Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review: Your Family Tree: Filling the Family Tree by Jim Ollhoff

Title: Your Family Tree: Filling the Family Tree
Author: Jim Ollhoff
Genre: Juvi, Non Fiction, How To
Perfect for: Grammer school kids (1st through 4th grade) who are looking to start working on their family tree for a school project or for fun!

Taken from ABDO Group, "Interest in family history is a growing passion among people of all ages. Young people want to know where they came from, as well as the people who built their family and their country. Your Family Tree provides easy-to-understand methods for learning about genealogy. This series will help young people organize their own family records, research their history, find sources to learn about the past, and express their genealogical knowledge with family trees and charts, too. Excellent for personal interest reading and for curricular units on immigration."

This book is completely different than any book I've reviewed on here thus far. First, it's aimed at first to fourth graders. Second, it's non fiction. 'Filling the Family Tree' is a great book for middle schoolers looking to do any sort of genealogy work for school or for fun. It is broken up into short, easy to understand chapters with picture-filled pages. Various pages are 'forms' that you can copy or scan to use while you are doing your research.

The main goal of this book is to help students discover facts about their family via interviews. There are chapters on interviewing grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and others. These chapters include a scanner friendly list of questions you'll want to ask, tips on how to document answers and evidence (photo's, ID's, etc), and the general how to's of interviewing.

'Filling the Family Tree' also has some pretty handy graphics that show you how to create the 'family tree' look and how to categorize it so you don't get confused when you start adding on third or fourth generations.

If you have a student working on a family tree or even want some basic knowledge yourself on what to ask your family members, check this book out! It is sure to be a great resource.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

Title: Queen of the Dead
Author: Stacey Kade
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Romance, Action
Perfect for: those who read the first book in the series, 'The Ghost and the Goth'
Star Rating: 5/5

Taken from Goodreads, "After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.

Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.

Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met—aside from his father—and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea."

What a great read! 'Queen of the Dead' surprised me.  I dare say, with all the introductions over, 'Queen of the Dead' is even better than last years 'The Ghost and the Goth'. In 'Queen of the Dead', we pick up pretty much where we left off. Alona is still playing spirit guide, Will is still trying to help the dead cross over, and together they are stuck in a very tangled romantic relationship.

I expected the story to play out like an episode of 'Ghost Whisperer'. You know, psychic meets ghost, resolves their unfinished business, the end. Boy, was I wrong! Author Stacey Kade introduces some great plot twists and new relationships that really make this a fresh story. And the ending? Well, let's just say she's up their with Rachel Hawkins in terms of cliffhangers and has successfully got me pining for book three!

With the interest in keeping this spoiler free, I won't go into too much detail about the plot. However, I feel I should mention a few things that I love about this book. First off, Kade's witty, humor filled writing is a welcome godsend in a world filled with over dramatic YA novels. I love the fun, upbeat quality the 'voices' have in this series.

Secondly, the new mysteries and plot development brought forth in 'Queen of the Dead' are fantastic. Unexpected turns are taken and I'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of the characters in the third installment. After finishing 'Queen of the Dead', I found myself theorizing about what could happen next for Will and Alona. That is always a sign that the book was a worthwhile read!

Needless to say, I enjoyed this second visit into Will and Alona's world. 'Queen of the Dead' gets 5 out of 5 stars. Enjoy the read!

In My Mailbox...

I've never participated in the IMM meme before, but since I received a book today, I thought I would try it out!!! Check out The Story Siren for more info!

Today, the lovely mail service graced me with a welcome site-- a package from Macmillan Publishing!  What was in the package, you ask? A hint... The characters in this title are people that any female twenty something will remember from their childhood from various book series and even a television show!
Yes, the twins made famous in the Sweet Valley High books are back in 'Sweet Valley Confidential'! Also with this book came a very cute bit of swag-- a promotional t-shirt! Thanks, Macmillan! Expect a review up within the month!

Also in my mailbox via some savvy ebay shopping...
With Season 6 debuting in April, I've wanted to rewatch series 5. BBC America always seems to rerun the same episodes... Always The Lodger, but never Van Gogh and the Doctor... I got this set cheap on ebay. A great buy!!!!

Also, I received an ebook, which will be the first ebook I've agreed to read for this blog! It's entitled, 'Seeing for the First Time' and is written by Nicole Zoltack. The story sounds promising and it was described as a novella of sorts, which means I won't be monopolizing my brothers Nook forever!

This weeks last edition to IMM hasn't actually arrived yet... If you recall, I collect dolls. I ordered an Asian ball jointed doll last month in a group order and got notification that she's arrived in the states and is ready for pick up next week! For a sneak peak, here's promo shots of everything I will be receiving!!!

Thanks for joining me for this special IMM post!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Update

Happy Hop! I'm due in at work in an hour, so this will be a quick one!

This Week on the Blog:
Review: Afterlife
At The Movies...

Book Blogger Hop
The Question of the week is:
If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?

Answer: I want to choose a few stories for this weeks answer. First, I'd love to be part of the world created in 'The Dark is Rising Series'. Their adventures are beyond cool. Also, sign me up for 'The Neverending Story' tour. How neat would it be to be in Bastians position and be able to have adventures in Fantasia, meet Falcor and Atrayu, and all in all have a fun place to always go if you need to? And last, Harry Potter. Who doesn't wish they were a wizard now and then? I don't know how many times I've tried 'lumos' to no avail. I've always wanted to go to a boarding school (for real!) and Hogwarts seems like a great choice!!!

The Question of the Week is:
Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100FACTSABOUTME, GIVE US FIVE BOOK RELATED SILLY FACTS ABOUT YOU.

1- While I'm a twenty-something, I have yet to find a good 'adult' book (aka any book out of the basic 'fiction' section of a library or bookstore). YA and Juvi are still my favorite age ranges. Every book I've read from the adult fiction arena has been one that could easily crossover to a younger audience ('Ender's Game', 'The Host', to name a few!)
2- I don't like smelly books or books that have circulated in libraries for too long. Books that look old or used just turn me off!
3- Believe it or not, I tried my hand at fan fiction years ago. I wrote fan fiction for the 'Dark is Rising' series and 'Pendragon'. All very short stories. I think they're still floating around the web on my LJ somewhere...
4- I tend to like books with Arthurian legend to them.
5- I totally judge books by their covers...  A bad habit, but it's hard to read a book that has an ugly cover...

That's it for this edition of the Friday Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Update! Till next week!

Hops are... Running Late!

I meant to post the hops earlier, but have run out of time to give them proper answers!! Expect the post up around 6PM CST!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

At The Movies...

At The Movies... is something I'm trying out. Christmas 2010 I received a subscription to 'The Hollywood Reporter'. It is a collection of entertainment news, reviews, and award spotlights. One of my favorite sections in the magazine has to do with new deals and cast details for pre-production projects. At The Movies... will feature some of the fun info I learn week to week from this magazine and the web in general. Comments in parenthesis are my own opinions. Enjoy!

I couldn't find anything in the Reporter that mentioned YA books and movies this week, but found some interesting info about some other franchise films...

-Did you know 'Men in Black 3' went into production with only the first act (of three) written and finalized? The premise of MIB3 is this, Agent J (Will Smith) goes back in time to 1969 and has various encounters with important people from that time. Why he goes back in time, I have no idea. Also, where does that leave Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). The dynamics between J and K seem like a major draw for audiences so how will he play into this third movie? And getting back to the topic on hand, they went into shooting with only one act written and have now halted production because actor Will Smith doesn't like the rest of the script. (I can only see problems with going at a movie this way. First, this is a time travel movie. All the elements need to be perfect and planned out in advance. One wrong move and the movie can very easily make no sense. Think 'The Lake House' with Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Good movie, but it made no sense at all. MIB3, by shooting the first act already has locked itself into a series of events that would be very costly to re-shoot if they decide to make any major changes to the ending... If that makes sense. Plus, I'm all for actors being versatile in the industry, but if you're hired as an actor or even as an actor/producer, let the scriptwriters and directors do their thing and don't interfere to the point of halting production. Just do the job your hired for and do it well.)

-Blog 'Speakeasy' interviewed the creaters of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' and announced the cast list for the main characters of their new animated sequel series 'Legend of Korra'. Check out the cast listing HERE. (I cannot wait to see this!!!)

-Narniaweb highlighted an interesting quote found in an interview with Micheal Flaherty about 'The Chronicles of Narnia' movies. He touches on making 'The Magicians Nephew' next in the line up. Narniaweb highlights it HERE. (I find the idea that the more popular books gross more quite interesting for some reason. I would have never guessed that 'The Magicians Nephew' is the second most popular book in the series.)

This week I saw via Netflix 'Letters to Juliet'. You know what? I actually enjoyed this film quite a bit. It's essentially your basic popcorn chick flick. Here's a summery of the movie taken from IMDB, "An American girl on vacation in Italy finds an unanswered "letter to Juliet" -- one of thousands of missives left at the fictional lover's Verona courtyard, which are typically answered by a the "secretaries of Juliet" -- and she goes on a quest to find the lovers referenced in the letter."

This is pretty much your standard romantic comedy/road trip movie. I loved the setting. Even if you're not crazy about the premise, the Tuscany countryside they used for the film is gorgeous. Siena, where much of this movie takes place, is one of my favorite places in the world. Well, it is my favorite place in the world. It's so pretty and the filmakers did a good job at showing viewers how awesome it is.

I recommend this for your next chick flick night! It's cute and should make you smile!

That's it for this short edition of 'At the Movies'. See ya next week!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Afterlife by Claudia Gray

Title: Afterlife
Author: Claudia Gray
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Romance
Perfect for: Those who have read the previous books in the series. Don't start the series with this book!!!
Star Rating: 3/5 stars

Taken from Goodreads, "The fourth book in this electrifying vampire series has all the romance, suspense, and page-turning drama that have made Claudia Gray’s Evernight books runaway successes.

Having become what they feared most, Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They must return to Evernight Academy, Lucas as a vampire and Bianca as a wraith. But Lucas is haunted by demons, both personal and supernatural. Bianca must help him fight the evil inside him, combat the forces determined to drive them apart—and find the power to claim her destiny at last."

If you've looked at my review for 'Evernight', the beginning of this series, you'll see that I was a bit let down by that title. Quite honestly, I had given up on the series until my mother (yes, my mother) decided to continue on with it and told me I had to read the rest. I did and, you know what? I'm happy I continued on.

'Evernight' still isn't my favorite book, but the sequels have gotten steadily better and better. 'Afterlife' completes Bianca and Lucas' story. Last we saw them in 'Hourglass', it seemed like all was lost, but Gray had much more planned for her characters!

'Afterlife' is a fine conclusion to the 'Evernight' series. Most loose ends are tied up, especially in terms of Bianca and Lucas' relationship.

The first hundred pages of the novel dragged a bit. I think it had something to do with the fact that the majority of the 'big reveals' were in the second half of the novel.  Once we started to learn all the secrets we've been waiting to hear for the past four years, that's when the novel really picked up.

My favorite thing about this novel (and series) has to be the secondary characters. I'm probably alone in this, but Bianca and Lucas, well, they kind of got on my nerves throughout the series. Without Balthazar or Vic, I don't know if I would have seen this series in the same light. By far, Balthazar is my favorite character and I'm quite happy he's getting his own series! And let's not forget Vic.  Vic was a great source of comic relief and I loved the interaction between him and 'his ghost' in 'Afterlife'.

I can't say anymore than this: 'Afterlife' may be sappy, but if you want closure (and if you've read 'Hourglass' you probably will), this is it. 'Afterlife' gets 3 out of 5 stars. You can find it at your local bookshop!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Update

Hey Hoppers! Hope the week has treated you well! Hard to believe we're in the third week of March already, huh? Before I go on, I'd like to wish you all a 'Happy St. Patrick's Day' and a Happy Birthday to my grandmother, who is currently celebrating in Heaven! It's been a few years, but you are still missed!

This Week on the Blog:
Review: Radiance
At The Movies...
Review: Demonglass

Onto the Hops...
Book Blogger Hop
The Question of the Week is:
Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?

Answer: I typically read one book at a time. I like being able to concentrate on one story instead of many! Too many books means too many plotlines running together!!!

The Question of the Week is:
How did you come up with your blog name?

Answer: Brooke = One of my various names. Box of Books = Something I always love to pick through because I love seeing what's new and exciting in the book world! Hense, Brooke's Box of Books. My name came about pretty quickly. As I mentioned last week, I like alliteration. I wanted a name that had that going for it, too.  All in all, it was pretty painless!

That's it for this week. I just came back from a comic convention and am wiped! See ya next week!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: Radiance by Alyson Noel

Title: Radiance
Author: Alyson Noel
Genre: YA, Juvi, Supernatural, Action, Adventure
Perfect for: those looking for a short read with some sarcastic bite
Star Rating: 4/5 stars

Taken from Goodreads, "Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But all of that was before he met Riley..."

'Radiance' by Alyson Noel is the beginning of what will be a series starring Riley, a 12 year old ghost. You may remember Riley in Noel's 'Evermore' series. All in all, 'Radiance' was a fun read. At 183 pages, this is also a very quick read. Plot points are laced together well and rapidly. The characters are likable and a bit mysterious, at least in the case of Riley's guide in all things spirit catching, Bodie.

Noel has a unique take on the afterlife and Riley's voice is engaging. She sounds like a twelve year old, albeit a sarcastic twelve year old. I like the character of Bodie. He could really be interesting. 'Radiance' introduces readers to the character, but I'm sure there's a lot more going on with him than meets the eye.

For those listening to the audio version of this, a few words. The voices are done by one women. She embody's the voice of a twelve year old well, but personally, I think I prefer reading the book to listening to the CD's.

If you're looking for a quick read perfect for a pre-teen and up audience, this this is it. 'Radiance' gets 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

At The Movies...

At The Movies... is something I'm trying out. Christmas 2010 I received a subscription to 'The Hollywood Reporter'. It is a collection of entertainment news, reviews, and award spotlights. One of my favorite sections in the magazine has to do with new deals and cast details for pre-production projects. At The Movies... will feature some of the fun info I learn week to week from this magazine and the web in general. Comments in parenthesis are my own opinions. Enjoy!

- Jennifer Lawrence looks to have been offered the role of Katniss in the future adaptation of 'The Hunger Games'. Alongside her title role, Josh Hutcherson looks to be stepping into play Peeta. I haven't heard anything about Gale's character, but that maybe because Gale isn't a huge player in the novels until the final book in the trilogy. (The more I think of Josh H. as Peeta, the more I'm okay with it. I'd like to see him play a nice guy!)

- Susanna White (Nanny McPhee 2) may be directing the adaptation of 'The Host' after the original director dropped out. Various articles are saying that this movie is running into more than a few hiccups. (I *really* want to see this movie, as I find 'The Host' better than the the final three books in the 'Twilight Saga'. If they're really having trouble fleshing out the amazing story, they can hire me on as a producer!)

- According to the 'Vampire Academy' movie producers facebook page, they're still alive and well and are still working on getting the 'Vampire Academy' novels on the big screen. (I'm looking forward to seeing this series. Course, I'll have to deal with a lot of Dimitri, but as long as he's pretty, I guess it will be okay!)

- According to IMDB, the 'Enders Game' movie now has a 2013 release date. Don't take this as a hard and firm date, this movie has been in pre-production for years. ('Enders Game' is one of the few adult sci-fi books I've ever enjoyed. I'm looking forward to this... If it ever gets released!)

- Walden Media is looking to produce 'The Magicians Nephew' next in the Narnia line up. They're looking for funding now. (Honestly, I would have preferred 'The Silver Chair' to take advantage of the Eustace character while he's young, but I guess 'The Magicians Nephew' could be good, too. I haven't read that in forever.)

- This might be old news for you, but it's new news for me! Did you know that Miley Cyrus is attached to the adaptation of 'Wake' (as in the YA trilogy) by Lisa McCann? I didn't. (I can't say I've enjoyed watching Hannah Montana (oops, Miley Cyrus) in anything... It sounds like a definite case of 'read the book first'!)

- Also, I just read that a 'Septimus Heap: Magyk' movie is in the works! (Of all the fantastic series out there, they choose this one? Okay, a little harsh. It may be a good movie. Not my kind of book, though.)

This weekend, I watched 'Bandslam'. You may remember the adverts for it making it look like a remake of High School Musical. I was all set to not like this movie, but you know what? It was actually quite entertaining! It follows a high school boy who's pretty much an outsider due to a dark family secret. He also happens to be a musical genius (in a cool rock way). After starting at a new school, he gets pulled into playing producer for local band that makes it their goal to win the town's 'bandslam'.

The movie turned out to be very quirky and more of a coming of age tale than a corny 'glee-like' movie. It's not even a musical, really. And Vanessa Hudgens role in the film?  She's a side character, which was fine with me.  I don't mind her in 'High School Musical', but she has yet to prove herself as an actress who warrants $10 movie tickets...

And that's it for this week! See ya around!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Demonglass
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Romance, Action, Adventure
Perfect for: Anyone who read the original novel 'Hex Hall'
Star Rating: 4/5 stars

Taken from Goodreads *NOTE- Some 'Hex Hall' spoilers within description*, "Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?"

Writing a review for sequels is tough. You have to direct it to those who both have read the original and those who may have stumbled upon your review and haven't read the original novel. I'm going to keep this review for 'Demonglass' pretty short and sweet and try to keep as many spoilers out of it. I want you to enjoy this book and its many surprising plot points just as much as I did!

'Demonglass' is a fantastic read. Seriously, it is just as good as its predecessor, 'Hex Hall'. What did I love about this novel? So many things! First off, author Rachel Hawkins did a perfect job of reminding us what happened in the original novel without hitting us over the head with the entire plot of 'Hex Hall' all over again. The story starts off soon after the ending of 'Hex Hall'.  Plot points are arranged perfectly and the story flow is fantastic.  'Demonglass' is always engaging and always entertaining. I don't recall it dragging at all, which has been a problem in most YA books I've read as of late! Just like the original, Hawkins doesn't let one element overtake the entire novel. 'Demonglass' is equal parts action, romance, and humor.

Sophie's self deprecating wit was spot on and quite welcome! Archer, well, I adore Archer. If only he were real! The banter between Sophie and Archer-- loved it. Adding to this already phenomenal cast of characters is the introduction of Sophie's father and the further development of Hex Hall's groundkeeper, Cal.

Sophie's father was a great addition. I loved his speech patterns (which sounds odd to mention), but he had a particular way of speaking that made him stand out, yet still seem related to snarky Sophie. Truthfully, I remember Cal being mentioned in 'Hex Hall', but not much other than that. He had more of a supporting character role in 'Demonglass'. I wouldn't go so far as saying that he evens out a love triangle, but I liked learning more about him and look forward to seeing what happens next with his character.

'Demonglass' gets 4 out of 5 stars. This sequel doesn't disappoint. If you liked 'Hex Hall' at all, then find a copy of 'Demonglass'. It's just that good!  (Minus the cliffhanger ending-- that was just plain mean!)  'Demonglass' is available now at your local bookstore and online!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Update

Wow, I almost forgot! Today's Friday! Good news, folks, I've caught up on my reading and have new reviews set to pop up on Tuesday for the next three weeks. Yay! Also good news, the paper edit of my reality show promo reel is done and ready for the editor. After we get the finished product edited, it's off to the races, er, pitches!

To all those in Japan, Hawaii, and everywhere else affected by mother nature, my thoughts are with you! I've been a fan of Japanese entertainment, manga, dolls and overall culture for so many years that I feel a bit connected to the country, even though I've got no real ties to it. The images of the earthquakes and water overtaking whole towns is quite sad. My thoughts are with you!!!

This Week on the Blog:
Review: Dramacon
At The Movies...

And onto the hops!

Book Blogger Hop
The Question of the Week is:
If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?

Answer: If I were given $80.00 for books, I would probably have these:

-A hardcover copy of 'Hex Hall' (retail: 17.00)
-A hardcover copy of 'Blackheart: Vampirates 4' (retail 17.00)
-A hardcover copy of '43 Old Cemetery Road' (retail together at around 20.00)
-A hardcover copy of 'Matched' (retail: 17.00)
-A paperback copy of 'The Host' (retail: 10.00)

That's 81.00 right there. Then I'd probably head to the DVD dept and see if they had anything cheap. :-) Course, this is all assuming I didn't have a staff discount at said store. If I did, I would probably pre-order the the newest Knightley Academy book. :-)

Most of the books in my cart would be hardcover copies of books that I've read as ARC's and want in a more durable binding.

The Question of the Week is:
Just like Ashley said (love it) "Ashley the girl..." who are You the Boy/Girl, instead of You the Blogger?

Answer: I had to decipher this question, but now I get it! Brooke the girl? I'm a college graduate (2007) with a BA in Television Directing. (Yes, that is what it says on my transcripts!) I want to work in the television/film industry as a writer or producer. You might ask why I, a college grad, am still looking for work in my chosen field... Well, it's because I can't seem to get enough money together to live in California. Television and Film projects all come out of that state, whether or not they shoot in that state. To get solid footing in the industry, I'll need to move. I'm in the works of trying to get out there sometime this year to really start my career path. At the moment, however, I'm content with working at a bookstore as a minion (whoops, I mean part time employee) and working on my reality show.

I live at home with my family and two adorable dogs. You might wonder how in the heck I can survive my family, but I can. I quite enjoy them... most of the time! I'm still looking for my prince charming, but am sure one day we'll find each other. It wouldn't hurt if he turned out to be Zac Efron or Gregory Smith! :-)

I collect many things, but my largest collection is dolls. Mainly, I collect Skipper (Barbie's Little Sister), Asian Ball Jointed Dolls, Monster High, and My Little Ponies. Recently, I've learned how to re-root dolls who have suffered bad hair cuts. It's so much fun giving them a new look. If you have any gently used Barbie dolls that you want to donate to my hobby, please let me know. :-)

Anywho, there's so much more I could talk about, but that's it for now! I hope you all enjoyed the hops this week and I hope to see you again next week!!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

At The Movies...

At The Movies... is something I'm trying out. Christmas 2010 I received a subscription to 'The Hollywood Reporter'. It is a collection of entertainment news, reviews, and award spotlights. One of my favorite sections in the magazine has to do with new deals and cast details for pre-production projects. At The Movies... will feature some of the fun info I learn week to week from this magazine and the web in general.  Comments in parenthesis are my own opinions.  Enjoy!

-Ian McKellen has officially signed on to play Gandalf in 'The Hobbit'.
-Ellijah Wood, Donald Sutherland, and Eddie Lizzard have signed onto act in the adaptation of 'Treasure Island'.
-The Movie Adaptation of 'Firelight' has a writer-- Nick Pustay. (Should be good if he sticks with the story!)
-Henry Caville will be playing Superman/Clark Kent in the new reboot. (I didn't find the first movie all that bad!)
-Somehow, 7th Heaven star Geoff Stults got another acting job in a television spin-off of Bones. (Who would have thought!)
-James Franco is in talks to play Oz, the Great and Powerful in Disney's prequel to 'The Wizard of Oz'. He's the third actor offered the role. (Personally, I'd prefer Robert Downey Jr or Johnny Depp over Franco, but they both passed.)
-Kristen Stewart is playing Snow White in Snow White and the Huntsman. (Looks like we're in for a depressing Snow White tale.)
-Michelle Pfeiffer has signed on to 'Dark Shadows' opposite Johnny Depp. (Yay!)

I found this article the other day that was actually kind of interesting. Seems that Britain has an event called World Book Night where volunteers handed out free books. Some feared it was the wrong move and would "devalue" books, but in reality it helped turn sales up!

Till next time!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova

Title: Dramacon: The Ultimate Edition
Author/Artist: Svetlana Chmakova
Genre: Manga, shoujo, graphic novel
Perfect for: comic readers who a)love romantic comedies and b)have ever been to an anime convention!
Star rating: 5/5 stars

Taken from Goodreads, "When amateur writer Christie settles in the artist alley of her first ever anime convention, she sees it only as an opportunity to promote the manga she had started with her artist boyfriend. But when she unexpectedly falls for a mysterious cosplayer, things become very complicated. Because what do you do when you fall in love with someone who is going to be miles away from you in just a couple of days? Web-comic vet and Ignatz Award-nominated creator Svetlana Chmakova gives us a funny, romantic, behind-the-scenes look at an anime convention--where sometimes even two is a crowd!"

'Dramacon: The Ultimate Edition' is a collection of all three volumes of the Dramacon series bound in hardcover with enlarged print. Confession: I have enjoyed many shoujo mangas in the past. Confession: I've been to at least eight anime conventions (if not more). Confession: I love everything about Dramacon!

There are so many good things about this manga style comic. For me, there are three things that make a manga good. They are quality art, strong storytelling, and great characters. Do well with these three things and you have a winning story! 

In my opinion, 'Dramacon' excels at all three elements! Artist/Author Svetlana Chmakova has a great artistic eye. Her characters are adorable and expressive and her images overall always seem to get the message across. Her style is manga inspired, but you can see her own unique style in there, too. The two page spreads in 'Dramacon' are all fantastically drawn.  Take a look!

Story? 'Dramacon' earns high marks in that area, as well. I love the premise of this manga. The story revolves around two people (Christie and Matt) who meet by chance at an anime convention. The convention elements in the story are fantastic. From personal experience, I can say Chmakova captured the typical convention goings-on really well. As far as story elements, 'Dramacon' has a good mix of romance and comedy, making it great shoujo!

And the last thing-- characters... I love the characters in this manga. Christie has some great sarcastic lines and her 'inner thoughts' are fantastic, especially when they completely contradict what she saying out loud! Matt, the hot male lead, is well rounded and really likeable. The secondary characters all have their own little bit to play in the story, as well. The fact that they have a reason to be in the story and even some side storylines of their own, make them a great addition to 'Dramacon'.

So, if I leave you with nothing more than one thing, let it be this. 'Dramacon' is good, clean, fun and if you are at all into shoujo manga or even romantic comedies, you should try this out! It gets 5 out of 5 stars and is available everywhere books are sold!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Blogger Hop/Follow Friday/Update

Hi guys! Right on schedule, here's a quick update post and the usual meme's!

I'd just like to point out a neat blog that I recently discovered-- The YA Review Directory. The admins take links of your reviews and post them up in sortable categories. It makes it easy to find reviews on specific books! It also seems like a good way to get your name out there if you want more hits on your blog! Check it out by hitting the button below!

I've been playing with Goodread stats lately and according to the page count stats for 2010, I read 21,714 pages!!! Geez! That's a huge step above 2009 that had over 14,700! I have a feeling the jump has a lot to do with this blog!

This Week on the Blog:
Review: The Emerald Atlas
S.O.S Book of the Week

And without further ado, the hops!

Book Blogger Hop
The Question of the Week is:
Who's your all-time favorite book villain?

Answer:  My all-time favorite villain. I'm not sure! The best villains are the ones that give me that 'love to hate' feeling. Voldemort from Harry Potter was a great villain. Sidorio from Vampirates is a contender for this, as well!

See you next week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

S.O.S Book of the Week

The S.O.S Book of the Week is where I let you in on what new releases I'm looking forward to! S.O.S comes from the term 'Strict on Sale'. It's bookseller speak for a title that you can't sell before a specific date-- think Harry Potter. While the books I have here may not be S.O.S titles specifically, they are all new!

The S.O.S. Book of the Week is:
Taken from Goodreads, "When Pierce first sees him, she thinks he is a murderer. She's right about one thing -- he does take lives. But not in the way she ever imagined. Pierce is drawn to the dark stranger even as she tries to uncover the mystery surrounding the tragic death of someone close to her. As she gets closer to the truth -- and the stranger -- unexpected secrets are revealed, even in her own heart."

I haven't read a new Meg Cabot book in a few years. To be honest, I kind of stopped because of a tirade she went and posted on her blog about being sick of people telling her to read Twilight. It just came off as really unprofessional to me and I decided it was probably best to find another author. (Plus, I can't recall anything since Avalon High that I wanted to read by her!)

Hitting store shelves April 2011, 'Abandon' might be decent reading. It's always a hit or miss with me when it comes to Meg Cabot books. I loved Avalon High, but can't read The Princess Diaries. This is definitely a 'borrow from the library' title.

Are you looking forward to this title? If not, what are you looking forward to?