June 27, 2014

Put On Your Party Hats!

Hello friends, bookies, and fellow bloggers! This post-- this very one that you are reading right now-- is the 300th post on I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good. As I hope you know, I am so insanely appreciative for all you have done for me and my humble blog for the past three and a half years. I've made some great friends through blogging, and I love reading about other people's opinions, lives, and cultures too. Your encouragement has truly kept me going because there were some times that I definitely felt like giving up on this whole blogging thing. Thank you so much guys! You all mean the world to me and I hope you know that <3

I talked to you in a previous post about a little celebration for the special occasion, and your requests were quite overwhelming for me to do a giveaway, which I think is an awesome idea, BUT before you get your hopes up, I should let you know that I have decided not to host one at this time. I did a little research on international shipping and found that it is EXTREMELY complicated and has potential to be quite expensive. So unfortunately, a giveaway won't be happening at this moment.  Maybe another time!

What I decided to do instead was to take some questions, answer them for myself, then turn the questions on you guys and feature your answers in an upcoming blog post. It's basically a free shoutout for your blog or other web page, haha.
I'm hoping to have a lot of my lovely readers participate, so if you want to send your input, shoot me an email ( julya.emmance@gmail.com ) with your answers to all questions below. Whether you're a fellow blogger, or just a blog reader, I would LOVE to have you take part.

For Bloggers :)

Your name: July, Jules, Jay, whatever floats your boat :)


Blog title and link: I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good


Blog's focus: Well, my blog started out as a book blog featuring reviews, recommendations, etc., but quickly switched gears to feature more of my writing projects. After that, I struggled to really find set topic, and since then, it's been a hodge-podge of all things books, writing, YouTube, Disney, music, and stories/updates from my life. As you can see, I'm still searching to find one or two things that I absolutely adore writing about to focus on for my blog, but one of my goals is to keep my posts more organized.... Good luck to me on that I guess ;)


Why do you blog?: I blog for my own pleasure, as well for the pleasure of others. I like to share my opinions on books, movies, and music with you guys and one of my goals has always been to introduce at least one of you to something/someone that you had never heard about, whether it be a book, a song, a movie, or an artist, and for you to start loving it too.
I also blog about my life because it's just like keeping a record of things that I've done. I want to be able to look back on my posts in the future and be like, "Oh, I totally forgot about that time... I had so much fun with this person, doing this, or eating this."
Though I blog for many reasons, I'll share one more reason with you today. I blog because I've made friends through the blogosphere and just like in real life, I want to let them know what's going on with me, and what type of stuff I've been reading/listening to/watching lately. When I disappear from the blogosphere for prolonged periods, I often get a handful of emails asking where I've been or what I've been up to. That's really special guys, at least I think so anyway :)


For Readers :)

Your name: Same name as up above!


Where we can reach you (optional): You can reach me right here or on my twitter ( @julyaemmance )


Why do you read blogs?: I read blogs to get to know people, their culture, their likes and dislikes, and their opinions on various things such as literature, movies, music, food, places, etc.


What types do you enjoy reading? (eg. book blogs, food blogs, travel blogs, etc.):
I really love reading all blogs no matter whether the posts are full of recipes, pictures, reviews, opinions, or just stories from their lives, I'm all for it. I especially enjoy reading reviews of books that I've read or plan to read :)


What draws you to I Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good?:
Err, I think it would be a bit inappropriate for me to answer this one considering that I run this blog!


That is it for today, so please send me your answers guys! It would mean so much to me to see you blow up my inbox :) I'm going to try to make the final post around July 9(ish). Make sure you send your answers in before then!
Tomorrow I'll be leaving for Colorado and won't be back for another week, but I'm going to try to upload some of my pictures this time and hope for the best. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Much love and thanks,
July Emmance

June 22, 2014

"The Fault In Our Stars" Film Review: Pre-Movie and Post-Movie Thoughts

Hello everyone! Happy summer to you all. Terribly sorry for not posting yet this summer-- I had all four of my wisdom teeth cut out and have kinda been out of it since then. I'm still a tiny bit swollen, but I'm finally back to eating regular food now, so YAY! :)

So, I saw TFIOS movie on June 6, the day it came out here in the United States, and if you can remember from about six months ago, I wasn't a huge fan of the book, but I was excited for the movie.
(Read my short book review here -- http://julyaemmance.blogspot.com/2014/01/TFIOS-review.html)

I was stalking the Goodreads page for the TFIOS book, and I found a reviewer that mostly I agreed with (I'm so sorry, I don't know who you are so I can't give credit, but if you see this, comment and let me know) and I'm going to share a few of her thoughts. I think her review is something worth reading just because everyone else in the world thinks it's a flawless piece of literature, and honestly it has gotten a bit annoying. I thought the book was way over-rated.
These are just my book and pre-movie thoughts as wonderfully put into words by a Goodreads reviewer:

*NOTE-- this is not the full review

EXPECTATION-







REALITY-







The characters- 

Augustus and Hazel have the same boring, pretentious, know-it-all and indistinguishable personality. These two characters meld together and have no depth at all. I couldn't connect with them, I felt no pain and sympathy for them and they annoyed me so much that I wanted to stab them. (Note from me! I wasn't quite that angry at Hazel and Augustus, but she's right about not being able to connect with Hazel. That was difficult)


Romance- It fell from the sky. Seriously, I don’t get what’s so “beautiful” about the relationship between them. They both fall in love within seconds just after laying eyes on each other ~love at first sight~ . The romance is undeveloped and it comes from nowhere. I was baffled when Hazel accepted to go to Augustus's house just minutes after meeting him. WHAT THE WORLD? How stupid can you be? You fall for a guy's words whom you met just few minutes ago and agree to go to his house! What if he were a murderer or something? (OMW I FELT THE SAME WAY.... LIKE, WHAT WAS HAZEL'S MOM EVEN THINKING TO LET HER GO TO THIS RANDOM GUY'S HOUSE????)

Not to mention that the kissing scene in Anne Frank's house was so disgusting. Anne Frank's house is considered to be a place of remembrance, a place where 2 families hid during the dark days of Holocaust. If anyone makes out at such a revered site, they would be kicked out regardless of who or what they are. People present around will be disgusted, they won't stand and watch much less clap for the "lovely" couple.

Writing- Want to hear some favourite quotes of mine? Here they are-

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”...Why compare your thoughts to stars and constellations? *sighs*

"Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."



"That's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt."...Yeah, that’s the thing about chocolate, it demands to be eaten.

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?”... Umm….What?!

”I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.” ...Woah, slow down! That was mouthful. Obviously, he wouldn't have said that without rehearsing it. It sounded so fake and clichéd. Ever heard of lovers confessing their love by reciting so-called long, beautiful and heart-wrenching monologues? 

“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”

Me-


There were senseless dialogues, brain-cell burning metaphors and words thrown around in the book from the dictionary. I’ll stop here because just thinking about them gives me an awful migraine. 

One thing I don't buy is that teens with cancer suddenly become magically wise. They become terrified, confused, depressed and angry. They DON’T magically gain great insight in life and go around puking long monologues about the meaning of life. This made me roll my eyes . (Mm, yes)


Plot- Predictable. Uninspiring. Cancer is hard, it's painful but this book didn't show me that. I couldn't feel Hazel and Augustus’ struggle against it. I couldn't feel their pain. 

I knew that someone would die. Augustus's death wasn't powerful enough, if Green would've shown his death I would've understood why the world cried a whole bucket over him. (YES, I TOTALLY AGREE)

"He died eight days after his prefuneral"
WHAT THE WORLD?? Green tried to make his death sound LIKE HE WENT TO A PARTY LAST WEEK!!!

Ok, so this book made you cry, right? If a book makes you cry it automatically doesn’t mean that it’s a masterpiece. I can understand that you must’ve felt sad and sympathetic for the characters and must’ve cried but considering that this novel is sad and it made you cry doesn’t make it an awesome, life-changing and beautiful story. 

Ok, back to me again!
TFIOS book had gotten so much hype, that I had been insanely excited to read it, but alas, left disappointed. I was looking a tiny bit forward to the release of its movie because I had a feeling it would be better, and after seeing it, I determined that it was.

Post-movie thoughts:

GENRE: Realistic fiction, romance, chic flick?

SYNOPSIS: (From book) Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

GOOD STUFF: 
I loved the actors they picked to play Hazel and Augustus. Both fit my expectations, and convincingly played their characters. I thought it was easier to connect with each character, because viewers could visually follow their lives.

I have to admit that I never understood girls with stalker crushes on "book Augustus", but even fell in love with "movie Augustus..." His little trip to the gas station in the middle of the night was done very well, and I even had a few tears in my eyes seeing Augustus in so much pain. (The pain I felt was not portrayed at all for me in the book)

About Isaac.... He was absolutely perfect. Enough said.

The visuals were absolutely stunning. From hospital rooms, to bedrooms, to Amsterdam, each set surpassed my expectations and stood up to my imagination.
Most movies do not get teenager's bedrooms right, but I was actually a little jealous of Hazel's room: it had books, posters, desks, lamps, and an all around cozy, inviting feel to it. It was not dirty enough to be trashy, but not perfect enough to seem unlived in.
The beautiful way that Amsterdam was portrayed made me eager to visit there with someone that I love, another feeling that I did not get in the book.

Thank goodness directors and writers didn't portray Hazel's dad in the horrible way Green did in the book. His character development in the novel was literally just "My dad cried all the time," and that is basically all her dad did in the book. In the movie however, you could see so much more of the strength that dads show even when they're trying so, so hard not to break down and let their kids see how hopeless things seen. I connected so much better to Hazel's parents in the movie.

I think that all the characters were so much more relatable in the movie than in the book.

AND ED SHEERAN WROTE MUSIC FOR THE MOVIE!! I fell head over heals in love with his song....



BAD STUFF: 
They took out a lot of the early bonding between Hazel and Augustus. There was little talk of V for Vendetta, video games, or the book Augustus suggested she read.

There wasn't nearly enough of Isaac!

They never showed Hazel's friend, who I loved because she kept trying to keep up a relationship with Hazel even when Hazel was being a jerk and pushing her and all her other friends away (she was, you can't even deny it).

Viewers never got to know Augustus' parents in the movie, which is a total shame because they provided so much hope in Augustus and Hazel's dark world, even though in the book the other characters never acknowledged it. I really liked them! Seriously though, in the movie, you saw them briefly like two or three times. *sad face*

The inappropriate scene in Amsterdam was way longer and way more racy than necessary. That's all I care to say about that :P

Augustus' death was still the most emotionless thing ever. I mean seriously, it was like John Green was lazy and didn't care enough to write his actual death. Same thing in the movie. Grr, I was hoping for a bit more!

BOOK or MOVIE? 
If I had to recommend that you either read the book or watch the movie, I would recommend watching the movie because you get almost the same experience as reading the book, but it's more connectable and emotional. This is probably the ONLY situation EVER that I will tell someone to see the movie and then read the book.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
I am still annoyed with book fans, just because they think that John Green's work is a flawless piece of literature that can't be touched, and anyone who thinks otherwise is obviously deranged. However, because I saw the movie, I feel like I'm more open to the story. At some point in the near future I am planning on rereading the book. Who knows, maybe I'll even write another book review if my thoughts toward it have changed. I just wish people would realize that it really isn't that amazing of a book. I have read so many better than it.
As the Goodreads review suggested, read The Book Thief instead because it handles the same themes of death, depression, grief, love, and heroism so much better.

What do you guys think? So sorry if I offended any of you with my review; I'm just being honest!
-July



June 03, 2014

Tubesday- Collabro

Hello! It's exam week, so this is, of course, scheduled. You can basically just assume that I am very stressed out right now, and at the time when this is posted, I'll be just starting my Spanish exam.
Anyway, it's Tubesday, and I can't deprive you of a video for this special day, so I chose this lovely rendition of "Stars" from Les Mis by a so-called boyband on BGT. Enjoy!
-July