Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“You're brilliant,"he says."But you're a fool to stay with someone like me."
I close my eyes at the touch of his hand."Then we are both fools.” 

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who’s just walked in to his band’s show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City—and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.
MY TAKE:
I've been meaning to read this book for so long, but it's only recently that I was able to borrow a copy.

In Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Nick and Norah meet in a club after Nick sees his ex and asks Norah to pretend to be his girlfriend. What started as a pretend relationship eventually progresses into something so much more.

I haven't seen the movie, either, but I do know that it stars Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. After reading the book, I can say that I think Kat Dennings is the perfect Norah. Norah is like a younger version of Kat's character in Two Broke Girls. I really enjoyed reading Norah's thoughts because even though she can be neurotic and sweary, she's also funny, sarcastic and realistic. I wasn't too sure about Michael Cera as Nick, at first. I imagined someone a little more emo-looking. As the book progressed, though, I started to see how it could work. They have the same awkwardness and uncertainty about them.

The story itself was a bit like a teenage version of Before Sunrise. There's a lot of talking and exploring and just getting to know each other. There were moments that I really enjoyed, particularly those that took place while they're exploring Midtown.

I kinda wish there were just a tad bit more music and playlists here. I was sort of hoping to discover more music I would like, but majority of the focus was on Nick's songwriting, which I couldn't really appreciate because there are only words and no melody.

THE GOOD:

  1. Nick and Norah's dilemmas are realistic.
  2. Norah is funny, sarcastic and just the right dash of neurotic.
  3. You feel like you're exploring Manhattan as well. 

THE BAD:

  1. Nick can be so dramatic and overly emo at times. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“It was about the feeling, you know? She caused it in me, but it wasn't about her. It was about my reaction, what I wanted to feel and then convinced myself that I felt, because I wanted it that bad. That illusion. It was love because I created it as love.” 
READ IT IF:

  1. You're straight-edge.
  2. You like books wherein there's more talking and self-exploration than action.
  3. You like characters that are very much like regular teenagers. 

RATING:
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

FROM NETGALLEY:



Gabby Duran and the Unsittables by Elise Allen, Daryle Connors
Nick and Tesla's Special Effects Spectacular: A Mystery with Animatronics, Alien Makeup, Camera Gear, and Other Movie Magic You Can Make Yourself! by Bob Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review: Belle: A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" (Once Upon A Time Fairytales) by Cameron Dokey


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters' awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one's true love.
During a fierce storm, Belle's father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood—and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.

MY TAKE:
After being somewhat disappointed by the Mulan story in this series, I decided to begin this book with only moderate expectations.

In Belle: A Retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", Belle has two older and very beautiful sisters. She feels she is the plain one and that she doesn't live up to her name. By a twist of fate, she is forced to live with a Beast whose only goal is to find out what the Heartwood Tree will reveal.

This book was a pleasant surprise. I only know the Disney version of the story, so a lot of the elements were new to me. The more familiar elements were fine, as well, but it was nice that this felt almost like a different story.

I decided to take a quick peek at the original story via the Beauty and the Beast entry in Wikipedia. This retelling is certainly kinder on the sisters, as while Celeste can be a prickly character sometimes, April is a very nice person. The Heartwood Tree is a new addition as well, and a good idea, as it brings something else to the table, in terms of conflict and backstory.

While this story is ultimately a love story between Belle and Beast, it also shows a beautiful story about sisters.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are enough new elements here to make it worth the read.
  2. The interactions between the sisters are realistic.
  3. It has positive messages. 

THE BAD:

  1. The ending is a bit corny. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the Disney version.
  2. You like stories with positive messages.
  3. You like stories about sisters. 

RATING:
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: George's Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl


SUMMARY FROM AMAZON:
A taste of her own medicine.
George is alone in the house with Grandma. The most horrid, grizzly old grunion of a grandma ever. She needs something stronger than her usual medicine to cure her grouchiness. A special grandma medicine, a remedy for everything. And George knows just what to put into it. Grandma's in for the surprise of her life—and so is George, when he sees the results of his mixture!

MY TAKE:
I picked up this book mainly because I had a good feeling about this based on the cover.

In George's Marvelous Medicine, George's grandmother is a mean person. One day, while alone with his grandmother, George decides to create a concoction that will make his grandmother a more pleasant person. His experiment, however, results in something even remarkable.

 It's so nice when you pick up a book you think you will like and it doesn't disappoint you. George's Marvelous Medicine was definitely entertaining.

George's grandmother is a rude, bossy person, and right away, I disliked her and cheered for George. George's idea of creating a new medicine for his grandmother was cute, although the way he went about it was not something I'd be happy about if I was his mother. I actually liked his mother. She was the voice of reason in their household. George's father, on the other hand, was sort of greedy and nutty, so I wasn't a fan.

What I really liked a lot about this book was how it was absurd, funny and magical, but it starts from a realistic point so it's easier for kids to think that this could be possible. Hopefully, they don't imitate George, though, because his method and ingredients are definitely not safe.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a funny, light read.
  2. Kids will be able to relate to George combining numerous ingredients to create a potion of some sort.
  3. The ending is happy. 

THE BAD:

  1.  Some kids may try to imitate George.

READ IT IF:

  1. Your kid likes mixing random ingredients together.
  2. Your kid likes silly books that stem from a believable point.
  3. Your kid likes to experiment.

RATING:
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: Angry Birds Comics Volume 2: When Pigs Fly by Paul Tobin and Isa Python


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The adventures continue in these charming, all-ages comics featuring who else, the Angry Birds!
MY TAKE:
I enjoyed the first book in this series so I was excited to read this book.

In Angry Birds Comics Volume 2: When Pigs Fly, readers are treated to the crazy antics of the angry birds and bad piggies for a second time.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and if you're a fan of the game or the cartoons, I'm sure you'll like this book as well. The book is colorful and the main Angry Birds characters are here, so if you play the game or watch the show, you'll have no trouble recognizing the characters. The characters each have distinct personalities, which was fun to see. My favorite, of course, are the three blue birds because they were childlike and cute.

The book contains nine stories. Three of the those stories are focused on the Bad Piggies. I particularly liked the one wherein the piggies try to learn how to use a trampoline to counteract the birds' slingshot.

Of the stories focused on the birds, my favorite was the one wherein they all drank a blue juice that had an interesting effect on their speech.

Thanks to NetGalley and IDW Publishing for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The stories were funny.
  2. The characters had distinct personalities.
  3. The artwork is perfect for the Angry Birds. 

THE BAD:

  1.  I wanted even more stories.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like the Angry Birds game.
  2. You like watching the Angry Birds cartoon.
  3. You wonder what the birds and pigs get up to outside of the game.

RATING:
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review: The Second Guard by J. D. Vaughn


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ages 10 and up
In the peaceful realm of Tequende, all second-born children at the age of fifteen must journey to the Alcazar to fulfill the mandate of the Oath of Guilds. There they train to earn a place among the queen's legendary Second Guard, or work as indentured servants.
Talimendra has always wanted to join the Guard, but there are dark rumors in the queendom that she may not be ready for. Rumors that whisper of greed, traitors, and war.
There is very little time and too many unanswered questions, but one thing is for certain: if there is a traitor among the Second Guard, then everyone-including the queen-is in grave danger.

MY TAKE:
While I wasn't smitten with this book, I think this is the beginning of a series that's one to watch.

In Second Guard, Tali goes to Alcazar to fulfill her obligation to become a pledge and hopefully become part of the Queen's Second Guard. The training is hard and brutal but she is able to bear it thanks to her friends. However, all is not well in their peaceful kingdom and Tali and her friends may find themselves at the heart of something quite sinister.

The best comparison I can give of this story to others already on the market is that it's a Mayan version of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley living in a world and story imagined and written by Tamora Pierce. There's no magic here, though, and Tali is the focus of the story, not the other boys.

I'm a fan of Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small and Song of the Lioness series so I quite liked this. There's a lot of training scenes and an epic battle, which is right up my alley.

Tali is a tough girl in her own right, although she can be impulsive and emotional, which doesn't always serve her well. I also liked her two friends Chey and Zarif. I wasn't too fond of Brindl, though.

As far as plot twists go, a few of the more important ones were a surprise, although there were also a number which I was able to guess easily. Mostly it's because I was able to see immediately which pairings appeared to be endgame, which meant that I took certain things with a grain of salt. Of course, as with the Protector of the Small series, there's not much in the way of romance here, just a few moments here and there.

I am curious to see what happens in the next book. If the plot twists are more unpredictable than the ones in this book, then this could be the next big series.

Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The battle scenes are epic.
  2. Their culture is interesting.
  3. Tali can hold her own in training and in battle.

THE BAD:

  1. Some of the plot twists are easy to predict. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You like Tamora Pierce's books.
  2. You like heroines who can fight.
  3. You like love interests who are warriors. 

RATING:
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