Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Some Girls Are Review

Title: Some Girls Are
Author: Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published Date: January 2010
Price: Amazon ($9.99)

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.

Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be
more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of
Cracked Up To Be.

Some Girls Are…NOT fluffy, cotton candy girls riding the Ferris wheel. Courtney Summers creates a mirror, cracked and grafittied on, of bullying, rumors, gossip, and takes backstabbing to a new level. Every pain and emotion, including the sweet but bitter taste of revenge of not only Regina, but also all the secondary characters is felt by the reader. Every punch to the stomach, every hurtful accusation, and every want for understanding and love.

The Fearsome Five, the elite, but meanest clique of the school, casts out of one of its members, Regina Afton, wrongly accused of sleeping with her best friend’s boyfriend. Vicious rumors, hard-core bullying, and being outcast as a pariah and a slut, creates a whole cycle of cruel accusations and harassment. Regina Afton is far from the perfect friend, not your usual heroine who keeps her head down and tries to make the world a better place. Ok, so you know how everyone says if you go for revenge, you’re going to hurt yourself, but rarely have we wanted to heed to this wise advice. This is why all the characters seem realistic, even though they all come off as mean and villains. Regina doesn’t just want to sit tight and wait for a higher heavenly force to punish the gang, but does it herself and laughs like a hyena (really, she does that a lot) afterwards. However, Regina isn’t just a mean girl; she’s a pack of emotions, a range of personalities, nice, and mean. There were so many times when I wanted to strangle her neck for being so stupid and mean and ARGH, but then there were a lot of times when I want to pat her on her back and sympathize with her. All of the characters, even Kara, who instigated this whole rumor, you hate them because they’re so cruel, but you feel sorry for them because once upon a time, they were victims too of the high school horror.

I don’t know how to really describe this book. This book is just beyond words for me. Emotionally, it really just changed my perspective of what bullying is. And the heart-wrenching romance and relation between Michael and Regina was just…wow. The language Summers creates the characters, the first point perspective of Regina is an emotional turmoil.

One thing I have to complain is the ending. Not that it needed a sequel, but it was way too rushed. The climax happened and then it leaped to the resolution without any real development. I felt that there could have been some filler in between.

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 3.5/5

Funny story is when I found the cover in other blogs I thought it was a barn with the red color and the book was about farming. Lol. I like the red locker and it relates to the story due to its symbolic significance. But it isn’t a cover I would have picked up on my first look.

Overall: 5/5

The book doesn’t really need to be constituted in words. It’s just that emotionally traumatic, and for me, personally, it opened my eyes to how scary high school teenagers are and what bullying is, even though we are always warned by teachers to report bullying. If you’re up for an emotional journey (and please be warned that you WILL get addicted…I was carrying this everywhere while I was shopping), Some Girls Are is for you.

Waiting on Wednesdays (7)

Waiting On Wednesdays is a weekly meme, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights highly anticipated releases.

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Publishing Date: October 1, 2010

Sixteen-year-old Evie's job is bagging and tagging paranormals. Possessing the strange ability to see through their glamours, she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But when someone--or something--starts taking out the vamps, werewolves, and other odd beasties she's worked hard to help become productive members of society, she's got to figure it out before they all disappear and the world becomes utterly normal.

Normal is so overrated. 

Character Introduction (from Kiersten White's site)

My name's Evie. I work for the IPCA. Yeah, the International Paranormal Containment Agency. But don't worry, I'm not a vamp or werewolf or faerie or anything. And I don't kill them, either. Just bag and tag. After all, we're not out to eliminate them--just to neuter them. Sorry, IPCA joke. We don't actually neuter them, because, well, yuck. We just help them live harmlessly among humans. Sometimes they don't want the help, but we give it to them anyway.  Think of us as the UN, if the UN carried tasers and silver knives.

So you're probably wondering why a sixteen-year-old girl is the prize possession of IPCA. I'm sure you know all about glamours--most paranormals have them, meaning normal people (okay, everyone else in the world except me) can't see what they really are. But there's no fooling me; I can see through to what they are underneath.  Trust me: all of this nonsense about vampires being sexy?  NOT. TRUE.

So that's my life. Or, it was, until paranormals started dying and something unlike anything we'd seen before broke into the Center and changed everything... 

My Thoughts: 

The cover is absolutely stunning and dark. The storm clouds and the beautiful model in the wide field just creates this really dark aura, that I am sure will fit the novel. Also, the premise seems really unique, girl taking care of werewolves and vampires. I've heard there's a lot of romance in it, so can't wait to read this!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Forbidden Love-Love it or Flop?

Ok, so I had to go off on a tangent about this whole issue of “forbidden love” and whether to other readers, if it really is a plot line that attracts people and creates a ride of emotions.

The concept of Forbidden Love is hitting its peak in popularity, creating intense fan groups, and getting movie companies excited in creating the bittersweet movie that teenage girls would swoon over, but is it too overrated?

For example, take Twilight for instance. Edward and Bella…either the best romantic couple ever or the worst and most cliché. For me, it’s in the middle of the road, they’re very sweet together, even though Bella needs to stop being a whiny ARGH and Edward needs to stop being so “I’m too bad for you” and waste a book on his mellow and low self-esteem issues (even though I love Jacob! Team Jacob!). I understand where Edward comes from, saying oh, I killed a lot of people, so I’m not perfect for you. But, seriously, so he’s not perfect. Big deal! No one is perfect and he needs to stop being so conceited in thinking he should be, but rather just accept that he’s irrevocably in love with Bella and Bella is in love with him and they can have a happy future, that since they both love each other like soulmates, they should accept it and really enjoy their lives, instead of mulling over how bad they are for the other person or how they’re not meant to be together.

And recently I’ve been watching a lot of Asian dramas and it annoys me so much when the woman protagonist tries to get away from the male protagonist, even though they both love each other. She keeps making up little, petty excuses saying how she’s older than him or saying she’s not rich enough for him. I get it if it lasts for a few episodes, but if that’s the whole plot or it’s half of the season…UGH!

So, I wanted to ask you guys of you opinions. Do you guys adore the concept of forbidden love or do you guys think it’s a flop?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

75 Followers Contest!

This is it! The 75 Followers Contest. I want to thank every one of my followers and readers for sticking with me, even though for the past weeks I have not been on. During spring break, I hope I can catch back to the flow of reading and blogging.

Since many of you said you wanted multiple winners (I would want multiple winners too!). So I decided I have two winners win one book from the pile of 2010 Releases I chose and a winner who wins swag. Sorry, but contest is only open to US and Canada (Next time, when I have more money :(, I'll make it international!)

So here are the choice of books:

  • Mockingjay (Will Pre-Order)
  • A Match Made in High School
  • The Body Finder
  • Hex Hall
  • Princess for Hire
  • The Iron King
  • Radiant Shadows (Will Pre-Order)
  • Heist Society
  • Spells (Will Pre-Order)
  • Bleeding Violet
  • The Mark 
  • The Line
And the third winner gets swag that I've won in previous contests: (Will upload picture later...need to find cable!)
  • Intertwined Bookmark
  • The Summoning Bookmark
  • Three Days to Dead Bookmark (Signed)
Contest Information:
  • Open to US and Canada only
  • Ends April 30th (Hope it gives you enough time!)
  • Fill out this FORM
Extra Entries:
  • +3 Old Follower
  • +1 New Follower
  • +1 Tweet
  • +1 Sidebar
  • +3 Blog Post
  • +15 Button for Movie Poster Monday
  • +15 Button for Fashion Friday
If I choose your button for Movie Poster Monday and/or Fashion Friday, I will add in 15 extra entries for you myself (Do not put this in the form.) Email it to tuningintoyabooks(at)gmail(dot)com.

Good luck to all and please email me if there are any problems!

Candor Review

Title: Candor
Author: Pam Bachorz
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Published Date: September 2009
Pages: 256

Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town
where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way
to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them
all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved
teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages
to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to
get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape
Candor, Florida before they're transformed into
cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor,
and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles. 



Lol, I’m sorry but I just had to rant about the ending…I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but the ending leaves a huge gaping hole and just makes you drop your jaw because it transitions way too smoothly into it and doesn’t leave any tantalizing hints or emotions.

Candor is not only a dystopian society book, but a scary and horrifying revelation of what really happens when parents want their children to be perfect and mold them into the perfect child image. I really praise Bachorz for developing the characters really well, not into sobbing or happy characters, but what they really are …mindless robots. Also, there was one incident when Oscar’s father vide tapes Oscar, which is right on target with the "police" parents, how they look through your computer history or call you every time to see where you are. In Candor, the line between caring and policing is blurred as parents want their children to become perfect, while being emotionless. I love the premise of the novel and the plot because it is a science-fiction but it has a theme of what really constitutes perfect that affects every teens, as we all know, parents want to monitor the teenage life, worrying they’ll do all sorts of drugs and gang violence. Sometimes, the writing fell flat contrasting to the action of the book, but otherwise I really did love this unique idea of what it really means to be a “caring” parent.

The character development, or more like how much I liked the characters, wasn’t that great for me. I didn’t really look forward to the romance between Nia and Oscar. It just felt flat to me, nothing interesting or bittersweet about it. It was way too much of a “love at first sight” and I wanted to see more of teenage angst of love, which in turn would contrast them from the other emotionless teens. I also really didn’t like Nia at all in the beginning. Even though I know she’s supposed to be rebellious and a bit mean, but I felt like even in the relation she was way too controlling and was telling what Oscar should do. However, I did like Oscar, even though he was mean too. How he really cares for Nia and also his troubled past with his mom makes me sympathize him and root for him throughout the book.

The unique plot of molding the perfect child shows the horrifying and scary perspectives of being a “caring and loving” parent. This is not only a dystopian world where we really can't relate to (unless someone traveled in the future and told us this really happens), but has an underlying message in it.

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 3.5/5

I like the cover and it really is a good depction of the book, with the orange spray paint. I also think the model for this really does represent Oscar. Aesthetically, it isn’t that great though and wouldn’t be luring me to buy the book.

Overall: 4/5
This book is a combination of both science fiction, but with a twist of emotions and a Message to parents (You are what you read. Lol). There are some times I wanted to strangle both Oscar and Nia to shake some kindness into them, but their mean personality really makes them different from the perfect teens robots parents expect their children to be. I really hope there is a sequel because the ending was begging for one. If you want a quick read and not a big fan for science fiction, this book is for you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie.

Borrowed From Library (To Be Read): 
  • Fang by James Patterson (*Fangirl moment!* SO HAPPY!)
  • Undead Much by Stacey Jay (Loved the first book. Can't wait for more Ethan!)

Borrowed from Library (Reading)
  • Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (Loving it! Expect a review soon!)
I apologize again for disregarding my blog and focusing on school. But starting from today, my spring break STARTED! Yay! So now my life is centered around AP studying and doing HW (D:) and reading and updating my blog...starting from creating the contest! I am so happy with the books I got and cannot wait to start reading them! What books did you get? Leave a comment :)

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    75 Followers...Time for A Celebration?

    Hey Everyone! So this post is a wee bit overdue from yesterday, but I finally made it to 75 followers! Yeah!, and thanks to every one of my followers who made this happen and encouraged me with comments and praises for my reviews. I couldn't have gone this far without you guys to support me.

    First and foremost, I want to beg on my knees and ask for fogiveness for not posting a lot of reviews and memes these past two weeks. I've been really really busy, stressed, upset, disappointed (put in any other negative feeling) about school and grades. Right now, I'm in like my mid-life crisis (not really xD), but I've been trying all my best to bring back the luck I used to have for school. But I have been reading a lot, so just wait for more reviews! (And also, my library just ordered a whole batch of new books, so cannot wait to start on those when they arrive, which I hope is soon!)

    I might be gone for this week too, depending on the amount of HW and tests we get (which isn't looking good either), but I will be on frequently the following week, since IT'S SPRING BREAK! WOO HOO! Cannot wait to just relax and erase all the bad memories from school and of course, update my blog (Movie Poster Monday and Fashion Friday are still going on!).

    So, to celebrate my goal mark of 75 followers, I'm planning to hold a giveaway, not this week but the week after, when I have time to create forms and other stuff :). I wanted to ask some ideas for giveaways, would you want me to choose a group of books for you to choose from or have the winner pick any book they want? And  would you want one winner who wins multiple books or multiple winners with one book each? I hope I can make this contest big, even though I don't have a lot of money :(. Sorry in advance if it falls short of your expectations.

    Also, if you're good at web graphics background or HTML, please let me know any good sites. I want to do a makeover soon. :) 

    And to remind everyone that finally it's warm weather (at least in my area), here is a beautiful spring graphic, NOT created by me (trying to make myself be happy by looking at these pictures ^^).

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Wish Review

    Title: Wish
    Author: Alexandra Bullen
    Publisher: Point
    Published Date: January 2010
    Price: Amazon ($12.23)

    For broken-hearted Olivia Larsen, nothing can change the fact that her twin sister, Violet, is gone... until a mysterious, beautiful gown arrives on her doorstep. The dress doesn't just look magical; it is magical. It has the power to grant her one wish, and the only thing Olivia wants is her sister back.
    With Violet again by her side, both girls get a second chance at life. And as the sisters soon discover, they have two more dresses-and two more wishes left. But magic can't solve everything, and Olivia is forced to confront her ghosts to learn how to laugh, love, and live again. In a breathtaking debut from Alexandra Bullen, Wish asks the question: If you could have anything, what would you wish for? 

    A great plot idea that was executed poorly with annoying, moody characters. This really just summed up my long and tiring journey reading Wish. Every time I picked up the book, I looked at the cover, reminded myself of the beauty, and gave myself hope and enthusiasm that maybe there’s an arsenal Bullen is hiding somewhere within the depths of the pages. Alas, it didn’t appear as powerful as I hoped it would be.

    I love the emotional aspects intertwined with the magical aspect, even though I hoped there was more of the magic and of Posey. The emotional troubles behind Olivia’s past and her want to be included in society was really executed well. I liked the development of Olivia and how she was a relatable character that any insecure teen could relate to. Her feeling of invisibility and her usual reliance on her sister had a lot of emotion packed into it that the reader could empathize with. Olivia’s emotional journey, with the angst of romance and really living, is a heartbreaking one, especially with the ending. However, the emotional journey just really dragged the book, I am sorry to say. If you were expecting some kind of soap opera or some action with the magical dress, you might be disappointed and will give up in the middle. The book is more of exploring Olivia’s search for her identity, not the shadow of her sister, even though I wish there could have been more variation of her emotions. All of Olivia’s emotions are really mellow in the book, even when she’s with Soren, and I felt like Bullen could have created more romantic excursions with Soren or a subplot with actual action to keep the reader reading.

    Soren was way too stereotypical. I really wanted to see more of him, rather than the skater boy type who seems (to me) to be a player. I mean all he really did was comfort Olivia, not really developing his character and making him seem real. On the other hand, I really loved Miles and I wish he was shown more through the book. The emotional troubles as he understands and accepts his lesbian parents make him seem real and more like a teeanger. Regarding Violet…I really really really HATED her. I apologize to those fans out there, but I could not stand her controlling and condescending attitude and personality (*fumes*). She was literally Olivia’s puppeteer and she didn’t even admit her mistake at the end. I know it is part of the plot, but I felt like it was overboard.

    Plot: 2.5/5
    Characters: 3.5/5
    Cover: 5/5

    The cover was absolutely stunning, starting from the beautiful model to the star dress and the background (Love the font of the title too! ^^). In my opinion, the model was a great representation for Olivia, her facial expression is not happy or sad, but more like, unsure.

    Overall: 3/5

    If you picked up Wish expecting a novel full of magic, meddling with it, or a roller coaster of teenage emotions, please erase all those expectations and prepare to go on a flat ride of sadness. Even though I loved Olivia’s character, the sadness and worry just tinged and shadowed the plot and the romance. I love the premise though and I cannot wait to see more upcoming novels from Bullen.

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    Into The Wild Nerd Yonder Review

    Title: Into The Wild Nerd Yonder
    Author: Julie Halpern
    Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
    Published Date: September 2009
    Price: Amazon ($11.55)

    It’s Jessie’s sophomore year of high school. A self-professed “mathelete,” she isn’t sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating . . . the prom princess!) . . .

    Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high-school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way—the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes? If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back? 


    Halpern is not an author, but a creator; she is God in Into The Wild Nerd Yonder. Jessie literally became my new best friend, someone I can relate to and confide in. Her personality and character development really jumps off the page with her snarky, but sincere, tone. I loved how Jessie contained all the issues of a teenager, the changing environment, the worry of fitting in and society’s standards, but is humorous, as she almost seems to be talking to the reader, sharing snide remarks and jokes, confiding her insecurities with the reader. I also loved the development of the brother and sister relation between Jessie. Their relation is unique and maybe because I have a younger sister, who I constantly fight with, I found Barrett caring and protecting Jessie was adorable. Usually, I would be disappointed that there was no relationship development or problems between the families. However, I felt that adding it would detract from Jessie’s journey of finding her personality and who she really is. I loved how Halpern used Barrett’s own transformation to date the prom queen to support Jessie in breaking out of her shell, and as a supporting plot device.

    I find the D&D a hilarious addition, the whole nerd gang making jokes and playing with each other. And Henry was absolutely adorable, lol, “slushy-blue eyes”. Jessie’s gradual acceptance of being a “nerd” and ignoring all social commentary, and her unique personality, had a great thematic ring to it that I think all teenagers can be related to. Everyone has always been worried about not being included in the “in” group and wanted to be popular. The punk addition and the unique creation of the D&D role playing made this book stand out in developing the theme of self-discovery.

    However, I wish the second part of the plot was developed and were dedicated more pages to. I loved the first part, even though there were some sexual references that some people might squirm while reading, but Jessie’s wanting for a different and new life, away from her “friends”. The actual meat of the plot, including the romance between Henry and the budding friendship between Jessie and the rest of the D&D gang was rushed into the last part.

    Plot: 3/5
    Characters: 4/5
    Cover: 3/5

    I loved the combination between the math dodecahedral and the medieval dress. I also just noticed this sadly, the question mark really does symbolize Jessie’s search for her personality. But I felt that the design of the cover as a whole with random dodecahedral flying in the background made the book seem too childish,  my first impression, but really the book is quite the opposite.

    Overall: 3.5/5

    The sarcastic and humorous tone of Jessie’s monologue, which make it seem as if the reader and Jessie are close friends, really make the book enjoyable. Her character development and the execution of the theme of not trying to be “in” was really executed well, without all the corniness. I really do hope that there was more romance between Henry and more narration about the D&D gang.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Waiting on Wednesdays (6)

    Waiting On Wednesdays is a weekly meme, hosted at Breaking The Spine, that spotlights highly anticipated releases.

    Title: Shadow Hills
    Author: Anastasia Hopcus
    Publishing Date: July 13, 2010

    Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

    After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

    But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life. 

    My Thoughts: 

    I got a bookmark from A Passion For Books and so obviously I wanted to know the plotline and more about the book. The premise seems so interesting and unique. Ok, yea, we've seen a lot of forbidden love, but I feel like this one will be more bittersweet. But the place Phe goes to and how the boy she likes might be the cause of her sister's death just makes this book really interesting. And we don't even know the secrets yet, whether the secrets are that he's a vampire (bleh :P) or he's the killer, but with a time twist. The plot seems really intense and cannot wait for it to come out!

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Movie Poster Monday (3-The Luxe)

    This meme is created by Tuning Into YA Books (if you haven't figure out, that's me! :)). This meme is a combination of Matching Actors Into Characters and my mediocre Photoshopping skills. I compile images together from different movie scenes and fan art (that is not mine) to create a movie poster, ever hopeful of a future movie. I'm sorry for not doing this for a while. School :P

    I'm currently reading Splendor even though it's been going towards the bottom of my to-be-read pile since I borrowed too many good books. I've like the first three, a bit like Gossip Girls, but with a historical sense and also a toned down sex/drugs issue. I've loved Henry Schoonmaker, but my favorite character is Teddy! The oh, so sweet and nice boyfriend you can rely on. For Henry, I chose Ed Westwick as the match. I've never seen Gossip Girls (never even actually saw the show at all), but I thought his appearence best matched Henry's player and cad type of personality, but drop-dead handsome. For Will, I thought Lucas Till was a good match, even though Till is towards the younger side. Till's country and the soft country boy style fits Will perfectly. (And for Teddy, even though I couldn't fit him in the poster, I thought Logan Lerman's nice and reliable boy look was best. And I'm sure he can pull off the acting, even though he looks too young for Teddy). For the girls, I had a harder time picking the pictures and the actresses with the Victorian style. The only character that I could match Penelope was Leighton Meester. She has a mean but sexy look to her and I'm sure she can pull Pen's mean character well. I'm sorry for not choosing a lot of variety of actors/actresses (and pick them primarily from Gossip Girls.) The girl in the top middle is my vision of Elizabeth and the top left is Diana. Anyone who wants to help, please tell me! And tell me your opinions! So, here's my made movie poster for The Luxe.


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