Monday, June 28, 2010

Toy Story 3

Movie Info
Toy Story 3
Pixar/Disney

Summary
Andy is now 17 and ready to head off to college, leaving Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the rest of the toy-box gang to ponder their uncertain futures. When the toys are accidentally donated to the Sunnyside Daycare center they're initially overjoyed to once again be played with, but their enthusiasm quickly gives way to horror as they discover the true nature of the establishment under the rule of the deceptively welcoming "Lotso" Bear. Now, all of the toys must band together in one final, crazy scheme to escape their confines and return home to Andy.
(from imdb.com)

My Thoughts
Pixar is still king of great movies with the third Toy Story movie! It is going to be really hard not to give anything away while I sing its praises but I will try. Although it is still a kids film it does get dark at certain moments and some children will never willingly part from their favorite toys. The movie is well acted and the digital quality has improved from the last movie. I also really liked the addition of the spunky Barbie character, voiced by Jodi Benson (The Little Mermaid) and the clothes horse Ken. It seems a shame to say anymore because I might give something away! Just go out and see it as fast as you can!

Friday, June 25, 2010

If I Stay


Book Info
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Narrated by Kirsten Potter

Summary

In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterward, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.


My Thoughts

What can I say about the audio-book of If I Stay? This book was very difficult to listen to and there were many times that I had to turn it off so I could actually drive and not just start bawling on the side of the road. That is how powerful its words are and how much it affected me on an emotional level. In fact I listened to it over a month ago but it took me this long to be able to write about my experience.

Kirsten Potter did a great job narrating the voice of Mia and all the other characters. She captured the emotional intensity of the characters and the raw grief that Mia felt through out the story. I felt that I really got to know Mia, her family, friends, and others through the various flashbacks. This is good and bad because you come to love her family and their dynamics but you also grieve along with her when you find out that they are gone.

I think from now on that I will stay away from audio-books that deal with such tough issues because I am so drawn into their lives and how the characters react. I have enough trouble drawing myself out of books that audio-books make it that much harder to disengage. But I highly recommend this book because it does make you think about life, happiness, and love. Just don't read or listen to it when you are already emotionally stressed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Twilight: Graphic Novel

Book Info


Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1


Art and Adaption by Young Kim


from the book by Stephanie Meyer






Summary


When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret...




My Thoughts


The Twilight Graphic Novel follows the book very well and does not branch off in a new direction. I would recommend it to anyone who is a collector of the series and it’s memorabilia because it does not really add to the overall series except in it’s beautiful drawings.

The graphic novel is illustrated by a Korean author and is in the manhwa style of drawing. This means it quite beautiful with even more exaggerated features than seen in Japanese manga. The style is not for everyone and I know I cannot read too many in a row without looking at the world and thinking it is not pretty enough. I would recommend Goong by So Hee Park for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of manhwa.








Monday, June 21, 2010

Shiver

Book Info


YA

Summary


For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human... until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.


My Thoughts
Thank you Amy for suggesting this book! It is one of those great Young Adult books that i would suggest to those who do not general read young adult. It is a beautiful love story about trying to face insurmountable odds to be with the one you love.

The story is told from two points of view but is seamless in its undertaking. Grace and Sam have such natural voices and you can really feel the pain that each go through. Grace is left alone and unable to connect with her artist mother and workaholic father. Sam is unable to live his life out and may be stuck in wolf form for the rest of his existence. They each have their own distinct way of dialoging and you can always tell who is narrating without having to look at the chapter heading. I also felt for the minor characters and how they were being pulled into the lives of our main characters, friend and foe.

I did have a problem going into the book- all I could think is, "Why not just move from the cold weather states and come live in Texas? Trust me you would never change here." But when they finally addressed it in the book there was a plausible explanation. I just wished that Stiefvater told us sooner because it stopped me from totally immersing myself in the world and characters. None the less, I still enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any one who enjoys a paranormal romance.





(This trailer was created by Maggie with hundreds of paper cut-outs and multiple photographic frames per second. Music composed & performed by Maggie Stiefvater & Kate Hummel.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days

Series Info
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days by Fumino Hayashi

Summary
Imagine a Neon Genesis Evangelion where choosing the right girl is more important than saving the world! That's the gist of Angelic Days - the hit manga that Eva fans have been waiting for! Based on a popular PC and Playstation 2 game released only in Japan, Angelic Days takes the angst-ridden Eva pilots and sets them in a lighter, brighter world. (Book Cover)


My Thoughts

After watching the controversial anime several years ago I picked up this companion manga that is based after a single episode of the anime. This episode revolved around a what if all the characters grew up together and went to a normal high school. Shinji and Asuka are best friends who always go to school together but one day Shinji runs into Rei who is a new transfer student. Life becomes more complicated for our characters when the Angels start showing up and the children are called up to fight in the Evangelion. Shinji is less whiney and damaged than in the manga because he has a close circle of friends who have his back. Asuka is just as bossy as ever but her sensitive side shows because she really does care about Shinji. Rei is the character that most changes as she is not as unemotional, in fact she becomes fast friends with Asuka and the other girls.

I would recommend this series to anyone who was disappointed in the anime’s ending and would like a more closed ending. I also liked the back story with Shinji's parents and how they met and fell in love.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Night School volume 1

Book Info

Nightschool, Volume 1: The Weirn Books by Svetlana Chmakova

YA Graphic Novel


Summary

Schools may lock up for the night, but class is in session for an entirely different set of students. In the Nightschool, vampires, werewolves, and weirns (a particular breed of witches) learn the fundamentals of everything from calculus to spell casting. Alex is a young weirn whose education has always been handled through homeschooling, but circumstances seem to be drawing her closer to the Nightschool. Will Alex manage to weather the dark forces gathering?


My Thoughts

This graphic novel is very much a manga at heart. The author, who is Russian-Canadian, uses many of the artistic trademarks of a typical manga but this is not a deterrent. I would have to say that this first volume goes a bit slow and it feels as though you are thrust into the action without much back story but I have a feeling much will be revealed as the story continues. The plot is based around Sarah and Alex, two sisters, and the Night School where vampires, werewolves, and weirns learn to control their powers. However, there is a gang of Hunters who hunt down any students who misuse their powers to harm humans. When Sarah, the Night’s Schools Kepper, goes missing Alex enrolls to search for her missing sister. I will be continuing this series with hopes that it will give out more information about the mysterious weirns and why Sarah was kidnapped.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Movie: Letters to Juliet

Letters to Juliet


Summary

Letters To Juliet is an enchanting love story— a tale of encountering new sparks and rekindling old flames. When Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a young American, travels to Verona, Italy — the romantic city where Romeo first met Juliet — she meets a group of volunteers who respond to letters written to Juliet seeking romantic advice. Sophie finds and answers a letter that has been lost for 50 years, and is stunned when its author Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) arrives in Italy with her handsome but overprotective grandson (Christopher Egan) to find the fiance she left decades before. Fascinated by Claire's quest, Sophie joins them on an adventure through the beautiful hills of Tuscany searching for Claire's long lost Lorenzo. The journey will change their lives forever, as they discover it's never too late to find true love. (from itunes)



My Thoughts

When my Mom first suggested we go see Letters to Juliet, I went along reluctantly. I have been disappointed by the recent bout of romantic comedies that have come out in the past year but this one was different. There was no vulgarity or toilet humor involved! This is something that I look for in a movie because it is a sign of good writing. When a writer or director has to rely solely on the gross out factor to carry a movie it shows and the movie is just crude, not fun.

I shall get off my soap box now… Anyways, Letters to Juliet was a fun movie and although predictable the characters are likeable (which is different). I would recommend this movie to anyone who liked Mamma Mia, When in Rome, or other romantic comedies.

Meet Sully

Meet Sully! He is the newest edition to the family!
Sully is a 2 month old terrier mix that I adopted from the North Texas Humane Society last Friday. There are tons of other dogs that need your help.
HSNT’s mission is to act as an advocate on behalf of all animals and to ensure their legal, moral and ethical consideration and protection; to provide for the well-being of animals who are abandoned, injured, neglected, mistreated or otherwise in need; to promote an appreciation of animals; and to instill respect for all living things.
In accordance to our mission, we promote kindness, justice and mercy to every living creature entering our door.
Our shelter is dedicated to providing a place of protection for animals in need and none are turned away.



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Poison Eaters

Book Info

The Poison Eaters by Holly Black


YA Short Stories




Summary
This first short story collection from a favorite writer of dark YA fantasy features 10 previously published tales and two original stories. “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” tells the story of Matilda, who has been bitten by a vampire and knows that the only way to remain human is to stay “drunk. Stupid drunk. Whatever drunk she could get,” and avoid consuming blood for 88 days. The masterful “The Coat of Stars” concerns Rafael, a gay costume designer who, having lost the boy of his dreams to the faeries, discovers a way to regain him. And the brief but chilling “Going Ironside” concerns an elf girl who has come to our world to get pregnant (“We thought it would be easy.... Find a boy. Roll around in the grass. Dash back. What a prank!”), but has succumbed to heroin addiction. Black (the Good Neighbors series) proves equally adept at urban fantasy and more traditional fairy tales, and her stories often feature the edgy sexuality and angst that have become her trademarks. Ages 14–up. (from Publishers Weekly)



My Thoughts

Holly Black can write a short story! My favorites included:


The Night Market
When Tomasa’s sister falls ill after an encounter with a tree elf, she must try and convince him to lift the spell.


The Dog King
The King’s wolf might be more than what her seems in this mixture of horror and high fantasy.


In Vodka Veritas
Prom night will never be the same after the Latin club summons up an evil spell.


The Coat of Stars
This is a twist on the Tam Lin/East of the Sun, West of the Moon legend, where a gay costume designer must save his lover from the fairy queen.


Some sexual situations and mature settings make this a collection for older teens but over all a great collection of short stories.


Holly Black seems to be popping up in this blog pretty often now. I hope to get White Cat as soon as my library buys and catalogs it. I had a really hard time starting her books but after getting the feel of her style through her graphic novels and now the short stories I think I am ready to start on the novels.


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