Monday, August 31, 2009

Nemesis

Nemesis


By: Agatha Christie
Reviewed by: Kayleigh, 16
Rating: It was alright...


Nemesis by Agatha Christie is part of the Miss Marple mystery series. This mystery begins with her receiving a letter from the late Mr. Rafiel giving her the opportunity to take part in this mystery or simply ignore it. But of course Miss Marple is intrigued and is willing to do what she can to discover the verity.

This is the last Miss Marple novel Christie wrote, so naturally you may need to have read a few previous books to understand the references, particularly A Caribbean Mystery and At Bertram’s Hotel. This, however, is not the last novel Christie published. Sleeping Murder was published five years after this one.

The beginning is a bit slow and not as engaging since you seem to be “in Miss Marple’s head” a lot, hearing her thoughts instead of focusing on the actual murder mystery. But this is likely due to the fact that this was the last novel Christie planned to be in the Marple series so she wanted to wrap up the series in a sense. Once you get into the murder, it is as entertaining as the other novels. Overall, not bad.


Recommended to: fans of the Miss Marple series who have read A Caribbean Mystery and At Bertram’s Hotel

Fever 1793

Fever 1793


By: Laurie Halse Anderson
Reviewed by: Kyle, 12
Rating: It was amazing!




Recommended to:

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn


By: Stephenie Meyer
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 15
Rating: It was alright...


Okay...it was this book that made me a Twilight fan. I started reading the books and I thought it was okay. Until I read this book, it all changed. But a few months after reading this book, this sudden obsession waned. I found this book kind of stupid but okay in a few. I find the whole series predictable, After I read Eclipse, I actually PREDICTED that whatever will happen to Bella, marriage, sudden unexpected pregnancy, troubles with the Volturi, etc would happen and it did. This book is actually what I predicted will happen.

*next two paragraphs or so are SPOILERS* This is good with just the right dose of sappy romance between Bella and Edward but it kind of goes too far. You'll see why. It's so intensely romantic but Stephenie Meyer put a little too much. I liked the little addition of Renesmee to the story, kind of cute but has a stupid name. Bella must me high off morphine. And scientifically wise, how did Bella's unexpected surprise happen?

I hated the part where Jacob imprints on little Renesmee. Weird and gross, like your uncle or your mom's ex-boyfriend/husband falling in love with you. He kissed her mom!

The book has what every girl reading the series is dying for, the two irrevocably-in-love, forbidden by nature, couple getting married, a perfect honeymoon, having kids, etc. What most girls dream of. Plus Stephenie Meyer kind of pushes feminism a few decades back (women dying from childbirth, dependence on their significant other, etc.) and where it doesn't (saving the whole coven)

Read it you really want a happy ending to this whole series.


Recommended to: Twilight die-hard fans, obsessed with the series, romance-seeking, girls, young women, scarily sappy romance book lovers, etc

Doubt

Doubt


Directed By: John Patrick Shanley
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 15
Rating: It was alright...


This movie starring Meryl Streep (15 Oscar nominations!), Amy Adams, Patrick Seymour Hoffman, and Viola Davis is based on the Pulitzer prize winning play. The movie has 5 Oscar nominations including Best Actress for Meryl Streep, Best Supporting Actor for Patrick Seymour Hoffman, Best Supporting Actress for Amy Adams and Viola Davis and Best Adapted Screenplay. Unfortunately, it didn't win any of the nominations.

Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) is really stern, so stern that whenever she walks into a room, all the students sit up straight and stop what they are doing. Sister James (Amy Adams) is the total opposite of Sister Aloysius because she is much less stern, not as religious, and seems to be more relaxed. So is Father Flynn (Patrick Seymour Hoffman)with a slight sense of humor, especially to one student.

It is very outrageous that they *spoiler* obsess over one of the students drinking altar wine during a sermon and they blame Father Flynn, talk to the student and call his mother over to the office to discuss this situation. Sister Aloysius is kind of conservative while the two aren't.

So...this movie is okay, you may be able to see why it didn't get the nominations.


Recommended to: Movie Buffs, Anyone who's obsessed over Oscar-winning movies, Meyrl Streep fans, Amy Adams fans, Patrick Seymour Hoffman fans, anyone who just want to see a serious movie

Thursday, August 27, 2009

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer


Directed By: Marc Webb
Reviewed by: Matt, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


I had to say when I first heard about this movie, I was absolutely dying to see it. After seeing it, I'm dying to see it again. The movie progressed randomly, because it started after Tom (the main male character)had been dumped by Summer (the main female character) and went back to day one. This is not a love story, Tom fell in love with Summer and thought it was some cosmic thing and that they were soul mates. After going through an urban Odyssey of love and mental anguish, Summer ends up believing in cosmic "love" and Tom... Tom moves on, and sees that its coincidence when it comes to love. This film was, in my opinion, well written and acted, and should be seen. As well as this, the music was quite good.


Recommended to: anyone really, just watch out for content if you have any issues with that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Afterlife

The Afterlife


By: Gary Soto
Reviewed by: Janette, 15
Rating: Didn't like it


This story centers around a boy named J├ęsus, also known as Chuy, when he discovers the afterlife following some unfortunate events that eventually led to his murder. He discovers that becoming a soul isn’t so bad, and ventures to visit his loved ones, face the consequence of his actions, and stumbles upon a past love. A short book, amusing with its occasional humor and plentiful use of the Spanish language, Gary Soto did provide a novel that would probably make all of us think twice about what to do with our lives. “The Afterlife” starts immediately with some intense scenes of Chuy being brutally stabbed in the bathroom of a nightclub, just for complimenting on someone’s shoes. This was not a very intense book about discovering the afterlife. Instead, once the book got started, it slowed down with no warning once the main character was a soul. The following chapters are full of unnecessary scenes that don’t necessarily involve furthering the plot, just futile attempts to take revenge and to visit loved ones. Though it takes another long 5 chapters, the plot starts to hasten when Chuy discovers his mother’s ulterior motives on revenge, he finds a fellow ghost mate, and he discovers that he’s beginning to disappear. Once he discovers the true identity of his new friend, the plot slows again with more unnecessary scenes until the book comes to a close. The ending is quite sappy and unsatisfying leaving many important questions from the readers unanswered.


Recommended to: To people who want a short read

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


By: J.K. Rowling
Reviewed by: Meena , 16
Rating: It was amazing!


From the very first page, i was captivated. It was as if some unknown force was keeping that book glued to my hands. Every page contains vital information that keeps the story twisting and turning. The three main characters Harry, Hermione, and Ron are some of the best characters i have ever gotten to know. Whenever i put the book down, it is as if i am coming back into reality, because this book takes me to another world of magic.

Even though this is the last book of a seven part series, i am still just as interested as i was when i was reading the first book. It is as if the author only gets better with time. This book is not just some silly magic book that talks about wands and broomsticks, it is actually a novel that takes its audience to another world that everyone only dreams of living in.


Recommended to: anyone who wants to read a good book

Isabel of the whales

Isabel of the whales


By: Hester Velmans
Reviewed by: smo, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


I have read it 38 times it's a sweet story with action, romance, and excitment. I couldn't put it down the BEST book i've ever read!!! I recommend it to every one who loves a sweet romance with some crying involved. Hester Velmans really knows how to bring the charecters to life she's really done it this time!!! Thank you Hester!!!!!


Recommended to: EVERYONE!!!!!!!!! (11and older)

The 4:50 From Paddington

The 4:50 From Paddington


By: Agatha Christie
Reviewed by: Kayleigh, 16
Rating: It was amazing!


Part of the Miss Marple series by Agatha Christie, The 4:50 From Paddington is an excellent novel for anyone looking for a fun read. The clever old lady known as Miss Marple receives the news from her trusted friend, Mrs. McGillicuddy, that a murder has occurred on a train. They report it to the police, but the police believe nothing like that has happened. So Miss Marple takes matters into her own hands and recruits a young lady named Lucy Eyelesbarrow to be her eyes and ears in this case.

This book has been published as What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!, its current title and Murder, She Said, but we know it as The 4:50 From Paddington. Christie’s unique writing style and use of old English makes this novel even more entertaining! This book is one of my favorites in the Miss Marple series. And you can read this particular book without having read any of the others in the series.


Recommended to: readers who like the good old-fashioned whodunits

Decemberunderground

Decemberunderground

By: AFI
Reviewed by: gothiclolitamaiden, 15
Rating: Really liked it


While I wait for Evanescence to finally release some new music, I have turned to other bands as a coping mechanism. A friend of mine highly recommended this band, so I gave it a listen.

The track listing is:
1. Prelude 12/21
2. Kill Caustic
3. Miss Murder
4. Summer Shudder
5. The Interview
6. Affliction
7. The Missing Frame
8. Kiss and Control
9. The Killing Lights
10. 37mm
11. Endlessly, She Said

AFI has a dark and unique sound that may be a bit of an acquired taste. They are not a mainstream band, but that really doesn’t matter (mainstream is very overrated). Anyone who likes alternative, emo, screamo, or metal-ish music might end up liking Decemberunderground. The lyrics are dark and at times slightly depressing, but they are reminiscent of poetry.

The lead vocalist (Davey Havok) is no Josh Groban, but he can sing and scream expressively, going from soft and sweet to anguished in a heart beat.
My favorite tracks on the album, were “Prelude 12/21,” “Miss Murder,” “Summer Shudder,” “Affliction,” “Kiss and Control,” and “The Killing Lights.” Yes, there exists a song named “The Killing Lights.”

I recommend this album to anyone who likes metal, alternative, emo, or screamo music. Anyone who enjoys dark, expressive music will enjoy this album.


Recommended to: Anyone who likes metal, alternative, emo, or screamo music. Teens, for morbid content.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl


By: Gore Verbinski
Reviewed by: JC, 12
Rating: It was amazing!


This swordfighting, swashbuckling adventure full of pirates, captains, and British soldiers will have you gripping your seat in suspense. So many questions, but what about the answers? Will the infamous Will Turner win the heart of Miss Elisabeth Swan, the governor's daughter? Will Cap'n Jack Sparrow acquire his ship, the Black Pearl, once again? And does the curse on Barbosa and his crew be lifted?

You never know what will happen next in this comical, suspensful movie.


Recommended to: teenagers willing to brave this halarious and frightning film

Open Ice

Open Ice


By: Pat Hughes
Reviewed by: Tracy L., 13
Rating: Really liked it


Nick Taglio's life is hockey, but when he gets another grade-three concussion, his doctor and parents force him to stop playing hockey. His girlfriend breaks up with him and when he sees her with his enemy Cady Ramsey, he is really mad.

Soon he realizes that he has to go to a game, and not avoid hockey forever, and so he does, and it makes him feel better.

I liked this story, because it showed someone's determenation even with so many previous injuries. I sure wish I could be like that.


Recommended to: anyone

Poseur: The Good, The Fab, and The Ugly

Poseur: The Good, The Fab, and The Ugly


By: Rachel Maude
Reviewed by: Annabelle L., 15
Rating: It was alright...


So the POSUER crew is back from its awesome debut party, but who IS the mysterious person who got into all their naming entries?

Not to mention, it's almost time for Halloween! So, here's the girls' idea: design a fashion bag and offer to one lucky person from all of Winston Prep. One problem. WHOSE bag design is the best to create? Janie's? Melissa's? Charlotte's? Or Petra's? Well, here's what the girls think: MINE. What's a fashion group to do?

Not to mention- of course- the drama they have to deal with on their own. Who exactly is Petra's dad hanging out with? Melissa's step-mom is just off-the-hook crazy to make her wedding just perfect- meanwhile driving Melissa crazy. Janie's feeling the academic scholarship vibe in the whole rich environment- is she really good enough for the elite, popular, and rich? Charlotte got her mind all twisted up since Janie's brother is out of the picture- or is he really? Meanwhile, people around them are starting to lose their senses.

A good book overall, some more new and cool sketches, but I personally like the first novel better with its freshness and totally unique ideas on fashion. I love the different bag outfits, but maybe I'm just not a bag person really. Semi-descriptive. I feel this book is for more character development than anything major, since the girls weren't really targeting or "disliking" each other much like they did POSUER, but they may have gone over that bridge already. Still pretty enjoyable.


Recommended to: fashionistas, designers, anyone concerning fashion, and (older) teen drama story lovers

Friday, August 21, 2009

Breathless

Breathless


By: Jessica Warman
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: Really liked it


Breathless is a spectacular book; I just couldn't put it down! I felt strongly and emotionally for the main character, Katie Kitrell, who intends to fit in her new boarding school even though her past is wretched with pain of her mentally-lost, violent schizophrenic brother, Will. Through sketchy lies, Katie was able to fit in with the It-crowd complete a boyfriend and loads of friends - all in which likes to party, drink, and... party more. She's already cute and an adroit swimmer, so hiding the fact that she was from a broken family was the only thing left she needed to do to gain acceptance from the snobs of her school. Maintaining popularity becomes harder for Katie when the truth of her real background threatens to break away.

This book was unlike any book I've ever read, and I enjoyed every page. It seemed a little autobiographical because the characters were drawn up to feel so real to the reader, to the fact where you just want to sympathesize for them. The realism in this story was vivid and I would like to read more from this author.


Recommended to: Teens

Atashinchi no Danshi

Atashinchi no Danshi

Directed By: Matsuda Hidetomo
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: Really liked it


I've watched the entire 11 episodes of Atashinchi no Danshi all in one single day - I was just that hooked. This movie was very lighthearted and funny, mysterious and quick-witted. The plot was very creatively written and I found myself laughing out loud because some of the scenes were just really hilarious!

This is a story about a girl named Chisato who lives her lives on the streets as she struggles to pay back debts that her father had owed through his gambling past. Just as she was about to be caught by loan sharks, a dreamy man appears and saves her by paying back the 100 million yen she owed to the loan sharks; with the condition that she marries him for a month and be a mother for his 6 adopted sons. She of course has no choice and marries the man, who loves her like a father would. He dies a month later, of course as expected, and she goes to the castle in which his 6 handsome adopted sons live, and adventures start from there... from bitterness to family love, Chisato influences the household to be closer in bond. Some of the guys fall for her, and in the end everything finally gets revealed and you'd be totally surprised.

I enjoyed watching this very much and I hope there will be a special or something. I love the brothers, they're all really cute/good-looking, and Chisato is a good actress.

If you're looking for a lighthearted watch, this is the drama for you! This japanese movie/drama can be found on www.mysoju.com. Just search "Atashinchi no Danshi", and it'd be there with english subs to help you understand the story.


Recommended to: Anyone

The Angel Experiment

The Angel Experiment


By: James Patterson
Reviewed by: Yaz, 16
Rating: It was alright...


This book wasn't that interesting for me. To me, at 16 years old, the book sounded like an old person trying to talk as he/she was a kid. The slang is dated and unpopular. As far as plot goes, it started off kinda slow but picked up about half way through and ended with a big bang. So that was good. Also, it very, very repetitive to hear a play by play of every meal they ate through the entire book. The idea and plot in this book are interesting and even compelling; however, the writing is choppy and bland.The authors attempt at making a first-person story from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl to be very unconvincing. I felt as if Patterson was really writing her as if she's was a boy but calling her a girl. Maybe he tried to appeal to more people that way but I find it negatively affected the character.

This book is definitely a good read for kids under 14. However, it might be very interesting for people looking for a very quick read and something to pass time by.


Recommended to: Younger kids

Drowning Anna

Drowning Anna


Directed By: Sue Mayfield
Reviewed by: Lena, 13
Rating: Really liked it


Drowning Anna is a book in which lots of people can relate to -considering the idea of bullying.

Anna Goldsmith moved into a new town- new town new school, the whole deal. Unfortunately, poor Anna meets Hayley Parkin, not aware of what kind of disaster she's heading for, actually meeting the Queen of Cruelty and big time gossip girl. Hayley sucks the life out of youand leaves you miserable for what can seem a lifetime.

Anna becomes friends with Hayley, going out shopping,attending each others sleep overs and soon becoming unseperable.

Anna eventually discovers that Hayley takes away and destrpys peoples lives. As Hayley starts to dig her nails in this poor Anna's skin is first harmless namecalling quickly becoming unbearable gossip and physical and emotional pain.

Then, as it can even get any worse, Hayley puts Anna in danger causing more depression as she goes on. As Anna can't take it, she tries to kill herself (taking an overdose and drinking vodka), thinking she can put herself out of this misery ending up in the hospital and putting her family in tears and broken hearts.


Recommended to: Teens

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Directed By: David Fincher
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 15
Rating: It was alright...


The movie isn't good or bad at all, just okay. The beginning and ending were both weird. The movie trailers completely fooled me. I guess they don't call them "teaser trailers" for nothing.

Okay, so most of us know that the "curious case" is that Benjamin ages backwards (getting younger everyday) instead of forwards, like how everyone else ages. That would be great towards the middle but it would suck at the beginning where doctors and everyone else claims that he had no chance and the end where you're a child who seems to think they have already lived most of their life. Think of it as getting over with the pains of aging early and still having to do with the pains of adolescence and etc. later.

And just like most dramas, there's a wee bit of romance. A little love story involving Daisy (Cate Blanchett) and Benjamin (Brad Pitt). Like I mentioned, it kind of sucks at the beginning and the end and the best part for them is the middle where they both meet up at approximately the same age then wait a little bit longer and one is looking younger and one is getting older. What a weird love story (Opposites attract!).


Recommended to: Movie buffs, etc.

The E.N.D.

The E.N.D.

By: The Black Eyed Peas
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 15
Rating: Really liked it


The Black Eyed Peas(will.i.am, Fergie, Taboo, and apl.de.ap) are back! And they brought back some more tunes with a futuristic feel to it. And maybe had their voices amplified too far too. But the good thing is that they actually wrote their own songs and know how to allure you with their super catchy tunes.

"Boom Boom Pow" is a very catchy track in their album as well as "I Gotta Feeling". So check their album out.


Recommended to: Anyone gregarious, party lovers, avid dancers, hip-hop lovers, Top 40/Pop lovers, pretty much anyone

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why


By: Jay Asher
Reviewed by: Rawr!, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


It was so sad,yet a good book. I almost started to cry but didn't Ha.ha. I recommend this book for people who's a sucker for sad stories.:)


Jay asher did an amazing job,and it was his first book!......I think lol ;D


Recommended to: Sad stories.

The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club


By: Amy Tan
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 15
Rating: It was amazing!


The Joy Luck Club is one phenomenal story. The four young women June Woo, Rose Hsu Jordan, Waverly Jong, and Lena St. Clair and their mothers Suyuan Woo (*spoiler* died a few months ago so her daughter June took her pace and told them her stories), An-Mei Hsu, Lindo Jong, and Ying-Ying St. Clair meet once a week or so to play mahjong. While during the meeting, they each tell their stories of their own childhood, their miserable past, their life right now, and the lessons they've learned.

I really like this story because after reading Amy Tan's biography, I get where she is coming from. Most of the 16 little stories in the Joy Luck Club are actually based from her own life and experiences. The book is kind of sad where the mothers talk about their miserable past back in 1949 or so and all the abuse some of them went through with their first marriage. Same thing with Amy's own mother Daisy.
While your reading some of the stories, you may think, "How can the mothers do this to their daughter?" or "Seriously?". The mothers have set their expectations so high because they want their next generation to have what they didn't have. "My mom believed that in America, you can do anything. You can be a doctor, open a shop, be successful..." a paraphrased quote from "Two Kinds". "We do torture, Chinese torture..." paraphrased quote said by Lindo Jong to Waverly Jong in one of the stories.

The Joy Luck Club was published in 1989 and is said to have been on the New York Times Bestseller list for nine weeks! But this book is considered a classic. Choice novel used in 1993's Academic Decathlon.

If you want to read this, it would make the story much better if you read some biography of the author Amy Tan, gives you a better understanding of where the author is coming from. Very touching.


Recommended to: Young Chinese females, anyone who want to read a story that'll make them cry, anyone who has a wide reading interest, mostly everyone especially females.

The Fame

The Fame

By: Lady Gaga
Reviewed by: awesomeVia, 15
Rating: Really liked it


Seriously, Lady Gaga is an international phenomenon as well as an pop culture icon. She has hits that you may have heard of like "Just Dance", "Poker Face", and "LoveGame" all possessing an electronic dance tune/rhythm. And she also wrote them too with some help from RedOne and etc.

Lady Gaga nee Stefani Joanne Germanotta was a songwriter based in Yonkers, NY who got her stage name from the Queen song "Radio Ga-Ga". She used to be just a songwriter for Interscope writing songs for artists like Britney Spears (Circus) and etc., then getting ready for her debut as a solo artist. She has good taste for music as she claimed in one interview that David Bowie, Queen, Madonna, and Michael Jackson were her main influences.

The reason why I didn't rate the CD amazing because of her fashion sense and the auto-tune. She sparked some controversy from the costumes she wore at her concerts like the ceramic body armor she wore at one of her concerts to her hair bow made of her real hair. But this at least shows that she wants to have individuality. Plus in some songs like "Poker Face" and others, she may have gotten her voice amplified too much.

Her songs actually make some sense. In "Paparazzi", she refers these photo-snapping pests as a stalker type which really they kind of are. "(Eh, Eh) Nothing Else I Can Say" is sort of based from Rihanna's "Umbrella" play-on with the word "umbrella" and at least this song doesn't sound like she amplified her voice too much. "Beautiful, Dirty, Rich" has a catchy tune as well as the alluring "Starstruck". The title song of her album "The Fame" actually makes sense quoting that we're "doing it for the fame". I mean isn't it true that we modern-day civilians and celebrities would do the most random and stupid things all for the fame?
So other than the amplified voice and the weird scandalous outfits that she wears at her own concerts, she is a talented, theatrical singer/songwriter who shows off a lot of her individuality.


Recommended to: Anyone gregarious, party lovers, trendsetters/followers, avid dancers, current fans of her, fans of the genre Pop/Top 40, Rihanna fans, Britney Spears fans, and mostly every teen or young adults

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shining Inheritance

Shining Inheritance



Directed By: Jin Hyuk
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: It was amazing!


I absolutely adore this drama/movie with all my heart! Although it's in Korean, the subtitles come in handy. The plot, the characters, EVERYTHING about this movie will draw you in and keep you hooked until the very last episode!!!

This drama is about a girl named Eun-Sung who seems to have the perfect life and family. All changes when her father "dies", and her stepmother greedily snags her inheritance and belongings - all in which Eun-Sung doesn't have a clue she had in the beginning. Eun-Sung takes her autistic younger brother, Eun-Woo, after getting kicked out by her stepmom, to live on the streets. She struggles to make ends meet and even consider suicide. All changes when she loses her brother and meets Hwan.

This is a romance drama mixed with suspense, adventure, and comedy. This is a great movie to watch!!! You'll love it if I do!


Recommended to: Anybody and everybody - You can watch this on YouTube, just search "Shining Inheritance Eng Sub"

Bandslam

Bandslam


Directed By: Todd Graff
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: Didn't like it


Bandslam was quite a movie, and I guess I had higher expectations than what the movie was actually able to present - making me a feel just a little bit disappointed after watching the movie. It's unlike the sing-songy Disney movies, but it still had a cheesy effect here and there.

It's about a guy named Will who's pretty much a loser. His mom moves him to a new school and despite his loner facade, he makes friend with popular Charlotte. Then comes Bandslam, the big event in which bands compete for a record deal. Charlotte wants to win against the Glory Dogs (her ex's band) and so she teams with Will to make it happen. All falls when Charlotte's dad passes away, and she pretty much has to scramble to get a lead singer in the band. That's when Sa5m (silent 5, very clever...psh lol) comes in and Will falls for her.

Alright, now for my critique. There were good songs, but some of the scenes and characters just didn't fit. It's like they snagged whatever famous star and mushed them together, where all of it suddens the movie doesn't really fit and it's just really, really awkward. The movie's plot was only okay, but the movie was alright. Watchable, yeah. Worth watching? Only when you're super bored or you're into Aly or Vanessa...


Recommended to: Teens

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada


Directed By: David Frankel
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: Didn't like it


The Devil Wears Prada is a personal favorite of many people I know, but it barely made my Totally-Worth-Watching list. I was easily distracted and bored on and off throughout the movie, and the end it disappointed me. The ending was dull and banal and trite... I was hoping for something more. Maybe have Miranda at least cool off a bit with Andy? Ha, not the case.

Anyways, don't want to ruin the movie, but then again, I'm not recommending you this movie. It's basically about a girl named Andy who wants to snag a job in journalism, and ends up working for a magazine as an assistant to the cynical, feared, respected - Miranda Priestly, magazine editor and basically the top boss. Andy has to deal with tons of crapola from Miranda, who's ruthless but observant and maybe even impressed throughout the story with Andy and her hardworking and unique personality. Andy endangers her private life with her beau just by working in such industry and for Miranda. The ending? Bland. Not what I wanted, that's for sure. But yes, Andy is happy. And she still works in journalism.

Anyways, not my cup of tea. Trust me, I didn't pay attention to some parts because I couldn't. There was so many better things to do or watch. This is my opinion, of course. I'm sure there are a lot of fans of this movie that will quickly land themselves in a discord with me.


Recommended to: Nah...

Are U 4 Real?

Are U 4 Real?


By: Sara Kadefors
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: Really liked it


Are U 4 Real? is a book in which a lot of people, especially teens, can relate to. It basically closes in on finding true love, and they ways in which many people find it, including online. Though a little cliche here and there, I was amused throughout the plot of the story. I liked how the writer coupled two totally different people online - Kyla, the wild outgoing popular girl, and Alex, the soft-spoken, shy, quiet ballet dancer. Their online meeting sparked something close to what they think as love to them, but is meeting each other in real life be the same?

I think this book can be better, more elaborate on the character's inner turmoil in dealing with their life issues.


Recommended to: Everyone

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stravaganza: City of Masks

Stravaganza: City of Masks


By: Mary Hoffman
Reviewed by: SabrinaLYL, 13
Rating: It was amazing!


Dying- yet being able to travel to another world. Pretty balanced out, right? While little Lucien Mulholland is asleep his mind is swept into a world of bribery, love, murder, and hope. Told from multiple point of views this tale keeps spinning and surprising readers form start to finish.


Recommended to: People over the age of seven

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


Directed By: David Yates
Reviewed by: gothiclolitamaiden, 15
Rating: Really liked it


Let me establish two facts. One: I love Harry Potter from the bottom of my heart, and J.K. Rowling is one of the greatest authors of all time. Two: The movies, while they are good, can never, ever fully live up to the books. It’s impossible. The filmmakers did manage to accurately and convincingly portray the feeling of tension in the wizarding world, and at Hogwarts, as fear spreads and the danger increases. I was relieved to find that the screenwriters had not downplayed the serious aspect of the movie to focus on the romantic escapades of Harry and the gang. I had expected Warner Brothers (after watching several trailers and reading each interview, all of which made me want to bash my brains out on my desk) to try to turn the movie into a lighthearted summer blockbuster. I am pleased to say that they did pretty well despite my gripes about all the content missing.

Needless to say, I liked the Half-Blood Prince movie, even if Warner Brothers made fans (like me) wait an extra eight months for it and despite the fact that no movie can ever truly match the book. However, I think that the director and screen writers made some bad decisions when it came to which scenes to omit and which scenes to add. I did not like that three of the memory scenes were cut out. Those were some of my favorite parts of the book, and they become significant in Deathly Hallows. I hope that these missing scenes will show up on the deleted scenes on the DVD, or they’ll somehow be incorporated into the Deathly Hallows movie(s). I liked the bridge scene at the beginning, since it was only briefly referred to in the book, but I did not get the point of the attack on the Weasleys’ house. If Lord Voldy wanted to kill Harry himself, he would not send a couple of his Death Eaters after the Weasleys and Harry. The scene wasn’t in the book, and it was pointless, and (prepare for fan rant) Fenrir Greyback was not supposed to appear before the tower scene (aargh! Warner Bros. has failed us again)! I realize that the screenwriter probably wanted to add more action, but the book had enough action, and anyone who wants more action should just wait for Deathly Hallows (which is only being split so that there can be more profit, they don’t really care if the fans throw a hissy)! And I’m REALLY mad that no one thought to include Dumbledore’s funeral scene.

No matter how bad a job the directors and screenwriters do, the acting in the Harry Potter films is always fantastic. Not all of the actors perfectly look the part, but all of the acting is superb. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron), and Emma Watson (Hermione) all do very well in this film, during comical and serious moments (and they can all still pass for sixteen year olds). Michael Gambon’s (Dumbledore) performance as Dumbledore has improved so much since Goblet of Fire, there is no more shouting, but I still wish he would get rid of that little rubber band on his fake beard. Alan Rickman (Snape) is perfect as Snape, as usual. I was pleasantly surprised to see Tom Felton (Draco) perform extremely well in this movie. In the last couple of movies he hasn’t had many opportunities to really act, but in this movie his talents are revealed at last. Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) is as perfectly deranged as ever. Helena Bonham Carter is good at playing psycho ladies. Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) is brilliant, and always has been. Despite limited time on screen, she captures Luna’s attitude perfectly. None of the new casting choices for this movie disappointed me, I’m happy to report. Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown) gave a solid performance, not amazing, but she did very well. Jim Broadbent (Slughorn), is also very excellent, and both of the young actors portraying young Voldie at the ages of eleven and sixteen (Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Frank Dillane, respectively) did commendably well. And Dave Legeno (Greyback) looked the part of a creepy, cannibalistic werewolf. I missed Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and Ralph Fiennes (adult Voldy, and a very scary adult Voldy, at that) in this movie, but we’ll get to see them in the next movie, hopefully. Poor Neville (Matthew Lewis) didn’t get nearly enough screen time in this movie, but he’ll get his share of the limelight in DH Part 2.

I’m beginning to think that maybe this movie should have been PG-13, even though Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix shouldn’t have been. This movie has Inferi (for those of you deprived people who have never read Harry Potter, zombies), cannibalistic werewolves (ok, he doesn’t eat anyone in the movie, but in the book it was implied), and lots of fake blood that’s supposed to look like it’s pouring out of Draco. Probably not so good for kiddies. I wouldn’t recommend taking young children to this movie.

I’m starting to feel optimistic. After the epic failure known as the Goblet of Fire movie, I had lost all my faith in Hollywood, but as long as Warner Bros. doesn’t draw out the wait for the first Deathly Hallows movie (and as long as they don’t screw it up), I will be content. I am not a very patient person, especially when it comes to Harry Potter movies. Twilight movies? I can bear to wait for those.


Recommended to: Everyone, but fans will enjoy it most of all. Non-fans might be a bit confused. It should have received a PG-13 rating.

Loveless Volumes 1-3




By: Yun Kouga
Reviewed by: gothiclolitamaiden, 15
Rating: It was alright...


“When 12-year-old Ritsuka discovers a message from his brother Seimei that he was murdered, Ritsuka joins forces with Soubi to find Seimei's killer and uncover the truth.”

This manga is my first true shonen-ai manga, and I really didn’t know what to expect. My initial impression of the first volume wasn’t very good, but the second volume improved slightly, so I think that I may end up liking my first shonen-ai manga after all, though there are a few things in Loveless that defy all logic (even though the words manga and logic don’t usually belong together in the same sentence) or are slightly creepy. For starters, I must state that Soubi and Ritsuka’s relationship is just plain disturbing, however you look at it. Ritsuka is a sixth grader, only twelve, and Soubi is twenty-something. It might have been a little less creepy if Ritsuka was at least in middle school, if not high school. I must also point out that few of the characters look or act their age. Yuiko looks like a high school age girl, but acts much younger, Ritsuka looks and acts a bit like a middle school age boy one moment, and like a small child the next. A lot of the character designs frustrate me immensely. In most manga I read I can tell boys and girls apart, but in Loveless it can be difficult or even impossible, especially with some of the younger characters. In general, manga character designs are sort of androgynous, but while reading Loveless I was utterly bamboozled.

Some of the characters annoy me for various reasons. Soubi is creepy, Ritsuka is an amnesiac emo kid, for starters. There is a little bit of character development going on by the third volume, but not enough for my taste. However, I really enjoyed reading the spell battle scenes. The concept is pretty fresh and original, and captivating as well.

I must admit that the art is very beautiful. Character designs, though they are frustratingly androgynous, are all pretty distinctive.
Though I cannot say that I despised this manga with all my heart, I also cannot say that I loved it with all my heart. There are positive and negative aspects to Loveless, but it will probably only appeal to shonen-ai/yaoi fans (and even the hardcore yaoi fans probably won’t like this one).


Recommended to: Female fans of shonen-ai/yaoi, hardcore fans may not like it. 14+ for some violence and of course for the fact that it is a shonen-ai manga.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tantalize

Tantalize

By: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Reviewed by: gothiclolitamaiden, 15
Rating: It was alright...


“Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?”

Hmmm…. Where have I heard this before? Oh! That’s right! There was this book, and there was a girl, who had a vampire and a werewolf who both wanted to date her….It was called “Midnight” or “Twilight” or something, I think. Don’t fret, I am not suffering from amnesia, I am merely being snarky, so forgive me. When I saw Lynna’s review of this novel, I immediately thought “Twilight Ripoff” and chuckled to myself. Therefore, though I usually agree with Lynna’s opinions, I resolved to decide for myself, and the verdict is: “Twilight Ripoff.” Despite my mean criticisms, it is not a complete and total ripoff, and the author is reasonably talented, but she would do a little better if she wasn’t blatantly copying Twilight. It would only be a complete and total ripoff if the girl was named Stella, and she lived in a town called Sporks, and she had two friends named Edward Pullen and Jacob Stack.

The main thing that bugged me about this book was that none of the characters had real personality, except for Bradley, who is the bad guy, which is kind of sad. Though Quincie has a spine, unlike Bella, she has almost no personality, like Bella.

The author, as I believe I already stated, is pretty talented. The writing is pretty descriptive, even though Quincie’s appearance is never adequately expressed, which left me guessing, and I hate when that happens. None of the other characters have enough personality, and therefore I will not discuss them.

It is evident that the author tried to craft a twisty plot, full of deception, seduction and double-crossing, but many of the plot twists are predictable. The book falls flat simply because it is a character-based story with poorly developed characters, that and the fact that it is a Twilight Ripoff.

Overall, Tantalize is a not-so-original addition to the vampire genre. There are moments where the author’s ingenuity is apparent, but these moments are few and far-between. It is not a complete failure, but it fails in the departments of originality and character building.


Recommended to: Vampire fans who aren't tired of Twilight ripoffs, teens 14+

The Basic Eight

The Basic Eight


By: Daniel Handler
Reviewed by: Yaz, 16
Rating: It was alright...


I first fell in love with the Series of Unfortunate Events books when I was a little kid... and so I decided to read this and I loved it. It is hard being smart in high school as illustrated in this novel: a high-school senior in a clique of smart kids gets into trouble, big trouble, and murder trouble.

It is definitely not for kids, but it is written amazingly and keeps you riveted until the last page. This was fun to read, but not exactly the most wonderful book you will read in your life. Nonetheless, this book will go down as one of the most gripping, intense and moving account of a misunderstood teenager in american society.


Recommended to: Older Teens

Miss Spitfire

Miss Spitfire


By: Sarah Miller
Reviewed by: JC, 12
Rating: Really liked it


This enchanting book is an interesting side to the story of Helen Keller. Fictional, yet based on true events, Miss Spitfire is about the real miracle: Anne Sullivan, and her quest to teach deaf, blind, and mute Helen Keller.

Not neccessarily liked by everyone in the Keller family, Anne struggles to control her pupil in this heartwarming story brings a whole new light to the amazing event that was brought forth mainly by Anne Sullivan.


Recommended to: any child or young adult who appriciates a good narrative on events that truly did occur

Cool Runnings

Cool Runnings


Directed By: Jon Turteltaub
Reviewed by: JC, 12
Rating: Really liked it


If your looking for a comical, emotional movie based on true events, Cool Runnings is the perfect movie for you!

This heartwarming story follows four young Jamaicans as they form a bobsledding team and compete in the Olympics. They are not welcomed by everyone, and neither is their coach: an American bobsledder who was once a two time gold medalist, but had to give up his title because of an incident in the past. Cool Runnings is a movie for the whole family that will touch your heart.


Recommended to: anyone who is a fan of bobsledding, a good laugh, and a good story.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Talia Talk

Talia Talk


By: Christine Hurley Deriso
Reviewed by: Tracy L., 13
Rating: Really liked it


This book is about a girl named Talia. Her mom has a talk show where she has multiple times embarassed Talia, and then Talia has to go to school and listen to all the people talking.

But here comes the opportunity to get back. Her school is having an Oddcast, and she gets her own commentary. The first time, she embarasses her mom and talks about her being a lousy volunteer.

Her mom meets a guy named Jake, and she breaks up with him, but Jake is still thinking about her. Talia and her best friend Bridget set them up again and at the end of the story, they end up getting married.

This story was very interesting to read, because it was really fun and had a great plot and storyline.


Recommended to: teens

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Breaking Up is Hard to Do


By: Niki Burnham, Terri Clark, Ellen Hopkins, Lynda Sandoval
Reviewed by: Tracy L., 13
Rating: Really liked it


This book included 4 very touching stories about couples breaking up, and the hard times they went through. Some of the people got used for "experiments" and some were "attention junkies".

This book taught me about the bad side of relationships, the breaking up part.

I would recommend this book to anyone that went through one of those tough breakups and wants to know that other people have gone through the same thing, and understood your feelings.


Recommended to: teens

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale


By: Cyn Balog
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: Really liked it


Fairy Tale was a very unique book about, well, fairy tales. It focuses on a girl named Morgan, who's psychic, and her boyfriend, Cam, whom Morgan finds out later is a fairy switched at birth. They are very much in love, but Cam gets a visit from his cousin Pip, who tells Cam that he needs to go back and take over the throne of fairies.

This book was pretty witty and all, but the voice of Morgan narrating the book made me want to choke sometimes. She's the kind of girl you want to slap to stop talking (haha). In the beginning, you wouldn't believe how near-narcissist she sounds. The kind of girl who acts like she doesn't care about others but herself and her beautiful, popular, and perfect boyfriend Cam. With her psychic abilities and her atheletic hot boyfriend, you'd think she was on a mission to rule the world. Throughout the book, I learned to adapt and stick the the gist of the story, which was good and original - and very unpredictable (to me at least).

This is surely a fairy tale for the teens.


Recommended to: Teens

Breakout

Breakout

By: Miley Cyrus
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: Didn't like it


Ok, I was never a huge Miley Cyrus fan in the first place, but when someone gave me this CD (don't ask why), I was hoping she would get better. But the sun did not rise from the west, day turned to night, night turned to morning, and Miley Cyrus is still short of any "quality" talent (acting/singing).

I still opine that she is the most overrated and irksome celebrity these days, and though she hasn't fallen to the nadir in genuine talent as say, Paris Hilton, she's close. I've heard of crazy stories of parents fighting for a ticket to her concert and that makes me, and many other real music junkies, feel honestly putrid.

I do not 'hate' this album because some of the songs/lyrics are pretty catchy, but her singing just doesn't fit in the spectrum of my music taste. Since the beginning, her voice has never striked me as 'great', as many little girls these day describe her. I honestly think she only got the break through Hannah Montana, which depicts the dream [double] star-strucked life of any little/tween girl - and even that show was annoying to me. Demi Lovato or Selena Gomez would be my pick if I had to choose from Disney, but never Miley.

I'm sorry, Miley/Hannah fans, but I cannot listen (or see) this so-called singer anymore. I'm only letting a bit slip because some of the lyrics are nice. She, in my opinion, is not born to sing. Her voice just doesn't cut it, or she'll need A LOT more work. A LOT.


Recommended to: nooooooone

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring


Directed By: Peter Jackson
Reviewed by: JC, 12
Rating: It was amazing!


Follow Frodo Baggins and his friends in their quest to destroy the one ring that is taking control of middle earth. To do this, he must walk a path that will test his strength, faith, and heart.

This suspenseful movie will make you grip you seats as you wonder what will happen to your favorite character.


Recommended to: fashionistas, designers, anyone concerning fashion, and (older) teen drama story lovers

Poseur

Poseur


By: Rachel Maude
Reviewed by: Annabelle L., 15
Rating: Really liked it


"Poseur (noun)- po-suer- a person who pretends to be what he or she is not."

Wiston Prep school of the elite in Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles: the glam, the cool, the rich, the famous- then there's those on academic scholarships, like tenth grader Janie Farrish. Then, there's the French-fied coquette Charlotte Beverwil who is- in her mind, at least- the star of the show. Melissa Moon, daughter of the famous rapper, Seedy Moon, and who thinks the world of herself. Last, but not least,the aphrodisical beauty Petra Greene- "hippie." Wears and eats and touches nothing that hurts animals and the environment, though rumor has it that her father- famous plastic surgeon Dr. Greene- did a couple- or five or ten- surgeries on her....

What do these four totally different sixteen-year-olds have in common? They love fashion, but they hate each other. Now, they're stuck in their special class- and they'll have to make their own fashion label! Of course, they totally clash. With everything. From boys and brothers, little middle schoolers, parental drama, attitudes, and warring fueds between them, there's NO way they can get their fashion label up and running- can they?

Poseur is a humorous, light-hearted yet serious (well, as much as fashion could get), intriguing, suspenseful teen drama novel series you could want compared to other series like The Clique, The A-List, or Gossip Girl. Get ready for the fashion wars!

There was many different plots and mini-stories/dramas within the whole story itself. It developed the characters and secondary characters to give you a view of the whole big picture and connect with their problem in their point-of-view. I don't think you could get bored with the book. Not to mention, there are sketches of different designs, people, outlines, and some step-by-step instruction of different fashions! You get the visuals, you get the world, you get the writing- what else? Poseur's a good novel. :)


Recommended to: fashionistas, designers, anyone concerning fashion, and (older) teen drama story lovers

Uglies

Uglies


By: Scott Westerfeld
Reviewed by: Lynna, 17
Rating: Really liked it


I enjoyed this book because it was very interesting and the idea was original. Westerfeld brought up a topic many teens, especially girls, would be intrigued about: body and facial image. Although perfection of beauty is hard to understand, society today has taken up the image of the "perfect beauty" and plastered it all over media, most importantly in magazines. Teens, especially the younger generations who grew up with media, all seem to percieve beauty very similarily - whether we like to admit it or not. But in order to mature, we must learn to accept beauty in different forms and see everything through different colored lens. If people want to be happy, accepting their imperfections is a step closer to being a perfect person overall.

This book was very unique, setting itself from the rest. It is set in the future, in which perfection beauty has become mainstream in society. If you were an "ugly", you were treated worst than a "pretty". Everyone gets the chance to be a "pretty", though, when they turn the age of 16. Having to go through operations until the day they die, the pretties enjoy their life in society. Tally, an ugly, go through much hardships and adventures in this story. She has to decide whether or not being pretty is worth her original face, the one she was born with, the genes her parents have given her.

Beauty is distorted and taken into deep consideration in this story as the future seem to have progressed very drastically in technology.


Recommended to: all teenagers