Dec 11, 2011

Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 390
Chapters: 67
Judgement: 10/10
Genre: Romance / Fantasy
Person: first
Tense: past

Blurb (quoted):
“The Cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf – her wolf – watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.
The Heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace… Until now.
The Shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human – and Grace must fight to keep him – even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.”

Summary:
Grace’s friends aren’t only humans. The forest behind her house is home to a pack of wolves – home to a yellow-eyed wolf that watches back. Grace loves that wolf in particular – a wolf she feels she knows.

There’s more to Sam than meets the eye. He’s living a double life: in the summers, he is human; but in the winter he is forced to shift into a yellow-eyed wolf. He lives in among the trees during the cold, spending his time watching a girl who watches him.

But when the hunt is on a supposedly dangerous wolf pack, and Sam is able to become human again – and also able to speak to Grace. It’s the one and only time they’ve been together… and if they aren’t careful, it could be the last.
The fight has begun for love to survive in drastic circumstances.

Judgement:
Well… Only two complaint’s, so let’s get those out of the way first:
The blurb irritates me – I’m glad I didn’t base my choice on the blurb, because if I had I wouldn’t have read this book, thankfully it had been highly recommended. The blurb just… It doesn’t do the book justice at all. (Though admittedly, I don’t think my summary is much better).
The second complain is the ending! It’s not really a complaint of sorts I guess, but the way it end is infuriating – there just has to be more. It doesn’t feel like an ending at all. Which leaves me praying that there is a sequel.
Now that I have that out of the way:
I loved this book! It’s a going on my recommended list. It’s descriptive, it’s intimate, it’s everything I love in a novel. It’s not one of those ones that take half the book to get into, it’s just in the moment and it draws you in.
I didn’t sit there for hours on end, unable to put it down, I admit. But I think that has a lot to do with being busy and unproductive. There were definitely times when I couldn’t stop reading  but it wasn’t like that the whole way through – which I think makes the reading more enjoyable in a way, because it’s not the constant desperate for more and enables you to enjoy it in the moment.
Other than that, I don’t have much critique to give.
The story line is pretty original as far as I know; definitely not your average novel!



EDIT: It looks like there's a sequel! Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater.

Nov 6, 2011

Sucker Punch

Title: Sucker Punch
Genre: action / adventure / fantasy
Rating: PG 13
Opinion: 4/10
Running Time:
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, and Abbie Cornish
Blurb (quoted): “A young girl (Baby Doll) is locked away in a mental asylum by her abusive stepfather where she will undergo a lobotomy in five days' time. Faced with unimaginable odds, she retreats to a fantastical world in her imagination where she and four other female inmates at the asylum, plot to escape the facility. The lines between reality and fantasy blur as Baby Doll and her four companions, as well as a mysterious guide, fight to retrieve the five items they need that will allow them to break free from their captors before it's too late...”

My Summary:
‘Baby Doll’ is admitted to a mental institute by her stepfather, but the institute doubles as a sort of Burlesque house (secretly). But there’s more to it than that: when the music starts playing, the dancer retreats into their own mind to a world they envision. Throughout the course of the movie, ‘Baby Doll’ and some of the other prisoners develop a plan to escape.

Review:
I hadn’t heard anything very good about this movie, but no one said it was particularly bad. Mostly people just told me it was confusing. So, I had to watch it for myself.
Sucker Punch is… well, as everyone has said, a little confusing. It’s like a movie within a movie of another movie (if that even makes sense!).
I didn’t exactly enjoy it, but it was watchable… The rest of my family got bored and left though. I personally believe it was created for guys: a bunch of girls wearing skimpy clothes with guns and weapons? Explosions, war, and hot chicks – a guy’s dream, right? Yet not even my brother liked it.
To be honest, I was highly disappointed by this movie; I’d been looking forward to seeing it, and then it just… yeah, you get the idea.
Plus, VAGUE SPOILER, I didn’t understand why some of the characters died. Like, the first one to die was just… sort of pointless. You may or may not know this, but in a movie everything is supposed to mean something but I don’t understand the reason for this death – it’s like the director just though he needed and introduction to start killing the characters or something.
Lastly, I can’t help but feel that at the end it was just a whole heap of scenes/actions and words that were supposed to make it meaningful. Admittedly, the voice over used at the end was kind of important and was thought provoking, but it just dragged on too long and basically said the same thing in several different ways.
However, I will through in that I didn’t entirely get sick of it – it’s a very watchable movie, and I liked how different characters tied in together in different ways (probably would make more sense if you’ve seen it). And I do rather like how it ended: a very unexpected twist that I never saw coming.
I recommend this as a movie to watch when you’re bored with nothing else to do, but it’s not in any way a favourite.

Oct 31, 2011

Our Fake Relationship, by Belle

Title: Our Fake Relationship
Author: Belle
Target Audience: Mature Teenagers
Chapters: 50
Genre: Romance
Person: First
Tense: Past
Opinion: 7/10

Blurb (quoted):
“Olivia and Zane are just normal teenagers with normal relationships. But they hate each other. When Olivia's boyfriend breaks up with her and Zane's girlfriend breaks up with him, what will happened when they both want revenage and they decide to get into a fake relationship to get their lovers back? But what if Zane and Olivia accidently fall in love in that time? This story is of two teenagers who hate each other and don't get along but things start to heat up between them and their past relationships won't matter, will they?”

My Summary:
Olivia had a good life: trustworthy best friend, amazing boyfriend, rich parents. But when she finds out the love of her life is dumping her for her best friend, Kendra, who he’s been cheating with, everything falls apart.
As if her life hadn’t just become enough of a struggle, Kendra’s now-ex-boyfriend is the biggest pain in the ass she’s ever known – but he wants his girlfriend back and Olivia wants her boyfriend back. That’s when the two enemies cook up a scheme to make their ex’s jealous enough to take them back: they’d have a fake relationship.
But when things start heating up for reasons other than anger, Olivia begins to question who her heart actually belongs to…

Judgment:
I found this book on the website Booksie and fell in love with it; Booksie is a site where aspiring authors can group together, post their work and read other people’s work.
Personally, I would have altered the way some of the scenes were written. I’m not saying I didn’t thoroughly enjoy reading this, because I honestly did, but it’s not the most polished piece of writing – but I whole-heartedly believe this could be a published novel.
It has everything from drama, to romance, to comedy – the number of laughs from this is heart-lightening, but it can just as easily bring tears. The story line goes up and down with twists and turns, just like a REAL romance does. There is at least one scene that requires a mature mind, so don’t say I haven’t given fair warning.
The fact that the two main characters are practically bipolar opposites gives it a spark and I love how the storyline is all nicely linked together – everything is explained well. The characters have depth and strong personalities, which only makes the clashing more enjoyable.
It’s unlike any romance I’ve read before in that it doesn’t have the typical dates and events, but rather ends up so far outside the square you’d never have guessed!
I think it’s one of those pieces I could read again and again, and is well worth your time – if you can stand cheesy lines and gooey scenes.
Hmmm, and she maybe uses a few too many rhetorical questions in the blurb, but I adore the name – the title was what originally caught my attention.


This book is published online at Booksie and I had permission to review her work. You can read it at this web address: http://www.booksie.com/romance/novel/xxbellexx/our-fake-relationship

Oct 16, 2011

The Body Finder, by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Body Finder
Author: Kimberly Derting
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 327
Chapters: 28
Genre: Drama / Thriller
Series: 1-The Body Finder, 2-Desires of the Dead, 3-The Last Echo, (book 4 coming in 2013)
Person: Second
Tense: Past
Opinion: 7½/10

Blurb (quoted):
A girl with a morbid ability
When a murder is committed it leaves a unique echo… on both the victim and the killer. Most people are unaware of these echoes but Violet Ambrose has always been able to sense them.
A serial killer on the loose
Now that Violet’s town is in the thralls of a serial killer the echoes of the local girls he has murdered are haunting her.
And the boy who would never let anything happen to her
The only shining light is Violet’s best friend Jay. She’s started falling for him and his fierce protectiveness gives her hope that he may feel the same…
With the police at a loss, can Violet use her ability to stop the killer or is she in danger of becoming his next victim?
Quotes from the cover:
“The romance and the mystery in The Body Finder were so intense that I didn’t know whether to hold my breath or scream. I did know I wouldn’t be getting anything done until I read whole book” – Melissa Mar, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Lovely.
“You’ll be drawn in by the love story – and kept up all night by the suspense” – Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of Stargazer.

Summary:
Violet has never been your normal girl; she can sense bodies. Everything that’s killed has an echo, which matches the one on their killer.
So when girls start disappearing only to turn up dead, Violet enlists herself to help find the killer – in the process endangering her own life.
But then again, that could work in her favour when it comes to her best friend Jay, who she and every other girl in the school now has the hot’s for. While she’s falling hopelessly for him, all she can do is pretend to be normal and hope he feels the same.

Judgement:
The Body finder took a little bit to get interested in; like a lot of good books, the beginning is slow-going, but believe me: once you reach the drama, your eyes will be glue until the very last page.
I really liked how the author created echoes; it’s an interesting idea. However, there was a little confusion at times, but it just adds more to the story and enhances your need to read more.




I would like to apologize for the briefness of this post. It took me a while to get round to reviewing it and I've read 3 books since!

Oct 15, 2011

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 454
Chapters: 27
Genre: Action / Sci-Fi
Series: 1-The Hunger Games, 2-THG: Catching Fire, 3-THG: Mockingjay (THG = The Hunger Games)
Person: First
Tense: Present
Opinion: 9½/10

Blurb (quoted):
Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.
In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
Quotes from the cover:
“Constant suspense… I couldn’t stop reading” – Stephen King
“Bare-knuckle adventure of the best kind” – The Times
The Hunger Games is amazing” – Stephanie Meyer

Summary:
Katniss has a tough life, caring for her mother and sister with little to no money. But when her sister is chosen to participate in a ‘game’ where you either kill or die, Katniss feels she has no choice but to take her place, though she sees it as nothing more than a death sentence.
Until, that is, she finds out she and Peeta (the other boy from her home chosen) had a great stylist and her mentor is going to sober up to help, and then hope begins to flicker.
But winning (which means living) seems impossible when some of the strongest competitors have it out for her. Katniss is forced to rely on her practiced hunting skills, knowledge of plants, and cunning wit to surive.
Of course, when she finds herself in love with Peeta halfway through, things start to look bad, but the final show down isn’t until after the Hunger Games have ended.
Is there a chance Katniss will make it back to her family?

Judgement:
This book stole my heart, my breath, my attention. Admittedly, it took a few chapters to hook me, but once it had hold, it had ownership over me. I literally didn’t put the book down until the last page – which left me wanting to pick up the second one.
It’s a compelling story, with action, romance, thrill, adventure and everything in between.
There was a little confusion in parts, with a few too many details, but it all worked itself out quickly enough. The only reason it doesn’t have a 10/10 is because if it hadn’t been highly recommended to me, I wouldn’t have read past the first three chapters – not because it wasn’t good, but because it was a little slow going.
What really made me fall in love was the realism; I could literally see the words playing out in film before my eyes as though it were a movie. It was very believable, highly descriptive and left you unable to tear your eyes away with the almost constant drama and panic.
It’s made my list of recommendation and will just about stop your heart.



Coming soon in movie form!

Sep 26, 2011

Let Me In

Title: Let Me In
Genre: Thriller
Rating: R16
Opinion: 7/10
Running Time: 116 minutes
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Richard Jenkins
Blurb (quoted): “From the director of Cloverfield comes Let Me In, a darkly haunting and provocative thriller. Abbey (Chloe Moretz – Kick Ass) is a mysterious 12 year old who moves next door to Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Road), a social outcast who is viciously bullied at school. In his loneliness, Owen forms a profound bond with his new neighbour but he can’t help noticing that Abbey is like no one he has met before. As a string of grisly murders grips his wintry New Mexico town, Owen has to confront the reality that this seemingly innocent girl is hiding a dark secret.”
Quotes: “The best American horror film in the last 20 years” – Stephen King. “A macabre love story… sinks its teeth into you and doesn’t let go” – Nick Dent

My Summary: Owen, a bullied 12 year old boy, has no friends – that is, until Abbey, a similarly lonely and oddly mysterious girl of the same age, moves in next door. Soon after her arrival in town, bodies begin to turn up.
Despite Abbey’s warning that they can’t be friends, Owen pursues a friendship with Abbey and ends up falling in love with her. But once the police start knocking on her door, Abbey knows she must leave town; that she must leave Owen.
But the story doesn’t end there. In a final plan of revenge, Owen is half drowned by four bullies, but thanks to a visit from a certain friend, Owen ends up with a new plan for his future.

Opinion: A great late night movie for those who are looking for a thrill but not a scream.
Review: Having previously read the book ‘Let the Right One In’, I was interested in this movie from the moment I realised it was based on the book, and it sure didn’t disappoint.
Unlike most movie versions of a novel, Let Me In was delightfully similar to the book, not skipping chunks of the novel that are some of the best parts. I could relate just about everything back to the book, and that might just be my favourite thing about the movie.
To be honest, despite the unrealistically fake blood, the special effects in this movie were really awesome and the movie was well-cast, and definitely well planned out.
Thankfully, the movie follows the line of traditional vampires, with nothing appealing or sexy about them – if that’s how you like your vamps, nice and gory and original then this is a movie for you!
The romance thread was quite interesting as well, considering all the events in the movie. If I’m being totally honest, I think the main character, Owen, is… messed up in the head to say the least. It’s actually a slightly twisted story, but definitely enjoyable.

Aug 13, 2011

Blue Bloods, by Melissa De La Cruz

Title: Blue Bloods
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 302
Chapters: 44
Opinion: 6/10
Genre: Fantasy
Series: 1-Blue Bloods, 2-Masquerade, 3-Revelations, 4-The Van Alen Legacy, (Companion Book)-The Keys to the Repository, 5-Misguided Angel, (Novella)-Bloody Valentine, 6-Lost in Time. (Coming soon (Fall, 2012): Wolf Pact, a spin-off of ‘Misguided Angel’)
Person: second
Tense: past

Blurb (quoted): “Schuyler Van Alen has never fit in at Dushesne, her prestigious New York City private school. She prefers baggy, vintage clothes to the Prada and pearls worn by her classmates. But when she turns fifteen, Schuyler’s life changes dramatically. The death of a popular schoolmate haunts her in unexpected ways. And strangest of all, Jack Force, the most popular boy in school, is showing a sudden interest in her.
Once an outcast, Schuyler is thrust into Manhattan’s most exclusive social circle. It’s members are the powerful, the wealthy, and – as Schuyler soon discovers – the unhuman. They are Blue Bloods, an ancient group of vampires, and for centuries they’ve been invincible. Now, something is preying on this elite group, and Schuyler wants to find out the truth. But is she the most vulnerable of them all?
Summary: Everyone seems to fit into a group; somewhere, there is a place you belong. Except for the baggy-dressing Schuyler Van Alen, who is social outcast with Oliver and Dylan at Duchesne, a rich-kid private school in NYC.
Well, the world seems to start spinning in the opposite direction when Schuyler turns 15 and finds out that she’s not even human! Dropped in the deep end of the most popular social circles, Schuyler is one of the few ‘Blue Bloods’ asking questions about a mysterious death that shouldn’t even be possible.
Now it’s up to the newbie to save her race, but Schuyler has a long way to go before she gets any answers. The biggest question of all though, is who can be trusted? When a Blue-Blood-turned-bad could be anyone, Schuyler has limited options, limited time, and unlimited danger to face.
Judgement: Well to be honest, I was a little disappointed. After having the book suggested to me multiple times buy a dozen people, I finally picked up the book. And then put it back down. The entire first half, if not more, of the book is dull and uneventful, I ended up forcing myself to continue due to the promise that ‘it gets better’ from friends.
At least they were right. Somewhere near the middle there, the book has a complete turn around and I couldn’t put it down! Otherwise, my Opinion would be below 5.
Thankfully though, the storyline picks up and by the end of the novel I’m begging for more – and boy am I glad it’s a series!
There isn’t really much else to say on this series; I enjoyed it once I slugged through the slosh (er…?) and I recommend you read it if you’re looking for something different, something that isn’t completely focused on swooning, head-over-heels teenagers.

Aug 12, 2011

Die for Me, by Amy Plum

Title: Die For Me
Author: Amy Plum
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 341
Chapters: 40
Judgement: 9/10
Genre: Romance / Fantasy
Person: first
Tense: past

Blurb (quoted):My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister Georgia and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with our grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies… immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all his kind.
While I’m fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart – as well as my life and my family’s – in jeopardy for a chance at love?”
Summary:
Kate’s parents have just died in a car accident and now she’s struggling to live something that passes for ‘having a life’ in Paris with her sister Georgia and her grandparents. Everything is as you would expect: depressive, at least until a mysterious stranger steps into her life.
Vincent is not what he seems – in fact, he has a dark secret that no one is allowed to know. Of course, this doesn’t stop him from pursuing Kate as a romantic interest, and who can resist a dark, sexy, mystery man?
But when Kate finds that Vincent is in fact not human, it’s an internal emotional struggle on what to do – not to mention she’s still scared to love and lose. Add to the equation mortal danger – or rather, immortal danger, and this Kate’s life becomes a roller coaster.
Could love possibly beat the odds?
Judgement:  First of all, I have to say that I don’t think the blurb on the book portrays the book very well, because I was not expecting what I found printed on the pages. Never the less, that didn’t stop me loving this book! Yes, it’s another great read I’ve managed to find. Not a bad length either.
On the other hand, it was a bit cheesy and… unlikely? For example, Kate tends to go “Oh, Vincent!” a lot, and it sort of got on my nerves. But hey, if you’re into cheesy romance, this is for you! Also quite sappy, and not a book for anyone opposed to swooning teenagers.
It was well written and the ideas were well conveyed. The imagery is amazing, half the time after reading it I wondered if it was book or movie!
A range of personalities, from the stubborn party-girl Georgia, to the stern and strict ‘Jean-Baptiste’ (J.B.); the book is highly believable.
I recommend for swooning romantics!
Oh, and another note: I love the cover of this book! I didn’t even read the blurb after plucking it off the shelf, I was sold instantly just by the cover and I was not disappointed.

Aug 8, 2011

Sahara

Title: Sahara (Based on the novel by Clive Cussler)
Genre: Adventure
Rating: M
Opinion: 6/10
Running Time: 119 minutes
Directed by: Breck Eisner
Starring: Steve Zahn, Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz

Blurb (quoted): “'There is a legend of a treasure that claims all who seek it…'
Scouring the ocean depths for treasure-laden shipwrecks is business as usual for a thrill-seeking underwater adventurer (Matthew McConaughey), and his wisecracking buddy (Steve Zahn). But when these two cross paths with a beautiful doctor (Penelope Cruz), they find themselves on the ultimate treasure hunt. Soon the three are in for the ride of their lives as they cross the blistering North African terrain, pitting their skills against ruthless enemies bent on world destruction.
In a race against time, this trio of unlikely heros must unravel the clues, solve the mystery and save the world in ‘… a delirious escape into adventure-serial heaven’ the whole family can enjoy.”
Quotes: Superb entertainment, thrilling!” – Daily Mirror. “Cracking adventure!” – Daily Star.

My Summary: Dirk Pitt’s everyday life is treasure hunting, so when he convinces the Admiral to let him borrow a yacht to go in search of the ultimate lost treasure in North Africa (a supposedly rare coin to be found on an ancient ship), he isn’t expecting a whole lot of guns, shooting, kidnapping, and law-breaking to happen – but that’s exactly what he and his mate Al get. Along the way, Dirk and Al meet the beautiful Eva Rojas, a doctor investigating a ‘plague’, and soon all three of them are in it together to stop a mad man from poisoning the entire ocean.

Opinion: An exciting film, worthy of its category, Sahara will keep your eyes glued to the screen.  Well filmed, though with some unbelievable stunts, it’s an almost-realistic movie that’s fun to sit and watch with the family.
Review: Well, I must first point out right here and now, that I had very little idea what exactly the film was about due to the altogether cruddy blurb on the case. It doesn’t really tell you anything at all about the movie, which really got on my nerves. Watching it anyway, I found myself drawn into the film – so much that I got in trouble for not realising someone was talking to me! There’s a mountain of drama, action, and adventure packed into this film, definitely one to watch if you‘ve seen and liked National Treasure or Fool’s Gold.
Despite a few confusing moments, I found the film highly enjoyable, worth watching again, and humorous at times. All in all, a good movie.

Make it Happen

Title: Make it Happen
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG 13
Opinion: 7/10
Running Time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Darren Grant
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Tessa Thompson, Riley Smith
Blurb (quoted):Embarking on a journey to fulfil her dreams as a dancer, a young girl discovers a new style of dance that will prove to be the source of both conflict and self-discovery.”
“A bleak drama about a small-town girl who migrates to the Windy City, where she hopes to build a career as a respected dancer. Instead, her life spirals hopelessly downward and she ends up working at a burlesque club to pay the bills and support herself.”

My Summary: Lauryn Kirk has always dreamed of dance and studied for it her whole life despite the death of her parents and being a small town girl. She gets an audition at a dance school in Chicago, but after being told she wasn’t sensual enough and lying to her brother about getting in, Lauryn stumbles into a job behind the scenes at Rubies, a burlesque style club – but she doesn’t stay back-stage for long. Soon enough, she’s dancing on the stage with the other girls, and even manages to land a boyfriend.
But when her brother finds out the truth and gives her a guilt-trip, she moves back home to help him with his financial chrisis. Luckily, Lauryn finds the courage to go to a second audition and fights her way through this time, impressing the judges.

Opinion: Cute, sexy, and inspiring. Make it Happen is all about fulfilling dreams, dancing and life.
Review: I personally love this movie, but that’s a little biased I guess considering I love almost all dance movies. The storyline, admittedly, has been done a good few times: small town girl moves to the big city chasing dreams, but things go wrong, and you know the rest.
Even so, it’s still an enjoyable movie and I recommend it to anyone who loves dance. There’s bite, there’s romance, there’s drama, and it all adds up to one great movie.
If you liked Coyote Ugly, Burlesque, Honey, or even Step Up, then this is a movie for you!

Jul 19, 2011

Nightligh: A Parody

Title: Nightlight A Parody
Author: The Harvard Lampoon
Target Audience: young adult
Pages: 154
Chapters: 11
Genre: comedy / parody
Person: first
Tense: past
Opinion: 7/10

Blurb (quoted):About three things I was absolutely certain.
First, Edwart was most likely my soul mate, maybe.
Second, there was a vampire part of him – which I assumed was wildly out of his control – that wanted me dead.
And third, I unconditionally, irrevocably, impenetrably, heterogeneously, gynecologically, and disreputably wished that he had kissed me.

And thus Belle Goose falls in love with the mysterious and sparkly Edwart Mullen in the Harvard Lampoon’s hilarious send-up.
Pale and klutzy, Belle arrives in Switchblade, Oregon, looking for adventure, or at least an undead classmate. She soon discovers Edwart, a super-hot computer nerd with zero interest in girls. After witnessing a number of strange events – Edwart leaves his chips untouched at lunch! Edwart saves her from a flying snowball! – Belle has a dramatic revelation: Edwart is a vampire. But how can she convince Edwart to bite her and transform her into his eternal bride, especially when he seems to find girls so repulsive?
Complete with romance, danger, insufficient parental guardianship, creepy stalkerlike behaviour, and a vampire prom, Nightlight is the uproarious tale of a vampire-obsessed girl, looking for love in all the wrong places.”
Summary: Belle Goose is a highly-popular though extremely quirky teenager obsessed with vampires. Edwart Mullen is a super-nerd and the butt of every joke at school that’s never kissed a girl. A perfect match! After moving to Switchblade, Oregon, Belle witnesses a range of odd activity performed by Edwart, and soon comes to the conclusion that Edwart Mullen is a vampire. Edwart Mullen is anxious to please Belle, her being his first girlfriend and all, and goes along with all her delusions.
Then they meet true vampires, Joshua and Vicky, which is when the truth comes out and Belle ends up attending a vampire prom with Josh.
But in an explosion of revelations, Belle realises that even though he isn’t a vampire, she’s in love with Edwart.
Judgement: this was a fun, though short, read and I enjoyed every moment of it. Admittedly, it wasn’t quite as funny as I’d expected and there were limited occasions that actually made me laugh out loud, but it was definitely a highly amusing book – great for boosting your mood! It’ll at least keep you in giggles.
There isn’t really much else to say about this book… It was easy to read, except a little confusing in a few places, but still understandable. It’s right up my alley, considering (I regret to say I may lose a few readers here) I am not a fan of Twilight, and this book, though ridiculous, fleshes out and over exaggerates Twilight’s flaws.
Definitely an entertaining – however short – read.

Quotes from the book:
“I walked towards the seat, circling my hips and raising my eyebrows rhythmically like an attractive person.”
“First, I told Tom and Lucy that Edwart saved me from a snowball. They weren’t impressed. So I started saying Edwart saved me from a rock with snow around it, and, later, I started saying he saved me from an avalanche. One day, I said that Edwart ran with superhuman speed, stopping a car that was about to hit me with his superhuman strength.”

Jul 16, 2011

Sabriel, by Garth Nix

Title: Sabriel
Author: Garth Nix
Target Audience: Young Adult
Pages: 496
Opinion: 10/10
Genre: Fantasy
Type: Fiction
Number: First in the series
Series: 1-Sabriel, 2-Lirael, 3-Abhorsen
Person: Second
Tense: Past



Blurb (quoted): "Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorsen, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face to face with her own hidden destiny."
Summary: Sabriel is only a teenage girl, but her heritage and untimely events force the girl to travel ‘across the wall’ from Ancelstiere into The Old Kingdom, a world of magical creatures and ‘the charter’, which makes up all that is. Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, and upon her father’s disappearance must take his place. The abhosren is a necromancer (someone who may walk in death and return to life at will) who uses the charter (magic) to keep The Old Kingdom safe from evil creatures.
Sabriel finds her father’s house and his talking cat: Mogget, a forced-servant of all abhorsen’s, who helps her to try find her missing father. Along the way, Sabriel comes to learn how to use her new bandolier of bells (magic bells to control the dead) and the danger her life is now in, for The Old Kindom is basically run by the dead! She also happens upon and saves the last remaining descendant of the royal blood line (therefore, the heir to the throne): Touchstone.
She soon finds herself facing a great evil: one of the greater dead, Kerrigor, who happens to be the enemy of Touchstone.
Sabriel, Mogget and Touchstone are forced to face an army of dead – with the help of her dead-but-temporarily-brought-back-to-life father.
“Does the walker choose the path, or does the path choose the walker?”
Judgement:  Well-written and enticing, Sabriel is a great read for all fantasy lovers. Definitely one of my favourite books now, it kept me glued the whole way through and left me desperate for the next book in the series.
The only thing I can complain about is that it has so much detail and factors that it’s incredibly hard to sum up and I don’t like the summary I’ve written. Despite this, the book is incredibly easy to read, remember, and follow – except – for me at least – when it comes to the seven names and uses of ‘the bells’, which I found hard to remember. And I’m very grateful for the map in the front of the books; it is the first novel with a map where I’ve actually used it and found it interesting to follow the characters journey.
It’s a truly magical book that, despite the danger, makes any reader want to visit! The story seems almost real and the writing pulls you into the moment, and the real world around you just seems to fade away.
My favourite aspect would have to be how magic is restricted to The Old Kingdom, and ‘across the wall’, in Ancelstiere and further it is a normal, perfectly average world.
Some may think it’s quite a long book, but believe me, if it were any shorter then it just wouldn’t be as good; there is no way to shorten it and I wouldn’t want to! I wished it would go on and on.
Definitely a favourite book, and one I highly recommend!


Characters: deep, well developed characters are what make a story, and Sabriel sure has it! With a range of personalities, conflicts, dramas, and friendships, it’s a great story. There weren’t too many characters, there weren’t too many details; they were well described and definitely evolved through the story, though perhaps it could have used another character continuously present to antagonize?
Effect: If you want to be emotionless and not get attached, this isn’t for you. The characters seem to become your friends and the storyline lifts and crushes your heart with the ups and downs of the storyline – it’s impossible to remain indifferent.






NOTE: Sabriel MAY be coming soon in movie form!

Beastly

Title: Beastly
Genre: Romance / Fantasy
Rating:
PG
Opinion: 9/10
Running Time: 83 minutes
Directed by: Daniel Barnz
Written by: Daniel Barnz (screenplay), Alex Flinn (novel)
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen, Neil Patrick Harris, Lisa Gay Hamilton
Music by: Linda Cohen
Budget: $20 million
Blurb (quoted): “Once upon a time in a kingdom long ago and far away there was a fairytale called ‘Beauty and the Beast'.
BEASTLY is here and now.
Seventeen year old Kyle (Alex Pettyfer I Am Number Four) is the spoilt, shallow and incredibly popular prince of his high school kingdom. Entirely captivated by his own physical appearance, Kyle foolishly chooses Kendra (Mary Kate Olsen The Wackness), a Goth classmate rumoured to be a witch, as his latest target for humiliation. Unfazed by his cruel behaviour, Kendra decides to teach him a lesson… she transforms him into someone as unattractive on the outside as he is on the inside.
Now cursed, Kyle has one year to find someone who can see past the surface and love him, or he will remain ‘beastly’ forever. Will and an unassuming classmate he never noticed named Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens High School Musical) be his best chance to prove that love is never ugly?”
Quotes: “Witty, warm, well cast and often wickedly funny…” – Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel.

My Summary: A self-absorbed rich-boy, seventeen year old Kyle gets what he deserves when he is cursed after playing a nasty trick on a rumoured witch from his school. Given only a year to find someone who isn’t as shallow as him and can love him despite tattoos, scars, and metal in his face, Kyle finds himself falling for a girl he’d never before paid attention to: Lindy, a girl with a druggie father and on a scholarship. The problem is trying to make her fall for him – and what happens when she finds out that “Hunter” (a fake name) is actually the jerk from her school.

Opinion: a tragically beautiful film, Beastly is a lovely romance. Well scripted with good actors and actresses, it’s a touching story that draws you in. It plays your emotions, creates hate and pity and love for different characters. It’s not a story for ‘sap-haters’. Definitely enjoyable, and worth watching over again.
Review: as usual, let’s get the statement out of the way: I REALLY loved this movie. Being out-casted myself at school, I can sympathise with this story. My favourite character would have to be Kendra, the witch; she has morals and wits, is never fazed, always has a come-back, and doesn’t give a damn what people think about her. Unfortunately, she isn’t a main character in the movie; I would’ve liked to see more of her.
I especially loved the tattoo’s Kyle was ‘cursed’ with; I personally thought they were beautiful – which is why I call it ‘tragically beautiful’ I guess.
Furthermore, it’s a film about learning to care and ‘walking a mile in someone else’s shoes’. I’ve always believed it takes disaster to change who someone is – whether for better or worse.
Over all, I suggest you get off the internet and go see this movie – I’d make it a Must See.

Jul 14, 2011

A Bridge to Wiseman's Cove, by James Moloney

Title: A bridge to Wiseman's Cove
Author: James Moloney
Type: Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Opinion: 7 / 10
Blurb:
Carl was afraid to breathe. The weight of the bird and it's predatory gaze was enough to freeze him here forever.
'Now Carl set it free.'

Carl Matt hasn't got much. There's just his younger brother Harley and the old red barge to Wiseman's Cove. And nothing's going to take those away from him.

He's an awkward, limp fifteen year old.
Not the Hero type. Yet Carl has become one of the most memorable characters in Australian literature.

Response: This is a really sad novel. I found it... well, enjoyable isn't the right word considering the morbid theme, but it is definitly a good book and a great read.
I normally wouldn't have read this book, because I prefer dark, mysterious, romance... But I'm glad I did - I can thank my english teacher for that (thanks Mrs Valentine!). It takes a lot for a book to keep me interested, but I was surprised to find that I struggled to put the book down.
The book has a sad theme all the way through, with emotion and everything to make you cry. I didn't like the ending, because it was probably the sadest part of all but it was a good ending.