Sunday, 28 April 2013

TV Review: Doctor Who-Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS


Title: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (Doctor Who)


After crashing into an android-run salvage ship, the Doctor and several of the android workers venture into the destroyed TARDIS to save a trapped Clara, running into the secrets of the TARDIS. Meanwhile, Clara explores the TARDIS while running from a deadly monster, the origin of which the Doctor will not reveal. 


Okay If I said the last episode was good, I'm lying. Because this just made me so incredibly happy. The suspense was incredible, and you can't stop watching once the Doctor has stepped back into the TARDIS. 

We finally see how the mystery of Clara is affecting the Doctor when he bursts with paranoia, and he finally cracks and unwittingly reveals his secret to Clara. Matt Smith's acting was brilliant in those parts, where you can really see what all this buildup has been leading to. We can see clearly his regret from the previous versions of her, and his regret from all the previous companions that he's had and lost. Truly impressive writing there. 

Clara's adventure through the TARDIS was intriguing--I mean, most fans of Doctor Who would be anxious to find out what lies in the mysterious depths of the TARDIS because we've never really explored the interior so thoroughly. All the tiny little nods to the previous episodes and companions seem to be prevalent in this new series of Doctor Who. We get to see memorabilia from previous adventures, like the Doctor's cot and Amy's toy TARDIS (I was practically crying by then). And Clara's quips at the TARDIS added extra fun. But when Clara reads the Doctor's name and tries to mention it to him, he immediately stops her, adding to the big mystery about the Doctor's name. Her curiosity mirrors what the viewer is feeling and the Doctor's deliberately elusive responses make you feel Clara. Moffat

Unlike the previous episodes, the resolution didn't feel rushed here. The climax came with a steady build and didn't rush into the action too quickly and the ending was sufficiently built up to leave you satisfied. And I never guessed the ending until, you know, the ending. So great work there. 

One thing I totally didn't get was the android brother storyline. I mean, I totally understand that they needed their supporting characters to have their own personal storyline, but I just didn't feel the weight of it. But, of course, the Doctor's storyline was what I was paying attention to. 

I loved the visuals in this episode. We've never seen the whole interior of the TARDIS, and I think they did I great job of making it look impressive. And the atmosphere of the TARDIS was a big part of the episode. 


Thursday, 25 April 2013

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Well I heard about this from a friend, and it got decent reviews, so I gave it a shot.

Title: Anna Dressed in Blood
Author: Kendare Blake


Cas Lowood has inherited a strange job: killing ghosts. Ever since his father was gruesomely murdered by an unknown monster, he's been moving from town to town with his eccentric witch mother and cat. When he receives a new job, he thinks that he could be ready to avenge his father. The ghost he's been called to kill is named Anna. Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas doesn't expect it to be any different from a regular job, but Anna proves to be more tangled up with curses than he anticipated. Ever since her brutal murder, Anna has killed every person to step in her house. But for some reason, she spares his life.


I have mixed feelings for this book. The book is mainly a horror story, and a decently written one. The story starts of quickly and quickly draws you into the suspense and horror of the mythology. The mythology stays true to classic ghosts but with enough twists to keep it from being too predictable. Anna is a truly terrifying ghost and her attack on Cas and his friends is thrilling and is exactly the kind of horror story I appreciate. (well for me at least. You might puke.) 

Our protagonist, Theseus Cassios Lowood is a typical Dean Winchester sort (actually creepily so). He knows how to charm his way into the popular crowd to get the information he needs, and acts like a normal teenager amazingly well. This was an extremely high point for me. It's rare that a character conducts himself with such ease while undercover (well except Dean Winchester. But that's the point). I loved it. His arrogance irked me a little--how he was always so forward in approaching the most popular girl in school and being completely sure that she liked him. Jerk. But he's a sensitive guy and that makes up for most of it. 

Anna was wonderful and her inner turmoil makes her realistic (aside from, you know, being a ghost). Her backstory is tragic and unexpected and her creep factor is incredible. Her murder scenes are intense and suspenseful. Her reactions to things are realistic--her dealing with the trauma of killing all those people over the years was realistic, unlike the usual sudden burst of depression and bhasghnfdjiogah (you know what I mean). 

And all is fine and dandy....until the last quarter of the book. 

*you shouldn't read this it's spoilery*

After they solved Anna's murdering people problem, the plot kind of went downhill. The horror element was gone. While the antagonist at the end was scary and brought a lot of action to the end, the suspense factor was gone. It took me a while to get through the last part. The whole point of Anna's character just seemed to vanish. It just completely turned into a different story

Also, the romance between Anna and Cas. While I love both of them as characters and think that their friendship is adorable and sweet and caring, I seriously had issues with their romance. I mean, she's a ghost (never mind that she hasn't had real contact with another human being for centuries), with black blood and stuff, and Cas is a ghost killer. While many people who've reviewed this book enjoy the romance they have, I just couldn't get over the Anna-is-a-ghost hurdle, no matter how human she seemed. 

So it was a great book, except for the last part, and I'll read the next book soon. 

Grade: A- Exciting and suspenseful. Recommend for horror and suspense fans

TV Review: Supernatural Season 8 Episode 20- Pac-Man Fever


Title: Pac-Man Fever


Sam, suffering from the effects of the rituals, is visibly weakening, but still protests to being coddled by Dean. The brothers get a call from their friend Charlie, who has a case for them in Kansas. Dean, worried about Sam, brings Charlie instead of Sam along for the investigation, but Charlie proves inadept at going undercover. Dean begins to train her to be a hunter. But in a confrontation with this monster, Charlie is forced to confront her past. 


Firstly, I love Charlie to bits. I mean, she's probably the most hilarious and relatable character in the entire series. She's nerdy, a gamer and a fangirl. But in her last appearance we know for certain that she's moved around a lot under false identities and that was never really explored in her second appearance. But this episode goes right to the heart of the problem. She finds a case for the brothers with a monster that thrives on fear, plunging her into a never-ending loop of one of her worst childhood nightmares--why she's always running. Felicia Day's acting here was touching and not over-the-top, and with complete honesty, the way most actors and actresses cannot achieve. 

Sam and Dean's personalities from the previous seasons are reemerging--not that they ever completely vanished. But as Sam starts suffering from insomnia, we see Dean's big brother side again (I missed that). 

A high point of this series is actually Dean and Charlie's bromance. Their banter is adorable and the close relationship they develop by the end of the episode makes Charlie one of my favorite recurring characters. MORE CHARLIE PLEASE. 

Also I cried at the end. Be warned.

Grade: A Amazing. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Book Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

After reading both books in like two days, my mind is more than a little muddled.

Title: Spark (Elementals #2)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer


Gabriel Merrick is an Elemental--he can control and speak to fire. But after his parent's accident, he can't control his powers, but he's always had his twin brother, Nick, to rely on. But after an argument, he finds himself alone, until an arsonist starts setting fires. Everyone points to Gabriel, and nobody believes him except a nerdy sophomore, Layne. 


Can I just talk about how eurgh Gabriel looks like on the cover? Eurgh

While this book had generally higher ratings than the first book, I didn't enjoy this as much. This is more of a personal opinion for me, because I don't particularly enjoy angst-festing. But I'll try to be objective. 

From the last book, the brother I was most intrigued with and more interested in was Gabriel. So it was a great choice on Brigid Kemmerer's part to make this book about him. We delve into his personality, and he's very relatable and real: he's snappy and talks without thinking, athletic and he carries more guilt than he should (I mean, perfect guy). His lack of control makes sense too, carrying it over from the previous book, because fire seems to be the wildest of the elements. I like how each of the brother's elements reflect their personalities. Michael, for example, is grounded and responsible and protective, like his element, Earth. Gabriel's lack of control with fire is very well written in this book, his behaviour reflecting his situation with his element.

We also get to see a lot more of his relationship with his twin brother, Nick. In Storm we see Becca's perspective on the brothers, and Chris' which aren't really that different. I mean, he's a little brother, so he would probably judge them both more on their appearances. I love how the twins' complement each other and the explanation of their relationship makes their argument all the more intense. 

Then we have our girl, Layne. She's conflicted too, and has a secret. She's a total nerd, and she gets to know Gabriel after she changes the answers on his math test to give him a higher score. They become tentative friends and Gabriel sticks up for her deaf brother, Simon. I did love their sharing and the bond they developed through mutual trust. But my problem was this: While I know the first book was more about Becca then Chris, while this book focuses more on Gabriel, I didn't think Layne was a particularly strong narrator during her POV moments. Her story, while cool and unique, didn't hit an emotional level with me. One of the large problems in her life was her relationship with her parents, but I didn't think that was given enough time to develop. But her brother's disability proved a major point in the book, both for character development with Gabriel and for her. 

Okay a major problem I had with this book was that the love story took the centre of this book. In the previous book, a lot fo the plot development involved the story of the Guides and the mythology of the Elemental and Becca's road to discovery. In this book, however, we are already familiar with the mythology and the "major" problem--the arsonist--is mostly ignored until right at the end. And the resolution, while leaving it open for the next book, just fell a bit flat. Also, I was expecting to hear a bit more about Becca in this book, seeing as she was a main character of the last book, but she was hardly mentioned and I find it hard to believe that she would just slip into a relationship with Chris so easily straight after the events of the first book. 

So overall, while this book was great for character development for Nick, Layne and Gabriel, many aspects of this book were just disappointing. The action was great as ever, though, and the writing style was appealing as ever. 

Grade: A- Great, with problems, but great.  

Book Review: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Whoa. I can say this book was not what I expected.

Title: Storm
Author: Brigid Kemmerer


Becca Chandler is getting all the boys. After her ex-boyfriend Drew started spreading rumors about her,  she's become a social outcast, targeted by guys in school. Until she saves Chris Merrick from being beaten up in a parking lot. But Chris is dangerous. And now Becca is too. But there's a new guy in town--the gorgeous Hunter, who instantly like Becca. But Hunter is hiding a secret too, and when the two boys meet, Becca wonders who is more dangerous. The storm is coming.


I'll admit. That synopsis is mostly from Goodreads. I had no idea how to describe this book. But the summary seems to give away what is pretty much the biggest secret of the book (by the way, the summary above is edited to remove that major bombshell. Go check Goodreads for the real one). Just note that I hadn't actually read the cover summary for the book before reading the actual book (I read it on my phone).

Becca is an interesting protagonist (not the best, but interesting nonetheless) because from the start, she has a secret. We take guesses throughout the book of what actually happened, because people at school tease her and spread rumours about her, but you don't find out what happens until the end. I think this plotline added reality to the fantastical world of the Merricks. Many teenagers can relate to the situation Becca is in. 

For once, I actually enjoyed this love triangle. We are introduced to both love interests almost from the beginning, and the reasons why they meet is actually legit (not, for example, he randomly out of a few quadrillion people, looks directly at her and there's chemistry. Come on.) and Becca spends enough time with both of them for them to develop unique personalities and to pique your interest in both of them. I mean, both of them are similar, but the way Becca views them portrays them in a very different light. Neither of them is shunted or ignored at any point. 

Which brings me to my next point. While the changing points of view got a bit confusing for me, the point of view carried little enough weight that it didn't matter. That should be a bad thing, but I guess one bad thing cancels out another bad thing in this case. 

The Merrick brothers are intriguing--None of them are developed very much, but you do get the sense that there's a lot more to them than Becca sees. While Chris' point of view does shed some light on the brothers' personal lives, you are left wanting to know more about these brothers (which, I might add, is a good thing, seeing as the sequel is about another brother). And while some things are just way too easy to guess (I mean, it's roll-eye worthy) the action keeps you from thinking about it. 

The idea was pretty cool and adding the lack of control really twisted the plot around and gave an entirely new layer to the plot. The brothers' internal conflicts make the situation more real. Their fights, which are completely relatable for people with brothers, are heightened by their abilities and made it dramatic while still staying grounded in a way.

So overall, this book was good. I had to spend time to mull over what I liked and disliked, though, because after reading the book my thoughts were in shambles. Just a warning. The story stays grounded throughout despite the element of fantasy (pun intended) and the action is heart-gripping. 

Grade: A Read it. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Book Review: Altered by Jennifer Rush

I have
on this book.

Title: Altered
Author: Jennifer Rush


Anna's father is a scientist who leads a branch of research: studying and monitoring four genetically altered boys in a lab underground. Anna befriends the boys, Nick, Cas, Trev...and Sam, who's stolen her heart. When the boys are to be removed from the lab, the boys escape with Anna. On the run, they are faced with a problem: None of the guys have memories of life before the lab. Now they must work to decipher a code that could lead them to safety and uncover the truth of their past. 


Honestly? I was kind of disappointed. 

I mean, the plot was wickedly original and packed with the second half. This might be because I was reading it on my phone, but for the first half of the book, I was just confused. The characters are barely introduced and it takes a while for you to figure out exactly what's going on. 

The mystery was intriguing, if more than a little predictable. I mean, a code with only V, X and I? How could you not guess? You do get frustrated with these characters. But the circumstances that these characters are under make it forgivable and their frustrating behavior usually has a meaning. That was one of my favorite things about this book--everything seemed to happen for a reason. I never got the feeling that a scene was completely irrelevant or was just dead weight. 

The romance was another iffy factor for me. *this is really a major spoiler you shouldn't read this if you haven't read the book* We discover that Sam was the boyfriend of Anna's older sister (they're roughly the same age now because Sam ages slower) but they just don't seem to have any issues with making out and falling in love with each other. I mean, that's probably one of the only parts that had me tearing my hair out. Wouldn't it just be at least a little awkward? *end spoiler*

What I did love about this book was the action. I know I say this a lot, but the fighting in this story felt real. I was just in the moment. After reading it, I felt like kicking some serious ass myself. So plus point there. The banter between Anna and Cas was hilarious too. 

[And I'm sorry. Sam? Cas? Anna? Is nobody seeing the Supernatural references here?]

Grade: B+ Pretty good. Give it a shot. 

Monday, 22 April 2013

Book Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams (Incarnation #1)

Title: The Alchemy of Forever (Incarnation Book 1)
Author: Avery Williams


Serephina has lived for centuries with her abusive boyfriend after he discovered the secret to detaching a soul from a body--by continually taking over another's body, they can live forever. But after an accident leaves the death-wishing Sera in the body of sixteen-year-old Kaliey, who has a few problems of her own. Serephina quickly finds herself falling in love with Noah, as close friend of Kaliey's. Serephina has to blend is in elude her boyfriend Cyrus, while dealing with her own problems. 


I can honestly say I loved this book. For the most part. I mean, on first impression, you get hit by the plot of the Host. A girl who gets transferred from body to body, living multiple lifetimes? But while the storyline of this book is similar to the plot of the Host, many of the supporting characters are vastly different. For example, Cyrus, Serephina's abusive, controlling boyfriend. He acts as the leader of their coven of immortals (or "Incarnates") and is fierce in his determination to keep the Incarnates together, to the point of ruthlessly murdering anyone who tries to leave the group. Serephina lived under his control for hundreds of years out of fear, but she finally wants out. That's how the story gets going. 

A major theme of this story is how time can change people. Just look at the Incarnates. Most of them (except for Sera) are ruthless 'killers', killing the humans to take their bodies (seriously this sounds like the Host) without any guilt. Worst of all is Cyrus. In the opening chapter, he is young and kind and filled with wonder, flirting with Serephina and trying to impress her with his alchemy. But when you see him in modern day, hundreds of years later, you could barely recognize him. He seems to have lost all his love for Serephina and keeps her around as a memory of his past. Another person who you can see major change in is Seraphina. She's young, naive and innocent in the beginning, crushing on Cyrus and having fun at a ball. But after hundreds of years, her internal commentary visibly changes, to a wearier tone. Without her saying it, you can tell how bored she is of life. 

But a large part of the problem I had with this book too was the characters. Many of them were undeveloped. Actually, all of them except Seraphina really were stagnant throughout the book. Some of them just seemed completely unnecessary. They might be developed more in future books, but the lack of involvement was just frustrating. We see little of her interaction with Kaliey's friends, and even her interaction with Noah seems shallow. Although from her internal commentary wer can understand what draws her to Noah, but it just wasn't developed. Cyrus isn't well explained either, even though you can see the changes in him. Overall the plot seemed a bit rushed--after all, it was a very short story. A lot more could be developed. I get the feeling from many characters that they're not telling us something. Even the minor characters who seemingly have no importance. I wonder if it's a lay up for the next book or just careless writing. Who knows? I'll give Avery Williams the benefit of the doubt here. 

Grade: B. Read it, but brace yourself for the next book.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Book Review: Life Before Legend by Marie Lu (Legend 0.5)

So this came out last year (and I didn't know gah) and of course I'm a huge fan of the Legend series so I finished this last night.

Title: Life Before Legend
Author: Marie Lu


Before Day and June became the centre of action in Legend, they were two extraordinary twelve-year-olds. Follow Day as he starts off his life of street crime in the Lake sector and June as she starts her first day at Drake University. 


Well this is one of those things you never knew you wanted. But this is perfect. I mean, we get to see Day's first kiss (which, I might add, was briefly mentioned in Prodigy, book 2) and the way he already shows rebelliousness and the way he goes out of his way to help people. Early version of Legend's Day! June is hilarious in this one, sassing the upperclassmen and the dean secretary (We saw her in Legend) But aside from that, we also get a peek into the pressure that June is under, being the prodigy of the Republic. And we finally know the exactly age gap between June and Metias (Metias. I cried. I want him back.) And June and Day's contrasting lives actually parallel each other slightly and this excites me so much. And Metias' advice to June just clues in to Legend and it's just incredibly exciting for a huge fan like me.

Grade: A++ *squeal*

Book Review: Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons


Title: Breaking Point
Author: Kristen Simmons

Synopsis (I took this from Goodreads because I seriously couldn't think of how to describe this):

After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?


The reviews for this book are incredibly good, and to be honest I really can't see why. 

Ember is a strong heroine, as always, and her voice conveys the desolation of the dystopian world she lives in. Kristen Simmon's talent for world building shines through the way most dystopian books don't. But in this book, none of the questions I asked from the last book came close to being answered. I just didn't get it. The circumstances that forced the structure of the society is vague at best: we don't understand what it is our characters are fighting against. The world just seems endlessly bleak--the resistance doesn't seem to know what they're fighting toward. I guess you could call that a realistic portrayal of life--keep going along with what happens, without really having a main goal. But may I remind you that this is a novel and Kristen Simmons is completely missing the point here. 

Another thing: The romance. God. Ember and Chase are simply the most frustrating couple to grace the fictional universe. I mean, they keep arguing, and their romance just seems a little forced to me. In the first book, their relationship was built up and it just seems to be falling away as the book continues. And their mutual hatred for Tucker seriously can't be good for either of them. I found it difficult to understand why they were so incredibly untrusting. I mean, I understand Chase's point of view, and also understand that Ember would probably want to side with Chase, but I can't believe that in the short time she knew Tucker, than she could develop such a deep-rooted hatred. Where's the forgiveness? Tucker really seems sincere. 

Also, back to the resistance. Ember doesn't have a driving point, the way most dystopian heroines want to. She doesn't want to change her society--she just wants to get around the authority. And I found this upsetting. I guess, she's a realistic portrayal of what a society like that would reduce a person to, but her sense of self-preservation (her and Chase, that is) is really selfish. And almost nothing gets done that way. *Spoiler* I guess in a way, her goal is to save Rebecca, but we don't feel her want to save Rebecca so much as are constantly reminded that she, somewhere in the back of her mind, is only staying to save Rebecca. (Read: ADHD in Percy Jackson. Yeah sort of like that.) She's losing my good favor. Really. 

One character I can really say I liked in this book was Tucker. *this is kind of spoilery* I mean, the guy tried. Ember and Chase's hatred toward him really upset me, because in those few moments when she sees him in an unbiased light, you can feel his sincerity. But this is quickly clouded over by Ember's hatred for him (see above) and it upsets me. But the unreliable narrator thing really rocks in that sense. Plus point there.

Wow. This is probably the longest angry review I've written. This book did not live up to my expectations and hopes after reading the previous book, say, two days ago. But I do admit, the action was wonderful as ever (if inconsistent)

Grade: B- If you didn't like the last book, don't try this one. 

Movie Review: The Pregnancy Project

So I know this came out last year, but I just watched it today. So bear with me.

Title: The Pregnancy Project
Based on a book written by Gaby Rodriguez (true story)


Gaby Rodriguez's mother got pregnant at 14, and her sister and brother also had children in her teens. So she counters it by being extra careful with her boyfriend, George. But when she notices the poor treatment fellow classmate, Tyra, gets for getting pregnant, she decides to make her senior project about stereotypes about pregnant girls. Her experiment included faking a pregnancy to see how people would treat her. 


This was a low-budget movie, but the acting was just incredible. Alexa Vega (you might know her as Carmen Cortez from Spy Kids) plays the seventeen-year-old Gaby, and she does a powerful job of conveying all the horror of the treatment a pregnant girl gets. This is based off a true story (I haven't read the book yet so I don't know how much of it is actually true) and is incredibly touching. I can't begin to describe the way I felt when watching this movie. The supporting cast was equally strong, and this movie really touches subjects that most people overlook. It makes you really think about the treatment of pregnant girls, their families and other topics you never really think about, that should be brought to mind after watching this movie. 

The climax of the movie was powerful and to be honest, I cried a lot. I really felt for Gaby, even though I've never been through anything close to that traumatic. The bravery that the real Gaby must have gone through is incredible. I am definitely reading this book soon. 

Grade: A Touching movie that everyone should watch. 

TV Review: Doctor Who, Season 7 Episode 9-Hide

Okay if you've seen my last review you know I didn't like it that much. BUT THIS EPISODE. IT MADE ME SO EXCITED.

Title: Hide
Writer: Neil Cross (The Rings of Akhaten)


The Doctor and Clara arrive in 1974 to investigate a house haunted by a ghost. Already investigating the house are ex-military professor Alec Palmer and empathetic psychic Emma Grayling, who attempt to reach out to the ghost woman who has been haunting the house for centuries. Upon arrival, the Doctor and Clara immediately  wreak havoc on the place, revealing the truth about the haunted house. It is up to Emma and the Doctor, working together, to save the woman. 


I really didn't like the last episode. I made that clear. But this episode just redeemed that. Neil Cross did an excellent job. The monologues he gives the Doctor are heart-wrenching and all the tiny nods to the previous series are just...I cried a lot. Let's leave it at that. 

Matt Smith's acting wasn't put to the test as much as it was in the ROA, but Clara's sudden awareness that she would one day just be 'temporary' to the Doctor gave him a lot of room to return to that place in the Doctor's head that was shut when Amy and Rory left. Clara's cute matchmaking between the professor and Emma was adorable and sweet and added a nice touch to the intriguing plot. 

It starts off scary, with flashes of the ghost screaming for help and then the Doctor comes in and makes it a whole lot scarier. The creeping around the house with the candlesticks was a bad idea for them, but it certainly added to the creepy atmosphere of the first half. Then the Doctor's heroic mission to save the screaming woman was just incredible. The forest reminded me of Purgatory from Supernatural. Yes, creepy. But all the nods to the previous series are what made it awesome. Like the spacesuit. Remember when the Doctor wore that orange space suit in Series 2? Yeah. He wore that spacesuit. 

And we get a sense of wrongness with Clara. She's beginning to notice that the TARDIS doesn't particularly like her. (Captain Jack Harkness, anyone?) And her sass-off with the TARDIS interphase was just hilarious. When she starts to question it, you can see the Doctor visibly hiding something. When he finally questions her existence by asking Emma, you get the feeling it's building toward something. 

But the last scene was just...weird. I can't say I disliked it, but it wasn't particularly what I had hoped for. So that's pretty much the only thing I disliked. But it was an adorable ending to an episode anyway. 

Okay. That's it. Now I have to wait a whole week. 

Grade: A+ Win. 

Book Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

I just.

Title: Angelfall
Author: Susan Ee


In a world where angels trap and kill adults and children, it feels like the Apocalypse for Penryn. She learns to scavenge for food and care for her disabled sister and psychotic mother. Until one day, a group of angels find her and take her sister away, leaving behind an injured angel with his wings torn off. She will do anything to save her sister, including striking a deal with this angel. He is Raffe (Rah-fie) and they rely on each other while travelling across the country to the aerie, the angels' stronghold, where her sister is kept.

There were sparkling reviews for this book. I can't say I disagree (like the way I did for Article 5). This is absolutely beautiful. Like in Article 5, a lot of the world-building seems glossed over. But in this one, they do explain the circumstances quite clearly, and we feel, together with Penryn, what her life is like. Her love for her sister, her fierce determination to protect people no matter what, it's sort of stereotypical for a protagonist, but Susan Ee just makes it so credible. The writing is so immediate that you get swept along with the plot and you just. Don't. Stop.

We have our hot, sexy angel (duh) named Raffe (as I said, Rah-fie. It'll all make sense later) who has some really amusing conversations with our smart-mouthed protagonist. You can see all the different layers of him. I just love him. And you have all the angels with different personalities and angel politics and I just couldn't stop reading.

I really can't say anything bad about this book. It felt so immediate, so real, despite it being about angels. Susan Ee is an incredible author. Now I'm just biting my cheek and boucing around until the next book.

Grade: A+++ Yes go read it now.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Book Review: Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

So I read some really good reviews about this book. And I was not disappointed.

Title: Article 5
Author: Kristen Simmons


Ember Miller has learned to keep her head down and hide from the soldiers--in her world, there are no fines, just arrests and trials. When her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5, because she was a single mother, Ember is sent to rehab. But the worst thing is, one of her mother's arresters is Chase Jennings, the boy she loves. 


Just read the synopsis. Read it. That synopsis serves the book no justice. At first I just didn't read it. But there were really really amazing reviews for this book so I decided to give it a try. 



I agree with what people said. This book was amazing. The action was brilliant and the characters were incredibly well developed. Like all the characters, even the minor ones, had their own motivations and feelings, and their own backstories and insecurities. It's the kind of thing you hope for in most books but you very rarely get--minor characters who actually seem human instead of being just two-dimensional and flat just because their character development isn't important to the plot. I mean, it's fine. But having all these wonderful layered characters to support the main characters was just brilliant. The action was non-stop too. The fight scenes were elaborate, with detailed descriptions that really bring you into the moment. The plot is constantly moving, enough to keep you reading but not too much that you start panting (not that it's a bad thing, but it can make you want to take a break.)

*this might be a bit spoilery*

Unlike most reviewers of this novel, I actually had some points that I didn't like about this book. Throughout the book, they reference the "war", which Ember apparently lived through. But what exactly happened to create such a sever society isn't explained and it was a bit frustrating. However you are able to guess at what really happened based on the rules of the society. A lot of the backstory isn't explained either, and it gets really frustrating at times. (*spoiler* for example Chase. What the hell happened with him? was he forced to join the soldiers or something?) But I hope we'll find out more in the next book. 

Grade: A- Good, but with a few things that should be cleared up in the next book.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Book Review: What Really Happened In Peru by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan


Title: What Really Happened in Peru (Bane Chronicles #1)
Authors: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan


Magnus Bane the warlock has had many adventures in Peru and travels there often with fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss. We follow Magnus through his many adventures, from failed relationships with mortals to summer flings. From all the hints in the previous series, something big went down in Peru to get Magnus banned. And now we get to find out why.


Does it really need saying? It was beautiful. Almost everything Cassandra Clare comes up with has a beauty. This one especially. Before, we never got to see Ragnor Fell. He was only mentioned in Clockwork Prince, and he was killed in City of Glass. Catarina Loss also dies before we really get to know her, but this short story changes that. We get a blast of glitter and fabulousness from Magnus, together with Ragnor's sarcasm and reactions to all the outrageous things Magnus does. Magnus' frequent returns to Peru each come with an adventure and with great age come more ideas for crazy antics to piss his friends off with. He mentions Tessa in passing, comparing his situation to hers and he has a few moments where he is struck by his immortality, that makes him so human while he is still so foreign to us. I marvel at the two authors' ability to develop Magnus' character so much in one short story. 

Grade: A++

Book Review: Legend and Prodigy by Marie Lu

I read this ages ago, but it's one of my favorite books so I just had to review it.

Title: Legend and Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu



15 year olds Day and June are complete opposites. Day is a street con, the most wanted criminal in the Republic. June is the Republic's golden girl, a prodigy trained for the military since the age of 10. They lead completely separate lives, until a tragic death brings them together, where they both start the question the dystopian society they live in.


Day and June are now on the run from the Republic, and Day's injuries are getting worse. The two prodigies join the Patriots, the largest group of rebels in the Republic. The Elector dies, and his son Anden takes control of the Republic. The Patriots send June in as a spy, but are Anden's motivations the same as his fathers?



I have no words. This book, when I read it last year, consumed my life. I just couldn't stop thinking about it.

The plot is well paced and the writing style is direct and brings the reader into the moment with the character. The alternating POVs also serves the plot better than I could have expected. Both the protagonists start off with very different points of view, and their change of heart, especially June's is intriguing to watch. The action is heart-poundingly brilliant, and the whole society that Marie Lu has constructed is wonderful. The romance between the two characters, I think, is believable and the strong love for family that both characters have shows us stunning parallels between the two character's lives and brings them to the conclusion.

The negative side is, with both characters being on the far ends of society, and both being super-duper prodigies, it's kind of hard to relate to them. While your heart will break with them and laugh with them, it's almost impossible to feel connected to them in the way you could connect to other characters from other books.

Grade: A+ Beautiful. Everyone should read it. 

Prodigy (This has like no negative reviews on GoodReads. Really): 

I had really high expectations for this book after the first one, and it did not disappoint.

The characters are developed further with this book, showing bits of their personality that come through  with far more clarity than in the first book. The plot is constantly moving, but with just enough slow moments to keep you from passing out from exhaustion. June and Day start seeing the reality of their relationship as it develops further and start to notice their differences. Day's old sidekick Tess joins up, and the conflict between Tess and June is evident from the start. June's mission is tension-filled and she gets to flaunt her abilities. The decisions she makes are more relatable than most book characters (yes) and you really feel that you would act that way in her situation. We also finally get to see the real reason for Metia's death and why Thomas killed him (no. NO.) We see the Republic from the eyes of the dictators and see the big picture and get to know Anden better. This book keeps you doubting your judgement together with June, and feeling the internal conflict from Day.

On to the bad stuff. (This may be spoilery.) While Day and June were definitely way better developed and relatable in this book, things keep happening to them. For example, Tess. She's a rather underdeveloped character, despite giving her a backstory and developing her personality a little. The ending impression you get of her is not pleasant and even slightly annoying. That's all.

Grade: A+ YES. READ. GO. NOW. 

P.S. It's been options for a movie and YES the producers of Twilight have been signed on. I didn't like Twilight the movie, but the producing was actually brilliant. Just the casting. And the screenwriting. But whatever that's just me.

Book Review: Variant by Robison Wells

Well. This book blew me away.

Title: Variant
Author: Robison Wells


Bensen Fisher is a social outcast who gets a scholarship to an exclusive school to get a break. But upon arriving at the school, he realizes that nothing is as it seems. There are no adults, no phones and no internet. Nobody gets out, and breaking the rules will sentence you to 'detention'--and no one has ever come out. Everyone is a teenager, and the schools runs on a point system--you earn points for doing work, like administration, cleaning or security, and you can use the points to buy stuff, like clothes and tools. The teens are split into three groups: The Society, full of rule-abiding control freaks, The Havocs, the aggressive bullies who follow the rules anyway, and the Variants, the rebels and outcasts--the ones who still have hope of getting out. Bensen immediately joins the Variants, but as he starts to dig deeper than anyone has before, he discovers deadly secrets about why they were all brought there. 

Review (slightly spoilery):

So I literally just finished this a few minutes ago. It was great. So the story picks up pretty quickly. I would say the book really started when he was being introduced to his schoolmates. He immediately gets into a fight and is forced to pick a side. I loved this Lord of the Flies thing again, where they have to build their own systems to get along, especially with someone watching them. I also really loved the cameras and the school. It had a very Big Brother vibe. The school is also really well described, the sterile environment and the students' behavior toward it. All the character's reactions are relatable--if pushed into an environment like that, I would probably conform the way majority of the students did. Bensen is a stunning hero, being totally average in every way and more of an outcast than most. For once, a character's average-ness is actually showed in the story, and his curiosity drives you to read on. As the plot progresses, the suspense grows and the other character's perfect personalities begin to crack. The action from all the paintball wars was exciting. It was perfect. Everything worked out exactly the way you expected it to, but also not. 

I don't have many negative things to say about this book, except that some of the minor characters were overlooked or had way too overwhelming personalities. Also, I find the whole setup about the school a bit fishy and underdeveloped and not much of an explanation is given. But I won't spoil anything there. 

Grade: A Loved it. It wasn't totally brilliant, but it was great. For fans of the Maze Runner series.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Book Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Okay so I don't usually go for murder mystery books, but this book left me lying in my bed in a fetal position at 1 am in the morning.

Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil

In a modern twist of And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, ten teenagers are lured to an isolated island. Stranded there with no way of contacting the outside world, they slowly get killed off one by one. It's up to Meg to find the killer before it's too late. 

Wow. Just. Wow. As I said earlier, this isn't my usual genre, but the suspense of the novel was brilliantly written. I read And Then There Were None last year, and to be honest I got very confused between the characters and the murders and the final resolution. But this book adds a very modern twist to the plot, with teen dramas and romance, and the motivation of the killer is definitely way stronger than in the original Agatha Christie book. Each character is also suitably developed to be able to differentiate between them and their personalities are all screamingly real. I mean, who hasn't met than one bitchy overachiever, or a selfish classmate?

Meg's personal drama also adds tension to the plot. Her friendship with Minnie and complications with hot boy TJ make it all the more exciting and make you want to find out what happens. It's undeniably real problems and the characters are all human. The action is also constant and keeps you revising your guess of the identity of the killer. When it all goes down Lord of the Flies style, you can really understand the characters. 

The only problems I had with the book was that it didn't begin so well. It immediately picks up without properly introducing the characters, and the reason that all the teens got together on that island is a bit shady. But most of that is soon cleared up later in the plot. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes action, suspense and mystery. The murders are described matter-of-factly, so it doesn't focus so much on the horror of it as the reactions of the characters in the situations. There are a few sexual references (though nothing actually happens) and swear words. This book also deals with real problems like suicide, depression and behavioural disorders. I would rate it at PG13.

Grade: A+   Definitely read it. This should be a movie.

Review: Cold War- Doctor Who

Boy do I have things to say about this episode. 

Cold War 


In this episode of Doctor Who, the Doctor and Clara arrive on a sinking submarine near the North Pole. Of course, they stop the sinking, but the vessel is stranded, with a legendary member of the Ice Warriors, who has been frozen for thousands of years. He unleashes his revenge on the crew members, but the Doctor manages to convince him to halt his attack before he is beamed up by other Ice Warriors. 


I loved this episode. Don't get me wrong. Clara was enchanting and the tiny little nods to previous episodes (for example, this sonic has a red setting this time, like when River Song showed the Tenth Doctor the red setting on her sonic screwdriver, and the Ice Warrior at all--I think the Second Doctor met the Ice Warriors) Matt Smith was brilliant too--His acting in this new season is just a-freaking-mazing. I also loved some of the supporting cast, like the scientist who sings a lot and provides wisdom, and the captain of the ship. 

But I had a few problems with this episode that I don't usually have with Doctor Who episodes. Firstly, the water. Having the water gushing everywhere was a bit overwhelming. While it was fun watching the Doctor sloshing around and trying to save the submarine, and the water providing some pretty good lines for the Doctor, the noise and the constant tossing about was just too much for me. I know a lot of people will love it for the action, trust me, I loved it too, but the running around while having water pouring down all over you, while trying to deliver lines, was just... meh.

Also we never really delve into the story of the Ice Warrior that much. We do get a glimpse of him at the end, and learn about his pain of losing his family and his desolation at the belief that his people have died out, we barely see him at all in the episode and it sort of shifted the focus of the episode off a bit. 

Grade: As I said, this episode was amazing, except for the problems with too much water. I would rate it a B+ (A+ being, for example, the last episode. That was brilliant.)

First review: Ruby Red and Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Okay, I won't do that many series reviews, but since this series is what I most recently read, I'll review it! :D

The third book, Emerald Green, is out this year in October!

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 

Ruby Red:

Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

Sapphire Blue:

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.


I found this book on a review site, so I already had a high expectation of the book. It was originally in German, so the translation is a little bare. 

But the plot, from the beginning, engaged me, with things constantly happening. From the time he book kicks off, the plot is always moving. It's not too much action, though. Gwen and Gideon are hilarious together and their romance is confusing in a good way. Just how it should be. And they don't fall in love too easily, too, so it's not like don't have any personal trials either. But Gwen as a character is pretty well developed, with quirks in her personality that make her completely real. The action is also well described--the swordfighting scenes are brilliant. All the little moments like dressing up also add to the fun of reading these books. The mystery keeps getting deeper and hints are always being dropped about what the real problems are, behind all the secretive cult traditions. 

On to the bad stuff. The plot, while engaging and fun, seems to touch only very lightly on topics that I think could be better explored. Gwyneth is also always a bit too believing. A lot of the time I found her reactions to certain events a bit ridiculous. I find it hard to believe that a girl raised in a family of time-travellers would seriously be so trusting when going back in time. Also she doesn't seem concerned about timelines and stuff--that isn't explained to either the readers or to Gwyneth. I could say a lot more, but I won't be spoilery. 

Grade: B+. It was great but I had some problems with it. 



I am FanGirlyEverything, also known as Isabelle or Izzy. :)

This is my first post here. Basically I'm going to review any book that I read, movie that I decide to watch, tv series, or web series. Basically anything! :)

I don't think I'll update book/movie news unless it's really major though. Mostly reviews! I may be joined by my dear friend who will remain unnamed.

With that, let the reviews begin!