Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: The Hobbit Edition

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews! It's a chance to share all of our bookish goodness with the blogging world. Yay! :D

So these past few weeks have been kinda crazy. Between finals (okay, I only had one final but it was intense so cut me some slack!) and work I haven't had much time to blog, but now I am free for two whole weeks so YAY!!!! You should be seeing a lot more of me this coming semester. Good news right?

Anyways, I titled this one The Hobbit edition because I spend most of the vlog fangirling about The Hobbit and Tolkien in general. In fact, I edited out almost 10 minutes of extra fangirling. It was getting a bit much but I just love The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings so much that once you get me started, it's hard to get me to stop. Be sure to watch the vlog to see all my awesome Hobbit swag (POSTERS YES!) but if you're just here for the books I got you can just scroll down to the list. :)

Feedback by Robison Wells
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (UK softcover!)
Myth and Magic: The Art of John Howe
Lord of the Rings Bookmarks

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Chronicles: Art and Design
The Hunger Games Daily Desk Calendar
Magnetic Bookmarks

Random Hobbit Swag
Hobbit Pen
LOTR Marathon Lanyard
The Hobbit Dog Tag and Tattoos
4 Special IMAX Hobbit Posters

Have any of you guys seen The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey yet? DID YOU LOVE IT?!?! If you have seen it let me know what you thought and be sure to say who your favorite dwarf was! In case it wasn't obvious in the vlog mine is Kili. Bofur is a close second but Kili is just such an adorable badass I cannot help but love him. BEST. DWARF. EVER. Peter Jackson and Aidan Turner win all the awards  for bringing such an awesome character to life.

Be sure to leave a link to your own Stacking the Shelves/Book Haul post in the comments below and I'll check it out! Have a fabulous week and a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Julia :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Boxcar Children is apparently scarier than we all remember....

I was shopping at Barnes and Noble the other day when I ran across The Boxcar Children series sitting on the shelf. Now I know what you're thinking: "Julia, what could possibly be so strange about seeing the Boxcar Children books?" Well let me tell you I took a double take because these weren't the Boxcar Children books that I remember and loved as a child. Oh no, these looked totally different because their covers have been completely redesigned. The result is HILARIOUS. Awful, but hilarious. The publisher must have decided the original covers were just too bland for todays kids and that the action needed to be kicked up a notch because that is the only explanation for the covers complete change in tone. Just look for yourselves:

Original Covers

New Covers

Correct me if I'm wrong but I remember the Boxcar Children being happy tales about 4 siblings who went on vacation and solved extremely harmless mysteries related to pets and "mysterious strangers" who turned out to be good friends or long lost relatives. I remember none of this "Oh my gosh the kids are gonna get struck by lightning" or "Benny is about to drown" stuff. In fact if you compare these covers one set looks like the wonderfully innocent and whimsical stories I remember and the other resembles something more along the lines of "Nightmares in Babysitting."

I mean the new covers set up all sorts of questions. Why is it always Violet and Benny about to die in some sort of natural disaster? Why the heck did Henry and Jessie run ahead in a lightning storm only to leave their siblings behind to get their brains zapped? And most importantly, why did the artist of the cover art always choose to draw Henry and Jessie in a perpetual state of shock while reaching out towards their younger practically helpless siblings? And why oh why are they doing this pose on the cover for The Yellow House Mystery when all Benny is doing is reaching into a hidden compartment in an old fireplace? I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

Honestly I LOVE the Boxcar Children so I'm not poking fun at them at all. I just think these new covers do not reflect the true essence of the books at all. I understand they're trying to keep it hip for todays kids but did they really have to sacrifice the reality of the stories to do so?

How do you guys feel about covers getting redesigned with something that completely distorts the tone of the book? Do you like these new Boxcar Children covers? Or do you find them as perplexing and laughable as me? And most importantly, has my memory failed me and The Boxcar Children actually does have a scene involving a near death experience with a lightning storm? If so, do enlighten me. :P

Julia :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday [22]

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 am waiting on Girl Defective by Simmone Howell!

We, the Martin family, were like inverse superheroes, marked by our defects. Dad was addicted to beer and bootlegs. Gully had "social difficulties" that manifested in his earing a pig snout mask 24/7. I was surface clean but underneath a weird hormonal stew was simmering....

It's summer in St. Kilda. Fifteen-year-old Sky is looking forward to great records, and nefarious activities with Nancy, her older, wilder, friend. Her brother - Super Agent Gully - is on a mission to unmask the degenerate who bricked the shop window. Bill the Patriarch seems content to drink while the shop slides into bankruptcy. A poster of a mysterious girl and her connection to Luke, the tragi-hot new employee sends Sky on an exploration into the dark heart of the suburb. Love is strange. Family Rules. In between there are teenage messes, rock star spawn, violent fangirls, creepy old guys, and accidents waiting to happen. If the world truly is going to hell in a hand-basket at least the soundtrack is kicking. Sky Martin is Girl Defective: funny, real, and dark at the edges.

Doesn't this book sound AWESOME?! I mean violent fangirls? Creepy old guys? THIS SUMMARY IS SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE!!! Not to say that I like those things, but you have to admit it's gonna be hilarious reading about them. Plus this whole thing sounds painfully hipster. I am so here for painfully hipster YA literature.

Girl Defective is coming out from Pan Macmillan Australia on March 1st. I guess I'll have to find some other hipster reading material to fill my time till then. Anyone have any suggestions?

Be sure to leave your WoW link in the comments below so I can check it out!

Julia :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn
by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
356 pages
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 18th 2012
Source: Purchased
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds. 

But bad things can happen, even to good girls, and sometimes the only way to make things right is to do something wrong.

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she'll be damned if she lets the same thing happen to her little sister.
Kat is through with being called a freak. She's over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person - her ex-best riend - and Kat's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. Now that she's back, he's gonna be in trouble... ' cause she's coming after him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they've each had a taste.
I just want to start this review by saying that I want to live in a place like Jar Island. I don't care that it's isolated, and that you can only take a ferry to get there (talk about being screwed in a zombie apocalypse), and that everyone is all up in your business, I WANT TO LIVE THERE. A world with no fast food or WalMart? TAKE ME THERE!!!!!

Burn for Burn is basically my Jr. High dreams come true. Like most tweens and teens I experienced my fair share of bullying in middle school (even though I was homeschooled. Go figure.) so I can definitely relate to Lillia, Kat, Mary, and their need for revenge. But unlike these 3 girls I did not ever plan or take part in any sort of revenge tactics. However, I'm sure my very bitter middle school self would have been quite happy to take part in a group effort of revenge on those who had wronged me. It would have been awkward though considering they were all people from my youth group and some of them were elders kids. Whoops.... >.<

Anyway, Burn for Burn is one of those guilty pleasure reads. The kind where you imagine yourself as the characters, put yourself in their shoes, and, in this case, imagine the kind of revenge you'd wreak on your old enemies. Classy right? And oh so fun. I wouldn't say that I agreed with what Lillia, Kat, and Mary were doing but I definitely found it entertaining.

Lillia, Kat, and Mary are your stereotypical YA contemporary girls. Lillia is the popular girl, Kat is the girl who was once on the in, but is now on the out, and Mary is the girl who used to be overweight but is now slim and model gorgeous. Let me tell you straight up that there is nothing really special about these characters. If any of those descriptions sounded familiar to you (and I'm sure most if not all of them did) then you won't be too impressed. Mary does have an extra layer to her that I'm excited to see flesh out in future novels, but other than that the characters don't stray far from the familiar YA tropes they resemble. However, it's not the characters that make this story great but the revenge scenario itself. Each girl has a person from her past or present that she wants to get back at, and they're all willing to go to great lengths to make sure these enemies suffer. A LOT.

The revenge theme is what really makes this book. I know Burn for Burn isn't the only YA book on the market that involves revenge but this one felt a lot less catty which is always a plus. While reading Burn for Burn I felt almost like I was rooting for the underdogs and I actually found myself wanting the characters to succeed instead of just thinking they were being obnoxious, whiny brats. On top of that the ending started to give me some awesome Carrie by Steven King vibes which I was really digging. Take that as you may. ;)

Overall Burn for Burn is a pretty solid book. The real draw is the fact that it let me live vicariously through the characters as they carried out their crazy revenge schemes. It's probably not the best thing to admit, but I liked reading about the "bad guys" getting their just reward. I also loved the ending and how Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian spent the entire book romanticizing revenge, only to throw it back in my face as if to say "Is this what you wanted? IS IT?" That was the really great thing about this novel: regardless of run of the mill characters Burn for Burn made me think and got me involved and that is the mark of a good book. On top of that it had me longing for the next installment in this series. A win all around.

I give Burn for Burn 4 out of 5 ice cream cones.

Julia :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Kawaii Monday: Octopus Creature Cup

I haven't gotten to do one of these posts in a SUPER long time. Fortunately I found a super cute thing to share with you guys this week! It's called an Octopus Creature Cup. Sound a little unusual? Take a look!

Gahhhh look at that cuteness! Just look at it! I'm a total sucker for octopus/squid related things (something about the tentacles and the huge eyes is just enamoring) and this has got to be one of the most adorable ones I have ever seen.

The only downsides to this mug is that it would be awfully hard to clean (no hot chocolate or honey in this bad boy!) and if you weren't expecting it and saw this guy at the bottom of your cup it's safe to say you'd probably freak out. Regardless, it is still awesome. :D

If octopuses aren't what float your boat be sure to check out all the cute designs Creature Cups sells (crocodiles or sea otters anyone?) at their website here.

Julia :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cover Comparisons: A Wrinkle In Time Edition


Awhile back I was writing up a post and one of the things I needed for it was a picture of the cover for A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. When I went searching for a cover I discovered that A Wrinkle in Time has had a BAJILLION covers. Some great, and some downright hilarious. Of course once I saw all these covers I knew I had struck cover comparison gold. If you have ever wanted to see all of the Wrinkle in Time covers in one place THIS IS YOUR LUCKY DAY! Let's get the cover comparison started!

                    A                            B                           C                           D                          E

                    F                          G                             H                           I                            J

Under normal circumstances I would tell you guys what each cover is (aka: foreign cover, paperback cover, etc.) but there are so many covers for AWiT and most of them are ancient that I decided not to bother figuring out which one is which. So as a replacement I have given each cover it's own letter. Sorry if you wanted to know what each cover was exactly. I do not know. :P

Cover A: I am definitely a fan of this cover. I think it's the newest design and it shows. It's got great artwork, it's really eyecatching, and gives off that classic children's book vibe. I love it.

Cover B: This has got to be the funniest cover for AWiT. I just can't look at this cover and take it seriously. I mean why is a rainbow coming out of the back of the pegasus/centaur thing? WHY?!?! That in combination with the pastel color scheme and flowers makes this the most unintentionally hilarious cover ever. It's just bad but in the best of ways. XD

Cover C: This is cover is another weird one. It's giving off some dark sci-fi vibes which is alright except for the fact that this is a children's book and this cover does not look child friendly. I imagine my 10 year old self would have both been intrigued and creeped out by the red eyed alien looking thing on this cover. I would also have never picked it up because if my mom found it she'd probably think it was too dark for me. :P

Cover D: Seriously, what is up with the flying centaur things on these covers? I realize that they are an important part of the story, but more important than the main characters? *shakes head* This one makes AWiT look like some sort of Grecian retelling. I am not a fan.

Cover E: Honestly, I don't know what to say about this one other than that it's weird and the woman holding the orb is giving me creeper fortune teller vibes.... >.<

Cover F: Now this one I like! Kid me would have thought it looked boring as heck, but young adult me looks at it and says "Yes! Now that is a classic I would want on my shelf." It's simplistic, the color scheme is nice, and it doesn't have any flying centaurs. WIN ALL AROUND!

Cover G: I think this is probably the cover I've seen the most for AWiT. It's definitely the most kid friendly. The illustration is cute and whimsical which is funny considering how dark some of the other covers are. However, I honestly think this cover is a better representation of the story. I'd definitely be fine with having this cover on my shelf.

Cover H: This cover is so old school it hurts. The hot pink, the awkward illustrations of the kids, EVERYTHING. I'll just bury the image of this cover away in the recesses of my mind and forget it ever existed....

Cover I: YES! Another classy cover! This one is basically the same as Cover F except a different color. I actually feel like the turquoise and blue color scheme of F was better though because it gave off a darker vibe than the orange. That's just my personal opinion.

Cover J: Now this one is actually quite interesting. It's so artsy, which is kind of strange to see on a book cover, but I really like it. The galaxy is really awesome and coloring in general on the illustration is great. Big thumbs up for this one!

So who wins? Honestly this one is kind of a toss up for me. Some of these are downright awful *cough* most of them *cough* but some are actually quite good. Overall I've got to give it to Cover A, but Cover F and J are favorites too. I also have to give mad props to Cover B for being so bad it's good. 

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

Thus ends another edition of Cover Comparisons! If you have any suggestions for future books leave them in this form here.

 I hope everyone has a fantastic Saturday! :D

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