Feb 27, 2012

Multimedia Monday: Another Cinderella Story and Zookeeper

A guy who danced with what could be the girl of his dreams at a costume ball only has one hint at her identity: the Zune she left behind as she rushed home in order to make her curfew. And with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in front of him, he sets out to find his masked beauty.
I used to dislike Selena Gomez for no particular reason but after watching this, not anymore! The dancing and music in this movie was awesome.

A group of zoo animals decide to break their code of silence in order to help their lovable zoo keeper find love -- without opting to leave his current job for something more illustrious.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I loved animals. I still do. So any movie about them just touches my heart. And just how cool are talking zoo animals?

(photos linked to sources; summaries from IMDb)

Feb 23, 2012

Book Review: The Forbidden Game - L.J. Smith

Title: The Forbidden Game (The Forbidden Game #1-3) - L.J. Smith
Release Date: The edition I have was first published June 8th 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 750 (paperback, omnibus)
When Jenny buys a game for her boyfriend, Tom, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the guy behind the counter. There is something mysteriously alluring about Julian's pale eyes and bleached-blond hair. And when he places the Game into her hands, she knows their connection is something deeper. 
But as Jenny and her six friends begin to play the Game at Tom's birthday celebration, a night of friends and fun quickly turns into a night of terror and obsessive love. Because the Game isn't just a game — it's the seven friends' new reality, where Julian reigns as the Prince of Shadows. 
One by one the friends must confront their phobias to win the Game. To lose the Game is to lose their lives. And that is only the beginning...
I bought this book because I needed something long to read for two weeks when I had to save up for The Hunger Games boxed set (yes, that series will be up for review next). I didn't expect much but I'm happy to say that this has officially become one of my favorites!

The Forbidden Game is actually a series of three books: The Hunter, The Chase, and The Kill. I think the summary above does its job pretty well so I will go straight to commenting on each book.

The Hunter
L.J. Smith did really well in setting the background for the story to unfold in and developed the characters in a way that won't have you questioning their decisions later in the story. It was fun to read about a group of friends who were so close despite their vastly varied personalities. And Smith described the Game so clearly that it was easy to visualize the scenes. The ending disappointed me, though, because it wasn't what I wanted, but it really paved the way for the second book.

The Chase
After the Game, Jenny had changed. She became braver and risky but unfortunately, she didn't want to accept these changes. I think, deep inside her, she really wanted to stay with Julian but because she had been with Tom for so long, he was also the only future she could think of. But Julian doesn't give up and starts a second Game which, in my opinion, is more exciting than the first because they played it in the real world where they had humanly things to consider like their families and other people who could also get hurt.

The Kill
Because of how The Chase ended, there was action in The Kill right off the bat. And because this was the last book, Smith answered all the questions she had the readers ask from the first two books. No ending has ever made me sadder than this one's, though. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer made me tear up when Bella and Edward entrusted Renesmee to Jacob (shut up, that scene was heartbreaking) but this one just made me cry full out.

There was quite a lot of poetry used in this series and at first that made me nervous because I've detested poems for quite a long time, but Smith put them to really good use and, in the end, I appreciated every single one of them.

The fact that this series is so underrated makes me terribly sad, what with less than 10,000 ratings and reviews in Goodreads. I definitely hope more people would get to read it because it's heaps better than most of the new YA books. The Kill was released in 1994, yes, almost twenty years ago, but Smith has said in a blog post that she's currently working on a sequel! I do hope it won't be as depressing as this but, as long as it's good, I'll be happy.

My favorite part: every time Julian was with Jenny. Yes, every single time. He's now on top of my "lit crushes" list.

Rating: 5/5
(photo from goodreads.com; I copied the summary from my own copy)

Feb 20, 2012

Multimedia Monday: She's All That and DOA: Dead or Alive

A high school jock makes a bet that he can turn an unattractive girl into the school's prom queen.
I first watched this long ago when my sister bought the VCD - yes, that long ago - and I remember getting so hooked I watched it a couple times more days after. The story's really cute, Rachael Leigh Cook's really cute, and Freddie Prinze Jr.'s really cute. And it got me listening to Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer for months. Seriously.

The movie adaptation of the best selling video game series Dead or Alive.
I love action movies wherein they use their bodies (hands, feet, etc.) to fight. I love it more if there's swords involved. And even better if it's girls who do the ass-kicking. So to mix all that? Genius. And I love the variety of characters in this movie. Actually, I love the kinds of the characters. Pro-wrestlers, master thieves, and ninjas. Need I say more? I didn't think so. Now excuse me while I re-watch Charlie's Angels.

(photos linked to sources; summaries from IMDb)

Feb 13, 2012

Multimedia Monday: The Amityville Horror

A family is terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a home that was the site of a grisly mass-murder.
My sister forced me and my other sister to watch this last Saturday night before I went to sleep alone, so I ended up covering my eyes for about a quarter of the movie. In the end, though, I realized it was just another horror film, quite similar to The Last Exorcism in terms of the ending and less scarier than the Paranormal Activity movies. I even managed to turn the lights off when I slept!

(photo linked to source; summary from IMDb)

Book Review: A Clash of Kings - George R. R. Martin

Title: A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire #2) - George R.R. Martin
Release Date: The edition I have was first published in 2011
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 1009 (mass market paperback)
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel...and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

A Clash of Kings picks up right where A Game of Thrones left off which means there's action right from the start. Robb Stark, whose original intention was only to avenge his father's death, gets proclaimed king  by the northerners. The Lannisters struggle to keep Joffrey on the Iron Throne. Stannis and Renly Baratheon, the late King Robert's brothers, gather their own armies and supporters to claim the throne for themselves, even if it means having to go against each other.

One of the most interesting things in the story was the war strategies, particularly the Lannisters'. I think it was especially hard for them because they had to keep their control over King's Landing and Casterly Rock while battling Robb who was marching from the north.

I love how all the characters (except Theon because he's still a vain idiot, and Rickon because he's still a whiny four-year-old) become stronger, wiser and braver. Tyrion goes about with his father's order to rule in his stead while keeping himself safe from his well-hidden foes. Arya tries to makes the right choices to keep herself alive when she's alone in the midst of her family's enemies. Even Sansa learns not to trust everyone, or anyone, because 'life is not a song'. But perhaps the one who has it the hardest is Lady Catelyn, what with the recent death of her husband, fearing for her children's lives, and facing the last hours of her father's life.

Unfortunately, there's a letdown in the ending. I don't know why but I found it somewhat dragging and because of that, I've decided to take a break from the events in Westeros and read more YA books. I'll start with A Storm of Swords as I watch season two of Game of Thrones in April.

My favorite part: Tyrion out-scheming Cersei. She just never learns.

Rating: 5/5
(photo and summary from goodreads.com)

Feb 6, 2012

Multimedia Monday: Game of Thrones Season 1 and The Darkest Hour

You know how libraries have multimedia sections?

‘Multimedia Mondays’ will be about a movie / TV show I’ve recently seen or the new music that I have on repeat in my iPod. I hope you’ll enjoy these posts!

Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros.
One word: BRILLIANT! This is one of the few TV/movie adaptations that did justice to the book. I can't wait for season two!

In Moscow, five young people lead the charge against an alien race who have attacked Earth via our power supply.
Though the premise for the aliens in this movie was quite unique, the characters were very predictable. If you want to feel irritated, this is the one for you.

(photos linked to sources; summaries from IMDb)