Monday, February 25, 2013

Kawaii Monday: Plush Unicorn Cuteness

One of my friends happens to be extremely talented at crochet and knitting. She has a super adorable Etsy shop (seriously guys, go check it out) and my current obsession is her crocheted unicorn plush.

It's so cute guys. IT IS SO CUTE. I've always wanted a unicorn plush, but I've never found one that has been quite as perfect as this one. I mean, it has rainbow hair. RAINBOW HAIR. There is nothing quite so awesome as a unicorn with rainbow hair.

You can buy this adorable little unicorn here.

Julia :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kawaii Monday: Dinosaur Amigurumi

I was browsing through Etsy and I stumbled upon the cutest dinosaur amigurumi I have ever laid eyes on. I'm pretty sure that when I first saw it I started squeeing like a crazy person. BUT IT'S SO ADORABLE I JUST COULDN'T HELP MYSELF!!!! :P


And the best part is, you can customize this little guy with any colors you want. ANY COLORS. The possibilities are endless. I wouldn't even know where to begin. There are just so many options!

You can buy one of these little guys here for a surprisingly reasonable price! I am so tempted to get one you guys. SO TEMPTED. 

Julia :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February Book Haul

I've gotten a TON of books from the Library and book signings recently so I thought it was about time I did a book haul post. You can watch the vlog, or just scroll down to see the list of what I got.

Prophecy by Ellen Oh
Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Return to Me by Justina Chen
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Starters by Lissa Price (signed)
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (signed)
The Great Gatsby Sweatshirt
The Wizard of Oz T-Shirt

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley (thanks Susan from Wastepaper Prose!!!)

What bookish things have you guys been procuring lately? Be sure to let me know in the comments and leave a link to your haul post so I can check it out! Also, if you haven't yet go enter the Notes From Ghost Town/Butterfly Clues giveaway!

Julia :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cover Comparisons: Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past week, you've probably heard about (and already seen) the new cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Illustrator Kazu Kibuishi was asked to give the series a makeover in honor of the 15th anniversary of it's publication and the first new cover has just been revealed. Unfortunately, we won't get to see the rest till September when all the new covers are released in a special box set. I don't know about you guys, but I am DYING to see all of the new covers! I love the old ones to death (they're so iconic and perfect for the series) but it's always fun to see new covers. I'll obviously be doing a comparison of the full series when all the new covers are released, but for now let's just look at the covers for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone!

                                New Cover                                                           Original Cover

Original Cover: Like I said earlier, this cover is iconic. All of the original HP covers are iconic. They have the perfect Harry Potter font, and I don't think anything captures the magic of Harry Potter quite like the illustrations of Mary Grandpre. This cover has a sort of timelessness to it that never goes out of style. However, I do have to admit that when I was a kid I thought that the snitch on the cover was actually the sorcerer's stone. But hey, I wasn't allowed to read Harry Potter back then so I didn't known any better! :P

New Cover: What I love about this new cover is that Kazu Kibuishi made sure to stick with the same timeless fantasy vibe that the original cover possesses. I also loved that they kept the same muted color scheme and soft lines. I honestly would love to have this cover, and the original on my shelf. They're both gorgeous and perfect in my opinion.

So who wins? For me it's a definite tie. I just can't pick a winner because both covers have gorgeous art and they both fit perfectly into the world of Harry Potter. This is why I cannot wait for the rest of the new covers to be released! If they're anywhere near as wonderful as this one, it's gonna be damn hard for me not to go out and buy a second set of these books immediately. THINK RATIONALLY JULIA, THINK RATIONALLY! :P

So which cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 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 suggestions for future cover comparisons? Leave them in this form.

Julia :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Favorite Romantic Books and Literary Couples! :D


For some reason, I'm feeling particularly in the Valentines Day mood this year. That being said, I decided I had to do a romantic themed blog post! I know, weird for me since I'm so not into romance. Well, even the most cynical reader can find some romantic stories they like. Shocking, I know. So in honor of Valentines Day I decided I would share with you my favorite books with romance, my favorite authors who write romance, and my favorite literary couples! Let's get this started.

Favorite Romantic Stories

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr has got to be one of my FAVORITE stories of all time. Ummm what can I say other than I LOVE THIS BOOK?!?! Thought if I'm honest this really isn't about romance. In fact, it's really more about friendship, growing up, and moving on, but hey, it's got a cookie heart on it and the title sounds extremely romantic, so IT COUNTS. :P

Karma is AMAZING. Most of you probably haven't heard of it, but it's this absolutely gorgeous novel-in-verse that is set in India that just so happens to have a wonderful romance in it. If you love novels-in-verse, historical fiction, and romance, you must read this book! Writing this is making me want to read it again. It's just such a beautiful story. <3 p="">

Delirium gave me an entire new appreciation for love, and the richness it brings to our lives. I am the epitome of a romantic cynic, but this book really helped me realize that love isn't as lame as I think it is. Plus, it's a dystopian, Lena is awesome, and Alex is pretty dang swoonworthy. I'm sure most of you have read Delirium already, but if you haven't pick it up! It's fantastic.

For the longest time I kept telling myself, nope, not reading this book, no way! I'm not quite sure why I was so against picking it up (maybe it had something to do with the hand holding cover?) but I am so glad I finally caved because this book is SO GOOD. It's one of my favorite contemps, and it will definitely be a go to summer romance novel for years to come!

I'm not as obsessed with these books as some people are, but they have the perfect summer beach read vibe to them and the romance is sweet. It's that classic childhood friend turned boyfriend thing that I think every girl loves. Honestly, there aren't any guys from my childhood that I would want to get together with, but I like the idea of knowing a guy for that long and then falling in love with him you know? It's sweet. :P

This is probably a lot of people's go to suggestion for contemporary romance. The Truth About Forever is the first YA book I remember reading. There might have been a few YA books I read before it, but this is the first one that stuck with me. This book is why I am a hardcore Sarah Dessen fan. Honestly, most of her books probably deserve to be on this list, but if I were to pick one other stand out favorite of mine I would go with Along For the Ride. I LOVE Along for the Ride. :)

I am a HUGE Sarah Ockler fan. Twenty Boy Summer is probably my favorite of her's along with her most recent novel Bittersweet. Sarah just knows how to have a perfect balance of the serious and the sweet and the romance is always super adorable. 

One cannot make a list of favorite romance stories without listing The Princess Bride. That would practically be a crime. This is probably the only situation in which the movie version actually surpasses it's book counterpart, but that doesn't mean the book isn't wonderful too! If you like the movie (and if you don't what is wrong with you?!?!) then I highly suggest giving the book a read. :)

Favorite Literary Couples

Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables Series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

They're just so perfect for each other guys. SO PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER!!!! I love everything about their relationship; how they went from hating each other (at least on Anne's end), to tolerating each other, to Anne finally realizing that she loved Gilbert! Gahhh I just love them. <3 p="">

Faramir and Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Ummmm can you say adorable? If you've only watched the films and never actually read the LOTR trilogy then you're really missing out on how perfect this pairing is. Eowyn and Faramir are just so perfect together. J.R.R. Tolkien might not have had a ton of romance in his books, but when he did he knew how to do it right!

Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This has got to be my favorite pairing in all of YA literature. Yes, Augustus may be the male equivalent of a manic-pixie dream girl, and yes, him and Hazel may be the epitome of star crossed lovers, but I love them anyway. This story and relationship is just so heartbreakingly beautiful, one cannot hate on it. *sniff sniff*

So there you have it! I hope you guys liked this list. Be sure to let me know if you want to see more of these types of posts in the future. :)

What are your favorite romantic stories and literary couples? I would love to know! 

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Julia :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review: Notes From Ghost Town

Notes From Ghost Town
by Kate Ellison
327 pages
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Publication Date: February 12th 2013
Source: ARC for review (Thanks Egmont!)
Add this to your shelf on Goodreads
They say first love never dies...

When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithes is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it's only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There's a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there's a good chance she's losing her mind completely - just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn't really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It's the only way she can save herself
Honestly, when I first said yes to reviewing this book it was sort of as an after thought. I read over the summary and thought it sounded cool so I gave it a go. Then the book arrived on my doorstep and I had totally forgotten what the book was about. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I decided to start reading Notes From Ghost Town without reading the summary to refresh my memory, and let's just say the first chapter totally threw me for a loop. Sometimes it's good to not reading summaries guys. Seriously.

Olivia Tithe is lost. She was an artist, but now she's colorblind so she doesn't draw anymore. She had a best friend, but now he's dead. She had a mother, but now her mother is both crazy and apparently a murderer. Then Olivia gets visited by the ghost of her dead best friend Lucas Stern and she immediately think she is going crazy. But what if Lucas is right, and her mother is not a murderer? What if there's more to this mystery than meets the eye?

Notes From Ghost town is a brilliant, brilliant mystery. Truth and lies are weaved throughout the story seamlessly and I did not see the ending coming. Maybe I'm just slow to pick up on things, but I had no clue that things were gonna turn out the way they did. Kate Ellison totally threw me for a loop in the best of ways! The stand out point of this novel is definitely the mystery.

The second stand out point was the writing. Kate Ellison's prose is so gorgeous and so atmospheric that every time I opened the pages I was immediately transported into the story with Olivia. This was both wonderful, and a bit creepy at times. In fact, I did not expect this book to be as spine chilling as it was. I guess I was expecting it to be lighter with hints of paranormal ghost strangeness, but no, this book is a full on creeptastic mystery thriller. SO GOOD.

For those of you who aren't so into the mystery/thriller genre don't worry, there's still some contemporary romance aspects thrown in for good measure. There's the melancholy obviously doomed romance of Olivia and Stern (he is dead after all) and then there's the new budding romance of Olivia and rich kid Austin Morse. To be honest, I was not really a fan of Austin. He just rubbed me the wrong way, but that may just be because Stern was obviously superior in personality and awesomeness. Nothing like a piano prodigy ghost to make the heart grow fonder! As for the character of Olivia, I really loved her. She was so lost, and throughout the story I just longed for her to be found again. Her character arc was really well done.

BONUS FACTORS: The unreliable narrator! Who doesn't love an unreliable narrator? The whole "I could be going crazy, is this really happening" aspect of Notes From Ghost Town really added to the story. I also thought that the topic of mental illness was handled really well. Sometimes authors have a hard time writing mental illness related stories without things being too sappy or too insensitive. I felt like Kate Ellison hit the nail on the head with this one.

Overall this book was absolutely fan-freaking-tastic and I highly suggest it to anyone. I wish I had piles of this book to hand out on the street corner to random people passing by. It's that good! If you're a fan of mystery thrillers you cannot pass this one up. GO READ IT NOW.

Fortunately for you my lovely readers, I have been given the chance to giveaway a brand new hardcover copy of Notes From Ghost Town along with a paperback of Kate Ellison's first book The Butterfly Clues. You obviously want to win these awesome books so go enter the giveaway!

Julia :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kawaii Monday: Valentines Edition!

Soooo Valentines Day is just around the corner (next week guys!) and I thought I'd share with you some of the most kawaii valentines things I've run across! For starters I found this SUPER CUTE printable owl valentines stationary on Etsy!

SO SO SO SO CUTE!!!! You can buy this adorableness here.

Then I found the cutest ever DIY fox valentines bag!

I'm a total sucker for foxes, so this one totally won me over. You can find out all the info on how to make your very own fox bag here.

And last but not least I had to share with you guys this SUPER cute find from Target. They always have great seasonal stuff, and this year one of their Valentines themes is Parisian circus. This mustache cup is the gem in the collection:

Isn't that SO cute?! I do realize it's a kid's sippy cup, but it is still awesome. Besides, its got a rubber straw in it. I'm not gonna lie I would chew the heck out of that rubber straw. :P

So that concludes this Valentines Day edition of Kawaii Monday! Have you bought any extra special valentines this year? Or are you making some yourself? Do you have any awesome valentines day plans?

Julia :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cover Comparison: Second Chance Summer

This week I'm comparing the two covers of Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. I recently read this contemp and I LOVED it. Everyone should go read it! Anyway, on to the comparison. :)

                                                  US Cover                       UK Cover

US Cover: I LOVE this cover! The color scheme is just gorgeous and it totally captures the beauty of the sunset on the lake which is actually an important image in the story. In fact, I feel like this cover is a perfect representation for the book. Whoever designed this gets major kudos!

UK Cover: If you've seen the UK cover for Morgan Matson's first book Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, then this cover design will be familiar for you. I like what these covers are trying to do, but I'm just not feeling this one. It gives off a happy go lucky vibe, but this book is much more than that, and I certainly wouldn't call it happy go lucky. This cover is okay, but not great.

So who wins? I'm definitely giving it to the US cover. Everything about it is perfect from the colors to the symbolism. I just love it! The UK cover is alright, but I just don't think it captures the right vibe for Second Chance Summer.

Which cover of Second Chance Summer 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 :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Giveaway: Notes From Ghost Town and The Butterfly Clues!

I just recently finished reading Kate Ellison's newest book Notes From Ghost Town and it was FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! Since it's such an amazing book, you obviously need to enter to win your very own hardcover copy of Notes From a Ghost Town and a copy of the new paperback edition of The Butterfly Clues!

They say first love never dies....

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it's only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death. 

There's a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there's a good chance that she's losing her mind completely - just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn't really there? 

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It's the only way she can save herself. 

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place - possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire" --a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined --a world she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.

Be sure to enter the super easy Rafflecopter giveaway form below for your chance to win these two awesome books and remember to check back next week for my full review of Notes From Ghost Town!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A HUGE thanks to Egmont USA for sponsoring this giveaway!

Julia :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shiny New Blog Design!!! :D

Hey guys!

As you can see, That Hapa Chick has gotten a new design! I hope everyone likes it as much as I do. I liked the old design, but I've had it for probably about a year now and I just wanted a new updated look. I think this one really captures my personality, and I love all the colors. What do you guys think? Like it? Love it? Hate it? Be sure to leave some feedback in the comments! I'm particularly curious to know what you think of the cream background. Is it too distracting? Do you think I should switch it back to white? I'm on the fence about it myself, so hearing a few opinions would be GREATLY appreciated!

Oh and with a new blog design comes a new blog button!

Feel free to grab it and stick it up on your blog if you'd like. If you do be sure to leave a link to your own blog button in the comments and I'll be sure to put it up! :)

Thanks for the feedback guys! I really appreciate. If you don't have the time to comment, I've put up a poll (it's on the sidebar to the right) that you can vote in letting me know what you think! Also, be on the lookout for a really awesome giveaway that will be popping up tomorrow. EXCITING STUFF!!!! :D

Julia :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review: Cat Girl's Day Off

Cat Girl's Day Off
by Kimberley Pauley
331 pages
Publisher: Tu Books
Publication Date: April 1st 2012
Source: Publisher for Review (Thanks Tu books!)
Add this book to your shelf on Goodreads
Never listen to a cat. It will only get you in trouble. Actually, scratch that. Listening to cats is one thing, but really I should never listen to my best friend Oscar. It's completely his fault (okay, and my aspiring actress friend Melly's too) that I got caught up in this crazy celebrity kidnapping murder mystery mess.

If you had asked me, I would have thought it would be one of my super-Talented sisters who'd get caught up in crime fighting. I definitely never thought it would be me and my Talent trying to save the day. Usually, the only thing conversations with cats gets you is requests for my tummy rubs and tuna.

Wait... I go back to what I said first. Never listen to a cat. Because when the trouble starts and the kitty litter hits the fan, trust me, you don't want to be in the middle of it.

You guys this book is basically about MY LIFE. Hapa chick with colored streaks in her hair? CHECK. Gay best friend? CHECK. 5' tall? CHECK. Can talk to cats? Okayyy so not check on that one (I wish!) but seriously, Natalie is a lot like me which can probably explain why I loved this book so much. That and the fact that this book is just plain freaking awesome. I mean, it's got a pink cat in it: a pink cat. If that's not awesome, I don't know what is!

Natalie Ng has a special talent. In fact, so do the rest of her family members. The only problem is the rest of these family members have super amazing talents like chameleon camouflage skills, built in lie detector abilities, and super smell while Nat's talent is talking to cats. Seems pretty lame. But what happens when the cat of a high profile celebrity blogger claims her owner is being impersonated and Nat get's talked into solving the intrigue? YOU GUESSED IT! It's a catastrophe! 

Get it? CATastrophe?

Okay, sorry for the bad pun. :P

So this book is chock full of awesome. Natalie is definitely a kick-ass protagonist. She's full of sass, spunk, and smarts, which are all things I love in a character. On top of that Nat can talk to cats, which despite what she thinks, is actually a pretty cool talent. Oscar and Melly are also both great characters who perfectly round out this friendship trio. And then of course there's Ian Abbott, super nerdorable and awkward love interest. But probably my favorite character (aside from Natalie of course) turned out to be Rufus Brutus the Third, the super sassy pink cat owned by Easton West celebrity blogger. Rufus was HYSTERICAL. His catisms were absolute genius. If you think internet Cat memes are funny just wait till you read this book.

As for the plot, Cat Girl's Day Off is a sort of coming of age novel filled with super powers, a mystery, multiple kid (and cat) nappings, breaking and entering, movie stars, and it pays tribute to Ferris Bueller's Day Off and John Hughes. It's funny, witty, fast-paced, and just plain clever. If you're looking for a great quirky contemporary then pick up Cat Girl's Day Off. I assure you, it will be a choice you won't regret.

Julia :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kawaii Monday: Owl Paperweights

Soooo....this may be a bit of showing off on my part (sorry in advance!) but I made these super cute owl paperweights last summer and I've REALLY been wanting to share them with you guys!

You probably don't know this but when I'm not studying or reading an awesome book I'm a nanny. It's a crazy job but I love it! Well, last summer one of the craft projects the kids and I did was paint rocks. To find inspiration for what to paint on the rocks we pretty much googled "Painted Rocks" and BAM tons of awesome ideas popped up, particularly owls! This picture was my inspiration for all of the rock owls I ended up painting:

Super cute right? I decided I wanted mine to be a bit brighter, so I did the same basic designs just with much more vibrant colors. This is how they turned out:

I think they turned out pretty darn great! It was tricky getting all the color combinations to work, but I think they all look great. Ironically, the yellow one has turned out to be my second favorite and I think I painted over it twice trying to make it look better. The original one just didn't look very good. :P As for my favorite, that would have to be the orange one. <3 p="">
I don't actually use these as paperweights (though they could definitely be used as such) but I figured calling this post "Painted Rock Owls" or "Painted Owl Rocks" would be kind of weird. Hehe.

What do you think of these little owl rocks? Which is your favorite? What design would you paint on a rock?

Julia :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

This ingenious bookshelf idea is ingenious

Facebook and I have a love hate relationship. It's complicated. :P

However, a few weeks ago Facebook proved to me that it's not all evil. Lately FB has been big into sharing posts on your wall with all your friends and what not. Memes you think are funny, contests, etc. Most of the time this gets annoying really fast, but recently a friend of mine actually shared something AWESOME. Check it out:

Ummmmm so cool am I right?

Now I just need to get my hands on a giant spool.....

The tutorial to make this awesome bookshelf can be found here.

Julia :)
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