Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted
by Gail Carson Levine

Release: July 16 1998
Author Info: Website
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: 8 and up
Challenge: Dusty Bookshelf Challenge

At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: "Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally." When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella's life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. (Source)

Note: Given the fact there is a movie based on this book, which is up for debate after reading it, I intend to stay as far away from the topic of those differences and my preferences. This is strictly a book review.

The story is rather simple in my opinion, which doesn't leave me with much to say, although I will try.

There is no denying that as the book mirrors the story of Cinderella, while in a slightly different light. I expected as much, but was also semi-disappointed to notice as the story went on, just how much it followed. Ella Enchanted is considered to be a re-telling of Cinderella, being a re-telling, most everyone knows the story; what else can I say?

There however is a twist to this story, Ella has to do what is asked of her, no, what is commanded of her. From birth she was given the gift of obedience, taken to an extreme. To forever live doing what she is told.

I enjoyed watching Ella's clever nature shine through her curse. There are moments and times when she can fight against it. If there isn't a time limit ("Now" "quick"), she can delay a command, although she will suffer in time if she doesn't give in and do as she is told. She can occasionally twist the meaning, if they are too broad, but when issued a strict command, she must obey. Sometimes, commands can even rule over her emotions and her mind; if she is told to be happy, she must be happy and she can not feel or think any other way. Can you imagine living in such a way?

Ella is forever at the mercy of what is commanded of her, or rather, of those who command her. Leaving her to live in constant fear and distance of others, even more so if she is found out. It's a rather sad way to live and maybe that explains why we are introduce to so few people in Ella's life, most of which who have no real importance. From her father, her mother, their cook, Maddy, Lucinda, Lady Olga and her two daughters, Hattie and Olive, and  Prince Char; that's it for characters. One or two might show up for a chapter only to disappear at the end.
I found myself thinking about how small Ella's world was and asking why this is so? Sometime we are overwhelmed by how large a fictional world can be, but we can also be left thinking one is too small. Which I felt was the case here.

I felt the beginning of the story was fairly slow, telling of Ella's everyday life and those close to her. Though that it does explain much about Ella, which makes her more understandable and relatable in the long run.
After some time she is sent to boarding school, which again I found to be slow. I suppose that is the way it's meant to be, but I was half way through the book and wondering when something would happen.
Finally, Ella decides to embark on a journey, only to leave me feeling that the adventure was short.

Given the fact that Ella's life takes place in an enchanted world I expected to have more interaction with, well everything; monsters, creatures, magical mythical beings! To say my hope weren't meant, is an understatement. There are a few moments, such as where Ella is captured by ogres at one point, which plays out pretty well. There's a big of a twist on centaurs which was interesting.. but not much else. Mostly I was left asking myself why there wasn't more detail and exploration.

The only real comments I have to make are on Ella and Char. The moments between the two of them are delightful. I loved Ella's character (pun intended!) and personality. She is a wonderful mixture of silly, clever, light-hearted, and genuine. Which is rare to come across in a time where marriage and money are the facts your entire life revolves around; both having them, acquiring them, and being defined by them.

If I have to recommend this book for any reason, it would be to read about Ella and what a wonderful character she is. Which I suppose is why I find myself wondering if I liked this book or not. Although it is Ella's story, I felt so much of it was missing.

I should note that the writing style is odd. At first it bothered me but over time I came to enjoy it.

Overall, sometimes I like change, sometimes I do not. In the end it all depends on the story it's self and how it plays out. I'm not sure if I liked this book or not; I do know I didn't hate it but I didn't love it. I mostly felt frustrated with almost every aspect of this story. Bottom line, something large was missing to keep me hooked and having me falling in love with Ella's world.

I found this to be a nice light read but not much more. It will mostly likely bring a smile to your face, underdog stories tend to do that.

Recommend: Fairy tale lovers, light read, romance.

Random Acts of Kindness: March 2012 Wrap-up

I cannot believe this month is over already!

This is my first time participating in and the turn out was great! As I've always said I believe it's more about giving then receiving, although seeing something arrive for you is a wonderful feeling. "What is this? Ohmygosh! Someone got me something!" It is great feeling to both have an to give.

I'm so sorry to anyone that featured me in a In My Mailbox that I didn't reply or comment to. I know didn't get around to everyone in time and I apologize for that.
As it's my first real month blogging I've been a bit bogged down with process of balancing my time, trying to figure out works (and what doesn't), and generally finding my own pace of everything.


The Deepest Cut (MacKinnon Curse #1) by J.A. Templeton

Lori @ Romancing the Darkside
In Dreams Begin (Harrowing #2) by Skyler White

Laura @ Lola's World of Books
Storm Born (Dark Swan #1) by Richelle Mead


Lori @ Romancing the Darkside
Anew (The Archers of Avalon #1) by Chelsea Fine

Brianne @ Memories Overtaking Me
Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid #1) by Richelle Mead

Laura @ Owl Tell You About It
Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith

What a great month, thank you so much everyone!

For all rules and information please click the April 2012 link.
Sign up for April 2012 [HERE]

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Asian Rama Wednesday #2: Knowing your Manga

Personal Note: I have to admit that I'm not feeling this post too much which is why it's taken almost two weeks in getting around to posting. I planned on having two more (including this one) 'informational' Asian Rama entries, but it's driving me insane trying to make them. I feel blogged down, like this is a big mess of information, because it is! Nonetheless is needs to be done and these things need to be said.

I wanted to explain and source everything correctly, that said some are more sourced than others. Some sections are entirely written by me and others take a line or two form Wikipedia and There are personal notes in each section.
Although this leaves me with a wall of text feeling, but again, I still feel it needs to be done.

Let's begin.

What is Manga?

"Manga is the Japanese word for "comics/cartoons" and consists of comics and print cartoons. In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan or by Japanese authors in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th century. In their modern form, manga date from shortly after World War II.

In Japan, people of all ages read manga. The medium includes works in a broad range of genres: action-adventure, romance, sports and games, historical drama, comedy, science fiction and fantasy, mystery, horror, sexuality, and business/commerce, among others. Since the 1950s, manga has steadily become a major part of the Japanese publishing industry. Manga have also gained a significant worldwide audience.

Manga stories are typically printed in black-and-white, although some full-color manga exist. In Japan, manga are usually serialized in large manga magazines, often containing many stories, each presented in a single episode to be continued in the next issue. If the series is successful, collected chapters may be republished in paperback books called "tankobon" (volume). If a manga series is popular enough, it may be animated after or even during its run, although sometimes manga are drawn centering on previously existing live-action or animated films." (Source)

What do you know about manga and it's influence?

"Manga" as a term used outside Japan refers specifically to comics originally published in Japan. However, manga-influenced comics, among original works, exist in other parts of the world. particularly in Taiwan ("manhua"), South Korea ("manhwa"), and China, notably Hong Kong ("manhua").

In the United States, people refer to what they perceive as manga "styled" comics as Amerimanga (which I have never heard), world manga, or original English-language manga (OEL manga). Still, the original term "manga" is primarily used in English-speaking countries solely to describe comics of Japanese origin. More Information

Tokyo Pop used to hold a contest called The Rising Stars of Manga. Where they would print volumes with the winners of each contest, display their entries along with a small profile of the writers and authors. (This is no longer being held but I remember them and thought I would mention as many artists have gone on to do other works and hair their works printed.)
Some of the ones I know of are Van Von Hunter, Bizenghast (Seriously amazing art style), Mark of the Succubus, and Sorcerers & Secretaries.

Around the world: More Information on manga in Brazil, France, Germany, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Thailand, the United States, and manga influences around the world.

Now that we have the specifics out of the way, I usually just refer to all of them as "mangas". I feel in the big scheme of things those titles or names don't usually matter all that much. None the less it's good to know when searching for or referring to a series. Such as a Manhwa should be stated as at least being of Korean origin and not simply as being a "manga".
For the most part, and the rest of this post, I will refer to "mangas" as a whole. Mainly because it's easier and should now be more understood.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Book Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and Me
by Jess Rothenberg

Release: February 21, 2012
Author Info: Website
Publisher: Dial
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenge: 2012 Debut Author

Rating:  1/5

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever.

BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally.

But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after.

With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces?

Please, prepare yourself for a negative review that is lengthy, and I completely understand if you skip to the bottom for my overall opinion. That said, the length of this review is based around qualities of the book I felt should be addressed. In an attempt to make this simpler, I have separated the review into sections for better understanding of my reasons for a negative rating and review. Thank you.

 May Contain Spoilers!

I did try to avoid spoilers but due to the nature of a negative review there are some I could not simply leave out in order to state my opinion.

First let's sort a few things out.

The overall idea and plot of this book, I thought it sounded very unique and interesting. Sadly, it was hidden under a lot of a bad qualities that I felt overall didn't live up to my expectations. The more I read, the more I was let down by generally poor decisions, back story, and writing. I'm sorry, but I found the level of writing in this book very poor.

The entire book walks along a fuzzy line of the past and present that never seems to stop colliding, leaving me feeling very confused about exactly what's going on, when, and where. I understand Brie is dead, that a lot of her time is spent reliving her past and memories, but it seems a lot of the time the story just took a detour and got lost somewhere along the way of a memory and sudden snaps back in an attempt to return to the present. It kept leaving me with whiplash trying to figure out what was what and which point in time we were trying to address.

With that out of the way, I would like to split this review into three sections: Writing, Characters, and Story.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

TV Review: Life On Mars (US)

Life On Mars (2008-2009)
1 Season

The series tells the story of New York City police detective Sam Tyler (played by Jason O'Mara), who, after being struck by a car in 2008, regains consciousness in 1973. Fringing between multiple genres, including thriller, science fiction and police procedural, the series remained ambiguous regarding its central plot, with the character himself unsure about his situation.
The series also starred Harvey Keitel, Jonathan Murphy, Michael Imperioli, and Gretchen Mol. (Source)

TV Show Tags: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Crime Drama, Mystery, Drama, Mind-bending, Suspense

Life on Mars is one trippy show! In a good thought provoking kind of way, along with having some wonderful entrainment qualities. This is the US remake of a UK show by the same name, with a related story line. (I can't tell you how spot-on it is, as I haven't seen the UK version. Here.)

The entire show and everything in it sends you on serious mind trip that will have you questioning anything and everything, both inside the show and about your own reality. (Okay maybe not quite as much in reality, but it will make you think!)

The plot simple or is it? Sam Tyler is struck by a car in 2008 and wakes up in 1973. How did he get there? More importantly, how does he get back?

Arriving in 1973 he is met with the same life he had in 2008, more or less. He's is detective working for the homicide department in New York, who happens to be a new transfer. From there he sets out to solve murder casing, because that's what he does and is expected to do. In the first episode he is met with the same crime he case he was trying to solve in 2008. Spooky. Consequence or not..?

Normally I don't care for cop shows, sure I like a little mystery, but I can't stand a typical cookie-cutter police show. This show however is right up the alley of 'something' else that I enjoy. I need something with a little extra kick to keep me interested. (Hello Castle, Psych, and related police shows.)

Everything about this show is about tie in.. sometimes. Everything is related, even when it isn't. Which makes it all the more confusing, because it doesn't always makes sense. What's real, what isn't? We are never sure. At any moment something could connection or it could as easily fall apart. The entire reality of 1973 is hanging by a thread. Is there something that keeps it all in balance?

This show is all questions, few answers. Which makes it a ton of fun along with hurting my head a little bit.

What I found the most interesting, was seeing Sam try and work within the world and remain who he was. He can't deny the fact that's he's in 1973, but he knows his life from 2008. At one point he makes a list of possible things that could be happening, trying to reasons it all out. From drug trip, to parallel universe, and of course coma; which is the answer he settles on for awhile after the outside world starts to contact him. Which is BY FAR my favourite part of the show. It is clever.
From having him see shapes in the clouds, which form into a person and start talking to him, to suddenly being in a spotlight and hearing voices he knows, to seeing reflections of his old life in windows or mirrors. One I liked the most, was a radio. He starts to hear his girlfriend's voice speaking to him, but it's fuzzy, causing him to tune the radio until he can hear her clearly.
The creepiest one is a man in his TV. Sam is watching a science show, the host starts going on about science this, logical that, then starts talking about parallel worlds and things that don't make sense, only to turn and look at Sam speaking to him. Leaving him with vague answers and more questions, to then walk away and have the program cut to "No air".
Creepy, creepy, creepy!

The lines between reality are always over-lapping or better yet falling apart, because you don't know which 'reality' is real.

I love those sort of 'is he out of his mind' moments, after he has a 'vision' (or whatever you want to call it), because they usually effect what's going on. Often leading Sam to where he should be and wouldn't be if they hadn't happened. Maybe. Sometimes. Which is what really sends you for a trip.
Leaves you questioning the typical time travel questions. "Does/will this change the future?" "What if this is what had to be done to make the future he knows?" "Is that why he is there, because what he knows, helps lead them to change things?" etc. Those questions drive me insane!

Now I can't say MUCH more but the series is short (it got canceled) but luckily wrapped up. At the end almost everything is answered.  Some might think it's a sloppy ending, but when you know you're getting cut you gotta do what you gotta do. I personally don't mind wrap-ups. I'm much happier to see a series get some questions answers, than none.
Life On Mars (US) is only one season with 17 episodes

I can't tell you how much I fell in love with this show. It's the kind of show that makes you think, when really that leads you no where, but you can't stop yourself from doing it all the same.

I highly recommend it!

Recommend: If you like quirky TV with a bit of crime solving, mind-bending, Sci-Fi.

Note: I do realize the UK version is probably much better and I will no doubt get around to watching it someday. Maybe then my opinion on the US version will change, but for now this is my opinion of it.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Friday!

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read, to help gain new followers and make new friends!

I follow you, you follow me!

Question: What is the best book you’ve read in the last month? What is the worst book you’ve read in the last month?

Best book(s) were Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampire #1) by Rachel Caine and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

I enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight more but I also listed Glass Houses. I can't get this book out of my head, I think it's stuck in my mind  because I enjoyed it more than I thought it would!

Sure I didn't give it a 5 star rating and listed a couple of the negative point I still really liked the book.
Worst book was Old Magic by Marianne Curley.
Interesting idea but this book was just to slow for me, I couldn't handle it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E. Smith

Release: January 2, 2012
Author Info: Website
Publisher: Poppy
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenge: Completely Contemporary

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

This is the sweetest book I have read in a long time; sweet to the point it hurts but in warm fuzzy feeling kind of way. Which I personally found enjoyable.
This book is wonderfully written, it is both moving and thoughtful. Making it hard to believe the entire story takes place in the span of just 24 hours.

But it's strange, how so much can change in that amount of time. Once you're thrown out into the world. When you're given a chance to step back, think about your problems, and more importantly share them with someone. You might start to view things differently, once you discover other people have their own troubles.

An airplane is the one place you can feel at ease, maybe not in the sense of flying, but in being more open with yourself and someone else. Typically, you sit there for hours doing nothing, having no sort of interaction; everyone too focused on themselves in their in their own little bubbles. Although there is that rare occasion when you find yourself in conversation with the person you're next to. Farther more, feeling that you can be with your life and share it with them/someone. Finding yourself okay with that because you won't see them again. The moment the plane lands you will both go your own ways only looking back on a great conversation and a chance meeting.
But what if you find yourself longing to see that person again, to share more about your life and wanting to spend more time with each other. What do you do then?

There's a big mixture of past and present in this book. What's currently going on and looking back on things that have already happened. I, for one, love flashbacks. I love hearing detailed stories and looking back on things, only to have them explain so much more. Taking the past and relating it to what's presently going on, it's brilliant.
This book did an interesting take on. Some of the flashbacks happen as the story is going on (aka 'the present') but are skipped over, only to be brought up later. (I don't see that much.) Interesting, although a little confusing at times. ("Wait, when did that happen?")

Most of them were simple yet wonderful moments in Hadley's life. It's the way they are written that stands out to me. I honestly felt like I could have been standing at the train station waiting as my mind wandered. It was very well done.
That said, I didn't enjoy all flashbacks. I don't know why, but the little ones bugged me. Smaller things the author felt to explain through a story. Such as, there was one about birds, which had a very valid point, but I just.. I don't know, felt it was a little silly to be explained that way.

I personally love the idea of talking to someone on a plane. I still remember the longest trip I ever made I only had one person (in the 5 odd planes I was on in that day) talk to me, I mean really talk to me. It was a young man and his father who were interested in where I was from, as I had a different accent than them. (I was in another country.) I remember trying to explain what state I was from because they'd never heard of it.
It made for a much more enjoyable 4 hours all person the person next to me bothered to treat me like another person. I suddenly didn't mind (as much) being cramped next to them because they were friendly to me. It's a great feeling.

I highly recommend this book. It's a quick read, 200-something pages, but nonetheless a wonderful book that should be read.

Recommend: Romance, quick read, heartfelt.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Reveiw: Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampire #1) by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampire #1)
by Rachel Caine

Release: October 3, 2006
Author Info: Website
Publisher: NAL Jam
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Challenge: Dusty Bookshelf Challenge, Morganville Vampires Challenge

Warning: This book does have quite a bit of language and violent content.
I recommend for 17+.

Welcome to Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school's social scene: somewhere less than zero. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they come out fighting when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood... (Source)

Claire's life in nothing bug a big mess; from crossing the wrong people, to having the wrong friends, and learning more than any outsider should know.

Let's back up a bit..
From page one Claire is being hazed and I don't mean innocent jokes and pranks, I mean full on beat down, making her scared to be alone. Which she is. She has no friends, no boyfriend; an advanced student, 16 almost 17 already in college, off on her own for the first time. She more than a little afraid.

Deciding that things will get better if she moves out form her dorm and is away from school (other than going to class) she begins looking through the classifieds. Finding only one decent listing, with little hope but no other options she finds herself on a door step, beaten up, tired, scared, and unsure of what she's doing [in her life]. While at first she is turned away, being under age and all, they do let her stay for a few days to "sort things out". However she never really gets the chance to leave.
As time goes on, things only become more and more complicated, for everyone.

I don't think I have to beat around the bush to say what this book is about, it's a clear as the name of the series; Vampires.

If there is one thing I don't understand, which that really bothers me.. WHY PEOPLE NEVER LEAVE?! I mean in a town like that, I would MOVE. Even with nothing in my pockets. Of course that doesn't make for a good story. As time goes by reasons pop up, excuses are made, and finally things happen that makes them (Claire mainly) unable to leave town. But in the beginning it just doesn't hold together as well.

First Claire doesn't think the hazing will be bad if she moves away, but then it gets worse. Then she doesn't believe vampires exist, only to learn they do. Through all of it she is too focused on not leaving school because she sees it as "quitting" and admitting she shouldn't handle it, is something she couldn't live with. Yeah, IF YOU LIVE THROUGH THE YEAR.
Seriously, that kind of logic made me want to slap her across the face -- but at the same time, it's what I love about her as a character. Not with that applied to school, but how she views her friends, family, those important to her and what matters to her. She will do anything for them and that means not running away, leaving them with the mess she helped me.

I also didn't enjoy that their plans constantly changed. Yes I understand that things don't always go the way you want and once in awhile you have to 'wing-it' but at every turn something changed and everything kept getting more complicated. It's a love hate relationship; kept things exciting but also drove me insane because I didn't know what was coming, couldn't stand it all falling apart at any moment.

I also feel I should point out what I think is Claire's biggest moment of weakness. How everyone finds out the biggest secret going in the house. She gets tired of being the only one that knows, and blurts it out. Then leaves for everyone else to do with it. I was not very happy with that.

By far the biggest thing I couldn't handle, all the psycho characters. I have never met so many insane people in one book. I have no idea what I would do if I met some of them in a dark alley, other than need a new pair of pants. If this is them in the first book, I can't even imagine what they might be like later on.

I love the quirky personalities and the batter between the characters. It's one of those great moments where your characters all fit together but are still strong enough to stand on their own, and you still enjoy it.
One in awhile they did go for a cheap laugh or bad reference, but I'm happy to over look it, given most of the conversations are great.

Thought I'd share a few of my favourite lines.

"Magic was just science misunderstood." - Claire

"Things happen. Things that physics and math and crap that gets measured in a lab can't explain." - Eve

"People aren't just laws and rules, Claire. They're . . . sparks. Sparks of something beautiful and huge. And some of the sparks glow brighter." - Eve

"I'd feel a whole lot better about the two of us if you didn't think I was the go-to guy for breaking and entering." - Shane

I can not tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. I mainly picked up for the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge. This book because it's been sitting on my shelf for longer than I care to admit, I also haven't read a vampire book in awhile, I thought I would give it a chance.
Going in I wasn't sure how I would feel, but I LOVE this book! I enjoyed this book a lot. I would happily read it again and hope to continue reading the series.
I gave it a 4/5 although it's more like a 4.5.

Recommend: Vampire lovers, paranormal, suspense, action, quirky characters.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Follow Friday!

This Follow Friday we find ourselves questioning judging a book by it's cover!

Question: Have you ever looked at book’s cover and thought, "This is going to horrible?" but, was instead pleasantly surprised?
Show us the cover and tell us about the book.

Honestly, I have a really boring answer. I don't think so.

I know there's some terrible covers out there, but none come to mind. I'm fairly picky about what I read sometimes. I'm very bad at judging a book by it's cover, because it's another way to see what the story is about and what the author came up with. (Both in creativity and to explain the story/characters.) Everything laid out has to hook you in. The theme, the cover, the summary. One doesn't do the job and you're left asking yourself if the other two are enough to hold your interesting. "Do i think this this book worth reading?"
This has however left us with covers only getting prettier and prettier and our standards becoming higher over time. (I love pretty covers! But who doesn't?!)

Along with that, I'm the type of person where things grow on me over time. The more I look at something the more I see what I'm meant to see.

That said, I will try to think of a couple..

The Host by Stephenie Meyer does come to mind. Mostly because I didn't know what to expect from it.

Found the cover pretty plain and kind of boring. After reading the book, I fell in love with the story. And I didn't expect to. At most I thought I'd walk away knowing that Stephenie Meyer could write outside of the Twilight world.
Last paged turn, I wanted more, much much more.

Along with Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

I had no idea what to make of the cover other than it screamed "Boy Book!" but I picked it up anyways since it was on sale for $3. (Funny story is, I went back to the get the second one, which was also on sale, and ended up running into a teacher that was looking at buying some for her class to read. We started talking, I highly recommend it and showed her they were on sale.)

I read the book and completely in LOVE.

Percy Jackson is one of my favourite Young Adult books. I try and recommend it to anyone that has a little bother or a little boy. It's a great series.
What got me really into Greek Mythology. (I've always been interested in, but it helped me along.)

Book Review: Old Magic by Marianne Curley

Old Magic
by Marianne Curley

Release: February 26, 2002 (Reprint: December 22, 2009)
Author Info: Website
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Challenge: Dusty Bookshelf Challenge

"Jarrod Thornton is mesmerizing, but Kate Warren doesn't know why.

The moment the new guy walks into the room, Kate senses something strange and intense about him. Something supernatural. Her instincts are proven correct a few minutes later when, bullied by his classmates, Jarrod unknowingly conjures up a freak thunderstorm inside their classroom.

Jarrod doesn't believe in the paranormal. When Kate tries to convince him that he has extraordinary powers that need to be harnessed, he only puts up with her "hocus pocus" notions because he finds her captivating. However, the dangerous, uncontrolled strengthening of his gift finally convinces Jarrod that he must take Kate's theories seriously. Together, they embark on a remarkable journey -- one which will unravel the mystery that has haunted Jarrod's family for generations and pit the teens against immense forces in a battle to undo the past and reshape the future." (Source)

This summary does not do the book justice! It only hints at the fact this is a TIME TRAVEL book. Which I myself didn't realize till it was happening. I suppose it could give away the story, but in reality it doesn't. It makes the book more exciting.

I can't explain this book any other way then, slow. The build up took forever. For more than half of the book Kate is trying to get Jarrod to even accept that magic exists in the world, let alone that he might have a power of his own. Every time something happens he chalks it up to having bad luck or just something strange happening. He forever refuses that magic is real and that Kate is just slightly crazy.

The two of them do however share a bond, which seems to only grow with time. Kate is attracted to Jarrod, even though she hates his character and can't stand that he refuses to listen to her. She finds herself unable to leave him alone, reasoning that it's because she's afraid he might hurt someone. (Oh please girly.) While Jarrod thinks Kate is crazy and is afraid of her, because she is everything he isn't (Confident, sure, strong, determined, etc.). He can't help but be pulled in by her different personality, although he has no idea how to deal with (or her!). He even finds himself to be protective over her at times.

The book is split into three parts; Part one: Wind, Part two: Journey, and Part three: Return. There are no chapter numbers, only narrative titles which change almost every 'chapter' (Kate, Jarrod, Kate, Jarrod, etc). The book does favour Kate over Jarrod. Her point-of-view gets more 'chapters' (during one part she had 3 in a row) and longer sections with much more detail then Jarrod's 'chapters'.

While I do enjoy the change in narrative, I'm not sure how I feel about it here. I found most given information was repeated to the point I felt it beaten to death. I suppose to make an impact but it seemed unneeded. Then towards the end of the book things starting happen, the story began to get exciting but all we saw was Kate's point-of-view. Everything going on with Jarrod was left out, no insight at all. I found it very frustrated.

One of the things that made me pick this up, was the fact it was written by an Australian women and took place in Australia. It even noted this and put a little glossary in the back. Most of which I already knew (I was obsessed with Australia for awhile.) but still found interesting.

Over all, the book does contain a lot of good ideas, twists, turns, and surprises. However, I didn't find it an enjoyable read. May of the choices and actions just didn't make sense to me.
I felt the book could have been much better. (I can't explain how long I've been fighting to get through this book.)

I picked this up for under $2 at a local used book store. Knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't have.
The book just didn't have enough kick for me.

Recommend: If you enjoy those extra details of characters, time travel, and slow build ups.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Asian Rama Wednesday #1: Introduction/My History with Asian Culture

I've decided to take the plunge and start a themed series or meme. (Sorry but I instantly think funny internet images at the word meme.)

Asian Rama Wednesday. I got the idea from Alison Can Read's Manga Monday. I thought about doing a similar thing for Manga Monday but realize that Manga isn't the limitation to what I'd hope to share and blog about that's related to Asian culture.

Along with the list of things I'm interested in -- I know much more than I should about Asian things. Such as, mangas and dramas. *blushes*
I am that one friend, that if there's a series I know what series it's based on and I've usually read it.
Hello Hana Yori Dango and all the things that are based on the series, Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers. (Don't get me ranting on about Boys Before Flowers vs Boys Over Flowers. OKAY.)

Warning: Rather lengthily post!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Review: Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1)
by Kiersten White

Release: August 31, 2010
Author Info: Website
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
"Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal."

From the first page we are thrown into this world of paranormals, a place where Evie, the only personal able to see through their 'glamour' (their fake exterior appearance) and see what they really are. Making it easy for her to tell who is and who isn't human. Evie travels around looking for to then put trackers tags on them, "bagging and tagging" as they call it.
Everything about the world felt rushed, greater detail into anything was rarely given. As a reader, are simply meant to go with the flow. The Paranormalcy world it's self is interesting. However through the entire book more questions are raised then answered; little light into the workings and understanding of all it contains, as Evie doesn't know much or cares to.

Evie is.. a girly-girl that tries to have a tough feel to her, I personally didn't buy or enjoy it. In short, she is pretty much what I hate seeing in a heroine. She is constantly impulsive, fairly childish, always single-minded, and by far the most annoying thing, she doesn't learn! She's so naive to the world around her and doesn't bother to educate herself. Only to then feel stupid when she doesn't know something that's common knowledge. She knows close to nothing about paranormals and solely relying on being able to see through them.
She only does what she wants and thinks little of how it effects anything else. That said, she is a very lonely isolated person. Spending most of her life by herself and with very little human interaction. She knows nothing beyond the walls of The Agency. There is some understanding with how her life has been.

Every time she dealt with a Faerie I wanted to tear my hair out. I assume that was to enforce the tricky and mischievous traits they are so commonly known for. She never took her time, never tried to actually figure them out. She merely passed them off as doing what they what (which they do) and going with the mindset you couldn't stop them even if she wanted (which she probably couldn't). But she never tried to listen to them or to figure out the riddles they spoke in.
Everything she did around them was fuel by the single-minded "must get out of this current situation" thoughts in mind, which generally only made things much worse.

I will say there are romance elements to the book, which I for one always enjoy. The romance it's self bothers me a little. My concerns are the same as Evie's, that the romance is because of convenience. Which might be true. When you are locked up, cut off from the everyone else in the world, you grow fonder of those who are there.
Although there are some seriously strong factors in favour of the relationship, but I can't say much more.

While I might sound as if I'm giving this movie a negative review, I do believe it could have been better. I do take into account, this is only the beginning. I feel that with Evie's first brush of being thrown out of her comfort zone she will wise up, real quick.

As a whole, I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this book. It's very, iffy. I didn't like it but I didn't hate.
After everything said, I do plan on reading the next book the series.

Recommend: If you enjoy young adult, paranormal, romance, and a little cheesiness.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Free Finds and Random Acts of Kindness

Anyone notice all the sales on Amazon this week? Because I sure did!

It's is really difficult to ignore those sales.. I get lost browsing though all the different sections looking for a deal, reading summaries, and of course picking through all the reviews to see if a [new] book is good.

Here's a list of free stuff I snagged recently,
Anathema (Cloud Prophet Trilogy, Book 1) by Megg Jensen
Pretty Witches All in a Row by Lisa Olsen
Chosen (The Guardians of the Word) by Jolea M. Harrison
A Witch's Curse (The Rose Whelan Series, Book # 1) by Nicole Lee
The Vampire Hunter's Daughter: Part I by Jennifer Malone Wright
Coexist (Keegan's Chronicles #1) by Julia Crane
Glimpse (Zellie Wells) by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Exiled (Immortal Essence Series) RaShelle Workman
Peter and the Vampires (Volume One) by Darren Pillsbury
Six Moon Summer (Seasons of the Moon) by SM Reine
Katie's Hellion (Book I, Rhyn Trilogy) by Lizzy Ford

I am really looking forward to reading
Coexist by Julia Crane along with,
The Vampire Hunter's Daughter: Part I by Jennifer Malone Wright
Anathema (Cloud Prophet Trilogy, Book 1) by Megg Jensen
Katie's Hellion (Book I, Rhyn Trilogy) by Lizzy Ford

I will admit a few of these looked iffy but I read a lot of self-published, random sort of books thanks to Amazon and Kindle. It's terrible, but I'm so cheap! I can't pass up a good deal.

Today I stumbled across Random Acts of Kindness, or simply RAK. Pretty much people post their name, blog, wishlist, and people send books. HOW COOL.

It's all about giving. Doing something nice, while hoping in return someone else will do the same, but not expecting. It's always better to give an receive. It honestly doesn't bother me if I get things are not. Giving is good enough.

I have decided to sent myself a budget and give 5 books this month. I went through most of the list and choose a few people. Some have already been sent while others have been contacted.

I'm really happy to be giving things away. I know I can't give much, but people still appreciate it. Making others happy makes me happy.

My wishlist and a little blurb about me is over here.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Follow Friday!

Hiya, to anyone that might have stumbled upon my blog.

This week I took part in my first Feature & Follow Friday.
Funny enough I was wandering around reading/writing blogs earlier and ended up on Alison Can Read's blog before telling a friend that I was felt so new and strange in a very large community and she directed me to Parajunkee's, and told me about Follow Friday. Which I happily replied "Way ahead of you!"

I saw a list open for adding your blog and hopped on.

I have to say, that list is massive! I'm down in the #200ish area if anyone even makes it down there. :(

Personally I do plan to take some time and look through quite a bit of the list. Trying to find what interests me and what I can relate to. No doubt everyone else is doing the same.

Hopefully some of you will gain some followers, fans, and friends.
I hope to do that same. :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

TV Review: Spaced

Spaced (1999-2001)
2 Series

"Tim Bisley (Simon Pegg) and Daisy Steiner (Jessica Stevensonn) are two London twenty-somethings who meet by chance in a café while both are flat-hunting. Despite barely knowing each other, they conspire to pose as a young professional couple in order to meet the requisites of an advertisement for a relatively cheap flat in the distinctive building at 23 Meteor Street, Tufnell Park, which is owned by and also houses the landlady, Marsha Klein (Julia Deakin). Also in the building is Brian Topp (Mark Heap), an eccentric conceptual artist who lives and works on his various pieces in the ground floor flat. Frequent visitors are Daisy's best friend, Twist Morgan (Katy Carmichael) and Tim's best friend, Mike Watt (Nick Frost).
The series largely concerns the colourful and surrealistic adventures of Tim and Daisy as they navigate through life, decide on what they want to do with their lives, come to terms with affairs of the heart, and try to figure out new and largely unproductive ways of killing time." (Source)

TV Show Tags: British TV Shows, TV Comedy, British TV Comedy, Sitcoms, Quirky, Witty

I've heard about this series for the longest time, from friends and other generally nerdy related things. I decided to finally sit down and watch it, and I loved it!

The way I describe this show is; it's like The IT Crowd but no one works in the tech industry, if that makes any sense. Now if you haven't seen, or even heard of, The IT Crowd -- disregard that.

This show is littered with quirky, witty, pop culture filled references and jokes, in a good way! Each character is very well rounded, even in their flaws. I found it almost hard to hate some of them.. almost. It was written by, created by, and starred Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson. The series it's self is known for many things such as it's; "rapid-fire editing, frequent pop culture references and jokes, eclectic music, and occasional displays of surrealism and non-sequitur humour".

If you don't get some of that, I shall explain because it really should be noticed. The editing for the show was actually done to cut down as much empty space between scenes and dialogue as possible. To get everything as clean and close as possible and it really shows! It's very interesting to watch, I'm not sure if I've seen that style of editing before.
The references are a bit dated, but if you're over the age of 20 (or even a bit younger) you should still get them. Many of the jokes or scenes are still funny even without references and merely a nerdy set up, such as a great paintball scene from the second season.

The humour is off the wall. Very cleanly and brilliantly done, never going for the cheap laugh.
The way I like to explain it, most of the time there's a build up you don't see coming then *BAM* joke right there. You're left asking yourself how you didn't see it until it's there. Perfectly executed!

I have to give a great example for this that comes right from the first episode.

*BAM* Joke.

Daisy goes into Tim's room, he finds her and asks what she's doing. 
Daisy: I heard a noise, was just just investigating.
Tim: Playing Scooby-Doo?
Daisy: *laughs* Yeah I was always Daphne when I was little, who were you?
Tim: Freddy obviously.
Daisy: Freddy yeah. Now Look at us.

I will admit that at first I didn't enjoy either of the two characters by themselves or together. Overtime you warm up to them after seeing how they function. Daisy has the annoying traits of not being able to focus (sit down and do some work!) or being alone. Both of which drive Tim insane. Tim is very, single minded. He's the typical guy personality. Doesn't worry about too much, doesn't understand women, plays lots of video games and loses himself in those worlds. Over time the all the characters grow and begin to become more independent but still closely relying on each other.

Now I can imagine that many people have seen this or it would simply attracted fans of the Pegg and Frost combo and while I don't disagree it's appealing factor, it might not be quote what you're expecting. It's slightly different from what they are known for (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc) although still in the same general genre; quirky, witty, etc. If that's the only reason you plan to see it, it makes me more than a little sad. Their characters friendship is one to remember but I hope it's not the only thing.

This series as a whole is very short, which is upsetting. 14 episodes total split between two series (UK talk for "seasons"), 7 episodes a piece.

This series is definitely worth taking the time to see.

Recommended: If you love semi-nerdy, quirky, wittiness. Enjoying British humour is a plus.

Official Site | IMDb | Wikipedia