Saturday, July 31, 2010


Happy birthday, Harry! According to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, you would have turned 30 today. :-)


Cate of Sparrow Review interviewed me as part of her "Under the Lamplight" feature, and the interview is up! Go check it out!


I will be gone until the 7th of August. See you then!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mockingjay Book Trailer!

Scholastic has just released the book trailer for Mockingjay and it looks really good! I can't wait!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tell Me a Secret Book Release Party Recap

On Saturday night, my mom and I headed to Trinity Nightclub in Seattle for Holly Cupala's Tell Me a Secret booklaunch party! The venue was great and the party was a lot of fun.

We chatted with Katherine Grace Bond for a while...

caught up with Janet Lee Carey (who was incredibly nice and also introduced us to some other people)...

and quickly snapped a few pictures with readergirlz divas Justina Chen Headley and Dia Calhoun as well:

Holly talked about her book, previewed the book trailer, read an excerpt, and also made a very exciting announcement:

I finally got a chance to talk to Holly and get my copy of the book signed:

Afterwards, I gorged on all the delicious desserts there while Janet and my mom commiserated about the woes of driving in Seattle. (Really, it's like a maze there... full of one-way streets and crowded intersections and questionable parking garages...)

Anyways, the party was a lot of fun!

Friday, July 23, 2010

CSN Products Review

A while ago, thanks to Jessica from the CSN Promo Team, I got the wonderful opportunity to review some products for the online CSN stores. With my $60 gift certificate, I got three things:

The Elite Products Single Round Bean Bag

This bean bag is really nice for sitting and relaxing in - it's surprisingly lightweight but also very durable and well made. It's also a good size - perfect for kids and teens. I'm not too sure about adults but my dad informed me that it was too small for him. So. Anyways, if you're looking to buy a bean bag, I would recommend checking out this product.

Second product: The Goodhope Bags Quilted Ladies Tote Bag

I bought the black one. I haven't used it yet, but it looks comfortable and useful. I was surprised by how big it was, though. Even though I noticed the listed dimensions of the bag before I bought it, the picture makes it look kind of like a big handbag. Well, it's not. It's a good size for traveling purposes, but probably not the right thing for a small outing.

I had a couple dollars left in the certificate, so I decided to spend them on a Uni-Ball Vision Exact Stick Roller Ball Pen.

(My handwriting was kind of messy because I was writing on top of a tower of rainbow paper. Sorry!)

The tip is very fine, which I like for school projects and maps where I have to do careful outlines in pen. The ink is good (and it's waterproof), and it writes really smoothly, so I'm happy with this.

Well, that's all! I had a great experience shopping at CSN Stores - they were really good about keeping me updated on all the shipping times and the statuses of the products - and everything shipped really quickly. I got free shipping on the bean bag too, which greatly lowered the costs. My mom also called customer service once to ask about the bean bag, and they were really informative. I suggest that you check out all the CSN sites if you get a chance!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coffeehouse Angel

by Suzanne Selfors

Katrina spends every morning and afternoon working at her grandmother's old-world Scandinavian coffehouse, and one morning, she spots a homeless guy in the alley behind the shop and offers him a cup of coffee. Turns out that the homeless guy is actual an angel who wants to reward Katrina's good deed by giving her one wish. What will she wish for? And as the book says, "What happens when you lie to an angel about what you most desire?"

Coffeehouse Angel was a really cute and sweet book. It had comedy, drama, coffee, giant rats, and more... what else could you want in a story? The main character, Katrina, could be a little annoying at times with her self-pitiying attitude, but overall she was an interesting narrator. If you're looking for a quick, fun read, then I would recommend this for sure!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Benjamin Zander on music and passion

Ok, sorry for posting another talk, but you all HAVE to watch this. It's inspiring and truly amazing, and Zander's musical interpretation is wonderful.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream

by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream was a delightful and quick read for me. I loved the comedy and all of the characters, and the dialogue was quirky and fun as well. I also felt that the writing in this play was really simple and easy to understand when compared to many of Shakespeare's other works, so I would recommend this to people who are just starting to read Shakespeare.

The only thing that bothered me was that it seemed too short. Everything happened really fast, but I was hoping for more development. The super-fast way in which everything played out would probably be hilarious on stage, but it was a bit annoying when actually reading it.

Other than that, this is a classic! Definitely a must-read.

A question for all of you: I'm hoping to read a few more Shakespeare plays this summer (preferably shorter ones)... what do you recommend? I'm going to read King Lear in class next year, so I'm not going to bother reading that now. For now, I was thinking maybe Macbeth or Hamlet? I've also heard that The Taming of the Shrew and The Merchant of Venice are pretty good - so help me!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Greece Pictures: Part 4

The next morning, we docked in Ephesus, Turkey! Famous rulers in history such as Caesar walked down the streets of Ephesus thousands of years ago, so it was amazing to see the ancient city! (By the way, one of the temples in Ephesus was one of the ancient seven wonders of the world.)

On our way to Ephesus, we got glimpses of modern Turkey:

(click all to enlarge)

And this is Ephesus:

The main street of Ephesus:

Some inscriptions:

Mosaics on the floor:

Intricate carvings on all of the columns and structures! (By the way, I had to do some retouching on this photo so you can see the carvings better.)

This is the ancient library of Celsus... absolutely stunning!

This is the Great Theatre of Ephesus. It was scary climbing up all those narrow, rickety steps, but it was even worse coming back down! The stairs don't really have any depth to them, so it's hard to get a strong foothold on them. We were nervously scooting down step by step... it probably took us at least five minutes or so to get down!

My teacher and her husband performed "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll on the stage at the bottom there. The acoustics were really nice. :-)

Tbe lands surrounding Ephesus:

Exiting Ephesus. Aren't these trees weird? I'm still wondering why the bottoms are white. We checked and they weren't painted or anything...

Because Turkey is famous for its rugs and carpets, we visited a carpet store where we got to see how their carpets are made. We watched a weaver at work and we also got to look at a variety of rugs and walk on top of them:

And we also went to the marketplace! We were told that Turkish shop owners are pretty pushy, and we were (kind of) taught how to bargain. I'm pretty bad at bargaining in general... I bought a handmade silk and pashmina scarf (red and gold AND reversible) for 20 euros, and I'm still not sure if I paid too much.

Either way, it was really fun and an eye-opening experience! We had a scary experience in a knockoff handbag store, where the owner kept taking us to more and more rooms and wouldn't let us leave. :-/ And everyone would keep yelling after us. One guy yelled, "Hey! Are you girls Indian?" We kept walking without saying anything, but later on, we all wished that we had yelled back, "No! We're Scandinavian!" :-D

Anyways, here's a shot of the marketplace:

In the afternoon, we docked at another small island (I think it was called Patmos). There wasn't really that much to do there, so we headed for the beach to swim in the Aegean Sea!

As you can tell by my expression, the water was really really cold. (And yes, I am wearing a swimsuit under there.) :-)

Back on the cruise, relaxing with ice cream:

Friday, July 09, 2010


(This poem was inspired by the wallpaper on my Google homepage.)

Treetops in fairyland emerge from
morning fog in the crevices of
unknown mountain ranges, green
with pines and not a gap
to be seen. A ray of sunshine
penetrates to the autumn forest
below like a lighthouse
illuminating the path from
distant deeps to washed-out
shores of light, though
there is nary a boat in sight.

(Poetry Friday roundup here.)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Books I've Been Reading

Perchance to Dream is the sequel to Lisa Mantchev's delightful debut novel, Eyes Like Stars. The writing is rich and quirky, the characters are just as wonderful as ever, and the story is captivating. Although I thought the ending was a little unsatisfactory, it was still an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to more!

Charlie Bone and the Red Knight concludes the bestselling Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo, which I've been reading for at least five or so years. The writing is definitely middle-grade, but the story is still fun and interesting, and I would recommend the series to anyone who loves fantasy. I thought this book was a great end to the series - it was a little too predictable and satisfying, but still interesting.

Once again, another sequel here. Princess of Glass is the follow-up to Jessica Day George's Princess of the Midnight Ball. I loved this book! It was fresh, funny, suspenseful, and just good, classic fantasy. I woudl have liked to see a bit more character development for one or two of the characters, but other than that, it was quite a lovely book.

I'd like to start this off by saying that I love the Percy Jackson series. And I don't think that anything else Rick Riordan writes is going to match up to it. That being said, The Red Pyramid was still an amazingly good book. It incorporated so much Egyptian mythology and was action-packed and exciting. I think the problem, though, was the characters. None of them were particularly interesting or endearing.

Anyways, I remember reading on Goodreads about someone who said something like, "It was a million times worse than Percy Jackson, but it was still really really good!" Yeah. That sums it up.

After reading When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, I understand why it won the Newbery Medal. Yes, it's a "good" book that all students should read, but it's also plain ingenious. I knew that everything in the story was finally building up to some big revelation, but I never would have guessed what that revelation would be. This book is simply a gem. It may not be the most interesting or enjoyable book ever, but I think it's something everyone should get a chance to read.