Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham

Description (from Goodreads):
A teenager struggles through physical loss to the start of acceptance in an absorbing, artful novel at once honest and insightful, wrenching and redemptive.

On a sunny day in June, at the beach with her mom and brother, fifteen-year-old Jane Arrowood went for a swim. And then everything — absolutely everything — changed. Now she’s counting down the days until she returns to school with her fake arm, where she knows kids will whisper, "That’s her — that’s Shark Girl," as she passes. In the meantime there are only questions: Why did this happen? Why her? What about her art? What about her life? In this striking first novel, Kelly Bingham uses poems, letters, telephone conversations, and newspaper clippings to look unflinchingly at what it’s like to lose part of yourself - and to summon the courage it takes to find yourself again.


My thoughts:

Shark Girl, a debut novel by Kelly Bingham, is a book that you cannot put down. A beautiful, heart breaking and inspiring story written in verse will make you cry, laugh and honor your life, just as it is. 

On a normal summer day Jane goes to the beach with her mother and Michael. At the morning when she woke up she never though that that day would change her life...for good. Jane goes to swim and after 10 days in coma she wakes up in a hospital bed without her left arm. Everything she has dreamed about changes.

For years Jane has been the best artist of her school, winning prices from her art pieces. Now, without her right hand, she feels like that part of her life, the part she loved the most, is over. In hospital Jane meets Justin, a 11 year old boy who's other leg has been amputated. Through Justin, inspirational letters by others who have gone through the same and through the support of her friends and family she tries to build her world again. 

But none of the support is enough if she herself isn't ready to face her loss.

As mentioned before, "Shark Girl" is a novel written in verse. It is Bingham's debut novel and I must say how positively surprised I was about the language, the story, everything. The novel is so beautifully written it keeps you reading until you reach the end, and even then, you want for more. Bingham's description of Jane and her feelings is heartbreaking and it really makes you feel happy about the things you have. Shark Girl is also an inspirational story about how we all should accept ourselves as we are, because sometimes the things in us we don't like are ones that we cannot change. We just need to get along with them to be happy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Challenge to you: Men of 2011

I was thinking about a nice challenge to give to all of you, my dear readers, and for myself as well. And then I got it... I know there probably are other challenges like this as well, but you know, maybe I get my own twist to it or something.

So, since I am completely obsessed with hot guys (I proudly admit it) I decided that it would be awesome to do a "calendar" of my favorite guys, choosing one for each month. And I decided to challange your into it as well. So make a list similar to mine to your own blog, listing your 12 favorite guys, one for each month of 2011. Give short description why you chose the guys, if you want to, but I think the most important thing is the pictures. :D

Link your list to this blog post, and then on the first day of 2011 I will share all of the lists in my blog! I would love to get these as much as possible, so please encourage your friends to do this as well. At least I do not find anything more relaxing that going to Google to find pictures of hot guys and telling why I like them. :D I hope I am not alone. And I would love to see your lists and do we have any similarities.

And sure, if you do not want to do list of guys, you are more than welcome to do the list of beautiful girls. 

I am sorry if I make myself sound like a freak in this post. This is just me, I am always like this!  So I warn you beforehand.

ENJOY! 



READ.READ.READ. introduces "The Men of 2011":

January: 

Rupert Grint
 Okay, I have always thought that he is cute. But in the newest Harry Potter film... he is plain sexy. I love him as Ron, but I think that I would love him even more as himself; he seems to be goofy, down to earth etc. I cannot wait for the second part of The Deathly Hallows to see more of this hottie.

February:

Tom Felton
Okay, for the past three month, this guy has been my main weakness. His acting, music, looks... everything. And his ACCENT. Dammmn, he is just so hot. I can't wait to see the second part of Deathly Hallows. And I can't wait to see him in other roles than the role of Draco Malfoy, even though Draco is one of my favorite Potter characters.
 
March:

Damian Kulash
I was fortunate enough to see this guy perform with his band in August 2010 here in Oulu. Yeah, miracles happen... sometimes amazeness like Ok Go visit places like this. His voice in incredible and the music Ok Go plays is just the type I love. And this guy, he is incredibly handsome. Even though he looks so good in this picture, it does not do him justice. You have to see him yourself to respect the handsomeness.

April:

Paul Wesley
 The ones that know me well know that I have weakness for vampires and for tall guys with dark hair and eyes and good bodies. So what happens when all of these things are put together? I get obsessed. Since the first episode of Vampire Diaries I have been in love with Paul Wesley and Stefan Salvatore. It seems that I cannot get enough of him. And what is better month to celebrate the hotness of Paul than April, the month I turn 20 and the month of my reading vacation.
 
May:

Eric Dane
 After seeing Eric Dane for the first time as McSteamy in Grey's Anatomy I have gone to the Doctor's appointments with high hopes of meeting a doctor as hot as him. This probably does not come as a surprise, but I haven't met a doctor like him yet... but maybe one day. With his hotness and steamyness, Eric Dane can help me in the May 2011 IB exams. 

June:

Ezra Koenig
 This guy might be familiar to some of you as the vocalist of Vampire Weekend. I totally fell in love with Vampire Weekend at the beginning of 2010 when I heard someone listening to as school. It was only couple of weeks ago that I actually googled pictures of them and I found this hottie. Vampire Weekend is definitely the number 1 band I would love to see perform live. Maybe they want to come to play to graduation party which will be held in June?

  July:

Colin Firth
 Okay, I know some of you are like "C'MON, you are 20 and he is like 100 years old!" SO WHAT? Have you seen him in Love Actually? What about in Bridget Jones? Or in BBC's Pride and Prejudice? After seeing P&P so many years ago, there hasn't been a way to go back; Colin Firth has totally stolen my heart. He made me learn to love Mr. Darcy even more (I did not think that is even possible). He also introduced me to the glorious English men which are now my weak point. And sideburns... oh god. Those are my weak point.
 
August:

H.R.H. Prince Carl Philip of Sweden
I had to include one royal to my list... I love William and Harry as well, but I must admit that Carl Philip, the Prince of Sweden is my favorite royal. I think he is introducing the model of our new home in this picture... or then not.

September:

James McAvoy
I could call this my inspiration picture for my time in university in Scotland. If there are guys like him in there, oh, I am ready! I fell in love with him in "Inside I'm Dancing" and when I saw him in "Becoming Jane" I was sold. His accent... just listen to it and you will be in heaven. I proudly admit I have gone to Youtube many times just to listen to his accent from his interviews.
  
October:
Ed Westwick
 Ed Westwick as bad boy Chuck Bass is one of the main reasons I still keep watching Gossip Girl. It seems that the plot itself is just repeating itself different ways, but it is interesting to follow the changes in Chuck. And the pure hotness of Ed Westwick makes it a lot more enjoyable.
 
November:
Blake Ritson
Since seeing Mansfield Park 2007 I have been in love with this guy. Edmund, my second favorite Austen man, becomes even more wonderful when Blake Ritson is playing him. Just watch the movie and you know what I am talking about.
  
December: 

Matthew Morrison 
Well, what can I say? I think I would not mind ending the year 2011 with listening to this baby singing me some Christmas songs. He makes watching GLEE even more enjoyable. 

Book Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Description (from Goodreads):
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

My thoughts:

I remember seeing this book for the first time during a time when I had no idea what YA states for. It feels such a long time ago, but actually it isn't. I think it was 2007 when my host sister Ale tried to make me read this book, but for some reason I did not do so. I had read "The Truth about forever" by Dessen, I still remember buying it from the clearance section at Books-a-Million, but for some reason I did not get excited about this one after seeing it. And how stupid I then was.

"This Lullaby" introduces us to Remy who has stopped believing in love. You could think that is is because there are no guys in her life. But it is quite the contrary. Remy has had several boyfriends, I don't think that her fingers and toes would be enough to count them. But it is her mother's several marriages and their failures that has shown her that love is not all that glorious everyone seems to think it is. For years she has been the one planning the weddings and eventually settling the divorces. But now she is over with it. It is the summer after her high school and she is counting the months for her personal freedom= university of Stanford. 

Everything changes when Remy meets Dexter. She first thinks that he is just one of her normal flings, one that lasts until she feels like ending it. But on many ways, Dexter is different. He is so unlike the "ideal" guy of Remy. He does things that she normally hates, but while she is with him, she is able to ignore those things. When her friends start to talk about love, she gets annoyed. But could what she feels for Dexter be love? Or is she even capable of feeling love? Does love even exist?

I really loved this book! Remy was an interesting character to read about because in a way she reminded me of myself. Remy is a control freak and she has totally lost her trust in love. I don't say that I have completely lost my trust in love, I think I have misplaced it (like Remy eventually learns as well) and I just need to find the person who can bring it back to me. My friends always laugh at me because I love romantic movies, books etc. but I am the one who is planning not to get married etc.

Dexter is completely adorable, and even though he has many traits I would not at first look, find attractive at all, I would eventually adore a guy like him. He is a bit of a slacker, but also artistic, funny and oh so optimistic. A total opposite of control freak, pessimistic Remy. It is really interesting to read how the chemistry develops between then, and how eventually, they become to be the perfect match, which Remy tries hard to deny. 

If you are familiar with the other works by Sarah Dessen, you will love this one as well.