Archive | June, 2012

The All-Star Break

30 Jun

 My Ten Favorite Books of 2012…So Far

So, I was just catching up a little bit on some blogs that I LOVE but have been neglecting lately, much to my own sadness. One of these is my friend, Heidi’s spot, Bunbury in the Stacks. And wouldn’t you know that she has just today posted something that I have been wanting to do myself? Figures that she would inspire me to DO. Let’s see how many of these books are on my favorites list at the end of the year, guys. My guess? Quite a few. But I’ve been known to be wrong.

In no particular order…

Book cover for Second Chance Summer by Morgan MatsonBook cover for The Humming Room by Ellen PotterBook cover for My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickBook cover for Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Book cover for Something Like Normal by Trish DollerBook cover for Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversBook cover for Unraveling by Elizabeth NorrisBook cover for The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Book cover for The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jessica E. SmithBook cover for Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Click on the covers for my reviews! And tell me who’s on top of your favorites list at the 2012 All-Star Break in the comments. (I HAD to go there with the baseball metaphor. Be thankful that I didn’t take it even further and assign books for each position on the field.)

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Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

28 Jun

book cover for Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig Title: Pretty Crooked

Author: Elisa Ludwig (Twitter | Website)

Series: Pretty Crooked, #1

Genre: Contemporary YA

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release date: March 13, 2012

Source: Lit Logistics Blog Tour! (Check these ladies out!)

Trailer: WATCH ME!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads

Summary: 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 have 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 burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

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The Legend of Korra Recap: Endgame

27 Jun

Legend of Korra

Season 1, Episode 12

Reminder: I wrote most of these recaps while largely DEAD, and therefore had to use much CAPSLOCKING to resurrect myself. SERIOUSLY. I DIED.

The Skinny: KORRA IS ENDING. WAAAHHH!!

The Setup: IT’S ALL HAPPENING, GUYS. There was absolutely no rest from the action in the second half of the finale, friends. NONE. 

The Breakdown: Jumping right in with a little recap of how Korra and Mako know the truth about Amon, and are on their way to the arena to drop a truth bomb.

But let’s not forget about our fearsome threesome of Bolin, Hoe Cake, and Iroh! We start “Endgame” at Mr. Sato’s airfield. Guys, if the United Forces have any hope at all of saving Republic City, they need to destroy these airplanes, but as they are approaching the hangar, Hoe Cake wonder’s aloud why there are fenceposts but no fence. And then BOOM! ELECTROCUTED. That’s why, kids. It’s a secret electric fence. They are promptly thrown in jail, and it’s not looking good for them.

So that’s at the airfield. Back at the arena, Korra has just spilled the beans about Amon. But OMG WHEN SHE CONFRONTS HIM AT THE RALLY ABOUT HIS IDENTITY, it appears that Tarrlok gave them bad info, because Amon removes his mask to reveal a hideous scar across his face, from when the fire benders allegedly killed his family. The crowd, which had been befuddled and aghast before at Amon’s apparent lies, turns against Korra instead.

Legend of Korra

Freaky Face has a freaky face under that mask!

AND THEN AMON PLAYS HIS HAND AND SHOWS EVEYRONE THAT HE HAS CAPTURED TENZIN AND HIS KIDS!!! HIS KIDS!! Poor Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo!

Meanwhile, back at the airfield jail, Mr. Sato comes in and taunts Bolin, Iroh, and Asami, but not until AFTER he tells Hoe Cake that he believes that one day she will realize the error of her ways and turn against the people who killed her mother. She confronts her dad and tells him that her mother would hate who he has become, which sets him off on a tirade of threats against Commander Bumi’s fleet. That’s right. Mr. Sato intercepted a communication between Iroh and Bumi, and knows where the fleet is hiding. Dire does not even BEGIN to describe it guys. BUT THEN! Naga and Pabu bust in the jail and TEAR down the cell, freeing Bolin, Iroh, and Hoe Cake to go take down some airplanes. NAGA IS A BADASS. Seriously, she saved their asses a BUNCH of times. I love her.

Then, we bounce back to the arena, where needless to say, Korra is terrified and OUTRAGED that Amon has kidnapped Tenzin and his kids, and she goes into full BAMF mode to free them. Also, just in case we forgot that Mako is a gifted bender himself, he continues to show his special gifts by throwing lightening all over the place.

Korra and Mako get Tenzin and the kids free, and they go off to get Pema and Rohan (ROHIRRIM!!!) out of jail, after Meelo’s ADORABLE “PRISON BREAK!!” rallying cry. Korra and Mako hide in the arena’s backstage area as a diversion for them, drawing Amon away into a search for the Avatar.

Legend of Korra

NO! ANYTHING BUT THE BENDING!!

Guys? I WAS NOT CALM THIS WHOLE TIME. Basically from this point until the end of the episode, which is still 20 minutes away in TV time. *DEEP BREATHS* Ok. So. Amon captures Korra and Mako (I KNOW!) backstage at the arena and blood bends them (AHHH!!). GUYS!!! THE TENSION WAS UNBELIEVABLE!!! And then, holy @$&!@. He finds Korra in her hiding place under a table, blood bends her out, then Mako, and then…GAAAH!

HE TAKES AWAY KORRA’S BENDING.

OMG. Guys. I can’t even deal. I was SO NOT CALM. THIS WHOLE EPISODE I WAS CRAY. But this was LEGIT bananas. Because it wasn’t a fake out, friends, those little teasers we saw last week, with Amon’s Thumb of Doom hovering over Korra’s forehead. Korra’s bending? GONE. MOTHER EFFING GONE.

After that insanity, we go back to the airfield and the skies above Republic City, where the three good guys go about their mission, earth bending the runways and fire bending the planes. Hoe Cake hops in one of the Mecha tanks and starts using it to beat the CRAP out of the planes still in the hangar. She’s taking out some rage on a plane when her father rolls in, also in a Mecha tank. They argue. He tries to reason with Hoe Cake, but she basically calls out his craziness. Mr. Sato is seriously so far gone that there’s really nothing anyone can do to make him see things differently, so Hoe Cake doesn’t see any other choice. She goes after him, with tears in her eyes, and they fight. GUYS, HE WAS TOTALLY GOING TO TAKE HER OUT. I mean, how terrible, right?

Guys, I know that I call Asami Hoe Cake because I don’t ship her and Mako. But I really do like her, and I especially felt horribly for her at this moment. Because she basically has to call her father a lunatic to his crazy face, and then battle him in one of those robots in a vicious fight. He GOES AFTER HIS OWN KID, guys, with bad intentions. And she has to ATTACK him in order to save herself. It’s heartbreaking and awful, and I have mad props and respect for her. Bolin helps her out a little bit at the end there, and they seem to capture Mr. Sato. So awful.

Ok. I hope you’re not getting whiplash from all the back and forth because BACK AT THE ARENA, KORRA HAS NO BENDING. Mako resists Amon’s blood bending for a sec and shoots a lightening bolt at him, catching him by surprise long enough to grab Korra and run. But Amon catches them, blood bends Mako to his knees, and is about to take HIS bending away, too.

Korra, in her weakened state, sees this and FREAKS OUT. AND THEN SHE AIR BENDS. YESSSS! SHE AIR BENDS, stops Amon from taking Mako’s bending, and blows him the eff right out a window and into the water below, where his scar make-up washes off, and the people see him for who he really is: a water bender, who uses his water bending to escape. Whew. I’m telling y’all. IN.TENSE.

Legend of Korra

I DIE from this tear.

Amon goes back to Air Temple Island, where he visits Tarrlok. They have a little chat about their father, and Amon says that they can leave together now and get a fresh start somewhere. Tarrlok seemed so conflicted when his bro proposed that they go away together and start new somewhere. But he went anyway, and guys? I got a little emotional. The two brothers are on a speedboat, leaving Republic City behind. Amon–Noatak–is driving, and seems to be coming down from his crazy, and looking forward to starting over with his brother, just like old times. He’s clueless and sad and probably overwhelmed, totally trusting that his own BROTHER would do him no harm. But Tarrlok is surrounded by chi-blocker gloves, and it’s like he knows the only way to “put an end to this sad story” is to take Noatak out, and thereby himself as well. I feel like he was plotting this the whole time, guys. But he puts on a glove, and sends an electric shock over the gas tank, and entire boat explodes, presumably killing them both. WOW. Nice little redemption for Tarrlok, guys. Also, INTENSE. LIKE I SAID BEFORE. And a little sad, too. There’s no way Korra and Mako are able to take Amon down without the info Tarrlok gave them. Plus, THAT TEAR. I can’t even deal with the fact that Noatak was crying.

WHEW. So after Commander Bumi shows up in Republic City, now that Iroh, Bolin, and Hoe Cake took out all the airplanes, Team Avatar, Beifong (hey girl!), and Tenizin go to the South Pole to see if Katarra can do anything about Korra’s missing bending. She can’t fix anything, though. Korra still has her air bending, but earth, fire, and water? Gone. Korra runs out of the house, followed by a worried and caring Mako. Who–OMG–CONFESSES HIS LOVE TO KORRA. He doesn’t care that she lost her bending and that she isn’t the Avatar anymore (her worries, not his). She runs away anyway, leaving him a little sad. I DIE A MILLION TIMES.

Naga takes Korra to a cliff, where she sits down, looking at the ocean below, and sobs. Someone approaches her from behind in air bender robes, and she assumes it’s Tenzin. She tells him to go away. But it’s not Tenzin. It’s Aang. He tells Korra that by hitting her lowest point, she has finally connected fully with the spiritual side of being the Avatar, and all the Avatars appear to Korra behind him. He goes into the Avatar state, puts his thumb on her forehead, and restores her bending. And Y’ALL? KORRA GOES AVATAR STATE FOR THE FIRST TIME AND IT IS THE MOTHER EFFING BOMB. FOR REAL.

Legend of Korra

THE MOTHER CUSSING AVATAR

Korra is finally the legit Avatar.

When she finishes, she turns around to see Mako, who followed her and saw her in all her Avatar glory. She jumps on him, and tells him that she loves him, too. SCORE ONE FOR THE SHIPPERS.

Legend of Korra

Ah, young love. SIGH.

So what’s Korra’s first act as full-fledged Avatar, besides planting a big smooch on Mako? Going Avatar state again and restoring Beifong’s bending. HOLY HELL BAGS I LOVE THIS SHOW.

Guys, this ep was CRAY and heavy and intense and so dramatic and obviously the best ever.

The Lines: “I’m so proud of you, Avatar Korra.” –Tenzin

Guys, I LOVED talking Korra with you! LOVED IT. I’m so sad that it’s over! But don’t worry. I’ll find some way to keep the Korra flame alive on my blog! I can’t wait to do it again, HOPEFULLY SOON. Big hugs to you all for stopping by and sharing the love. xoxo

The Legend of Korra Recap: Skeletons In the Closet

27 Jun

Legend of Korra

Season 1, Episode 11

I don’t want Korra to end, guys. But like all good things…well, you know how it goes. Life is a circle and all that. And so we find ourselves at the season finale of Book One of The Legend of Korra. Before I even get into the nitty gritty, I just want to say that I was new to this whole world before Lisa from Lisa is Busy Nerding told me that I was missing out on something amazing, and we all know Lisa is a truth-teller. So I’m thankful that she introduced me to Korra, and I’m ECSTATIC that I got to recap it for you all and meet so many Korra fans.

We wouldn’t have ANYTHING to talk about, though, if The Legend of Korra itself wasn’t so EFFING FABULOUS, and I’m going to miss it for sure. I can’t wait for season 2, friends, because I know it’s going to take all the awesome and turn it up. You’re the bomb, Korra. Mako, Bolin, Tenzin, Asami, Naga and everyone else, too. So say we all.

Also, just a couple of programming notes: I wrote most of these recaps while largely DEAD, and therefore had to use much CAPSLOCKING to resurrect myself. GUYS. THESE EPISODES WERE EPICALLY FANTASTIC. And, as you will see, there’s one recap per episode, just to keep things from getting REALLY out of control.

The Skinny: KORRA IS ENDING. 

The Setup: THINGS ARE HAPPENING. Let’s dive in. 

The Breakdown: So, the recap tells the sad story of woe of one Lin Beifong, baddest BAMF of them all, and how she saved basically everyone–Team Avatar and Tenzin and his family–by sacrificing her bending to Amon. DANG GIRL.

We also learn that Amon has finally toppled the bender-friendly Republic City government, installed himself as head of an Equalist government, and declared bending illegal. BUT YO. Worst of all? HE HAS DEFACED THE STATUE OF AANG BY COVERING IT WITH A MASK OF HIS OWN FREAKY FACE. Oh HELL NO! If we weren’t at war already….

Oh, Mr. Sato. You really HAVE gone to the dark side. He’s speaking outside the old bending arena, getting a crowd of Republic City citizens all frothy about Amon’s vision for the future: NO bending anywhere. Eradicated. He mentions the United Forces that are on there way to stop Amon, but he’s confident that Amon will prevail. He also takes a dig at the Avatar, who he says is “on the run.”

At the back of the crowd, two chi-blockers are observing the rally. Except they’re not REALLY chi-blockers. It’s Korra and Mako, in disguise, doing recon.

Korra is furious that Hiroshi told the crowd that the Avatar was on the run from Amon. OBVIOUSLY, we all know that Korra takes major offense to this, and is bristling in general at having to cool her heels underground until General Iroh arrives. She wants to go bust some heads RIGHT NOW, but Mako, who I must admit looks fine in that chi-blocker uni, talks her out of it. They make a good pair, guys, and I don’t just mean because they’re awesome and I ship them. They work well together.

Back at Team Avatar’s lair, which is an underground shanty town full of hobos/homeless people–benders and Equalists alike–who oppose Amon’s policies. Guys, Team Avatar is living in squalor a little bit. This might have something to do with Hoe Cake copping some BIG attitude, but more likely it has to do with Mako and Korra spending so much time doing “recon” together. Things are testy between them, and I feel like they’ve broken up officially and we missed it?

Later that night, Korra and Mako are kind of having a replay of that moment in an earlier ep where they both fall asleep resting up against Naga. That’s where they’re sitting now, having a heart to heart about how far they’ve come in such a short time and how unbelievable it is that they’re in the middle of a war. THEN things get mushy and fabulous, when they both declare to each other how important they are to one another. Mako says that he can’t imagine his life without Korra in it and showers her with awesome compliments. Korra is like, right back atcha. THEN OMG MAKO GOES IN FOR A KISS BUT KORRA TURNS HER HEAD A LITTLE. ARGH! But I get it. It’s still weird between them, especially because Mako is still technically with hoe cake. He needs to shies or get off the pot with her. I hate that he’s dragging her along and basically cheating on her, emotionally if not ACTUALLY. They both go off to sleep.

Legend of Korra

Mako giving Korra the eye/sexy grin combo that REAL girls everywhere have NO POWER to resist.

A quick pitstop with the bad guys sees Amon taking over Air Temple Island, and cleansing benders in a long assembly line of the Thumb of Doom. God, this guy SUCKS.

Meanwhile, Team Avatar is out in the city waiting for the United Forces to arrive. Iroh looks good, guys. But he’s wondering why there’s no resistance to his arrival. Korra wonders the same thing. It’s too quiet. Where’s the trouble? THEN we see why: It’s coming from underwater, where there are MINES. They promptly start blowing up the ships as the come into the harbor. Korra jumps in to help when a fleet of newfangled airplanes comes flying in and starts attacking from ABOVE. Several ships are blow up, there’s bombs everywhere. It’s not looking good for the United Forces, guys.

Legend of Korra

Seriously. He’s cutting a dashing figure, no?

Fighting ensues, and Iroh reveals himself to be…A FIRE BENDER, another clue that I’m sure lots of us didn’t need about his lineage. Then Korra does her avatar thing and water bends out of the bay to take down some airplanes herself. It’s awesome. Iroh is firebending from one of his ships, but its looking mighty dire for the good  guys right now. Amon’s airplanes have basically laid waste to the United Forces’ fleet.

Iroh and Team Avatar wind up back underground at the lair, and fill Iroh in on the excess of SUCKAGE they’ve been dealing with lately, and how Amon is always outsmarting them. Iroh assures them that, if they can clear the way, there are reinforcements. Commander Bumi, Tenzin’s brother, has another fleet and is waiting for General Iroh’s word to swoop in. But in order for those ships to arrive safely, they all decide that those airplanes have GOT to go.

Except Korra says she won’t go with the rest of the team tomorrow to Mr. Sato’s SEKRET airfield. She says she’s going after Amon instead. There’s a little bit of protest, but eventually Mako says he’s going with her. Hoe Cake looks pretty sad guys. Exactly how many nails in the coffin do these two kids need before they break for REAL?

So the two halves of Team Avatar say their farewells the next morning. Mako and Bolin have a crazy sweet moment together. Korra leaves Naga with Bolin. Mako and Hoe Cake have a chat, saying that they care about each other, but it seems bittersweet somehow. Korra nd Mako go off together, with Bolin, Hoe Cake, and Iroh taking off on Naga. Team Avatar is split up for now.

Mako and Korra go to Air Temple Island to go after Amon, but they just miss him and have a close call with another chi-blocker. But they sneak in anyway to wait it out and go to the attic, thinking that will be the safest place to hide. They discover that they aren’t alone up there, though. There’s a prison cell. It is occupied. By Tarrlok. Korra asks him why he’s the only prisoner on the island and he DROPS AN EFFING BOMB LIKE WHOA:

WTF!!!!! TARRLOK AND AMON ARE BROTHERS!!!! WTFFFFFFF!!!

Take a minute to digest. Go ahead. It’s ok.

SO GUYS. The rest of the ep is an INSANELY sad story of familial woe. Turns out that Amon is a water and blood bender from the northern tribe. Tarrlok says he didn’t know Amon was his brother until after he was captured. In a nutshell: Tarrlok and Noatak were sweet boy brothers together. Noatak was protective and fair-minded; Tarrlok was sweet and more gentle. Once their bending started showing it’s face, though, their dad became a Bending Nazi, and over time he began to train them vigorously and forcefully in blood bending, which Noatak took to; Tarrlok did not. Noatak gradually became as powerful a blood bender as their father had once been, maybe more so. Yakkone obviously favored Noatak and his emotionless attitude about blood bending both animals and, eventually, his own brother. Tarrlok bore the brunt of his father’s mean-spirited disapproval. When Yakkone tells the boys his CRAY plan for their future: it will be their duty as his sons to avenge him and retake Republic City and destroy the Avatar. Tarrlok bristles. Yakkone turns on Tarrlok, and in turn, Noatak turns on Yakkone, blood bending him, mouthing off, and disappearing. Things were downhill for the family after that. Eventually, Yakkone died, bitter and horrible as ever.

Legend of Korra

This is true face of Freaky Face, before he was bad to the bone. He looks so sad.

This revalation gives Korra and Mako the ammo they think they need to turn the Equalists against Amon and overthrow his revolution once and for all. There’s going to be a huge rally at the arena that night, and Korra and Mako decide that this is the best place to call Freaky Face out on his bluff.

Tarrlok urges Korra and Mako to confront Noatak with the truth, and “put an end to this sad story.” He knows that both he and his brother were under their father’s thumb all this time, and were both exacting the vengeance he wished of them, despite Tarrlok’s efforts to do the opposite. Tarrlok at least has the conscience to realize that it’s not the way to go.

Thus ends “Skeletons in the Closet.”

The Lines: “Where does hiroshi find the time to keep inventing new evil machines?!”–Bolin

OMG THAT’S ONLY HALF OF IT.

Top Ten Tuesday (33)

26 Jun

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me of Myself or Someone I Know

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely folks over at The Broke and the Bookish post a top ten list topic so that book lovers like you and me can pour over our shelves and make our own lists. You can check out all the other Top Ten Tuesday‘s on their site!

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