Monday, August 31, 2009

Hamlet (Play)

In this play, Shakespeare goes paranormal. Hamlet thought his father was a great man. He was devastated by his death. After his mother remarries to his uncle not long after, he becomes angry. How could she forget one man in favor of another so quickly? Then he encounters his father’s ghost. The ghost tells him of how its death was not an accident as it appeared but instead a horrid murder. Macbeth will avenge his father’s death, if things go as planned.

I think this was my favorite play that I read as part of this challenge. It had a good bit of romance in it, as well plenty of tragedy. My favorite part about this was that there was a play within the play. I thought that was neat. Sort of like when a character in a book reads a book.

This was a bit of a longer play, and I felt like parts of it dragged on a bit. There was so much anticipation, and I was never exactly sure where things were going. Things ended quite interestingly. Plus, it was nice to know which play the famous quote "To thine own self be true." came from.

I now feel as if I'm just a bit more well read after reading some of Shakespeare's plays. This post is my final post as part of A Shakespearean Summer Challenge which ends today. What can I say? Procrastination is my friend.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In My Mailbox (14)

This meme is hosted by Kristi aka The Story Siren. This week I received two books, both not YA. Keeping things interesting! First off:

The Embers by Hyatt Bass
Engaged to the man she loves, Emily Ascher stands on the brink of a new life. But a ring on a finger can somehow change everything, and with the promise of new love settling into old comes a difficult look at how her family has been torn apart in the many years since her brother died. Her parents have long since divorced, and her father, Joe, a famous actor and playwright, carries the blame for his son's death--but what really happened on that winter night? Why has he been unable to clear his name, or even discuss that evening with Emily and her mother?

As spring looms--and with it Emily's wedding in the Berkshires and the unveiling of Joe's first new play since the tragedy--each Ascher begins to reevaluate the events of long ago, finally facing the truth of his or her own culpability in them. Moving between past and present over the course of sixteen years, and interweaving the perspectives of a father, mother, and daughter who finally summon the courage to put the pieces of their lives back together, "The Embers" is a debut novel of buried secrets and deep regrets that threaten to crush a family while bonding its members irrevocably.

This book was a surprise. I'm still not sure why I got it. It looks good, though, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading it!

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Sharon Lathan
Beginning on their wedding day, Darcy and Elizabeth are two people who are deeply in love with one another and are excited to begin their marriage.

Their courtship was tempestuous; misunderstandings and misgivings nearly tore them apart. But now that they've seen each other without prejudice, their trust, attraction, and delight in each other grows with every passing day. Both are inexperienced and innocent, sharing moments of shyness and boldness as they discover the kinds of intimacies that a newlywed couple shares.

As their love story unfolds, they reveal their innermost secrets and feelings, embracing each other in a marriage filled with romance, passion, humor, and drama that will keep you spellbound.

More Darcy and Lizzy. Woot! My library has had this "on order" since March. I was absolutely ecstatic when I finally got a hold of it. So far, so good. I'm finding it a bit humorous. I keep finding all these exclamation marks whenever they talk to each other. Oh! My love! That sort of thing. It's pretty good, though. The cover is SHINY. :D

And.. That's it! So, whaddya think?

Macbeth (Play)

When you want to be an undisputed king, how far would you go to get rid of your competition? Follow Macbeth and his friends and family as lives are lost, guilt is dealt with, and learn just how short life can be.

Since this was a Shakespearean tragedy, there was a whole bunch of, well, tragedy. Although I found the constant plotting and killing a bit tiresome, overall I really enjoyed this play. I found myself reading it aloud to myself simply to hear the way the words rolled. It's quite lyrical.

Sometimes I found myself wondering if the characters were just acting crazy or if they actually had some sort of mental problem. I found myself shaking my head at their actions more than once. Now I've added another play that I want to see on stage, as it was meant to be seen. It certainly was interesting.

This review was part of A Shakespearean Summer, hosted by Liv's Book Reviews.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Wuthering Heights (Movie)

I had forgotten how creepy the book was when I picked up this movie at the library. Before you read this review there are two things you should know about me: I'm a visual learner, and I'm also very squeamish about things that may or may not exist. Ghosts, etc. After actually seeing Cathy being a ghost messed with my mind. So much so that the night after I watched it I jolted awake, absolutely certain that she was going to get me. Thinking back, it was a bit pathetic considering that Cathy's presence as a ghost doesn't even take up the majority of the movie, but it happened, nonetheless.

The one question that came into my mind as I read the book popped up once again as I watched the movie. Who deserves happiness? Is it reserved only for the relatively good people, or are evil people entitled to it as well? Heatchliff and Catherine's romance is one that is intriguing to watch develop.

I really liked the actors in this movie, especially the young Heathcliff. The young boy perfectly captured the way I imagined a gypsy appearance. Everyone is very convincing in their roles. I think that is the reason why I got scared out of my mind.

Wuthering Heights is a story that I will always remember, and this adaptation stayed close and true to the novel. Not to mention that I absolutely love the ending.

This movie was reviewed as part of The Gothic Film Club, being hosted by Write For a Reader through the month of August. It's sponsored by Michelle Zink author of Prophecy of the Sisters.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

According to Jane by Marilyn Brant

When we meet Ellie, one thing has been constant in her life; Jane Austen. No, not only her books but Jane herself. Simply put, Ellie has Jane living in her head, a constant companion. She has accompanied Ellie through almost twenty years. Giving advice, especially of the romantic kind, and sharing her thoughts, she's seen it all. Ellie has been through a lot, and she doesn't know if she'll ever find her prince charming.

There was just one thing I would have liked to have known while reading this book. How did it happen? This was explained somewhat at the end but not quite enough to satisfy my curiosity. I'm pretty sure that Austen living in some one's head is not an everyday occurrence, and I would have liked to have known how it happened, exactly.

Besides that, this was a very cool novel. Most people have gotten married by the time their thirty but not Ellie. She's still searching for that one perfect guy. She's definitely the "looking for love in all the wrong places" type. Ellie's a very likable character. She, like every other character in the novel, had her flaws, but for the most part they were endearing. It was both fun and a bit painful to go along on her journey for true, lasting love. I was always happy to see her happy. I was also sad to see her sad. Every time she got her heart broken, it made me sigh.

I loved hearing Jane Austen. The voice really sounded authentic, Jane gives her ideas in a rather confident manner, as if she already knows she is right. The idea of Jane Austen living in some one's head is such a fun, quirky idea. According To Jane was a lot of fun and had me smiling.

This book won't be released until October 1st, but it's definitely something to keep an eye out for. Isn't the cover lovely?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Under this Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

Two families
Anna and Teodor are brother and sister. They have survived many things. Now each have families of their own. Teodor has a wife and ive kids, Anna- a husband and two.

One piece of land
It is Anna's by law, Teodor's by right. It will change their lives forever, if they manage to survive.

The setting of this book was what initially drew me in. Picture Ukrainian immigrants in Canada during 1938, All they have is each other and the land. The first couple of chapters were interesting, but it took me a few more chapters before I really settled into the story. The book was very thought provoking. I found myself reading a few chapters, putting it down, thinking about what I'd read, then eagerly picking it up again.

What I found most fascinating about this story was the detail in the writing. The author would pay attention to the seemingly miniscule things. Things like the children's joy while playing in the snow or a cat chasing after a mouse in the barn. At first, I was a bit mystified by these scenes ut soon they came to be my favoorites. The attention to the small, relatively unimportant things drew me in and kept me reading.

Under This Unbroken Sky was an intriguing read. The combination of a constantly evolving plot, great characterization, and fabulous writing make this book a very worthwhile read.

This book will be released on September 9th. I highly suggest you give this book a try.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Muchacho by LouAnne Johnson

Eddie Corazon sees no hope, no future. A juvenile delinquent living in a bad neighborhood, he’s a junior only because he promised his mami he wouldn’t drop out. He’ll probably end up failing, anyway. But then things begin to change. First comes Mrs. Beecher who, before she was fired, showed him that there just might be a better way. Then comes Lupe. The most beautiful girl Eddie has ever seen and also the smartest. She has plans for her life and, slowly, Eddie begins to see that he too can have plans and make them realities.

Eddie was a very complex character. It was great to see how his mind worked. To live in a world where saying no can get you killed, going through everyday with a façade so people won’t see who you really are, takes a lot more then I’ve got. The thing I liked most about Eddie was his honesty. He talked about things the way he saw them. Yes, it did, at times, include cussing and sexual references, but those moments helped flesh out who Eddie really was and showed his outlook on life.

Eddie and Lupe’s relationship was interesting to watch throughout the book. At first, I thought it was just a case of average teenage lust, but as the book went along, it was clear to see that it was more than that. It was love. They really do care for each other. Will they stay together forever? Probably not. They are, after all, just a couple of high school kids trying to figure out their lives. Lupe makes Eddie think. She makes him question things that he just assumed. He, in turn, provides her someone she can talk to, openly.

Overall, Muchacho was a pretty good book. It didn’t leap off the page for me, but it was a satisfying read. It will be released on September 9.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Living Your Five

This is a great idea! Here's some info copied and pasted from Kay Cassidy's blog:


We know, we know… we’ve been hinting about it for weeks. The super secret project of Kay Cassidy, Tera Lynn Childs, Alyson Noel and Becca Fitzpatrick. The #fivers hashtag. The Founding Fiver badges. The huge top secret contest. So many secrets!

Good news. The secret’s out.

Join us for the worldwide launch of Living Your Five! Living Your Five is an online community dedicated to changing our world one person at a time. You don’t have to cure the world of cancer or banish world hunger in a single day. It’s about working together, each of us taking one more step every day. It’s about knowing what you care about–what you’re passionate about!–and stepping away from the sidelines of your life to make your mark on the world.

To celebrate the launch of the official Living Your Five web site, we’re even hosting a contest with awesome daily prizes and a MEGA grand prize all courtesy of our Founding Fivers! Find out all the details at

We’re ready to change the world. Now it’s up to you. Will you watch from the sidelines or join us on the ride? (Come on, we know you want to!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.
Just one book, but it's a good one!

This raw, moving novel follows two teenagers-one, a Mohawk-wearing 17-year-old violent misfit; the other, a gay 13-year-old cast out by his family, hustling on the streets and trying to survive. Acclaimed author Davida Wills Hurwin creates a riveting narrative told in alternating perspectives of their lives before and after the violent hate crime that changed both their futures. This tragic but ultimately inspirational journey of two polarized teens, their violent first meeting, and their peaceful reunion years later is an unforgettable story of survival and forgiveness.

This story is inspired by the real lives of Matthew Boger and Timothy Zaal, who have shared their story on The Oprah Winfrey Show and NPR.

I haven't heard much about this novel, but it sounds really raw. I didn't know that it was inspired by a true story, so Freaks and Revelations should definitely be interesting. I'm looking forward to it.

And that's it! Looks like I'll be working on whittling down the stacks of books that are leaning precariously on top of my bookshelf. So, what do you think?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rebecca (Movie)

She is alone in the world, her parents dead with no relations to speak of. No longer a girl, yet not quite a woman, she is employed as a companion when she meets Maxim de Winter. Her life changes unalterably soon after the fact. They marry, then move to Manderley, Maxim’s family estate. It doesn’t take long for her to learn that the house holds secrets. Secrets that should remain forever hidden but don’t.

I read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier around a year or so ago. I remember being completely delighted and a bit scared by the book. After watching the movie, I definitely think it's time for a reread.

As I watched the movie I felt like I got to know the main character intimately, despite the fact that I was deprived of the simple knowledge of her name. The actor that played her was also in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice as Georgiana Darcy. That was a very pleasant surprise.

The plot in this story is absolutely fascinating. My mom watched this movie with me, and the entire time she was making assumptions, trying to figure out where the movie was headed. She always ended up being wrong. The ending to the movie was a lot more comprehensive than that of the book. I enjoyed having just a tiny bit more closure on the book, although there are still so many questions I want answered.

Rebecca is one of those films that keeps you thinking even after the movie ends. I most definitely recommend. You won't be disappointed.

This film was reviewed as part of Movie Monday being sponsored by Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of the Sisters, and hosted by Shelly from Write for a Reader through the month of August.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Envy by Anna Godbersen

In the third installment of this series things continue to heat up. No one is with who they want to be, and someone is telling every one's secrets. Only time will tell if these four girls, Diana, Elizabeth, Penelope, and Carolina, will ever get what they wish for.

This was a good book. However, it wasn't quite as exciting as its predecessors, The Luxe and Rumors. The plot was very slow. There were a couple instances where you could see what was going to happen, and it took too long for the actual event to occur. I think that if this book had been a bit shorter it would have been much better. There was a lot of waiting in this book. Everything felt so melodramatic because of that. Even though there was at least as much drama, in the previous books they went along fast enough to keep the readers in suspense. This book did not.

This was one of those books where I felt like slapping a lot of the characters over the head. Basically all of the waiting was due to the character's indecision. However, my favorites still kept me reading.

Overall, Envy wasn't a bad book. It just had a lot to live up to, and for me it didn't manage to do that. However, the ending still left me wanting more, so I will definitely be picking up the final installment of this series, Splendor. I'm hoping Godbersen can wrap this series up with a bang!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Going too Far by Jennifer Echols

In a small town everyone is known for something. Meg is no different. She's the wild person with blue hair who wears immodest clothes and doesn't give a damn what anyone thinks. That's how people see her, and that's who she is. One night with friends, she goes too far and gets caught. Now she's sentenced to a week of riding around in a cop car with the same cop who caught her. In the span of a single week, Meg's life changes in ways she can barely imagine.

Within the first couple chapters of the book, I was fairly sure that I didn't like Meg. She's basically the complete opposite of me. She doesn't care what anyone thinks whereas I have issues with trying to not care what people think. However, as the book progressed, I begin to like the way she thought. She's straight up and honest in her mind; doesn't sugar-coat anything.

At first, I thought I knew what would happen in the story. As I went along, I became unsure, and by the end I found out that I was completely wrong. I actually ended up rereading part of the book, and I found myself catching small signs that I had passed over as insignificant during the first time I read it. This book holds you in, and doesn't let you go until you reach the very last page.

Going Too Far is one of the best books I've read so far this year, and I highly suggest you give it a try.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker

After graduating high school, Quinn is planning on the perfect summer. Staying with her cousin in Austin, interning at a hot recording studio; everything is set for Quinn to have an awesome time. However, things aren't turning out as planned. Her cousin turns out to be a prep, the recording studio doesn't need her, and she has a really obnoxious neighbor. Will anything happen to turn Quinn's summer around?

Lovestruck Summer was a perfect, quick summer read. The romance plot isn't very original, but the characters make up for it. Quinn is a pretty cool character and very realistic. At the beginning of the story, she's so judgemental often basing her view on people on how they look and act then sticking to that assumption and not going out of her way to really get to know people. She's fine with knowing people on the surface and not digging any deeper.

I loved the use of music in this book! I admit that I used to be a snob about the music I listen to. At times, I've resisted listening to music other than that which I already knew, just because it was different. Quinn's the exact same way. Only she's the opposite of me. Where I love country, she hates it and sticks to the bands she's loved for years. It was fun to watch her fight against being exposed to other musical influences.

If you're looking for a cute book that will leave you smiling, Lovestruck Summer could definitely be the book.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

In My Mailbox (13)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

I bought Sweet Violet and Wild Heather at a thrift store. It wasn't my original plan, but my dad convinced me to go in just in case I found something. Is it just me, or is there always something?

Nick of Time is set in the past and has time traveling even further in the past. Plus, it has a guy MC which is something I've been wanting to read more of. From a contest at Books, Movies, and Chinese Food I won a copy of The Host. I've read the Twilight Saga which I enjoyed, so I'm looking forward to reading something of Meyer's with a different setting and characters.

From a contest at Brant Flakes I won Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as well as According To Jane. I'm a little apprehensive of P&P&Z. It could prove to be intriguing, though. I read According to Jane this week, and I thought it was pretty cool!

Last but certainly not least, I won a prize pack from Sarah at Green Bean Teen Queen. I also read Lovestruck Summer and Going Too Far this past week, and they were both really good! I especially loved Going Too Far. It surprised me. The Wedding Planner's Daughter looks like a fun read and Slept Away seems like the perfect book to lament the end of summer.

And... That's all! A penny for your thoughts?

Show Me 5 Saturday

This meme is hosted by That's a Novel Idea. Each Saturday we talk about a book we read during the week and what we thought of it. To find out more about this meme, go here.

1. Book read: According To Jane by Marilyn Brant

2. Words to describe it: odd & interesting

3. Characters: Ellie, woman looking for love, & Jane Austen, voice in Ellie's head

4. Things I liked: characters & plot
Things I disliked: ending didn't provide quite enough closure

5. Number of stars: 3 or 4

I should have a review of this up pretty soon! :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shakespearean Summer: A Midsummer Night's Dream

This post is part of the Shakespearean Summer, hosted by Liv's Book Reviews.

For my first play, I chose A Midsummer Night's Dream. I thought it would be fun to observe the fairies that I very much enjoyed in Eyes Like Stars in their original surroundings.

What a play! It was very amusing and completely confusing. The reader is just along for the ride on this adventure, with no idea where anything, or anyone, is going to end up. There are a lot of characters. Everyone has their own agenda, and although I had trouble keeping everybody straight, I enjoyed it.

After reading the play, I went to the library and picked up the 1999 film version. That definitely helped to clear up some of the confusion I had. One day, I hope to see this play on stage, as it was meant to be seen. I leave you with the closing lines of the play from Puck, a fairy:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Contest Time (Again)

It's contest time. Again! To win these three hardcover books:

Tell me what already released book you want to read, excluding the three pictured above, and why you want to read it.

For extra entries:

+1 Blog/tweet (something of the sort) about this giveaway (leave me a link)

+1 Follow this blog

This contest is open internationally, and will close on September 10. Good luck!

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