Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men working together with other Mutants to prevent nuclear Armageddon.

*****

What’s not to love in this movie? šŸ™‚

I enjoyed discovering the lives of the mutants before they claimed their X-men status.

I’ve been pining for James McAvoy for some time now (from Narnia to Wanted to Atonement) but he is one good actor to look out for.

But between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, i prefer Erik’s side. He is very convincing on his role as the future Magneto! Not to mentionedĀ Erik’s character is as strong as Charles’. Yes, i will definitely join his army over Professor X. *evil grin*

This is an action-packed movie from start to finish. i loved it! MUTANT. and PROUD.

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

Book Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Rating: StarStarStar

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Literary Award: Printz Award (2006)

*****

My feelings while reading Looking for Alaska: anticipation. boredom. exhiliration. denial. disappointment.

I liked the story, but you won’t catch me reading this again. My GR friend Monique told me this is a normal story, meaning there are no supernatural or paranormal peeps here (she knows i usually read UF or PNR). I said that’s ok. after all, i did like Rachel Cohn’s and David Levithan’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Jennifer Echols’ Forget You. But Looking for Alaska just depressed me. I didn’t connect emotionally with the characters.

I was expecting a deeper meaning on the ‘Great Perhaps’ of Miles, but i just didn’t get it. Or maybe, i was expecting too much?

Miles is a pretty likeable guy, nerd but good-looking (although i did not read any reference on how he looks, Alaska says he’s good-looking). I honestly forgot his real name because all through out the book, he was called Pudge. I found his gullibility to vices (smoke and booze) relatable, because he wanted toĀ  be accepted by his peers in his new boarding school. I also found his attraction to Alaska very real – nerds tend to obsess over unattainable girls, right?

Alaska – sometimes i hate her, sometime i pity her. but did i like her? i’m not sure. She’s too complicated.

I love the barn scene (Best day/Worst day game) and the prank scenes, especially the last one. šŸ™‚

I don’t think John Green is my cup of tea, but i will try to read Paper Towns. in a few months or so.

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

Challenge: Dystopia Challenge 2011

Considering my humongous TBR list, a bunch of it are dystopia reads. I am definitely falling in love with this genre. That’s why a lot of my must-reads now are either dystopian or post-apocalyptic.

So, with 11 books already covered, i think i can do the 50-book dystopia challenge (DRONE level). Yeah!

Drop by Bookish Ardour’s Reading Challenges site to know more about this Dystopia challenge that I am talking about.

Now, it only goes to show that i rave about some of my fave dystopia, right? That way, you’ll see why i am immersing myself in gore, horror, and hopelessness that are the trademarks of a great dystopian story.

My top 3 dystopia reads for 2011 are:

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

For the complete list of dystopian books i’ve read and reviewed, click here.

As for the Must-Reads on my TBR pile, here are my top picks:

Feed by Mira Grant

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Z for Zachariah by Robert O’Brien

Ā 

Who’s ready for some hard-thumping action, eh?

DYSTOPIA ROCKS!

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

It’s Monday! What are you reading? [5]

Itā€™s Monday!Ā  What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this weekā€¦. and anything in between!Ā  DĀ  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as wellā€¦ you never know where that next ā€œmust readā€ book will come from!Ā 

Ā Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

RECENTLYĀ READ

The Wrong Path – suprisingly good!

Enclave – love it!

Eon – great story.Ā 

Ā Ā NOW

ThisĀ is the fourth book inĀ the Queen’s Thief Series. Sophos is the narrator this time and i’m enjoying it. šŸ™‚Ā 

Ā NEXT

It’s time to read a fantasyĀ adventure again! I’ll try Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.

LATER

Can the third book in the Fallen series renew my interest in Luce and Daniel? I hope so.

Whew! So what are your reading this week? šŸ˜‰

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

Follow Friday [2]

To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host {Parajunkee.com} and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. LINKY TOOLS IS BACK!I paid for the subscription – finally so now you can add the links to your own post!!! To add the code to your own post click on GET THE CODE here under the list of names.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
  7. If you’re new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!Ā ~ excerpt from parajunkee.com

*****

Featured Blogger is Mickey!

Q. In light of the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer…let’s talk about fairies. What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?


My favorite is The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa. šŸ™‚ Need I say more? Let’s go, TEAM ASH!

 

I kinda lika The Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr, but I’m not Team Seth so the ending was moot for me. Ha! But it is one of the good fey series out there, just not my favorite.

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

In My Mailbox [4]

Hosted by The Story Siren

Every week I’d share the books I received that week… ones I’d bought, or gotten at the library, and ones that I’d receive to review on the blog. That way I could mention titles that might not otherwise get some face-time on The Story Siren.

In My Mailbox is a great way for bloggers to socialize and network their blogs, itā€™s also a great way for bloggers to share upcoming releases! – excerpt from The Story Siren website

Ā 

I got a MAJOR haul this week! Why? Because the books i ordered from Amazon and The Book Depository came in! So prepare yourself, this is one massive In My Mailbox!

HB/PB Grabs

From Local Bookstores:

Kiss the Girls, James Patterson

Natural Born Charmer, Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Ransom, Julie Garwood

The Halo Effect, M.J. Rose

A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Brother Odd and Odd Hours, Dean Koontz

The Third Secret, Steve Berry

Killjoy, Julie Garwood (not captured in pic, boo!)

From The Book Depository:

I’ve read The Iron Fey series (and loved it!)Ā  but i just gotta have the real books with me! And the covers are so very pretty!

I keep on jumping and yelling when i got this package. My husband looked at me like i was crazy. šŸ™‚

Don’t they looked fabulous in my shelf? šŸ˜‰ Ooh, i can’t wait to get my hands on The Iron Knight! You bet that will be my favorite book cover among the series. Team Ash!

From Amazon:

Girl in the Arena, Lise Haines

Ashes, Ashes, Jo Treggiari

Blood Red Road, Moira Young

NetGalley Grabs

Another Dystopia grab from NetGalley!

It could happen tomorrow…

A cataclysmic event. An army of “The Changed.”
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it’s a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human…

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom—a young army veteran—and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.

ā€œGripped me from the beginning to endā€”-dark, creepy and suspenseful. I loved itā€ – James Dashner

ā€œA haunting and epic story of survival in a shattered world. ASHES is a must read.ā€ – Michael Grant

Ebook Grabs

Realistic Teen Romance

Oh yeah, i’ve been reading a lot of Contemporary genre lately. and they don’t disappoint!

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

Have you read some of them? Which do you recommend i read first? šŸ™‚

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

Book Review: Eon by Alison Goodman

Rating: StarStarStarStar

(Eon #1)

She has a powerful secret . . . with deadly consequences.

For years, Eon’s life has been focused on magical study and sword-work, with one goal: that he be chosen as a Dragoneye, an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.
But Eon has a dangerous secret: he is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; the penalty is death.
When Eona’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a struggle for the Imperial throne. Eona must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic . . . and her life.

***** ***** *****

This is a great story, but Eon (or Eona) being the heroine and the center of it all is just too painful for me. In short, i don’t like her. If i was the dragon, i would find her unworthy of my powers. Despite my misgivings on the main character, the book is commendable for fantasy readers out there.

Eon is susceptible to emotional blackmail and manipulation. I agree that she is just a teenage girl living in a society where women do not hold power in any way, but her years in training should’ve given her nerves of steel, but it didn’t. She isn’t as strong and likeable as i thought she would be. I wanted to slap and strangle her most of the time i was reading her story.

The strongest character for me would be Ryko, followed by Lady Dela. I’ve underestimated their role due to their social ranking, but when i get past that, i was in awe of their courage and devotion to fight for what is right.

The storyline was built around palace intrigue and dragon lore.Ā Unfortunately, it wasĀ focused more on the former rather than the latter which made half of my reading Eon boring and dragging. I was so looking forward to lots of DRAGON MAGIC! But there was only a few. I was elated during the choosing ceremony (ascending dragon will pick his worthy apprentice). Then I was dulled by the palace scenes. It only picked up during Eon’s trial with the King Monsoon. And i was pysched that FINALLY, the author was in a roll. There is no time to put the book down after that.

The twist was a shocking realization for me. The scenes before arriving to that climax finally made sense to me, and it was thrilling! So simple yet clever on the author’s part.

Only after closing the book did i say that i enjoyed Eon’s story. I hope there’s more of Prince Kygo in book two, though. Then i want to smack Dillon full in the face.

Eon inclined more on palace politics than the dragon fantasy it implied on the book cover and blurb. But i would still recommend it for the unique plot.

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

Book Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Rating: StarStarStarStar

 

In Deuceā€™s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ā€˜bratā€™ has trained into one of three groupsā€“Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clearā€”to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. Sheā€™s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothingā€™s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuceā€™s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesnā€™t like following orders. At first she thinks heā€™s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders donā€™t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; sheā€™s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuceā€™s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategyā€¦ but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world sheā€™s ever known.

Ā (RazorlandĀ #1)

My body was a machine, plain and simple. I worked it to stay strong; I feed it to keep it running.

NON-STOP ACTION!

This is surely a must-read for dystopian lovers like me.

I am so, soĀ bloodthirsty for more. First page reeled me in – hook, line and sinker. This is why i love Dystopian novels, they entices you, enthralls you, grips you,Ā and makes you stay wide awake to say, ‘i am so darn glad i’m not living in that world!’Ā 

People in the world before seemed obsessed with objects that existed simply to look pretty. I couldn’t imagine such a thing.

Deuce is a very confident girl/huntress, too confident at times during her stay at the Enclave. I was irked of this overconfidence because it might get her killed, but Fade said something (before coming to Topside, i think) that explained this, and so I understood Deuce.

She is strong, determined, and resilient. I love her efficiency with knives (just like Elena from The Guild Hunter series) but i love her more when she relishes violence. In a world such as theirs, only the strong survives. She’s one tough heroine, but their Topside journey showed that even a skilled and trained Huntress like her breaks down in weakness.

I have your back. I didn’t mean only when it’s easy. ALL the time.

Fade is just as strong as she is. He is such a dangerous and lethal opponent because he fights for real, for life. The author could’ve capitalized on Fade’s already daunting demeanor, especially when they are on the TopsideĀ – that would’ve made me gush for Fade more. Nevertheless, I want more of him! more more more!

Stalker is one of those guys who i intend to hate but end up getting confused (do i like him or not?). I don’t trust him, that’s all. and he did gave those additional marks to Fade (Stalker, you b*stard.) But if there is a love triangle brewing here, i’m all for Team Fade! I think he is much stronger and formidable than Stalker, and that makes him perfect for Deuce.

I never belonged anywhere until I met you.

The romance between Fade and Deuce is a cliffhanger on its own. They should’ve hooked up before the book was done! Alas, there are only few heart-thumping moments between them. and when i say few, i meant two: FIRST KISS and SECOND KISS scenes. it was quick but sweet just the same.

The post-apocalyptic scenario made up for the so-called romance. FREAKS are certainly nightmarish (did you see the freaky hand on the cover? yikes!) as they are, but to think that they can think and strategize for hunting meat? Part-mutant/part-zombies. Crap, they give me the creeps.

I enjoyed the Naming ritual in the Enclave.

Definitely i will read Enclave again! and i will wait impatiently for book two. Who wouldn’t?!! The ending came as quickly as the rotting smell of the Freaks!

There were different kinds of strength. I knew that now. It didn’t always come from a knife or a willingness to fight. Sometimes it came from endurance, where the well ran deep and quiet. Sometimes it came from compassion and forgiveness.

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

Book Review: The Wrong Path by Vivian Marie Aubin Du Paris

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Annabelle’s life was finally going according to plan. She had the right group of friends. Her childhood crush had finally started to notice her. She was pretty, popular, and in love.

And then one terrible night at a party Will enters her life and everything changes.

Will is the polar opposite of his older brother Trevorā€”Annabelleā€™s new boyfriendā€”the popular, straight-A, quarterback high school star. He’s wild, charismatic, and full of secrets. He’s completely different from anyone Annabelle has ever known, and soon their accidental run-in becomes a pattern as Annabelle finds herself seeking him out wherever she goes. Despite his open hostility with his older brother, Annabelle is drawn to him, wanting to be with him. Will opens a new world for Annabelle, one where she can shed her carefully constructed mask and be herself.

But being with Will comes at a price. And when tragedy strikes, she has to make a choice between the two brothers.

And the wrong one means losing everything forever.

(An ebook copy was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.)

SWEET.

A good book (and author) found me! and i must say, i was really happy i was found. šŸ™‚

This is a surprising read. I normally don’t read Contemporary Teen Romance on a whim, mainly because almost always, the storylines are basically the same. But after reading Forget You, I am starting to look forward to reading this genre. and The Wrong Path reinforced that feeling!

Annabelle is with the “in” crowd but not without consequences. She thought all the stuff important to her friends is unimportant to her, so she pretends to be like them.Ā She can’t riskĀ rising to object or she might find herself thrown outĀ of the circle. This is a typical setting, i admit, but reading further in the book brought depth and further musings on the story.

Annabelle is somewhat annoying for the fact that she keeps on putting a front so she’ll be accepted by the popular circle she’s in. But i guess, this happens in real life so i won’t hold it out against her. and she’s so lucky havingĀ parents like hers. And can she really be that dense not to know that she’s falling for Will?Ā HerĀ character is not notable butĀ IĀ liked her at the party when she was… Ha! No spoilers, please.Ā šŸ™‚

Will – i’m in love with him! šŸ™‚ he’s one of the most solidĀ and strongest characters i’ve ever read. bad boy appeal, indifference, once-in-a-blue-moon gentleness. His bluntness and acceptance for things as they are really did me in. When he confronted Belle on what they really are to each other, i was on his side (applauding him). That’s the kind of guy i want!!! Crap, the author sold me the story with Will alone!Ā And what i wouldn’t do to do all thoseĀ crazy rendezvousĀ he did withĀ Belle. *sigh*

The conflict the author represents definitely is a striking one. How will Annabelle choose? Yikes, i don’t wanna be in her place during that time.

The ending was simple, but i liked it. Although i wished the author took the time to have Annabelle tell off her “fake” friends just to solidify her decision to be herself and not be controlled by them.

IĀ also wished the book could have a more enticing title that would’ve invite readers to try it. The title didn’t even embodied the essence of Annabelle’s story, because she took not the WRONG path, but the pathĀ LESS taken by girls in high school like her.

Overall, i loved The Wrong Path. A light and heart-melting read. I can’t forget you, Will. That’s why i will read you again.Ā 

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€

It’s Monday! What are you reading? [4]

Itā€™s Monday!Ā  What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this weekā€¦. and anything in between!Ā  DĀ  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as wellā€¦ you never know where that next ā€œmust readā€ book will come from!

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā Ā 

Ā 

RECENTLYĀ READ

Abandon by Meg Cabot:Ā Be warned, this is not a good read.

Forget You by Jennifer Echols: Now this one, i would definitely recommend. This book’s HOT!Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā READING NOW

Ā A lot of peeps have been telling me this is oneĀ fantastic adventure. I hope i’m in for a thrilling ride!Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

NEXT

Ā After reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, i did not read dystopia for a while. It’s that good! Eeriely so.Ā Ā I want to read Enclave because the blurb reminded me of Divergent. šŸ™‚

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

Ā 

LATER

I have an ebook but i can’t help to buy from Amazon! and now i’m just waiting for my good friend to arrive from the US so i can get my hands on this! Some say this is better than Perfect Chemistry. Could it be?!!

Whew! So what are your reading this week? šŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.: maria :.

ā€œgiving up is the ultimate tragedy.ā€