Quote of the week

"All our dreams can come true; if we have the courage to pursue them" - Walt Disney

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Dog Eared YAs: Breathe (A Ghost Story)

Hey guys!

The school holidays just started so I'm FINALLY FREE to start reading all the books that I want again! The one that I just finished was a book from the horror genre that a friend recommended to me! And its title is....


If I saw this house, I would maintain a 30000 mile
distance between me and the house. 


Jack and his mom Sarah move to a new house after his father's death. Jack starts seeing ghosts that only he can hear or talk to. There is mother ghost and four child ghosts. The children warn him about mother ghost and he starts to worry....

^Short and sweet blurbs are my favourite kinds! :)


Without a doubt, I absolutely CANNOT stand horror movies and books because they scare the living daylights out of me and I would rather spend that time blogging.

Yet, BREATHE: A GHOST STORY was an exceptionally inviting book simply because of the brilliant writer's craft.

I was hooked in by the premise of the book and each chapter seemed to offer a insighful new perspective into the entire mystery and haunting of Ghost Mother.

I found the storyline of this book fairly unique but then again, perhaps that was due to the fact that i rarely read horror books (with the exception of I Am Legend, if you consider that as horror :P).

McNish was also excellent at describing Jack's feelings when he had asthma attacks. At some points in time, I was so drawn into his descriptive paragraphs that it seemed as if I was the one having asthma attacks. 

The tone was set well early in the book with Jack's father's death being a lead-in into further hauntings and near-death encounters. The haunted house, while being very cliched, helped to create the creepy atmosphere and stretched readers out of their comfort zone.

In essence, BREATHE: A GHOST STORY was a refreshing, intense read which taught me that love never dies and that humans (or ghosts, in this context!) may resort to terrible means in order to achieve their goals.

It's tragic, but true :(


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Japanese Movies and their Equivalent Books: Part 2

Hello there!

This is Part 2 to my post: Japanese Movies and their Equivalent Books. You can read Part 1 here :)

Okay, so the next book-movie pair is.... Spirited Away and Everlost!

Movie: Spirited Away (2001)

By my all-time favorite director, Hayao Miyazaki!
Plot: In the middle of her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl, Chihiro, wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and monsters; where humans are changed into animals; and a bathhouse exists for these creatures. Chihiro becomes enslaved by the bathhouse mistress but eventually becomes close friends with a mysterious young boy, Haku. Together, they seek to find their true identities and to earn back their own freedom and rights.

Here is the awesome trailer to the awesome movie!!

Book: EVERLOST by Neal Shusterman

The award winning trilogy that
kept me up all night :P

It begins with an accident.
Nick and Allie don't survive the crash, and now their souls are stuck halfway between life and death in a sort of limbo called Everlost. It's a magical yet dangerous place, where bands of lost souls run wild and anyone who stands in the same spot too long sinks to the center of the Earth. Frightened and determined, Nick and Allie aren't ready to rest in peace just yet. They want their lives back, and their search for a way home will take them deep into the uncharted areas of Everlost. But the longer they stay, the more they forget about their pasts. And if all memory of home is lost, they may never escape this strange, terrible world.


Even if you simply skim through the plot overview of the EVERLOST and Spirited Away, you still can decipher the rough gist of their themes. Both are set in the land of spirits (or limbo!) and have strikingly similar themes of discovering one's identity, learning to live independently and eventually, trying to find their way back home.

In Spirited Away, the two young protagonists, Haku and Chihiro, are initially uncooperative but eventually learn to trust and rely on each other. While the Skinjacker trilogy spans across a much longer journey and involves more characters, the character development of Nick and Allie are still akin to that of Haku and Chihiro in Spirited Away. 

I would say that Spirited Away is a more concise version for lazy bums and potato couches that have no patience to read EVERLOST. However, they are both equally outstanding in their own rights and shine in each of their genres :)

Till next time! Remember to read Part 1 and check back again for Part 3 and Part 4!


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Japanese Movies and Their Equivalent Books: Part 1

Recently, I watched yet another touching Japanese movie, Like Father Like Son, in my local cinemas and it made me CRYYY so bad! :,( My eyes were swollen shut and I couldn't get rid of the choking feeling in my chest :(

Ooohh, it's award winning!

It was SO EMBARRASSING since I still had to take the public transport home, but this experience did make me realize that Japanese movies are severely underrated and people really need to know more about them! Also, I realized that there are similar plot lines and themes in Japanese movies to mainstream YA fiction, so today, I will be drawing parallels between both genres.

Hopefully, all of you blog readers can learn of the "movie equivalent" of your favourite book!

Movie: Oshin おしん (2013)

File:Oshin - Japanese Movie-p2.jpg
Kokone Hamada beat 2000 other
auditionees for the role of Oshin! :O

Plot: A young girl named Oshin is sent to work for another family, because of her own family's financial condition. Abused and accused of being a thief in the new household, the fragile girl becomes hurt and discouraged. Nevertheless, she lives strongly and her spirited personality eventually leads her into an adventure of courage, sacrifice and love.

And here is Oshin's trailer:

Book: DRAGONKEEPER by Carole Wilkinson

A truly imaginative book that captures
the essence of storytelling

Plot: In the time of the Han Dynasty in ancient China, the last remaining dragon is in danger of being killed by the cruel Emperor. A nameless orphan with no past and an uncertain future becomes his unlikely ally. The young orphan soon discovers that it is her destiny to protect the aging dragon and his mysterious purple stone. Chased by an evil dragon hunter and a powerful sorcerer, their adventure is not easy. Each must learn to help and understand the other if they are to survive. No longer can she be the timid, shy orphan she once was. She is now the one, true Dragon Keeper.


Both plots are centred on a headstrong female main protagonist and how they each embark of life changing adventures of their own. They are initially reluctant to leave their comfort zone, even if it means living in abject poverty or leading the life of a slave girl. However, they are eventually forced by external circumstances to be brave and embark on their personal journeys. 

When the going gets tough, both Ping (the young orphan) and Oshin rely on their inner strength and peserverance to push through difficult times and they eventually emerge as stronger, braver heroines. 
That's all for today! Keep checking back for Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4!


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Dog Eared YAs: Full Tilt

Hello there :)

Im back again after a long two week break from blogging and after the Deepavali Public Holiday, I went to the library to pick up yet another one of Neal Shusterman's paranormal thrillers! Presenting to you....

FULL TILT by Neal Shusterman

Look at those demonic eyes... *shivers*


Sixteen-year-old Blake has always been the responsible one in his dysfunctional family -- the one who drives safely, gets good grades, and looks after his wild younger brother, Quinn. Quinn is his brother's opposite -- a thrill-seeker who's always chasing the next scary rush, no matter what the cost. But Quinn and Blake are in for the surprise of their lives when they're thrust into the world of a bizarre phantom carnival -- and their souls are the price of admission.

In order to save his brother, and himself, Blake must survive seven different carnival rides before dawn. Seven rides...it sounds easy. But each ride is full of unexpected dangers, because each ride is a reflection of one of Blake's deepest fears. And the last ride is the worst one of all. Because that's the one that confronts Blake with a terrifying secret from his past -- a secret he's been running from for years.

Full of roller-coaster twists and turns, Neal Shusterman's latest page-turner is an Orpheus-like adventure into one boy's psyche.


Overall, FULL TILT was an exciting read, but I felt that the book cover was rather gaudy and inappropriate. At first look, I thought the book was about demons possessing people in an amusement park (however strange it might seem). Also, the book cover looks like its been randomly splashed with acrylic red paint, making it eye-catching, yet displeasing to the eye.

Cover aside, the plot got off to a slow and draggy start, but it eventually accelerated towards the later chapters when Blake and his companions finally entered the theme park. The back story and transition into the main crux of the plot was pretty average but things became more exciting later on. After they entered the park, the three friends accidentally split up and they were left to face each ride alone. Each of the rides were uniquely crafted and involved the main characters in different ways and roles. In some rides, there were animals, cars and boats; in other rides, there were pyramids, mirrors and giant whales. 

Either way, each ride offered a refreshing new challenge that seemed to bring the suspense up a notch.

The symbols were clear-cut and repetitive, making it easier for me to understand its significance and predict where it would next appear. For example, the turnstile had a large role throughout the entire book as it represented the entrance in the physical theme park, the pathway between two rides and eventually, the nebula exit the final ride.

The turnstile nebula at the final ride!
Finally, the theme of the book was pretty unique for the YA genre which earned it a big thumbs up! It focused on how the main protagonist was the "balance" while the main antagonist was the "imbalance". The evil antagonist was never able to triumph over Blake because he had an innate sense of balance. As long as he remained true to himself and accepted his tragic past, he would never succumb to the evil deeds and tricks of the antagonist. Such well-integrated and unique themes are rare gems in the YA genre and I would gladly choose them over any other love-revolution-dystopian themes any day!

To conclude, while FULL TILT is not the most outstanding book I have read so far, it still has its merits and is worth a read if you are interested in paranormal plot lines.

Till next time!