Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Short Story Peril: Elevator by Queenie Chan

"Elevator", by Queenie Chan, is a short horror story written in manga form. It's about fourteen pages. Just as with The Dreaming, the art added a whole new level of creepiness to the story. While The Dreaming was a Gothic boarding school horror story based off Aboriginal myths, "Elevator" is a modern ghost/murder story.

You can read the story here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book Review: 7 Souls by Barnabas Miller and Jordan Orlando

Mary Shayne thought everyone loved her.

She was dead wrong.

Mary is the envy of everyone around her: she's drop-dead gorgeous, popular, and has a great boyfriend, Patrick. But all that changes on the day of Mary's seventeenth birthday. It starts off when she wakes up in a mortifying place with an awful hangover and no memory of the night before. Things quickly go from bad to worse. No one at school has any idea that it's her birthday, and Patrick is downright cold to her. As school ends and evening approaches, Mary can't shake the feeling that something awful is going to happen...and she's right. By the next morning, she's been murdered.

But it doesn't end there. Mary must relive the day of her death in the bodies of seven different people, her closest friends, who she soon finds out had plenty of reasons to hate her. Mary must scramble to uncover the mystery of her murder, slowly piecing together clues in a desperate effort to save her life.

7 Souls is a haunting, shocking thriller filled with mystery, horror, and magic. Mary was a vain, manipulative, and completely unlikeable character at first, but by the end of the book I found myself softening towards her. I enjoyed the opportunity to see from the POV of Mary's friends and understand the grudges each one had against her. The mystery kept me guessing until the shocking and moving ending. The ending didn't really suggest a sequel to me, but it's possible, and I'll keep my eyes out for one.

Final Rating: 9.5 out of 10

This book was read for the R.I.P Challenge

Thursday, September 16, 2010


That I haven't posted in a while. I've been busy with school and other things, so I haven't had much time. But I'll try to post soon. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Two Book Reviews: Coraline by Neil Gaiman and Vampire Knight Volume One by Matsuri Hino

This was the third time I've read Coraline, and I loved it just as much as I did before. When Coraline Jones and her family move into a new apartment, despite the eccentric neighbors and big yard, Coraline gets bored quickly. She's read all her books, watched all her videos, and her parents never have time to play with her. So when Coraline finds a locked door in the drawing room, she's excited. It seems bricked up at first, but Coraline soon discovers that sometimes, the passage opens. It leads into a world quite like her own...but better. With talking animals, delicious food, and fun games, this world seems like a dream come true. But she has other parents there, who want to change her and make her to stay with them forever. Coraline soon realizes that some doors are best left closed...

Rating: 9.5 out of 10 stars

At the Cross Academy, there are two classes of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu, two Day Class students, work to make sure that the rest of the Day Class never finds out the Night Class's secret--they're vampires! Yuki and Zero both found their way to Cross Academy after having been attacked by vampires, and while the vampires in the Night Class are "pacifists", Zero has hated them for a long time. So what will he do when Yuki finds out...that the attack on him turned HIM into a vampire too?!

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars

Both of these books were read for the R.I.P Challenge.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Radiance by Alyson Noel: A Book Review

Twelve-year-old Riley Bloom has finally made it to the afterlife. After a fatal car accident killed her, her parents, and her dog Buttercup, Riley was reluctant to let go of her old life. She lingered on the earth plane, staying with her older sister, Ever. But Riley's finally decided to cross the bridge and give up her old ties to earth once and for all. And she's sort of happy...at first. But the truth is, the afterlife is nothing like she expected, and she misses Ever and her old life. So when she gets a chance to return to the earth plane as a Soul Catcher, someone who leads reluctant spirits across the bridge, of course she's totally excited. But as Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi, a possibly nerdy, but also cute boy, head towards an old English castle, Riley has no idea what she's getting herself into...

I loved this book! It was even better than Evermore, which I also enjoyed a great deal. Riley was a more interesting and likeable heroine than Ever, and the plot was more suspenseful, creepy, and engaging. I can't wait until the next one comes out in April.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars

This book was read for the R.I.P Challenge.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Evermore by Alyson Noel: A Book Review

Since an accident claimed the lives of her mother, father, sister, and dog, sixteen-year-old Ever hasn't been the same. Not just emotionally...she now sees auras, hears thoughts, sees her sister Riley's spirit, and can tell things about a person just by touching them. She's always thought of these powers as a curse, and when a hot and mysterious new boy, Damen, shows up at school, Ever realizes that he may be the only one who can lessen her psychic burden. Because whenever she touches him, all the noise and psychic energy in her head is silenced. But freedom from her powers comes with a price, and the secrets Damen is hiding could get Ever, or those closest to her, killed.

This is the fourth Alyson Noel book I've read, and I think it was one of the best. Ever is a likeable heroine, and her friends and Riley are even more so. The concept of immortality and reincarnation that is presented in the book is unique. Ever's obsession with Damen seemed unhealthy and stalker-ish at first, and I still don't like Damen, but because of the unique ideas and engaging characters I've decided to continue reading the series. And I'm also reading a new series by the author starring Riley as the main character, which so far is exciting and enjoyable.

This book was read for the R.I.P. Challenge.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Joining RIP Challenge!

I'm excited to join the R.I.P. Challenge hosted by Carl. I'll be doing Peril the First, which includes reading four mystery, horror, or dark fantasy books. I have a long list of possibilities. Here they are:

1. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (re-read)
2. Night World 2 by L.J. Smith
3. Night World 3 by L.J. Smith
4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
5. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
6. Evermore by Alyson Noel
7. The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
8. Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
9. Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar
10. Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
11. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
12. Vampire Knight Volume 1 by Matsuri Hino
13. Ruined by Paula Morris
14. Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez
15. Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz
16. Sweep: Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan
17. Stargazer by Claudia Gray
18. The 13 Best Horror Stories of all Time edited by Leslie Pockell

Thanks for hosting this challenge again Carl!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New to my shelves

Today I went to a local used bookstore that I have never been to before, and I got four books:
1. Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
2. Faking 19 by Alyson Noel
3. Dead is the New Black by Marlene Perez
4. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I hope they're good!

Commenting is back!

Yay! Commenting is back! :DDD

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Eighteen-year-old Merricat Blackwood lives in a secluded mansion with her older sister Constance, and their uncle Julian. They are the only ones out of the seven Blackwoods who survived when a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one night. Having been acquitted of the murders of her mother, father, brother, and aunt, Constance has returned home and is shielded from the villagers' hostility by Merricat. But their fragile peace shatters when their cousin Charles comes to visit. Merricat knows that Charles is only after their wealth, and that no good will come of his visit. She has to protect her sister from his greedy claws...before it's too late.

This was the first Shirley Jackson book I've read, and it was so good I'm reading another now. I suppose it can be classified as a horror book, but the horror is more atmospheric and psychological; it's more creepy than downright scary. The book builds up suspense slowly, leading to the revelation of who the murderer really was. I was surprised by who the murderer was, but disappointed that, except for a few thoughts in Merricat's mind, the reason for the murder was never really explained. I enjoyed the fact that Merricat was a completely unreliable narrator, and her twisted psyche was maybe the creepiest part of the book, not, as the description on the back cover suggests, cousin Charles' visit. She veered between cruel fantasies of pain and death for the villagers, and childish fantasies of living on the moon. She talked and seemed like a much younger child as well, certainly not eighteen.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to fans of Gothic and subtle horror.

Rating: 8.5/10

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Just Cute Outfit

This is an outfit I really like, so I decided to put it up here. The shirt is from a store at my mall, called Rainbow. I think they have an online store, too. The skirt I actually got at Goodwill. I like shopping at thrift stores--you never know what you'll find! The leg warmers were made by my mom--thank you Mom XD--and the shoes are Rocket Dog, but I found them at another thrift store. The headband is from the Rennaissance Festival.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Just Cute: Iwako Japanese Erasers

I blogged about my other Japanese erasers a while ago. Those were sold under the name Crazerasers, by the company Fashion Angels, while these are sold by a Japanese company called Iwako. These are sold for about a dollar per eraser. In Japan they actually have eraser stores that sell these erasers specifically; I've never seen one of these where I live though. However, you can buy these things online. They come in sets on Amazon. Places that sell them individually include erasercrazy.com and zoolicompany.com.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Books

I got three new books this week, and I wanted to share. The first one is a manga, Bizenghast Volume 1 by M. Alice Legrow. I got this from Paperbackswap and it looks very good.

The second book is The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. I got this from a local used bookstore. I don't really know much about what it's about, but...

Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle. This book I have been wanting for a while, and I finally bought it when we went to Borders yesterday.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Renaissance Festival

Last Saturday we went to the Rennaissance Festival about an hour away from our house. In the afternoon, after lunch, we saw comedy "jousting", shown in this picture. There wasn't much jousting with lances, etc., but they did sword-fight.

Later on I got a henna tattoo of a cat. It was expensive, but worth it, as the end result was so adorable! x3 With good care, it's supposed to last 1-3 weeks. I don't have a picture of the complete tattoo, but here it is being drawn.

Camel riding. This was pretty cool, and not half as uncomfortable as my brothers claim it was. Although it was pretty bumpy.

We also did other things, including a maze. It didn't look very big, but it was actually pretty hard! And very fun. I got to see a glassblower make a champagne flute, which was very interesting. Overall it was very fun. And I would definitely go again next year. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fade by Lisa McMann: A Book Review

Janie is a dream catcher: she has the rare ability to see into others' dreams. Unfortunately, Janie has no way to control this ability, leading to her often getting sucked into dreams at bad moments. However, her power can also do a great deal of good. She is currently working as an undercover cop at her school, Fieldridge High, along with her boyfriend, Cabel. But her newest assignment is more intense than she could have imagined. Several disturbing phone calls have led Janie and Cabel's superiors to believe that there is a sexual predator(s) at Fieldridge. When Janie offers herself as bait, she never imagines what she's getting herself into. Meanwhile, she's been learning more about her future as a dream catcher, and what she's learned is far from optimistic.

While I enjoyed Wake, I liked Fade even more. Wake was dark and creepy, and this next installment was even more so. Fade also had much more excitement and mystery than its predecessor. Although I sort of guessed which people did it (the book made it pretty obvious, at least for one of them), it was still very creepy. Janie and Cabel were interesting characters with both strengths and flaws, which made them seem more realistic. My only concern is that this book is definitely for mature readers; there were many mature topics such as drugs and rape, as well as some swearing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Just Cute: Japanese Erasers

Apparently these things are very popular, but I hadn't ever seen them until today. They are very cute erasers that come in different shapes: food, animals, etc. I got these four for $1 at a craft store. I think you can buy them online also. Sorry for the bad quality of the picture. XP

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen: A Book Review

Beautiful socialite Elizabeth Holland, although a member of the elite upper-class of New York City, has just discovered that her family's future is far from secure. Fortunately for the family, her mother has devised a plan to marry Elizabeth off to the extremely wealthy and handsome Henry Schoonmaker. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she couldn't care less about Henry...she's in love with the family's coachman, Will Keller.

Diana Holland, Elizabeth's younger sister, is a free spirit. She shudders to think of the dull life that is ahead of her...endless balls and tea-time visits with vapid gentlemen. She dreams of finding true love, but, after much searching, she's decided this borders on hopeless. So she buries her nose in books, hoping to find consolation in fictional romance...until she meets her sister's fiance. It's soon clear that they're both in love...the only problem is, Henry will have to marry Diana's sister in a matter of weeks!

Henry Schoonmaker has been forced into a marriage he doesn't want. In his eyes, Elizabeth is, although beautiful, vapid and dull. Her sister, on the other hand, is filled with life. He'd love nothing more than to marry her instead. But he also has another girl after him...

...Beautiful and wicked Penelope Hayes, Elizabeth's best friend. That is, until she finds out that Elizabeth is going to marry Henry, whom she loves. Feeling betrayed, Penelope decides that she'll stop at nothing to keep Elizabeth from marrying Henry...even if it means getting her out of the picture, permanently.

Lina Broud is Elizabeth's maid. Having been one of her closest friends until Elizabeth's debut, now Lina is saddened at watching her former best friend drifting further and further away, into a world that Lina will never be introduced to. But this regret turns to rage when Lina discovers that Elizabeth and Will Keller are together, because she happens to love Will as well. Lina wouldn't mind getting rid of Elizabeth either. In a chance meeting, Lina discovers that she and Elizabeth's beautiful "friend", Penelope, have much more in common than they thought...

This was a good, if pretty mindless, read. The historical details were lush, vivid, and accurate, and the characters were for the most part enjoyable, even if a few were a bit one-sided. Diana had to be the best character, in my opinion. She was many-sided and complex, and a fun character. Elizabeth and Henry I didn't like as much, though I began to like Henry more near the end when his kind side began to show through. Elizabeth was boring to me, and although she was always thought of as "nice" throughout the book by other characters, she was rude and unpleasant to Lina. Maybe this was why I sympathized with Lina more; I could see why she would be resentful towards Elizabeth, who used to be her friend and now was cold to her. Penelope was...not a nice person, but she was one of the more interesting characters because of it, and I liked reading her chapters.

Where this book failed, sadly, was the plot. At first I thought it would be a murder mystery, but it turned out to focus more on the time BEFORE the one character's "death". And the plot was completely predictable...as soon as it was mentioned that no body had been found, I knew how this book was going to end. Luckily, the great historical details and the enjoyable characters saved it. I WILL be reading the next one--hopefully the plot will be better.

Overall rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler: A Book Review

Fifteen-year-old Virginia Schreves feels like she was switched at birth. While the rest of her family is slim, brown-haired, and perfect, she's dishwater blonde and, well, larger than average. Her older sister, Anais, is brilliant, beautiful, and compassionate. Her older brother, Byron, is handsome, intelligent, athletic, and popular. How can she possibly live up to their legacy? She feels out-of-place and awkward surrounded by her perfect siblings and parents...until a single phone call changes all of their lives forever. Despite her family's struggles, throughout the next few months, Ginny will learn to accept her looks, discover her true beauty, and find her own unique style.

This was actually a very good book, even better than I expected it to be. Ginny was a very likeable heroine; she had character, smarts, and she was willing to show who she really was. If there was a sequel to this, I'd definitely read it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nightschool Volumes 1-3 by Svetlana Chmakova: A Book Review

Nightschool is the story of Alex, a 13-year-old weirn, a special type of witch. Alex has been homeschooled for years by her older sister Sarah. Sarah also works at the Nightschool, which provides classes for night beings such as vampires, weirns, demons, and shapeshifters, once the human schools close for the night. Alex refuses to go to the Nightschool at first...but when Sarah disappears, Alex can't help but feel that someone...or something...at the school is responsible. She enrolls as a student to uncover the mystery behind her sister's disappearance.

Meanwhile, dark magical forces are gathering, and a group of young Hunters...humans whose job it is to hunt and kill dangerous night beings...are looking for Alex. Unbeknownst to the weirn, deep inside her she possesses a deadly talent, one that could get many people killed. And the only way to make sure this never happens...is to kill Alex herself.

This was a really great set of manga. The fourth volume is released in October, so I still don't know how it ends, and I can't wait to find out. The mystery of what has happened to Alex's sister gets deeper and more complex with each volume. The first volume focused mainly on introducing the characters and didn't give a lot of depth to the world they inhabited. Luckily, the second, and to some extent the third, focused more on examining this.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Field Notes from a Catasphrophe: A Book Review

It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe, by journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, shows firsthand the harm being done by humans to our planet. From the icy tundra of Greenland to the dusty sands of the Middle East, climate change affects everyone. Kolbert documents both stories of inspiration and of remarkable ignorance and stupidity; she tells the real truth, even if it may not be what you want to hear.

If you want to read a great book that seriously addresses the problem of climate change, definitely consider this. Kolbert's writing is easy to understand, but powerful. The scientific data and the real-life testimony from scientists, government officials, and even normal citizens are combined in an effective way. This is probably one of the best science books I've read all year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crank by Ellen Hopkins: A Book Review

Life was good before I met the monster. After, life was great. At least for a little while.

Kristina Snow is a good daughter. She always gets good grades, never misses curfew, and never causes any trouble. But there is another side of Kristina that only she knows about: Bree. Bree is wild and fearless. She answers to no one. On a trip to visit her father, whom she hasn't seen in years, Bree takes control.

Bree's new boyfriend introduces her to crank, aka "the monster". Soon, Bree finds that one thing leads to another, and her life is spiraling out of control. Kristina needs to take back her life, and fast. But soon, one shocking event will overshadow all the others, and Kristina will find herself forced to confront her newer, darker side.

This book was amazing. I'd never read an Ellen Hopkins book before, although I wanted to. And this was even better than I thought. Normally I don't like books written in verse as much as normal prose, but this one was great. I loved how Hopkins manipulated the stanzas so that they were shaped in certain formations relevant to the story she was telling. Kristina/Bree seemed so real, and she was easy to sympathize with. I'd love to read more of this author's books!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hiroshima by John Hersey: A Book Review

On August 6, 1945, America dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed. In this powerful book, John Hersey tells the story of six survivors.

Miss Toshinki Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just turned her head to chat with the girl at the next desk.

Dr. Masakazu Fujii, a physician, had just sat down to read the paper on the porch of his private hospital.

Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, a tailor's widow, was watching a neighbor from her kitchen window.

Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge, a German priest, lay on a cot in the mission house reading a Jesuit magazine.

Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, a young surgeon, walked along a hospital corridor with a blood specimen for a Wasserman test.

The Reverend Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, pastor of the Hiroshima Methodist Church, was about to unload a cart of clothes at a rich man's home in the suburbs.

In an instant, the lives of theses six men and women would change forever. Some were injured; some, the lucky, were merely confused and disoriented. But they did all they could to help others in more trouble than them--the young orphans and the terribly maimed, showing true spirit and selflessness in the face of horrible destruction.

The first four chapters of the book are about what happened to the six during and directly after the bomb blast And in the moving final chapter, Hersey goes back to Japan nearly forty years after the disaster at Hiroshima to examine the aftermath of the bomb, and to discover what life for the survivors was like after the war.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Water The Drop of Life: A Book Review

Water is everywhere. In our bodies, our food, our possessions. We need water to survive. It truly is the drop of life. When all we need to do is turn on the faucet for water, it's easy to think that this resource is limitless, that there will always be enough water for everyone on the planet. But this isn't true. Water is disappearing. This book will show it to you. It will take you across the globe, from Namibia to Jordan to Spain, to prove that water isn't a limitless resource. It is disappearing. And fast.

But this book also shows solutions. It offers hope and offers examples of where individuals, businesses, and governments have stepped up and taken responsibility for managing this essential element of our lives. We don't have to let a lack of water destroy the planet. Everyone can manage water more efficiently, and even little steps can make a difference.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages: A Book Review

The year is 1943, and eleven-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is on a train to a remote location in New Mexico. There, her father is working with the world's top scientists to build a mysterious weapon that Dewey knows only as "the gadget."Meanwhile, Suze Gordon, a young but talented artist, struggles to find her place among the other girls at Los Alamos, the complex where both she and Dewey are to live.
When Dewey's father leaves on a business trip and she must move in with Suze's family for the time being, neither girl is happy about the arrangement. The other girls dislike Dewey, and Suze wonders what they will think of her when they learn the two are sharing a room. Dewey considers Suze one of her tormentors, and hopes her father returns as soon as possible. But when tragedy strikes and Dewey is stuck at their house for the rest of the war, it seems the two will have to get along. Meanwhile, no one suspects just how much "the gadget" is going to change their lives forever.

This was a quick and enjoyable historical fiction novel. Suze and Dewey's reluctant and sometimes turbulent friendship was realistic, and the characters' emotions were powerful. The two protagonists were easy to relate to, and they could easily have been eleven-year-old girls living in today's society. In my opinion, this was a novel about friendship and coming-of-age as much as it was about history.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Tempest: A Book Review

One night, a storm will be created, a ship wrecked, and lives changed forever...

Prospero was once the duke of Milan, until he and his young daughter, Miranda, ended up on an almost-deserted island as a result of a plot by Prospero's power-hungry brother Antonio. When a ship sails by with Antonio and others on it, including the king, Alonso, Prospero sends his spirit slave Ariel to wreck the ship, stranding them on the island. Miranda and Alonso's son Ferdinand fall in love at first sight, but Prospero locks Ferdinand away to test their love. Farther off on the island, a murder plot...or two...are being hatched. Only one thing is sure...this night will be full of surprises.

I think this was probably my second-favorite Shakespeare play that I have read, after MacBeth. It was humorous and filled with magic. The characters were interesting and funny, and so was the plot. I'd recommend this to any fan of Shakespeare plays.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Just Cute Outfit

Sorry for showing so many pictures of myself. I just think this outfit is really cute (especially the socks).

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong: A Book Review

Chloe Saunders is just a normal girl...or so she thinks. Until the day she starts to see ghosts. When an incident with the spirit of a horribly burned school custodian gets her into a fight with teachers, ending in her being hustled off to the hospital sedated, Chloe is scared and unsure of what will happen next. Is she going crazy? She can't really be seeing the spirits of dead people...can she? Soon, Chloe is sent off to to the Lyle House, a group home for troubled teens. At first, all she wants to do is take her meds and get out as quickly as possible. But soon, after Chloe's roommate disappears and her ghost shows up the next day, Chloe realizes that there is more to Lyle House...and its residents...than meets the eye. Will Chloe uncover Lyle House's secrets? Will she even survive? Because it seems that someone there wants her silenced...no matter what it takes.

This was a great supernatural novel, one of the best I've read recently, if not the best. It was filled with zombies, police chases, vengeful, gruesome spirits, and just the right amount of romance. It did not involve sparkly vampire stalkers (in fact, it didn't involve ANY vampires. I know, amazing, right?). Chloe was a complex heroine who had flaws, but was intelligent and could think for herself. Some of the other characters seemed a little flat at parts, but it was still interesting to learn about their backgrounds and the secrets they were keeping. One thing that I didn't like was that the ending seemed slightly abrupt, as if it was only half of the book. Then again, this is just the first in a series. So...this book wasn't perfect, but it was action-packed and suspenseful. I read it in one sitting, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good supernatural YA book.

This book was read for the Once Upon A Time Challenge.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Maximum Ride (manga) Volume One by NaRae Lee: A Book Interview

So, this review will be a little different. My brother Gray read this book, too, so we are going to take turns asking each other questions about the book.

Me: Did you like the book?
Gray: Yes.
Me: Why?
G: Cuz it was funny.
Me: Who was your favorite character?
G: Fang. Who was your favorite character?
Me: Angel, because I liked the idea of such a little kid (she's seven) being so powerful and mature, and plus she just looked adorable in manga form. :) So, did the characters look like you thought they would?
G: Not Fang and not Nudge.
Me: Why not?
G: Fang looked like a girl and Nudge looked way older than eleven years old. Did you think it was funny that they used swear words in the book? I think it was.
Me: Um...no? (by now you can probably tell that he's nine, right? XD) Did you think the manga version was a lot like the book?
G: Yeah, all the important events from the book were in this one too. Did you think it was a lot like the book?
Me: Well, it seemed to follow the events more closely than some graphic novel adaptations of books that I've read. So, yes. What was your favorite part?
G: My favorite part was the fighting. And swear words. Are we done yet?
Me: Okay, as you can tell his attention span is short. I guess that's all for today. I hope you enjoyed this Book Interview!

I'm not sure if I'm going to make more of these or not. I hope that if I do make more, they turn out more successful than this one...LOL. But anyway, I hope you liked this review. I have to admit it was more fun to write than normal reviews!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson: A Book Review

The "control of nature" is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and philosophy, when it was supposed that nature exists for the convenience of man...It is our alarming misfortune that so primitive a science has armed itself with the most modern and terrible weapons, and that in turning them against the insects it has also turned them against the earth.

Whew, long quote. :) So, anyway...

Although written more than forty years ago, in 1962, Rachel Carson's now famous book preaches a powerful message that is still important in today's society. In towns all over America...and in other countries as well...an eerie silence has descended. The songbirds, who fill the spring air with their joyous songs, have been killed by the very chemicals we use daily in our homes, on our lawns...everywhere. Pesticides. Nature is trying to tell us something, to warn us...and yet still, we refuse to listen. All over the world are signs that these chemicals are unsafe...exterminators suddenly collapsing in convulsions, livestock dying in masses after the aerial spraying of pesticides.

This book revealed to the public the effects of these pesticides...for many, it was the first time they had heard of these negative effects. And, although decades have passed since Silent Spring's publication, many still use these chemicals daily. Rachel Carson has written a powerful critique of our society and our careless use of deadly toxins that we can still learn from in the present.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Teen Book Festival 2010

Saturday, I went to the Rochester Teen Book Festival at Nazareth College. There were a lot of really good authors there. Here's a list of them all:

Laurie Halse Anderson
Holly Black
Coe Booth
Robin Brande
Kay Cassidy
Lindsay Cibos & Jared Hodges (author/illustrator team)
Marissa Doyle
Simone Elkeles
Ellen Hopkins
James Kennedy
A.S. King
Daniel Kirk
Alisa Libby
Barry Lyga
Mari Mancusi
Lisa McMann
Ben Mikaelsen
Alyson Noël
Sarah Ockler
Matt de la Peña
Amy Kathleen Ryan
Lisa Schroeder
Jennifer E. Smith
Terry Trueman
Vivian Vande Velde
Martin Wilson

I saw talks by Vivian Vande Velde and Alyson Noel while I was there, and I also got some books signed at the autographing session near the end of the festival:

I also wanted to get Crank signed by Ellen Hopkins, but I didn't have enough time.

Anyway, overall I had a really fun day!

Thanks to everyone who sponsored during the Read-a-thon last year that raised money for this festival!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin: A Book Review

"Even foolery is dangerous," said Jasper, "in the hands of a fool."

This first installment in the amazing Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin chronicles the life of the great wizard Ged, from the time he was just a young boy to his young adulthood. He shows the potential to become a great sorcerer at a very young age, when he is living in a village on the mountainous island of Gont. His witch aunt takes him under her wing and teaches him basic spells of healing and the like, but he hungers to learn more. When he manages to save his village from invaders, his power is realized by the great mage Ogion, who lives in a neighboring village, and Ged is offered an apprenticeship. Eagerly, he accepts, only to find that he wishes to learn more than even Ogion will teach him. And so he is sent off to the prestigious wizard school at Roke. There he makes both friends and enemies, and proves himself a good, skilled student. But Ged is proud, and his pride will lead him to accidentally unleash a horrible evil upon all Earthsea...

I really liked this book, even more than I thought I would. Ged was a very likeable protagonist, and very real also--he had many faults, but that just made him more likeable in my opinion. The other characters were very likeable also, although it seemed to me that some of them were a bit one-sided. Then again, this may be because they didn't play a large-enough part in the book for us to really get to know them as we did Ged. The setting was very interesting; I liked the concept of an "earthsea", a world that is predominantly ocean, with only small islands scattered across it. I also liked how Taoism was slightly incorporated into it, with the yin and yang idea of Equilibrium. Anyway, I'd definitely like to read more of the Earthsea books.

This book was read for the Once Upon A Time Challenge.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New To My Shelves

1. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

2. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

3. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

4. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

5. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New To My Shelves

1. Radiance by Alyson Noel

2. The Screwed Up Life of Charlie the Second by Drew Ferguson(thanks, Chris!!!)

3. Scott Pilgrim: Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley (again, thanks to Chris!!! :D)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri: A Book Review

"Well, I've only ever been a failure. I sign here?"
"Lots of big accomplishments begin with failures."
"Like what?"
"There was a man who owned a clothing store that went bankrupt."
"Let me guess. He learned from his failure and started over as Giorgio Armani."
"No. He left the clothing business. He became president and dropped a bomb on Hiroshima."

One dark night, five children suddenly disappear from their homes in Glasgow, London, Rome, and Paris. Several years later, at a Christmas Eve party in New York City, five stunning teens make an impressive debut with their mesmerizing, beautiful governess, Madam Vileroy. Soon, they are accepted into the elite Marlow School and, using "gifts" given to them by Madam Vileroy, begin to "claw their way to the top". But they have a secret...they've paid an enormous price for these gifts, and when Madam Vileroy starts to tire of them, everything they've worked for may come crashing down around them...

Victoria--the cheater. She'll do anything to win, even if it means hurting everyone around her.

Christian--the thief. His gift is incredibly powerful, but it is accompanied by an enormous sense of guilt. Christian wants a way out of this deadly game, before it's too late.

Valentin--the liar. He can replay scenes over and over again, until he gets them exactly right. But his gift may cost him not only his soul but also his mind.

Belle--the beauty. She's drop-dead gorgeous, but she has betrayed those closest to her to gain her stunning looks. And what no one else suspects is that her pretty face isn't even her own...

Bice--the hider. She can freeze time for years on end, hiding away in her room with her mountains of books. But what no one has told her is that, while everyone else is frozen, her body continues to age...

This modern retelling of the Faustian Bargain legend is fascinating and thought-provoking. What would you do if you were offered all the power in the world--for the price of your soul?

I found this book very enjoyable. It was dark but funny, and the characters were extremely interesting. At first glance, they might have seemed perfect, but each one had many flaws to their character that made them seem more genuine and realistic. I found it very interesting that this was a retelling of an old classic; I hadn't known this when I borrowed the book, but it made it even more intriguing. In fact, there were many references to the Faustian legend in this book--even the name of the school, Marlowe, comes from the last name of the man who wrote Faust.

This book was read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two Book Reviews--Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Cawardine/ Bumbling Through Borneo by Tom Schmidt

Last Chance to See is a powerful book, both hilarious and heartbreaking. It is the story of several of the countless species on our planet that are on the brink of extinction, and the individuals who have devoted their lives to saving them. From the half-blind river dolphins of the Yangtze River to the charming kakapo birds of New Guinea, the stories of these animals, and those who fight to save them, will inspire you--perhaps even to take action yourself. Travel across Africa, Mauritania, China, and more with famous science-fiction novelist Douglas Adams as he takes you on a journey to see some of the rarest animals alive today...and pay attention, because this just may be your last chance.

I loved this book! I laughed out loud so many times I lost track while reading it, and yet it was also very serious at some points. Adams manages to inspire empathy through his humor and also through his stark portrayal of what is really happening to species all around the world. A must read for anyone interested in biodiversity loss.

Bumbling Through Borneo
, by Tom Schmidt, is the story of an American architect named Bob, who has received a mysterious note in his mail inviting him to travel to Borneo in search of a "great reward". Perhaps against his better judgement, Bob does so, and soon meets up with a myriad of unexpected traveling companions to help him on his quest. They find themselves traversing through an unknown country, hacking through thick jungles, fighting blood-sucking leeches, and more, while they come to the realization that all around them, this seemingly pristine jungle ecosystem is coming apart at the seams...

I really enjoyed this book. It combined humor, interesting travel stories, and environmental issues into a quick and satisfying read. The characters were funny and likeable, and the facts about Borneo scattered throughout this book were very informative. Definitely an enjoyable read for anyone interested in travel/adventure books.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New To My Shelves

So, here are all the new books I got this week. (I normally don't get this many, LOL!) Also, normally I'll post this on Sunday, but this week I was too busy, so...here they are!

1. Clover by Clamp

2. Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

3. Fading Echoes by Erin Hunter

4. Fang by James Patterson

5. Inside the Outbreaks by Mark Pendergrast

6. Little Miss Red by Robin Palmer

7. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

8. Look Both Ways by Jacquelyn Mitchard

9. Nine Hills to Nambonkaha by Sarah Erdman

10. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

11. Stargazer by Claudia Gray

12. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

13. Wild Roses by Deb Caletti (this is not the cover of my copy, but I couldn't find that one online.)

14. Witch and Wizard by James Patterson