Wednesday, September 19, 2012

[Review]- Become (Desolation #1) - Ali Cross

Author: Ali Cross
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Published: 11/11/2011
Pages: eBook, 340
Rating: ★★3/4 (I was so close to liking it)

Sixteen-year old Desolation Black wants nothing more than to stay in Hell where it’s cold and lonely and totally predictable. Instead, she’s sent back to Earth where she must face the evil she despises and the good she always feared.

When Desi is forced to embrace her inner demon, she assumes her choice has been made—that she has no hope of being anything other than what her father, Lucifer, has created her to be. What she doesn’t count on, is finding a reason to change—something she’s never had before—a friend.

What I Liked: 


The story blends together Norse and Biblical mythology. I'm a huge fan of Norse mythology so I was pleasantly surprised when my favorite Norse god, Loki, showed up as Satan. And, of course, Odin was God and Thor was, uh, Jesus, I believe. Though I wonder if Baldur would have been a better choice. Anyhow, it was an interesting twist and I quite liked it.

The depiction of Hell makes it sound like a fun place to me. Dark, cold, what's not to like? Unfortunately, however, Lucifer takes on the form of Hugh Jackman, but ah well. It would probably be wrong if I was actually attracted to the devil.

I like that the main character, Desolation, is part demon and part angel, that one half of her is black, the other golden, and that she has to choose between good and evil (though I don't really think she has much of an evil side).

Despite the fact that it was a chore to actually get to the end, it left me wanting more, and I might have to try reading the second book just to see what happens. Even though I only gave the book 2 and 3/4 stars. I need to know what happens next, even with sucky books. Otherwise, I will always wonder.

What I Didn't Like: 


I'm afraid there are more things to this story that I disliked than liked. First off, the main character didn't jive with me. Desolation, nicknamed Desi, over analyzes her emotions. There are paragraphs upon paragraphs of her contemplation and self-analyzing. There's just not enough action to hold my attention throughout the story. Until the end, that is. The story is mostly Desi going back and forth from feeling like she doesn't belong to feeling she is loved. She's pretty self-loathing, self-pitying. She's just too much of an emo for my tastes.

Monday, September 17, 2012

音楽を聞きながら書く - Listening to Music While Writing

Music plays a fairly big role in my life. Whether I'm driving, walking around campus, doing homework, cooking or cleaning (which is almost never) or just sitting around, I like to have music playing. And listening to music while I write calms me, gets my creative, uh, juices flowing, and gets me motivated to put words to paper.

For the most part, I like all kinds of music. Except country. And I loathe slow songs. Other than that, rock and classical are tied for first place as my favorite music genre. Lately, I've been branching out and listening to a lot of K-Pop and J-Rock. Mostly, I listen to my iPod, but I'll also tune into Pandora (which I usually have set to Two Steps from Hell radio) or last.fm.

A few favorites from my writing playlist: 

Monday, September 10, 2012

[Rant] Don't Judge a Book by Its...

Despite the saying, I judge books by their covers. In fact, I'm very picky about what books look like. And it does affect whether or not I make a purchase. Sometimes, if I don't like the cover, I will buy it in eBook format so that its ghastly appearance does not mar my bookshelves. Or I'll rent it from the library. 

The usage of models on covers is now my biggest peeve. It seems to be the new thing. Every book you see--especially in YA (*cough* Paranormal Romance *cough*)--has some teenage chick on the cover. And they're always posing the same way. Here is a great blog post that analyzes YA covers.

My irritation is not because it is so popular and overused, but because I don't want to look at real people. I would prefer a badly drawn illustration to an actual person. And I especially do not like books with half-naked women or men on them. It took me forever to buy Cassandra Clare's City of Bones. Had a half naked dude on it, and at the time, I was embarrassed to buy it.

For adult books, my biggest issue concerns covers that look like the following examples.


Covers like this were the reason I didn't read adult books until late. I avoided the adult section because I thought all books, at least in the fantasy genre, looked as lame as these. They're not bad illustrations per se, but they're pretty outdated and full of meh.

However, there are some covers that make me all giddy. Here are a few examples of some super epic covers!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Liebster Award?! Ausgezeichnet!

So I was nominated for this award last week by an awesome blogger: Rhamy Payne (aka Voltech) of Cross-Up. Be sure to check out his site. It's full of awesome.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to cheat though. I do not have 11 people to pass this on to. *hangs head*

Joey Harpel = Epic Fail
(シ_ _)シ
申し訳ありません! I'm sorry!

I can't help it! I've been working on my writing and getting ready for school. I just don't have time to make a lot of blogger friends. I'm socially inept. I accept this.

But I still want to answer the questions because it seems like a lot of fun! To my understanding, what I'm supposed to do is tell 11 things about myself, answer 11 questions created by the person who tagged me, then compose 11 of my own questions, and then tag 11 people so they can enjoy/suffer the process. Hate me if you will, but I'm just going to do the first two things...

Again,

Joey Harpel = Epic Fail

11 things about me: 

1. I have an obsession with all things Asian. Especially Asian men. (。♥‿♥。)

2. I have two pets. My cat, Cuddles, is fifteen or sixteen years old. I've had him since I was six or seven. I also have an annoyingly cute Pomeranian/Chihuahua named Wulfgar. 

3. I've been to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Iceland. I threw up at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, skinned my knee jumping into the river that runs through the Englischer Garten in Munich, received kisses on the cheek from an Irishman, ate horrible cheesecake on the Rhein, got lost in both Dresden and Munich, got burnt to a crisp and saw two avalanches in the Swiss Alps, toured a bunch of churches and castles, and consumed a lot of Pringles and orange Fanta. Best two weeks EVER. 

4. I'm deathly afraid of talking to people. It took me years to become semi-comfortable going up to a cashier to pay for stuff. I still loathe talking on the phone, and holding a conversation with a stranger is impossible. Hell, it's hard to even talk to family at times. 

5. I love to fly. First time I flew through a storm cloud, I fell in love with being up in the air. After that I took an aviation class in high school and got to help fly a small plane. One of my biggest dreams was to become a pilot. That was before I realized how much math and money is required to get a license. Though, perhaps one day I will have my own plane... 

6. Teen Titans and Avatar: the Last Airbender are tied for first place as my favorite cartoons ever. True story. 

7. I tend to contradict myself a lot. No, I don't.

8. I strongly believe all insects should be eradicated off the face of the planet. Along with sharks, religious fanatics, politicians, and reality TV stars. 

9. This is my shadow. 
It looks like I'm missing half of my arm. Hehe.

10. I'm blunt. I don't like sugarcoating things, or trying to be subtle. I try to tell it like it is.

11. Causing people physical pain makes me happy. I'm pretty violent. Punching and kicking things is fun, and I abuse my boyfriend all the time. Don't worry. He likes it.

My answers to 11 questions: 

1. Surprise! You're a superhero. What's your superpower? Telekinesis! Like Raven from Teen Titans.

2. As a corollary to the above, are you a hero or a villain? As much as I would like to be a villain, I would probably end up as a flawed hero, dishing out justice in my own, twisted way.

3. As a corollary to the corollary, what's your catch phrase? Some variant of "It's clobberin' time," perhaps? "Wapacha!"

4. Have you ever been in a fight? Unfortunately, I have not. But it sounds super fun! I always wonder if I could hold my own in a fight.

5. Have you ever had (or still have -- not that anyone's judging) an imaginary friend? I think I may have played poker with my imaginary friends when I was like three or four, but I didn't have a specific friend with a name. I think the closest thing I've had to imaginary friends are the characters in my novel. I like to pretend I'm in the story with them or that I'm one of them. Yes. Yes, I am creepy.

6. You hear that there's an ancient treasure, and you narrow down the location to two places: a deep jungle, or a mountain summit. You only have the resources for one expedition. Where do you go? Hmm. I love the idea of being in a jungle, but in reality they harbor huge ass bugs. And, like, other killer animals. So I'm gonna go with mountain summit.

7. And now you're in an RPG! You have a choice of being a fighter, a mage, or a thief. What do you choose, and why? Ooo. Tricky. Being a fighter or a thief would be awesome, but I'm going to have to go with mage, since I've always wished I could do magic.

8. You can have your dream machine -- a new computer, a rocket car, jetpack, personalized mech, etc. -- delivered to you by tomorrow morning. What do you want? Time machine!

9. You have the power to resurrect any canceled/finished TV show, with the original cast and writing that's better than ever. What do you revive? Awesome question! There are so many... Teen Titans, I guess. I heard they might be making another season though, so I may get my wish.

10. You've been struck by lightning! Oh nutbunnies! What are (presumably) your last words? "Welp."

11. And just to close out on a curveball, what's your dream? I have many. To become a fire-breathing dragon, to become an evil tyrant, to own a castle on my own island, to own a fleet of cars/trucks, to create an all Asian reverse harem(!!!), and to become a best-selling author. I wonder which'll happen first. My money is on the first.

Woo! That was fun. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back To School (ノД`)・゜・。

This is going to be a painful semester.
This year is gonna suck. Big time. It's my fifth year of college and I'm incredibly sick of school. Not looking forward to boring books, weekly five to ten page essays, and having to actually talk to people. Class discussions are the worst. And I think I'll probably end up going for another year after this too. Hopefully it'll be in Japan though.

Classes I'll be taking this semester:
  • Japanese Year Three (super nervous because I've forgotten nearly everything)
  • Modern Korean Literature
  • Modern South Asian Literature
  • Ancient Rome (I could be a freaking history major with all the history classes I've taken over the years.)
  • The Christian Left and Right (laaaame) 
I wanted to take a German Folklore class, but it went until 8:50 at night and I just don't have enough interest in the topic to risk being mugged or murdered.

*places hands on hips* Look at that freaking stack of books. I'm not going to have any time to read anything good or finish my novel! And college books are way too expensive. Even buying most of mine used, I paid over three hundred for all of them. And one of my classes hasn't posted what books we need yet, so I'm sure I'll be buying another four or five books. I'm glad I'm past the point where I have to pay a hundred to two hundred dollars for a single book. Now I take mostly discussion type classes that require novels rather than huge textbooks.

To motivate myself to actually do my schoolwork, I'll probably be posting stuff related to my classes. So long as it has something to do with reading or writing, such as the differences between Western and Eastern literature. I'll also be complaining from time to time on how much school sucks. Sorry in advance.

If you don't see anymore posts from me, it's because I jumped into the Mississippi, threw myself under a bus, shot myself, etc...

Anybody else heading back to school? 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Adaptation > Novel

Most of us avid readers probably agree that the movie is never as good as the novel, right? For the most part, movies simply pale in comparison to the book. However, on very rare occasions, I enjoy adaptations more. Here is a list of a few of those movies.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Directed by: Paul Weitz
Novel by: Darren Shan
Synopsis: Teenager, Darren Shan, meets a mysterious man at a freak show who turns out to be a Vampire. After a series of events Darren must leave his normal life and go on the road with the Cirque Du Freak and become a Vampire. --IMDb

It's been so long, I don't remember why I didn't care for the book. There was something about it that just didn't appeal to me. Which was disappointing since I knew a bunch of people who loved the series. When the movie came out, I figured it would suck too. I was surprised that I actually liked it. Gave me a few chuckles, it did. It was bizarre and quirky, but it wasn't terrible. Since it's been so long since I read the book, I think I may give it another try sometime. Especially since there are so many books in the series. I'd like to know what happens to the MC.

Blood and Chocolate
Directed by: Katja von Garnier
Novel by: Annette Curtis Klause
Synopsis: A young teenage werewolf  is torn between honoring her family's secret and her love for a human. --IMDb

Fans of the novel were incredibly disappointed when this movie came out. And rightfully so. The book and the movie are completely different. There are a few similarities, such as character names and the fact that they're werewolves, but everything else was pretty much changed.

I actually seen the movie first and found out later that it was an adaptation. Though the movie still kind of sucked as far as movies go, I liked it better than the book. In the book, Vivian (the MC) was a complete biatch. Huge attitude, annoyingly overconfident, I hated her. In the movie, she was actually kind of likable.

I was so excited when I went to see the film. It turned out to be kind of a disappointment though. I think I force myself to like it because it has Hugh Dancy in it. Me likey likey Mr. Dancy.