The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

via Goodreads

Rated it: 4.5 stars

Goodreads blurb

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I’ve had this on my to-read list for a couple of years, until recently I finally decided to give it a try. I’m pleased to say that I was not disappointed. Percy Jackson is a smart mouthed kid, more than a little hot headed, slightly annoying, I’d say strong minded when it counts and vulnerable but yet ready to take chances. In the beginning I was thinking if he could get more complaining it’s going to be a problem, however, as it turned out he was okay.

Prior to reading this I was aware of Harry Potter parallels. There are certainly similarities, I can make a list now that I’ve finished; there’s the twelve cabins of the major Gods and Goddesses (twenty in all) in the place of the four houses for example. It’s no problem to me because whatever those intersecting concepts are they have valid purposes, it doesn’t seem like a cut-and-paste.

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Welcome … to Night Vale

ANOTHER FANDOM JOINED! In other news … Haha, some of you will fail to be surprised. In all truth I began listening to this podcast since the beginning of the year and perhaps regular lurkers would guessed if they have noticed my background that’s been on for about a month and a half now. Have you ever heard of it? No? *gasps* Now, I’m am not one to aggressively attempt to induct the uninitiated  … but, like, seriously Check This Out! Night Vale in a few words: weird, creepy, L-O-L hilarious especially if  you’ve got a dark sense of humour, uplifting and philosophical.

via Pinterest

I am incapable of conveying what WTNV is about so as per usual I will quote somebody.

That calm, soothing voice communicates everything you need to know about the weirdest little town in the middle of nowhere. The words greet listeners in the first episode Welcome to Night Vale, a bi-weekly podcast created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.

The podcast presents a fictional radio broadcast from the desert town of Night Vale, emceed by its most popular radio host, Cecil Baldwin. Cecil discusses the daily occurrences of the town: news from the forbidden dog park, a new revelation from Old Woman Josie and her angels, or the mayoral race between The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home (played by Mara Wilson) and the five-headed dragon fugitive Hiram McDaniels (played by Jackson Publick).

The show is currently second on iTunes’ list of top podcasts and has amassed a huge following on Tumblr.

- Sara Roncero-Menendez, Mashable.com

Smash the link to read more. I had no idea how weird I can be until listening to Cecil’s dulcet tones enunciating the impossible and the impossibility of existence (or his anyway).

A few reasons why I appreciate (a more mild alternative of wild adoration) WTNV in no particular order: Continue reading

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

via Goodreads.

Rated it: 5 stars

Goodreads blurb

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

My review

It had taken me about 100 pages to really get into but after then I was hooked. I just fell in love with these two teenagers and their love story. Initially I was skeptical, I mean these were really a deep pair with all their in depth analyzing of well … everything. But I went with it, partly because I think that not everyone takes the time to discover themselves and while I believe Hazel and Augustus were both intelligent, this disease prompted them to grow up much faster. Then there’s a couple lines from a NPR.org review:

Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. He writes for youth, rather than to them, and the difference is palpable …. You will be thankful for the little infinity you spend inside this book.”

I couldn’t have said it better, but Thomas did:

How unrealistic John Green’s characters tend to be has turned me off from most of his other books – the characters in this one suffered slightly from it too – but The Fault in Our Stars as a whole is John Green’s best book to date.

Like I said, at times Hazel (the protagonist) and Augustus (the love interest, but so much more) came off as wise beyond their years. They notice this, their parents notice this, and readers will notice this. However, there is something so human about the way Green portrays them that makes them relatable. They are not simply teens suffering from cancer, but teens who doubt their place in the world, who are filled with angst and longing and confusion and hope. I can’t say I’ve experienced the exact same emotions as Hazel and Augustus have, but I can say that it’s easy to empathize with them and feel their pain entirely.

I totally recommend that you read the entire review.

This is actually hard for me to write, I know what I feel but the words refuse to leave. The Fault in Our Stars is honest, frank, smart, funny, poignant and heartbreakingly beautiful.

TFIOS is the first book where I really don’t care for negative reviews, while they can seldom be agreeable, they won’t change how I feel at all as they used to tickle the doubt that usually lurks around. I can’t remember crying so much since Harry Potter four years ago, it just seems so real. The words read themselves to me as much as I read them, I felt the emotions they dictated head on, fighting it makes no sense.

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“Then and Now” – Ojai, California – Betina La Plante via PhotoBotos.com

“Then and Now” – Ojai, California – Betina La Plante

Talk about creative ideas.  I love this one! I suspect Betina’s idea should go viral eventually and inspire a lot of other photographers to try the same concept in interesting ways.   What do you think?

Enter Betina:

The idea of people holding images to their faces is not a new one, by any means.  People have photographed themselves replacing their own faces with shots from fashion magazines, album covers, etc.  Early this year I saw the poster for the movie “Ides of March”, which shows half of Ryan Gosling’s face holding up a folded Time magazine with half George Clooney’s face on it to complete the ‘whole’.  I thought that was a cool concept, but how much cooler would it be to use the same subject on both sides, depicting the passage of time on their face.  I’d been helping Terence go through many of his old photographs, in order to choose which ones to include in his new memoir, so I knew I had some great straight on shots to work with, from when he was in his 30s.  It was a last minute idea before he went to shoot a movie in Canada, but he was up to try it.

I had an hour to scan and print up several varying sizes of the photo that Terence is holding, in order to come up with the best life-size match.

Read more here, seriously check this stuff out!

This – though not entirely ingenious – is brilliant and I love that it was black and white! Then and now is most definitely amongst my top favourites. He was quite the looker back in his days ;)

I’ve posted some photos from this same website Potobotos a while ago. They’ve great stuff, a new photograph every day along with the stories behind them! Check ‘em out and if you like what you see don’t forget to subscribe!

Related post: Some Amazing Photography via Photobotos.com

J.K Rowling’s new book: The Casual Vacancy

THE CASUAL VACANCY

by J.K. Rowling (click to learn more)

© Wall to Wall Media Ltd.  Photographer: Andrew Montgomery.
Little, Brown Book Group announces that the new novel for adults by J.K. Rowling is entitled The Casual Vacancy.  The book will be published worldwide in the English language in hardback, ebook, unabridged audio download and on CD on Thursday 27th September 2012.

The Casual Vacancy

When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

(excerpt from littlebrown.co.uk)

~~~

I am so so looking forward to reading this. Mrs. Rowling is one of my top favourite authors of all time, #1 actually, and this being her first adult novel I’m curious what her writing will be like, I mean this isn’t Harry Potter so she’s written from a different angle, please forgive me for stating the obvious but I have this weird compulsion to explain myself (I’ve haven’t slept a wink, thanks coffee).

Cheers!