitimate thing to keep in my room. Lo and behold not only are there mini water dispensers in the world but there are also extremely cute ones. My favorite one of all? The Penguin Water Dispenser.

I mean look at how cute that is. It's a penguin! It dispenses water! It even holds exactly 8 glasses which is the recommended amount for people to drink daily! IT IS PERFECT AND I WANT IT!!!!! >.<

And the best part? It's actually affordable. You can get this totally useful and adorable water dispenser for less than $20. That's right! LESS THAN $20!!!!

I'm starting to sound like an infomercial. :P

But the point is this guy is not only cute, but he is also practical and affordable. Ergo I AM SO GETTING ONE! You can bet this cute little guy will be adorning my desk soon. IT WILL HAPPEN!

If anyone else wants to get this fantastical little water dispenser you can buy him here!

Julia :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review: The Selection

The Selection
by Kiera Cass
327 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 24th 2012
Source: Library
For thirty-five girl, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question with all the plans she's made herself - and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to future she never imagined.
The Selection was probably one of the most hyped up books of the summer. There was that whole crazy Goodreads "scandal", the CW picked it up for a TV series, and then it seemed like everyone who read it either loved it or hated it. I'm gonna start out by saying that I was psyched to read this book. SO psyched. Why? Because it sounded like just the kind of fodder that would entertain me to no end! I figured that as long as I didn't take The Selection seriously I would be able to enjoy it for what it is: the bubblegum pop of the YA fiction world. I wasn't expecting it to be a masterpiece and I certainly wasn't expecting to love it. I was just expecting a good laugh. And you know what? The Selection delivered.

Everyone has been heralding The Selection as a sort of "The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games" story. The Hunger Games comparison is pretty ridiculous considering that book is all about fighting for survival and the only fighting in The Selection involves girls ripping each others dresses but whatever gets the book to sell right? The only real similarities it has to THG is the fact that it's a dystopian (albiet a much less dreary one) and the fact that America gets plucked from obscurity to compete in a contest. Now the comparisons to The Bachelor? Totally warranted. Though it's not similar enough to The Bachelor to be as creepy as The Bachelor it definitely has that same pseudo love feeling to it (not that I watch the Bachelor or anything....) and there's definitely some of the cattiness. However Prince Maxon is way nicer and less of a douche then any of those guys on the actual Bachelor show. Or at least I imagine he is seeing as I don't watch the show and all. :P

Which brings me to the characters. Let me tell you there is nothing special about these characters whatsoever. America is about as boring a protagonist as you can get. She is literally about as exciting as plain toast. On top of that she has that super annoying "I'm nothing special, I'm not beautiful, why does everyone think I'm special and beautiful?" mentality about her. And the worst part? There really is nothing special about her. As a reader I had to suspend disbelief in order to buy the fact that she would have two guys vying for her because she was just SO boring. It made no sense. I guess she really must be beautiful because it couldn't have been her non-existent sparkling personality winning them over. Either that or she has the singing voice of a siren and that's what hooks them.... As for the guy characters Prince Maxon was the stereotypical nice guy who also happened to be pretty naive. Overall I liked him the best because he was the most normal of the bunch. But the worst character by far? Aspen. Oh gosh I HATED Aspen. I know a lot of girls seem to be getting their panties in a bunch over Aspen but this guy had some serious control issues. He was totally emotionally abusive and I hated the fact that it was painted like he was fine. Uhhh no it is not fine for you to dump your secret girlfriend over a celebratory dinner and then act like everything is fine and dandy later. NO. Everything is not fine jerkwad! And did I mention he's jealous of Prince Maxon and yet he was the one that convinced America to enter The Selection in the first place? Yep. TOTAL JERK.

The story itself was just what I expected it to be: A fluffy bacheloresque fairytale painted like a dystopian. Honestly I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I think that can mostly be attributed to the fact that my expectations were low in the first place, but it did exceed them. Kiera Casses writing is straight forward to the point of being a bit bland at times (spice things up girl! That's what Thesauruses are for.) but I'll admit that the book did hook me till the end. In fact I might even suffer through the next few installments just to find out what happens. I have a feeling that Kiera Cass might have some sort of revolution craziness hidden up her sleeve. The story has potential to go a lot of different ways and I'm curious to see what happens and by see what happens I mean America dumping Aspen on his dumb ass and then Prince Maxon escaping the shackles of his noble life to run wild and free with a girl truly worthy of his kindness and by a "girl truly worthy of kindness" I mean a girl that is NOT AMERICA. I'm sure the ending will be nothing like that but a girl can hope right? :P

Overall The Selection was not nearly as painful a reading experience as I thought it would be. Certain aspects of it were painful *cough* ASPEN IS A JERKWAD! *cough* and the writing could have been less choppy but I enjoyed it. I just hope the sequels will have less cliches and more cat fights because let's be real if you're gonna write a YA version of The Bachelor it's gotta have killer cat fights. Ripping a dress is the least a bitch can do.

I give The Selection 3 out of 5 ice cream cones.

Julia :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Dinosaur Tattoos

You guys are probably thinking "Oh gosh Julia a dinosaur themed Kawaii Monday post AGAIN?!?!" Well you know how I live my life ya'll: THERE CAN NEVER BE TOO MANY DINOSAURS! True fact. I think I need to get me a stuffed dinosaur collection... But anyways allow me to share with you some super cute dinosaur temporary tattoos!

Yeppers. I LOVE THEM. They aren't quite as cute as they could be but they are much better than just about every other set of dinosaur themed temporary tattoos out there. *cough* like these *cough*

While looking at the dinosaur tattoos I also ran across these SUPER adorable squirrel tattoos on the same site.

aksdjflkasjdlkfjalkdjklsjlkwdjfakjdlksjd SQUIRREL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! >.<

I think I like this squirrel tattoo even better than the dinosaur tattoos. Just SO ADORABLE. I mean who doesn't love squirrels?

It's funny because now as an adult I really like the idea of temporary tattoos but when I was a kid I thought they were awful and just about the most embarrassing thing ever. I wouldn't have been caught dead with a temporary tattoo of anything on my person. I guess I was just too "hip" for that sort of thing even though I had no fashion sense whatsoever. I used to missmatch my sandals with my sneakers. NOT EVEN JOKING. :P

You can find the dinosaur tattoos here and the squirrel ones here.

Julia :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Giveaway: Flying the Dragon

I've got an awesome giveaway for you guys today!!! Remember a few weeks ago when I had that interview with Natalie Lorenzi? Well today you've got a chance to win a nice shiny new hardcover copy of her debut novel Flying the Dragon! :D

Skye and Hiroshi are cousins, but they've never met. How could they, when Skye's father hasn't spoken to his Japanese family since before she was born? But now their grandfather is sick, and the family is coming to the United States for his treatment. Skye and Hiroshi are stuck with each other.

Now skye doesn't know who she is anymore: at school she's suddenly too Japanese, but at home she's not Japanese enough. And as Hiroshi struggles to improve his English, he has to contend with Skye butting in on his rokkaku kite-flying time with Grandfather - time that seems to be running out.

Sounds awesome right? Well if you want your very own copy just fill out the super easy Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Julia :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Review: A Million Suns

A Million Suns
by Beth Revis
386 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: January 10th 2012
Source: Library
Add this book to your shelf on Goodreads
But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to act on his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies. 

But when elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier; Their success - or failure - will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous the ship more chaotic, and the love between them impossible to fight.
If you enjoyed Beth Revis' first novel Across the Universe then you will LOVE A Million Suns. This sequel is as good as ATU if not better. It's got the same awesome mystery and science fiction aspects all while doing even more world building and delving further into who the characters are. ME LIKE YA'LL, ME LIKE! :D

In A Million Suns there's a whole new mystery to unravel, and a whole new set of obstacles to overcome. As engaging as A Million Suns was I didn't find myself breezing through it as fast as I sometimes do with other books. However I found this to be a good thing. Sometimes if a book is too much of a page turner I end up rushing through it so quickly that I miss important details. Does this happen to anyone else? :P Anyway, A Million Suns was great, and totally engaging, but I loved that I could linger through it without feeling like I was rushing to figure out the ending.

The mystery aspect of A Million Suns was similar to Across the Universe but it's format was very different. In A Million Suns the characters are following a string of clues that ultimately leads to this big mind blowing reveal. Believe me when I say this is mind blowing because it is MIND BLOWING. T The  reveal is so insanely crazy that the outcome of the series suddenly starts heading down a drastic new path, WHICH IS AWESOME! Before reading A Million Suns I didn't really know where Beth Revis was gonna take the story, but now it all makes sense! Even the new set of book covers make sense though I still prefer the old ones. That being said, CAN I HAVE THE THIRD BOOK ALREADY?!?! :P

Other than the mystery aspect which was just amazing I also loved where Beth Revis went with the characters. Elder and Amy really came into their own in this novel and a lot of minor characters were developed well too. However I did feel like their separate narratives weren't as effective as they were in Across the Universe. I just found myself having a hard time telling the difference between Amy and Elder chapters because they're voices weren't very distinct. That was a bummer but overall it didn't detract enough from the novel to be a huge problem.

After reading Across the Universe and A Million Suns I have come to several conclusions about Beth Revis. She can write a damn good mystery, her sci-fi is impressive and did I mention her writing is absolutely beautiful? Yep, she's got it all. That's what I love so much about reading a Beth Revis novel. There isn't just one thing about them that's awesome: EVERYTHING about them is awesome!

A Million Suns gets 5 out of 5 ice cream cones!

Julia :)

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