I will be moving to Wordpress.com on October 1! My new URL will be exploringbystarlight.wordpress.com.

Follow Friday (9)

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.

Q: Best cover? What is the best cover of a book that you've read and loved?

I love the old UK covers for the Uglies series mainly because these are the ones that I read and there's just something creepy about disassembled Barbie dolls. I don't think that the newer covers are as good as these ones.

Happy Friday!

Review: Ted (2012)

Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and Seth MacFarlane.
Genre: Comedy
Released: August 1 2012
by Universal Pictures
Running time: 106 mins (1 hr, 46 mins)
Cert: 15 (BBFC) R (MPAA)
Rating: ★★★★

IMDb | View Trailer
John makes a Christmas miracle happen by bringing his one and only friend to life, his teddy bear. The two grow up together and John must then choose to stay with his girlfriend or keep his friendship with his crude and extremely inappropriate teddy bear, Ted.

I've been wanting to see this film for quite some time because I love Seth MacFarlane's shows. Although I don't always agree with his views, I find his sense of humour hilarious and Ted was a film that I just had to watch. However, I do have to say that this is a film that you shouldn't watch with someone who is easily offended or is your mother. I did the latter.

There isn't much to the film's plot, but that's not too important because the humour and jokes that centre stage. Ted tells the story of 35-year-old John Bennet's troublesome friendship with his teddy bear, which is starting to interfere with his relationship with his girlfriend, Lori. That's pretty much it. The humour of Ted is not PC at all but that's what made it so funny for me. I love that the humour is both physical and focused on jokes at the same time. I also liked the use of cutaway gag scenes that are frequently used in Family Guy.

The cast is definitely the strongest element of Ted; the comic timing is impeccable and I had quite a bit of fun figuring out where on TV I had seen cast members from. Some were from Family Guy (for example, Alex Borstein as John's mother, Patrick Warburton as one of John's co-workers and Mike Henry as a southern news anchor) and I even liked Ryan Reynolds' cameo appearance. I also just loved the Patrick Stewart was cast as the Narrator. Dude has an awesome voice!

Ted, the foul-mouthed, substance abusing cuddly toy voiced by Seth MacFarlane, is definitely the core of the film. He has all of the best lines and jokes and even dominates every comedic scene. Seth MacFarlane's performance really showcases what he does best: voicing his own creation. I don't think anyone else could have done better.

Mark Wahlberg's and Mila Kunis' characters, John and Lori, provide the emotion of the film and the actors do it incredibly well. Wahlberg and Kunis interacted perfectly on screen and all the way through the film, I was routing for John and Lori's relationship to work out.

The music of Ted is very similar to that of Family Guy, which disappointed me just a little bit. I was hoping for the film to have absolutely no connection to Family Guy, American Dad! or The Cleveland Show and the music kind of shot down that hope. However, I did like the music. the jazzy score had a bit of a reminiscing feel to it.

I have to say that Ted is definitely the funniest film that I have seen in a long time and I'm not really a comedy person. My lungs ached from laughing at all the jokes thrown at me, even though the seats me and my mam were in sucked (right at the very front!). I would definitely recommend this film and I think that Family Guy fans would love Ted.

Pledged Tour Stop

After about a week or so of not posting (I'm really sorry, gang), I have my tour stop for Gwynneth White's Pledged here!

(Soul Wars Saga #1)
Gwynneth White

Add to Goodreads
Everyone has a soul mate. But what do you do when your soul mate would rather give his soul to the demons than be with you?

Seventeen-year-old Erin has a problem. Seth has been hers forever, but now an ancient curse is tearing him away. And the demons who invoked it will stop at nothing – even murder – to claim him as their own.

How can she win against a curse so binding that it has damned countless others to this same fate – an eternity alone?

The answer lies in the past. To find it, Erin and Seth must risk all, travelling back in time to a dangerous world where love is forbidden, and life – and death – hang on a pledge.

Follow Erin and Seth as they travel to ancient Shenaya and confront the curse that has plagued their families for millennia. Caught in a war between the Angelic Guardians and the Gefallen, the disembodied dead, they must fight to keep their souls in tact and their love untainted.

Review: The Gemini Agent by Rick Barba

The Gemini Agent
Rick Barba
Series: Starfleet Academy #3
Genre: YA Science Fiction / Movie Tie-In
Released: June 2011
by Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★

Add to Goodreads | Purchase online
Somebody wants James T. Kirk out of Starfleet Academy.

As first-year final-exams week kicks off, several incident reports with serious allegations against Kirk end up on the Commandant of Midshipmen's desk. None of the accusations are true, of course... or are they?

Kirk has been plagued by mysterious blackout periods, so he finds the reports difficult to refute. During these blackout  periods, he has no real recollection of what he did, save for some very disturbing and disjointed memories. Kirk has to wonder if the memories are real. If they are, what do they mean? And what's more disturbing for Kirk, to consider is what if the memories aren't real? Can memories be planted?

Together with his friends Bones and Uhura, the young cadet Pavel Chekov, and a beautiful Vulcan cadet, Kirk gathers the pieces of a very mysterious puzzle in an attempt to prove his innocence before it's too late.

The third installation of the Starfleet Academy series, I was quite eager to start reading this one, since the previous book was pretty good. I've been quite enjoying this series so far, and I was hoping that this book would follow the pattern of enjoyment. It sort of did...

The plot of the book, to me, took a while to get to. While the main plot was kind of engaging, there were little side-plots here and there that seemed unnecessary, the most unnecessary being a sub-plot containing Uhura and Spock. Spock has no interaction with any other characters and just may as well not even be in the book at all. Also, reading that he looks down at Uhura's incredibly short skirt seemed incredibly uncharacteristic, even in this universe. Just thought I'd add that.

The main thing that I really liked about this book is the inclusion of Chekov, who is my second favourite TOS character. In the book Chekov is fourteen and just the cutest thing ever. My favourite parts of the book involved Chekov and he was the one character that just made me think "aww" whenever he said something that I found to be particularly adorable.

I liked how in this book, we are taken onto a starship and far away into non-Federation space, rather than just staying in the Academy. I think that pulling the action away from Earth, even for just a little while, gave the book a more of a Star Trek feel, since the series very rarely takes place on Earth.

A main feature of the book is Kirk's mysterious blackouts and I really liked how they were presented. I really managed to get a feel of what Kirk sees while he's blacked out through the writing, which gives quite a clear image.

Overall, I didn't love this book, but I didn't not like it at the same time. For a book that only has thirteen chapters, most of the action appears in the penultimate chapter, while the rest of the book moves at quite a leisurely pace. I found the end to be a little bit predictable but I loved the inclusion of Chekov.

Follow Friday (8)

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.

Q: What blogger inspires you? It can be any kind, it doesn't have to be a book blog.

I'm quite inspired by some of my favourite blogs and I'll name a few of them. Giselle from Xpresso Reads, because her reviews are incredibly well-written, Ashley from The Bookish Brunette because her personality is present in everything she posts and, of course, Rachel from Parajunkee's View because, well, she's just awesome!

Happy Friday!
(P.S. Sorry about not posting this week, I've been pretty busy with college stuff)

Follow Friday (7)

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.

Q: What would you do if you were to start your blog again from scratch?

I would plan out exactly what it is that I want to do with the blog, i.e. name, layout, theme, rating system ect. rather than just creating it and continually changing it until I'm happy with it. I would also carefully plan out what exactly I would review, rather than just a mishmash of whatever comes into my brain.

Happy Friday!

Review: The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The Seven Year Itch
Directed by: Billy Wilder
Starring: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell and Evelyn Keyes.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Released: June 3 1955
by 20th Century Fox Pictures
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hr, 45 mins)
Cert: PG
Rating: ★★★★

IMDb | View Trailer
With his family away for their annual summer holiday, New Yorker Richard Sherman decides he has the opportunity to live a bachelor's life - to eat and drink what he wants and basically to enjoy life without wife and son. The beautiful but ditsy blond from the apartment above his catches his eye and they soon start spending time together. It's all innocent though there is little doubt that Sherman is attracted to her. Any lust he may be feeling is played out in his own imagination however.
Probably the most iconic Marilyn Monroe film, everyone know the famous skirt scene, regardless of whether they've seen The Seven Year Itch or not. I watched this film on a bit of a whim, and since the 50th anniversary of Marilyn's death was on Sunday (August 5th), I've written this review in her memory.

The basis of The Seven Year Itch's plot is the concept of Manhattan's married men running wild while the wives and kids are away for the summer. From a glance, it doesn't sound too thrilling, but it's the specific events surrounding Richard (Tom Ewell) and the Girl (Marilyn Monroe) that makes it more exciting. Every scene has Richard speaking in soliloquy for a short amount of time or even the whole scene. These soliloquies proves a bit too much for me to the point that I sighed in relief every time someone joined the scene. The scenes that feature both Richard and the Girl are by the the strongest and funniest scenes in the film.

I have to say that, in my opinion, Marilyn gave her best comedic performance as the Girl. I love how she combined innocence and sexuality to create her own version of the Girl, which was somewhat unique to the other characters she had played in comedies. Although, and I hate to say this, Marilyn wasn't an amazing actress she had impeccable comedic timing and she delivered her funniest lines incredibly well.

I loved the setting of Manhattan in the summertime. It just has the feeling of things rushing by but also that of people feeling sluggish due to the heat. It may be hard for some people to tell, but I felt it was reflected in the scenes. For me, the scenes with the Girl move quickly than those with just Richard delivering one of his many soliloquies.

I can honestly say that this film features Marilyn's best comedic performance and she is what makes The Seven Year Itch as great as it is. And, to quote the Girl, "it's just elegant"!

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week:
(The Chemical Garden #3)
Lauren DeStefano
Release date: February 12th 2013
by Simon & Schuster
Add to Goodreads
What if you knew exactly when you would die? In the not-too-distant future, genetic engineering has turned every newborn into a ticking time bomb—males only live to age 25 and females only live to age 20. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. When 16-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by "the Gatherers" to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Rhine has only one purpose after she has been married to her new husband, Linden: to escape and find her twin brother.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant to whom she is dangerously attracted, Rhine is desperate to learn the truth and protect those closest to her. But, as her sister wife Cecily keeps insisting, her role may be much bigger than that.

In the first two books of the Chemical Garden trilogy, Wither and Fever, Rhine struggles to escape the mansion and then to navigate the brutal world outside. Now in Sever, the third and final book, Rhine uncovers some shattering truths about the past that her parents never had the chance to tell her and the alarming implications regarding her own genes. She may be the one who can save the human race.
I know that I finished Fever just this week, but I'm really itching for the next book in the series to come out! The cover could be just that little bit better, but still I can't wait! That release date is just mean, I want the book now; I can't wait until February!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave me a link!

Review: Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden #2
Genre: YA Dystopian
Released: February 2012
by Simon & Schuster
Source: Borrowed from library
Rating: ★★★★

Add to Goodreads | Purchase online
Running away from her forced polygamous marriage leads 17-year-old Rhine Ellery straight into a trap: a twisted carnival whose ringmistress desires the beautiful and unusual Rhine as her star attraction. But with Gabriel - her lover and fellow escapee - Rhine remains determined to reach Manhattan, find her twin brother, Rowan, and start a life far from the gilded prisons that have confined her.

The road to freedom is long and perilous - and in a world where women only live to age 20 and men die at 25 - time is very precious. And worse still, Rhine's sinister father-in-law, Vaughn, is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion... by any means necessary.
I've been meaning to read Fever for a while since I forgot to buy the book (it's either that or I refused to fork out about £10 for a hardback copy because I'm cheap like that) but the recent cover reveal for Sever reminded me that I really need to get my bum in gear and read this. Thankfully, my library had it so I tore it off the shelves straight away and took it home.

Fever starts right where Wither left off, so the pace is a bit more energetic, which suited me just more than fine. I loved more than just one setting as Rhine and Gabriel escape to Manhattan, as most of Wither was set in the mansion. I also enjoyed seeing how the world of the series really is and how dark it truly is, in contrast to the world that Rhine longed for in Wither. If I had to pick a favourite part of the book, it would probably be the Carnival scenes, which were insane in just the right way.

Although I liked seeing Rhine and Gabriel together more, there still wasn't any strong chemistry with them and it seemed like they were both in the friend zone. It appeared to me that Rhine had some lingering feelings for Linden and wanted to be back at the mansion, due to her constant reminiscing about him climbing into her bed and being with her sister wives. I liked seeing Gabriel come out of his shell but while he did that, Rhine appeared to become weaker, to me and I don't mean just physically.

In Fever there are many more locations and settings than Wither, as Rhine and Gabriel are travelling from Florida to Manhattan. I've never been to the US and I have very little of it's geography but I'm assuming that's a long way to walk or travel by car. I enjoyed seeing the numerous settings as it made the book feel much more free, whereas Wither felt almost claustrophobic. Throughout the book, there are references to Vaughn, Rhine's malevolent father-in-law. I felt that these references and even appearances gave the narrative a feel of danger and of fear of being caught. Every time Vaughn was even mentioned I found myself routing for Rhine and Gabriel to complete their mission but I had a bad feeling that they wouldn't.

I found the writing of Fever to be a bit better than that of Wither. I loved the imagery and descriptive language that was used, especially during Rhine's dream sequences, hallucinations and when she is drifting in and out of consciousness. I like to have a good image of whatever crazy things a character is seeing and DeStefano captured those crazy things incredibly well.

Overall, Fever is an improvement on Wither but it's not completely perfect. I enjoyed the dark, kind of hopeless feeling that is present throughout the book but sometimes it got a little bit too much. But, that aside, this is a great sequel and I can only hope that it gets even better from here!

Follow Friday (6)

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.

Q: Do your reading habits change based on your mood? Do you read a certain genre if you are feeling depressed or happy?

I often tend to do this. If I'm feeling sad, I tend to read chic-lit or something bright and cheery (maybe even funny) to brighten my mood. I guess my reading changes based on what I'm in the mood for. For example, if I'm in the mood for something that will scare me silly, I'd read a horror book, or if I'm in the mood for some suspense, I'd read a crime book or something hardboiled.

Happy Friday!