Archive | May, 2014

[Review] The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

29 May

(This post was first written for my Materials for Tweens class.)

Prosper and Bo run away to Venice to escape their aunt and uncle who want to separate them. Unable to survive on their own, they join a street gang led by the Thief Lord, Scipio, who is really only a child himself. As the gang tries to steal a wooden lion’s wing for a wealthy customer, Victor Getz, a detective hired by Prosper and Bo’s aunt and uncle, is hot on their trail.

This is a fun romp that injects a touch of fantasy into an almost realistic modern-day orphan story. The fantasy bits come as a pleasant surprise at the end, but not in a deus ex machina type of way.

A discussion guide is available on Scholastic’s book page.

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[Review] Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer

22 May

(Part of this post was first written for my Materials for Tweens class.)

Eleven-year-old Jack is a farmer’s son who works hard while his father lavishes attention on Jack’s five-year-old sister, Lucy. Just when Jack is apprenticed to Bard and starts to learn magic, Vikings attack their village and kidnap Jack and his sister. This leads to an adventure filled with action, magic, and of course, trolls that will change Jack’s life forever.

In Sea of Trolls, Farmer creates a setting that mixes history, mythology, and magic for her story of a boy who has to take on adult responsibilities too soon. Vivid characters fill the pages with their flaws and their heart as the reader follows Jack on his quest. The appendix includes notes about the Anglo-Saxons and Old Norse, pronunciation of the Icelandic words used in the book, and the origins of some of the creatures and characters from the book. The book also includes a list of sources.

A reading group guide with discussion questions and activities can be found on the publisher’s website.

I liked this book enough to buy the rest of the trilogy, which is at the top of my to-read pile. 🙂

[Review] Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

15 May

(Welcome to the first of my weekly scheduled reviews! I chose Thursday arbitrarily because May started on a Thursday. This post was first written for my Materials for Tweens class.)

The first in a series of eight books, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer introduces readers to Artemis Fowl II, who is twelve years old, the son of a crime lord, and an evil genius. Artemis tracks down a holy Fairy book that reveals the secrets of the fairies–secrets not meant for human eyes. Armed with the knowledge inside the book, Artemis hatches a plan to rebuild the family fortune and make his wishes come true.

The fast-paced adventure filled with fantasy and technology shines when Colfer takes the time to show Artemis in moments of humanity, allowing the reader to relate to him and his desire to be loved. A wonderful combination of fantasy with technology.

 

[Info] Stuff I’ve Translated

8 May

So for my first post-A to Z post, I thought I’d write about something a little different. For those of you who just started following from my posts during the A to Z challenge, one of my jobs is translating Japanese to English. I have worked on a number of projects ever since returning to the States from Japan in 2008 and interpret at a couple of conventions every year, but now that I’m translating simulcasts, I also have a regular assignment pretty much every week.

With all the NDAs and such, I’m never sure what I can share, but here are a couple things I’ve worked on/am working on that I’m officially credited on already elsewhere on the Internets:

Wolf Children

“Wolf Children” is about a mother taking care of her half-wolf, half-human children. It highlights struggles she goes through that are both unique to her situation and that are universal for all mothers.

This is a lovely movie for all ages by Mamoru Hosoda, sometimes called the “spiritual heir to Hayao Miyazaki.” I know I worked on the movie, but honestly, I enjoyed it more than some of the recent Studio Ghibli offerings…

One of the highlights of my trip to Japan last year was visiting the house that the house in the movie is based on:

Just watch it–but don’t forget the tissues! 😉

Available on DVD or Blu-ray/DVD combo or to stream on Amazon Instant Video (English dub, I think) to buy or rent.

Space Dandy

Space Dandy is… a dandy in space… Or so the tagline goes. It’s an irreverent space comedy by the creator of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. There are zombies, penguins, giant robots, and references to Dr. Who, Office Space, and Groundhog Day, and a ton of other pop culture.

There’s a lot of mature content in this show, and it’s kind of a hit or miss depending on how high your tolerance is for fanservice and episodic comedies. (Warning: There’s a restaurant shaped like a boob that’s a Hooters parody in the first episode and a boob monster in the third, so if that’s not your thing, you might want to skip this.)

You can watch it dubbed in English on Cartoon Network on Saturdays (check your local listings for showtimes), or watch it subtitled for free on Funimation, Animax (Asia), Madman (AU), and Wakanim (UK). The first season is currently being rebroadcast before the second season starts in July.

[A to Z] Reflections Post 2014

1 May

Whew, I made it. I almost missed “Y” this year because I had gotten so used to scheduling a week’s worth of posts at a time that I forgot that I hadn’t actually done the posts for the last week, and then work got busy and I didn’t remember until the next day (which was the actual “Y” day since I usually post around midnight before I go to sleep).

I seem to always fail at visiting blogs of other A to Z participants, but I decided this year that I wouldn’t stress too much about it because after writing over 50 reviews for my class last semester (not to mention about 20 last spring), my goal was mainly to get more reviews up. I wish I could’ve replied to more comments, though. :/ I decided that I wouldn’t be able to survive the month if I replied to every comment, but I did read and appreciate every one! ♥ And hopefully now that the pace has slowed down, I can reply to more from now on.

It was really helpful to have prewritten posts for almost everything because then all I had to do was copy and paste for the most part. Formatting the posts took some time, but if I did them in batches, it wasn’t as bad. This gave me time to do reflection posts each week, so I was actually able to post something every day of April. (Despite having to blog at least once a week for the class I was taking this semester.)

The relative ease of posting things by copying and pasting from class assignments has also inspired me to put more of these reviews up. I especially want to share the great books I discovered while taking those classes with you guys! My plan is to schedule weekly posts once a month so that I don’t have to think about it too often. I host a writing group for National Novel Writing Month once a month, so I’m thinking that I’ll schedule my posts then, but I’ll try to have one before that for May because my writing group meets the second Saturday of each month…

My other goal for this year is to finally get an index together of all the reviews I’ve written. I’ve been looking into it, and it looks like kind of a pain since I’m hosted on wordpress, not just powered by wordpress. Which means I’ll probably have to do everything manually, adding an extra step each time I post a new review… >_< (If anyone knows a better way to do it, let me know!)

Along the same lines, I’m also playing with the idea of changing the blog theme so that I can fit more into the menu at the top to include the index. This would be a major overhaul, though, so it might have to be my project over the summer when I don’t have classwork (which will be soon, since I only have one assignment left for this semester, yay~). And possibly in between translating things. (More on that later, now that A to Z is done.)

Anyway, congrats to everyone who made it to Z! (and to those of you who tried!) And thanks to all the new readers that are following and liking and commenting~♥ It makes me smile every time I get a notification about you guys. 😀 Hope you stick around for a while~