Friday, December 28, 2012

Three of the Best Christmas Albums

Since it is getting a little late to do a Christmas album review, I decided that I would just do a general review of three of my favourite Christmas albums.


Casting Crowns - Peace on Earth


My favourite song from this album is the first track - "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". This song is just gorgeous. Another praiseworthy song is a Christmas version of their song "While You Were Sleeping". The only song I don't like is the one in which the woman in the band sings, "God is in us". For you Catholic readers, this is a heresy. (Note that I said Catholic, so I am not trying to be offensive or anything. All I mean is that it is against our teaching.) Besides this one song, this Christian album is definitely worth a listen!


Christina Perri - A Very Merry Perri Christmas EP


My mom wanted me to find her some more Christmas albums, so I searched up for Christmas albums released this year. One of the albums on this list was this album I am doing a mini review of right now. I thought, "Awesome! Christina Perri has a Christmas album!" So my mom and I listened to the iTunes previews, and since my mom thought it was acceptable, we asked my dad to purchase it for us. I have only listened to this EP once, but I already really like it. Christina Perri's voice seems to have a holiday warmth perfect for Christmas songs. Her cover of "Ave Maria" is really nice, and I really like the song that Christina wrote herself, "Something About December".


The Priests- Noel


Another Christmas CD I like is Noel by The Priests. As some of you have probably guessed from the types of genres of music I have reviewed so far, I'm not too big a fan of classical music - well, at least, so far. I have been delving more into classical music recently. However, there is something about this album that I like. Among my favourites on this CD are The Priests' two versions of Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.


All three of these albums are up there in the 10/10's range.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

W Pustyni i w Puszczy (In Desert & Wilderness) Movie Review

Cześć! (Hello in Polish)

As some of you may have guessed (or not), I am - in fact - Polish! Well, one-half Polish, at least. I do not know much of the language, but...sorry, I am getting really off track!




In Desert and Wilderness is one of my all-time movies. Maybe it's because I watched it when I was a child and it brings back good memories. Maybe it's because this movie is so great. Or perhaps it's a mix of the two.

The story: Staś Tarkowski and Nel Rawlison, who are around fourteen and eight, respectively (or, at least in the book...I would have placed Staś at sixteen in the movie) are friends, growing up with their families in Port Said, Egypt. Their fathers are British engineers. At the beginning of the movie, we see an anti-British rebellion taking place by Muslims. The chief bad guy (I don't know his name so give me some leave, okay?!) is mad because the British took his wife and children, and have told his servants that if the Muslims do not let go the British they have taken prisoner, the chief guy will not get his wife and children back. Of course, the Muslims don't want to let go of their prisoners. So, instead, they decide to kidnap two children in hopes that the British will let go of their prisoners.

Staś and Nel are taken by the Muslims, and the plan is to kill them soon. However, the two friends manage to escape their captors, along with two African slaves, Kali and Mea. However, now they are thousands of miles from home, and they don't even know where they are. And just to add to their problems, Nel is very sick with malaria.

This movie is both beautiful and captivating. It is based on the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz (which I will probably review once I get around to reading it again). As you've probably guessed from the title of the movie, the movie is Polish. But hold your horses! Remember that I just said that I myself don't know much Polish. So, yes, there is a way you can listen to the movie in English. In fact, the movie claims that there is the original version, Polish (dubbing), English (dubbing), and subtitles in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Russian.

The movie was released in 2001, and runs for 111 minutes (which almost makes me wonder if the director cut just enough material just so he would get that perfect number :P). It was directed by Gavin Hood, who is a South African filmmaker (yes, I checked that up), and is working on the movie Ender's Game at the moment. Staś is played by Adam Fidusiewicz, Nel by Karolina Sawka.

The only problem I have with this movie is because I watch the English dubbing, the voice and the picture don't always match up. However, there was only a couple of times that I noticed this. For the most part, I either was too caught up in the movie to notice, or there were mistakes.

And since I don't really have much more to say...

Alyianna's rating: 10 out 10


And now for some lovely pictures (and no, they're not in chronological order):


Staś carrying Nel when she gets her first bout of malaria. The guy in the black turban works for the chief "bad guy" I was speaking about. Though, in actuality, that chief guy is not actually the chief, but I'm just confusing myself and you so I'll be quiet.


Staś and Nel on a train




From left to right: Staś, Nel, Kali, Mea




Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that Nel makes a pet out of an elephant. :P





You can buy the movie at Amazon

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I Knew You Were Trouble Music Video Review

I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE




"I think...I think when it's all over, it just comes back in flashes, you know. It's like a kaleidoscope of memories. But it all just comes back...but he never does. I think part of me knew the second I saw him that this would happen. It's not really anything he said...or anything he did...it was the feeling that came along with it. And...the crazy thing is I don't know if I'm ever going to feel that way again....but I don't know if I should. I knew his world moved too fast and burned too bright...but I just thought...how can the devil be pulling you towards someone who looks so much like an angel when he smiles at you? Maybe he knew that when he saw me. I guess I just lost my balance. I think that the worst part of it all wasn't losing him...it was losing me." - Taylor Swift, "I Knew You Were Trouble"


Taylor wakes up in an abandoned party site. As she views the wreckage, she remembers the party the night before, when she discovered the terrible truth about her boyfriend. Creepy-ish music plays, creating that eerie atmosphere. That and the dye in Taylor's hair really makes me remember about Taylor's cameo in CSI when she was stabbed by scissors (okay, maybe that wasn't needed there...). Then Taylor begins to speak about here memories of him as all the memories come spilling back. The first two minutes of this music video are AMAZING. All that backstory - and suddenly, BAM! this song that I hadn't cared for because of the dubstep has meaning.

But then we get all that extra stuff - the stuff this music video could have done well without. The stuff that made this music video inappropriate. Flashbacks of him topless. Flashbacks of passionate kissing. Flashbacks of Taylor and him in bed.

So, yeah, this music video would be one of the best I had ever seen, with all the crazy, terrible elements to make this music video so emotional and passionate...and awesome - if it hadn't been for those parts.
I remember how Taylor always says that she keeps her music appropriate so that parents can trust her, that her music will always be appropriate for her children to listen to. So I don't think the worst part was the inappropriate parts...the worst part was that now my favourite artist of all time has lost my trust.

Should I have known that this music video would only be trouble?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Take Me Home Album Review (One Direction)



The first song on One Direction's new album starts with a small guitar riff, already showing that this album's music is not going to be same as their last one. Yes, the music is still pop, but I would call this style of music more of a pop/rock crossover. I, for one, definitely like this new One Direction better than the one we saw on the last album, and this is not only for the overall sound. As one my fellow directioners said, "This album is actually One Direction, not Liam, Harry, and Zayn ft. Niall and Louis like the last one." And "the boys" even wrote some of the songs on the album!

However (and this is a big however), the good stuff ends once we start digging into the lyrics. Don't get me wrong, I love One Direction, but I need to be critical here. So let the sarcastic humour begin!


The first track, "Live While We're Young", a song about heddonistic abandonment, is all fine and good, until we come to the ending of the chorus: "Tonight let's get some, and live while we're young." Some what? Perhaps I'm just being overly critical, but other friends of mine think the same thing. In fact, one friend from my school changes the line to "Tonight let's have fun". It may not be very creative, but at least it's clean.

Then we come to the next track, "Kiss You". I'd have been put off by the name if I hadn't first listened to this track without knowing the name, fell in love with it, and thought the name was "Take Me Home". The chorus can be considered innocent enough as long as you don't go looking for meaning: "If you don't wanna take this slow, and you just wanna take me home." Well, who WOULDN'T want to take them home? And no, I didn't mean it THAT way.

Next song - "Little Things". This song was written by Ed Sheeran, and the music certainly shows it. The theme of the song is the same as the boy band's hit single "What Makes You Beautiful"...except for the fact, that it again, goes deeper. The song would be perfectly fine, but one line strikes me as being unecessary and creepy in the first part of the song. "I know you've never loved the crinkles by your eyes when you smile/You've never loved your stomach or your thighs,/The dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine/But I'll love them endlessly" Uh...I'll let that pass without further comment.

Fourth song, "C'mon C'mon". The title could definitely be more creative. Zayn starts the song with: "The one that I came with, she had to go/But you look amazing, standing alone". I like this song, upbeat like a teen party, but...it may just be me, but it seems to me as if the boy, the "main character", of this song, is cheating on his girlfriend. I am very tempted to answer, "Don't look at me, you've got a girl at home and everybody knows that" (Taylor Swift from her new album).

#5: "Last First Kiss". This song is beautiful and romantic...as long as you look at it in the way I do.

"I wanna be last yeah
Baby let me be your, let me be your last first kiss
I wanna be first yeah
Wanna be the first to take it all the way like this
And if you only knew I wanna be last yeah
Baby let me be your last, your last first kiss"

Well, all I can say is that nobody is going to "take it all the way" unless they're married to me FIRST. If that's what you meant, very good. If not...then "my daddy's going to straighten you out like a piece of wire" (The Band Perry).

The sixth track ("Heart Attack") is clean, but it could use some originality. It feels like a copy of a few of the songs from their last album, but that could be because none of the boys wrote the song: "Baby now that you’re gone/I can’t stand dumb love songs". Fan girls will giggle over the cute "OW"s, I expect. Or they could give you a heart attack.

"Rock Me" is...a rock song (wow, I would have never guessed). The song is clean, but it is begging for originality even more than the last song did. The title is repeated over again...and again...and again. "Oh my my" thank you for blessing us with your creativity, Lukasz Gottwald, Henry Walter, Peter Svensson, Allan Grigg, and Sam Hollander.

I've only heard "Change My Mind" once or twice because I seemed to have missed it (on the track list on Wikipedia) when I was listening to the songs on YouTube. But it doesn't really matter, as the song is about a boy who is at a girl's house for a party, and after everyone leaves he thinks that if she wants him to "stay for the night", he will.

"I Would" like this song...no, I actually do. But it does seem to be a repition of Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me", except without the amazing lyrics that Taylor always writes. However, the song is fun. It shows the boys back in high school days, painting this image with "He drives to school every morning while I walk alone in the rain" and "With a sign on my back saying 'kick me'". The boys don't seem to be very popular, do they? But, of course, they're in L.O.V.E. and that's all that matters, I guess.

Song #10 is my absolute favourite on this album, so I won't be able to pick at it too much. This song was, again, written by the amazing Ed Sheeran, and paints the picture of a young couple struggling in their relationship. The boy is willing to give his girlfriend everything he has, and to start it all "Over Again". In other words, the song is beautiful. But one line sticks out of the blue at me, first because it doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the lines with it, second because it is...well, awkward. Judge it for yourself: "Body's intertwined with her lips."

"Back For You", the eleventh track on this album, is obviously geared towards One Direction's girlfriends: "I’m watching you from the stage yeah/Your smile is on every face now". But the song also hints at something with the next two lines: "But every time you wake up you’re hearing me say/Goodbye". So, he's there when you wake up, aye? No, I don't want to know anything more.

We're getting close to the end! Number twelve, "They Don't Know About Us" is a sweet song. It makes me think a little about Romeo and Juliet. "People say we shouldn’t be together/We're too young to know about forever". Oh, and it's clean.

"Summer Love", the last song is okay, I guess. It isn't my favourite, either for music or lyrics. And by the way, the song is about a boy and girl who were together all summer, but now she has to go and she's PACKING HER BAGS. Of course, they didn't say she was packing her bags at HIS house, but I would expect so.

Clean songs (5 out of 13)
#4. C'mon C'mon
#6 Heart Attack
#7 Rock Me
#9 I Would
#12 They Don't Know About Us

My Favourite Songs
#2 Kiss You (It's catchy, okay? And notice how I said that the song is harmless if you don't look for meaning...which I don't, at least with this song)
#5 Last First Kiss
#9 I Would (Okay, I admit it...the L.O.V.E. line is catchy.)
#10 Over Again
#12 They Don't Know About Us


I'm not going to give this one a rating because I really don't know how to rate it. As I've said many a time, it's more how you decide to look at lyrics because they can have a double meaning. Or, like my mom, you don't even hear the lyrics. ;)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sierra Jensen book series

Hello all! For the last few months, I have been reading snatches of the Sierra Jensen books I own whenever I have a chance to read (which is not often). Now that I am finishing the last of the books I own (which I have already read at least once), I thought it was time that I do a book review on this series.

In the world of YA fiction today, there are a lot of books that have inappropriate material in them, so I always love to come across a YA book or series where this is not the case.

I have to admit that I'm the type of person, who dislikes the absolutely wholesome books. As a little girl, I always shunned the stories where "the good little girl goes with Mummy to grocery store". That's why I prefer reading something YA to a classic (but don't get me wrong, I do like classics...but I am probably confusing y'all, so I'll be quiet). On the other hand, I don't want something pornographic or main characters who are kissing every few paragraphs.

The Sierra Jensen series by Robin Jones Gunn is a good example of the series I like - YA, with a slight touch of romance, Christian, enjoyable to read, and appropriate. It is a companion series to the Christy Miller series, written by the same author.

Sierra is about my age (sixteen) and I find a lot to relate with her, which makes me like her stories so much. For one thing, she is young and doesn't know much about love, but she learns more as she matures throughout the series. She also has a quick temper and doesn't think before she acts, yet she is sorry when she makes mistakes and loves God.

I have read Books #1-6, and #10 of the twelve books in this series. Here is a link to a website where you can read a mini summary of each book: http://bookplus.tripod.com/pages/sierrajensen.htm

Alyianna's Rating: 9 out 10

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Fourth Wise Man Movie Review



I watched this movie last Sunday at my youth group, and decided that I must do a review of it because this movie is so good. And here is the review. :)

This movie is based on the story "The Other Wise Man" by Henry van Dyck. Artaban (played by Martin Sheen) is a young Wise Man whose dream is to follow the Star to the newborn Saviour and give Him gifts. Accompanied by his slave Orontes (played by Alan Arkin), who has been promised his freedom if he returns Artaban back home safely, Artaban sets out on his quest. However, Artaban keeps coming across people, who need his help and keep him from his quest. Orontes would have happily passed by these obstacles, and tells his master so, but Artaban's kind heart will not let him do this. First, the other three magi leave without him. Artaban keeps following on with his quest, but he is always one step behind the Saviour of the world.

This movie is pack-full of adventure, making it an engaging and interesting story with a good Christian message. Orontes provides a comedic element to the movie.

And just as a side note, I think that Artaban is good-looking as a young man. ;) Just thought I'd mention that. :P

Caution for parents in showing this movie to their children: At the scene of a leper's camp, there are two or three lepers, who have no body below their waists. Also shown is the face of a leper, which is not too disfigured, but is still not that pleasant a sight. Another caution is that near the end of the movie, Artaban and Orentes hear Jesus being whipped.

Alyianna's rating: 10 out 10

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Take Me Home - First Impressions

One Direction put their new album Take Me Home up on iTunes that their fans can listen to for a limited time before the album came out on November 14th (as far as I've heard). I've listened to the whole album (not the yearbook extended version, though) a couple of times and I thought I'd post some of my first impressions.

So far, I'm pretty impressed. There are a couple of songs that I don't care for, but I haven't listened to a single album that I liked all of the songs on the first few listens. My favourite songs are "Last First Kiss", "C'mon C'mon", "I Would", "Live While We're Young", and "Little Things" AND "Over Again" (both by Ed Sheeran, just like 1D's song "Moments"). I like how the boys added more guitar into their music.

One thing, though (yes, that was done on purpose ;0)...I find that the music has edged a little closer to the "more mature" side with phrases like "take it all the way", etc. etc. I prefer to interpret the music my own way, so it's one of those things that you have to decide whether to take it or leave it (like most music nowadays).

Other than that, I'm impressed. :) When the album officially comes out...(actually, it already has so when I get the album), I will do a more extensive review of it.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hawksmaid by Kathryn Lasky BOOK REVIEW



As you can see by the title, this story is the author's version of Robin Hood. The story focuses on Matty, or, Maid Marian. Her mother was murdered by Guy of Gisborne before she turned ten, and her father taught her to read, write, and be a falconer. As the story progresses, Matty becomes closer to the four falcons that she and her father have left, even to the point that she is able to talk to them in their own language. Meanwhile, the English are getting poorer and poorer. King Richard is away on the Cruasdes, and Prince John is taking advantage of his older brother's absence. Matty's best friend, Fynn, and his friends start a troop of outlaws, stealing from the rich to give to the starving poor. But when King Richard is captured, can the friends find a king's ransom?

I was very much impressed by this book. One - because I wasn't expecting to find anything appropriate, let alone, good, in my library's young adult section. Two - because the story was interesting and because of the Catholic content. I certainly was not expecting the latter!

The book sucks in the reader right away. There are only traces of romance in the book, almost nothing to speak of - THANK GOD THAT THIS AUTHOR CAN PUT ROMANCE IN A BOOK WITHOUT...well, without writing what most teen authors do nowadays. However, I was a little disappointed by the ending. I was hoping Matty and Fynn (aka Robin) would swear their undying love to each other...get married...something like that. Instead, they just tell the other that they love him/her, like it's not too much of a big deal. Yes, I did appreciate that the romance was only a very minor part of the book, but couldn't the author have made the ending a little more of something worthwhile?! SPOILER SELECT TO SEE: Matty has just been rescued from certain death and the book ends almost right after she wakes up!

Other than that, the book was very good. The only part that I didn't like was just that disappointing ending.

As I said above, I really liked the Catholic elements - and the forces of good vs. evil (the part about good people stealing is a point I'm a little uncomfortable with, but I'm just going to let it go in this review), even within the Church. As I hope most of you know, the Church has not been without people, who have let the devil work within them. Two Bishops are mentioned in this story - one is loyal to King Richard and a good man, the other is loyal to Prince John. Also loyal to Prince John is a very evil abbess.

Alyianna's rating: 9 out 10

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Songs Post 4

I am bringing back The Songs Post blog series because I got good comments on my earlier posts and I see that some people did like them. :)

Clean Songs
All Angels - This cover group's music is beautiful AND angelic - my favourite songs of theirs are their covers of "The Scientist", "Make Me A Channel of Your Peace", and "Nothing Compares 2 U".
Avril Lavigne - I don't know if all her songs are appropriate or not, but I really love her songs "Innocence", "Sk8er Boi", "Nobody's Home", "Keep Holding On" (for the movie Eragon), "I'm With You", "Complicated", "Remember When", and "When You're Gone".

Okay Songs
Lady Antebellum's "We Owned the Night" - I like this song, but there's one line (or rather two) that tell why I think this song would move down to this category: "We woke under a blanket/All tangled up in skin". Now you know why...and if you're too young to know why, be glad you don't.

Artists to Avoid
Carrie Underwood - My parish priest told one of my friends that she shouldn't listen to Carrie Underwood because most of her music is inappropriate (at least that's what he said), and she passed on the word to me.

Are the Music Videos For The Songs in This Post Okay?
All Angels - All of their music videos that I have seen are perfectly clean. :)
Avril Lavigne - As far as I've seen, "Sk8er Boi", "Nobody's Home", and "I'm With You" are perfectly fine. "Complicated" shows Avril and two of her friends crashing a mall...other than that, it's fine. "When You're Gone" has a few problems.
Lady Antebellum's "We Owned the Night" - I think that whoever directed this video put waaay too many kisses in, but other than that, it's okay, I guess.

Red Deluxe Tracks Review (Taylor Swift)

As I promised, here is my review on Taylor's Red deluxe tracks. :)




17. The Moment I Knew - This song isn't too shabby. I like the violin sound to the chorus. :) This song is heartbreaking, about when Taylor's boyfriend didn't show up to her birthday party when he said "he would be there".
18. Come Back...Be Here - THIS GORGEOUS SONG, THIS TREASURE. You've probably already guessed that THIS is my favourite song from the whole Red album...and you'd be right. This song has such a longing feel to it, and I love the music. I'd have to say that part of the reason that I like this song so much is because of who it is about (or, at least, who I truly believe this song is about). ;)
19. Girl At Home - This is another song that has quite a different sound than Taylor's older songs. I know that most of her songs in this album are this way, but the music in this song made this another song that stands out as different. But I do like this song. :) I also like the message - Taylor tells a guy "don't look at me" because he has "a girl at home" and he shouldn't cheat on her.
20. Treacherous (Demo) - I think I like this version of Treacherous better than the original song because this version is more quiet. :)
21. Red (Demo) - I don't like this version as much as the original version because the "re-e-e-d"s and the drums stick out more in this raw version.
22. State of Grace (Acoustic) - I can't decide whether I like the original version or this acoustic version better. I think I would have preferred to have something in between the two - not too loud, and not too quiet, either. But let me give my cliche phrase - "but I still do like this song". :P

I think I need to find a new phrase to use, yes? :P I feel like I am coming off as uneducated...

I shall give these deluxe tracks a rating of...
Alyianna's rating: 8 or 9 out of 10
(I couldn't decide because the more I listen to this album, the more I like the songs on it.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Lightning Thief Book Review

Wow...it's been so long since I last made a post on here! Sorry about that, everyone! I promise that I'll try to upload at least something every week from now on. :)

Now onto the book review! Spoilers are in white, so highlight them to see.



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 really enjoyed The Lightning Thief - so much that it is now on the "Favourites" list. Rich Riorda's writing is amusing, engaging, and easy to read.

There's a few things I didn't like about the book, though. One - Percy's intense dislike of his stepdad. Okay, I know the guy is a total jerk, but is that really a good enough excuse to make him into a statue? Also, I find the parts about the gods having kids with humans a little unnerving because I seriously doubt they got married before hand.

Other than that, I LOVE this book. Because of the few things mentioned about, I will give this book a rating of:

Alyianna's rating for content: 8 out of 10
Alyianna's rating overall: 9 out 10

Friday, October 26, 2012

Red - Newest Taylor Swift CD!

Hello all! I'm sorry that it's been so long since I did a review on here; it's just that I've been so busy with school. I will try to do at least something on here at least once a week. :)

So...on to the review. As a side note, I am only reviewing the regular CD. Any of the deluxe Target songs (including my favourite song from the entire CD) will be in another post.



The new sound of this Taylor CD was very unexpected. Would you expect an artist to be country with a pop sound in one album and then mostly pop in the next album? Not really! As The Orange County Register states, "Her latest feels more like Katy Perry emptying out her diary with equal candor but diminished sass, the better to make her travails in heartache believable. " And not only has Taylor changed her music style, she's changed her hair and dressing style.


I guess there's going to be no more more dresses and boots in concerts for us Swifties.

Here are some of my thoughts on each track, since I like to do do my reviews that way. ;)

1. State of Grace - This song has a U2-ish sound. I like the song, though not as much as some of the other songs. (In fact, I like the acoustic version on the deluxe CD better.)
2. Red - This is one of my favourites from this album. The only thing I don't like is the auto-tuned (or echoing from the guitar, as some fans insist) "Re-e-e-ed"s.
3. Treacherous - Out of the three songs covered so far, this song has the most country feel to it. This is one of these types of songs that I think is okay until I've listened to it several times, and then I like it (sort of like most of the songs on the Fearless album, not including the songs that have music videos when I first listened to it).
4. I Knew You Were Trouble - This song would definitely be near the bottom (if not at the bottom) if I put the songs on this CD in the order of how I liked them. I don't like the sound of this song (especially the chorus, which has a sound that I believe is called dubsteb). It also has repetition like Red. On the other hand, this is my eight-year-old sister's favourite song on the CD (and she hates most of my favourites). :-/ So I guess it all depends on the type of music you like.
5. All Too Well - This is another kind of song like Treacherous, but I like this song better. Actually, the more I listen to it, the more I like it. The rhythm also sounds very familiar. My mom says that she can recognize it from one of Taylor's old songs, but I'm not too good at that type of thing. ;) This song also reminds me of Donna Lewis' song "I Will Love You Always Forever" for some reason.
6. 22 - Another of the weak songs of the Red album according to me, but it is also some fans' favourite because this song is so fun.
7. I Almost Do - Another song like Treacherous. I find this song a little too mellow for me.
8. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - This song was the first single off this album, and it is another weak song that is too pop-y and loud for me. But, again, I have to admit the song is fun and makes one want to party instead of cry over a break-up.
9. Stay Stay Stay - I really love this song. It is so fun and cute and happy. :) And the music makes me think of Christmas. :D How much better can you get? :P
10. The Last Time (ft. Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol): I was a little surprised with this song because it appears to me as if Gary sings more in this song than Taylor does; but, overall, the song is good.
11. Holy Ground - I don't like this song. I find it too loud...and I just don't like it.
12. Sad Beautiful Tragic - I find this song a little too mellow, like "I Almost Do", but it it is still good. One of my classmates says that this is her favourite song from this album.
13. The Lucky One - I don't care for this song too much, either. :P
14. Everything Has Changed (ft. Ed Sheeran) - Now THIS song is another matter. This song is one of the shining gems of this album (and, no, it's not because of Ed Sheeran). This song is of the quality of Taylor's past songs...and may I say that Ed's voice is sheer perfection? :P I just wish Ed had more than two lines of solo singing...
15. Starlight - I don't care too much for this song, but I'm starting to like it better now.
16. Begin Again - This song was the second single, and is another of the best songs on this album. It is is definitely of the Taylor quality that every song on this album should have lived up to.

So, just a little review of how I think these songs stand (in my opinon)...
The best songs on this album (Five Stars for Taylor Quality): All too Well, I Almost Do, Stay Stay Stay, Sad Beautiful Tragic, Everything Has Changed, Begin Again
Next best songs (almost lived up to Taylor Quality, in my opinion): State of Grace, Treacherous, The Last Time, Starlight, Red, The Lucky One
Worst songs: I Knew You Were Trouble, 22, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Holy Ground

So, all in all, I don't think this album is that bad. I definitely can't give it a 10 out of 10, so I'm going to give it a...

Alyianna's rating: 8 out of 10

But I'm still going to have this album on replay. ;) Next up will be a post on the Red deluxe songs (including my favourite song from this album, as I said earlier) and perhaps I'll do a post on who these songs are about, just for fun. ;)


Some other reviews for you to check out:
Red Review @ The Spectrum - Negative review
Red Review @ The Vancouver Sun - Another negative review. And no, I wasn't looking for negative reviews. Those were the first two reviews that came up in Taylor Swift news.
Red Review @ Contact Music - Another negative review! Wow, the critics really don't like this album. :P Yes, I think it's her weakest album, too, but you don't need to be THAT negative.
Red Review @ Idolator - "Great" name...ummm...so...here's a positive review. I see at least one thing in the review that was a little "iffy", so I would only recommend this article for those 15+ (age).
Red Review @ The Telegraph - Rating of 3 stars.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Magical Worlds of The Lord of the Rings by David Colbert


Alyianna's rating: 10 out of 10
Audience: I'm not sure if children would be interested in all the mythological elements or not, but I think Colbert writes about them in an interesting enough way that a child could like this book. But, of course...I was always a very advanced reader for my age as a child. ;) Amazon puts this book as for readers 18 and up.
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology

This book is really, really good. I started reading it in snatches in between cleaning or before a shower or something like that - which is easy to do since the book is divided into manageable sections so that you can read each in a couple of minutes. Then I read the rest of the book all at once because I kept coming for more because it was so good. Why? Because the book has so many cool facts about LOTR that I didn't know (and this is coming from a person, who considers herself as knowing more than the average fan)! One of the things this book does is go over various mythological stories and legends that inspired Tolkien, which I thought was very cool - and some of these legends have given me some ideas for my own fantasy novel. ;)

I definitely recommend this book to any LOTR fan. And if you haven't finished reading the books, the author has made the attempt to not include any spoilers for you. How awesome is that?

I think it's good to always read a few reviews from different people before you decide whether to read a book or not, so here are some reviews from Goodreads:

Tom Schulte:
Subtitled The Amazing Myths, Legends, and Facts Behind the Masterpiece, this book was obviously put together with the audience in mind that has been only now exposed to Tolkien's work through the latest film treatment. For instance, the final chapter discusses Frodo's actions in Mordor and since Peter Jackson, at least, has not put his vision of this on the silver screen, the chapter is segmented off as a "spoiler." Author David Colbert knows how to do these books, as he wrote the successful The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter. However, even the would-be Tolkien scholar and hardcore fan with well-worn and well-known copies of all the books will find this tome interesting. The index, bibliography and glossary make for handy entrances to the book, laid out like an encyclopedia. Colbert initially places the Tolkien mythology into the greater sphere of ancient European and Near Eastern mythology. This is pretty tenuous and could be good fodder for heated debate among those that appreciate Joseph Campbell as much as J. R. R. Tolkien. The inspiration from Tolkien's knowledge of ancient English and North European lore is well-trodden ground for the initiated, but this presents it in an easy to read manner with plenty of line drawings that will be entertaining for any reader, whether they just saw the movie or can quote Gandalf chapter and verse.

Megan:
This book is a quick read which gives a decent amount of background information on Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings books. Most information is aimed at unraveling how Tolkien came up with certain elements, and what sources he was referencing.

Debi:
Not as interesting as Colbert's book on Narnia but that could be because I know so much about Tolkien already. Easy, easy read. A tad boring.


The Songs Post 3

Just a quick post!

Clean Songs
In My Arms and Real - Plumb
Wunderkind - Alanis Morisette (but avoid any other songs by her!)
anything by The Band Perry

Okay Songs
Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
This song is okay as long as you look at it in the right way. For example, the line "If I lay here, if I just lay here/Would you lie with me and just forget the world?" I've read up on this song, and I've heard that Snow Patrol didn't mean the song to mean that, so I ignore the meaning that comes up because it is pushed so much in our society nowadays and make my own.

Are the Music Videos for the Songs in this Post Okay?
- Real by Plumb - Yes.
- The Band Perry's music videos are okay, as far as I've seen. :)
- Chasing Cars' music video is okay, as well.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Megan and Liz - YouTube Legends

It may seem silly to some of you...but to me, Megan and Liz are like YouTube legends. ;) I discovered them with a cover with Tiffany Alvord, right around when I was just discovering YouTube artists, but I really didn't start listening to any of their music until I heard "Are You Happy Now" the day before the music video was released.

I can just imagine when I'm married and I have kids, my daughter (if I have one :P) will ask me, "Mom! Megan and Liz have a new CD - can we get it? Please?" And I'll say, "Sure, I'll plan a trip to Walmart soon. I'd like to hear it, too." :)

I had these thoughts when listening to (or rather, watching) Megan and Liz's new music video - Bad For Me. I didn't like this song the first time I heard it, but after a few listens...well...er...it caught me (catchy song :P). And I love, love, LOVE the music video.




And then here's Megan and Liz's amazing song that I discovered them with - and I think is their BEST.




A few of my other favourites of theirs...


Princess Charming - Yes, yes, I know I said I hated this song here on Alyianna's Reviews. I...errr...changed my mind. :P


Rest of You - I like this song, but I don't really care too much for the music video.


Long Distance


Megan and Liz also do covers. Here are a few of the ones that I think are their best. :)

A cover of Taylor's "Enchanted"


A cover of "Payphone"


A cover of "Good Girl"
I don't listen to Carrie Underwood because our parish priest said her songs aren't appropriate and I don't listen to the ones that I know are appropriate because my mom said that she found something about her that wasn't appropriate...but I love this cover. :)


Any comments? ;) Which original song and which cover did you like best?

(Please humour me and comment?)
 Yes, I know...hint hint by putting it in the largest letters I could find. :P

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Songs Post - 2

Clean Songs
- You Are More (Tenth Avenue North)
- Albertine (Brooke Fraser)
- I Refuse (Josh Wilson)
- Live Like There's No Tomorrow (Selena Gomez)
- Same Mistakes (One Direction)


Okay Songs
- Need You Now (Lady Antebellum)
This song is fine except for the mention of drinking. "It's a quarter after one/I'm all alone and I need you now/It's a quarter after one/I'm a little drunk and I need you now." BUT when you look at the music video, as the guy sings the last line, he picks up his cup of coffee. XD My mom and I (actually, my mom decided first...I stayed prejudiced for the first few listens) decided that the song was okay to listen to.

- One In a Lifetime Love (Keith Urban
This song actually may be completely fine. It talks about two lovers...and them getting married...and having kids. BUT....It may just be me picking on every song I can...some of these lyrics have me thinking that they may be doing "it" before marriage. "Don't fear it now, we're going all the way." This could just mean that they're going to get married, but it's very unlikely in this society and looking at the person who is singing this song. So I think that this song can be okay...it just matters how you decide to look at the song. I look at songs in a different way of what they're supposed to mean ALL THE TIME...and not only when the song may be suspicious. I can give you an example with a clean song, if anybody wants. ;)


Songs/Artists to Avoid
SOME CAUTIONS ABOUT TAYLOR SWIFT: Better than Revenge is about a girl stealing Taylor's boyfriend and doing...you know what...with him. I'm not going to state the lyrics here...you can easily check it up yourself if you want to see the proof. This is Taylor's ONLY totally inappropriate song. Two or three songs (Teardrops on My Guitar and Cold As You) on Taylor's first album have a mild curse word in them. In the album version of Picture to Burn (a song about Taylor taking revenge on her boyfriend for cheating on her by wrecking his house), Taylor sings, "So go and tell your friends that I'm obsessive and crazy/That's fine, I'll tell mine you're gay!" The music video replaces the last line with "That's fine you won't mind if I say..."

Other than that, Taylor Swift's music is COMPLETELY CLEAN...so she is a good artist to listen to. In fact, she is my favourite. ;)


Are the Music Videos for the Songs in this Post Okay?
- You Are More (Tenth Avenue North)...Clean, awesome, and beautiful. :) *sniffs happily*
- Albertine (Brooke Fraser)...Good. Shows Brooke Fraser among poverty-stricken people in Africa.
- I Refuse (Josh Wilson)...I watched the music video for this song a few minutes ago, and I'm impressed. :)
- Need You Now (Lady Antebellum)...Fine as long as you're good with a kiss at the end. No, it's not heavy...it's normal...FOR ONCE! *sighs with relief*
- Teardrops on My Guitar (Taylor Swift)...Good. :) The minor curse word is removed in the music video version...the music also has a pop aspect added to the country.
- Picture to Burn (Taylor Swift)...Fine, as long as you're okay with Taylor's band trashing her ex-boyfriend's house while she sits on the couch singing about taking revenge on him.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Songs Post - 1

I have decided to start a new series of posts on this blog (yes, I will still be doing some more of Introducing Artists...someday ;0). I got the idea from this post from a thought - bad media does have an impact on kids and teens today. So, in this post (which I shall make as daily as I can - at least during the summer), I shall post have three lists - the first, a few songs I love that are clean, the third, a few songs that shouldn't be listened to (or just general artists that should be avoided). The second list isn't really a list - but one song that is okay-ish, and I'll give my reasons of why it is so. Unless I decide to do more than one song, which I probably will end up doing...

Without further ado, let's begin! :)


Clean Songs
- Lift Me Up (The Afters)
- Good Time (Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City)
- The Man Who Can't Be Moved (The Script)
- Enchanted (Taylor Swift)
- Are You Happy Now? (Megan and Liz...YouTube artists, but they do have an album on iTunes)



Okay Songs
- A Team (Ed Sheeran)
This song is all about a girl, who has completely lost hope in her life. She does drugs (Breathing in snowflakes/Burnt lungs, sour taste). She is also an adulteress. (Long nights, strange men and Or sells love to another man). Why I think this song is okay because of the theme of hopelessness in the song. You KNOW that all that all the girl is doing is wrong, and you feel sorry for her. The song does not promote adultery as, sadly, so many songs do nowadays.
- Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
This song would go in the clean songs category...I'm just a little suspicious of a few lines: I'd trade my soul for a wish and Ripped jeans, skin was showin'. Perhaps I'm just a little overeactive, but...










Songs/Artists to Avoid
- Katy Perry...I checked her up in Wikipedia. I was shocked beyond words.





Are the Music Videos for the Songs in this Post Okay?
- Good Time (Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City) - The music video is fine, besides the fact that Carly looks like she's wearing a jean jacket over a swim suit during the whole video.
- The Man Who Can't Be Moved (The Script) - Perfectly fine. :)
- Are You Happy Now? (Megan and Liz) - Love the music video for this one! So yes, it's fine. ;)
- A Team (Ed Sheeran) - I haven't watched it yet, but if anyone would like me to preview it for them, I'd be happy to. :)
- Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)...the song goes in the okay songs category, but the music video goes in this section, mostly because of the ending. It also shows the guy being sung about taking his shirt off.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Shadow of the Bear by Regina Doman RE-REVIEW

I'm sorry...I will try to stop re-reviewing books. It's just that I feel that my first few reviews on this blog weren't very good, so I want to try again. :)

Here is the original review I did for this book.



Blanche and Rose live with their mother in New York City. One day, their mother gets involved in an accident right outside their house. She isn't hurt, but a young man helps her in. The driver, who knocked Mrs. Brier down, drives away without apologizing. The young man calls himself Bear. Rose and Mrs. Brier make friends with Bear, and he comes to their house often. Blanche has seen Bear before on the school grounds, with some drug dealers.

But as Blanche learns to trust Bear and finds out that her suspicions about him weren't correct, she and Rose also find out that Bear is in a lot of trouble - and only they can help.

I really, really loved this book. Now that I think about it, I may even prefer it to the JP2 High books because I love the overall sense of romantic adventure in it (note to self: NEED TO READ CHESTERTON).

The book is totally Catholic (note to non-Catholics: JUST LIKE LOTR!) and completely appropriate.

To non-Catholics, here is a quote from a review by a Tim Baldwin on Goodreads: "In addition, while this story is told from a very Catholic perspective, it can be enjoyed by those who are non-Christian, or even atheistic, for at the heart of the story lies a universal theme, relatable to readers of all backgrounds."

I would not recommend this book to anyone under...erm....let's say teen years because it really depends on the person. This is because some of the issues raised in this book. For example (this shall be a spoiler, so don't say I didn't warn you):

- The guy Rose has a crush on and goes to the prom with lures her into his parent's bedroom. He tries to kiss Rose and she pretends that she thinks that it's really sweet and romantic of him so that he will let her go to the bathroom. Rose escapes out of the bathroom window and gets a ride home with a policeman.

The characters are believable and so lovable. Rose is a high-strung redhead, who is daring and lives life to the fullest. Her sister, Blanche, who is more careful and prefers to let life pass by then get in danger. Bear is protective and sweet. His brother, Fish, has a sarcastic sense of humour and can get out of many a tight spot.

The best news is that there are so far four more books in this series, each one even better than the last. So not only this book, but this entire series, gets a stamp of approval!

Alyianna's rating: 11 out 10

Note: Make sure you read the 2002 version, not the 1997 version because there are some changes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Great Gatsby REVIEW (SPOILERS)



I find it hard to decide if I like this book or not. It was easy to read, well-written, and engaging. The characters were realistic and you could grow to care for them. I found the beginning a little boring, but once I got as far as after the first few pages, I like the book.

So why do I find it hard to decide what my thoughts are about this book? Because of the story. Here's how I would summarize this story:

The narrator, Nick, lives nearby the famous Gatsby, who holds big parties in his mansion that many people come to, even if they're not invited. When the story begins, Nick goes to visit his cousin Daisy and her husband Tom. A friend of Daisy's, Jordan Baker, is also there. From the latter, he learns that Tom has a mistress. As the story progresses, Nick meets Tom's mistress and is invited to one of Gatsby's parties. At the party, he meets the great Gatsby himself. Gatsby has Jordan Baker explain to Nick that eight years ago, he and Daisy were a couple. But then, he had to go off to the war, and then after that, he was forced to attend a college. When he came back, Daisy was married to Tom. He wants Nick to arrange a meeting with Daisy at his home so that he can visit with Daisy. Nick does so, and Gatsby (that's his last name, by the way) shows Daisy his beautiful house next door. The next day (I believe), Tom finds out about Gatsby and Daisy. Even though he is angry, he comes along with Nick, Jordan, Daisy, and Gatsby to town. Daisy and Gatsby drive in Gatsby's yellow car. On the way back home, Daisy is driving and accidentally kills Tom's mistress. Both Tom and his mistress' husband are deeply distressed. Tom tells the latter that Gatsby did it, which he thinks is the truth. The deeply saddened and angered man (the mistress' husband) kills Gatsby. Daisy and Tom move away, and Jordan and Nick (who had previously kissed) break up.

And that's pretty much the story of The Great Gatsby. Very dramatic, as you can see. The book was interesting, and so I would say that it's good. I just don't exactly approve of the story line. So I shall give this book a (by the way, I will be reading it again because this book is one of the many I have to read for a college-level English course):

Alyianna's rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sieze the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write REVIEW



This writing book was quite good. It was easy to read, engaging, and humorous. The book was filled with writing exercises that I found quite helpful. With school, the amount of time I spent writing had decreased a lot. But after doing these writing exercises, I have gotten into the habit of free writing, finding other writing exercises to do, and working on my book(s) again.

Every chapter starts with some quotes from writers (some of them quite inspiring, if I do say so myself). There are also examples from well-known books (such as The Lord of the Rings ;D) to help you understand what the author is trying to say. The book begins with freeing your imagination and creating characters and finishes off with concepts such as showing vs. telling and point of view, and interviews with authors (the main question on advice for aspiring teen writers).

This book is great for new writers, as well as more experienced ones. I like this quote from a person named Rebecca Czarnecki on Goodreads: "Really, this is not just a book about to how to write, it's also like a support group!" I think the writing tips, quotes, and writing exercises really made this book like a support group.


Alyianna's rating: 10

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bridge to Terabithia - Movie



My sister and I watched Bridge to Terabithia last night. If I had to describe this movie in one word, I would either say either "emotional" or "Wow!". This movie is now on my list of top movies, and I'm already planning music videos and fan fiction - and believe me, I only do that for TOP MOVIES.

Here is the story: Jesse (Jess) Aarons is not the happiest child. His father favours his sisters (the bratty twins Brenda and Ellie, the adorable MayBell, and the baby [I didn't catch her name]) over him. His family doesn't appreciate his love for drawing, and he is bullied at school.

Enter Leslie Burke, daughter of a couple, who write fiction. Leslie's imaginative mind is something new for Jess. Leslie and Jess discover their own imaginary world, Terabithia, where they battle the servants of the Dark Master and grow closer in friendship.

The next parts are all spoilers, so I put them in red so that you can skip them if you want. Jess has a crush on his music teacher, Ms. Edmunds. So when she invites him to go to the art museum with her, he eagerly accepts. He thinks about inviting Leslie, as well; but he decides not to, wanting Ms. Edmunds all to himself. When he comes back, he finds that Leslie tried to go into Terabithia alone. The rope broke, and, although Leslie was a good swimmer, the current was too strong, and she drowned. Jess finds Leslie's death hard to cope with and goes into Terabithia alone. He imagines the Dark Master following him, but it turns out to be his father. Jess' father comforts his son and Jess makes his sister MayBell a Princess of Terabithia.

The movie was wonderful. The scenery of Terabithia was gorgeous. AnnaSophia Robb was the perfect Leslie. Josh Hutcherson was a really great Jess. The acting was done really well. I didn't care too much for some of the background music, but the soundtrack pieces (Seeing Terabithia, Jesse's Bridge, Into the Forest) were just as magical as the Narnia and LOTR soundtracks are for me. In addition to all this, I haven't read the books since I was young, but my memory and Wikipedia tell me that that the movie isn't too far from the book (anyone can correct me if I'm wrong).

The movie is rated PG, for several reasons. First, for some frightening scenes. But, honestly, I don't think the few scenes are any scarier than the Narnia movies. Next, there are 2-3 instances of language from Jess' dad in one scene where he gets mad at his son. At school, there is a lot of bullying going on. The Protestant church that Jess and MayBell go to have them believe that God is unjust, sending people to Hell, who don't believe in Him. And finally, one bully's father is reported to have been beating his daughter.

Here is a review talking about the PG rating of this movie.

However, I still think this movie is appropriate for children. My sister is eight and she didn't have a problem with the movie (part of this may be that she is too young to really understand it all). Actually, I was more affected by the movie than she was. The scenes where Jess finds about Leslie's death and when his teacher at once occasion and his father at another comfort him are so very emotional.

And so, I would definitely recommend this movie - with a box of tissues nearby.

Alyianna's rating: 9.8 out 10 (0.2 taken off for language)







Friday, July 6, 2012

Introducing Artists: One Direction

From left to right: Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles.


When Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson tried their luck at Britain's X Factor, they had no idea that they would be forming a boy band. All five passed the auditions, but did not pass as solo artists. But instead, Simon Cowell grouped them together as a boy band on July 23, 2010, and so One Direction began.

Fun fact: Harry Styles came up with the name One Direction.

After covering songs such as "Torn", "Total Eclipse of the Heart", and "Chasing Cars" (and making several very funny weekly video diaries, I might add), One Direction came in third in the finals, Matt Cardle winning first place, and Rebecca Ferguson taking the place of runner-up. But even though they did not come in first place, Simon Cowell gave the lads a record label.


"We wanted to win and coming third was a big disappointment. So to find out we were signed was incredible. Simon Cowell was telling you your life was about to change! It was weird. Coming from our first audition to being signed by Syco is a huge journey."
- Harry Styles







One Direction's first album - Up All Night - was released in November 2011 through Syco Records. One Direction collaborated with many producers and songwriters including Kelly Clarkson (Tell Me A Lie) and Ed Sheeran (Moments - on the yearbook edition of the album). The album is mainly pop, and it was the fastest selling album in the UK. in 2011. The album's lead single, "What Makes You Beautiful" entered the UK Singles Chart at #1 on September 18th (2011). Their other two singles are "Gotta Be You" and "One Thing".


"They're all awesomely talented guys, stupidly good-looking of course, as well. Young. They've got everything. They've got the whole package. But none of them realized it. They're all very humble and down to earth. It just reminded me of exactly of how we were like when we started."
- Tom Fletcher









In April 2012, an American One Direction (not very well known) contacted the British One Direction, saying that they had the name first and they were going to sue the British boy band. However, Simon Cowell resolved this by paying the US boy band $1 million.

At the moment, One Direction just finished their U.S. tour and are in the process of recording their second studio album, which they started recording in May 2012 in Sweden. The boys have revealed that they want to contribute more to the songwriting and they are also planning to put more guitar in the music and make their music grungier. Their second album is due for release sometime in late 2012. One Direction has also planned a world tour for 2013.


Each member is known for their feature; [Niall] Horan is "the cute one", [Zayn] Malik is "the quiet and mysterious one", [Liam] Payne is "the sensible one", [Harry] Styles is "the charming one" and [Louis] Tomlinson is "the funny one".
- Wikipedia






Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Foundling by Lloyd Alexander - Book Review


I really enjoyed Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles (five books in the series). This book has eight short stories that all relate to the five other books. I found these stories really interesting and they helped me understand the books better. Some of the stories were of events that I had really wanted to hear about (such as the first story, about *SPOILER ALERT select the white text only if you dare!* Dallben being found by the three witches Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch.

The stories were fun and a quick read (I read the book in about half an hour - but I'm a fast reader, so don't be disappointed if you take longer or something like that ;P). They are formatted almost like fables, with each one having its own moral. Perhaps it does not have much character depth, but they are short stories, are they not? Good for children, but I think older people can enjoy it, as well (I certainly did!). And isn't that what makes a book good? That the morality is fine for a child, but an adult can enjoy the book.

Alyianna's rating: 9 out 10 (because I wish it was longer!)

Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction by Lisa Tuttle - REVIEW



This was the first writing guide I had ever read (which sounds terrible for me, being a writer and all). There were SO many pointers that I found helpful - such as the stressing of writing every day, getting your work published, the need of an agent, the different types of fantasy and science fiction, writing dialogue, etc. etc. etc.

A lot of the book was showing her personal experiences as a writer, which I found helpful because I like to be shown an example rather than be just told how to do it. I learn better that way. :)

She interviewed several writers and editors, which helped me see a bit more of what my experience might be like with an editor.

Overall, I think this book is very good for anyone, who is beginner in the fantasy and/or science fiction writing field.

One point that I would like to make is that the the author's example of an omniscient author wasn't exactly the most appropriate - on pp. 83 and 85, I think (I don't have the book anymore, I had to return it).

I think this book is best for a teen and adult audience.

Alyianna's rating: 8 out 10


Link to my review on Amazon - how about going over there and rating it as helpful? :) http://www.amazon.com/review/R3IP2Q0771IBXN/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0713672447&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=

Friday, June 29, 2012

Catholic, Reluctantly (re-review) John Paul 2 High Book 1 by Christian M. Frank

I decided to re-review of this book because I don't think I did a review good enough to this book's credit last time.

the new cover

George would rather be wrestling at St. Lucy's. But the Costains, a family that he and his mom are very good friends with, has started this new Catholic school...and they need some students. Besides Seal (a.k.a. Celia), there's J.P. and Liz (who are buddies one day and enemies the next), this creep James....and the new girl, Allie. But what is a beautiful, actually normal, girl like her doing here?

Allie Weaver is a normal teenager attending a normal school called Sparrow High. But things get abnormal when a shooter begins making himself known and Allie's mom decides to move her to a new school. The problem is - this new school is a Catholic school that is tiny (besides her, there are only five other students in the entire school) and rundown. She is Catholic herself, but she doesn't practice her Faith. So all this Catholic stuff is new and weird to her. Welcome to John Paul 2 High?

And the shooter is still out there...

I LOVED this book. My dad and I make sure that I read appropriate books, so that means staying away from the teen section in the bookstore of the library, which mainly consists of dumb (and inappropriate) romance books. So when I saw that this was a Catholic teen book - I was excited to start reading it. And this book was even better than I expected. I am more into fantasy than other genres, but this is now one of my favourite books.

The first element that made this book so good was that it was Catholic. When there is so much trash in bookstores nowadays, this book was a gem. But the nice thing is that it wasn't too Catholic, if you know what I mean. A person, who is really into their Catholic faith (like me) can like this book and find it a nice change from  most books nowadays, but a person, who doesn't know much about their faith can still enjoy this book (and perhaps learn some new things, too ;P).

The second thing that made this book really enjoyable is that it had a good combination of different things. The plot was interesting and intriguing. It had some elements of romance, but just a little and that is very good. I like books with hints of romance because I find it a lot more effective with little hints leading up to a conclusion rather than a whole lot throughout the whole book (which is usually inappropriate, as it is). The character of J.P. added humour, as well, to this book.

I definitely recommend checking this book out. If you're still unsure whether you are interested in this book or not, http://www.johnpaul2high.com/ has a chapter preview for each book in this series.

Alyianna's rating: 11 out of 10


Link to my review on Amazon - how about going over there and rating it as helpful? ;) http://www.amazon.com/review/R20WX4XXREHKLM/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0982767722&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=