Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: "Frostbite: Vampire Academy Graphic Novel #2"

Frostbite: Vampire Academy Graphic Novel #2 by Richelle Mead
3 out of 5 stars

After I watched the Vampire Academy movie at the beginning of the month, it made me want to read more VA, so I pulled out the second graphic novel that I've been saving for a while now. Not sure why, guess I just wasn't in the mood for it. Like the first graphic novel, this was a decent companion to the books. I would definitely recommend reading the books first, because there will always be some small details left out for space reasons. This review will assume you've read the book as well, so spoilers! :)

The "previously" pages at the beginning were very helpful. I couldn't really remember what happened in the first book, so that was nice. Also got to see half-naked Dimitri again heh... This story is all about the Strigoi attacks against the royal families and of course, Rose is worried about Lissa. The Academy decides to have winter vacation at a fancy ski resort and extra Guardians show up to protect them, including Rose's mom. Her mom is kind of a rhymes-with-witch to her and even manages to give Rose a black eye during a "workout". Thanks, Mom.

There are lots of "adult situations" in this book, between Lissa & Christian (and Rose vicariously, much to her embarrassment), Rose & Dimitri, Rose & Mason, Rose & Adrian...yeah, Rose really does have a "reputation" lol. There wasn't nearly enough Adrian though. Oh, Adrian. You are so yummy mmm...oh sorry, got a little carried away there. ;)

The big scene when the kids get taken by the Strigoi was done well. But I am just now realizing that maybe I got the movie Strigoi mixed up with the graphic novel Strigoi. Were the movie Strigoi blue? I don't think they were. That's annoying. Anyway, they were overly "Dracula-ish" but the fight scene was good. Poor Mason. :( The last few pictures with Rose holding his body were just really perfect. Overall, I think the artwork in this one is a lot better than the first. Except Lissa. There's just something about her I still don't like. (And didn't like the actress in the movie really either. Maybe I just don't like Lissa lol.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

TILT: Book Posters #11

Time for another Things I Love Thursday: Book Posters edition!! I found some awesome ones on Pinterest this time. What are you loving this week? Besides books, of course, I'm also loving So You Think You Can Dance. It's one of my favorite summer shows. And also the yummy creamy avocado pasta that I'm about to have for lunch. :) And especially, the fact that it is Thursday and only 1.5 days til the weekend!! I am SO READY lol. Okay, on to the book stuff...

Book Birthday by French Fries & Waffles --this is more of a comic (be sure to go read it up close!), but I still think it'd be cute as a poster. And that sounds like the perfect birthday to me! You can buy some of the artist's prints here.

I don't know if this is available to print anywhere, but how cool is this vintage summer reading poster by Rudi Bass? You can see more of them on Stickers & Stuff's blog.

I love Maurice Sendak so much and this vacation poster is adorable. He did a whole book of reading posters that you can view on and buy on Amazon. Of course, the wild things are my favorite, but I love this sea dragon too.

And finally, this neat book print by Fifth & Hazel. I love the basic drawings of the books and searching to see if you're favorite title is on there. You can buy and print your own black & white version here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: "Bittersweet"

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
3 out of 5 stars

Can a Summer Romance Formula book be set in the dead of winter? Just substitute snow for sunshine, parkas for bikinis, and freeze the large body of water and you've got Bittersweet. :) This book was decent, maybe not quite as good as Twenty Boy Summer (I like that they have similar covers), but I enjoyed it.

Hudson is a 16 year old girl living in upstate New York (I think, very close to the Canada border) with her mom and younger brother, Bug. Her dad left them 4 years before, leading Hudson to quit her promising figure skating career. Now she's working in her mom's diner, baking cupcakes. Oh man, the cupcakes. Each chapter is titled with a new cupcake recipe, such as "vanilla cupcakes topped with whipped peanut butter cream cheese icing, milk chocolate chips, crushed pretzels, and a drizzle of warm caramel." Trust me, you are going to want cupcakes after reading this book! My stomach is actually growling as I'm writing this review lol. If you are lucky enough to have a Sprinkles store nearby, I say go there before starting this book!
(Mini red velvet cupcakes on top of their 
handmade ice cream. Neeeeed!!)

Hudson is great at the cupcake biz, but her real passion (she thinks) is still figure skating. She starts going to a local lake on her breaks and skating again. She has to hide it from her mom though, because skating was her dad's thing with her and she has a lot of guilt over it sort of breaking up her parents' marriage. While skating one day, she (literally) runs into cute hockey player Josh and somehow agrees to help him with his skating, which turns into helping the entire hockey team. There is a bit of a love triangle between Josh and fellow hockey captain, Will. Ockler kind of set it up so that Hudson could fall for either boy, which was a little odd. Almost like she maybe wanted to do a sequel, but didn't/couldn't? I won't spoil it, but there is the appropriate amount of crushing and swooning here. :)

No matter what happens next, I'm not letting this turn into another two weeks of silence, the entire history of us summed up in a series of near misses and almosts just because neither of us had the snowballs to say anything.

Hudson's relationship with her mom was one of my least favorite parts of the book, while the interactions with her brother were some of my favorite parts. Mom's dream was to own a diner and she's doing it, but barely. It's not Hudson's dream though. She seems very oblivious to what's going on in her teenage daughter's life, aside from the impact it has on the diner. She expects Hudson to do the cupcake biz and waitress when they have to cut back on expenses and also basically help raise Bug, all while going to school still. Bug, on the other hand, is adorable. Eight years old and a little precocious, he likes to investigate the mail for suspicious powders and figure out the logistics of how Santa could get to all the houses in one night.

When Hudson gets a chance to reinvent herself in the skating world, she decides to take it. Even though it means lying to her mom, flaking out on her brother and best friend Dani, letting her grades slip, and generally making a mess of things. Honestly, she is not an easy person to like. The whole book kind of reminds me of a younger version of the 90s movie, The Cutting Edge. (Great movie, if you haven't seen it. The toe pick scene is my favorite!) Hudson has to decide if skating is really what she wants to do or if she's maybe just fooling herself. And how is her mom going to react when she finds out? (I'm sure you can guess.) Overall, a decent book that leaves you wanting cupcakes and hot chocolate (even though it's 90 degrees here!)

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Summer of Being Cool Chicks #2

Happy Friday the 13th all! Big announcement: I started a Facebook page for my blog and all things book related! It's at SeeJennRead and I'd love it if you'd go like the page and spread the word. :)

It's time for another installment of The Cool Chick Handbook! And if you missed the first one, be sure to check it out here. The weather was pretty yucky most of the week, so we did several indoor things this time. And we had the bright idea to purchase disposable cameras this weekend and use them over the summer. I'm not sure I remember how to use one, but it should be fun! (Where's the zoom button?!) Okay, on to the Cool Chick activities...

#142. Hold your own in a hand of poker (and keep your clothes on). Yeah don't worry, we didn't play strip poker lol. We didn't know how to play poker, so we had to look it up. (This is the site we used.) We weren't very good either. Binky Cat was better at shuffling the deck than we were hah! But we tried and we were very serious with our betting...using marshmallows and Mike & Ike's. :) I had the best hand, with a Flush. Or was it a Straight? Hmm...and then we gave up and played Crazy Eights haha!

#100. Challenge yourself to finish a brain-busting 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Um, we haven't finished it yet. It's haaarrrddd! I'm not really sure how doing a puzzle makes you a Cool Chick either. By making you use your brain and smarts makes you cool? I don't know. I just know that the sky is going to be a real pain in the butt...

#116. Claim your very own theme song, a la Ally McBeal. I never watched that show much. But I like music and the idea of your own theme song. Or in our case, songs. Yeah, we couldn't come up with one definite song, so instead we made a playlist of the 19 songs that most define us. :) Almost all of our mixes end up being 19 songs and just like this one, it's completely unintentional! You can listen to the mix right here (hopefully, if it's working!) or click the link below to go to 8Tracks. Do you have a theme song(s)? I want to hear it!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

TILT: Bookish Goodies

Just some good old bookish goodies on today's Things I Love Thursday! :) Have you stumbled across any book pretties lately? I'd love to see them!

(if you do not want your item shown here, 
please let me know & I will remove it immediately!)

Bookish Necklace by VintageVampJewels --this shop has a lot of really cute bookish necklaces, but this one is so simple and elegant, it's my fave!

Bookish Girl ID Bracelet by BookishGirls --really? This shop is the perfect place for book nerds to get all their jewelry! :) And I'm jealous of people who can do metal stamping like that. I'm crafty, but not that crafty!

Bookish Tote Bag by BonnieBruno --if you were one of the lucky ones who got to go to BEA recently, I'm sure you are all tote bagged out (so you could get the pillow instead). But for the rest of us, this is the perfect bag to take to the library or used bookstore!

Bookish Quote Earrings by PendantMadness --I love that this has the definition on it. Bonus: you could get the I Still Believe in 398.2 pair too and mix them! :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book vs Movie: "Vampire Academy"

I rented the Vampire Academy movie from Redbox over the weekend and thought it would be fun to do another Book vs Movie special. I enjoyed the books quite a bit, some more than others, and actually like the Bloodlines spinoff series a LOT more. Sydney has really grown on me and Adrian is still way hotter than Dimitri. (Sorry sorry! I know I'm in the minority!) Okay, I have already gotten off topic so let's get back to the movie. Oh! If you haven't read at least the first book yet, you might want to stop here because there will be spoilers!

I had my doubts about this movie from the first trailer. It looked very cheesy and over-the-top Mean Girls meets Twilight-esque. And well, it was. But I still liked it, for the most part. I thought they did a good job of explaining the world in the beginning to those who haven't read the books. It can be very confusing at first. I realized I have been saying "Moroi" wrong in my head all this time. I've been saying "mor-eye", but duh, makes sense to rhyme it with "Strigoi", which I was pronouncing correctly. (Don't you hate when you've been reading 9 books in a series and suddenly realize you mispronounced a main word? Just me?) I thought the beginning was a little rushed, they kind of just threw us in the middle of a story, but it was like that in the book too, wasn't it? It's been a while since I've read those, but I think the movie stayed very true to the book. What do you think? Did they leave out any major parts that you wanted to see?

Okay, so yes, the plot was fine, as good as the book. Now let's talk about the actors. (I'm not going to bother looking up all their real names.) Rose was pretty close to what I expected, maybe a little curvier/sexier in the books. Her voice was kind of annoying at first but I got used to it and she had the sarcastic one-liners down perfect. Lissa was kind of meh to me. But then, I didn't really like her in the books that much either. And Dimitri? Well, you know I'm more Team Adrian so...I just didn't like him that much. He looked too old, first of all. (Although the actor was probably only 27-28 while filming.) He blended in with the other Guardians for the first 30 minutes or so. I will say though that the scene with the necklace spell was pretty hot. ;) Christian was perfectly dark and moody, but loving to Lissa. Mason was not what I expected but I liked it. Natalie was good, although she had red hair in the graphic novel.  (Not sure if this movie poster is fan made or not, but I like it a lot better than the originals!)

Finally, let's talk about the Strigoi. You know I had issues with how they were represented in the graphic novel. Well, at least they weren't blue like in the movie! What was that about? Yeah, he's the undead and doesn't get a lot of sun, but would it kill him (get it? kill?) to put a little bronzer on?? They were just so over-the-top Evil Vampire it wasn't even funny. Bah.

So, after all that, will I watch the next ones if they're made? Yes, because ADRIAN. :) And should you watch this one? Yes, if you loved the books. It was nice to see it come to life. No, if you haven't read the books or didn't enjoy them that much.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: My 10 Best Reads So Far This Year

I was looking forward to this week's TTT on The Broke & The Bookish because I know I have read a ton of great books this year and figured it would be easy to pick 10. Then I realized that I've already read 70 books this year! That's a crazy amount for me. I'm already at 63% of my Goodreads Challenge goal, so I either need to raise my goal or slow down on the reading some. I'll probably do a little of both actually. So what awesome books have I read so far this year? Let's take a look!

1 (1-3). Any & all Rainbow Rowell books. 2014 is the year of Rainbow :) I loooooved Fangirl so much, Eleanor & Park was a close 2nd, and Attachments a decent 3rd place. I can't wait for Landline and everything else Rainbow writes, ever! Oh oh!! And the best collection of writers writing holiday stories ever!! I reeeaallllly can't wait for that! Lol... (My True Love Gave to Me)

2 (4-8). The Ghost Bird series by CL Stone. I talked about this briefly last week, but there is just something so oddly hypnotic and captivating about this story. I've read the first 5 since April 1st (and am downloading the 6th this afternoon) and they just keep getting better for me.

3 (9-11). Graphic novels Locke & Key #5 was phenomenal as always and I hate that I have/want to wait until #6 comes out in paperback!! Terry Moore's Rachel Rising 1-2 were delicious and spooky and intriguing and I hope my dad gets the next ones soon so I can borrow them! Saga #3 was the best of the best and if you aren't reading any/all of these 3 series, you are seriously missing out!

4 (12). Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. This is my classic for this month, so I'll be reviewing it soon, but I just have to say that Steinbeck never lets me down. Even when he's killing childhood ponies and stinging babies with scorpions, he still gets to me.

5 (13). Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, another wonderful summer book by Morgan!! On the surface, it's about 2 BFF's and a strange to-do list. But it's so much more than that and just like all of Morgan's books, it will hit you in the gut when you least expect it. But a good hit, not a bad one lol.

6 (14). Haunted by Eileen Maksym is a great, spooky story by a first-time author. (Full review here) I recommend reading this in October, when there's a chill in the air and the leaves are skittering across the ground and it's that strange twilight hour when weird things can happen.

7 (15-16). Mary Anne Misses Logan and Mallory on Strike (Baby-Sitters Club). Maybe it's because both of these books were about books and authors, but I really enjoyed them.

8 (17-19). Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray. This was such a different story than any I've read before and it really grew on me as it progressed. An intriguing mixture of historical fiction and supernatural that you don't see very often.

9 (20-21). Something Real by Heather Demetrios and Reality Boy by AS King. (Double review here) I've never read any "reality" books like this and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them.

10 (22). The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz (Full review here) I was so happy I found a copy of this at the library book sale over the weekend, because I really enjoyed it. "Music" themed books was another genre I've discovered that I really love.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Haul: Friends of the Library Sale!

My local library was having a big book sale this weekend, so of course I had to go! And drag my sister along with me. (She's the best bag carrier ever! Except when she disappears to look at the movies and I have an armful of books lol.) The sale was in a big empty building down the street from the library and they had a good amount of books plus a good mixture of adult with young adult/children's books. I ended up with 20 books + 2 movies for just $16! I was pretty happy with that.

(click to make bigger)

The classics section was surprisingly small, but I managed to pick up a couple: The Little Prince, Jane Eyre, Strawberry Girl, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and East of Eden (which I'm starting today at work). I had a few Jane Austen books too, but I remembered just in time that I'd already gotten them at HPB last time I was there. I hate accidentally buying duplicate books, don't you?

My main goal, before I got there, was to find lots of Steinbeck and lots of Sweet Valley High. Could there be a wider spectrum of books there?? ;) I wanted extra copies of Steinbeck to read by the pool and not have to worry if they got messed up, but unfortunately, I was only able to find the one and at 600+ pages, it's not
exactly light reading. That's okay though and I did find several SVH books, so I was happy. Actually, my sister was really good at spotting them!

So, since I didn't find some Steinbeck for pool reading, I went the trashy romance route. (Nothing wrong with that!) American Girls About Town is a collection of short stories by authors like Jennifer Weiner and Sarah Mlynowski. I owned this one before but sold it off. I still have the Irish Girls anthology though, which I remember being very good. When I was super into the "Pink Book" chicklit, I remember reading a lot of Rachel Gibson and Lori Foster, so I figured these were safe bets. Plus, my sister liked them both too, so maybe she'll read them.

And in the "Everything "Else" category, we have a Chelsea Handler bio, Sarah's Key (a historical fiction that has been on my to-buy list for 3 years!), How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr, and 2 books that both turned out to be 2nd books in series argg: Footfree & Fancyloose and Viola in the Spotlight. The last one is The Vinyl Princess, which I had checked out from the library and loved, so glad to have my own copy!

Oh and the movies? Both picked by my sister: When Harry Met Sally, because we watched half of it on TV a few weeks ago and never got to finish it. And All's Faire in Love, with Christina Ricci, because it looked cute. :)

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Summer of Being Cool Chicks!

Back in February, I was cleaning out my closet and found some old magazine articles in a folder. They were from 2000 and were all about "bettering" myself. I even found one that Gayle Forman wrote, which was really cool! They were kind of hilariously bad, but one in particular intrigued me..."The Cool Chick Handbook" in Jump magazine (do you remember Jump?) which had 200+ things you could ideally do to become super cool chicks. Such as "1. Believe in yourself and your unlimited potential." and "35. Sleep under the stars." :)

So my sister and I started talking about it and joking around about how we should totally do some of them. And then it morphed into a summer project and we marked all the ones that we would be willing to do. (I'm not going to Feng Shui my bedroom lol.) And I thought it would be fun to share here with you all! We are going to try to do 3-5 things each week for the month of June and (hopefully) continue it on into July if we have fun doing it. I'll just post once a week here so as not to bombard you with stuff, but you can follow my Instagram for more pictures. And if you want to become a cool chick (or dude) this summer too, you can read the whole list in my Flickr album set up just for this purpose! And now let's get to this week's Cool Chick activities!

First, we tried #98: Pass notes folded into origami cranes. Since neither of us really knew how to do that, we figured we'd better get help. We tried calling the 1800 number they listed there, but alas, it is for some kind of survey thing now lol. The paperfolding website is still around, if you want to make your own paper cranes! I wouldn't recommend it though, it's hard, especially if you're an origami noob like me! I got to around step 16 or so (after about an hour) and just decided my crane was laying down lol. My sister managed to help me wake him up though and he was just a little sleep wrinkled. :) She totally showed me up by making a newspaper hat too. Showoff.

On Tuesday, we did #106: Play hooky with your mom and spend the day bonding. Okay, well we all had vacation days, but we did have fun! We went to IkeaLand to buy furniture for my mom's new craft room and had a great lunch at our local favorite Mexican restaurant and took selfies, of course. Yeah, we don't look alike at all. ;)
(I'm the one with the white sunglasses)

We only did 2 this week, to get us started, but it was lots of fun. I hope you liked reading about it and let me know what you think and especially if you decide to do your own Summer of Being Cool Chicks! :) 
(this will be us soon lol)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (on Wednesday): My 10 Summer Reads

Aw, I missed a great TTT topic yesterday on The Broke & The Bookish, so I decided to go ahead and do it today! :) I'm going to split it up, like I've seen a few others do, so I give you books that will be in my beach bag (metaphorically, because I don't like most of my books to get anywhere near the water lol) and books that should be in your beach bag!

I do tend to read a lot of Summer Romance Formula books in the summer time, just because I like lighter reading and I usually slow down a lot on my reading due to swimming and general running around more. I'm doing a special fun non-book related project this summer with my sister, which I'll be blogging about on Friday, so that will cut down a lot more on my reading probably this summer too. But not too much of course! Here's what I have planned, in my metaphorical beach bag:

1. The next 2 (3?) books in CL Stone's Ghost Bird series. I have devoured the first 4 books in this series in the last month or so. I don't know what it is about them, but I am totally obsessed. My sister is getting annoyed with me because all I do is read these books.

2. Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. This was a pre-blogging & Goodreads series that I read, so it's been at least 7 years, and I decided it was time for a reread. Since I'm giving my annual Summer Reread of Harry Potter a break for a few years, I thought this would be a good alternative.

3. More John Steinbeck. This will be the 3rd summer that I've read him and it just feels right. I'm currently reading Travels with Charley and as soon as I opened the first page, I felt like I was home. Do you have an author like that? Harry Potter makes me feel that way too. If you've never read Steinbeck as an adult, I strongly encourage you to go try one of his books.

4. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. I just picked this one up the other day and am super excited to read it. I loved The Summer I Turned Pretty series, so I know this will be just as good.

5. Reread Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell so I can loan it to my 14 yr old sister :) I don't think she realizes I have it yet or she'd be hounding me for it lol.

6. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki. This graphic novel just came out in May and it looks so good. Hopefully I'll be able to find it locally.

7. Rules of Summer by Joanne Philbin. This was on my list last year and I never got to it. I hope my library has it now!

Books that should be in your beach bag this summer (besides the above 7 of course!):

1. A classic book that makes you think, just a little bit. Steinbeck, Jane Austen, Harper Lee, Elizabeth Gaskell...all good choices.

2. Anything by Morgan Matson. She seriously knows how to do a good summer book! The perfect amount of heartbreak and friendship, serious talk and lighthearted fun.

3. Any books that fit the Summer Romance Formula. Fun, sun, and romance.

4. Something Real by Heather Demetrios and/or Reality Boy by AS King (double review here). What's better than some good, trashy reality TV shows in the summertime? These books are perfect for that fix but also give you a little bit more.

5. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I don't know if I would read this one on the beach, because you might get weird stares for laughing hysterically. Maybe listen to it at the pool with several friends? That way you can all be weird together!

6. And let's end with a reread of a book or series you really enjoyed from at least 2 years ago. See if your views have changed on it or if you still love it just as much.
(From the Happy Page by LastLemon)