Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: The Looking Glass Wars

Author: Frank Beddor
Publisher: Puffin (Penguin)
Release Date: August 21st 2007
Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders 

The Myth: Alice was an ordinary girl who stepped through the looking glass and entered a fairy-tale world invented by Lewis Carroll in his famous storybook.
The Truth: Wonderland is real. Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss' parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, must flee to our world through the Pool of Tears. But in the pool Alyss and Hatter are separated. Lost and alone in Victorian London, Alyss is befriended by an aspiring author to whom she tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Yet he gets the story all wrong. Hatter Madigan knows the truth only too well, and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts

Princess Alyss
It has been a very long time since I've sat down and read a thicker sized book with such intensity in such a short amount of time. It's been even longer that I've gone to bed thinking about the book and ended up dreaming about it.

These things are all good when it comes to books, for me. It means I was engrossed by it's story and liked the characters enough.

When I was a kid, there were two things that I really loved - The Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland. Sure, I liked lots of other things too, but those two have stuck with me and I haven't out grown them.

Alice in Wonderland is an amazing story and it's one that I don't mind having interpreted and re-done. There are so many fans of Alice in Wonderland that call themselves true to the story and thus hate interpretations like The Looking Glass Wars. I hardly find them true to the story then, because you have to have an imagination to like the story and that imagination can't be limited to keeping the story pure. That imagination can't be limited to shunning the creative works of other people.

That being said, I loved The Looking Glass Wars. The world was so intriguing, the characters so wonderful, and the story line so ingenious. The thing I love the most, were the little pieces of the story. The little things that were great interpretations of modern ideas or things from the original Alice in Wonderland.

Queen Alyss
Speaking of little things, the book also included a small section of high quality pictures of some of the main characters! So cool! These pictures are interspersed throughout the review. ;]

Alyss Heart was the daughter of Queen Genevieve who ruled Wonderland at the beginning of the novel. Here we see the picture of the White Queen. Genevieve's sister, Redd, being the Red Queen. The chessmen and the cards are even the same to each side, mainly. Hatter Madigan, and obvious spin off of The Mad Hatter, was a very interesting character. Stoic in nature, I found him to be on of my favourites. His duty only is what kept the whole story going. In the end, I felt that he should have had more recognition, because without him there would be now Queen Alyss. There would only be Queen Redd which would have made for a rather boring book!

Now, for the vengeful and handsome, Dodge Anders. He was a royal bodyguard in the palace and star 

Hatter Madigan
crossed lover to Alyss before the world was destroyed. Then he became the scarred vigilante, and begged the heart of every reader. Who didn't feel for the man? Of course, I was so eagerly awaiting Alyss' and his eventual relationship, but I'll have to wait for the sequel to see it.

As a whole, I loved the story. Yes, it had some downfalls, but nothing worth mentioning. It's a great book for fans of Alice or not, but only for those with a vivid imagination. You can even lend it to your Puritan friend to read and there shouldn't be any harm.(I have one of those friends...she refused to read The Iron King, so that should tell you how clean I remember this book to be.) Now, why are you still here reading this? You should be off reading the book now. ;]

 If you've already the series or are really interested in it, go check out it's official website! [Link is above.] You can actually play an online game (and it's pretty legit!), download the book's musical score and soundtrack, see official and fan art, and even upload your own. There's contests and other goodies too! I'd highly reccommend checking it out. I'm love with it myself!
I give it five sporks!

P.S. Yes, my review formats have been changing, and they might continue to change for just a little bit. My last two versions looked nice, but I wasn't able to link to places to buy or websites for the books/movies...stuff like that. But the changes should settle down soon. ;]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Stuff: IMM & Follow Friday

Hey guys! So, I've decided to join in on all the IMM & Follow Friday fun a lot of blogs take part in, and I wanted to let you all know.

If you don't know what IMM is, well..let me tell you. IMM is short for In My Mailbox and it was started by Kristi at The Story Siren. Basically, you update on a scheduled basis (create-your-own) or non-scheduled basis with new book you've acquired. They can be in the mail, books you bought, or checked out at the library. Some people do vlogs of what they've gotten and other pictures. I might have a combo of the two, since I don't always have the time for a vlog. However, I thought it would be a good thing to join into.

Secondly, I've also decided to join in with Follow Friday! This was created by Rachel at Paranormal Junkee. It's a great way to reach out to other blogs and create friends through the blog-o-world. (Yes, I just made that up.) You feature someone, follow that someone, and the same happens for you! It's a win-win for both bloggers and followers!

So, what do you think? Sound like fun stuff? I think so. :]

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

I don't know what took me so long to read this, but I'm glad I finally picked it up!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard includes about five short stories that were made to entertain young wizards and witches in the world of Harry Potter. Two of these stories were ones that were mentioned a couple times throughout the actual series; Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump, and The Tale of the Three Brothers. Each tale is followed by commentary from Albus Dumbledore.

I enjoyed reading the stories, though I didn't quite care for the commentary. I also didn't understand Dumbledore's stand on The Tale of the Three Brothers. We're led to believe that the Deathly Hallows are real (in the books) and that Dumbledore was apart of this legend. However, he denies the existence of these items and talks about how ludicrous the idea is of thinking they exist. Perhaps this was something he would have written in case anybody read his notes before he died/before the Deathly Hallows came to light. Perhaps it was his way of protecting the items. After all, what logical wizard or witch would deny the words of Dumbledore? (Though he is known to be sly...)

I loved how the net proceeds from the book went to charity to help young children. It made the stories feel more like...kid stories. The way they should. I would have liked to see more of Beedle's tales, since his book was obviously bigger in the movie. ;D I also would have liked to see the Deathly Hallows symbol 'sketched' onto the title page of The Tale of the Three Brothers.

However, it was an enjoyable light read, but I wouldn't read it to children. ;D

I give it four Sporks!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

J.K. Rowling Announces Pottermore

On the 23rd, author J.K. Rowling announced what the secretive project of Pottermore was!

My thought of an online store exclusively for Harry Potter wasn't that far off, actually. Rowling stated in her announcement that it'll be a "fun, safe" and exciting place for fans of Harry Potter to come and enjoy. She'll be sharing things about the HP world that she'd kept to herself for years. Apparently we're also able to take part in the story and become a student at Hogwarts! It seems to be taking the form of an online game...(it's powered by Sony's make.believe, so it's highly plausible.)

Also, we'll be able to finally buy eBooks of the Harry Potter series! Wooo! I know I'm excited. How about you?

If you haven't watched the video, I've embedded it below. ;D Also, go check out the Pottermore website for a chance to enter early. Or, if you're not interested in entering early, you can submit your email for a notification when sign up is ready in October.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: I Am Number Four

I've been waiting  forever to watch this movie! I'm so glad I did. Now, I won't bore you with stories or anything extra, so I'll just get to the point here....

It was a movie packed with awesome. The action sequences were AMAZING! Good heavens, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The digital graphics in the movie are outstanding. The light coming from his hands, Number Six's sweet moves, and then...the burning of the football field. Oh. My. Gosh. They did such an amazing job! It looked like the apocalypse had come, or something! Just...loved it.

Dianna Agron
The story did drag on a bit, and it was an awkward beginning, but other than that, the story was good. I absolutely love the actress they picked to be John's girlfriend. She fit her wonderfully. I also love the character. She's just like me, so of course I love her! :D

 Now, Alex Pettyfer...he's pretty amazing. I loved his acting and I he's just downright hot. The most interesting character though, was Henri. Timothy Olyphant is such an interesting looking person and he was a great choice to cast.
Alex Pettyfer

However, the bad guys of the story? They completely failed. The Mogadorians(sp?) were supposed to come off as completely menacing and hideous creatures. They were the laughing stock. As for the romance...too much like Twilight to suit my taste.

Now, I'm eagerly waiting for the sequel now, which really needs to hurry up and hit the theatres! BUT....(yes, the but) appears that the sequel to I Am Number Four -- supposedly titled The Power of Six -- is now 'shelved'. Many movie sources say that the writer doesn't want to produce a sequel to this. So why leave such a cliffhanger? I have no clue. But I DO think the movie is better than a lot of critiques out there.

What are your thoughts?

I give it four sporks!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Hey Harry Potter fans! If you're not on Twitter or active on MuggleNet you may not have heard about the newest topic keeping us abuzz. It's a thing called, Pottermore!

J.K. Rowling has a planned announcement for June 22nd. It looks to be about the new Pottermore, since the design for the countdown to her announcement is the same as the Pottermore website. Check it out here.

MuggleNet is keeping us updated on thoughts on what Pottermore could be, interviews with the actors on their thoughts, and more. Swing on by their Twitter or website to catch up! :D

A friend of mine thinks it's a fansite for Harry Potter fans. I've heard ideas such as a new publishing house or a prequel to the series! I'm hoping it's a West Coast version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. XD Though, I know that's highly improbable.

So, what are YOUR thoughts on what Pottermore could be?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: Cryer's Cross

Title: Cryer's Cross
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 8, 2011

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

I tend to go for books with one of two things; a topic or subject I love or am obsessed with. Or, something I can relate to.
I saw Cryer's Cross on WORD for Teens' website, and Nicki was kind enough to send it to me to read. The first thing that caught me was the line on the cover, "The smaller the town, the bigger the secrets."
See, I live in a small town, and I know this to be SO incredibly true. And I own a desk just like the one on the cover, so I had to read it.

Then, there's the fact that the description sounded delicious. Oh boy, did the book live up to that. The plot was so incredibly wonderful, if at times a little predictable, and I couldn't put the book down. I read this book for an hour straight.

The story was so creepy! I do think areas of the story, as well as characters, should have been fluffed out more. However, McMann writes shorter than norm. stories, and I think it was left out for the sake of simplicity. I would have liked to know more about Jacian, more background about Cryer's Reform School for Delinquent Boys.

I loved Kendall; she's OCD to the extreme. It was interesting to see the story through her eyes. She couldn't stop obsessing over the kidnappings, or trying to find blame in Jacian. And who wouldn't? He was such a jerk at the beginning!

The relationship between her and Jacian developed slowly and ended up realistic and I loved that! (I dislike mushy, fast relationships.) Nico was cute, but he was overboard. And Kendall didn't lower her standards for him, which made her rock even more.

The creeptastic factor of the book was super high, and I think that's what kept me reading. Cryer's Cross is definitely full of a nasty evil.

The only thing I didn't care for, was the way the story was written. I'm not a huge fan of McMann's writing style. It feels....awkward. That's why I gave it four stars, instead of five. In the end, I was able to look past that and find the wonderful story that is Cryer's Cross. I'd definitely recommend it!

I gave it four sporks!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: Tangled

Name: Tangled
Film Maker: Walt Disney Pictures
Stars: (Voices of:) Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, & Donna Murphey 

Disney animators take on the classic Grimm Brothers story of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a long-locked beauty imprisoned in a secluded tower by evil hag Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), who needs the rejuvenating powers of Rapunzel's tresses to remain young. When a bandit on the lam (Zachary Levi) helps Rapunzel escape, the old crone plots to recapture her and end her budding romance with the thief in this Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature.

Tangled is the 50th animated film to be produced by Walt Disney Pictures. There couldn't have been a better film to fill such a commemorative spot.

Growing up, I only ever liked two Disney Princesses and their movies; The Little Mermaid & Beauty and the Beast. I never liked the Disney Princes. They always felt like figures plugged into the story to create a plot. They didn't feel like characters. However, when I watched Tangled, I am now officially a fan of BOTH a Disney Princess and Prince.

Tangled is Disney's take on the classic story, Rapunzel. Here, Rapunzel's hair has magical powers of healing. This Rapunzel also has a huge taste for freedom. It wasn't the prince that "rescued" the princess this time, but rather an unlucky thief that was beat up and held prisoner by a girl in a tower. It was quite funny to see this twist!

After traversing across the land to find the lanterns Rapunzel was hoping to see, romance bloomed between the wanted fugitive and the homesick girl. [spoiler alert!] Rapunzel is then revealed as the long lost princess who was stolen from her crib so many years ago and is reunited with her parents, the King & Queen. Flynn (the fugitive) is released of his crimes and is allowed to wed the princess, creating Disney's trademark Happily Ever After story. [/end spoiler alert] 

I've already watched this movie three times and I don't even own it yet. I plan on buying it on blu-ray as soon as possible, and so should you! It's a great movie for all ages and you're bound to fall in love with the characters. (And the songs! :D)

I give the movie,  5 sporks!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two

Click for Entertainment Weekly's Article
It is the end of an era. It's the end of many childhoods. The Harry Potter series has brought me through a big chunk of child hood, and it's hard to believe that something so magical has to come to an end. I know we've all read the books, and know there are no more. But this is the last movie. Once this movie is out, there will be no more Harry Potter productions of any kind. The story is over. So, with this conclusion, many of us teenagers (and those 20 year olds too. ;)) feel that the we've reached the end of the last chapter that held all the magic in our childhoods. Sure, it sounds cliche, but it really is sad. I love this world J.K. Rowling created, and it's really hard to see it finish. However, I still look forward to the last movie! I hope you all are too so you should go check out EW's article here.
Until next time!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

WSJ Article & #YAsaves

So, apparently the Wall Street Journal posted an article about how bad YA Fiction is and the negative consequences it has on the teenage society.

I don't think the author of this article - or The Wall Street Journal - was prepared for the voices of the teenage society they attacked. I don't think they thought that much of us to expect a rebuttal. 

Not only is the Wall Street Journal's article's author incorrect (which is a huge understatement) of the books that line Barnes & Noble shelves and walls of our bedrooms, but they actually hurt us and many YA authors with their unkind words. The article's author is obviously ignorant and so is the mother that walked into that Barnes &Noble. There are bad books in EVERY genre, but she decided to focus only on that and assume that the entire YA section of the world is like that. Well, you know what happens when you assume....

Anyway, this blog post wasn't meant for my personal comments ( even though I just failed at that, but I think that pales in comparison to the failure of Mrs. Gurdon's WSJ article). I wrote this to show you all the already amazing posts  by two teenagers.

Here are the two standouts that I've read and love. Enjoy!
WORD for Teens

Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: Incarceron

Available for purchase at Barnes & Noble,
Amazon, & more!
Author: Catherine Fisher
Publisher: Penguin Group

Incarceron is a prison unlike any other: Its inmates live not only in cells, but also in metal forests, dilapidated cities, and unbounded wilderness. The prison has been sealed for centuries, and only one man, legend says, has ever escaped.
Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, can’t remember his childhood and believes he came from Outside Incarceron. He’s going to escape, even though most inmates don’t believe that Outside even exists. And then Finn finds a crystal key and through it, a girl named Claudia.
Claudia claims to live Outside—her father is the Warden of Incarceron and she’s doomed to an arranged marriage. If she helps Finn escape, she will need his help in return. But they don’t realize that there is more to Incarceron than meets the eye. Escape will take their greatest courage and cost far more than they know.
Because Incarceron is alive.

Incarceron was a book that had been sitting on my to-read shelf for quite some time. When I picked it up at a local book fair, I finally gave in and bought it.

I've seen reviews for it starring at mediocre to five stars. When I closed the book and put it back in my bookcase, I was somewhere in between the two. It had a really good plot, though predictable at times. It was written better than some books of that same genre, however, it wasn't the best. I also loved the characters, though some of them needed some more fleshing out.

Jared, Claudia's mentor and a Sapienti, was one of (if not my only..) favourite character. I don't know what it was about it, but I connected with him better than Claudia. In fact, Claudia got on my nerves sometimes.

Plot wise...I loved it. It could have been made a whole lot 'deeper', if you get my drift. It didn't have the details I would like to see in a plot of that magnitude. However, if it did, the book would be huge or we'd see a more books in the series.

All in all, it was good but not a favourite.


 Incarceron is allegedly being made into a movie with a rough release date somewhere in 2013! Cast has not been confirmed but two stars are expected to star in the film; Taylor Lautner (Finn) and Emma Watson. Is this more than a rumor, or some high hopes of a loving reader? Hopefully we'll all find out soon!