Saturday, December 29, 2012

Singin' Saturday: The Summer in Spain-Rainie Yang

Title: The Summer In Spain
Chinese Title: 曬焦的一雙耳朵 
Artist: Rainie Yang (楊丞琳)
Language: Mandarin Chinese
Extra Info: The lyrics are literally translated into "A Pair of Sun-scorched Ears"

Wdebo's Notes: This is such a beautiful song by Rainie. It is wonderful to see how much she has grown as a singer throughout her career. There is definitely a bittersweet feel to both this song and music video. You can feel the sadness in her tone and through the lyrics. I also love how the music video looks. Taiwanese MVs have come a long way and look so much higher budget now. Haha.

Listen and Love!

Wdebo :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Singin' Saturday: All I Want For Christmas Is You-Divided By Friday

Title: All I Want For Christmas Is You
Artist: Divided By Friday
Language: English
TTS: None

Wdebo's Notes: Since Christmas is only three days away, here is a song that will hopefully get all of us in a Christmas-y mood. Oh goodness, this cover. So wonderful. Jose's voice is lovely and it just fills me up with a great desire to jump up, pour myself a tall glass of eggnog and sit in front of the fireplace to watch Christmas specials on the tv.

Listen and Love!

Wdebo :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Singin' Saturday: Last Thing On Your Mind-Lights

Title: Last Thing On Your Mind
Artist: Lights
Language: English
TTS: None

Wdebo's Notes: I love Lights. I had been having a very rough week and this was one of the songs that helped me get through it. I love it when music can help raise your spirits because that's exactly what music should be there for. Music should be a friend who will accompany you through the good and the bad and would never leave you no matter what.

Listen and Love!

 Wdebo :)


Other songs by Lights:

Second Go

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Review: Girl Unmoored By: Jennifer Gooch Hummer

"'Sometimes things get broken and people make mistakes. It's just what happens. And then, if you're lucky, they get fixed again, before it's too late'" (317).

Title: Girl Unmoored
Author: Jennifer Gooch Hummer
Amount of Pages: 325
Publisher: Fiction Std
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Geared Towards: Older Readers
From: Books Sparks (Review Copy)
Extra Notes: This is her debut novel
I was not paid for this review. 

Summary (From B.O.B): Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. Fortunately, she's about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus-the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike, who's suddenly everywehre, until she's stuck in church with him one day. Then something happens-Apron's broken heart blinks on for the first time since she's been adrift.

Mike and his boyfriend, Chad, offer her a summer job in their flower store, and Apron's world seems to calm. But when she uncovers Chad's secret, story seas return. Apron starts to see things the adults around her fail to-like what love really means, and who is paying too much for it.

Apron has come unmoored, but now she'll need to take the helm if she's to get herself and those she loves to safe harbor. 

Wdebo's Review: I received this book to review back in March of this year but with college and other books, I just never got around to reading it. I sort of forgot it on my bookshelf and let it collect dust. Also, apart from time restraints, the other reason I never thought about it was that I personally did not find the cover all that appealing and as most people know (and I'm sure most people are guilty of) I totally judge books by their covers and this cover just did not fulfill my superficial desires at all. On a whim, I picked it up again a couple of days ago and finished it that very same day. Everything about this story was just so wonderful and the only regret it gave me was that I did not read it sooner.

The writing was wonderful which makes it all the more surprising when you factor in the fact that this is Hummer's debut novel. It possessed a honest simplicity to it that made it very easy to get into and be lulled into a reading frenzy by its calming arms. Through her writing, Hummer was able to create a narrator who was both innocent in her age but mature in her insight, the things that she has witnessed and lived through. Though her grasp on love can at times be seen as childlike, there is a certain knowing quality about her. Even though she phrases her thoughts in a child-like manner her words possess a truth to them that not many people are able to understand even at much greater ages. Apron was a great narrator and I loved reading from her point of view. I loved to see her grow and mature and understanding her surroundings. I especially enjoyed seeing her growth in regards to Mike and Chad for though she grew up in an area that was not very hospitable to homosexuals so grew to truly love them and hold them as one of the most important friends she ever had. This work really allows you to understand the importance of friendship and love and how affection can come in all shapes and forms and from the most unlikely sources. However, though all love can be different, there is one unifying factor to it, that it will always be there for you, to hold you and carry you through the good and bad. And though you will laugh and cry together it will be the thing you hold most dear.

I also loved how Hummer presented the characters of Chad and Mike. I hold both of them and Apron very dear to me as I went through the story. Their relationship, which was presented with a bittersweet, heart-warming love, was also very magnificent and held tightly onto my heart.

The writing itself was very well done and was able to make me laugh one minute and cry the next. The whole story flowed together nicely and had very few sections in which I found it lagged or did not hold my attention  as much as I hoped for. This is one of the few novels which I could have given a 5 stars to it without even reading till the last page. The ending itself was also very well done, it did not disappoint. Once I finished the novel, I was left was a feeling of satisfication but also one in which I would not have minded if I could get another glimpse of the future. I would have liked to see what happens to all of the characters, but even if I was not given the opportunity, I would not have minded one bit because I know that they will be ok no matter where or how they live their lives. I also liked how the story did not end with perfect endings for everyone because the story had a realistic element to it and life just does not work perfectly like that with all of the loose strings being tied up together with neat bows.

Cafe Cover Chat: As stated above, I am definitely not a big fan of the cover, but I do love the blue and the imaginative sailboat/cloud. (B-)

All in all, a wonderful debut novel from Jennifer Gooch Hummer that everyone should pick it. I am sure I will be recommending to lots of people throughout next term. This work allows us to understand the importance of love and how it can come in all shapes and forms and be there to comfort us when we most need it.

Grade: A+

Wdebo :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday's Taiwanese Superstar: Kimberley Chen

Whoa, I haven't done a TTS in about two years so let's see how this goes~ Haha.

Chinese Name: 陳芳語
English: Kimberley Chen
Birthday: May 23, 1994
Age: 18
Birthplace: Melbourne Australia
What She Does: Singer/Dancer

Background Info: Kimberley released her debut earlier this year (April 27, 2012) but her musical career has spanned for much longer than that.

Kimberley has been coached by many impressive people including her father, Maestro Vladamir Vais, Gordon Chambers, etc. She has been singing publicly since she was 4 and at the age of 11 she played the role of Young Nala in the Melbourne production of the Lion King and at 13 she also sang the National Anthem at the Australian Football League NAB Cup. She then moved to New York to study. In 2010, she also competed on the Taiwanese Singing Show and gained much Taiwanese recognition there. With her debut album, she released the song " 愛你 (Ai Ni)" [Love You] this April which has over 6 million hits which is one of the two songs of hers that are featured in the drama Fondant Garden.

I love this music video because it is sad/cute and the song is adorable. I also like how Xiao Jie from JPM is in here. Haha.

Other Songs You Should Check Out By Kimberley:

Star Trek (ft. Ailing Tai)
Never Change

Wdebo :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Review: Ask the Passengers By: A.S. King

"I stare at the first plane that's cutting the sky in two. I stare and I send my love. I send it to the woman in seat 5A who is worried about something. I send it to the man in first class who's not feeling well. I focus on the stars, and I send love to the aliens flying millions of miles from me in outer space. My brain people like to think that one of these days, they'll be coming for me" (45)

Title: Ask the Passengers
Author: A.S. King
Amount of Pages: 293
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Gered Towards: Teens
From: Publisher (Review Copy)
I was not paid for this review.

Summary (From Front Flap):

How do you give your love away when no one seems to want it?

You send it up into the sky.

And you hope the right person catches it.

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people wo won't judge her when she asks them her most personal what it means that she's falling love with a girl. 

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the poeple at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even realize she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives-and her own-for the better.

Wdebo's Review: I remember reading The Dust of 100 Dogs three or so years ago and being completely in love with it; therefore, when I was given a chance to review Ask the Passengers I pounced at the chance. 

Compared to The Dust of 100 Dogs, Ask the Passengers does not seem to contain anything truly remarkable or throught-provoking. However, there was just something about the novel that I found truly touching. Though the storyline itself is nothing too exciting and goes along the same path that many other high school coming of age stories do there was something about Astrid that made her someone truly magical in her averageness and through King's simple, honest writing. Astrid is a character that is very relatable to the readers. I'm sure all of us have felt, at one point in our lives, that we were unloved or unnecessary  (For some of us, this feeling has progressed throughout half or all of our entire existence.) Therefore, through this simple similarity Astrid was a very remarkable character. She is the awkward, shy person that we feel like inside. That person that feels unloved, ignored and just needs some love sent her way.

The book is divided into the actual story and little snippets of the lives of the passengers and how Astrid's love affects each of them different way. I loved that. I love reading about other people's life that even though we are all different and going our own separate way we can be connected in some unknown way. The book shows the effect that a little bit of love can create. Even if you are just giving your love arbitrarily to the skies it will be able to find the right person and just help them through their lives. I think that's where the magic part of this story comes from. We never truly get to stop and think that we should just pause and love more that life should be focused on our relationships and not just what we are superficially to others.

Those were the two main things that truly stuck with me in this book, the love that could be felt in the pages and Astrid's character. However, I found the plot to be disappointingly lacking the same sort of charm that the other two elements possessed. It went down the same path that every other book about the same topic delved into and the relationship strains were tied up too quickly towards the ending. Though they did not end up in a "happily-ever-after" way it was still not the ending I was searching for in a book like this one.

Cafe Cover Chat: I really love this cover there is something this cover possesses that represents my thoughts of the book. The warmth and the comfort that it gives off. (A-)

All in all, though the storyline was not phenomenal but the writing and character of Astrid make up for it. I found myself reading this book, not to see where the story would go but mainly for Astrid's love-giving because every time she parted with a little bit of love I felt like some of it was reaching me and it just made me feel a bit more comforted and warmed.

Grade: B+/A-

Wdebo :)

"I stare out the window and smile because just dreaming it is nice...even if it doesn't happen. Just dreaming it is nice" (216)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Singin' Saturday: West Coast Christmas-Anarbor

Title: West Coast Christmas
Artist: Anarbor
Language: English
TTS: None

Wdebo's Notes: I know I've been completely ignoring my blog lately but it is officially the first day of Winter Break for me so I'll be blogging a LOT over this month ^_^ (I'm currently reading Ask the Passengers and it is ah-mah-zin). To celebrate this fact, here is "West Coast Christmas" to just sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty that comes from the weeks before the holidays. I love how this song makes me feel, all warm and comforted. Hope everyone has a great holiday!

Listen and Love!

Wdebo :)