Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Charlotte's Nasty, Nasty Web...?

This week is Banned Books Week.

Yesterday, I was looking at a particular list of "banned" books, and I was surprised at the books that were on there. Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Lyddie, James and the Giant Peach, and much more. Scrolling through the whole list, I realized that I've read around half of the books on there! Most of those books, I never even considered as possibly "banned." But I guess everyone has different opinions on these things.

So, my challenge for all of you this week - read something banned, whether it be rereading the Harry Potter series or trying something new! A lot of the books on the "banned" list are truly gems and shouldn't be missed out on.

P.S. I find it interesting that Twilight isn't listed as a banned book.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Last night, I went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D with a couple of friends. The movie is basically about a boy (Flint Lockwood) who wants to be an inventor. He comes up with tons of different inventions, none of which are appreciated. When he finally invents a machine to convert water into food, he becomes super famous in his rainy, sardine-filled town of Swallow Falls. However, when the food falling from the sky starts getting more and more dangerous, Flint has to come up with some way to stop the food before world destruction occurs.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was one of the funniest and most entertaining movies I've seen in a while. All the characters were so cute, and there was a lot of witty humor in the movie to add to their personalities. The 3D was brilliant -- it really made the movie more enjoyable and added a depth to the movie that 2D could have never given. The animation was wonderful -- the food looked sooo delicious (make sure you buy something to eat if you go watch this) and the sight of radioactive clouds over the ocean during sunset was absolutely breath-taking. I know I sound weird, but the 3D and animation combined in this movie made it surprisingly realistic. I felt like I was actually in Swallow Falls the whole time.

There were a few underlying messages in the movie, but unlike other movies, they're not blatantly stated. What I loved about them was the way that just simple words were used to convey the importance of love, imagination, and reaching for your dreams.

Overall, an awesome movie that I would definitely go see over and over again. It's now my new favorite, and must-see if you haven't seen it yet!

(If you're interested, you can view the trailer here. Also, check out this super-cute virtual food fight game on the movie website. It makes more sense once you've watched the movie, but it's still fun to play nonetheless. Thanks to Shelf Elf for all these links!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Maya!

thank you so much for being so hilarious every day,
listening to my silly school stories all the time (and adding your own stories in),
patiently bearing with my frequent bookish rants,
keeping me updated about everything on Twitter and in the internet world,
bringing me snacks and milk and water when I'm too lazy to do it myself,
coming up with random games for us to play to pass the time,
and just for being an awesome sister.
Happy birthday.
12 is that lovely age when you can
slouch down in restaurants and pretend to be
11 so you can get the child entrees,
get first-hand experiences of all the
drama and fun in middle school,
travel everywhere and actually understand
what you're seeing for once :-)
and much much more--
I hope you enjoy every single second of it.

(Please go over to Maya's blog and wish her a very happy birthday!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Lightning Thief trailer 2!

The second Percy Jackson trailer is out! This one is even cooler than the first one. It looks so epic and I was basically hyperventilating as I watched it. Enjoy! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009


my reflection in this mirror is like the Gassan 121*,
sparkling as the sun pours into the room

and I watch drops of water roll down the glass like racehorses
kicking up the sand

until they pool at the bottom like a glassy ocean
the color of the sky on a cloudy morning
melting into the hard gray steel.

(for the first time I can see the
dust twirling in the sunset behind the trees.)

I am surrounded by bright pink flowers,
all swaying to their own music.

*I saw this diamond (shown in the image at the top) at the Gassan headquarters in Amsterdam, Holland.

(Poetry Friday roundup here.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stealing Death Booklaunch Recap

Last Saturday, my mom, my sister, and I went to Janet Lee Carey's book release party for her new book, Stealing Death. The party was so much fun! (Pictures are up here.) We got a chance to talk to lots of awesome people, including the incredibly friendly readergirlz divas Justina Chen Headley and Holly Cupala.

Currently I'm reading Stealing Death (and it's amazing so far -- you can expect a review soon!). For now, I'll leave you with this happymaking picture:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

More Fanfiction

Due to popular demand, I am posting up more of my Harry Potter fanfic from third grade. (You can read the first part here.) The writing is in Georgia and my comments are in Verdana.

Hogwarts awoke to find a bright morning full of sunshine. The Great Hall was full of chatting as it was normally, and it started to fill up as students and staff arrived for breakfast. Students quickly filled up and waited for dismissal. Then the daily announcements came.

“Remember, school parties are today. Dress up nicely,” Dumbledore announced. Snape sighed. “What is it, Severus?”

“Oh, I just don’t like dressing up. It makes me nervous,” Snape said quickly. Professor McGonagall peered at him through her heavily rimmed spectacles.

“You better get used to it, Severus. There are going to be a lot of parties this year,” Minerva McGonagall advised.

The students, however, were excited about wearing their dress clothes that had been collecting dust, sitting in their suitcases, ready to be worn.

Professor Sprout clapped her pudgy little hands. “Is there a problem, Professor Sprout?” Minerva asked.

“Oh, no, no, nothing like that. It’s just that.........” she hesitated. “Yes?” prompted Albus. “Well, it’s just that...... I don’t have anything to wear and I have no knowledge about parties!”

The Great Hall burst into laughter. Professor Sprout turned red and seemed embarrassed. “Don’t worry,” said Professor Vector kindly. “I have some dresses and accessories that you can borrow and keep! I can also teach you about parties.”

Professor Sprout turned normal. She faced Professor Vector and said, “Why, thank you. I will treasure this piece of warmth that you have given me.”

Professor Sinistra smiled mischievously. She rubbed her hands and prepared for her daring trick. On the count of three, she jumped up, ran up to the microphone, and took over. “Now, kids, let’s do the mamba!” she shouted into the mike, wiggling her body.

The professors looked surprised. Albus Dumbledore looked ready to have a fit of giggles.

All the students burst into peals of laughter. “C’mon, let’s do it!” Sinistra screamed, now waving her hands, tapping her feet and going wild. Everyone stood up and started shaking their hips, flipping around, twisting, you name it.

A little later...

It was time for the dressing time to begin. Now, let’s take some time to see what the staff was wearing. Professor Sprout was wearing a green half sleeved dress with glitter all over it. She had an emerald necklace and emerald earrings. Her hair was in an elegant bun tied by a green velvet bow. On her feet were high heeled green slippers with gold glitter. Her hair had lots of glitter too.

Snape was wearing a maroon dress robe with pictures of potions all over it. His black hair was combed in a curl, and he was wearing soft brown oxfords.

Minerva had a red sleeveless tank top matched with a red and white plaid skirt. Her hair was let down and braided, with red ribbons going through the braids. Her legs were covered by dark stockings, and she was wearing black dress shoes.

Sinistra had a white lace dress with red, gold, silver, and green trimmings. She had long black pants and a long, flowing red robe. Her hair was in a braided bun tied with a yellow and orange striped ribbon. She certainly looked colorful.

Professor Vector had on a baby blue full sleeved shirt, neatly ironed with no wrinkled. Over it was a yellow thin vest, and over that was a pale pink robe with shining suns all over it. She had on yellow dress pants. Her hair was but into lots of tiny little braids dyed pink, blue, and yellow. Her feet were covered by bunny slippers. She had all the baby colors- blue, yellow, and pink on.

Professor Flitwick was wearing a white shirt and black pants. His feet were covered by black dress polished shoes. He was wearing black robes with rainbows and bunnies and frogs and shooting stars.

Hagrid was wearing a black suit with polished shoes. His hair was slicked back by axle grease and he was wearing a tie with hippogriffs on it.

There was no Defense against the Dark Arts this year, so there was no teacher for it.

Albus Dumbledore was wearing a red shirt, black pants, and navy blue with yellow moons all over it.

The children looked magnificent in their dress robes and clothes.

The party began. “Let’s start!” squeaked tiny Professor Flitwick.

“Yes!” screamed the students.

“We can’t wait,” added Pansy Parkington in a mocking voice.

“Yes, we can’t wait,” repeated Draco Malfoy sarcastically. “This party is no good.”

“What did you just say?” asked the headmaster, his wand aloft, face furious.

“I said, this party is no good.” Malfoy turned away and went to the group of people gathered around a hopping toad.

“Wait!” called Dumbledore. No one heard. “Wait.” No one. Suddenly, he got a brainstorm. He whispered his plan to Flitwick, who nodded and hurried off in search of something.

When he came back, he was holding some Filibuster Fireworks. Albus Dumbledore went close to the group and carefully let some fireworks near Malfoy.

He screamed and whirled around. “Petrific Totalus!” he screamed.

Dumbledore dodged it and shouted, “Crucio!”

Malfoy screamed again. He managed to get up and said, “Dumbledore, if you do this one more time, I’ll tell my father. He can tell Cornelius Fudge.”

Dumbledore regarded him coolly. “If you tell Lucius,” he started, his blue eyes gazing at Malfoy, “I can tell them that you started it. I have the whole scene on tape.” He held up a tape recorder.

“What-!” Malfoy tried to grab the tape, but Dumbledore held it out of his reach, his blue eyes twinkling behind his half-moon gold spectacles.

“Albus! What are you doing! Let out the food!” hollered Minerva. He flicked his wand and food appeared. “Good,” said Minerva, satisfied and contented. The students sat down to enjoy the food.

A random part...

Snape fainted. It was because he went up to talk with Professor Sinistra, but the steps had a spell on it that made people who walked on it faint. Everyone in Hogwarts knew this except for Snape and the Slytherins. Since Snape fainted, the Slytherins, only, had to get child labor by having to carry heavy tons of buckets of water to dump over Snape to revive him.

And at the end of the chapter...

After the party was over, everyone went to bed. Today, Minerva was to check the Gryffindors and see if they were sleeping. They weren’t.

“10 points from Gryffindor! Lights were out an hour ago. Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves? I will come and see soon if you are asleep.” Minerva turned and went out.

Meanwhile, the Gryffindors had a plan. “When Professor McGonagall comes, let’s hide behind the beds. She will have to do the summoning spell and then we will come zooming at her and knock her over,” Ginny suggested.

“Good idea,” everyone agreed in unison. They hid behind their beds.

When Minerva came in, she said, “Oh, my dear. Where are the students? Accio!” Students came zooming from their beds everywhere. They did knock her over, but they had to get immediately in bed because Dumbledore was coming in.

“What a day this has been,” he sighed when he saw the mess.

That was fun :) Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Behind Every Illusion

by Christina Harner

"All creatures born of human parents must be human and therefore must be ordinary."

Even timid eighteen-year-old Tatiana Lewis wholeheartedly accepts this logic. So when she begins to experience unusual changes, she has no clue where to turn and instead keeps her new abilities a secret. But her best friend and brother, Isaac, sees past her illusions and together they explore the significance of her differences and search out the meaning behind them.

Amidst tragedy, unimaginable transformations and an unexpected friendship, Tatiana has to learn to reveal the girl hidden behind her illusions and what it means to face the world in order to preserve not only the forest but her very existence.

(snatched from book website)

I don't want to give anything away, but Behind Every Illusion is a unique take on a traditional story line. It's a clever mix of fantasy and realistic fiction (with maybe a little sci-fi thrown in). In my opinion, all of the characters were pretty relatable, despite the fact that I share hardly any similarities with them. I really liked the plot progression in the story; it didn't move along too slowly, but instead moved at a pace that really helped make the story more realistic. There are some shockers in this book too, which just made everything more suspenseful.

The only thing that bugged me was that sometimes, there was a little more "tell" than "show" in the writing. I thought some sentences were a little too blunt and could have maybe been phrased a little better.

Other than that, a lovely debut (with a pretty cover) from a promising author! I'm looking forward to more books in this series.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bookish Meme

Using only books you have read this year (2009), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Describe yourself: The Girl Who Could Fly (Victoria Forester)

How do you feel: Lock and Key (Sarah Dessen)

Describe where you currently live: Behind Every Illusion (Christina Harner)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? House of Dance (Beth Kephart), North of Beautiful (Justina Chen Headley)

Your favorite form of transportation: Spells and Sleeping Bags (Sarah Mlynoski)

Your best friend is: Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)

You and your friends are: Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks (Lauren Myracle)

What's the weather like: That Summer (Sarah Dessen)

You fear: Nothing But Ghosts (Beth Kephart)

What is the best advice you have to give: Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover (Ally Carter)

Thought for the day: Inherit the Wind (Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee)

How I'd like to die: The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) NOT!, Eyes Like Stars (Lisa Mantchev)

My soul's present condition: As You Like It (William Shakespeare)

This was so much fun! If you do it, please link in the comments!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins has done it again. After reading The Hunger Games, I didn't expect the sequel to have the same kind of suspense and violence. But it did.

Catching Fire is a completely brilliant book. It's definitely more low-key than The Hunger Games, but still unique and terrific in its own way. I felt that the whole book seemed to lead up to the ending and the third book, so it didn't entirely satisfy my need for drama, but it was still a worthwhile read. It incorporated more sci-fi aspects while keeping the story fresh and realistic, which was something I really enjoyed. Don't judge the book by the beginning -- it starts out slow, but gets MUCH better as it goes on.

Can't wait for the third one!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


I am now the very gleeful and excited owner of Catching Fire. Eeek! I can't wait to start reading!

**On a side note, I will be gone for school camp Wednesday-Friday, so you won't be seeing me around then. Have a good week!