Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)

First Line: Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day.  It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness.

I’ve heard so much about this book that it’s ridiculous.  Everyone seems to be talking about it.  And since this is me, I had to see if it was worth the hype.

Karou is not your normal teenager.  She’s an art student studying in Prague and fills sketch pads upon sketch pads with pictures of monsters that may or may not be real.  Around the world, black handprints are appearing, marking doorways.  Along with them come the rumor of angels.  Karou is thrust into a world full of action and mystery.  Who is she?  Why are the angels here?  And what do they want with her?

I knew I was going to like Karou by the time I finished the second chapter.  She just had something distinctive about her.  I mean, just look at the first lines!  It’s not exactly snarky, but it’s close.  I just loved her perspective right away.

And then I got into the story.  It wasn’t bad, but it was way different than I was expecting.  It dipped into stuff that I normally don’t touch with a twelve foot pole, so I instantly started wondering if I was going to make it through the book.  Akiva saved it for me.  Once he came on the scene, I hung around.

Really, once you get used to the oddities, it’s not bad at all.  It’s very action packed and is always moving.  That made it really hard to put down sometimes.

It was chugging along really quickly until about the last quarter of the book.  Then, it was like hitting a brick wall.  The action just stopped.  The information given is extremely important to the story, but the telling part just kinda sucked in that I went from flying through pages to forcing myself to keep reading.  I wish that would have been more entertaining.

Overall, it was a good book.  It’s interesting and different.  I’m definitely keeping an eye on the sequel.

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She’s Out of My League

How can a 10 go for a 5?

**RATED R**RATED R**

I’d heard of this movie a long time ago when it came out (and by “long time ago”, I mean 2010).  Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and when my…um…”date?”…f0und out, he recommended watching this.  He really liked it (imagine that), and we watched it together this weekend.

Kirk has accepted the fact that his life pretty much means working in an airport and trying to get back together with his ex-girlfriend that none of his friends like.  It’s not like he’s going to get a hot girlfriend…until he does.  Molly is a definite 10 and for some reason Kirk doesn’t understand, she’s interested in him.  All Kirk wants to know is…why?

My date wasn’t wrong.  I did enjoy it.  It’s fairly raunchy, but it’s also just plain funny.  There were a crap-ton of Disney jokes, which is why he thought I’d like it in the first place.  And there’s a fairly good message at the end of it.

I liked Kirk.  First of all, could they have given him a nerdier name?  When I first heard that was his name, I went, “Oh, you poor dude.”  He’s also just one of those nerdy, sympathetic characters that you just want to come out ahead.  He’s an all-around nice guy who just gets stuck in bad/uncomfortable situations.

Molly, too, had depth to her character.  We don’t know most of it until closer to the end, but it’s there.  Is she as awesome as Kirk?  No.  But she’s sweet.

All of the minor characters were completely nuts.  And that made everything all the more funny.  From Kirk’s family to his friends to Molly’s best friend.  All of them had awesome quirks that made everything hilarious.

It’s a pretty good movie.  And it wasn’t bad as a date night film either.  Guys will definitely enjoy it and girls can find some humor in it too if you aren’t easily offended.  The adorable Devon definitely softens things for the female audience.  He’s a sweetheart.  But next time, I’m making my date watch a more chick-flick styled movie.

Spotlight Friday (26)

It’s Friday!  And it’s going to be a really good Friday too!  Belle is here with her new list! Also, yesterday I found out I won a copy of The Fault in Our Stars that is *signed*.  I know that’s not such a super massive big deal, because John Green signed all of the first editions, but hey, let a girl keep her excitement.

Embrace (The Violet Eden Chapters, #1) by Jessica Shirvington

Release Date: March 1, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads)I slowly opened my eyes. The sun speared its first bright rays of golden orange into the sky and I leapt from the cliff, with the sorrowful knowledge that no matter what the outcome, at least part of me would die that day… 

Violet Eden is dreading her seventeenth birthday dinner. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. The one bright spot is that Lincoln will be there. Sexy, mature and aloof, he is Violet’s idea of perfection. But why does he seem so reluctant to be anything more than a friend? 

After he gives her the world’s most incredible kiss – and then abandons her on her front doorstep – Violet is determined to get some answers. But nothing could have prepared her for Lincoln’s explanation: he is Grigori – part angel and part human – and Violet is his eternal partner. 

Without warning, Violet’s world is turned upside down. She never believed in God, let alone angels. But there’s no denying the strange changes in her body … and her feelings for Lincoln. Suddenly, she can’t stand to be around him. Luckily, Phoenix, an exiled angel, has come into her life. He’s intense and enigmatic, but at least he never lied to her. 

As Violet gets caught up in an ancient battle between dark and light, she must choose her path. The wrong choice could cost not only her life, but her eternity…

What’s To Like: Honestly, it sounds a lot like Fallen by Kate Lauren.  But I never really managed to get into that series.  But this sounds good, so maybe I’ll like this better.  Angels have a way of finding themselves on my bookshelf.

My review of Embrace.

Pretty Crooked (Pretty Crooked, #1) by Elisa Ludwig

Release Date: March 13, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads):Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones. 

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”—known to everyone as the Glitterati—without them suspecting a thing is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected. 

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her: evening the social playing field between the haves and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan. 

But when the cops start investigating the string of thefts at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could Aidan wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

What’s To Like: When I hear “Robin Hood”, it’s like when someone says “bacon” around a dog.  My head turns from whatever I was doing and I go, “Come again?”  The fact that this is like a modern retelling of Robin Hood has my attention perked.  I’m interested to learn more about Aidan too.  He sounds hot.

My review of Pretty Crooked.

Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3) by Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: March 13, 2012

*Hey, third in an EXPLOSIVE series!  Spoilers are bound to be ahead!*

Summary (from Goodreads): Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident. 

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

What’s To Like: What’s NOT to like is the better question.  Sophie is a spunky warrior with a sense of humor that leaves me in stitches as I read.  How awesome is that?  There’s always so much that happens.  I can literally never put it down once I start.

My review of Spell Bound.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

This is crazy.

Ever since they started showing previews for this, I’ve wanted to see it.  Hello, look at this cast!  Steve, Ryan, Julianne, Emma, and KEVIN freaking BACON?!  Dude.  It’s a golden group!

Cal Weaver’s your average middle age man.  His life could be described as consistent…until his wife asks for a divorce.  Heartbroken and angry, Cal finds himself newly single in a dating world that has changed a lot since he last entered it. Cal has to depend on Jacob, a perpetually single lady’s man, to help him.  And Cal needs lots and LOTS of help.

I knew with this cast of funny people, it was probably going to be pretty darn good.  And I was right.  Granted, my roommate had given it a glowing review of it before I watched it, but I still thought it would be good before that.  Steve Carell easily plays the heartbroken Cal and adds humor to the situation.  And hello, no one in their girlish mind is going to say Ryan Gosling sucked as Jacob.  That boy made me swoon.  Throw in Emma Stone for some added hilarity and you just can’t go wrong.

It was such a good look at love.  Divorce, young love, unrequited love, new love, love that can get you in lots of trouble, and uh…*ahem* making love…  Quite a bit of that one…

Anyway, it was fun.  There were parts I practically screeched in surprise (sorry neighbors!).  There are lots of twists, but if you pay attention, you’ll catch them earlier on.  I half got one before the reveal, so I felt proud of myself for that.

So funny.  Just watch it, ok?

Clockwork Prince (Infernal Devices, #2)

First Lines: The fog was thick, muffling sound and sight.  Where it parted, Will Herondale could see the street rising ahead of him, slick and wet and black with rain, and he could hear the voices of the dead.

I admit, when I started the Mortal Instruments series (the series that was written before this one, but this is set before that series), I never thought it would lead to this.  I actually think I like this series more than MI because of the setting.  But we’ll get to that.

*Dude, series spoilers are probably in the cards for this review.  Just saying.  But no spoilers from this book.*

Things haven’t been easy for the Shadowhunters in the past few months, but Tessa has turned the Institute into her home.  That could all change in a blink.  The Clave thinks Charlotte may not be a capable leader and if she gets sacked, Tessa will end up on the streets.  If that wasn’t enough, the Magister sends a warning to Will, showing that he knows their every move.  But how?  Is there a traitor among them?  Tessa feels her heart break for Will, but at the same time, she’s drawn to Jem more than ever.  Will’s walls are crumbling around him.  Can the Shadowhunters and Tessa get the answers they need and stop the Magister before he causes more trouble?

I loved it.  I knew it was going to be a fast read, even with my homework load, but geez.  It just flew under my fingers.  I really love the gang in this one.  Tessa, who can be so girly one minute and a vicious fighter the next.  Jem, the sweetheart with a heart of gold and a deadly addiction.  And Will, the sarcastic warrior with a dark secret of his own.

I admit, from day 1, I’ve been Team Jem.  It’s no secret.  I think he’s just an absolute sweetheart.  So I was obviously fond of any page or chapter where he made an appearance, especially a sweet or sarcastic one.

I think I like this one even more than the first one.  This one was more intricate than the first was.  Or at least it’s more intricate than I remember the last one being.  We got to see glimpses of more than a handful of different perspectives to reveal clues.  Some parts were so sad and others made me smile at their humor and others had me squealing with happiness.  I’m not kidding about that last one.  I was literally sitting in my chair, *squee*ing, and kicking my legs excitedly.  Thank God no one else was in the room to see that.

So there you have it.  Definitely worth it.  Though I was interested to note it wasn’t nearly as sarcastic and funny as her other books have been.

50/50

It takes a pair to beat the odds.

**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**

My campus shows movies on Friday nights that are coming out on DVD within the next week or two.  It makes for seeing some really cool new-ish movies for really cheap (e.i. FREE).  This was one I’d been wanting to see for a while, but I didn’t have anyone at home who wanted to see it with me.  And after twisting a few arms, I found people to go with me here.

Adam is a 27-year-old with his life ahead of him.  He works at a radio station and lives a healthy life.  The day he finds out he has a rare form of cancer changes the game.  Suddenly, he’s spending a lot of his time in hospitals and everyone’s looking at him as if he’ll shatter to pieces when they turn their back.  Adam’s best friend, Kyle, tries to make the best of a bad situation.  He wants to keep the humor of the situation alive to keep Adam happy.  But how long does Adam have to live?  How long can Kyle keep finding the humor of it all?

I loved it.  Going into it, I was telling my friend, “I have a feeling I’m going to end up crying at some point.”  I mean, a movie about cancer that doesn’t make you cry?  Unheard of.  But I didn’t cry because Seth Rogen had some very well placed jokes and comic relief that just turned the sad scenes around.  There was one point where no jokes could be made.  It was serious and that’s what it was meant to be.  I appreciated that.

There’s a lot of language in this.  A lot.  Most of it coming from Kyle, but not all of it.  It was just all so funny that I didn’t mind it so much.

The acting was fantastic.  You could tell the story meant something to the actors.  They all gave their A-game.  I mean, Joseph Gordon-Levitt actually shaved his head!  You don’t get much more real than that.  Also, my friend halfway through the movie turned to me and said, “I just want to give him a hug.  He needs one.”  So true.

It’s a cute bromance movie with very serious undertones and humor dashed throughout.  I’m definitely going to have to see it again when it comes out on DVD.

Le Morte d’Arthur

First Lines: King Uther Pendragon, ruler of all Britain, had been at war for many years with the Duke of Tintagil in Cornwall where he was told of the beauty of Lady Igraine, the duke’s wife.

If there are two legends that exist that I am a huge fan of, they are King Arthur and Robin Hood.  Hello, who doesn’t find something awesome inside each legend?  Two years ago, I read one of the Robin Hood stories from the 1800s, so I thought it was time that I finally read the origin of King Arthur.  And boy, did I have to choke this down like cough medicine.

It wasn’t that it was bad, necessarily, but classic books are always much harder to read than current ones.  There were some things I had issues with in the book, I’m not going to hide that.  But it was entertaining and I felt really smart to be carrying around a classic for a week and a half.

I thought I knew at least a good majority of the legend of Arthur.  I mean, I’ve seen Spamalot and Monty Python and the Holy Grail and I watch Merlin frequently.  But they were all so far from what this story actually told.  There are very few characters that are actually what you’d want to call a role model or a hero.  Even Lancelot was sort of a jerk.  Granted, I realize no one is perfect, but Arthur is usually held up to these really virtuous standards and that just wasn’t him in the story.  Lots of fighting, lots of death and murder.  And lots of rape/stealing maidens and wives.

I’m glad I finally know the origin of the legend.  And I hear that this is the version that is the most…how do I put it…”normal” for us to read.  No ‘thou’ and ‘doth’ in this version.  It reads pretty well, but be warned that the translator wanted to stay close to original spellings, so ‘Lancelot’ is spelled ‘Launcelot’ and such.  Took me a while to figure out some of the names of characters as we know them now.