Saturday, September 29, 2012

first stab at poetry

messenger bag thumping
against her thigh
with every step she takes.

hair up, button-down,
she walks out of her house
and it's such a beautiful day.

sees the men, sees the car,
slows down to let them
back out of their driveway

and keeps walking but
the car behind her,
why isn't it driving away?

the breeze is no longer cool
and her heart beats faster,
thumping, and her hands begin to shake.

the window slides down
and she barely looks up.
sunglasses, brown hair, smirk on his face.

a whistle, the two toned sound
she heard many times before
in movies, but never on such a beautiful day.

face red, she lowers her head
and pretends not to hear.
despite those things she likes to say,

rhetoric about girl power and strength,
she's silent and does nothing but
keeps walking straight.

passenger seat shouts something
and they laugh and zoom past her and they're gone.
her heartbeat, and somewhere along the way

that whistle and that laugh
and that engine
make it rain.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #3

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  

Question of the week:  What is the biggest word you've seen used in a book lately - that made you stop and look it up?  Might as well leave the definition and the book too.

Hm... this is a tough one.  After doing so much SAT prep, words just don't seem big to me anymore LOL.  It would probably be in The Fault In Our Stars by John Green because Hazel and Augustus have the most intellectual conversations about the most abstract and philosophical things. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Perks of Being A Wallflower Movie Review!!!

Once I heard that The Perks of Being A Wallflower, one of my favorite books of all time, was being made into a movie, I knew that I had to see it!  The fact that it starred Emma Watson as Sam made me even more excited since I loved her as Hermione!  It has a limited release for now and will only be playing in a few select cities.  Nearest location was a few hours away.  My mom thought I was crazy when I told her I travelling to NYC just to see a movie.  Was the trip worth it?  ABSOLUTELY.  

Sunshine Cinema in NYC was where I saw Perks :)

I'm not just saying that because I love the book.  I feel like many movies are praised (HP cough cough) just because the books which they are based off of are so beloved.  Not in this case.  The movie stood on it's own.  

The acting was superb!  Logan Lerman was the perfect Charlie: awkward, intellectual, yet also realistic as a hormonal teenage boy.  He plays Charlie's mental breakdown parts perfectly, with so much maturity and feeling that it invoked more emotion from me than the book did (I know, blasphemous!).  More than half of the laughs were for Ezra Miller as Patrick alone.  He was hilarious, fabulous and tragic at the same time.  I loved Patrick more in the movie than I did in the book.   

I was a little disappointed with Sam.  I don't think it was Emma Watson's fault (her acting was also great) but I think the writing for Sam's character could have been better.  While Sam was my favorite character in the book, I couldn't relate to her as much in the movie.  

POBAW (the movie) was meant to appeal to the young and artsy, hipster-type crowd (by showing limited release in small indie cinemas before wide release) so "good" music was a large part of the storyline.  People's tastes in music are frequently discussed and name-dropping occurs (The Smiths, Billie Holliday, etc).  I was afraid that POBAW would become some sort of music snob-fest but thankfully that didn't happen.  I loved all the music in the movie though; it was so perfect since the author himself picked it out!   

Some of the more graphic/sexual content was taken out so the movie was just slightly more toned down than the book (only slightly).  Everything else was pretty much true to the book.  Another thing I noticed was that a scene in the trailer (the hilarious part when Patrick says "Be aggressive, passive aggressive!") was not in the movie.  I was a little disappointed in that but it didn't really affect my opinion of the movie that much.  

I'm trying to find other flaws because this is supposed to be an informative review but I really can't think of any.  I probably didn't notice them because of all the amazingness throughout.  I can't describe the love I feel for this movie.  It made me laugh so hard.  It also brought tears to my eyes at times.  It made me think WTF (Rocky Horror Show does that to you) and made me swoon at the same time.  At the end of the movie, everyone was applauding.  I and a few other people gave it a standing ovation.  It was truly a beautiful movie, making you feel all the right emotions.  No, like seriously, please see this movie.  It is completely absolutely worth it!

Info for theater times at Sunshine Cinema:

Info for select theater locations starting from dates:  

The movie comes out everyone on October 5th if you can't make it to any of the locations :)

The movie is rated PG-13 for drug/alcohol use, sexual content, thematic material (all involving teens)

Random phone camera pics :)

I nearly died of happiness when I saw this <3

Best cinema ever!  The staff is so nice, the food was so good (European chocolate and Pocky!!!) and all the movies they were showing were so artsy looking.  

I did 8:00 PM since I missed the 7 one (went on the wrong subway LOL)

Took a million pictures of myself next to this

Giant poster which my friends and I were obsessing over

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tattly Subscription Haul: 2 out of 6

Well it's that time of the month again!  Not that one but Tattly time!

Names and artists

All of them!

Not going to lie, I wasn't as thrilled with this months selection as I have been the past months but I still did find favorites in this one!

My favorites for this month.  
LEFT: I like how you could cut apart the words or letters to create different combinations.  
TOP CENTER:  I think this would look really nice on the wrist or neck, the script is really pretty!
BOTTOM CENTER:  Unicorns are very in this year.  
RIGHT:  Um... it's a giraffe with a stack of books.  How can that NOT be one of my favorites?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Interview With Alice Jane of Crazy Red Pen!

Alice Jane Chen of the book blog Crazy Red Pen has been one of my best friends for such a long time.  I discovered the world of blogging through her and was lucky enough to be able to interview her about blogging, books and more!  

1.  Wow, you've been blogging for about three years already!  What has kept you motivated to blog for all this time?

It's more like I've been seriously blogging for around a year. My other two years were spent writing about random stuff. And I mean random... I feel so embarassed about my posts from two or even three years ago... But back to motivation behind blogging. It's really all about time management and doing something that you like. If you like what you're doing enough, you'll set apart enough time to do it. It really doesn't have to be a book blog; it can be anything. 

2.  How would you say your blog has changed over the years?

I think it's gotten a lot more focused. I read YA a lot more way back but my older posts were just short summaries with something along the lines of "written well, I loved it, etc." I was also into making what I call "artsy-fartsy" book pictures to accompany the posts but I don't really have time to do that anymore. Maybe I should bring it back...? It's harder now since some books I read are e-books so it's a lot harder to photograph...

In addition, I think I've found my "voice" so to speak. If you can find your voice (who you are, how you blog, etc.) then blogging becomes so much easier and a lot less burdensome. 

3.  Since you tortured me with this question, I’ll return the favor.  What is your favorite book of all time?  YA?  Classic?

Ugh. Why did I ask you this...? (Laughs) My favorite book of all time is probably Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. That woman is so witty and I love her personality (her personal letters are hilarious). But by saying that, I feel like I'm going to be branded with the label of  "chick-lit" reader. What is that? As Libba Bray once said in an interview, are men branded with the label of a  "dude-lit" reader? 
Anyways, I find the satire in Pride and Prejudice funny. Comedy is always fun to read. 

YA? My tastes vary. At the moment though, I really like Amelia Anne Is Dead and Gone, a debut 2012 book (came out in July). The woman who wrote it writes the posts for Spark Life. She seems to be quite funny/comedic. I'd like to chat with her one day....
All time favorite book? I'm going to skip that okay? (laughs)

4.  Recommend one book that you've recently read.  

See question three. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone. I also liked The Buddha in the Attic, a short adult novel about the Japanese American experience in the 1940's. 

5.  What was your favorite book as a child?

Winnie the Pooh! Edward Bear (Mr. Sanders/Winnie the Pooh) is so fat and cute! Hahaha... My parents bought me a 3 ft tall stuffed Pooh Bear when I was younger because I was so obsessed with it. (I still kind of am...)

But I suppose I actually didn't really read the actual stories that were written by A.A Milne, so that doesn't really count. 

But around second grade, I really liked Magic Tree House and A-Z Mysteries. Mysteries are so fun to read. Especially The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. An unrelated sentence to the question though, the BBC series of Sherlock Holmes is really fun to watch. They've modernized the stories but they're fresh and doesn't feel forced. 

6.  If you could be any book character, who would you be and why?

Ugh... This question... I don't really imagine myself as a character when I'm reading, so this is such a hard question. Even if the book is in first person, I still read like I'm a bystander watching. 

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, I guess? She has magical powers but she doesn't have to fight the Dark Lord like Harry does... Plus she's smart! Hahaha...

7.  What's the best part about blogging?  Worst? 

The best? I get to sit and write. Then press publish. No, uhm, really. I get to read wonderfully written books and share my love of books with others who are similar minded. I also get to meet other people, which is fun! :)

The worst? The time management. The behind the scenes work. You read a book for around three hours and then you have to put your love of that book into physical words so other people can understand. But I think that's pretty okay. I've found my voice so it's not that bad. Definitely the juggling of blogging and actual life though. I'm still a student so it's pretty rough. But you try and you get through it. (I'm not being very helpful, am I...?)

8.  I see you also have an interest in fashion.  Why do you like fashion?  Who is your favorite fashion designer and why?  

Fashion! I actually just had a conversation with a RISD student who interned for an up-and-coming Belgian fashion designer based in NY. It was probably the most interesting conversation I've had with anyone. I used to think fashion was really fickle and shallow and I still do sometimes, but you learn to appreciate the crafting, the details in the garments. Some garments are just so simple but so beautiful. 

I'm a huge follower of art in general, so fashion just branched off of that. I'm a purveyor of random fashion trivia (and basically random trivia in general)... I read things and retain them for quite some time. 

I really, really admire Alexander McQueen's work. They're quite interesting and some pieces are definitely not something you'd wear out on the street but they're just so, so detailed. He really carries a theme throughout a season and does it so cleanly. It feels so natural to him. 

9.  You also frequently review manga or discuss them on your blog.  Why do you like them?  How do you think they are different from/similar to the traditional novel?   

I got into manga in middle school when a friend introduced them to me. It was visually appealing and I've read so much since then. I've actually always read comics, even when I was four or five (San Mao, a Chinese comic about a poor beggar boy). It feels natural I suppose to me?
They're similar in the way that they tell a story. However, the flow of comics and the pacing of it is a lot different than a traditional novel. Pacing, I feel like, is a lot harder with comics (I say that because I find it easier to express myself in words than pictures). You have to have a lot of variation in shots and angles to make it seem interesting.
Yen Press (division of Hachette Book Publishing; sister companies to Little Brown and Company) actually makes manga/OEL (Original English Language) versions of popular YA novels such as the books by James Patterson. Some of them are quite good, actually. 

10.  And finally, what advice would you give to new bloggers like me?  Thank you for this interview; I really do appreciate your time! 

Find your passion. That's the most important thing. Don't blog because you think it's cool to blog. Blog because you like to blog. Blog about the things that you like, not the things that you think are "in" right now. You may become popular in the short run, but what's your voice? Don't be chasing after trends, set your own trends. 

Also, make friends. The book blogging community is friendly and closely knit. We're all nice! Ask other bloggers questions. Don't be intimidated by them. You can ask me questions! (Shameless self-promotion). Ask me things on Twitter (@alicejane011) or via email. 

Thank you for interviewing me!

Haha, that was the first interview I've ever done and I'd say it was a success!  Once again, thank you Alice for doing this :)  Don't forget to check out her blog at Crazy Red Pen or you can find her on Twitter (@alicejane011).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Fathomless (Fairy Tale Retellings #3) by Jackson Pearce


Title: Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings #3)
Author: Jackson Pearce
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 4th, 2012
FTC: The ARC was sent to me from the publisher.  All opinions in this review are my own.  

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a mermaid -- a term too pretty for the soulless monster she's becoming. Then Lo meets Celia when they work together to rescue a handsome boy named Jude from drowning. Unlike Lo's ocean sisters, Celia has the ability to help Lo remember her human past. The two form a friendship but soon find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than love, though. According to ocean lore, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her... and steal his soul.

I absolutely love fairy tale retellings so when I received the ARC for Fathomless by Jackson Pearce in the mail, I was very excited to start reading.  As one can tell from the cover and title, this book is based on The Little Mermaid.  Not the Disney movie, but the darker original story by Hans Christian Anderson.  You know, with sea foam, knives and all?  Read more about the original here.

Once I started reading, I could not stop since there were so many questions I wanted answered.  How did Celia and her sisters get their powers?  How did Lo get turned into a mermaid?  Who are the "angels" that the mermaid sisters keep talking about and what part did they play in Lo's transformation?  What was the purpose of her transformation?  Even as I got closer to the end, a lot of the questions remained unanswered.  A lot of the ones that did get answered brought up newer questions which was quite annoying.  I did hear that some of the things referenced in this book were also in the previous books in the series so maybe reading the other ones would have helped.  I disliked the switching point of views back and forth between Lo's human self and Lo's mermaid self.  It was not very effectively done and was confusing at times.  Another thing I disliked in the book, Jude was the most blah YA love interest I have ever encountered.  His character was so flat and one dimensional.  Broke musician who writes songs about girls and the ocean?  *le yawn*

Despite all that, Fathomless is a very engaging story.  Being a soulless mermaid has been all Lo can remember and she can finally start to remember her past with the help of Celia.  Celia has felt overshadowed by her sisters all her life and now has the chance to prove her own worth by helping Lo.  On the other hand, their friendship has a dark side to it.  It's the classic "friends fighting over boy story" but this time, one of them wants to steal his soul.  It's a very cool and interesting idea.  The underwater scenes with Lo and her mermaid sisters were haunting and sad, not what you usually think of when you hear the word "mermaid".  I loved how Pearce redefines mermaids in that sense.  Another thing I loved was the ending.  The ending can make or break a novel; in this case, the ending saved it!  Holy cow, it was definitely unexpected.  Not exactly a perfect ending, but with enough closure to leave me feeling satisfied.  

Overall, I thought the novel had great potential, but I was really conflicted while reading it.  The plot is great and the world that the author creates is really fascinating.  But there are too many things going on at once and many questions are left unanswered.  I'm probably going to check out the first two books in the series to see if that helps.  This is still a worthy read and I would definitely recommend it to fans of the previous books in the series and fans of fairy tales and paranormal romance.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell (The Conquered Earth #1)

Title:  Midnight City
Author: J. Barton Mitchell
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
FTC: This book was given to me by the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In a world where all the adults have been taken by aliens called The Assembly, the remaining children struggle to survive.  Adding to their troubles is The Tone.  This disease was introduced after the invasion of The Assembly, taking over its victims slowly until the age of 18.  At the age of 18, the victim will finally become brainwashed by these voices and walk to the ships of The Assembly to be taken away.  

The story begins with 20 year old Holt Hawkins, a bounty hunter immune to The Tone, attempting to capture a girl named Mira Toombs and take her to Midnight City.  Along the way, they meet 8 year old Zoey, a young girl who has special abilities, abilities that can potentially take down The Assembly itself.  

Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell is a combination of dystopian and science fiction, two of my favorite genres which made me really excited to read this.  But there are also elements of romance and fantasy, adding diverse storylines and keeping the book from being your typical aliens or post-apocalyptic novel.  The blossoming relationship between Holt and Mira was very well written.  Even though one was the captor and one the captive, they are equals throughout the novel, as they both save each other numerous times.  

Holt Hawkins is your typical hardened do-whatever-it-takes-to-survive guy.  Yet he becomes vulnerable as more of his sad history is revealed.  Zoey is the youngest of the trio but she may be the most powerful.  She reminds me of Angel, from the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.  My favorite character by far is Mira.  Like Holt, she's also hardened and gutsy, but she's more in tune with her feelings which makes her more relatable.  She's also extremely clever, a talented Freebooter and an expert on artifacts.             

There were so many different things going on in this novel, a little too much.  Sometimes, the writing seemed a little messy and confusing, especially in the last quarter of the book.  The later parts of the book seemed really rushed and there wasn't enough closure.  Yes, I'm all for books in series having open endings with some unanswered questions.  But in Midnight City, the majority of the major questions go unanswered and some were not even addressed.  This was annoying for me.  

But overall, Midnight City was a very entertaining action packed book and I already cannot wait for the next book in the series (even though this one hasn't even been published yet!).  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

I'm glad to be returning from a three week hiatus with a book review!  This is a great one :)

The Lure of Shapinsay

Title:  Lure of Shapinsay
Author: Krista Holle
Publisher:  Sweet River Romance
Genre: New Adult (older teens/ young women)
FTC: This book was sent to me by the author for consideration.  All opinions are mine.  

On the small island of Shapinsay (near Scotland), legends of selkies run rampant amongst its inhabitants.  Selkies are creatures that live as seals in the water and take off their skin to become humans on land.  They are very beautiful, with selkie men having powers of seduction over human women.  The lure of selkie men is often powerful enough to lead many women to their deaths in the sea.   The villagers fear them, as well as the sea that is their home.
Sixteen year old Kait Swanney is an exception.  She loves the water and scoffs at the idea that a selkie could possibly lure her to her death.  She does not even expect to meet a male selkie in her lifetime, let alone be bewitched by one!  But when a male selkie name Eamon mistakenly believes Kait to be the murderer of a half human, half selkie baby, all of that changes.  Intending to avenge the baby, he sneaks into her room at night prepared to kill her.  Kait awakens and clears up the whole misunderstanding.  He leaves but not before unintentionally bewitching Kait -- and finding himself also falling in love with the "land loper".  Will Eamon choose the sea over Kait?  And is Kait truly in love with Eamon, or is it just the lure?

I was not familiar with the legend of the selkie when I started reading it so I made sure to do some research.  There is some explanation in the novel about selkies but without prior knowledge or research, the reader will likely get confused.  I am obsessed with selkies now and can't believe they're not more prevalent in paranormal romance novels!  Krista Holle does an amazing job capturing the allure and danger of selkies, Eamon in particular.  Learn more about selkies on its Wikipedia page.  

The small island of Shapinsay is brought to life with beautiful imagery of the sea and an Scottish sounding dialect.  There is also a motley of supporting characters who each bring something different.  A young woman who watches as her human/selkie baby is torn away from her and killed.  A brother who arranges his twin sister's marriage.  A crazy old woman who is always searching for something by day and wailing by the sea at night.  I think some of the supporting characters could have been a little more developed.  However, Kait and Eamon's storyline interested me the most anyways so I didn't really mind.

Kait is truly something.  She is a very likeable protagonist.  She's the embodiment of the typical "strong" heroine - stubborn rebellious, brave and extremely independent.  It was very interesting to see how all that mixed with her later obsession with Eamon after being bewitched by his selkiness.  It would have been very easy for Kait to lose herself after being bewitched by Eamon but she still retains her headstrongness and determination, not losing what made her special in the first place.  However, there were times when I couldn't tell whether it was love or the lure making her do what she does.  That was a little frustrating at times.  

I also loved Eamon.  Like a lot.  He is the perfect mix of reckless and the naive, with a touch of nobility and pride.    Even though one of his main roles in the novel was to be the selkxy and alluring mythical creature love interest, Eamon has depth and humanity.  And the most swoon-worthy lines

"Your cheeks are flushed," Eamon observed with a relaxed smile that lit up his face like the sun.  He awkwardly pushed a blonde straggler behind my ear.  His fingers lingered behind my neck as if they were always meant to be there.  "Aren't ye well?"

"It means I'm happy," I said with a broad grin, "Your cheeks are splotched pink too."

Eamon touched his cheek like it couldn't be true then gave me a bewildered look.  "Then I must be happy too."

At its heart, this novel is a sweet and engaging story about forbidden love.  I really don't want to spoil too much but there are many twists and turns that keep the reader interested and emotionally invested.  Very worth reading!

Check out this awesome book trailer :)

I give this book a 4/5.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

No Posts For Three Weeks!

No one probably cares but I will not be able to blog for two weeks since I will be visiting China for the first time.  And of course, Blogger is blocked there!  Yay China.  Still excited though!

Anyways, yeah.  I just felt like saying that.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tattly Subscription Delivery: Month 1

My Tattly Subscription for the month of July arrived yesterday!  This one did not disappoint :)

Click here to see my previous Tattly subscription delivery as well as a mini-review.

Tattoos for the month of July :)

I was very surprised and happy when I saw I received two of Tattly's newer releases, Party Animal (center) and Be Happy (bottom left). I am so excited for Be Happy in particular because you can wear it across your neck and it looks really cute. I also love the skull because it's such a classic tattoo design. Since my high school mascot is a pirate, I'll save this one for Spirit Day or a pep rally.

Names and Artists

Close-up of tattoos.  My favorites for this month are "Be Happy" (long one to wear on neck), Skull, and Emailer Extraordinaire (top center).

This was my attempt at trying to be an artsy photographer (and failing)

5 more to go!

As always, visit Tattly's website for affordable, very cute, designer temporary tattoos!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Review: Skinny by Donna Cooner

Title: Skinny
Author: Donna Cooner
Publishing Company: Scholastic Inc.
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Number of Pages: 272

15 year old Ever Davies weighs 302 pounds as a result of overeating after the death of her mother.  She hates herself and thinks that everyone else does too.  At least that's what Skinny tells her.  Skinny, Ever's subconscious in the form of a fairy that sits on her shoulders, is constantly telling Ever what people think of her and that she can't do anything right.  Because of Skinny, the closest Ever has gotten to living out her dream of singing on stage was listening to songs from her favorite Broadway musicals.

After a humiliating incident involving a broken chair and the entire student body, Ever decides that she's had enough of being the fat girl that everyone mocks and pities.  She chooses to have gastric bypass surgery, when one's stomach is made smaller permanently, as a last effort to lose weight.  Maybe this surgery will allow her to have the friends, the boy, the confidence and the life she's always wanted.  And maybe Skinny will finally leave her alone.      

This is another one of those YA novels that deal with a serious topic, obesity and gastric bypass surgery in this case. One thing that initially concerned me was that the novel was glamorizing this extremely risky surgery. Many health problems can result from it and death is always a possibility. Ever seemed to be taking quite a major risk just to fit in without taking the time to think it through. As the novel progressed though, the reader sees the side effects of the surgery both good and bad, both physical and emotional. It was very refreshing to be educated about something that we've all heard of but never really knew about.

Ever is a strong character that the reader can relate to.  She's witty and talented but many people can't seem to look past her appearances.  She distances herself through her saracasm and bitterness in order to avoid getting hurt or disappointed by others, even though the only one hurting her is Skinny, the voice inside of her.  Later in the novel, Ever gets accepted into the "popular crowd" after one of the popular girls takes her under her wing.  Even her crush starts taking interest in her.  But through it all, Ever does not change.   

Besides Ever, the other characters were also gems. Theodore "Rat" Wilson, Ever's geeky, logical best friend (with abs of steel), was by far one of my favorite "best friends" in all of YA literature. Their friendship, although fairly predictable in the direction it was going to go in, felt raw and real and was very sweet. Briella, her stepsister, is not your typical one dimensional beautiful popular girl. She has her own backstory and a complex personality. Her relationship with Ever adds more dimension to the novel. And even though Skinny existed only in Ever's mind, she has just as much presence as any other character. As unrealistic as it seems to have a fairy whispering mean things into your ear, I think most girls can relate to having a Skinny in their lives, keeping them from loving themselves and going after what they want. Towards the end of the novel, the reader along with Ever discovers something important and unexpected about Skinny, which sent a good message without getting preachy.

I really liked the tidbits of Broadway references. Ever references songs from musicals like West Side Story, Phantom of the Opera and Wicked to describe her feelings. I knew most of the songs and enjoyed looking up the ones I didn't to get a better idea of what Ever was feeling at the time.

I have two minor issues with this novel. I thought the whole Cinderella thing was a little overdone. Did we really need two stepsisters and a stepmother, the school musical, and all those verbal references to get the idea? Also, I hate the cover. I know the cover shouldn't matter and that Cooner probably did not have much control over it but seriously? That girl on the cover is NOT overweight, not even close to the lower weight Ever manages to reach by the end of the novel. It's wrong that even on a book about accepting yourself no matter what size you are, the cover has a skinny girl on it. What a shame.

Overall, Skinny is a great read that changes your perspective on fat people and body image.

I give it a 3.5/5.

FTC:  This book was requested by me on Netgalley.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #2

Q:  If I could buy two books, they would be Stephen King's 11/22/63 and Cassandra Clare's City of Bones.  I love King and all of his books and this one seems like a very interesting twist on historical events.  It's also pretty expensive so I would want to use a gift card.  I also love YA books and have yet to jump on the City of Bones bandwagon, plus the movie is coming out soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Rape Girl

Title:  Rape Girl
Author:  Alina Klein
Publisher:  namelos
Number of Pages:  126

When high schooler Valerie threw a party in her own house, the last thing she expected was to get raped, especially not by the boy she was crushing on. But she does, and everything changes after she reports the crime.

Almost everyone at school begins shunning her, including her best friend, and sides with her attacker Adam. Her entire family is starting to act differently around her. Valerie starts meeting with a support group for rape victims and becomes involved in a court case. Amidst all these events in the aftermath of the rape, Valerie struggles to understand and make peace with what happened.

Rape Girl  was so heartbreaking to read because of how realistic it was. When I think of the word “rape”, I usually picture dark alleyways and men with knives. I really liked how Klein chose to make the actual rape without much violence or invective, showing the readers that rape doesn’t always have to be violent in order to be a crime. More than often, it happens in familiar settings involving people who one knows.

The way other people reacted to Valerie also made me angry and extremely frustrated. Everyone from strangers to best friends, school faculty to the attacker himself, thought that Valerie was lying. Some even accused her of trying to get attention for herself. I literally felt like punching the best friend Mimi the entire time I was reading. It was awful how almost everyone blamed Valerie for what happened and punished her for reporting the rape and standing up for herself. Like one of Valerie’s teacher says “‘...rape is the only crime in which the victim has to prove her innocence’”.

I also loved how honest Valerie’s feelings were in the aftermath of the rape. She feels all kinds of emotions, anger, depression, confusion. For a while, she even blames herself for the rape, thinking that she had not struggled enough or should have fought back harder against her assailant. After hearing a more graphic account of a rape in a support group session, she feels like she was “less raped” than the other girls and wonders if she ruined her life over nothing.

The writing was very straightforward and simple, narrated from the viewpoint of Valerie. The book itself was a very short read; I finished it in about three hours. I wish it had been a little longer though, mostly because the book was so engaging that I didn't want it to end so quickly.

There is a lot to be learned from this novel. Rape is often trivialized as a crime which may account for the low percentage of the incidents that actually get reported. Society's antiquated treatment of victims could be remedied by more awareness about and openness in discussing rape. Rape is not something to whisper about. It is not a taboo. And because of books like Rape Girl, progress can be made.

I give it a 4/5

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday #1

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

Q. I wanted to be a book blogger because it combines the two things I love the most -- books and writing! I also love writing book reviews and sharing my thoughts on them. If I love a book, I want the WHOLE world to know about it! My friend was the one who started book blogging and she would send me her links every time she posted. She was like "It's summer and we're bored. Might as well do something productive!". I basically learned everything I know about writing book reviews from reading hers!

The free books are also a plus ;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Between You & Me by Marisa Calin

Between You & Me

Title:  Between You & Me
Author:  Marisa Calin
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date:  August 7, 2012
Number of Pages: 256

Holy crap.  What I thought was just going to be typical young adult romance novel (judging from the cover and the title) completely blew me away.  This is what I get for not reading the included plot summary.

16 year old Phyre (yes, that's actually her name, get over it) is entering high school with her best friend.  She is fairly popular, generally liked and has landed on the "Hot List" once.  Just your average teenage high school protagonist.  

Until the new drama teacher Mia comes along and we learn that Phyre has feelings for her.  At first she's confused.  This is a woman she has a crush on!  But the more time goes by, the more it feels right.  It starts out with mild fascination, and grows into a near obsession, with Phyre constantly thinking about Mia and seeing her everywhere.  But while Phyre is sorting out her feelings for Mia, she fails to see that her best friend has feelings for her.  

The book was in a screenplay format which took me a while to get used to but I really ended up liking because of it's tie-in to the plot.  The writing style was very simple and straightforward but scattered jewels of detail here and there placed the reader in Phyre's world.  This made for a quick easy read but the subject matter kept Between You & Me from being light and forgettable.       

The most interesting part of the novel was the best friend.  Since the novel was written in second person, the best friend is referred to as "you".  The first time "you" is mentioned, I assumed that "you" was a guy.  After all, calling someone "you" for the entirety of a novel has romantic connotations which would make "you" a guy.  Right?  After I found out that Phyre had feelings for a female teacher, I started thinking.  There was nothing in the text to suggest that the best friend was for sure, a guy.  "You" could just as easily have been a girl who happened to have a crush on Phyre.  After this thought occurred to me, I felt so dumb.  Why couldn't "you" be a girl?  

I consider myself very open-minded but even in my mind, the default setting of sexual orientation for a book character was telephone-pole straight.  I'm sure that is true for many other readers.  Calin sends the message that this is wrong quite effectively without preaching about it and instead lets the reader find this out for themselves.  And I commend her for that.  

I was surprised since I wasn't expecting this book to be a "coming-out" story.  But at the same time, it's really not.  So we don't know if "you" is a girl or boy.  We don't know exactly what Phyre's sexual orientation is.  We don't even know if her feelings for a woman was just a passing phase or not.  We don't know all these things but in the end, it doesn't matter.  The fact that all these things remain ambiguous shows us just how unnecessary these labels really are.  The only thing that defines Phyre are her feelings.  

Between You & Me is first and foremost a book about falling in love.  It definitely will also bring up discussion about LGBTQ issues.  Calin does a splendid job of making a story about a girl with complicated feelings so deliciously simple.  

I give it a 4.5/5


HOLY COW.  Marisa Calin herself emailed me about this book review and it is now on her website under the "Reviews" section.  You can submit your own reviews too at

Monday, July 9, 2012

10 Hottest Men In Fiction

Move aside Edward Cullen and Christian Grey.  Here are my picks for the hottest fictional men in literature!

1.  Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

I think every girl who has read Pride and Prejudice or has even just seen the movie falls in love with Mr. Darcy.  No joke.  When we first meet him, he is gruff and disagreeable.  But we see his stone exterior start to crack as he starts falling for Elizabeth Bennett, revealing a kind, intelligent and vulnerable man.  Who doesn't want to be the girl who changes a man like that?    

Colin Firth from the 1995 mini-series

Matthew Macfadyen from the 2005 film

2.  Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Jay Gatsby is the ultimate romantic, staying loyal to his love for years, even changing his entire persona just so they could be together.  That entire empire of riches he's built?  Not for his own monetary gain but just so he'll be rich enough for Daisy.  He also throws the best parties and has nice shirts.  What more can you ask for?

Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby in upcoming 2012 film

3.  Rhett Butler (Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell)

Rhett is hopelessly devoted to Scarlett O'Hara, even when she fails to see his depth of affection for her time after time.  He loves Scarlett for her spirit and personality and not just for her beauty.  Time after time, he helps others, including Scarlett while risking his own life.  His devotion and selflessness earns this Southern gentleman a spot on this list.

Played by Clark Gable in 1939 film

4.  Severus Snape (Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling)


If you even have to ask why Snape is on this list, you need to get off this planet (but actually).  He's hopeless devoted to his childhood love.  His love for her has never lost it's intensity, even when unrequited.  Even after her untimely death, he shows his love for her by risking his own life and protecting her son Harry Potter, even though he despises him.  His last action was to look into her eyes, well Harry's that he inherited from his mother.    

5.  Finnick Odair (Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins)

Even though Finnick has all the women in Panem lusting for him, there is only one girl in his life and that is Annie Cresta.  Finnick is devoted enough to make the romantic in me swoon.  He's also humorous and easy-going with just enough flirtatiousness.  And hey, the thought of Finnick wearing nothing but a fishing net gives me tingles in funny places.

James Gaisford, from the Youtube web series, is the PERFECT Finnick

6.  Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

Atticus Finch is honest, has integrity and does the right thing.  He sticks to his beliefs, even when he's standing alone.  He basically represents goodness and truth in the book.  We could have intelligent conversations about morals and philosophy which is always fun.  Atticus is also a good father and that's hot.

Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck, in 1962 film

7.  Gale Hawthorne/Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins)

Since there's been so much discussion of "Team Peeta" and "Team Gale", now both of them are basically the same to me.  I'm Team Bothofthem!  Gale is the perfect best friend.  He's there for you and you can talk to him about anything.  Peeta is the perfect knight in shining armor.  He'll be there to protect you if you need it. Plus he can bake and that's also hot.

Liam Hemsworth as Gale in the 2012 film

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta in the 2012 film

8.  Minho (Maze Runner series by James Dashner)

Minho is one of the most badass characters in Young Adult fiction.  He is the keeper of the Runners in The Maze Runner and takes on a leadership role among the boys in the Glade.  He's described as being muscular.  He's also sarcastic, loyal and the voice of reason, all at the same time.

Derek Mio is how I've always imagined Minho

9. Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables series by L.M Montgomery)

Popular with the girls and knowing it, Gilbert first appears to the reader to be be immature and into himself.  He likes Anne from the moment he sees her but gets her attention the wrong way (making fun of her gingerness... not a good pickup line).  He matures and becomes more selfless, giving up a job so Anne can stay with Marilla.  He can call me "carrots" anytime (even though I'm a brunette).

10. Cedric Diggory (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling)

Cedric Diggory is basically the perfect "nice guy", embodying all the traits of a true Hufflepuff. He plays fair and is modest. He is hard-working and quite the Quidditch player. He is also loyal and a good friend to others, described as "good and kind and brave" by Dumbledore after his untimely death. And come on, Cedric gives me an excuse to swoon over Robert Pattinson without being called a Twihard.

Robert Pattinson as Cedric in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Well there it is!  Did I miss anybody?  Which fictional character (male or female) makes YOU swoon?  Comment below!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tattly Mini Review + My FIRST subscription delivery

"Who says forever is better?"

Eight tattoos and canvas bag :)

Tattly is a company that makes designer temporary tattoos.  You know, like the ones you used to get in party goody bags or win at the arcade except BETTER.  These tattoos are designed by professional designers and illustrators and last 3-5 days.  And at $5 for one set of two tattoos, these are certainly affordable ways to change up your look.  

When I found out about this, I was hooked.  All the designs looked so cute and artsy and I wanted every one of them!  The first tattoo I purchased was this adorable boombox one (  These are just as easy to apply as normal temporary tattoos.  They are so so so cute on!  I got many compliments on how unique and cute the tattoo looked.  Some people (ahem, Mom) almost screamed thinking it was real.  This one lasted 3 days on my upper arm, with only minor signs of wear (with the thinner lines like the boombox antenna lasting only one day).  I took it off after that because I had a work function anyway.  It was hard for me to remove because I tried rubbing it off with water.  It probably would have been easier if I followed the actual instructions on the website which involves peeling it off.  Since each tattoo comes in pairs, I still have another Boombox tattoo that I am waiting to use.  

Then, I saw that they had a subscription service for $60. 8 tattoos every month for six months plus 8 upfront. That makes a total of 56 tattoos. You also get a cute canvas bag to store your tattoos in. What a steal!

Unfortunately, they do not offer the subscription service anymore but they still have gift boxes and sets you can purchase, in addition to the individual tattoos. Check out their website at

Anyhoo, these were the contents of my first delivery.

My favorite tattoos are the "Late Watch", DANCE, pink elephant and popsicles :)

The print on the bag can also be bought as a tattoo, so cute!

0 of 6 deliveries, 6 more to go!

Overall,  these cute and creative tattoos are so perfect for summer, for a pop of art while showing some skin!  The designs combine style and uniqueness.  I can't wait for my next delivery.  I'll keep posting pictures as I get them.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Best Dystopian Novels For Teens (YA and Literary)

It seems like the world is hooked on dystopias. Authors are pumping out novels hoping to match the success of bestsellers like the Hunger Games trilogy which boast fans all around the world. And teens make up a significant portion of those fans. This can be explained by the decreased average age of the protagonists, the fact that the romance is becoming more PG in nature, and the fact that the issues touched upon (plastic surgery, reality television, etc.) are becoming more relevant to the younger generation. This is why I now see a new title on the "New Releases" bookshelf at my bookstore almost every week!

Not that I'm complaining. I am quite the fan of dystopian fiction myself. Dystopian novels address issues in society in ways that actually invoke emotional responses from the target audience and promote discussion. These novels are thought-provoking and bring up new ideas, unintended consequences as well as critiques of the ways things are currently done. As a girl living a fairly privileged life as are many others, I am fascinated by the very things I do not know, things like environmental collapse, totalitarian government, internecine warfare. And recently, this fascination has caused me to go on a "dystopian fiction binge", where I basically read almost every dystopian novel known to humankind.

Here are a few of my favorites in no particular order.    

1984 by George Orwell
It is 1984 and Oceania (modern day London) is ruled by a single party, The Party. Big Brother is the omnipresent leader. Any degree of dissent against party beliefs is quashed and suspected rebels are made to "disappear". Winston Smith is a government worker who beings to harbor thoughts of rebellion against The Party and Big Brother. He also begins a forbidden relationship with a woman named Julia even though intimacy is forbidden. Will Winston escape this totalitarian government or will he suffer the consequences of defying Party in the worst way possible? This novel explores themes like censorship and privacy and explores the consequences of a government with too much power. This book really affected me. It is so thought-provoking and ground-breaking and you need to read this!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games Trilogy #1)
Do I really need to summarize this? This book takes place in post apocalyptic North America, now called Panem which is divided into twelve districts and the Capitol. The evil Capitol implemented the Hunger Games, where one girl and one boy between 12-18 from each district fight to the death in an arena until there is one victor. Katniss Everdeen, from District 12 (also the poorest district) volunteers as a tribute after her little sister is selected. Katniss explores her feelings for fellow D12 tribute Peeta and tries to stay alive, while inadvertently sparking a revolution. The premise is really interesting and the action never stops, incorporating action, violence, romance and politics in one teen-friendly package.  Katniss is also one of the strongest characters I have seen in a YA novel.

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent Trilogy #1)Divergent takes place in Dystopian Chicago, where society is split into five factions, Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), Dauntless (the brave) and Abnegation (the selfless).  At the age of 16 one may choose to switch factions or stay in the one they were born into.  Beatrice "Tris" Prior has been brought up in Abnegation her whole life but doesn't feel like she fits in.  It is revealed that she is divergent, equally suited to Abnegation, Erudite and Dauntless.  She chooses Dauntless.  Before she can become a full member, she needs to pass initiation, a series of physically and mentally brutal tasks.  Along the way, she makes friends and enemies and develops a crush on Four, a Dauntless instructor.  But that is the least of her troubles as tensions are brewing between the different factions, threatening to start a war.  Tris soon discovers that she may be the only one who can stop it.  The writing is engaging and I was never bored.  Roth does an amazing job of setting up this complex and interesting world.  

Unwind by Neal Shusterman (Unwind Trilogy #1)
This is definitely one of the most underrated YA dystopian novels out there.  Unwind takes place in a future society where a compromise over abortion was made; parents may elect to have their kids from the ages 13-18 years "unwound", when their organs and body parts are harvested to be donated.  Technically, the unwound children do not die since their individual parts are still alive.  Connor, Risa and Lev are all scheduled to be wound for differing reasons and by chance, they find each other and try to escape.  On the way, they encounter friends, enemies and traitors as well as dangerous situations.  But together, they may just survive.  This novel was shocking and disturbing (one scene in particular was a little hard to get through).  I loved how it brought up relevant issues like overpopulation, abortion and the sanctity of life.  The book is told in different points of views and each character is well developed with a unique background.  Definitely check this book out!    

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium #1)
In this world, love is a disease called delirium.  Children are taught the dangers of delirium from a very young age.  At 18, one can recieve the Cure and have a spouse assigned to them.  Magdalena "Lena" Haloway, deathly afraid of the delirium, is excited to be Cured.  That is, until she falls in love with Alex, an Invalid living outside the city who had escaped the cure.  Lena's feelings on love change and she starts to question all that she's been taught.  Being a story about love, the relationship between Lena and Alex is at the foreground of all that is happening.  It's kind of similar to Uglies by Scott Westerfield.  An issue I usually have with dystopian novels is believability and I did not have such a problem with this one.  At the beginning of each chapter, Oliver gives the reader peeks into Lena's world quotes from scientific articles, religious texts and even nursery rhymes that all demonstrate how paranoid everyone is about delirium.  Delirium is also very emotional.  This well written book is worth the read!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
With the help of advanced genetic technology and conditioning, World State is happy and most importantly, stable. Natural reproduction is forbidden, with humans being grown in labs. Humans are divided into castes, Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. Embryos in the lower castes are interfered with during development, stunting growth and lowering IQ to ensure that they will fit the menial jobs they will inevitably spend their lives doing. Children are conditioned from a very young age to accept certain beliefs. In this way, everybody is happy with the way their lives are. Or are they? Bernard Marx feels like an outcast and longs for his freedom. After making a trip to the Savage reservation, a place where the previous way of life still thrives, Marx brings a special visitor back which may change everything. This novel brings up many philosophical questions about true happiness versus contentment, about whether knowledge is enlightenment or a merely a burden. It may be a little harder to read for some teens but it is completely worth it.       
The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Maze Runner Trilogy #1) 
The book starts off with Thomas waking up in an empty elevator called the Box.  He has no memories of what happened and where he came from, only his first name.  He finds that he is now in a large enclosed area called the Glade with many other boys and that every 30 days, a new kid is delivered in the box.  The Glade is surrounded by a giant maze.  At the beginning of every day, the doors to the maze open and that's when the appointed "mazerunners" explore and map out the maze.  Every night the doors are closed, and monsters called Grievers come out.  The kids are trying to figure out the maze, hoping it will lead to answers and their freedom.  When a girl appears in the Box days after Thomas, she brings a message.  Everything is about to change and Thomas is a huge part of it.  This book had a very gripping plot that kept me reading.  I really wanted to find out what the mystery behind the maze was.  Dashner delivered suspense and intrigue, making this novel very enjoyable to read!

Well there you go!  Happy reading!