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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spoiled by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan + CONTEST!!!

Read until the end, there's a signed copy for you!!! HERE is the form to enter...Just tell me what you think of my new review and you can get a chance to win a signed copy! *Contest ends November 30th!

TOTAL POINTS: 80/100 points

Storyline & Content (26/30 pts)
The book was awesome! Sometimes it was too exaggerated but it was fun and hilarious! Brooke Berlin, daughter of the famous Brick Berlin, has a new sister! The new sister--Molly--just wants to get along with everyone, but Brooke wants all the attention. Spoiled is a book about sisterhood and coming of age; it's a fun read, and it's fast-paced! Read the summary here.

Engagement Level (15/15 pts)
There were events after events, it was very engaging. I was never bored reading this book.

Author’s Language & Writing Style (6/10 pts)
Well, I liked the authors' language, but sometimes it was too dramatic--maybe some of you enjoy reading books that are super dramatic--not me. Most of the time it wasn't too much exaggeration, so I love the book overall.

Message/Moral (13/15 pts)
I think there are a lot of moral issues and ethics in this book (e.g: Should you ruin your new sister's life or not?) and I feel like Spoiled was a satire to mock teenage angst dilemma :D

But of course, there are many messages in this book, but I believe the ethics thing works out best for this 1st book in the series.

Information (5/10 pts)
It was sorta informative, I learned some things but it didn't stick out to me very much. This is a book of engagement and fun, not informative!

Characters (8/10 pts)
Molly was believable, while Brooke was unrealistic at times. I guess the people I've met aren't as crazy as Brooke, so I don't really believe that there are people like Brooke Berlin. When Brooke started being vulnerable, I think Brooke was real. When it was Molly's thoughts of Brooke, I felt like it was just too much exaggeration. And... I also don't know if there would be parents who'd name their kid 'Arugula', but hey, that's just me ;)

Originality (3/5 pts)
I think the idea of the book is pretty original. I mean, I don't really see this kind of book covering the shelves of bookstores, but there are a lot of other books where there are a couple of girls started out by disliking each other, but ended up liking each other in the end. It reminds me of Gossip Girls, too. Or just girls in high school reading magazines, really.

Movie Material (4/5 pts)
I would LOVE to see this book in theaters! I could just picture this being a movie and it would really bring everything come to life. Spoiled is a real movie material!

+ + +

Words from the authors about how they wrote Spoiled together...

JESSICA: We originally started off with Heather writing the Brooke section, while I wrote the Molly parts, but we abandoned that plan about a week into it -- basically, we both wrote each character. Because what we realized, of course, is that regardless of whose POV we were writing in, in a given chapter, the other character was also IN that chapter, so we had to master both of them. So we really both wrote the entire thing. Basically, the best way to do that for us -- I know other writing teams may do it differently -- was to put together a very, very detailed outline, and then split the work into chunks, and then trade. Because we knew what was happening in the other sections of book, we could then work concurrently and out of order -- thanks to the outline, I knew that when Heather and I traded chunks to write through and edit the other's chapters, I wouldn't get a section where, say, someone was suddenly MURDERED or something. But working with another writer is definitely not half the writing work -- it's more like twice the work. Which is not to say that I would have it any other way. I think that having two sets of eyes on the writing made it stronger, and because Heather and I write together so often and have done so for so long in our day job, we already had a natural sort of mind-meld that made it easy for us to marry our work together.

HEATHER: Being terrified of missing our deadlines was our most powerful weapon, too. The outline helped that immensely because whoever finished a chapter first could just ship it to the other person and dive into whatever the next untouched chunk was. We also realized that there wouldn't be an even 50-50 split between Brooke sections and Molly sections -- and sometimes we'd switch POV within one chapter -- so it was much faster and cleaner and more consistent to assign it by chapter rather than by character. The only problems that ever arose were if we had a bit of an accidental mind meld in terms of where we set a scene, or the type of jokes we wrote. That didn't happen often, but it did happen. We work together so much that by now we also think alike, so it's only natural. But those problems were also easily fixed. It also helps that, while both of us are incredibly possessive of the overall final product, neither of us is possessive of anything we wrote individually. Our attitude us, make the book as good as it can be. If that means changing up some sections I wrote, so be it. It's very much a Tim Gunn thing: make it work, however that may be. I could see that being a problem for writing duos in general, but after all these years -- and also just how we're wired, as people -- we know enough never to take it personally, so it's never an impediment to the writing or to the relationship. Thank God. Can you imagine?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reviews coming up...update

Hey guys,

I am reviewing, but it's slowly done because I'm really analyzing it.

11/2/2011 - Spoiled
11/4/2011 - Deadly Cool

From now on, check on the sidebar for the reviews that are coming up! I'm posting a schedule there!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Restructuring Scholarberry

Everybody wants to be different, right? Well, you're not the only one! The hiatuses I've been taking is for the sole purpose of restructuring Scholarberry or school. I've been reading, again, but I don't want to review more books until I restructure my whole blog. I'm going to try to review it differently--I'll try to analyze it like an English book. I promise you'll read a review on Monday...and it'll be fun. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WHAT? Conventional Values and Literature

So I was working on my English Perfect Piece writing assignment for Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston (No. I have not read Their Eyes Were Watching God, but I will). The question that I chose to answer was:

"It is the role of literature to challenge and confront the conventional values of a society." In what ways, and to what extend, have conventional values been challenged in Dust Tracks on a Road?

I finished my perfect piece while listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons*. Believe it or not, I was trying to race against a year's worth of symphony...and I won. Anyway. I'm trying to post everyday, but I'm not exactly in the mood to write a review today. So I decided to write this "WHAT?" post. Every time I post a WHAT? post, I am seeking your opinion. Think of it like philosophy class...or English class where we discuss our books, really.

The Q: What's a title of a book you read that intrigues you regarding some society's conventional values and what did you think of it?

Also...tomorrow is my school's homecoming dance. This is my senior year at high school, and I've only gone once (and that's because I had to volunteer by selling some brownies during freshman year). I witnessed grinding for the first time...and uh, disliked it. Should I go? I don't have a date and I don't like grinding.

*Vivaldi's Four Seasons lasts about 42 minutes. I finished around the 33 minutes mark. :)

P.S: Should I post my Perfect Piece? Would you be interested in reading it? :)

Music listened to while writing this post: The Story of Us by Taylor Swift


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook

Would you ever kiss your best friend's boyfriend?

Well...would you??? I wouldn't, but that's probably because my best friend doesn't have a boyfriend! Just kidding~ I wouldn't even if she has a boyfriend, really. But Emma did---she kissed Joann's boyfriend, Colin. The thing is, Colin is also Emma's childhood friend. The kiss, though...that was accidental. It just kind of happened when Colin and Emma were out shopping for Joann's Christmas present, and of course, Joann would only be mad at Emma and not Colin! <

So Emma doesn't really talk to Joann anymore, and she doesn't really have other friends. Emma also avoids Colin, which means she's on her own. Then Todd Seaver comes....(this is a downside of reading too many books: you know what's going to happen already!!! Of course another boy than Colin would show up...) and he is accused of the strange happenings of girls fainting!

Emma lives in a small town, and news travel fast. Emma doesn't like that--the whole 'small town' thing. She wants to go to big, big city. She wants to be deviant, she doesn't like anything about the town she lives in. Todd was an outsider--he was a new kid. Nobody liked Todd for that, and nobody liked Emma for hating the town so bad.

So...everybody says that Todd is kinda shady. Did he really caused all the popular girls to faint? Watch the awesome trailer below and get a copy of the book!

Rating: 6/10

A satisfying read; Good laughs, good story, memorable, but not in my all-time favorite list. It was a bit exaggerated for me, and it was also predictable. It wasn't out of ordinary, but all in all a good tale to read. GOOD READ FOR WHEN YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND (Or when you're thinking of getting one...) I might read it again someday.

307 Page/Simon Pulse/978-1-41697432-1/

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Hey guys,

sorry for the hiatus without notice...I'll send out the books this weekend. Any of you familiar with Questbridge? That's what I've been doing, that's the reason for the 1 week hiatus. This blog will run again normally starting Monday, October 3rd!

By the way, I was thinking of another way to make memories during my senior year at HS...and I suggested doing a RELAY NOVEL on a whim!!! What's a relay novel, you said? A relay novel is a novel that you pass on! You can write one sentence, one paragraph, one page, it's up to you! When you feel like you've written enough, you pass it on and the next person might change the whole story (Yikes!) (BTW, I don't really know what it's called, but I'm doing it!!!)

But doesn't that sound fun????

On Thursday at HR time we'll decide the domain name...I'm so excited about this! (I'm not starting though! I think I'm taking a break of writing for a while.....I'd be doing lots of college app essays this year anyway -.-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz

My rank: 9/10
Publisher: Push
Publication: October 2010
ISBN: 978-0-545-16911-0
Page Count: 304 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Red Balloon Bookstore

Summary from author's website:

Annaleah and Brian had something special—Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn’t need anyone else. It didn’t matter that it was secret. All that mattered was what they shared.
And then, suddenly, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living on the outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss no one will let you have?

- - -

Whenever I read a love story, usually the book begins with the character's meeting or parting (and from then they solve the conflict and get back together). In You Are Not Here, Schutz took a different approach of Annaleah's story.

Brian and Annaleah hooked up a couple of times, but they weren't official. Neither Brian's friends or Annaleah's know each other, and they always hung out in secret. Annaleah lost her virginity to Brian, so it's natural for Annaleah to grieve when Brian died...except for the fact that Brian's family doesn't know about Annaleah.

In You Are Not Here, Schutz wrote about how Annaleah cope with Brian's death and not having anyone to talk to. Annaleah's mind is growing--and this book is filled with philosophical thoughts that will make the reader turn the pages for more.

- - -
What I like about this book: When I read the summary, I was thrilled to read this book. Then I opened the first page and noticed that it was in verses and not normal paragraphs. I was surprised and I thought about putting it down since I didn't think I would like it--but it worked, and I love it.

What I didn't like about this book: To be honest, the ending was a bit predictable. I would've liked it if Schutz didn't end the book the way it ended.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender + Interview

My rank: 10/10 :D
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication: April 21, 2009
ISBN: 978-1423108764
Page Count: 3522 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Publisher

Get a chance to win this book and its sequel here.

I'm one of those people who are easily surprised, so scary (or 'scary') movies and books were never my thing. Then Bad Girls Don't Die came in the mail and even just by looking at the cover, I know this wasn't the kind of book I'd pick up in a bookstore.

Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender is an elegant, spooky story about two sisters--the older is the social outcast and the younger, possessed.

Alexis is the social outcast--she skips school and gets called to the Principal's Office a lot. Kasey has problems--she doesn't have any friends or normal hobbies except taking care of her set of dolls in her room. Also, Kasey will hurt anyone who touches her dolls.

In the beginning of the book, Alexis realizes that there's something weird with Kasey lately. Kasey's...not herself. The shy Kasey suddenly turns out brave and vicious--'hell-bent on murder,' actually. Alexis questions Kasey's new judgment, but Kasey said she only tries to have fun with her nice, new 'friend.'

To stop Kasey from hurting everyone, Alexis bravely investigated and found out the connection of the ghost who possessed Kasey and the antique house they live in. Alexis only has one worry; Kasey's new 'friend' might hurt Alexis before Alexis stops them.

+ + +

So I told Katie Alender about how fascinated I was after reading her book, being someone who doesn't want to even get near scary stories and all.

1. This has probably been the most cliche question ever, but what
inspired you to write Bad Girls Don't Die?

The story came to me as a moment between two sisters, who are isolated
from other kids and from their parents and only have each other to
turn to. They make up stories for each other, and then the younger
sister starts making the stories come to life in a very creepy manner.
The book evolved from there into what it is today!

2. Have you ever stayed, lived or visited a house like Alexis and Kasey's?

Ooh, good question! Not that I can remember. But when I was in Ireland
a few years ago, we stayed in an extremely creepy hotel. It was the
very end of the season and there were only a few rooms rented in the
whole place. So we wandered down these curving, deserted hallways, and
it was SO creepy!

3. Whom are you more similar to; Photography-and-deviant-Alexis or

I think I have a good dose of Alexis in me. Mostly in terms of being a
total smart-aleck! I always have a wisecrack, often when none is
called for. ;-) But there's a piece of Kasey in me, too. To be honest,
there's probably a piece of all my characters in me!

4. I DON'T like dolls/creepy stuff. Even Barbie dolls creeps me out
(and the crazy part is that I used to own one back in elementary). Do
you....have know, passion for dolls? What made you centered Bad
Girls Don't Die with dolls?

No, I definitely don't have a passion for dolls. I liked them when I
was younger, although this past Christmas I went through my old dolls
and realized that most of them are incredibly spooky looking! The main
reason I chose dolls for the book is that they have the potential to
be so scary--not just because of what they are, but because of how we
project on them--little miniature personalities and lives. The funny
thing is, after writing the book, I'm much more freaked out about
dolls, because so many people sent me eerie pictures of them after
reading the book, LOL!

5. I see Carter as the normal savior in this book. He might not have
saved Kasey, but he was the one who kind of kept Alexis sane. What
role did you have in mind for Carter and did you accomplish your goal?

In early drafts, Carter was a bit more tied into solving the mystery,
but later I decided that role was better filled by another character.
Carter to me is kind of a bait for Alexis to grow as a person--a hint
at the sweetness and trust that can come from letting people get to
know you a little, instead of isolating yourself all the time.

6. Is it really weird to have a fan that DOES NOT like mystery/creepy
books, but ended up loving your series?

Well, not to me. Because I don't really love creepy books, and I wrote
the series! To me, at its core, this is a book about a girl--not a
book about ghosts. The ghost is a tool I used as a writer to get the
girl (Alexis) where I wanted her.

7. What's your favorite book of all time and why?

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. It's such a sumptuous world to
lose yourself in--and the characters are so interesting and varied.

8. Thanks! This is the last question! What would you like to say to
anyone who has not read Bad Girls Don't Die?

What are you waiting for? LOL! No, I would say, don't be scared off by
the fact that it's called a horror novel. It's really more of a
thriller, in my opinion. The word "horror" turns a lot of people off
(it would have scared me away, for sure!), but this isn't a book with
lots of gore or anything. Just a few little scares!

Remember, you have a chance to win this book and its sequel (From Bad to Cursed) here!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tired of Reading?

I just want to ask, has anybody (fellow book bloggers, especially) been tired of reading lately?
No offense to all of the authors out there who has sent me their books. I read them all. They're good. You've tried your best, thank you very much for letting me read them.

But they tend to have similar storyline lately, don't they?

Honestly, ever since Twilight came out, everything that covered the Teen sections in bookstores are all paranormal/dark romance. Yeah, it's interesting, but I kind of miss the simple, pure and innocent crush-stories.

I know that the normal love stories are still out there, it's just that the majority of what I've been reading are SIMILAR.

Like everything's based on Romeo and Juliet (the 'star-crossed lovers' part)...

I'm not dissing any of these books. Anybody understand what I mean...?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blogoversary giveaway part 2

Hey there!

Sorry I haven't been updating this blog for a while. I do that sometimes when I don't feel like reading. Yes, as much as I LOVE reading...sometimes it can get boring. You know, having to read so many books with SIMILAR themes...

But anyway. I'm not slacking. I've BEEN reading books. I just don't feel like posting the reviews yet... I've just been golfing. A lot. >.> And playing Final Fantasy Crisis Core on my PSP that the Japanese Rotarians gave me.

Aaaand like I promised, here's more books to giveaway! (Again, reviews for these books are coming soon, if not existing).

*PB - PaperBack *HC - HardCover *ARC - Advanced Review Copies *S - Signed/has a signed bookplate attached to it *ALL prize packs also contains some signed random bookmarks/goodies. :)

MYSTERY SOUL PACK: The Body Finder (HC) + Desires of the Dead (HC) + extra Body Finder goodies (S) by Kimberly Derting
DARK PACK: The Forest of Hands and Teeth (PB) + The Dead-Tossed Waves (HC) by Carrie Ryan
VAMPIRE PACK: The Society of S (PB) + The Year of Disappearance (PB) + The Season of Risks (PB) by Susan Hubbard
CURSES PACK: Bad Girls Don't Die (HC) + From Bad to Cursed (ARC) by Katie Alender

...Anybody else notices that somehow these 4 packs are all dark-themed...?


See, if you think this blogoversary giveaway is big...wait until next summer, when I'm off to college (that means I'd have to clean up my room and take only the most beloved books that I can't just part souls with ;D)!!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

My rank: 8/10
Publisher: FSG for Young Readers
Publication: May 2011
ISBN: 978-0374399054
Page Count: Pages
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Publisher

Get a chance to win this book HERE!!!

Book summary (from Goodreads):


Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.

My Review:

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody is a fun read. Dramatic but simple, it is very engaging and fast-paced. Just like The Karma Club (another book by Jessica Brody), it is one of those books that'll make you laugh out loud! I gave it an 8/10 because it was missing a huge chunk of the story. The whole conflict between Brooklyn and Shayne was explained, but only briefly. It makes the book feels incomplete.

Brooklyn Pierce's life has been filled with bad judgments; so she made a blog and let her readers makes decisions for her. It's a crazy choice to do this--her followers made Brooklyn tried out for the girls' Rugby team, but they also made sure she stayed out of trouble. When "Red" (Brook uses code names on her blog) appears and shows interest on Brooklyn, her reader told her to stay away from Red and keep talking to the other guy whom she never noticed before.

Good: Fun, funny. I kept laughing the whole time, seriously.

Bad: Again, the conflict between Brooklyn and Shayne (her best friend) wasn't explained thoroughly. It wasn't enough...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Freebies for Blogoversary!

Dear Scholarberry readers! August is Scholarberry's Blogoversary month! This page will be updated each time I have more books to giveaway, so keep reading!
As of right now, I have 8 (and counting) set of freebies to giveaway!

Here is the catch, though...everyone who enters the freebies has to be a Scholarberry follower!

Here is the list of books up for grabs! *Every freebies pack will also include bookmarks/swags. Books which hasn't been reviewed yet will be reviewed soon. CLICK ON THE TITLE FOR REVIEW!

1. ROMANCE PACK Perfect Chemistry (paperback) + Rules of Attraction (hardcover) by Simone Elkeles
2. LIFE PACK My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody (hardcover) + Tangled (hardcover) by Carolyn Mackler
3. BEAUTY PACK Beauty Queens (hardcover) by Libba Bray + Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood (hardcover) by Eileen Cook
4. WOLVES PACK Claire de Lune (hardcover + signed bookplate) by Christine Johnson + ARC of Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
5. TALES PACK Wither (hardcover) by Lauren DeStefano + Kiss Me Deadly (13 paranormal tales) (ARC)
GREEK PACK The Lightning Thief (paperback) + The Sea of Monsters (paperback) by Rick Riordan
7. TOP 8 PACK Top 8 (paperback) + What's Your St@tus? (paperback) + Unfriended (ARC) by Katie Finn
8. LIAR PACK Signed copy of Flawless (paperback) by Lara Chapman + Poser (ARC) by Sue Whyshynski

Fill out the form HERE! This contest ends August 30th and it's open INTERNATIONALLY! SPREAD THE WORD!

P.S: If all goes well, I might add more prizes :D

Monday, July 4, 2011

Foreshadowing Monday: Happy July 4th, Boston Terrier!

Here is a post for July 4th! Credit goes to the 150 soldiers who serviced USA and sung this!

And here's the random Boston Terrier dog my dad found on youtube....

Pretty random, huh? I have my laughs, lol. It makes some random, unique noise when it's tickled. Here's another weird animal video. To the cat lovers!

So I decided that Monday should be a fun day (since when the school year starts, it's gonna be BORING) and included some literature too. Foreshadowing Monday will be where I post an article, video or anything related to one (or all) of the reviews I'm going to do this week.

As you can see from the will have something to do with animals. xD

Enjoy your 4th of July!

And here's Katy Perry's Fireworks, for everyone who's going to watch fireworks tonight all over USA!!! Happy birthday, USA <3

Lastly....this is a cover of Katy Perry's E.T (this is my favorite song). I think this is two of the best covers out there. xD

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nippon Ichi: Cage of Eden

Hey Scholarberry readers, so Friday is officially Manga Review day for Scholarberry. Nippon Ichi means Japan #1 (As in, anything that's awesome from Japan will be post under that title). Why manga, you might ask? It's a big part of Japanese culture (and also a source to learn about Japan). Plus, it's graphic novel. With manga, the conversations are alive because of the pictures. This is why I chose to start reviewing manga on my blog.

I hope more people can enjoy reading manga and not only see it as something for middle-schooler to read.

The first manga is Cage of Eden (or Eden no Ori). You can read it for free on here. It is rated MATURE because of the violence and some revealing pictures. I usually don't read ecchi manga because other than the fact that it's unrealistic (some girls in ecchi manga has breasts the size of watermelons...), it's just plain dirty and nothing else. But I was looking for "action" type of manga when I came across Cage of Eden.

Cage of Eden/Eden no Ori - Yamada Yoshinobu

Cage of Eden is made for readers who enjoys reading The Lord of The Flies by William Golding. The students in a high school in Japan goes to a school trip to Hawaii (Culture: The middle school students usually takes trip all over Japan in their last year of middle school while the high school students goes to Kyoto, Tokyo or Oosaka. The private schools often goes out of the country, to places like Hawaii and Australia). The manga started with the scenes in a plane, when the students are ready to depart from Hawaii back to Japan.

Then their plane crashed on an island that's not listed in the map...and hence began their survival time.

Ancient animals--from all the way to dinosaurs' period of time--attacked them. Danger lurks everywhere. They hope to somehow find the plane again to use the radio communicating device.

This manga shows what humans will do if they are put in certain situations. It's for fans of The Hunger Games Series, Battle Royale (it's a Japanese movie--for those who aren't familiar with it, check it out!) and The Lord of the Flies. It is an on-going series. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Huge by Sasha Paley

"Look, I don't want to be friends."

My rank: 3/10
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication: 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4424-1718-2
Page Count: 259 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Publisher

Wil is a rich brat who doesn't want to exercise. Her parents owns Excalibur Gym, the biggest fitness group in USA. So of course, they would want Wil to be, you know, skinny. Fit.

But Wil does not want to be skinny. Which is the total opposite of April, who saved each of her penny to go to Wellness Canyon--the camp to be fit.

Wil and April ended up being roommates, and when both thought their summer couldn't get worse, they both fell for Colin (the only boy worth drooling and swooning over at Wellness Canyon).

Who will get Colin's heart and will Wil and April survive their summer?

- - -

I love the idea of Huge by Sasha Paley. I didn't watch the show from ABC as I don't have cable (nor I watch that many TV shows), so I don't know anything about the show. The idea is good. Opposites always attracts--in a way. But Huge's character is a little bit too dramatic for me. It's like reading a girl in middle school's diary about pure complaining. DRAMA.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

AS: OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy and Freebie!

"What Jewish girl goes to a Christian camp?"
My rank: 8/10
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication: 05.11.2011
ISBN: 978-0-8027-2177-8
Page Count: 256 Pages
Age Range: Young Adult
Source: Publisher

The Freebie:
An ARC of OyMG, signed bookplate (attached to the ARC) and bookmarks OR a magnetic poetry of OyMG and bookmarks are available for grabs! Continue reading and you'll find out how to get it! Fill out this FORM!

Ellie Taylor loves to argue. She loves her debate team and was thrilled when she had her chance to go Christian Society Speech and Performing Arts Camp (CSSPA; one of the best summer camps for incoming freshmen to compete on speech and debate teams). There is one chance to fulfill her dreams, and that's by winning the CSSPA scholarship to go to Benedict's.

Zeydeh ("grandfather" in Jewish) lives and breathes Jewish. To Ellie's Zeydeh, it's not just a religion. So when Ellie tells the family she's going for the scholarship, of course Zeydeh protests. But since this is for Ellie's dream, he has to support it whether he like it or not.

Then Ellie met Devon. Devon Yeats--the grandson of Doris Yeats (the one who sponsors the scholarship for Benedict's) and had a sizzle even before Ellie knows his last name. Ellie has to prove herself worthy for the scholarship--but apparently Doris Yeats isn't fond of Jews. Hence, Ellie put "Christian" as her religion.

How will Ellie deal with Zeydeh, Doris Yeats and Devon?

The story is fresh and original. When I first heard about this book, I had my doubts (Religion, after all, is kind of a touchy topic no matter who you are). But I was hooked to read it from the very first page. Dominy's voice kept me going. Quick and witty at times, with a spark of drama that we deal with everyday (even if we don't realize it or not).

Author Spotlight:

1. Ever since you were younger, did you always want to be a
writer? How old were you when you started writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something. But
the first time I thought about it seriously was when my dad
suggested I submit a story I’d written to American Girl Magazine.
I sent it in when I was thirteen years old—and American Girl
Magazine sent me my first rejection letter. (I still have it!)

2. What inspired you to write OyMG!?
I think most of us grow up feeling different in one way or
another. For me, I was one of the only Jewish kids in my school.
I was proud of my faith, but at times (especially Christmas!) it
was just plain hard. I wanted to be like everyone else.
Then something happened to me when I was Ellie’s age. I
got fired from a babysitting job when the family found out I was
Jewish. Of course that’s stayed with me over the years. It’s hard
to understand hate like that—at any age. The question is how
do we handle it? How far will we go to conform and fit in? What
part of ourselves are we willing to hide? From that question, Ellie
Taylor and OyMG came to life.

3. Does religion matter? How much?
Religion has been an important part of my life and it’s definitely
helped define who I am. But I think religion is only as good as
the people who practice it. For me, it’s more important to focus
on being a good person, on trying to accept and understand
people and repair the world in any way possible. It doesn’t
require religion to do those things.

4. What do you want to convey when you wrote OyMG!?
It’s really a story about a girl trying to figure out who she is and
learning to accept herself, differences and all. I hope teens who
read the book will realize that our differences are what make us
special—that it’s okay to speak up and speak out. And hopefully,
to be more aware of how they might judge others.

5. I love speech team! Was this something you did back when
you were in high school, or did you need to research for this
specific novel? Please tell me your experience with speech!

I can understand why you love speech team! I only participated
in one tournament in high school—but it was a dramatic event
because theater was my first love. So when I started this book,
I contacted a speech coach at a local high school and followed his
team to a tournament. After that, I was hooked! Impromptu and
oratory were two of the events I watched the most—and maybe
that’s why I featured them in the story. (And now I’m kicking
myself that I didn’t do speech in high school—so much fun!)

6. I checked your website and know that your second book is on
the way! Would you be willing to give some info about this??? :D

Thanks for asking—I’m so excited for this one! Audition and
Subtraction will be out fall 2012, again from Walker & Company.
It’s about fourteen-year-old Tatum who could lose her spot
in District Honor Band—and her best friend—when a new guy
transfers to her school. Friendships shift and romance sparks in
unexpected places.

7. What do we need to do in order to get the freebie?
An OyMG magnetic poetry is up for grabs. Just leave a
comment…and if you can include a Yiddish word you’ll get a
double entry!

P.S: Don't forget to fill this form!

8. Thank you very much for your time! Is there anything else you
would like to say to OyMG! readers?

Just that I hope you like the book! If you have any thoughts or
comments, I’d love to hear from you at

Monday, June 13, 2011

WANTED: HERO by Jaime Buckley


My Rating: 8/10
Publisher: On The Fly Publications
Publication: 05.27.2011
ISBN: 978-1-61463-001-2
Page Count: 106
Age Range: YA

WANTED: HERO is a fresh, dramatic and fast-paced tale of Wendell P. Dipmier whose life changed drastically after being kidnapped by an alien named Dax.

Wendell isn't cool--he's always been the sidekick of his best friend, Evan Matthews. Evan is hot, liked by everyone and of course, popular. Wendell is the total opposite of Evan. Wendell's wimpy, not popular and squeaks like a little girl. Oh, and Wendell's a drama queen.

In the first book of the series, Wendell gets kidnapped by Dex (the alien who smokes) and brought to the High Elder (whose skin is blue and wears a 'dress') to get punctured on the heart by a super-sized diamond. Wendell thought he was dead...until he felt the cold floors on his butt. Naked butt.

What I like about this book: It's fast-paced and it's funny. It's kind of weird to have a boy acting as the drama queen, but it works. I also felt like I was reading a comic book the whole time--it was very graphic and the speech was more leaning towards a comic book's style of speech. But hey! It works!!!! :D

What I dislike about the book: The plot was somewhat dragging a little more than it could be. A couple too many pages dwelling on the same scene, but that's alright.

Thanks to Evan Buckley for the ePub copy! :D I look forward to reading the second book!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Original Personalized Bookmarks by M.E.

There's one more thing you don't know about Scholarberry's writer; she loves to draw! I have a deviantart account that is rarely updated since I'm busy (even my journal says I'm still in Japan >.<) but here is the link to my deviantart account!

So...I was bored. The Copic Markers that I bought in Japan was untouched...and POOF! I cut some white thick papers and started drawing. The sign on the lower left says my name in katakana in Japanese. It's a hanko (their version of 'signature') stamp. I carved mine out for a calligraphy lesson in Japan, and since I can't use that to sign in the US...well, I'm gonna make a use out of it anyway :D

I'm thinking to put it as a giveaway every month--maybe a couple of people will get one every month. But I'm also thinking to sell it--name the theme and I'll draw it for you! What do you think? Good enough to sell $0.25 per bookmark?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tangled by Carolyn Mackler

"What the hell am I doing here?"

My Rating: 10/10
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication: 12/2009
ISBN: 9780061731044
Page Count: 3508
Age Range: YA

Carolyn Mackler's Official Website

Tangled by Carolyn Mackler is a flowing story about 4 people's life that got, well, tangled up. The first character to speak was Jena--a normal teenager who has yet fallen in love. Then comes Dakota; Jena's first crush who's a bit messed up in the head. There's Skye, the super popular and beautiful actress who doesn't really want to function anymore and there's Owen, who have never broke any rules before. Jena went to Paradise with Skye--and for the first time Jena has the guy's attention (Dakota). Dakota seemed to be interested in Jena, but when Dakota spotted Skye...He ditched Jena. After all, it was too good to be true. In Paradise, Jena found a suicide note..and Owen--the Loser with Laptop blogger. In Tangled, their stories cross paths.

In Tangled, readers will learn about discovering first love, how to handle societal expectations and getting outside the box--and live it.

What I love about Tangled: It was funny at one page, but it can be really touching in another page. Mackler's writing style regarding controlling the mood can be really powerful in my opinion. It's pretty cool how Mackler can write something that makes the reader ROTFLMAO and cringe between pages.

What I dislike about Tangled: The beginning dragged a bit--Jena seemed to be very quick at changing her mind in the beginning of the story. She seemed to be insecure, while as of at the end of the book, she's like a completely different person. I like that part of the character development, but I felt like it was necessary to know what's going on Jena's mind--the process of changing. I disliked that it didn't show as much as it probably should have.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Answers about Japan and Facebook!!! :D

Hey! So emmathers commented on the previous post and asked me 5 questions about Japan!

But before that...I made a Facebook page for Scholar Berry! Click here to see and like the page! Add me on Facebook too! Write "Scholarberry" when requesting to be my friend!

1) Were there hair requirements when it came to the uniform?

* Yes, there were rules for hair while wearing uniforms! I actually went to a middle school for a week (my host sister was in the same middle school) and I found out that you can't let your hair down. It was weird. I'm a person that loves accessories, so it was hard enough to actually let go the earrings--the teachers frowned upon me when they see my ears are pierced, but then they remembered I was an exchange student and then they understood, lol. But the hair was completely okay. I had to tie my hair into a ponytail or part it into two. I can braid it, too. Basically, make it into one or two clumps. :) And we can't have our eyes covered. In my high school, it was more normal. But they don't allow perms--although the girls would pretend it's their natural hair (they would straighten it).

The boys have it more strict; they have to keep it short and it can't go past their ears nor touch the back of the collar.

2) How many uniforms did you keep and were they eerily alike?

*I have 3 sets of uniforms. My primary one was the blazer uniform.

This uniform on the left was the winter uniform of what I wore at my high school. Obviously, it's a blazer uniform. The skirt is tiny checkered dark gray and white. During the summer, I don't wear the blazer, ribbon or the sweater (there's a sweater for later on when it gets colder). We have to wear matching gray vests (it's ugly, really) and short sleeves. In winter, we're allowed to even wear stockings/tights, but only black. I always wear the knee-high navy socks because it's actually warmer than the stockings. In summer, you can wear a shorter white socks or the same navy socks.

The other uniform is a sailor uniform, for when I went to the middle school. It's black and red. It's exactly like this picture except that my skirt was longer. The girls likes to fold up their skirts because it makes them look taller. I don't need to be taller because I AM taller than them.

The third uniform is the guy's uniform. It's called Gakuran and it's the military one you see in animes. I was only saying that it would be nice to bring it to show to the Japanese Club at my school and next thing I know they were offering me to take theirs. :)

I also received some Gakuran buttons. In Japan, when graduating, it means that they have a crush on you. The first button is very important--it's basically the girl you're asking out. The guy whose Gakuran I received lost all 5. So he must have been very popular...But I got some from my classmates, and even got 2 extra ones (one per person) :D

3) Did you keep the uniforms?

*Yes! I have them in my closet!

4) Upon returning to MN...did you wear the uniform to school? What was your peer's reaction?

*I wore the sailor uniform once and people were staring. Some people I didn't know even talked to me because of it. It was weird--because for the time I was in my sister's middle was normal. :)

5) What were the similarities and differences between the Japanese vs. American students?

*This is a good question. Before anyone reads further..I should explain that I love US as much as I love Japan. I'm not discriminating anyone, this is what I felt.

They both wants their skin to be "something." Only the Japanese girls wants to be whiter while the American girls wants to be tanner. The boys doesn't care--they just play sports as they like. The teenagers can't live without texting through classes. The guys are perverts. The girls obsess over TV shows/idols.

In Japan, the students come to study (mostly). In US, the students come to socialize. During classes, teachers would blurt rhetorical questions in Japan and they don't expect answers. In US, when the teacher asks and receives no answer, the teacher will repeat the whole lesson to make sure everyone understands--even though people just didn't answer him/her. In Japan, you're expected to stay quiet during class and they do.In US, you're expected to be quiet and listen, but 90% doesn't, really.

In Japan, nobody will say "bless you" when you sneeze. In US, when somebody sneeze during ACT, almost everyone will say "bless you." Japanese people are like ants--they work very hard to receive the good grades and go to cram schools. In US, students wing tests all the time and complain about having to read a good book. In Japan, the boys teases the girls they like. In US, they flirt and try to make her jealous. In Japan, boys who has cute stuff isn't gay, he's just normal. In US, if guys have a pink key chain that's soft, he's gay.

In Japan, it's OK for guys to have long wallets that says Louis Vuitton (it's real--no pirated stuff is in Japan) while most people would assume you're gay if you walk carrying an LV wallet on your butt in US. In Japan, while changing to the PE uniforms, it's normal for girls to grab each others' boobs to see who has the biggest cup (being a foreigner, you usually would win...) while if you do that in're labeled a lesbian through.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FREEBERRY: Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman

Hey Scholarberry readers! I'm glad you came across my blog and reading books. People I know at my high school doesn't really like to read books. They REALLY judge the books by the cover--which is wrong, but we all do it!

A Freeberry is a giveaway, but with rules and some bonus/extra chances (Freebie + berry). There's some requirements needed to be fulfilled before someone can actually win a book (or two)!

This FREEBERRY will be LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman. As you guys know (or not), I went to Japan as an exchange student from August 2010 - March 2011. The exchange program didn't want to risk me getting some radiation, so they dragged me back to Minnesota, Saint Paul. It was hard but I'm over the whole reverse-culture-shock thing now. I lived in Ashikaga city, Tochigi prefecture. That's about 2 hours north by car from Tokyo...
I know you guys are here for the FREEBERRY, but for those who are interested in my adventure/some culture shock/reverse culture shock; read the whole post! :)

So anyway. LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman is a book about a girl who was forced to move to the United States. If you guys have never get on an airplane and move to another country, you guys wouldn't know how intense it is (if it's not for vacation). If you have done that, this is a must read. So click the link for my review to read more about the book!

Deadline: June 15
One hardcover, autographed copy of LIFE, AFTER by Sarah Darer Littman.
HOW TO: Fill THIS form and you guys must post either a; comment, Facebook post, Tweet, Buzz or etc (and link it in the form) If you guys want to post a comment asking a question about Japan, that counts too :D
BONUS: If Scholarberry has 100 followers before July 15, I will add another FREEBERRY of ARC of Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin. If Scholarberry has 150 followers, I will add another FREEBERRY of TANGLED by Carolyn Mackler (review coming soon).
NOTICE: When I wrote this, the Followers list seems to be down on every blog or every browser. I hope it won't be down forever. -.-

+ + +

Culture shock:
When I got to Japan, I was so happy that the culture shock didn't hit me bad. In fact, now I think that having your toilet in the same room as your shower is just disgusting...
I wore blazer uniform to the high school in Japan, but I also experienced the middle school (fortunately one of my host family is a member of the middle school board ;) ).

One of the most memorable thing:
It was my first day of school there, and I had to introduce myself throughout the TV system in the school. Afterwards, I came to my classroom for the first time and found an empty desk with my name on it. So I sat down and waited awkwardly--the teacher wasn't there yet, she was still talking to the principal about me. Then two boys came up to me (I think they were dared by the whole class, really), and asked me--IN JAPANESE--if I've had sex yet.

Boy A: エッチやった事あるっすか?
Me: HUH?! (Yes, I understood it. But I was so surprised that it was the first question that I just said HUH?)
Boy B: You ever had sex? (Yes. In English!)
Me: 意味が分かったけどさあ。。。お前と関係ねーでしょ!?("I understood the meaning but...WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH YOU!?")
Whole class: O.O *realizes that I understood Japanese, even the informal/rough slang and laughs*

Ever since that, all 32 of us are best friends because of my bluntness. :D It was weird, but in a good way.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flawless by Lara Chapman

"I've just agreed to help my best friend catch the guy of my dreams. And people think I'm the smart one."

My rating: 10/10

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: 05.10.11
ISBN: 978-I-59990-631-7
Page count: 272 pages
Age: 12 and up (grade 7 and up)

Lara Chapman's Official Website

Every girl has their type of guy. Typically, the guy needs to be tall, handsome and hot. The guy of every girl's dreams, Rock Conway, transferred to Sarah Burke's school and rocked every girl's world.

Sarah is pretty--but there's one big problem. Her nose is just hideous. Kristen, Sarah's best friend on the other hand, is gorgeous. Of course, we all know Rock's going to pick Kristen. Duh.

The twist: Kristen is...not very good with words. She reads Cosmo and Teen Vogue, not poetry or anything sophisticated. Kristen asks Sarah's help to write texts, Facebook messages and anything that includes writing to Rock.

Sarah (just like the rest of us), loves a guy who understands literature. Apparently, there's more to Rock Conway than just his model looks. So what Sarah's basically Sarah's real feelings...

What I love about this book:
So there's too many dark romance on the bookstore's shelves; here's a fresh high school romance! We all says, "Don't judge a book by its cover," but we do it anyway! The cover grabbed my attention, and well...the title did, really. What is flawless, really, in this world? :D
From the first page, I just couldn't put it down. This is currently my favorite book!

What I dislike about this book:
The book ended. :(

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

"In the not-too-distant future, because of genetic engineering, every human is a ticking time bomb."


Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication: 03.22.11
ISBN: 9781442409057
Page Count: 358
Ages: 14 and up (Grade 9 and up)

Lauren DeStefano Official Webpage

Wither by Lauren DeStefano is about the future. In the future, AIDS and other diseases are cured. There's nothing dangerous--except yourself.

Here's what you missed during 70 years in the future..

So AIDS is cured and so is all the other diseases...and generations went by being almost immortal until one generation comes and their lifespan is dropped to 25 for men, and 20 for women.

Back to our book:
There's Rhine, the girl who's still 16 but miserable. Rhine was kidnapped, taken to the House Governor to be wed. There's Gabriel who is the servant of the House Governor whom Rhine is attracted to. There's Rose--the current House Governor's wife whom he truly loves but is dying. Also, a huge list of problems, topped with LIFESPAN OF 20 AND 25.

What I like about this book:
It's very futuristic and interesting. It's not the cover nor the title that grabbed my attention to read this book, but the summary. Who wouldn't want to read a book about where AIDS is cured but then you'd die when girls turn to 20 or 25 for boys? The idea of this book is just simply amazing.

What I don't like about this book:
The dark fantasy/romance surely dominates the shelves of Barnes and Nobles, Borders and other bookstores (not to mention the front page of Amazon/Ebay, etc). It's getting boring, to be honest. Plus, most of the writers are trying to write in the same way...That's why it's a 9.

BUT. I would love to read the second book!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Home from Japan

So I am home from Japan.

I was forced to come back early (I still had 5 months left in the program) but I had to come back home to Minnesota...
I was far from the center of the earthquake or the nuclear explosion, but I had to come back home anyway since the exchange student program is taking everyone out of Japan.

The good part is that I can review books again and the bad part is that I have IB program for school...

Monday, January 17, 2011


...Okay, guys, I know that I haven't posted in a while, but I'm going to be in Japan until the end of July or beginning of August. I'm going to be very busy and so please understand that I will continue blogging when I go to back to Minnesota.

E-mail me recommendations of books that you REALLY want me to read!

Thank you!
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