2013 Reading Challenge

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It has been a while, more than six months since I updated the blog. Between switching jobs and traveling, I haven’t been able to pay attention to this blog. I have some catching up to do. Job has been stable and allowing me to have some free time however I did signed up for two classes for my MBA program starting in two weeks, January 14th, 2013. I hope that won’t take too much of my time.

Alright, enough of my rambling. New year, new resolution. It’s time for my new reading challenge for the year 2013. This is my third reading goal, emphasizing the word THIRD.

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Maggie has
read 0 books toward her goal of 70 books.
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Madagascar 3

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madagascar_3Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and of course, King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style.

My Review

Madagascar has always been one of my favorite animation from Dreamworks right behind Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. I like this series so much that I watched the trailer numerous times which probably ruined the first half of the movie for me but that’s my fault. The trailer pretty much highlighted all the good parts of the first movie.

As predicted, after a scary showdown between the animals and humans in Monte Carlo, Alex, Melman, Marty and Gloria hide out within circus to escape from crazy Captain DuBois. What I didn’t expect was the second half of the movie. The zoo animals bonded with the circus animals and when they did get a chance to go back to the New York zoo, everything they fought for to go home seemed minuscule. I did enjoy the final scene where the circus animals rescue the zoo animals from Agent DuBois colorfully (not metaphorically) accompanied by the song “Fireworks”.

Similar to its predecessors, it was overall funny but the comedy came in unnoticeable burst that you might missed if you are not paying attention. Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julien never fails to deliver. King Julien is my most favorite character. In this movie, they paired him up with a circus bear.

This song is stuck to my head.

DA DA DADADADA DA DA CIRCUS DA DA DADADADA DA DA AFRO CIRCUS AFRO CIRCUS AFRO POLKA DOT POLKA DOT POLKA DOT AFRO

My Grade: B/B+

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Snow White and the Huntsman

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snow_white_and_the_huntsmanIn the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Charlize Theron) out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White’s beauty and power.

My Review

This movie was set in medieval time giving me the impressions that I am watching something in between Lord of the Rings and Games of Thrones. With that in mind, Snow White and the Huntsman failed miserably below par. Incoherent accents, poor acting performance and bad writings basically summed up the movie. The movie basically rewrite the story ending with the huntsman’s kiss awoken Snow White as the possible opening for second installment. I am pretty confident that I will not be paying money to watch the second movie if they decided to make it.

I don’t know the reason why fairy tale especially Snow White are so popular right now. “Mirror Mirror” was another movie released earlier this year with the exact theme and “Once Upon a Time” series on ABC was the other show which has Snow White theme. I actually enjoy the TV series more than this movie. “Mirror Mirror” served its purpose to be a comedy movie. I guess I had higher expectation from this movie. Overall CGI was good with an impressive troll scene.

This movie has the worst and weakest war speech I had ever heard. With that speech, I would rather suffer under the evil queen rule than fight along with Snow White. I was expecting a war speech similar to the one given by Theon Greyjoy in the season two finale of Game of Thrones before he got knocked out by his underlings. That speech can definitely riled up the troops. Charlize Theron seemed to be shouting every time she spoke and she didn’t portrayed the evilness believable for me personally. I would rate Chris Hemsworth the worst narrator of all times. This has been a disappointing summer so far.

My Grade: C/C+

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The False Prince

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the_false_princeGoodreads Summary

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

My Review

I bought the book from one of the school book fair. The clean, striking cover caught my attention. I usually don’t buy physical book anymore and I prefer ebook at any time. Since this is a physical book I owned, I don’t get to read it non-stop because I don’t have it with me at all times. Finally I was able to finish reading it last Memorial Day weekend. Once I started the book, it was hard to put it down.

I love Sage rebellious and witty character. Sage is always ahead of his enemies by doing quick thinking on his feet. I am intrigued to see how good slow romance unfold between the two female characters in future books. Don’t expect any head-over-heels falling in love from this book and I find this refreshing.

The excerpt basically gave most of the story away but I wasn’t expecting the twist at the end. It was a good twist that earned a spot as one of my favorite book. The book picked up very slow in pace but wrapping it way too fast to my taste. By the time I reached the end, I craved Sage more. I was clinging to my seat so-to-speak as I turned the pages from the last couple of chapters. I am looking forward to reading the second installation from The Ascendance Trilogy.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Easy by Tammara Webber

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easyGoodreads Summary

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, stalked by her ex’s frat brother, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Her econ professor gives her an email address for Landon, the class tutor, who shows her that she’s still the same intelligent girl she’s always been. As Jacqueline becomes interested in more from her tutor than a better grade, his teasing responses make the feeling seem mutual. There’s just one problem—their only interactions are through email.

Meanwhile, a guy in her econ class proves his worth the first night she meets him. Nothing like her popular ex or her brainy tutor, Lucas sits on the back row, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. At a downtown club, he disappears after several dances that leave her on fire. When he asks if he can sketch her, alone in her room, she agrees—hoping for more.

Then Jacqueline discovers a withheld connection between her supportive tutor and her seductive classmate, her ex comes back into the picture, and her stalker escalates his attention by spreading rumors that they’ve hooked up. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

My Review

I have always been a fan of Tammara Webber so I bought this book right away. She is one of my favorite author on the light contemporary YA romance genre and she never fails to deliver. I finished the book within a day and could not put it down. I love the simple yet beautiful cover.

Never judge a person from their appearance. Tattoo covered and a lip piercing Lucas/Landon sounds dark and dangerous but in fact, he was the most sweetest thing in the story. I am so glad that Jacqueline found him. It took a while for the book to reveal the dark secret Lucas/Landon carried within himself. I’m seeing a pattern here. Jacqueline and Landon exchanged funny emails just like Fifty Shades of Grey but I like the emails exchanged between Anna and Christian much better. Authors are inclined to include modern technology in their writings nowadays.

The love story was secondary to the life lesson being taught from the book. Rape victims need to come forward no matter what the situation they were in to prevent future sexual assaults from the same rapist. Miss Webber did an fantastic job on Buck’s sexual assaults victims’s fighting journey on getting Buck convicted on his own actions.

I can’t wait for more books from Tammara Webber.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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