Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn

Okay, I just finished A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn in about 4 hours straight. It's basically a modern re-telling of Sleeping Beauty and Alex Flinn is known for her liking of fairy tales. So here's my review.

Synopsis

Talia fell under a spell . . . . Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.

I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

So I knew the story sounds familiar when I read the back of the review. I followed along with the story and Alex Flinn really did put her thought with the twists and turns in the book. First of all, there's Princess Talia. She is a princess living in the sixteenth century in a kingdom called Euphrasia. Her whole life, she's been protected from a curse set upon her by an evil witch called Malvolia. It is set that on her 16th birthday, she would prick her finger on a spindle. So ever since she was a baby, she was taught about the spindle and it was actually the first word she had learned. When she pricked her finger, she would fall into a deep slumber and her whole kingdom too. They can only be awakened by a true love's kiss. Yeah, you know the story right?


Then one day the story jumps into the modern age, and we find Jack O'Neill. He's on his summer vacation in Europe. He gets totally bored one day of all the museums and other sites. He and his friend Travis decided to sneak out of the tour to have their own fun at a nearby beach. They ask help from a quirky salesperson and they find themselves in the woods of Belgium. They went through the bushes and the brambles, and they see a community with a large castle that looks like a historical tourist attraction. They noticed that all the people were asleep. Then while exploring, they make their way into the castle and Jack finds himself drawn to this sleeping, and beautiful girl which is, of course Talia. He kisses her and he awakens the whole kingdom.

Jack and Travis is then arrested because they have addressed the princess agressively. Then Talia finds herself attracted to Jack feels sorry for him. And yet she also felt the guilt because she pricked herself on the spindle and she's the whole reason her kingdom has been asleep for 300 years. She gets Jack out of the dungeon and they ran away. Now Jack took care of her while they planned to go back to his home in Florida. But during the journey they can't help but get on each other's nerves, bickering and all that. And what with Talia and her quirky and funny sixteenth century acts. He introduced her to his parents and sister, they didn't like Talia at first but then she won over them and they slowly become fond of her. Not only that, but Talia and Jack's relationship undoubtedly blossoms to something more.

But things aren't always so sweet. Malvolia is back and she really wants to cause some trouble. So, she kidnaps Talia. Jack has to save her and find happiness for both of them.

This book was very pleasant and again, I adored the little twists that are put in the story. It is told in dual perspectives between Jack and Talia. It was really enjoyable getting to know these two characters in the book. Alex Flinn was very astounding in blending the medieval and modern touches together and it wasn't any trouble for me. There is definitely a lot of humor in this book and it could be seen in the relationship of Jack and Talia in the book. The whole love-hate act and the fact that these two individuals are separated by centuries, which create some funny moments. The flow of the book went really well, although there were some bits and pieces where it kind of went on. The adventures and experiences that Jack and Talia went through helped them to understand not only each other, but themselves as individuals. A very pleasant and funny read.

xoxo,
Maya

Grade: B


Playlist

1. I See You- Mika
2. Wild Horses- The Sundays


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell

I just finished yet another book. Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell. This was another quick read for me, and very enjoyable indeed. I'm kind of taking a break from fantasy books right now and I was really refreshed by reading this book. Alright, here's the synopsis:

"I’ve got my entire life planned out for the next ten years — including my PhD and Pulitzer Prize,” claims 16-year-old overachiever Vassar Spore, daughter of overachiever parents, who in true overachiever fashion named her after an elite women’s college. Vassar expects her sophomore summer to include AP and AAP (Advanced Advanced Placement) classes. Surprise! Enter a world-traveling relative who sends her plans into a tailspin when she blackmails Vassar’s parents into forcing their only child to backpack with her through Southeast Asia. On a journey from Malaysia to Cambodia to the remote jungles of Laos, Vassar sweats, falls in love, hones her outdoor survival skills — and uncovers a family secret that turns her whole world upside-down.
Vassar Spore can plan on one thing: she’ll never be the same again.

Vassar Spore. 16 years old. 5.3 GPA. Named after a very prestigious women's college by her parents. She's got everything planned for her life, and I do mean everything. She vows to spend her summer improving her academics by attending a bunch of classes. But just when she's about to embark her classes, she receives a birthday package from her grandma in Southeast Asia. What's in the package? A plane ticket to Singapore and a birthday note from her Grandma Gerd. Grandma Gerd offers an "all-expense paid summer vacation backpacking through Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos". Hows' that for a change of plans? And of course her parents had an instinctive reaction by turning down the offer. How could she miss her AP English classes, or Advanced Advanced English classes and many others? Then Grandma Gerd phoned and her parents tried to keep Vassar away from hearing their conversation. Yet, Vassar managed to grasp some odd words from the conversation and it all somehow led to The Big Secret. Then her parents gave in to the offer and Vassar was convinced that Grandma Gerd had said something to them to make them give in.

Vassar's curious about this Big Secret and her brainy friends help her try to figure it out, but they just can't. And her parents were determined not to let Vassar find out the truth. So Vassar went on the trip complete with her 10 suitcases, and she's very well equipped let me tell you that. Both Grandma Gerd and Vassar went on a very adventurous trip. And Grandma being a very eccentric, free spirit, live-in-the moment kind of person and Vassar being...well, not. It definitely adds something to the book.

I love the adventure and humor in Carpe Diem. And I have gone to some of the places she went to in Cambodia and Malaysia. I like how Autumn Cornwell described the scenery of the countries in the book, and it was almost a deja-vu for me. From the crowded atmosphere of a local restaurant in Malaysia and to the feel of the heat at the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. I love traveling and reading this book made me want to go out into the world, and find the adventurous side of me. Nothing in her life has prepared Vassar for the things she experienced in the book. She met this Malaysian cowboy personality, Hanks. He really tested her nerves, although his delightful ways got to her as the story progresses. He's basically her guardian during her trip I really love Hanks in the story, even though he also annoyed me in the beginning of the book. The humor found in the story is so outstanding, I find myself laughing out loud at them. Vassar encounters some difficulties during the trip and she deals with them in such hilarious ways. She faces some extremely embarrassing situations, such as, the squat toilets.

The book was full of interesting places, humor but I think this book was really about how Vassar changes and grows as a person throughout the story. I love seeing her gradual change and she emerges as a better person when the book ended. This book had a great pace, it was delightful, it was sweet, it was funny and I couldn't put it down. A fantastic read!

xoxo,
Maya.

Grade: B-

LIM! (Live-in-the-moment)

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Outsiders by S.E Hinton

We've been reading a book in English class, and it's a heck of a good one. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton. I kind of underestimated this book at first, and boy, I was totally wrong for doing that. Here's the synopsis for ya,

According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser.

I would tell you little snippets of the plot here but you could probably guess by the synopsis above. When I first read the summary on the back of the book, I was thinking "okay, it's kind of like a thug novel". But when I finished reading it in class with my other classmates, I realized how wrong I was to have so quickly judged this book.

Now, after reading it, I can't stop thinking about the story, that was how deep The Outsiders had struck me. I could recall so many things from this book and I would love to read it again in my personal time. This is a book about friendship, love, understanding, gangs, violence. You name it. And all of that were experienced by these group of boys called 'Greasers', and this book's perspective is from the emotions and thoughts of one of the characters, Ponyboy Curtis. And yes, that is his real name.

To tell you the truth, I love some you know, flowery words in a book once in a while. But for The Outsiders, maybe it's not one of those books with a high standard in literature. S.E Hinton drives right on to the story, faithful to every paragraph, and right into the characters, with their characteristics and background. But frankly, I didn't mind at all. I was so immersed in the book, that I put that standard away in the dust. It just makes the book feel really precious and genuine. The characters in this book definitely were not dull at all, especially Ponyboy.

I was emotionally connected to these characters and I just love when that happens while I'm reading a book! She created wonderful characters, these boys who had things going on in their life that sometimes we would never thought of. They're fantastic and I really felt for them, well maybe for the exception of one boy in the gang, Steve. He didn't really stand out in the book for me. And Ponyboy, man, there were definitely moments in the book where I related to him. He's really some character. His thoughts and emotions really described just how he is, he's confused, he's scared, he's uneasy about the things that goes around him. Yet he's a brave boy, and a very kind one at that. His narrative was just so real, sincere and it just has these vulnerabilities and honesty which made the story so real. I could see some vulnerabilities within these characters and it kind of made me think, and also surprised that boys could feel those things. I hope what I just said made sense.

Again, the plot went really well and I really felt the excitement. I almost dropped some tears during specific moments in the book. The emotions also flowed very well through the different characters. It's very well-potrayed, and I even have a soft spot for one of the boys in the book, haha. It described so many social issues mentioned like gangs, violence, family conflicts and all that. For me, I think that this book has a message. That message to me is that, throughout the dark turmoils, there is hope for those who hasn't given up the fight. There is something worth living for in this world. I'm so glad that I got the chance to read this book and it's definitely one to cherish.

Stay gold.

xoxo,
Maya.

Grade: A+

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wings by Aprilynne Pike


I've been wanting to read this book for a while and I never really got around to buying it. And when I saw it on the bookstore, I immediately picked it up. Wings by Aprilynne Pike. I'm so excited to review this one for you!

Synopsis:

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.


This is another young adult debut novel that very lovely portrays the traditional faerie mythology that I have grown to love. Yet it has some awesome twists

I basically indulged myself and my time in this lovely little book, and I didn't regret any of it. So here's Laurel, a fifteen year old girl, who had just moved into a public school after being homeschooled for so many years. And, she's adopted. Well, not really adopted I guess.. But you'll see why in the book as it has a pretty big significance. She has always been different from other kids at her school, that has made her a little bit of an outsider. Like really different, she doesn't eat in a way like the rest of us do, and she wears tank-tops on a cold morning! How quirky is that. But she was never really fazed with the fact that she's different, until something changed her life, that one morning.

She woke up, walked herself to the mirror and found something that resembles as wings sprouting from her back, and they rose above her shoulders. You could guess what that means, and what those wings make her. She found them beautiful, too beautiful for words. That's where the story kicks off for the rest of the book. As she went through her days in school, trying to somehow adjust to her new 'wings', she made new friends. David, the cute and easy going boy in her science class. He understood her, and he went on to become her best friend, with maybe something more for them in the future. Then there's the alluring handsome boy, Tamani who was very much like her, and apparently knows too much about her, to her amazement. And she finds herself unknowingly drawn to him. But then, the sky's not always blue during the day, as a dark mystery lures around, it brings Laurel and David into a world that's not so wonderful at times. It threatens the safety of Laurel and her family too.

That was basically the spice in the book, the delicious love triangle. Yet the book still keeps the precious folklore and mythology in there. It just makes the book that much more special. I also love the adventure in the book. The plot flowed really well, although it was a bit slow in the beginning, but once the spice kicks off, you can't help but go along with the flow of the book. Before I know it, poof! I finished the book! I'm so excited for the next book to her series, and I'm just aching to find out what happens to these fantastic characters.

xoxo,

Maya.


Grade: B

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