Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Demon Love Spell: a manga review

Author: Mayu Shinjo
Info: VIZ Media LLC, copyright 2012, 200 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  Twilight meets Fifty Shades meets genuine hilarity in a goofy manga package.

Miko is a shrine maiden who has never had much success at seeing or banishing spirits. Then she meets Kagura, a sexy demon who feeds off women’s feelings of passion and love. Kagura’s insatiable appetite has left many girls at school brokenhearted, so Miko casts a spell to seal his powers. Surprisingly the spell works—sort of—but now Kagura is after her!

~Goodreads Description~



When Miko attempts to banish Kagura’s spirit, she inadvertently turns him into a miniature version of himself with little to no power.  He’s an incubus, maintaining his abilities through his love of women, and Miko wants nothing to do with him except that he is the only thing keeping her alive.  Unfortunately for Miko, Kagura is the most powerful spirit ever, and now others are coming for her.  

Finally!  A manga I instantly loved!  So, Miko chooses not to kill Kagura because he can keep her safe, but without his powers, he's kind of helpless.  Finally, Miko's father agrees to let Kagura stay with them...and he build him a doll house to live in.  A doll house.  And he shares said doll house with a hamster.  A hamster.  This powerful incubus demon guy is living with a hamster.  Kills me!

The storyline is ridiculous but hilarious, fast paced, but intriguing, and just plain fun.  If you’re looking for a new manga to enjoy, definitely consider Demon Love Spell.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Beginnings/Endings

Top 10 Favorite Beginnings/Endings in Books


I love this list!  For all the memorable moments in a book, if they start and end strong, it makes all the difference.  Here are just a few of my starts and finishes.  What's on your list?

Beginnings

1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
 "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.  The were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense."

2) The Princess Bride by William Golding
"This is my favorite book in all the world, thought I have never read it."

3) Paper Towns by John Green
"...But my miracle was different.  My miracle was this: out of all the house in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Spielgelman."

4) Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
"I was sixteen years old the day I was lost in the forest, sixteen the day I met my death."

5) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
"There are so many ways it could have all turned out differently.

6) Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
"My mother's a prostitute."

7) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
"Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she'd been told that she would kill her true love."

Endings

8) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
"I do, Augustus.  I do."

9) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
"A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans."

10) Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
"It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

Happy reading!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Alchemist: a review

Author: Paulo Coelho
http://paulocoelho.com/ 
Info: Harper Collins, copyright 1993, 167 pages  

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): When some strange man sits down next to Santiago, he sells all of his earthly positions for the journey of a lifetime.

This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom points Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Santiago is just a boy.  Not a special boy.  Not a miraculous boy.  Just a boy with sheep, wandering the countryside living his life the way he has always wanted.  But Santiago has been dreaming.  He’s been dreaming of the pyramids.  He’s been dreaming of treasure.  He’s been dreaming of something beyond his sheep and his homeland.  When a mysterious king approaches him one day, Santiago will venture further than he ever though possible, into the unknown, in search of his Personal Legend.

The Awesome
Santiago is a pretty cool dude.  He struck out on is own, sheep in hand, to live a life of freedom.  He doesn't get spooked when a weird dude starts talking to him about his Personal Legend, and he takes a chance, a leap, for something big and different.  He never really gets rattled when things start to turn sour, but is totally real, going back and forth in his head about what he really wants.
The alchemist is a pretty awesome dude too.  He's found his legend and is taking the time to help Santiago find his own.

The Not So Awesome 
Apparently this book was supposed to change my life.  At least that's what a plethora of reviews told me.  Did it change my life?  Um...no.  Not at all.  Way too much build up.  And it has one of my dealbreakers...it's deep.  I could feel the author trying to tell me something, but I fear his message was lost on me.  No surprise there.

But the story moves quickly,and as stories and characters go, I really enjoyed Santiago and was rooting for him from beginning to end.  I wanted him to succeed and reap the benefits of his hard work and observations. I enjoyed the read.  It was a good time.  But it wasn't one of my absolute favorites.  Worth it though.



Friday, July 26, 2013

Library GrabBag: Nerd Proud


So...Doctor Who Day far exceeded our expectations. That's an understatement actually.  I was expecting 50-60 people to make their way through our stations.  We had 50-60 people stampeding down the hallway when the library opened at one o'clock.  We're estimating 175-200 people, of all ages, attended the event last Friday.  Crazy.

What did we learn from this experience?  There is a community of (awesome) nerds in our community.  The program definitely got me thinking.  How can we best reach this particular demographic and keep the momentum going?  Doctor Who Day once a month would get stale.  But what we planned a program dedicated to all things nerd?

So this fall we're going to launch a new club...Nerd Proud.  Each month we'll pose a nerdy question and plan an activity: Tennant or Smith?  Superfans showdown - Bronies vs. Pegasisters? DC vs. Marvel?  And so on.  There will be moderating.  There will be time for free discussion.  And there will be chaos, I'm sure.  But there will be fun.

We were going to make it all-inclusive, middle school through adult, but thought better of it.  The maturity levels are too extreme.  Instead, we're creating two clubs, and maybe, just maybe we can finally find a program that our 20-30 somethings will be interested in attending.

Any ideas for topics?




Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Lightning Dreamer: a review

Author: Margarita Engle
http://margaritaengle.com/
Info: HMH Books for Young Readers, copyright 2013, 182 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Tula uses words to escape the traditional constraints of 19th century Cuba.

“I find it so easy to forget / that I’m just a girl who is expected / to live / without thoughts.” Opposing slavery in Cuba in the nineteenth century was dangerous. The most daring abolitionists were poets who veiled their work in metaphor. Of these, the boldest was Gertrudis G√≥mez de Avellaneda, nicknamed Tula. In passionate, accessible verses of her own, Engle evokes the voice of this book-loving feminist and abolitionist who bravely resisted an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen, and was ultimately courageous enough to fight against injustice. Historical notes, excerpts, and source notes round out this exceptional tribute.
~Goodreads Description~
The Breakdown
Tula fears turning fourteen.  At fourteen she will be forced to marry a complete stranger.  Her mother and grandfather are searching for her would-be husband, a man of wealth that can bring the family riches.  But Tula will not marry for money.  She will marry for love and respect, a man who understands her passion for words and her belief that slavery should be ended and all people freed.  Tula finds the courage to break with tradition and discovers love, friendship, and the freedom of which she always dreamed.
The Awesome
Told as a novel in verse out of homage to Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda, a Cuban abolitionist who used poetry as her voice against slavery, Engle weaves a beautiful story of defiance and passion.  Poetry is not my go to format and novel in verse is often difficult for me to get into, but Engle makes it accessible, enjoyable.
The Not So Awesome
At the beginning of the story, you really get to know Tula, her fears of marrying for money, her heartbreak as she experiences slavery and rejection.  Mid-way, the story gets rushed.  As she meets the man she will love, there's no connection, no passion, no chemistry.  One page she meets the young man, the next she loves him.  And who is he?  Is he really worthy of her love?
I don't really get the title either.  Maybe I missed something... Always possible.
I picked The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist up on a whim.  I needed something different, and this definitely fit the bill.  Despite the too fast of a pace, the story was beautiful, and Tula is definitely a character you can rally behind.  Engle also makes you curious, wanting to learn more about the historical figure and the life she lived.  More about Cuba and its struggles.  Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Similar Titles: Pirates! by Celia Rees, Day of Tears by Julius Lester
Favorite Quote: 
"Books are door-shaped
portals
carrying me
across oceans
and centuries,
helping me feel
less alone."

~ Tula, page 3~

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Waiting On Wednesday

Crown of Midnight
by Sarah J. Maas
Release date August 27, 2013

An assassin’s loyalties are always in doubt.  But her heart never wavers.

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king's contest to become the new royal assassin. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown – a secret she hides from even her most intimate confidantes.

Keeping up the deadly charade—while pretending to do the king's bidding—will test her in frightening new ways, especially when she's given a task that could jeopardize everything she's come to care for. And there are far more dangerous forces gathering on the horizon -- forces that threaten to destroy her entire world, and will surely force Celaena to make a choice.

Where do the assassin’s loyalties lie, and who is she most willing to fight for?


~Goodreads Description~

Not really feeling the cover, but I loved Throne of Glass and definitely can't wait to see what happens in this second installment!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Top 10ish Words/Topics that will make you NOT pick up a book

Top 10ish words/topics that will make you NOT pick up a book

I couldn't come up with ten.  There's not a whole lot that makes me cringe.  I visited this topic briefly last year...so I thought I'd pick up where I left off (with one more!).  You know you have your list.  Those items that you just can't and would most definitely prefer not to be in the book you're reading.  Sometimes they surprise you, but more times than not, you finish a wee bit frustrated (or just don't finish at all).

1) Talking Animals - This is definitely numero uno on my list.  I can't fully explain other than to say if animals really do think and talk to one another, I'm not sure I want to know what my cat thinks about me.  She could quite possibly be planning a coup.  I just can't wrap my mind around animals with human characteristics.  There are exceptions of course.  Watership Down is just brilliant, and I would love to meet Aslan, but given a choice, I'd rather do yard work than read a book narrated by a talking animal.  Have I mentioned my aversion to yard work?

2)  Midlife Crisis - "I'm about to go all selfish on you and leave for another country to find myself even though I'll figure out I knew myself all along, I just didn't want to be with you in the first place."  Get over yourself!  I probably shouldn't judge.  I might one day have a midlife crisis and be a total crazy person.  But geez...whiny much!  Maybe that should have been #2 instead...whiny characters.  I wish all books came with a warning if characters are going to be excessively whiny.  How I handle so much teen angstyness at the library every day I don't know?!

3)  Symbolism & Metaphors - "What I'm saying isn't really what I mean, and what I mean could mean something different to you, and to me, and to him..."  Just tell me the point already!  Personally I like to be hit over the head with the moral of the story.  I read to escape.  If the author expects too much out of me, ick.  That kind of makes me sound like a lazy, lazy reader.  I like to be challenged, but not left behind if I don't get the great symbolism.

4)  Books Over 400 Pages - So I just totally shamed myself.  Please don't think less of me.  Maybe I've been working with teenagers too long.  Not that all teenagers are allergic to long books, but a vast majority of the ones I meet complain if a book lasts more than 300 pages.  I've noticed lately, though, that I like to get and out pretty quickly in a book.  Maybe because 95% of teen books being published are a part of a series.  Don't prattle on forever.  Entertain me and then be done with it already.  (I'm hanging my head embarrassed.)

5)  It Was Just A Dream - How dare you!  I'm looking at you Life of Pi.  I suspended belief for you.  I made it through man eating islands and hungry tigers.  I stuck with you, and you pull that...that vague, dreamy ending.  AHHH!  Unfortunately this "deal-breaker" isn't discovered until the very end, but what a quick way to ruin my day.

6) So this is what happened in the last book - this isn't really a dealbreaker because it can't be avoided, but I find it extremely annoying.  Dear author, please do not rehash the previous book for first one hundred pages.  I've already read it.  You already wrote it.  It's my responsibility to remember what happened.  Get on with the story already.  If 150 pages of your 300 page book is rehashing, perhaps you really only needed to books in the series instead of three.

So there you go, my literary "deal-breakers".  If you've got some time, I'd love to hear what makes you crazy!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Wonder: a review

Author: R.J. Palacio
http://rjpalacio.com/
Info: Books for Young Readers, copyright 2012, 315 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Sometimes life sucks.  But then you get up in the morning and you move ahead anyway.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

 ~Goodreads Description~


The Breakdown
August Pullman is a medical miracle…and conundrum.  By a one-in-four-million chance, his parents carry and passed along two genes that have left him with a severe facial deformity.  But he’s just a boy.  He loves Star Wars, likes to joke around with his family, and dreams of just being a normal kid.  When he decides to leave the comfort of homeschooling and enter the world of mainstream school, August finally finds out what feeling normal is like and that being not normal isn’t so bad.

The Awesome
August is an amazing, courageous, funny young man who has been dealt a difficult blow in life, but handles himself with humility and grace.  The story alternates between August and family and friends, providing unique perspectives.  Palacio does an excellent job of giving each character a unique voice, carrying the story forwarded, and shining light on different emotional aspects surrounding August.

The Not So Awesome
My only complaint is that the story ended a little too cleanly, a little too happy.  Which maybe isn’t a bad thing.  August and his family deserve the joy they bring to their everyday lives.  So it’s an ending of hope.  Okay.  Never mind. I just talked myself into like the ending.
 
Since its publication, I’ve been reading great reviews for Wonder by R.L. Palacio.  Sometimes I really hate reading books that considered super awesome.  Expectations are too high.  I feel obligated to like it and then I usual don't, because dude, you can't tell me what to like.  But Wonder was different.  August was different.  That beautiful little boy stole my heart. 

For an easy, emotional, thoughtful read, check out Wonder by R.J. Palacio.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Library GrabBag: "Finding Art in Unexpected Places"


I've mentioned Soulpancake before, a fantastic YouTube channel and website created in part by Rainn Wilson.  Yes, that's right.  Mr. Dwight Schrute ("Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica").  I was perusing the channel not too long ago and came across one of the street team videos.  They have designed projects that get people and communities talking and thinking in creative ways.  My library has plans to use several of the concepts as passive programming over the next year which is awesome, but this one really struck a cord as something unique.




How awesome is that!  Now imagine putting together a collection of picture frames available for checkout.  You could ask your patrons (or students, teachers, principals!) to take the frame home and take a picture through (and around it) showing what they think is beautiful, or important, or cool.  Whatever really, it doesn't matter.  They return the frame, email you the picture, and voila!  instant display created by your community.  So cool, and so simple.  

So yeah.  I kind of want to go work for the Soulpancake team.  What do you think?  Could you make something like this work in your library?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Library GrabBag: Doctor Who Day


When my library decided to go with a science fiction themed summer reading program, my first thought was Doctor Who.  At the time, I was in the middle of watching season 5, trying to find it in my heart to love Matt Smith when I missed David Tennant something terrible.  (No worries...while David Tennant is still my favorite doctor, I grew to adore Mr. Smith and will not miss him greatly!).  Luckily for me, there are several Who-vians on staff, so I had no trouble convincing them that Doctor Who Day was a brilliant idea.

So, I built a TARDIS for our lobby and tomorrow, we're doing all things "Who" including:

What else would you add?!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Otomen: a manga review

Author: Aya Kanno
Info: VIZ Media LLC, copright 2009, 208 pages


A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): A boy who likes frilly things is searching for his masculine self.

Asuka Masamune is a guy who loves girly things--sewing, knitting, making cute stuffed animals and reading shojo comics. But in a world where boys are expected to act manly, Asuka must hide his beloved hobbies and play the part of a masculine jock instead. Ryo Miyakozuka, on the other hand, is a girl who can't sew or bake a cake to save her life. Asuka finds himself drawn to Ryo, but she likes only the manliest of men! Can Asuka ever show his true self to anyone, much less to the girl that he's falling for?

~Amazon Description~


Okay.  So I only picked this particular title up because our Teen Librarian, Becky, insisted.  She loved it.  “It’s just so cute,” she said.  I think we’re finding we might have different tastes in manga.  I started out loving shojo, the sweet, often feminine stories with a bit of romance.  But now I think I like demons.  And giant swords.  And some blood thrown in here and there.

This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Otomen.  I did give it 3 stars.  Asuka is admirable.  He wants to be his true self, but he also is looking for ways to fit into the cultural ideal of “masculinity.”  What he’s finding out, however, that the most attractive trait a man can have is confidence in who he is…masculine or not.

If you’re looking for something fun, something silly, something strangely like a manga within a manga, check out Aya Kanno’s Otomen.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top 10 Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

I'm not really sure what this one means.  This one was kind of hard.  I find myself reading books by the same authors over and over.  The books I'm constantly asked for in the library are the popular titles from popular authors.  Perhaps in some arenas, the authors I think deserve more recognition are already getting a lot of hype.  So, maybe this is my list of authors that I want to see feel the love in my own library...because they are awesome.  


1) Kenneth Oppel

2) Alethea Kontis

3) E. Lockhart

4) Elizabeth Eulberg

5) Doug TenNapel

6) Celia Rees

 7) Elizabeth Wein


8) Ruta Sepetys

9) Elizabeth Scott

10) Julius Lester

Happy reading!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Daddy Long Legs: a review

Author: Jean Webster
Info: Hodder & Stoughton, copyright 1912, 249 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Daddy-Long-Legs is soooo not Daddy Warbucks.

Jerusha Abbott grew up in an orphanage but was sent to college by a mysterious benefactor she calls Daddy-Long-Legs. In college she falls in love with a young man who wants to marry her, but she refuses because she is an orphan. Finally, after Jerusha--now Judy--graduates, she asks to meet her benefactor.

~Goodreads Description~



The Breakdown
Daddy Long Legs is told completely in one-sided letters from Jerusha to her “Mr. John Smith” the orphanage trustee who has chosen to send her to college.  Mr. Smith has chosen to remain anonymous, so Jerusha selects to call him “Daddy Long Legs” in each of her letters, creating the father figure she never had growing up.  The story is told in four parts, traveling through each year of Jerusha’s college career.

The Awesome
Judy is a spit-fire.  She's confident, independent, and spirited, just a joy to get to know through her letters.  Despite her new "fortune," she is conscious of remembering who she is and where she came from, determined not to fall prey to the traps of wealth.  In many ways she is an admirable female heroine...until you get to the not-so-awesome.

The Not So Aweome
You naive girl!  Open your eyes!  Your rich, anonymous benefactor is controlling and manipulative.  Why, my dear Judy, are you not disturbed at the end of your own story?!  Daddy Long Legs is creepy, and his motives are so iffy!  Ick.  Icky ick ick ick. 

I found the story to be a little disturbing but highly entertaining.  The letter format makes it an extremely fast-paced, and Jerusha is a genuinely likeable character.  I often pictured her much younger than she was intended to be, and the ending left me a bit speechless, but I’m glad I took the time to read it.  This gem, written in 1912, will stay with me for awhile.  Ick. :)


Friday, July 12, 2013

Library GrabBag: It's gruesome. It's gory. It's AWESOME!

I like zombies.  I don't know why.  There's just something equally mysterious and exciting about the undead.  Would my love for zombies be as fierce without Simon Pegg and the absolutely hilarious Shaun of the Dead?   Probably not.  So we'll blame (or THANK) him.

Anyhoo..to go along with our science fiction themed summer reading program, our Teen Services Department planned a monster makeup program.  Teens practiced creating fake bruises and gaping, oozing nasty wounds during an hour long program.

Tip:  Halloween makeup is very difficult to purchase in July.  Unlike "Christmas in July," there is no "Halloween in July." Lesson learned.

Supplies (total $22ish)
-Toliet paper
-Elmer's glue
-Light foundation
-Green, brown, black, purple, and red eyeshadow
-Fake blood

After much practice and a lot of YouTube tutorials, we were fairly successful.  It's all about the blending of colors, starting out with what matches your skin, and working until you find an ideal color pattern.  The bonus:  it totally freaks out the other patrons in the building.  No...I did not go around trying to scare the living daylights out of the senior folks roaming the stacks, but I might have smiled a bit when it happened.  The program, as always, included some pretty weird conversations (teens talk about the darndest things!), and each teen had to come up with a scenario for how they received their wounds in an apocalypse.

A lot of fun!  I originally had 16 sign up but only 9 showed up which I'm extremely grateful for.  The smaller crowd worked much better.  I was able to provide one on one time when needed and everyone could see the demonstration easily.  So...yeah.  I definitely recommend trying a monster makeup program.  You don't have to be an expert, just willing to look really nasty!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Crap Kingdom: a review

Author: D.C. Pierson
Info: Viking Juvenile, copyright 2013, 360 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): The grass is always greener on the other side, or a really pathetic kingdom.

THE CHOSEN ONE MUST BE RETRIEVED FROM EARTH
HE WILL BRING DOWN THE WALL AND RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO GLORY
HIS NAME IS TOM PARKING

With this mysterious yet oddly ordinary-looking prophecy, Tom's fate is sealed: he's been plucked from his life and whisked away to a magical kingdom to be its Chosen One.

There's just one problem: The kingdom is mostly made of garbage from Earth. Okay, well, two problems: the king hates Tom. Also, the princess likes to wear fake mustaches. And being Chosen One seems to consist mainly of cleaning out rats' noses at the Royal Rat-Snottery.

So, basically, the kingdom sucks.

When Tom turns down the job of Chosen One, he thinks he's making a smart decision. But when Tom discovers he's been replaced by his best friend Kyle, who's always been cooler, more athletic, and better with girls, Tom wants Crap Kingdom back—at any cost. And the hilarity that ensues will determine the fate of the universe.


~Amazon Description~

 The Breakdown
Tom wishes his life was more exciting.  He wishes there was a kingdom with fierce dragons that needed saving...and he, yes he, was the one to do the saving.  He wishes all of that until it actually happens.  So what if the portal into this other world is through a clothes donation bin in the parking lot of a Kmart.  So what if the land is made of tossed aside clothes from Earth, and his guide through this new kingdom is a man named Gark who seems to be the court jester.  He's the chosen one.  Until he's not.  And then he kind of is again.  Okay.  It's complicated.

The Awesome
Pierson is a funny, witty author who does an excellent job getting into a teenager's head.  Despite the fantastical elements (which, grant it, is the point of the book) Tom's thoughts, feelings, concerns, and fears are genuine and often times overwhelming.

There is a character named Gark.  Awesome.

The Not So Awesome
The pacing is a bit slow, and while the every thought in Tom's head is amusing, it also keeps the story from moving forward.

Have you seen The Neverending Story?  The fantastic film from 1984 in which a young boy, Bastian, finds himself as "a chosen one" that must find courage to save a fantastical kingdom.  And the story includes a flying dragon/dog think.  Yeah.  Crap Kingdom reminded me a lot of The Neverending Story. Maybe that's why I liked it so much.  It could have been shortened, but overall, this highly creative, amusing book was an excellent summer read.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Devil and Her Love Song: a manga review

Author: Miyoshi Tomori
Info: VIZ Media LLC, copright 2012, 200 pages

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Learning the art of spin and failing miserably.

Meet Maria Kawai—she’s gorgeous and whip-smart, a girl who seems to have it all. But when she unleashes her sharp tongue, it’s no wonder some consider her to be the very devil! Maria’s difficult ways even get her kicked out of an elite school, but this particular fall may actually turn out to be her saving grace...

Maria’s frank nature gains her more enemies at her new school, but her angelic singing voice inadvertently catches the attention of Yusuke Kanda and Shin Meguro. Can these boys mend her hardened heart, or will they just end up getting scorched?

~Amazon Description~


I think this is an excellent example of needing to read more before judging.  Maria Kawai is a new student at school.  And sure, she’s blunt, but her new classmates immediately taken a strange disliking of her.  And not just a “hey, let’s ignore the new kid.”  Instead they want to destroy Maria.  Get her kicked out of school after, like, a day.

I’m not sure I’d want to be friends with Maria, but their reaction seems a bit over the top.  One student steps up and, well, befriends, isn’t quite right, but helps her.  I can see a friendship/romance blossoming, but not yet.

Tomori does an excellent job differentiating the characters, giving Maria her own style so that she stands apart.  While I didn’t fall in love with volume one, it has left me wondering what’s going to happen to Maria and classmates.  I’ll have to keep reading.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Top 10 Best/Worst Movie Adaptations
(Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I started off with a half-and-half list, and then I realized that wasn't going to work.  See, the thing is, I choose to separate my book reading experience and my movie watching experience.  I compartmentalize.  The books are the books.  The movies are the movies.  And while they have similar stories, if I'm entertained by both I consider it a win.  I usually like the book more, but it just depends.  So here are ten of my favorite book to movie combinations:


1) Harry Potter the series
Sure, they left some things out.  And yeah, they mixed up the ending a bit, but I love them equally.  I still can't watch Deathly Hallows Part II without bawling my eyes out.  It's kind of ridiculous.
2) The Power of One
I was introduced to this particular movie in the seventh grade, and there was just something about the characters, the story, the setting that has stayed forever in my heart.
3) The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I hated the book, but loved the movie.  
 4) The Princess Bride
Classic.  Andre the Giant.  Enough said.
5) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one.  It's quirky.  It's strange.  It's downright weird.  But I love the way it skips around, and I loved Michael Cera who usually drives me crazy.
6) The Hunger Games
Not my first choice for Haymitch, but I thought it was well done and maintained the integrity of the book.  Plus Lenny Kravitz was just plain cool.
7) The Phantom Tollbooth
What a brilliant, thoughtful, creative book.  The movie might be a little dated, but it's still brilliant.
8) The Secret Garden
Specifically the 1993 movie.  Watching the characters grow, learn, and find each other is special each time I watch the movie or read the book.
9) Romeo and Juliet
Go Baz Luhrmann!  I love his flashy, loud, in your face film, bringing a weird life to the classic play.
10) The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
One of my favorite fantasies.  When Lucy sees the wardrobe for the first time I got tingles down my back.  To be young and just believe...I miss those days.

Happy reading (and watching)!
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