Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Description (from Goodreads): An arresting story about starting over after a friend’s suicide, from a breakthrough new voice in YA fiction. dear caitlin, there are so many things that i want so badly to tell you but i just can’t. Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful . . . in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin. Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend’s suicide. With the help of family and newfound friends, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn’t die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed only to chronicle Ingrid’s descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who loved Ingrid—and Caitlin herself.

My thoughts: Before starting to read this book I thought for a long time that would I be able to do it. I lost a very important person for me about 7 years ago for suicide and I think that I haven't still gone through it completely. After reading this book I feel happy that I picked it up since it also opened my eyes.

Ingrid, Caitlin's best friend has killed herself. After finding Ingrid's journal under her bed Caitlin understands that there are some things Ingrid wanted to share with her, things that she was not able to tell her while she was alive. Caitlin starts to go through the journal slowly, reading one entry at the time. There entries open Caitlin's eyes and eventually make her understand what Ingrid was going through. Even though she first blames herself she eventually understands that she wouldn't have been able to help Ingrid. With the help of her new friends she goes through the death of Ingrid and finds new things to enjoy. She falls in love, finds a new best friend, makes friends with people she never thought she could be friends with and builts a tree house. I really loved the tree house building part in this book because I think that Caitlin's process in building the tree house emphasizes that process she goes through in herself going through the death of her best friend.

This book is filled with great characters. They are all individuals and you get to know more about them when the story develops. The language, at some points, reminded me of poetry, and I liked that a lot. LaCour beautifully descibes the thoughts going on in Caitlin's mind. Even though the main topic of this book is very dark, this book leaves you happy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Published: March 2nd, 2010 by HarperCollins

Description (from Goodreads):
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

My thoughts:
This book was all I expected it to be and even more.
Sam Kingston wakes up on 12th of February, goes to school and believes that it is just a normal Friday night in her life as a popular high school senior; she is invited to party, she gets drunk and makes fun of others. On her way out of the party she gets into a car accident and dies. Next time she awakes it is 12th of February, again. The same thing happens to her 7 mornings in a row. By little changes she can change the course of the day and make a difference in her own and other lifes.

Several characters, including Sam, made me dislike them. First Sam is this popular girl who only thinks of herself and her gorgeous friends. She makes fun of others and thinks that people care about her because they are jealous. She has a boyfriend but when she starts to re-live the same day again and again she realizes that she does not know what she is doing with him. Sam also realizes that her friends are not as gorgeous as she believed and she starts to see faults in them. But the thing I liked the most is the fact that Sam realizes that she is not as wonderful as she believed first. She understands that she has made the life of some students a living hell because she has teased and talked bad things about them. Sam also realizes that Kent, a guy who used to be her friend during her childhood, could be the right one for her. But the big guestion is, does she realize all this way too late?

I bet this book will be a favorite of many YA readers. I throughly enjoyed it. It made me laugh and it made my cry. The story hooked me and it was extremely hard to put this book down and do something else. I am so happy I got change to read this as a ARC and review it before it hits the stores. The language Oliver uses is beautiful and enchanting and it captures the reader. The characters develop and you learn more and more about them as the story goes on. Before I Fall is about love, friendship, second changes and growth as a person.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Review: Revolve 2010: The complete New Testament

I want to thank Thomas Nelson book publishing for sending me a review copy of this book/magazine.

Revolve 2010 is the New Testament presented in a new, trendy way. It is very eye cathing and it has "just about everything young female needs on its pages". As I've said before, I'm not very religious. I know many stories from the bible since in Finland we have teaching of religion in our school. I have never really read Bible, just some pages of it for school. I admit that I did not read this whole thing either, I just read little bits of it. The new testament is on its new century edition which makes it easy to understand and there are footnotes at the pages to make the reading easier. The best thing about this magazine/book where the tests, quizzes and beauty/dating tips. Those were fun to read and I got some good adviced from the beauty tips.

For Christian kids, this is a great read. It includes a lot of valuable things a Christian probably values. For me, it was a little too much, but I am happy that I even tried. Not being that much of a believer made me just ignore the "most important" message of this magazine.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day Special: My top 10 Romantic Movies

Note: I do not include Jane Austen adaptations to this since they would make up the whole list.

It is extremely hard to put these movies into a specified order, so I am just going to introduce you 10 romantic movies I love in random order.

You've Got Mail (1998)
Kathleen Kelly is a owner of a small book shop at New York City. On Internet, she meets a fellow New Yorker and they start to e-mail to each other. There is a definite connection between them and they get close and close by every e-mail. At the same time, Kathleen's bookstore and its future are on hold when a big bookstore chain is opening a massive store close to the corner store. Joe Fox, the son of the owner of Fox books, becomes the biggest rival of Kathleen. The thing Kathleen, or Joe, do not know, is that they are actually e-mailing to each other and pretty much falling in love.
I love Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in this movie. They have go
od connection and this movie is totally one of those movies you can watch over and over again.
Leap Year (2010)
Anna has been dating her perfect doctor boyfriend for years. She has been waiting a proposal for a while. She believes that the moment has come when they have dinner at a fancy restaurant. In the end, she gets earrings, not a ring. Her father tells her about old Irish tradition, that on a leap year, on 29th of February, a woman can propose a man. When Anna's boyfriend travels to Dublin for work she follows him and plans to propose him. Nothing goes as Anna has planned and she finds herself from other side of Ireland. With a help of a innkeeper Declan she finally gets to Dublin. When she eventually sees her boyfriend again, she begins to wonder is he the right one for her, or could Declan, a man who annoys her for most of the time, be the love of her life?
I adore Matthew Goode! He is so gorgeous and his accent...
it makes me melt. He is so gorgeous. And Amy Adams is so funny as Anna.

The Notebook (2004)
Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. In this movie an old man tells a story of Noah and Allie to a old woman in a nursing home. Noah and Allie fall in love and have a summer filled with love and joy but eventually they are separated by their social differences. Allie gets engaged to other man, but seeing Noah again makes her change her mind about getting married. The Notebook is such a beautiful story about the strenght of first, true love.
I saw the Notebook for the first time when I lived in US. It even made my boyfriend cry. Even though I
've seen it many times it still makes me cry.

A Walk to Remember (2002)
Based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. Landon Carter and Jamie Sullivan are teens from North Carolina. Landon is one of the popular kids of the high school, Jamie is a highly religious pastor's girl. When Landon gets the part in the annual school play he starts to spend time with Jamie. He notices that the girl they have laughed for is actually the girl he fells in love with. But Jamie has a secret she hasn't told for Landon.
This is one of those movies that will make you cry. I promise. I love the book by Nicholas Sparks but this
movie is also amazing.

The Holiday (2006)

Two women with guy problems swap homes for two weeks. Amanda from LA goes to UK when Iris from UK goes to Amanda's house at LA. At UK Amanda meets Graham, a charming, a little mysterious brother of Iris. At LA Iris meets Miles, a movie music composer. Could the two weeks at a different country be the cure for the guy problems these woman have had for a while now?
I have seen this movie probably 50 times. I think I watched it 4 times over the Christmas holiday. Jude Law in this movie... words cannot describe him, you must see it yourself!
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Sam has recently widowed. When is son calls a radio talkshow in attempt to find his father a new partner hundreds of woman all over America try to contact Sam. Annie is one of these women. She listens to the radio show and hears Sam talking there. She writes a letter to him and when Sam's son reads the letter he knows that Annie is the one for him. Sam's son, Jonah, travels from Seattle to New York city to meet Annie. Sam has also traveled to NYC to get Jonah home and all the three of them eventually meet at the top of the Empire State Building.
This movie also stars Meg Ryan and Tom Han
ks. I have seen this one so many times I remember some lines by heart. The favorite of me and my mother.

Notting Hill (1999)

William is a travelbookshop keeper from Nottinghill, London. One day Anna, a famous American film star, walks into William's store and nothing will be the same after that. They fall in love but there are certain problems Anna's career causes. Can they be together or are their worlds too different to be fit together?
I used to love Hugh Grant when I was younger and I still think that he is pretty charming. I still have this collection of Hugh Grant movies which most of my
friends laugh to because they think that he is disgusting. :D

A Cinderella Story (2004)

Sam Montgomery, a high school student, lives with her wicked step mother and two step sisters. She waiters at a restaurant and by the popular kids of the school she is called "diner girl". She has a dream of doing to Princeton since it is a university her father used to talk about when she was little. On a chat she meets a guy who also dreams about going to Princeton. Eventually she learns that the guy she has met on Internet is Austin Ames, the most popular guy of her school. Can a girl no one hardly knows and a guy who makes every girl go crazy be together?
I remember when I bought this movie. I was so in love with Chad M
ichael Murray that time that I probably watched this movie like 5 times during one weekend. I still love this one and think that I will watch it on Sunday to celebrate the Valentine's Day! :)

Pretty Woman (1990)

A rich, business man hires an prostitute to be his escort to some events. Vivian is a LA prostitute who works to get money to be something else. Edward is a rich business man who hasn't have the luck to find a love for his life. The time he spends with Vivian makes him realize that maybe Vivian is the one for him.
This is probably one of the best chick-flick movies ever. Richard Gere is so charming as Edward.

Clueless (1995)

The story is slightly based on Jane Austen's Emma. Cher is a rich Beverly Hills girl. She is popular, she has bunch of friends and she loves shopping and hanging around with her friends. She is a bit of a air head, but also very smart when she wants to. When new girl, Tai, comes to her school she takes a job to make Tai look good and fit to the crowd. At home Josh, Cher's father's ex wives son annoys her. Josh makes fun of Cher and always pulls her back to the ground. What Cher does not notice is the fact that maybe she is in love with this annoying, nerdy guy.
So funny! And Paul Judd as Josh, me likey!

There are many more movies I love but there are the first 10 movies that came into my mind at the moment. :)

What are your favorite romantic movies?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Description (from Goodreads):
This work was set in Berlin, 1942. When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. But, Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than what meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

My Thoughts: I picked this book up a while ago from the library and I finally at Sunday though that I should start to read it. I finished it the same night and lost my sleep for the night.

The story starts from Berlin. Bruno's family has been visited by Adolf Hitler who has given a place to work for Bruno's father at Out-With (Auswitch). 9 year old Bruno does not like the new home. His best friends are in Berlin and the new home feels dull compared to the old home at Berlin. And at the new home he does not have any friend to talk and play with.

From the window of his room, Bruno sees people at the distance. These people are wearing all the same striped clothes and they live behind a fence. Since Bruno loves exploring new things, he decides to walk to the fence to see to the other side. At the other side of the fence he sees a small boy and they start to talk. Shamuel is just the same age as Bruno is and they become friends. Bruno cannot understand why a boy just like him is one the other side of the fence and he cannot come out from there. Shamuel tries to explain his world at the other side of the fence while Bruno tells about his life at Berlin and at the new home. The friendship develops and finally ends way too early in a brutal way.

Like I said before, this book made me lose my sleep for a one night. When I closed the book for the last time I just couldn't close my eyes and go to sleep, the ending of the book kept running around in my head again and again. This book was so beautifully written. The brutal world of the World War two and the holocaust are described through a eyes of 9 year old boy which gives a totally new perspective to the situation. This book is a must read!

Has any of you seen the movie? I really want to watch it but I think that the ending might be too much for me? Is it as bad as in the book?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Book Review: Mr Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Relive Jane Austen's Emma- From Mr. Knightley's point of view.
Between managing his estate and visiting his brother in London, Mr. Knightley is both exasperated and amused by his irresistibly beautiful, outrageously mischievous neighbor, Emma Woodhouse, whose misguided attempts at matchmaking are wreaking havoc in the village of Highbury.
But when a handsome newcomer arrives and catches Emma's attention, Mr. Knightley is shocked by his reaction. Amusement gives way to another emotion entirely-for his unreasonable dislike of the handsome newcomer seems suspiciously like jealousy.

My thoughts: This is the 3rd book I read from the Amanda Grange JA hero diaries. I really liked this one as well as I liked the previous two books; Mr Darcy's diary and Edmund Bertram's Diary. After seeing the new BBC adaptation of Emma I fell in love with Knightley once again. Since I will have to read Emma later on this year I decided to get some more Knightley to my life by reading this Diary.

Knightley is as charming as ever. It is interesting to read this and notice that Knightley is in love with Emma even though he does not notice it himself. Eventually he understands that Emma is the only right woman for him but there is a problem on his way. Knightley believes that Emma is in love with Frank Churchill and thinks that his changes are gone. Luckily everything goes well and in the end Emma and Knightley get each other.

Edmund Bertram's diary still remains as my favorite book by Amanda Grange. I have Captain Wentworth's diary in my bookshelf, hopefully I will find the time to read it soon.

HOX! I am starting to do this research essay about the significance and role of dance in Pride and Prejudice and Emma. If you have any ideas/suggestions, please tell me, I would love to hear opinions from you!