Friday, May 31, 2013

Bookish Buys: A Song and A Stamp

Friday, May 31, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.

TFIOS Song: "Augustus Waters"
This song is PERFECT. I just want to put it on repeat forever.
Buy it here.

Bookworm Personalized Rubber Stamp - Custom Name - Custom Stamp
Book Stamp
While I wouldn't want to ACTUALLY stamp my books, I would use this to make bookplates for them. :)
Buy it here.

Between The Pages Of A Book Is A Lovely Place To Be - 8" x 10" Print
Bookish Print
You know how I love my owls and my books.
Buy it here.

a cigarette and an oxygen tank by leighsthings
TFIOS Phone Case
If you haven't getting your TFIOS fill yet, here's an awesome case for you.
Buy it here.

Would you stamp a book?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Movie Review: The Great Gatsby

Thursday, May 30, 2013
The Great Gatsby
So after too long a wait, I have finally seen The Great Gatsby. I went in with a critical eye since it's one of my favorite books. Surprisingly enough, I didn't hate it. (A glowing review, I know.) In fact, I actually really liked it.

Let me just say, Leonardo DiCaprio IS Gatsby. He has every little mannerism down, from the smile with the "quality of eternal reassurance" to the way he says "old sport." In fact, he so embodies the character that when Gatsby becomes frazzled, DiCaprio slips into a natural, unaffected speaking manner, revealing James Gatz beneath Jay Gatsby.*
All of the actors are fantastic, though, not just Leo. Carey Mulligan plays Daisy a million times better than Mia Farrow ever did. (Sorry Farrow fans.) While watching the movie, I forgot that she is a beloved Doctor Who actress, instead seeing Daisy come to life on the screen. The only actor I can't fully stand behind is Tobey McGuire; for the first hour or so, I found his narration irritating, though towards the end, I became more fond of his interpretation of Nick Carraway.
As for Baz Luhrmann's direction, he got some things very, very right. The T.J. Eckleberg sign, for one, is spot on, and all of the sets are gorgeous. I'm thrilled that Owl Eyes is included, as the Robert Redford version unfairly left him out. Overall, Luhrmann sticks to the book, taking a small liberty with the narration that is actually clever and doesn't alter the plot.

But. (You had to know there would be a but.) I realize that in today's day and age everything has to be in 3D  (though I sincerely hope that that will no longer be a novelty soon). However, that doesn't excuse the cheesy and nausea-inducing camerawork throughout the film. Occasionally, the camera zooms in a way that is meant to be dramatic, but comes across as cornball. This is worsened by the score; while I can understand that some may see the decision to use modern rap music as bold, I felt it was ridiculous. The music ruins the film's atmosphere and took me out of the story several times.

Considering my usual criticisms of book adaptations (ask anyone who's seen a Harry Potter movie with me), there are relatively few things I disapprove of in Gatsby. A friend said that it gave them a deeper appreciation of the book, and it definitely allows you to see certain aspects of the novel in a different light. I'm certainly glad to have seen it (anyone catch the reference?) and will definitely buy a copy when it comes to DVD.

*I have a small, tiny, miniscule issue with DiCaprio's performance: When gazing towards the green light, Leo lifted one arm. Redford did this, as well. Gatsby is supposed to lift both arms. I really don't understand why this tidbit of accuracy is so difficult. I mean, even Troy Bolton could do it. Okay, I'm done nickpitting.

Have you seen The Great Gatsby? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (86)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Top Ten Book-to-Broadway Adaptations
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
1. Peter and the Starcatcher
This is my absolute, all-time, definite favorite show. I have a bookmark and the poster. Oddly enough, though, while I've read Peter Pan, I've never read Peter and the Starcatchers.

2. Wicked
Who doesn't like Wicked? Even if you haven't seen it, you probably know (and enjoy) "Defying Gravity."

3. South Pacific
This is up there in my favorite musicals. The score, and just everything about it is wonderful.

4. Phantom of the Opera
It's nearly impossible not to get pumped when that famous organ music starts.

5. Mary Poppins
The Broadway show is a lot more like the book than the movie, but both are delightful!

6. Gypsy
It's such an intense show, but I remember really liking it when I saw it.

7. Damn Yankees
My dad plays the soundtrack in the car on long trips and I love it. :)

8. Les Miserables
I have a love-hate relationship with this one, but it felt wrong to leave it off the list.

9. Beauty and the Beast
In a middle school production, I played one of the narrators. (And yes, I did get to say "Who could ever love... a beast.")

10. Cinderella
It's funny, because I'm not a huge fan of the fairy tale, but I love the Rodgers and Hammerstein version.

I'm sure there are a lot of great show adaptations I'm missing here, but I only wanted to list ones I've actually seen.
What are your favorite books-turned-Broadway shows?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review: Game by Barry Lyga

Monday, May 27, 2013
Game (Jasper Dent, #2)
*If you have not read I Hunt Killers, this review may contain spoilers.*

Genre: Murder Mystery
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Series: Jasper Dent #2
Website
Source: Bought
When a desperate New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz's door asking for help with a new case, Jazz can't say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple--and its police force running scared with no leads. So Jazz and his girlfriend Connie hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer's murderous game.
Meanwhile, Jazz's dad Billy is watching...and waiting.
Summary from Goodreads. 
If you're in the mood for a book with high stakes, a killer (pun intended) mystery, and tons of suspense, you need to read Game. Because if Game is any indicator of the rest of the series, the Jasper Dent books are just going to keep getting better and better.

There's just so much about these books to love (yes, even more than the "blood" spattered covers). Lyga's mind must be one awesomely twisted place, because he's created such fascinating and chilling characters. Billy "Dear Old Dad" Dent is one such character, and the only thing creepier than Real Life Billy is the Billy in Jasper's head. His commentary throughout the novel is enough to make your stomach turn. It also proves that Lyga's done his research on serial killers.

If Papa Dent doesn't do it for you, though, there's also the Hat-Dog Killer terrorizing NYC. Consequently, the body count is much higher in Game, and it's a lot bloodier (but if your stomach could handle I Hunt Killers, you should be okay). If you're planning on reading a serial killer mystery, you probably already suspected this, which means that Game will be the terrifying, enrapturing mystery you're looking for.

But there are other characters of the non-serial-killer variety who deserve praise, especially Connie. I really liked her in I Hunt Killers, but now she's one of my absolute favorite characters. Connie won't let anything hold her back; she's smart, confident, and (for the most part) reasonable. There is more than one instance in Game that I wanted to pump my fist in the air over how cool this girl is. As always, Howie is on standby for a goofy  (but undoubtedly hilarious) quip, but even he develops into a braver version of himself. And then there's Jazz, whose growth is done so subtly and perfectly that it feels absolutely natural. Lyga captures all the insecurity, excitement, and fear that exist throughout young adulthood, making this not only a dramatic mystery novel, but a coming-of-age story, too.

What else is there to say about Game? Well, the atmosphere is spot-on; it's like the book equivalent of all your favorite TV crime dramas. Some parts of the mystery aren't too difficult to figure out, but then there are other aspects of it that will leave you groping in the dark. I have no idea what Lyga has planned for the next installment, but I sure as hell can't wait to find out.

Fair warning: There are not one, not two, but THREE cliffhangers at the end of Game. They're the type of cliffhangers that leave you breathless, so as someone who loves them, it was an awesome move. As someone who has to wait (approximately) another year to read the next book, Lyga is a cruel, cruel author.
*5 stars*
A Quote from the Book: "He had no idea how to act. How did people talk to their relatives when their relatives weren't sociopaths or extreme-level seniles?"
Will you be reading Game? (Because you really, really should.)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

In My Mailbox (86)

Sunday, May 26, 2013
In My Mailbox
IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought, borrowed, or received in the past week. 

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Ingenue by Jillian Larkin
Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir
The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry (A gift from the English teacher who made me love writing.)
Bookplates signed by Amy Plum, author of Die for Me, Until I Die, and If I Should Die


Weekly recap
Monday
The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)

Tuesday

Thursday

Friday

Looking forward to seeing your mailboxes! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bookish Buys: HebelDesign

Friday, May 24, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.

No, HebelDesign didn't ask me to do this, haha. I just really love their products and thought you guys would, too! :)

Tessa's Clockwork Angel - replica
Tessa's Clockwork Angel
Dress like your favorite shadowhunter with this GORGEOUS accessory.

Silver charms
Snitch Charms
At such a low price, these snitches are an easy catch!

Morozova's Collar
Shadow and Bone Necklace
This would be beautiful even if it didn't have literary significance! 

If you could get one item from HebelDesign, what would you buy?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Case of the Series-Induced Memory Loss

Thursday, May 23, 2013
I'm a sucker for trilogies and series (as long as they aren't excessively long, that is. Once you reach book 20, I feel you've gone too far, but back to the point...). The best case scenario is when I discover a series once all the books are out and I can tear right through them. However, since I started blogging, I tend to read books right when they come out, which means a long wait for the next book. Therein lies the problem. After months, or even worse, years of waiting, I'll excitedly pick up the sequel and prepare to be amazed and...

I won't remember *anything* that happened in the previous books.

Does anyone else have this problem? It really stinks, because it has prevented me from getting that feeling of fulfillment that comes with a series end since the whole time I'm trying to remember all the details. It would be awesome if every book had a summary of the previous novels in the front like the Alagaesia Cycle, but that is unfortunately not the case.

But there are SOME solutions.

1.
This is one of my FAVORITE resources. They have summaries of a ton of books. Plus, if they don't have a book listed, you can request it! Awesome, right?

2. Wikipedia
Wikipedia isn't always the best, but it sometimes has thorough (if poorly written) summaries. It's always worth taking a look!

3. Fan sites
This is hit or miss, as not all books have fan sites. But for books with big followings that tend to have wiki pages or the like, it's always good to check those out!

What resources do you have when you don't remember the events in previous books?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (85)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Top Ten Covers... of Books I've Read
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)Game (Jasper Dent, #2)
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)Every Day
The Tragedy PaperPlease Ignore Vera Dietz
The Fault in Our StarsDaughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)
The Great GatsbyBitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)

Can you tell I have a thing for blue?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Monday, May 20, 2013
The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow
Series: Fire and Thorns #2
Website
Source: Bought
Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. 
Summary from Goodreads. 
It's always disappointing when a sequel isn't as good as the first book in a series. Thankfully, you don't have to worry about that with Crown of Embers. (I worried you there for a second, didn't I?) This book is just as fantastic as its predecessor; it may even be better.

What made me love Crown of Embers so much? Well, where do I even begin? Elisa is so drastically different from who she was at the start of the series. However, she still feels like an imposter in her role as queen. As she tries to be a good leader and navigate the relationships in her personal and political lives, Elisa has to cope with impossible questions and tasks. Throughout all of this she makes plenty of mistakes, and thus remains one of the most realistic and relatable protagonists I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. She breaks the usual trope of a perfect girl with perfect looks thrown into an impossible situation that does everything just perfectly.

Another aspect of Crown that had me cheering? Hector. Do you guys remember when I said that I wished Hector had been the love interest in Girl of Fire and Thorns? In this book, my wishes came true. (Thank you, thank you, Ms. Carson!) Their relationship is different from the majority of YA romances. It's complicated and confusing and frustrating- basically everything a real life romance is.

Then there's the world. I just adore the fantasy world that Carson has created. Every setting in which Elisa ends up is so vivid that I feel as though I've been there. And as in all great fantasy worlds, there are many parallels to our own, political troubles and religious fanatics included. How Carson explores religion is flawless- she demonstrates that, at its heart, religion can be a beautiful thing. But she also shows how it's so often twisted into justification for human actions.

Like Girl of Fire and Thorns, Crown of Embers is, for the most part, slowly paced. This is most definitely not a bad thing, though. If anything, it just means that Crown can be enjoyed all the more thoroughly.
*5 stars*
A Quote from the Book: "It's utterly infuriating, the number of people I've encountered in my life who claimed to be the authority on God's will."
What do you think makes a great fantasy world?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

In My Mailbox (85)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

In My Mailbox
IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought, borrowed, or received in the past week. 

Bought
Game by Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers #2)

 
From the Library
If I Should Die by Amy Plum (Revenants #3)
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Basil and Josephine Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
And a bunch of other books on F. Scott (Can you guess what I'm doing a research paper on?)

Weekly recap
Monday
Flowers in the Sky

Tuesday

Friday

What's in your mailboxes?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bookish Buys: Roald Dahl Edition

Saturday, May 18, 2013
Each Friday I'll post a different collection of book nerd swag, from jewelry to action figures, that I find on the Internets. Please know that I am not getting reimbursed in any way, shape, or form if you choose to buy these items.

Image Preview
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Mug
Don't tell me I was the only one who read this book countless times as a child.

24x36 Roald Dahl Print (actual poster)
Quote Poster
Quite cheery-looking, no?
Buy it here.

Roald Dahl  Doll Miniature Author Collectible Art
Dahl Doll
Don't tell me you don't love its name.
Buy it here.

Willy Wonka Chocolate bar wrapper and golden ticket - Invitation - replica version.
Golden Ticket Invitations
I kind of want to have a party just so I can use these... haha
Buy them here.

What's your favorite Roald Dahl book?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (84)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Top Ten Books with Tough Topics
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
WintergirlsSpeak
Nearly anything by Laurie Halse Anderson works, really.
3. Looking for Alaska by John Green
4. The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Looking for AlaskaThe Fault in Our Stars
Nearly anything by John Green works, as well.
5. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
This is debatably true for all of Salinger's novels, as well. 
6. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Dreamland
Not so much for Sarah Dessen.
7. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
Everybody Sees the Ants
But definitely true about A.S. King's works.
8. The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
The Probability of Miracles
9. Shine by Lauren Myracle
Shine
Another tough topic: the fact that this book should have won an award. (Y'all know what I'm talking about.)
10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Thirteen Reasons Why

What books did you include on your list?