March 27, 2014

Review: The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never would've picked this book up on it's own, unless I was just looking for the longest book on the shelf, which does happen sometimes. Looking at the cover, you would never guess that it was a science fiction story- I guessed that it was probably historical fiction. But it was required reading for a class i'm in, so I figured I would give it a shot. Boy was I surprised.

First of all, if you're looking for a quick, fun read... put this book back on the shelf. It's an amazing story, and probably in the same league as Harry Potter when it comes to my favorite books. But even for the fastest readers, this book is going to take a while.

For one thing, it's dense. It deals with the psychological issues of cloning humans and animals, along with several other controversial issues. It definitely requires some thought to read. That being said, if you don't mind any of this stuff (like me), this book is not to be missed.

Matteo Alacran is certainly not an endearing character. He takes after the man he was cloned from, El Patron, in many ways. Without the guidance of his friend Maria, he would have turned out much differently- and taken after El Patron in many ways.

Nancy Farmer does an excellent job showing her vision of our future world. Unlike many dystopian stories, not every part of the world is corrupted, dark, and grim. But many are. Just like today, not everything is horrible, but not everything is wonderful, either. Perhaps that's part of the magic of this story.

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March 25, 2014

Review: Get Real: What Kind of World are YOU Buying?

Get Real: What Kind of World are YOU Buying?
Get Real: What Kind of World are YOU Buying? by Mara Rockliff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Get Real' is a nonfiction YA book about voting with your dollar, a subject that my mom believes quite strongly in. I spotted it while browsing the shelves at our school library, and thought "Hmm. May as well pick it up. It looks interesting.' That's how I find the majority of the books I read. So I checked it out and took it home.

First of all, this book is a fun read, but it's also quite frightening. Believe me, if you read it, you'll start to have serious doubts about whether or not you really want to be eating hamburgers. And if you ever decide you want to buy a new pair of jeans (which you probably will), you'll think twice about where they come from.

But enough with the warnings. It really is an amazing book, and you should read it. It takes important issues stemming from corporate America. Speaking as a teen, I loved the tone. It was fun and easy to understand, but I never felt like the author was talking down to me. This is saying a lot- the only other book like this that I've read is 'A World Without Fish', and this problem is the main reason that I don't read as much nonfiction.

Also,each source used is clearly listed at the back, and the list takes up about three pages, even in a tiny font size- the author clearly wasn't making this up.

So, overall, I'm going to give this book a 10/10!

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March 24, 2014

Quarterly Rewind- Winter 2014

So, I got this idea from nevillegirl at Musings From Neville's Navel. Basically, it's a meme going over the events of the past couple of months.

It's hard to believe that winter is over, isn't it? And I'll be turning fourteen in a couple of days. Weird.

So. On to the meme.

Image From This Winter

A photo taken during photography class at my school.
Favorite Quote From A Book I Read This Winter
“In the end, all it takes is one small action, by one person. One at a time.” 
-Ghost Hawk, By Susan Cooper

1. The Neptune Project, by Polly Holyoke. It quickly became one of my new favorite books. I love the characters, the story, and the writing.
My birthday! No. Okay. Um. Seriously.
First of all, the new X-Men movie, Days of Future Past. And Muppets Most Wanted. Honestly, it seems like all the best movies are coming out this year. I'm so excited!
Second... let's see. I'm going on a school camping trip; that should be fun, as I haven't been tent camping in a while now.
Disney. After Frozen came out, I've been totally hooked on Disney. Remember how I was mentioning adding 'yet another fandom' to the list? Well, here's another one. Give me a year and I'll be a sobbing wreck from all the feels.
Third. Let's see. Looking at FitzSimmons stuff on Pintrest because even though I don't watch Agents of SHIELD it's one of the bestest ships ever.
This Winter In One Word
Fast. The year has been going by much too quickly for me.
Most Popular Review This Winter
The Neptune Project, by Polly Holyoke.
Top Two Books I Read This Winter

2. Shada, by Gareth Roberts. It's like high-end Doctor Who fanfiction, plus it retains the trademark humor of Douglas Adams.
Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Spring

Three New Obsessions This Winter
Marvel superheroes- the movies and occasionally the comics. I've never really been into superheroes before, but lo and behold. Here I am, a newly coined True Believer. Yet another fandom to add to my list.

Five Things That Happened This Winter
Hmm. Let me see.

I started a new novel, which I may or may not write a post about sometime in the near future.I downloaded the free trial of Scrivener, which I may or may not decide to use. I realized that my decision about which high school I want to go to will be a lot harder than I originally thought. I joined Pintrest and went crazy with it. And I learned the basics of html coding and css.
Three Songs That I Listened To Far Too Often This Winter
Let It Go, from Frozen. It's perfect stress relief, and always manages to make me feel better.

Plus, it's just plain awesome.

New Year's Day, by U2. I just discovered U2 on my iPod, and I love it. It's quickly made a place on my list of favorite music.

Eleanor Rigby, by the Beatles. It's so sad. But as Sally Sparrow so wisely put it, "Sad is happy for deep people."

The Song of the Lonely Mountain, by Neil Finn. It's so beautiful and rather haunting.

So, I think that's about it.

March 17, 2014

X2: X-Men United Movie Review


Okay, okay. Maybe I did promise a bunch more book reviews. They're coming, don't worry! But last night I finally got to watch X2, so I'll be reviewing that today.

*Spoiler Alert*

If I had reviewed this last night, I wouldn't have been able to do anything but ramble about Jean's "death", because number one, it was late and I was exhausted, and number two, Jean "died". One of my favorite X-Men. Even though, I knew she wasn't dead... It was almost as bad as Reichenbach. Except not quite, because I knew how she survived.

Annnyway. I'm rambling, aren't I? Sorry. You'll have to bear with me here.

So. NIGHTCRAWLER. You may remember that I mentioned Jean was one of my favorite X-Men? Well, Nightcrawler is number one on that list. What's not to like about a fuzzy, blue, swashbuckling pirate ninja with awesome teleportation powers? I'm not too sure of what I thought about him in the movie. He's looks quite different from the way he looks in the comics, but I suppose it would take massive amounts of CGI to pull off, say, this.

Amazing X-Men #1~ Beautiful artwork.

Also, the mother/son conversation was really sweet. Although Mystique isn't exactly the wise, motherly type, she passed on some words of wisdom to her son.

But anyway. Time to move on. I'm sure you don't want to listen to me drone on and on about this.

Jean and Scott. Perfection. I loved their portrayal in the movie. They also pulled off the Logan/Jean/Scott triangle quite nicely. I also liked the developing relationship between Rogue and Iceman.

So. That's it for now, folks.

Rating: 9/10

March 9, 2014

What Every Fairy Tale Needs

Three of the greatest villains ever created.

Three entirely different characters.

What makes them all so amazing?

So different?

So evil?

Or in some cases, so sympathetic?

Moriarty, Loki, and Sauron are three popular examples of what I like to think of as the three main villain archetypes.

First of all, we've got Moriarty.

Moriarty just wants to have fun.

He doesn't have a specific goal in mind. He doesn't want to take over the world, even though he could, in a heartbeat.

Some would call him crazy.

I suppose you could say that.

But he's not. Not really.

He's perfectly capable of having a nice cup of tea with his archnemesis.

Perhaps that's what makes him so terrifying.

He's perfectly mild, perfectly calm, perfectly reasonable.

One  minute, he's calm. Almost friendly. Greeting you like an old friend.

The next, he's...


Next up, we've got Loki.

Loki is the sympathetic villain.

Sometimes, he's even a hero.

How does that work? How can he be villain one moment, hero the next?

Well, unlike Moriarty, he's got motivation.

He isn't just doing this for fun.

He wants the approval of his father.

He's been hurt. Ignored because of his Frost Giant lineage.

But he doesn't go about it the right way. He makes a bad choice, the same as we all do.

Perhaps that's what makes this archetype so powerful.

None of these villains are necessarily "evil". They make bad choices, and suffer the consequences.

Finally, for Sauron.

Sauron is the Old Fashioned Villain. 

The fairy tale villain.

He's just plain evil. He wants to destroy Middle Earth and take it for himself.

So he creates an all powerful weapon, a tool to achieve his goals.

But the Old Fashioned Villain doesn't function very well on his (or her) own, except in fairy tales and bedtime stories.

That's what makes the Ring so important.

An Old Fashioned Villain doesn't provide the depth that every good story needs.

The Ring gives Sauron the motivation he needs; it provides an extra layer to to book that Sauron himself cannot provide.

March 3, 2014

The Neptune Project Book Review

Yay! I finally got around to a trip to the library this weekend and ended up checking out 28 books. Decisions, decisions. So, for my first review, The Neptune Project, by Polly Holyoke.

First, I'm unsure as to why this book doesn't have a fandom yet. Okay, okay, it just came out last year, but it's utterly amazing.

So. Quick summary.

*Spoiler Alert*

Nere grew up in a small coastal city in California. She suffered from asthma and bad eyesight (One of the reasons I loved her as a character, but more on that later) but also had the gift of powerful telepathy, which she inherited from her mother. The Neptune Project takes place in a dystopian society hundreds of years in the future (More on that, too). Human societies are dying, but a group of brilliant scientists have found a way to save it. Nere's mother, along with several other genetic scientists and marine biologists across the west coast, have genetically engineered their children to survive underwater.

Now. First of all. Nere, Nere, Nere. One of my new favorite characters.

First of all, in her mind, dolphins and animals are no less important than humans. They deserve the same respect and compassion that you would give a sibling or friend.

Second. She puts survival first. She's in the middle of a love triangle, but why let that stop her? Unlike certain other female protagonists (*coughcoughKatnisscoughcough*), when she's stuck in a life or death situation, Nere doesn't wait around and worry about her boyfriend. She's got friends to take care of, first and foremost. She's also socially awkward, and doesn't exactly know how to respond when straightforward Dai begins to flirt with her.

Third, I like to believe that the fact that I have asthma is simply due to me being part fish.

Alright. Now on the beautiful world building.

There aren't paragraphs and paragraphs of description on this futuristic society. It's just there, yet it's completely believable. Polly Holyoke certainly knows what she's doing when it comes to creating realistic future societies.

So, that's about it for tonight- I've got to go.

Rating: 9/10