Happy New Year!

Before the ball drops in New York City (in 5 minutes!) and 2011 gets here on the East Coast, I just wanted to say, Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a fabulous 2010, and here’s to an even greater one. :)

Thank you for being lovely readers. :D

Best wishes,


top favorites of 2010: books

I achieved my goal of reading 52 books this year. Huzzah! It's not much compared to some others, I know, but good enough for me. :D Here are my absolute favorites of this year that I would recommend to all:


East by Edith Pattou
A beautiful fairytale retelling with lyrical and soft language, lovely romance, engaging main characters, and a magnificent cover. While each retelling of the old Norse tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon were fabulous in their own way, I absolutely adored this one. :)

Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
Add a tablespoon of Jane Austen, another tablespoon of Harry Potter-style magic, and a heap load of humor and you'll get S & C. An enchanting story (told through letters) of two cousins and the wacky adventures and mischief that they get through in Regency England. It was just spectacular.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
The last book in the MBS series! It has it all- exciting story, unsolvable riddles, endearing characters, and awesome chase sequences. It was a great ending to a delightful series.

The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson
Like I said in my review, Mary Pearson wrote this realistic/contemporary story in a rather magical way. The characters were captivating; I loved the attachment between all of them, and how they grow together during their road trip. And the ending is so brilliant and lovely and magical and wonderful and all the other adjectives for the previous words. I really, really liked this one.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
So...I raved about it a lot during the last couple of months. Need I say more? :P I guess I just really liked how it was a WWI retelling (that era is fascinating), and the characters were beyond awesome, and though I'm really not into all that technological machinery type of things, I liked reading about them too.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
It just felt so refreshing, reading this book. It didn't have the main character fall in love with a Werewolf OR a Vampire, and she wasn't head over heels in love. Everything in this book felt so real. Loved the light-heartedness of it all, though the ending was really, really strange.

Heist Society by Ally Carter
I've loved fictional thieves or spies ever since I was little, and that's why Ally Carter's new book was perfect for me. It had everything a great heist story needs- a weird but loyal crew for the hero/heroine, a crazy villain, and a seemingly impossible heist that the crew needs to pull off by the end. It was riveting to the very end.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
While I avoided Jane's book in freshmen year when I was supposed to, the story kept following me around, and I even promised Jane that I would read it one day (umm...I just felt guilty about putting it aside). And lo, that day came when I sprained my ankle one day and had to stay home. I don't think I need to say more about it since it's been out for about 200 years, but no wonder it's a classic and well-loved all around the world even today. The characters are hilarious and very relatable to. It's just timeless.


You Can't Take It With You by Moss Hart, George Kaufman
The characters are absolutely ridiculous, the predicaments they get into, hilarious. Loved this play when I saw it onstage, and loved it when I got the script and read it for myself.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
This is probably the best story/play written about the Salem Witchtrials, and depressing, but
umm...bewitching nevertheless (ha ha). The character development was top notch, and it was a riot acting it out. :D

Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan
I had to watch this movie for a project in US History, and was immediately enthralled by it. Sure, maybe the Frost/Nixon interviews were not as important as the play or movie make them out to be, and sure, maybe some of it was inaccurate, but it's a BRILLIANT script, and a BRILLIANT movie (acting-wise, script-wise, technically, etc). I'm interested in journalism, media and films, so being able to study and take apart the script that had it all was amazing. (And um...I love this movie poster to pieces ---->)

Honorable mentions: Paper Towns by John Green, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita, The Princess Bride by William Goldman, Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve, Behemoth (Leviathan #2) by Scott Westerfeld, and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie


Happy Holidays! :)

I have a two week break from school, I got all exams out of the way, and I finally got all my presents bought/made and wrapped, and put under our tree. Now, I can just drink some delicious hot chocolate and watch the snow fall gently on our lawn, whilst imagining how this year’s holiday food project for my French class, a Bouche de Noel, will turn out.

Fingers crossed that my log will look like this:

or, maybe like this (without all the ornaments):

I will have pictures posted soon, I promise. :D So, before I start to prepare my Bouche de Noel, I just wanted to drop by and wish everyone, Merry Christmas! Best Wishes to everyone everywhere. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, a great time with family, and lots and lots of merriment (and delicious food)! :)


Castles and Crucibles and Paranormal Things

(It's too bad there's no other words for Paranormals that start with the letter 'C'. It would've been an alliteration. :D)

Now, on with the show- There's been a lot of studying, French, snow, Christmas decorating, more brownies, and everything else lately, but I've managed to read three awe-inspiring books that I just need to write about here!

Howl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

It's a classic in a way that the Princess Bride is a classic. Both are not said by literary critics that they're classics or anything, but they just are. Almost everyone knows about the books, and mostly everyone has read them (or in PB's case, the author himself declared it a classic). I read the Princess Bride earlier this year, but I've already told my story with that in another post. This post (or this spot in this post) is all about Howl's Moving Castle. This is another book that I've never bothered to pick up despite everyone else doing so, and oh my goodness, I should really stop listening to myself when it comes to books!

Howl's Moving Castle is a completely charming and whimsical story. All characters are extremely likable and the situations they end up in are hysterical. I found that the Wizard Howl is a lot like Gen from the Queen's Thief series, which is not a bad thing at all. I have a soft spot for Gen and, let's just say that Howl came very close to replacing him. :P (Howl was a contestant in the final battle of the YA Fantasy Showdown-against Gen!-so I knew he was special. Hehe) The other characters- Sophie, Michael, Calcifer, Percival, Lettie, and the rest all had their own charm and wit like Howl. The romance was sweet, and the action enthralling. The beginning might be a bit slow for some (I admit that it was for me), but as soon as the story really starts (with Sophie getting turned into an old lady), it all became rollicking, good fun.

I adore this story so much that I don't even feel like watching the film version! It's shocking to me because I've never let my love for a book get in the way of watching a film. Hm.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

It's a play, and a good one at that too. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it's one of the best plays ever written, although I'm not one to judge as I'm not a particularly voracious script reader.

In fear of spoiling anything, I don't want to say too much about it, but I will say that The Crucible takes place during the Salem Witch Trials and it's intense. We had to read this- correction- act it out everyday in class, and that got quite interesting as we went on (and all our acting skills improved*). It was sort of like reading the Book Thief in that they were both painful to read (in a good way of course!), but whereas with the Book Thief, I started sobbing uncontrollably when I finished, with the Crucible, I just got angry and ended up ranting to my friends for a while (I'm sorry, guys!). I'm quite over the ending now, but it still makes me sad/mad whenever I think of it and how unfair it was to everyone else who were actually living in Salem during that time.

The play is fantastic and I recommend it to all. No doubt, it'll make mostly everyone unhappy or furious, but the dialogue and characters are great. Each person has a different motivation for their actions, and their motivations shape the whole story. The conflicts within every character is interesting to look at and the conflicts make the play a truly fascinating look into the Witch Trials. Miller did change several historical things, like the ages of characters, to fit the central conflict, but I believe that everything else is quite accurate. If you do read this, get some friends together and read this out loud or really act it out. It's so much more fun that way. :)

Quick note: Some themes might be too much for younger readers, so I would say that this play is strictly for readers and actors 13+.

Paranormalcy by Keirsten White

All the other reviewers wrote their reviews for this book that it's a fresh take on the paranormal genre, and it is! It's completely different from all the vampire/werewolf novels out there and reading it is like taking a breath of fresh air on a wonderful Spring day. Paranormalcy's not plot-heavy; it's a light and breezy book, though still very gripping. What I really enjoyed about it was the writing. Kiersten White's/Evie's voice felt very real to me and not at all contrived. It's hard to explain, but it was something I liked a lot about the book.

I know that my review for Paranormalcy is shorter than the other two reviews, but don't let that fool you! I loved it as much as I did the others. :)

Ahh. So my reviews are over. Hope you enjoyed them, and hope you check out the books/play I pointed out. Although none of you might need my opinion of Howl's Moving Castle or Paranormalcy (they're loved enough as it is), the Crucible is seriously worth reading. Anyway, this December look out for hopefully more recipes, more reviews, and oh hey...even maybe a audio review or two (or though that may start next year). :)

Also a very urgent question: Does anyone know the proper code to put snow on your blog?! I've been trying all day to find some codes, but none of them are working! Maybe blogger just hates me at the moment.

* But I learned that monologues are really not my thing.


Yes, Tom, we really do say boo-yah.

To brighten up our Tuesday (or the couple of hours that's left of it), here's a hilarious video of the Harry Potter stars trying to speak American. Boo-yah!

Movie Trailers - Movies Blog


And from what my friend showed me in the morning, it looks like there's a new way to Hogwarts from New York City! :D As you can see in this picture, there's a new Platform 9 3/4 in the Union Square Subway Station.

Umm...how amazing is that? :D (In New York too!)


On a totally unrelated note, Bookshelves of Doom, showed us the first couple of stills from the new Tin-Tin movie (directed by both Steven Spielberg *and* Peter Jackson, and slated for a release late 2011 or 2012). Anyone here a Tin-Tin fan? They're not well-known here, but they've been my favorite graphic novel series for a long time! (Okay, they're the only graphic novels I read...unless you count Calvin & Hobbes, and C&H comics are not exactly novels).

A lot of stills can be found here, and here. The movie is said to be based on Red Rackham's Treasure, but judging from a couple of the pictures, the film crew seem to be including bits of the Crab with the Golden Claw also. The animation looks...strange (aww...Snowy looks odd), but at least they got the signature pose right somewhat. I guess we'll just have to wait until next year to see the whole thing.

(But seriously, if you like mysteries, adventure, action, and a wonderful cast of characters, and you haven't read Tin-Tin yet, you're missing out!)


Have a nice Thanksgiving break, everyone! Boo-yah!* :D

P.S. See Deathly Hallows if you haven't yet! It's wonderful; I think it's my favorite one after Prisoner of Azkaban. Everything is amazing about it, especially *spoilers* the first couple of scenes (so much emotion!), a certain dance to this song, Dobby (now who can forget Dobby?), the trio, the scenery, the acting, the editing, screenwriting, and the cinematography (chase scenes!). Yep, it's great. :) I do think that people who read the book will have a way easier time understanding everything though. My friends who haven't read the books didn't like it as much and got confused mucho, but my friends who read it said that it's their favorite of the series, and it looks like the same thing happened with the film critics.

*Wrong context, but very fun to say. :)


A Very Potter Friday

Something big is going on today.

Really big.

Really really big.

Really really really really big.

Really reall- All right, I think you already know what I’m going to say. ;)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows!!!


Yes, I know that everyone already watched at midnight 17 hours ago, but my family and I (and a couple of friends) are going in just 1 hour and 28 minutes.

I’m a mix of nostalgia, happiness, sadness, and EXCITEMENT right now. I just can’t believe that it’s it’s ending. Like, really ending. NINE years ago, when I was tiny at the age of 7, I went to the movie theater with my family to watch Sorcerer’s Stone, because my brother and I (and my dad, I have to admit), really really liked one trailer. I completely adored it and fell IN LOVE with EVERYTHING- the characters (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Malfoy, Neville!!!), Hogwarts, the teachers, Hagrid, Fluffy, so yes, everything.

And then I got the book for Christmas.

And...it basically changed my life.

So, I totally had life changing moments and life changing people, but if I ever had to pick a life changing book, it would be Harry Potter. It was my childhood. And it created so many memories that I’ll never forget.

And it was all because of the movie (or the movie trailer). (Yes, I watched the movie before I read the book. :D) The past few days have been filled with the same excitement I’ve felt when Deathly Hallows came out. A couple of my friends and other students in my school wrote “The Chamber of Secrets Has Been Opened” on our basement wall, with fake blood...and teacher permission of course. ;) Last night I made brownies to celebrate with my friends at lunch today.

(Notice the scars I carved onto the brownies at the last minute? Hehe. :P)

Now, before I start getting all weepy and stuff (I can feel the tears coming on and I have to save them for the movie), I’m just going to say that Harry Potter is made of awesomeness and...I’m really really really really really really excited. (Hehe, I think you really get my point now, right?)

Have a Happy HP & the Deathly Hallow release day!

Oh yes, here’s the Sorcerer’s Stone trailer! (So many memories are suddenly jumping in my head now.)

Now I'm off to go to the theaters!


I Made Up A New Word ( Or Meeting Scott Westerfeld)

So, I got this amazing opportunity to see Scott Westerfeld last Friday. I have proof:

First slide of his presentation!

The event started at 7, but since I got just a little paranoid about not finding seats, my brother and I went there a half hour early. (And it turns out, there were seats!) We quickly sat in the front row, but then my seating dilemma started. Did I want to sit in the very front row, right in front of the podium where he was going to talk, or did I want to sit a little in the back so I could take better pictures? Well, I couldn't make up my mind, and the introductions started before I could move, so we ended up having to stay in the seats right in front of his podium. Heh heh.

(So...I guess that explains the lack of good pictures. Sorry!)

Oh yes, before I forget, here's that new word I talked about in the title: authorstruck.

All right, so it's not very original...or new. I'm sure tons of people have already used that word in their writing, but it's exactly how I felt when I saw him.

Scott Westerfeld is hilarious, witty, and very, very knowledgeable. You can just tell that about him by reading his blog, but hearing him for real reaffirmed it. The way he explained everything was entertaining, and there was just so much to learn. :D He started off by telling us about his inspiration for Uglies, thinking about the science involved in it, and how the Uglies series led to Leviathan, and continued from there. Here are some tidbits from his talk:
  • When his friend moved to Los Angeles, and first visited a dentist there, the dentist pulled him aside after the appointment and asked him if he wanted a 5-year-plan to perfect his teeth (and make them look like Tom Cruise's). That got Scott thinking about the role perfection and beauty in our lives, and Uglies started from there.
  • It was the Japanese version of Uglies that made him start thinking about illustrations in books.
  • Apparently, the Uglies is full of Japanese and Australian slang. I knew that adding wa or la at the end of everyone's names in the books was sort of a nod to Japanese custom, but I didn't know that adding -ies to the end of words was Australian. :D
  • He doesn't have anything against characters whose names start with a Z. ;)
  • If he feels that the story is slowing down, he makes his characters jump off of something (so true!).
  • He had always wanted to write a story about a girl dressing up as a boy to do something cool, so he used Leviathan as an excuse to write about a character like that.
  • He named the jellyfish creature in Leviathan a Huxley, because one of Darwin's good friends (and critic) was Thomas Huxley, a man who studied invertebrates (especially jellyfish).
  • Justine Larbalestier (his wife and author, who was also there!) pointed out that Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves is one of Scott's new favorite books (out of the ones he read recently), when Scott was asked by someone about books he recommends.
  • For you NaNoer's: They talked about NaNo for a while and gave a couple of tips, and told us that they have a bunch of NaNo tips on their blogs. (Scott and Justine wrote tips on alternate days last November-Scott's tips start here, and Justine's tips start here.)

When it was time to sign books, we got in line by rows, so I ended up being person #3 in line. This being my first actual book signing, I totally forgot that we actually got to talk to the author, and being #3, I had no time at all to think of anything cool to say to him, and this is what ensued:

Scott Westerfeld (as I approach him nervously): Hello!
Me: Um, hi!
Scott Westerfeld: How are you doing?
Me: Good...how are you doing?
Scott: Great! *starts signing Leviathan* So, do you have a question?
Me: Ummm....nooo?
Scott Westerfeld: *laughs*
Me: Errr...

Later, however, after he gave me my books back, I gave him a little spiel about what a history geek I was and how fascinated I am by the WWI era, and because of that I totally geeked out when I heard what Leviathan was about. We ended up talking for a couple minutes about WWI, how it started a new era technology and a way of living, and how it's not fair to WWI that WWII always steals the spotlight all the time in literature and basically everything else. (In retrospect, I wish I didn't use the words geek or geeked, but hey, I was being honest. :P)

I thanked him afterwards, and walked away with my books, definitely authorstruck.

The funny thing is, until a couple months ago, I never liked Mr. Westerfeld much. Or, I didn't know if I liked him, because I never read his books. Back when I was in 8th grade, my English teacher, who's a big fan of Scott Westerfeld, introduced his books to us in the beginning of the school year (she was also at the event last friday, yay!). After that, Uglies became the Twilight of my school, before well, the real Twilight became popular. Everyone read it- my friends, girls especially and boys too (to my surprise), and I even saw other teachers carrying the books around. After seeing everyone with his books, I guess I got rebellious and decided to go against the status quo, so I opted to read Markus Zusak and Jerry Spinelli books instead. ;)

Now my friends are all laughing at me, as I wait for my library's copy of Uglies to get here, so I can finally read it, years after they have. Three years ago, I rebelled against Mr. Westerfeld's books and ardently refused to read them, but just a week ago, I sat in the front row during his presentation, sitting forward in my seat, trying to catch his every word and stood in line, eagerly waiting nervously and excitedly in line to say hi to him. Life is full of irony sometimes. :D


After I got home, I saw a tweet from another person who was there, saying that anyone who lives within a one hour driving distance of Mr. Westerfeld's events should go because it's totally worth it. I learned about writing, cat parasites, manga, women revolutionaries, and loads more, so I have to say that I totally concur with his tweet. :)

I just had to take a picture of this slide during his presentation, seeing as two of my favorite characters are on it. I adore Alek and Deryn. :)

The end.

P.S. Justine Larbalestier is so right about Leviathan signings. There were just a couple of teenage girls and boys. The rest, I noticed, were all adults..


Things I Loved These Past Two Weeks

This song:

It’s hauntingly beautiful and I loves it. :)

This book: Umm...is it too late to mention Behemoth? I breezed through the book two weeks ago and I adored it. I can’t decide about whether or not I liked it more than Leviathan, but let’s just say that it rocked. :)

And another book: Well, we can't forget a little something called the Lost Hero! (I was going to make some brownies to celebrate when I got it last week, but I couldn’t. Hmm..maybe tomorrow?)

Anyways, I started it, and...I like it. :) It feels nice to go back to familiar grounds and be with old characters again. The only thing I’m sad about is the fact that several characters from the PJO series made no appearance, including Percy. *sob* Luckily, the next book in the series has his name in the title (or should I say his title in the title), and that right there confirms that it’s going to be spectacular.

This movie: I like documentaries and documentaries do sort of count as movies, right? The Cove is about Dolphins and... it’s interesting, to say the least. It is slightly disturbing, now that I think about it, but I enjoyed it when we had to watch it in class. Seeing it will make you want to pick up your picket signs and start advocating for animal rights everywhere. It's so...*shudder*

This picture:

Well, it's not the picture I like (sorry for the quality); it's the flower. I took this picture several days ago when I realized that it's the only living flower/plant outside anymore. Maybe I like this flower so much because it's becoming really, really cold here, but it's still surviving somehow. I guess that just amazed me...

Just seeing this movie poster in our theater made me jump up with joy:

Less than a month! :)

And, finally, this Calvin & Hobbes comic strip:

I never hate writing assignments, but after weeks of being buried under writing assignments about rhetoric and style, seeing this just made me smile. :)


My Life in Books

I saw this meme over at Squeaky Books and I thought it'd be fun to try it. :D All you have to do is type in a title of a book you've read this year at the end of the sentence. It took me a while, but voila! Here's my list:
  • In high school I was: Flipped (Wendelin Van Draanen)
  • People might be surprised I'm: Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)
  • I will never be: Cleopatra's Daughter (Michelle Moran)
  • My fantasy job: Poison Study (Maria Snyder)
  • At the end of a long day I need: A Raisin in the Sun (Lorraine Hansberry)
  • I hate it when: You Can't Take it With You (George Kaufman)
  • Wish I had: Predator's Gold (Philip Reeve)
  • My family renunions are: A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Shakespeare)
  • At a party you'd find me: Gone (Michael Grant) -> Tee heee. :P
  • I've never been to: The City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)
  • A happy day includes: Broadway Lights (Jen Calonita)
  • Motto I live by: Only the Good Spy Young (Ally Carter)
  • On my bucket list: The Miles Between (Mary E. Pearson)
  • In my next life I want to be: The Great Gatsby (Scott Fitzgerald)

Ta da! It sure is difficult but you'll find yourself giggling over your answers once you start it. :D If you do it, put your link in the comments so I can see! :)


Oh, hello October

Nonie's advice of the day: If you have to film something for a project or something, remember not to shoot in a portrait format! Let's just say that the process of flipping everything back is not pretty and very tiring. Don't say I didn't warn you...

With that said, it's October now, so I changed the layout (yet again) to suit the wonderful season of Fall. :)

With that proclamation, here's some quick thoughts/news:

- Junior year is hard. When I first got my class schedule, the first thought that entered my head was, Haha. With no math and no French, this term is going to be so easy...muhahahahaha!

And...I can truthfully tell you that, sadly, it's not. But I shall conquer Junior year! Muahahaha!

- Everyday as I walk into Government, I think about how much I miss studying US History. I miss hearing lectures on Benjamin Franklin and the importance of barbed wire. I really do.

- Doesn't Megamind look hilarious? It's coming out November 4th, and I don't think I'm going to see it, but it looks like it'll be great!

- I've been rereading Leviathan (or trying to read is probably a better way to put it) to catch up on the whole story for the release of Behemoth. There's no one like Count Volger to cheer you up when you're feeling dreadful. :P (He's one of my favorite mentor/wise teacher characters in literature. :D)

- Speaking of Leviathan, here's nice, little excerpt* from Behemoth I found on the Simon & Schusters site (eeeeeek!). If it came out yesterday or today, it would've been perfect, but alas, it's releasing next Tuesday, so we have to wait three more days (unlike some lucky people who've already gotten it)! Even then, I won't be able to read it until next weekend or maybe even a couple of weeks after that. Oh well. At least we know that Behemoth will have more of Keith Thompson's gorgeous art!

* If you want to hear Alan Cumming's version of the excerpt (which, like Scott Westerfeld said, is made up of awesomesauce), here's the link. :)


Ahoy Me Hearties!

Today be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrgh, maties!

Confession: When I be wee, I be fascinated wi' Seafarin' heartys (along w' Spies an' Detectives). I think I read ever' book I could find about them. The most fascinatin' Pirate be Blackbeard (well, he be th' most famous). :D

My favorite fictional Sea Dogs be:

Patchy the Pirate

Red Rackham (an' Captain Haddock)

Captain Hook

an' who can forget Jack Sparrow (or ortin' ta I say Captain Jack Sparrow) an' Barbossa?

(Who do ye find the most interestin' (or who's yer favorite)?) :D

Well, that's all th' talkin' like a sea dog fer today, shipmates. ('Tis tirin'.) Reckon if ye haven't do so yet, go aroun' an' tell someone Arrgh!!

(Oh aye, an' how can't be International Talk Like a Pirate Day if we dasn't play this tune at least once?)

Yo ho yo ho, a Pirate's life for me...

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Fair Winds!

(I translated with English To Pirate Speak. :D )


In which I apologize again...

...for the severe lack of posts, but I promise a more profound posts soon! For now, I thought I would direct you all to some fun things this wonderful Friday evening until I do so. :)

First off all Scott Westerfeld showed us an amusing video today, in which he disturbs Alan Cumming's recording to talk about the audiobook of Behemoth and the Leviathan series itself in this delightful, little interview. :D

My favorite part?

[Alan C: Will there be a happy ending, Scott? :0
Scott W: (pauses) Of course, Alan.
Alan C: Yay! :D ]

I loved how they were trying to be serious in the beginning but failing miserably at it. Alan Cumming's so cool in Spy Kids. Seriously. And he made a fantastic Mr. Elton in Emma. :D Oh, did I mention that I like his glasses too? :P (I need to get my hands on a audiobook of Leviathan soon!)

On a whole different note, Leah Cypress wrote a guest post for Confessions of a Bookaholic about why the epilogue worked for Mockingjay and the whole Hunger Games series a couple days ago. I thought it was interesting to see to see what an author had to say about. Hehe, I personally thought it was perfect. (Yes, I understand that I'm in the minority about this. :P)

Speaking of the Hunger Games, a couple of freshmen and sophomores in my homeroom this year are huge fans of it! Last Wednesday, we had this hour long talk about the whole series, and what worked about it and what didn't. It made me so happy because I don't know a lot people that read the Hunger Games, so finally being able to talk about it freely was truly amazing. :D Next week, we're planning to have a full discussion for Mockingjay. Yay! I've been waiting for a chance to debate about it since forever (aka right after I finished it..). ;)

I also changed the layout for this blog. Thoughts or suggestions? I still can't decide on whether the title should be white or orange. (For some reason I'm not able to let go of the orange. Hmm.) Oh, and I'm sorry if the blog description is hard to read. (There are some weird technical issues with Blogger Draft. Argh.)

Hee hee, so as usual, I will end this post promising more profound posts. Er, hopefully, they will be profound. I have a few ideas in mind for a couple of posts but...hmmmm. Well, ciao for now. Have a nice weekend everyone. If you're a student, I hope the first few weeks of school have been going well for you! :D



....when we were wandering aimlessly in our mall, I spent some time in the candle shop (because who doesn't like walking around scented candles? Mmmm....) When I walked past a stand of tiny candles, I randomly picked one up and sniffed it. It was lovely. :) And then, you know in Pride and Prejudice (2005), when Keira Knightley is in front of Pemberley in her carriage, she makes this choking/laughing sound, right? I think that's the sound that escaped my lips, when I saw what flower the scent came from:

Evening Primrose!
And it was the first time I ever saw one too, ever.

Talk about a very weird coincidence.
Clearly, the Hunger Games characters are determined to stay in my thoughts, even weeks later...

(Sorry if the picture is fuzzy; it came from my brother's cell phone.)


Summer is almost over...

And there are so many awesome movies I've seen this summer that I haven't been able to mention yet! Agh. To sort of make up for that, here are 5 movies that rocked my summer:

Toy Story 3
Best movie of this summer, hands down. :) It was adorable, heartwarming, and poignant (at least to me :D). The last five minutes are the most heartbreaking last five minutes that I've ever seen in a movie, and my love for Pixar grew even more (if that's even possible). I definitely connected with this movie a lot more because of my age, that's for sure. I probably wouldn't have cared about the story half as much if I was 8 or 9.

Sense & Sensibility
I haven't read the book, but the 1995 movie is fantastic. :D The story, the cast (yay Kate Winslet!), the script, the acting, the costumes, and the scenery are all wonderful. The funniest thing for me was seeing Alan Rickman (hehe, Severus Snape) as one of the romantic heroes. It took me a while to get adjusted to seeing him in a non-villanous role, but I loved watching him. :D

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
I was so worried about how they were going to transfer the book to movies, but after we
finished watching it, I remember turning to my family and saying, "Now this is how a book to movie adaption should be." Everyone did a wonderful job bringing the story to life! It was hilarious of course, but it was also heartfelt and sweet, and displayed the truths of middle school in a not-so-exaggerated way.

There is never a boring moment, and you can't help but adore Zachary Gordon as Greg Heffley. He is Greg. And...they change the ending a bit, but I think I prefer the ending of the movie to the ending of the book. DWK fans will love this, but also a younger sibling with a dire need of a good movie will appreciate this. I know mine did. :)

Sherlock Holmes
Yes, Sherlock Holmes participating in street brawls for fun felt totally out of character, but Robert Downey Jr. and Judd Law were just ah-mazing. I admit I...umm...fell asleep in the middle, but it wasn't a bad movie at all! It was just a little slow, but the ending completely made up for that. Heh..heh..It was actually kind of creepy.

Independence Day
A simple, 1994 sci-fi movie. I ended up liking it more than I thought it would. The ending, though cheesy and anti-climatic, was awesome. :)

(Yes, I'm starting to like older movies a lot for some reason. :D)

What were your favorite movies this summer? There's a ton I didn't get to this summer, but there's always next year. :)



by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.

(Don't worry. There aren't any spoilers.)

Suzanne Collins is brilliant. She created a story like the Hunger Games trilogy and ended it amazingly. I loved the book. I did. I absolutely loved it. When I first started reading the book this afternoon, I promised myself that I would go slowly. Savor each line and word. Laugh at all the jokes, tear up at all the sad parts, etc. That definitely did not happen. I breezed through the pages in a couple of hours, because I couldn't put the book down. Mockingjay was breathtaking and stunning (not to mention inevitably devastating) conclusion.

I loved that the relationships are fully explored between the characters. The relationship between Haymith and Katniss was the most profound and heartwarming, and I loved the Haymitch/Katniss/Peeta team. Speaking of relationships, I thought Suzanne Collins wrapped up the Peeta vs. Gale battle nicely, though it was bittersweet for me.

Characters like Gale, Prim, Finnick, and Annie have much larger roles than in the past, so seeing them sort of break out of their shells was great. I did miss several characters though, and I was completely saddened by what happened to a few of them.

Most people seem to not like the epilogue, but I thought it was beautifully written and haunting in a way. If you read it, what did you think about it?


That's all I can write about Mockingjay right now without ruining everything. I still have to take in a few things. When I first finished it, I was literally stunned. I started sobbing on the last page, and I didn't know what to think about it at all other than it was incredible and that it's over. Now I'll say that Mockingjay is an amazing finish to one of the best stories I've ever read in my life, and I'll miss Katniss and Peeta and Haymitch and everyone else. It was a wonderful ride and I'm thankful for Suzanne Collins for it. :)


To appease our appetites for Mockingjay until tomorrow...

Scholastic just released a sneak peek of the first chapter! *hyperventilates*

Just a couple more hours...I think I'll be able to make it. ;)

(Oh, and we all know what Katniss thinks at the end is not going to be true, right? Because if what they think happens to be true...I'll be very, very sad. The good thing is...it's probably not true...)


7 Things Right Now

1. As I'm writing this, I'm watching a Star Wars marathon with my brother. The movie playing now is the Empire Strikes Back. I'm not much of a Star Wars fan (I rarely watch or read anything sci-fi) but...

2. I have to go to school tomorrow (and for the next couple of days) early in the morning, to train for something I signed up for last year, and I'm nervous. In retrospect I wish I didn't sign up for it, but at least I'll be getting some experience. But now as I am nervous, I feel like indulging myself in something I wouldn't normally indulge in (like watching a Star Wars marathon), and you know what? It's working...sort of. :) Yay for Star Wars, and George Lucas, and Anakin Skywalker, and Hans Solo, and of course, C3PO, but...

3. I was so nervous during the day that I couldn't even read, didn't want to take a walk, didn't feel like listening to any music, or do anything at all. For that reason, I put the Fellowship of the Ring down, and agreed to watch the marathon with my brother.

4. It's funny. People don't watch movie adaptions of books because they don't want the movie to ruin the wonderful story the book presents, but I was reluctant to pick up the Lord of the Rings books until now for the exact opposite reason. I love the LOTR movies so much that I didn't want to get disappointed to see if the filmmakers ruined the book. Thankfully though, they haven't. They just took out a lot of scenes, but they didn't change anything. Phew! But did you know that Frodo is 50 when they start on their journey to Mordor?! (Let's just say that it took me a couple of days to accept that fact.)

5. I think Paper Towns would be a brilliant movie, if made by the right people, of course. The last scene in the book would be amazing to film. :D If I filmed the last scene, I would have Q's narration playing in the background, because I really liked what he had to say then.

6. I've been having a bit of writers/bloggers block, so I want to ask you, the readers, what do you want to see on the Flying Scribble?

7. It's now 10:20 PM, and the Star Wars marathon nearly ended an hour ago. I started this post nearly two hours ago, and during the two hours, the Empire Strikes Back ended (poor Anakin), I ate some late dinner, and started getting butterflies in my stomach again thinking about tomorrow and this week. Gah.

Well, as Obi-Wan and Yoda would say when they depart with others, may the Force be with you. And in my typical style, I say, have a fabulous week everyone. :)

Edit: As soon as I posted this, I checked Google Reader and I saw that Sarah Beth Durst also posted about Star Wars. Hehe. She watched the marathon too! :D


A quick review of Paper Towns

The story follows Quentin or Q as he is commonly known, who is very much in love with his neighbor of 16 years, Margo Roth Spiegelman. When she drops by his window in the dead of night, asking to borrow his car for a revenge campaign, he takes her, and things finally start looking up for their relationship. But the next day, Margo doesn't come back. She doesn't come back the day after that. And the day after that. Everyone decides that she's gone forever, and that she'll never come back, but Q finds clues that seem to be specifically for him, and he becomes determined to get her back.

So...Paper Towns, Paper Towns. Since I label this as a quick review, I'll just list a few things aspects I loved and the aspects I didn't love as much:

Q's narration is one of the funniest and wittiest I've read. I simply loved what he had to say, and this was my favorite quote in the whole book (pg.59)-

"I always felt like you had to be important to have enemies. Example: Historically, Germany has had more enemies than Luxembourg. Margo Roth Spielgelman was Germany. And Great Britain. And the United States. And czarist Russia. Me, I'm Luxembourg. Just sitting around, tending sheep, and yodeling."

^There's an abundance of quotes like the one above, so you can imagine how happy I was while I was reading through. :D

The characters were actually very believable. I can imagine them walking down the halls in my high school.

Margo, I didn't like much. *shrug* Maybe because Margo Roth Spielgelman is not someone I would hang out with if she were real. (I would hate to get on her bad side. *shudders*)

Sometimes the crude humor went too far for me. Too far that I almost put it down, but because this had so many rave reviews, I just decided to continue it. I'm really glad I did, because the ending was my favorite part of the book. I absolutely adored the ending.

The writing was...lovely. It wasn't choppy, or anything. It flowed. And the dialogue was incredible. Maybe it's because he worked for radio stations and such, so John Green knows how to write dialogue that sort of seeps in naturally, but it was lovely. Not lovely in the sense that I would go around and say what the characters said, because I didn't like what they said half the time, but it was just natural. It didn't seem fake or contrived. Like I said, it flowed.

I loved the beginning, but the middle slowed down considerably, but, just when I thought "Oh no, this book is going downhill!", the book redeemed itself with its last few chapters! The road trip, the climax, the last few pages-I absolutely adored everything. I admire how John Green ended the story, and I especially liked how he resolved the Q/Margo thing. It wasn't cheesy. It wasn't utterly romantic. It was...perfect and fit the novel nicely like a nice pair of jeans. :)

So, in the end, despite not liking certain aspects of the book, I decided that I did enjoy it overall, but I'm not sure if I would recommend it or not because of the strong language. If you can take that, I would go ahead and try it. I'm having trouble thinking of who exactly to recommend this for because I think the book will mean something different for everyone, so I guess you'll just have to read it and see what you think of it yourself. :D


Just so you know...

To celebrate the release of Mockingjay (and you know, pass the time until Aug. 24th), the awesome Heather, at The Secret Adventures of WriterGirl, created the YA Fantasy Showdown, where some of the best-known YA characters are pitted against each other in battle, and guess what? We, the readers, get to pick the winner, by reading the stats and mock battles written by the Showdown team, and casting our vote for who you think has the skills to move to the next round.

Just for you to get a sense of how cool this is, there's Edward Cullen going against Katsa from Graceling (Katsa's going to win definitely :P), Percy Jackson fighting Sam Templeton (Percy!!!), and Westley vs. Eugenides (Whoever chose to pit Westley against Gen is a genius. Two of my absolute favorite characters, EVER, fighting against each other...I don't know who to choose!)

See? Even a couple authors are joining in on the fun and working to advocate their characters. So, what are you waiting for?! Go on, and cast your votes! It's going to be amazing, and I wonder who's going to be the ultimate winner (probably... Katniss) :D



by Scott Westerfeld

(Read summary or watch book trailer [love the way they use the illustrations!])

I started reading Leviathan last week actually, but I got distracted by the Candy Shop War and all its goodness, so I couldn’t get around to finishing it until last night. And by last night, I really mean 1:30 this morning, because yes, it was too good to put down! :D And for those who know me well, know that I need my sleep, so for me, staying up late to finish a book says a lot about it!

Me reading Leviathan at night:
*minor spoiler alert with the link-don't click on it if you haven't read the book yet!*

Me at -
10:00: I’m so glad I can continue this book again! Now where did I leave off? *picks up book and starts reading*
10:45: *looks at watch* Woah! It’s 10:45 already?! I better get to sleep. Okay, I guess I’ll just end at pg. 200, because I like nice numbers. :D
11:00, at pg. 200: Oh, um...is it pg. 200 already? Well, um...I’m still in the middle of the chapter, so I’ll just put the book aside when I’m done with it...
End of chapter, probably 11:10: Er, this chapter ends with a cliffhanger! I can’t stop reading now!
11:30: Alek! I know you’re noble and courageous and nice and stuff, and I greatly admire those qualities in you, but what are you doing?!
11:35: Deryn! Why did you just do that?! Alek just helped you out!
11:38: Okay, I know it’s 11:38, but I really, really want to know what happens next. Okay, fine. I’ll stop reading at pg. 300 for sure.
12:17: *stares at illustration on pg. 306, amazed by the epicness of it (and ignores the fact that pg. 300 passed a while ago)*
So, it’s already tomorrow, or today! Ummm...what to do, what to do...Well, there’s only about 100 pages left...Oh, what the heck. I’ll just read it, because I won’t be able to sleep anyway.
1:28: *turns to the last page of the book and finishes reading* Holy moly! It was amazing! Now I can finally sleep.
2:00: Hey brain, I know Leviathan was fantastic, but I’m trying to sleep, so can you please stop thinking about it? Thank you.
2:24 (I believe): Zzzzzzzzzz (hehe, finally!)

So, was Leviathan worth staying up until 2:30 AM for me? Yes, totally! The story was completely absurd (Clankers vs. Darwinists? Fabricated animals vs. Machines? Really, now?) but I loved how Scott Westerfeld made it believable in a way. Through its absurdity, it seems possible that such a reality could’ve existed, if the one we had didn’t. How he managed to create all the characters, and how the story plays out was wow. Like really, wow. And I’m really glad it’s about WWI, because 1) WWII gets more time in the spotlight, so reading a book about WWI for once was like a breath of fresh air and 2) personally I find WWI a bit more intriguing than the second (there's so much more tension, so much drama...), and without learning about WWI, it’s impossible to learn about the roots of WWII.

Now, back from the history (before I start talking endlessly about the wars), and to the rest of the review: The characters especially were endearing. I loved Alek and Deryn, who are probably my favorite main characters I've read about in a loong time. Alek reminded me a lot of myself (heh, getting into trouble *cough*), and Deryn was the courageous, quick-thinker, and I admired how she dealt with the situation at hand. Count Volger was an epic character, I thought. In fact, he reminded me a lot of Snape, for some reason. Hehe. :P Basically the whole cast of characters in the book were made of pure awesomeness. :) I cannot wait to see how it all turns out for them!

The cliffhanger at the end (which wasn’t really a cliffhanger), felt abrupt. Way too abrupt. And that’s the only flaw I could find with the book. I turned the last page expecting something to read, but all I saw was the afterword. All I could do afterwards was stare at that page in disbelief that it was already over, trying to see if anything was written in invisible ink or something, and thinking “What? That’s it?! It ends with this?!” :0

But despite that tiny disappointment, Leviathan is a pretty awesome book filled with an enthralling story, exquisite illustrations, and fantastic characters that you’ll root for until the end! I loved how it set up the stage for the next book in the series quite nicely. It came out last year, so I think many people have already read this, but if you haven’t yet, I wholeheartedly recommend this to you. :) Lovers of history, science-fiction, steampunk stories, and thrilling storylines will especially love this delightful book! :D
And yay! It's a series!! Woo-hoo! I have something to look forward to now with the Hunger Games, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid ending soon! The second one in the series is called Behemoth, and it's releasing October 5th.
I wish they kept the style of the first cover, but hey, at least we don't have to wait so long to get it! :D


today's a good day to be happy

In other words, things that are making me smile (or laugh, because I'm definitely more of a laughing person) right now are:

- At last, a day with a cloudless (or almost cloudless sky) and the sun. And, today's one of those days where it's not too hot and not too cold. It's just a nice, peaceful summer day. :)

- The past few days have been filled with thunderstorms, mini power outages (or as my brother kindly reminds me the correct term each time- brownouts), and overall a very gloomy atmosphere, although...the storms did provide for some good sunset photo-ops. :P

- Spending a couple of hours on a Saturday evening reading Only the Good Spy Young and finishing up Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. The last few pages of Dog Days are pure gold. If I wasn't in a bookstore at the time, surrounded by other people, I wouldn't have had to restrain my laughter so much (which was very hard, by the way)...

- Reading old essays, journal entries, and the like. Those are always fun to read. ;)

- Almost finishing up with my AP English homework, and starting with my AP Government homework. Reading through the entire Constitution is not as tiring as one may think, though it is very hard to concentrate when the sun is shining, and just *calling* you to run outside.

- While cleaning out my room, I found not one, but three $5 fine forgiveness coupons for my library, so now I have $15 to waive fines with! Yippee! I mean...*cough*cough* Me? Need fine forgiveness coupons for the library?! That's preposterous! Why would I need them in the first place? *cough*cough*I always turn my books in on time *cough*cough*

- Speaking of the library, I just checked a couple minutes ago, and I have this book waiting for me to pick up! For some reason, I feel really really really excited to read this book. So excited, that I'm literally bouncing as I'm typing this. I haven't felt this excited about going to the library to pick up a book since well...a very long time, and I have absolutely no idea why I'm sooo eager about this book as I am right now. Maybe it's the luscious cover? Or maybe because it involves candy?! Or maybe, it's just because it looks just plain old fun.

- Reading Shannon Hale's old interview with Brandon Mull. That picture on the bottom of that post is very, er, priceless. :D

- Seeing old elementary school friends who I haven't seen in 5 years!

- And, of course, reading through this post is certainly making me smile (and laugh along the way). :)


So what's been making you smile lately? :D


Talks and Laughs

I recently ( like just about an hour and a half ago) learned how to make and edit podcasts, and I'm really excited about that that. So anyway, because of that, I've been wondering...would you like to hear audio reviews of books and/or movies perchance? It's just going to be maybe two to five-ish minutes of me talking about the book/movie/something else, saying it if I recommend it or not, and everything else that goes into a proper review, so you know, just like a typical review, except audio style, and maybe with a little music here and there. I won't stop writing reviews, and the audio reviews will be there like once a week or once every two weeks. It's just a little experiment for this blog. :)

And maybe...if it's successful, and I learn how to improve it, I'll also have a few guests on the show! (Ok, now i'm getting a little too excited...ha.)

So what say you, wonderful readers? I'm still just contemplating about the idea, so I sort of need some input. I put a poll on the sidebar. :)

And for a few Thursday laughs:


July Revelations/Thoughts

- Though this summer has been enjoyable, something felt wrong about it, and then two nights ago, I realized why! I didn't make a summer to-do list. Hehe. As an organized/ OCD person, I can't live without planning and lists. I have 21 things to do, and if I don't get them done, I'll turn insane. But I'm just so glad I figured what was wrong because that weird feeling was really getting to me.

- So it took 3 days to download Illustrator, and gah! I think it might be my favorite graphics application! And OMG, the new iMovie is simply awesome too!!!!!!! (<----- You can tell that I'm really excited about it when I'm using waay too many exclamation marks than necessary!) Since I don't need my brother to teach me iMovie like he had to with Illustrator, it's so much more fun. I feel like myself with iMovie again. Yes, I am a technology geek. :)

- I'm reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (about time, eh? :P), and I love Sam. He's interesting to read about, and my, all the attention and admiration the prose got is well deserved! It's gorgeous and enchanting. The only problem *ducks from all the shoes that will be thrown at me* is that Grace's life is diminishing little by little with each page since she's soo caught up with Sam, but since this is a romancish novel, it's excusable...

- On Sunday, 2:30 Eastern time, the Soccer game between the Netherlands and Spain will start! I'm so fired up for the match because Soccer is the only sport I watch, and it's the final game for the World Cup championship! Eep! I was so sure that Germany was going to take the cake this year (I mean, they beat Argentina 4-0...), but this is okay I guess, since I don't exactly have a team I'm rooting for. The match should be very interesting, and may the best man, er, team, win! If you're watching the World Cup, what do you think about the game at this point?

- And, before I forget, I created a blogroll. Tell me if I missed anyone!


Words of Wisdom from Samwise Gamgee

Because we all need some inspirational quotes to keep us going through life (me, especially), here's one of the most encouraging and inspirational quotes, I believe, ever written in literature:

"It's like in those great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were; and sometimes you didn't want to know the end, because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it as when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it'll shine out clearer. Those were stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances to turn back only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding onto something."

-Samwise Gamgee*

Thanks to From Elysium for reminding me of this beautiful quote. :)

* Whenever I think of Sam or the Shire, this tune starts to automatically through my head. So peaceful, reassuring, and brilliant in a way... :D