Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: The Lying Game By: Sara Shepard

"Sutton's dead. Tell no one. Keep playing along...or you're next" (85).

Title: The Lying Game
Author: Sara Shepard
Amount of Pages: 307
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: December 7, 2010
Geared Towards: Teens/Mystery Lovers
From: ABC Family
Extra Info: The first book in the The Lying Game series

Summary (From Front Flap):


The worst part of being dead is that there's nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It's enough to kill a girl all over again. But I'm about to get something no one else does-an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never got to meet. 

Now Emma's desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me-to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she's the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

Wdebo's Review: As a giant fan of the Pretty Little Liars series, I was super excited to get my hands on a copy of THE LYING GAME. It seemed to have everything that the PLL series had, mystery, intrigue and some Mean Girls style drama to spice everything up.  However, it just did not seem to reach the same level that PLL had created. 

The storyline seems to promise an intensely suspenseful novel right? Dead separated at birth twin. Danger around every corner. Bitchy friendemies. A little DETECTIVE CONAN and GOSSIP GIRL mix. Sadly, the mystery and the intrigue just did not do it for me when it was actually in writing. A good mystery YA can keep me occupied and unable to set down the book until I actually finish it. THE LYING GAME; however, just did not do it for me. I admit I was entertained during a few parts and the last part of the book was actually pretty exciting, but that does not take away from the fact that I was able to set this book down and not pick it up for a long time. *Brings everyone's attention to the fact that my Goodreads says I read this book from August 5, 2011 to July 27, 2012.* The enjoyment came mostly from the lightness of the novel which is kind of the opposite mood a mystery should create. 

The character aspect of the story was also lacking. None of the characters stood out to me. They were stereotypical and flat. I was expecting more, at least from Emma, the protagonist. The good girl. But that was basically all she was, a good girl, nothing more, nothing less. There was no true passion in her. The main thing that bothered me was the fact that she never tried hard enough to get whatever she wanted done...done. She could have easily proven she was Sutton, but she gave up right in the middle. Little things like that just bothered me a lot. She could have accomplished so much more if she had just tried harder. Then we have other stock characters thrown in like the stoic poet dude who is able to connect better with the protagonist and of course steal her heart, the simple minded jock who tries to be the best boyfriend but can't and the mean "hey, bitch, hey" kind of "best friends" who are bitchy and not very friendly.

There was also the problem of point of view switching. The novel switches quickly between Emma and Sutton's point of view without any type of warning or break in between. I frequently found myself confused by who was talking. Also, the descriptions and the progress of the story confused me at times,  but that may have just been because I took a hiatus from the book and came back to it almost a year later. 

However, even though there were so many different aspects I found unsatisfactory, the last part of the book did get quite interesting. Not interesting enough to make up for the giant chunk in the beginning that I disliked, but interesting enough to keep me entertained and make me actually interested in what happens next to Emma and Sutton. 

Cafe Cover Chat: I am a sucker for vibrant color schemes like black and bright pink but that is the only part of the cover. I don't like the double twin kind of thing that's going on, it's more middle-school story than YA novel. (B-)

All in all, even though I personally was disappointed by it (due to the fact that I had such high hopes for it because of PLL) maybe if I was just judging it by its own criteria it would have been more readable. However, if you are looking for a lighter YA novel that you don't really have to think a lot about, pick this one up. It's more of a day-at-the-beach novel than a DEATH NOTE story. 

Grade: B-

Wdebo :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

MV: All The Things You Never Knew-Leehom Wang


Title: All The Things You Never Knew
Chinese Title: 你不知道的事 (Ni Bu Zhi Dao De Shi)
Artist: Leehom Wang (王力宏)
Language: Mandarin Chinese
TTS: None

Wdebo's Notes: When I went back to Taiwan this summer, every time I went karaoking someone would always choose this song and I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it. I love Leehom and his voice. This song is wonderful and soft piano just compliments his singing wonderfully.

Listen and Love!

Lyrics Video Version (Mandarin Chinese/Pin Yin/English)

Actual Music Video

Wdebo :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Trailer + Giveaway: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father By Jessica Brody

Hi World!

Long time no see! (Especially given that it is summer...hmmm) Anyways, I've been MIA lately because I was in Taiwan for a bit over a month. It was wonderful and I crazy nice break from my stressful term of College *Shivers just thinking about the horrible memories*

Anyways, I wanna share an awesome book trailer and giveaway that I was recently shown. It's for Jessica Brody's new book 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER and like all of her book trailers, the movie trailer-esque quality is super fun and makes me really want to read it. Come on. Spoiled heiress and cute "babysitter"? Sign me up!

Summary (From Goodreads):

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

Right now Jessica also has an awesome giveaway in which one lucky winner gets a "Complete Heiress Makeover"! Sound fun? Check out the details HERE!

Wdebo :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Review: Middlesex By: Jeffrey Eugenides

"Normality wasn't normal. It couldn't be. If normality was normal, everybody could leave it alone. They could sit back and let normality manifest itself. But people-and especially doctors-had doubts about normality. They weren't sure normality was up to the job. And so they felt inclined to give it a boost" (P. 448).

     Title: Middlesex
     Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
     Amount of Pages: 529
     Publisher: Bloomsbury
     Geared Towards: Adults
     From: Bought

Summary (From B.O.B): "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974."

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three geneations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny vllage overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of 1967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Point, Michigan.

To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she hs to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns her into Cal, one of he most audacious and wonderous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrillig,MIDDLESEX is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

Wdebo's Review: MIDDLESEX is a novel that has been on my TBR list for the longest time, so when I saw it at the bookstore, I knew I had to buy it. I began it as soon as I got home that night and was unable to put it down until I finished it.

Finishing MIDDLESEX made me think of that quote by Paul Sweeney: "     “You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” As soon as my eyes skimmed over the last word ("next"), as soon as I flipped the last page over, as soon as I closed the book, I was hit with a certain sadness akin to saying good-bye to a long-time friend. Right when the story ended, I wanted nothing more than to flip to page one and begin "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl..." all over again. I wanted to rediscover Cal's life, Lefty and Desdemona's tender, shy love story and Tessie and Milton's clarinet music-filled time together.

MIDDLESEX is enjoyably crafted with diverse details. All of three stories have been weaved together like magic with Cal's boisterous, memorable first-person narrative as the delightful glue. Throughout the span of the 529 page novel, I found myself daydreaming, bored a total of zero times. MIDDLESEX is extremely readable and immensly addicting. The story is so greatly crafted. Eugenides has the uncanny ability to transition between humerous banter to heart-string tugging prose with expert fluidity. His writing has made MIDDLESEX into one of my favorite books ever, right there besides EUGENE ONEGIN and THE PRINCESS DIARIES series.

Not only is the story itself interesting and carefully created, the character of Cal is also one of my favorite characters ever. Cal acted in a gentle, kind way of an old friend. He would lead you by the hand, pointing out important factors of each stories, showing you all of the details without seeming too pushy or overwhelming. He knew when to stop and when to begin again. With a gentle tug, Cal would bring you into a new life, a new side of the story you couldn't wait to learn about. Every character had a little something different, somethng extra to bring to the table that diversified and set MIDDLESEX apart from other books in its genre.

Cafe Cover Chat: Personally, I do not much care for this cover. If I was only juging the book by this critera, I would probably have not picked it up. (B-)

All in all, a wonderful novel that is sure to become a modern classic and be enjoyed by many. I am very happy that I picked this novel up and hope that many of you will be able to too!

Grade: A

Wdebo :)