Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CONTEST: Pure By: Julianna Baggott

Hiya, my lovely readers. School started a few weeks ago so I've been crazy busy with that. I haven't been able to find time to read for fun at all D: But I am taking a lit class about Western European and Russian Literature from the 17th-19th Century, and I've never done ANYTHING with those kinds of stories so I really like it ^^ So far we've read Tartuffe and Candide and I've enjoyed both. We're reading Faust now, which I like, but it's hard to concentrate because I keep having Black Butler and Ao No Exorcist flashbacks. Well....I'm getting WAY off topic.....

Anywho, to kind of make it up to you guys I have a contest for y'all :3 Enjoy!!

Title: Pure
Author: Julianna Baggott

Summary: PURE focuses on Pressia, a scrappy, brilliant, and tough-as-nails teenage girl fighting for survival in a city destroyed by “the detonations.” Her world is one populated by mangled survivors, known simply as Wretches. Pressia’s life, like that of all Wretches, is dictated by the Pures, an aristocracy unharmed by the denotations. To remain untainted, Pures never step out of the Dome that protects them. But what happens when an unsatisfied young man escapes from the Dome and into Pressia’s world?


Le rules....
Contest will end on 2/8/2012

To enter please answer this question in the comments and leave your name/email: "If you could create a utopia/paradise, what would you do in it?"

Hm, personally for me, I would combine all of my favorite things (food, books, music, anime/manga, etc) and be able to indulge in them unguiltily.

To Earn Extra Entrees:

+1 Becoming a Follower
+2 Already a Follower
+1 Becoming a Twitter Follower
+2 Already a Twitter Follower
+2 Publicize (Please link to it ^^)
+3 Get Creative! Make a button, etc.

Good luck! Two signed copies of Pure will be available. Contest will be open to all in US and Canada.

A little Hetalia for y'all~ (Yep, embracing my inner otaku :) )

Wdebo :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: Falling For Hamlet By: Michelle Ray

"You wanna know the truth? Here it is. Not the truth I tell Zara or the truth I tell the DDI or anyone else. I'll tell you, but no questions. I've had enough questions" (P. 3).

Title: Falling For Hamlet
Author: Michelle Ray
Amount of Pages:
Release Date: July 5, 2011
Publisher: Poppy
Geared Towards: Teens
From: Publisher (Review Copy)
Extra Info: This is a modern adaption of Hamlet

Summary (From B.O.B): Meet Ophelia, high school senior, daughter of the Danish king's most trusted adviser, and longtime girlfriend of Prince Hamlet. She lives in a glamorous life and has a royal social circle, and her beautiful face is splashed across magazines and TV screens. But all this comes with a price-her life is ruled not only by Hamlet's fame and his overbearing royal family but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go.

After the sudden and suspicious death of his father, the king, Hamlet spirals dangerously toward madness, and Ophelia finds herself torn, with no one to turn to. All she wants is to live a normal life. But will that ever be possible when her boyfriend is royalty?

In this stunning contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view, debut author Michelle Ray brilliantly weaves togehter old and new-and introduces some surprises along the way.

Wdebo's Review: I discovered this book last year when I started reading Hamlet for my AP Lit class. When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I could not wait and jumped at the opportunity. Though I found this book enjoyable and did like the concept but it was nothing too memorable.

I really enjoyed how this book is from Ophelia's point of view. The thing that annoyed me about Hamlet was the weakeness in the female characters, especially Ophelia. She is always relying on the men in her life and falls apart because of them. But with the Ophelia in Falling For Hamlet, she has adopted a modern teenage air to her which is very refreshing. Though she is weak at times, she is still willing to stand up for herself and throw out a few sarcastic phrases while she's at it.

I also liked reading from Ophelia's point of view because in the Shakespeare's version it just sort of glosses over Ophelia's actions after she slips into madness and suddenly throws out that she commits suicide. With Falling For Hamlet all the action is explained and it just felt much more satisfying for me (Even though it was modernized, and probably not what Shakespeare was going for...oh wells....).

Each chapter is divided into three parts: Ophelia's description of the story, a police questioning and also her appearance on a talk show. I liked the division, it creates three different ways of looking at the story, but I wished the order could have been reveresed at time, instead of having it be, TV appearance, story then questioning. If it was switched up, it could have added some variety to the story.

The writing itself was good, but it just felt kind of average. I was interested but not so immersed in it that I could not put it down. Towards the last hundred pages, I was just having so much trouble motivating myself to finish it. Though when I started reading it, the last few hundred pages went by pretty fast. Right after finishing it though, instead of feeling sad that it was over, I felt relieved that it was finally over.

Though the characters were entertaining, they did not have much depth to them. They were pretty one-dimensional, as opposed to ol' Willy's version of the characters. In the Shakespeare version there were just so many ambiguities and conflicting beliefs surrounding each of the characters. Even though I personally dislike Hamlet, that was one of the elements about the play that I admired, his ability to create such complex characters. But with Ray's verison, what you see was what you get, the characters themselves were not that interesting to read about, very generic YA characters.

Cafe Cover Chat: I really like the cover, the black and white picture of Ophelia and Hamlet and the bright color of the throne really creates a sharp contrast between the two. It pulls the viewer's sight to the throne, showing just how magnetic becoming royalty is. (B+)

All in all, though it was not the best written book out there, Falling For Hamlet creates a fresh approach for modern teens to look at the timeless classic Hamlet.

Grade: B-

Wdebo :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Random Entertainment Clips (30): Nico Nico Singers

Since I talked about Vocaloids last week, I thought I should do another post, this time about Nico Nico Singers. NicoNico is short for Nico Nico Douga, they are a video sharing site in Japan. (And now there is also a Taiwanese version of Nico Nico ;) ) They are doujin singers (fan singers) who cover a lot of Vocaloid songs.

I first got into Nico Nico after discovering Clear. I am still absolutely head-over-heels in love with his voice and his songs, gah I could listen to him all day *Heart* Anywho, eventually I started getting into Nico Nico Choruses which are usually solo versions of a cover of a song put together by a fan, but sometimes they do form actually choruses.

Without further ado here are a few favorites of mine...Enjoy!

Hope by Hanatan
Vocaloid Version: Hope By: Miku
This is just so amazing. Hanatan is amazing. I absolutely adore her voice. The chorus just gave me a crazy amount of goosebumps.

Scissorhands by Panyo
Vocaloid: Scissorhands By: Miku
Really like Panyo's voice, even though I personally like Clear's version more but this one is so good too.

Magnet by Clear ft. Dasoku
Vocaloid: There are so many versions out there, but the "original" (I believe) is Magnet By: Luka ft. Miku
As stated above I am a huge Clear fan, this song is one of the main reasons why. I first discovered Clear through Magnet, yep yep, I love how Dasoku and his voice blend together.

Spice! by Nico Nico Chorus [Guys]
Vocaloid: Spice! By: Len
Total nosebleed song right here ^^ They just sound so amazing together and I really like it when Len's voice blends in even though he sounds like a total girl.

Just Be Friends by: Nico Nico Chorus
Vocaloid: Just Be Friends By: Luka
I first listened to the Clear version then I listened to the Luka version, finally I listened to the Nico Nico version. Though the beginning of the Chorus version of JBF is kind of shaky the chorus part is absolutely wonderful, it sounds like they are actually singing together.

Wdebo :)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wishlist Wednesday (3)

The Selection: Gorgeous cover and the summary sounds so intriguing

Take A Bow: Lovely cover and the storyline sounds very good. I really want to read The Lonely Hearts Club by her also.

The Story of Us: I love Deb Caletti! I really enjoyed Stay by her, she is just such an impressive YA author.

Hush, Hush: I am pretty sure I am the last person on Earth who hasn't read Hush, Hush yet. It's on the top of my TBR list, but I can never seem to find time to go to the library and check it out =.=

So, lovely blog readers, what is on your wishlist?

Wdebo :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: Forbidden By: Tabitha Suzuma

"Lochan cannot be my boyfriend. Out of the millions and millions of people that inhabit this planet, he is one of the tiny few I can never have. And this is something I must accept-even if, like acid on metal, it is slowly corroding me inside" (P. 202).

Title: Forbidden
Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Amount of Pages: 454
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Geared Towards: Teens
From: Library

Summary: With an alcoholic mother and a deserting father, Lochan and Maya have always been more like parents than an actual brother and sister to their three younger siblings. They care for them, they cook for them, they do everything for them that a parent would do, all in hopes that social services will not come and tear up their family anymore than it already has been.

But when their lives start weighing down on them, Lochan and Maya start relying on each other more and more and begin to realize how their feelings for each other have changed. They have never truly felt like siblings, instead they've always felt like equals, best friends. Their stress and also their mutual understanding of what they are going through brings them closer together. But their closeness causes them to tread into a dangerous territory, a place that no sibiling is allowed to go, a love that goes beyond a family bond.

They both know that their love is wrong, that it should never continue. But why does something so wrong just feel so right?

Wdebo's Review: Incest is truly a difficult topic to read and also write about, but Suzuma has handled this topic wonderfully. The story itself is incredibly well written, from the creation of the characters themselves to the interactions between everyone, especially the connection between Lochan and Maya.

The story is written from both the point of view of Lochan and Maya. However, instead of just having it be a way to look at one part of the story from two points of view, it was, instead, written as a continuation of the story, just from a different voice. This works so much better than the former, mostly because there are no awkward pauses in the story for the next character to tell their side of the same part. There was no repition, which helped move the writing along. Also, this bouncing between the two narrators helped the reader understand each character's feelings, seeing each characters' growth of love for the other, the timid steps towards their eventual relationship.

The organization of the story is another plus. Instead of just jumping into the romantic relationship between the two, the first half of the novel was more of a background of the family life. Which allowed the reader to begin to empathize with their situation. The beginning of the relationship, though the writing was a bit shaky, came very suddenly and the story seemed to change speeds, from slow (in the beginning) to a fast-paced love story and it seeemd to gain momentum until the heart pounding last like 50 pages. I thought the conclusion came too fast though, it should have been drawn out a bit more just to balance out with the lengths of the previous parts of the story but it was still well done. The ending came as a total shock, which is a very refreshing change from the usual cliche, cookie-cutter endings one usually finds when one reads YA.

The actual writing was very well done, very polished. However the only true complaint I have about it is that the beginning seemed to be trying too hard. As in, there were too many "big" words thrown randomly into the mix as if it was just trying to sound intellectual, but it just did not flow well. As the story progressed, this writing style smoothed out and it became much easier to read after that small bump in the novel.

I really enjoyed all of the characters, there was something distinct about all of them that allowed me to grow attached to them. I especially loved Willa, she was just so sweet and innocent and a great contrast to the dark, heart-wrenching feeling of the novel. I nearly started crying when I read the ending, which just goes to show how much the characters had grown on me.

Cafe Cover Chat: I like the cover, it is simple but conveys the true feelings of the story. (B+)

All in all, a haunting love story that is sure to follow you well after the last page.
Grade: A-

Wdebo :)

"How to explain that this situation, the love we feel for each other-everything that to others may seem sick and twisted and disgusting-to us feels completely natural and wonderful and oh-so, so right?"
(P. 357)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

No. 6 (Anime + Manga/Novel) + Happy New Years

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!! Can't believe it's 2012 already. Hope everyone has a good day and year !

Title: No. 6
Japanese Title: NO.6 ナンバー・シックス
Amount of Episodes: 11
Status: Completed
Tags: Sci-fi, dystopian
For: Teens

Summary: Set in the year 2013, No.6 seems like the perfect place, with all the intellects and people who contribute most to society allowed to live in lavish luxury and everyone else given a chance to live in comfort.

At the age of two, Shion was tested to have the"highest-ranked intelligence" so he and his mother were allowed to live in the highly regarded, luxurious area named "Cronos".

On the rainy night of his twelfth birthday, Shion discovers and aids a runaway by the name of Nezumi who escaped from the City's Special Security Area. And with this simple gesture of goodwill, Shion's life changes forever, as everything that he is given in No. 6 is suddenly ripped away from him as quckly as Nezumi disappears the next day....

Wdebo's Review [This review is for the anime only]: I first discovered No. 6 over Summer, and as a huge fan of dystopians, I was so excited to start watching. When I first saw No. 6's MAL profile, it was when it first started airing and held very high ratings, but when I went back to the page a couple of weeks ago (because that is when I started it), the ratings had dropped considerably. After finishing the show, the ratings make complete sense. Even though the anime started on a high note, it ended flat. After the first couple of episodes, the only thing I was watching for, instead of plot was just the relationship development between Nezumi and Shion.

The first few episodes were absolutely amazing. Each episode was filled was so much action and emotion and there was just so much potential. However, after that block of episodes, the plot started to slip and everything just fell through. There were a lot of plot holes that created confusion and the plot itself seemed to be going no where. However, the last couple of episodes were pretty addicting, I just could not stop watching them, but then it spirled down again and the ending was a huge disappointment. It wasn't because it wasn't an ending I wanted, it was because it just didn't feel like it fit in well. It felt too rushed and there were a few huh? moments.

There were a lot of interesting characters that were thrown into the mix, but, apart from Nezumi and Shion, none of them seemed to be given much development. They just seemed to be placed into the story as decoration, they did not really seem to be doing much to help the plot move along. While the plot and secondary characters were not all that impressive, the protagnoists, Nezumi and Shion, and their relationship with each other was basically the only thing that kept me watching the show.

I absolutely adored the relationship between Nezumi and Shion. And no matter what people say, it was not only "bromance", it was defintely a romantic relationship. Seriously, what pair of best guy friends kiss each other "good night"?

Now that we have that out of the way, the reason I loved their relationship was because the growth of their closeness and realizing how they needed each other in other to survive and also how the other brought out their best side, was just wonderful. It was a very nice little BL undertone to the story.

I am also absolutely in love with the opening and ending. The opening took a bit for me to get used to because the voice was just so high, but the artwork was very well done (As opposed to the art in the actual anime which was just ok) and I loved the effects it utilized. The ending, on the other hand, had me completely hooked from the very beginning. The song is beautiful and the video that accompanied it was so bittersweet.

All in all, even though the plot fell flat, the only redeeming factor of this anime is the relationship between Nezumi and Shion.

Grade: B-/C+

Watch No. 6 HERE
Volumes: 9
Chapters: 43
Volumes Read: 3
Status: Completed
Translated Source: HERE

Manga~Volume: ?
Chapter: ?
Chapters Read: 7
Status: Ongoing

Wdebo's Review: The novel was the first that appeared and then there was a manga adaption and finally an anime adaption. The novel is definitely the best out of the three, mostly because there is just so much more oppurtunity for there to be more details added.

The storyline of both is so much richer. There is so much more added to Nezumi and Shion, the readers are able to understand what Nezumi and Shion are feeling, it really shows their growth and also their reasoning for their actions. The details also help to explain the progression of events, which the anime failed to at parts.

The secondary characters are also given a better chance to grow and allowed to take on a bigger role in the actual story.

All in all, I highly recommend readers to begin with the novel and manga first, just to get a better understanding of the actual story and then to start on the anime.

[Note: The site I posted only has half of the volumes translated. I don't know if there are any sites out there that have the entire thing translated, just search around! And if you know Chinese, the entire thing is translated to Chinese (The Chinese novel was first published in Taiwan...Hehe I love being Taiwanese ^^)!]

Grade (For Novel): A
Grade (For Manga): A--

Read the manga HERE
Read the novel in Chinese HERE [Chinese Title: 未來都市NO.6]

Wdebo :)