Sunday, November 17, 2013

Brand-Changing Day Book Review

Oh, look, another book review post!

I can't promise that this will become a regular thing here but I'll try my best.

For this post, I'll be reviewing Shawn Mihalik's upcoming book entitled, Brand-Changing Day which is set to be released on November 19, 2013. So without further ado, let's start with the blurb;

In the world of the casual American chain restaurant, brand-changing day signifies the start of something new—new menu items are rolled out, logos are redesigned, service procedures are updated, and old uniforms are traded for hipper, darker, flashier styles.

But for employees at The Grill in Youngstown, Ohio—including twenty-something server Scott Pelletier and forty-something general manager Geoffrey McCree—brand-changing day might be when everything changes. Forever.

I'm more of YA tearjerky junkie, though I also enjoy reading classics like Austen, Brontë and Salinger, (He's considered a classic, right? No? Eh?) and while I enjoyed Shawn's writing style, I wish I can say the same with the story itself.

Shawn is a terrific writer and I like the way he developed each of the characters, and their corresponding backstories. But these backstories also served as a distraction to the overall flow of the story. There were times that I felt that there were too much details that weren't really necessary. While I appreciate that Shawn was able to capture the mundane aspects of everyday life by giving us blow by blow accounts of characters doing something as simple as showering, or eating a greasy croissant, I'd rather concentrate on the bigger picture.

Brand-Changing Day started out real slow, it wasn't until the third part of the book that I truly understood the message it was trying to convey. It's all about change. Change can come in two ways. It can come gradually, giving you time to adjust and prepare yourself, or it can come in an instant. Leaving you flopping like a fish out of water as you try to figure out what went wrong and how you missed it. Shawn was able to connect these two, and I while I didn't particularly like the story itself, I appreciate the concept and the philosophical message behind it, especially after knowing that some parts of the book seemed to be derived from the author's actual experiences.

Overall, I'm giving this book 3 out of 5 stars.



While it's not particularly my cup of tea, I still recommend Brand-Changing Day to anyone looking for something different. If you're tired of reading badly written erotica, vampire related love triangles or a silly sci-fi novel forced to look like a dystopian series, this is a book for you.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Short and Very Delayed Review of If I Stay

If you're like me who's a sucker for tearjerking books, you might have heard of Gayle Forman's novel, If I Stay and it's companion sequel, Where She Went. If you haven't then please go buy yourself a copy before proceeding below.

Bought your copy? I hope so.

But if you've already read it, then congratulations! I consider you my new friend.

I read this book about two years ago after browsing a list of tearjerking books. I downloaded the eBook format as I don't go around buying a physical book not unless I find it really great, into which I'd prefer having the book so I can caress its smooth pages. Book fetish much? Yeah.

Basically, If I Stay tells the story of a 17 year old music prodigy Mia Hall who lost her entire family in a fatal car accident. She herself is under comma as a result and she has to choose whether to stay, continue living as an orphan, or let go and join her family in heaven. It wasn't really pointed out that they're in Heaven, but her family is too perfect for hell. At least that's how I feel about it.

Along the way, Mia wanders the hospital in a ghost-like state as she watches her friends and relatives go about their lives after the accident, which would affect her decision of staying or not. We get to meet Mia's spunky best friend Kim, and Mia's emo-core-yet-softie boyfriend, Adam Wilde.

The story alternates between the present and flashbacks from Mia's childhood which gives us a concrete idea about Mia's life. 

If I Stay is a short yet emotionally packed novel that will make you smile and cry at the same time. It will make you fall in love while breaking your heart in the process. I remember crying out loud when I read it the first time, especially when Adam gives a heartfelt speech on why Mia should stay. I Remember thinking, "Damn you Gayle Forman! I love and hate you at the same time!"

This book is achingly perfect. I immediately downloaded the sequel once I finished it, and proceeded on buying the physical books afterwards. I even forced my Mom and my best friend to read it, it's just that good. The emotions Gayle Forman had created is raw and honest. Something that's hard to find in a YA book these days.

I also remember thinking that if this book turns into a movie, I would definitely watch it. I don't care who the actors they choose or how long I'd have to wait.

Fast forward two years later, (which is uh... Like now) they're actually filming the movie staring Chloë Grace Moretz (a.k.a Hit-Girl/Carrie) as Mia, and Jamie Blackley as Adam, and I couldn't ask for a more perfect cast than these two actors. Though I must admit that I didn't actually liked Jamie at first, but then after looking at some of his photos, I think I'm starting to like him. I actually felt the same way when it was announced that Ansel Elgort was cast as the great Augustus Waters for the upcoming The Fault In Our Stars movie, yet one of the greatest books I've ever read!

So there you go. I know this isn't really a good review, but I seldom do reviews not unless I really really liked the book, not to mention that thinking about the upcoming movie sends me to fan girl like crazy. I mean, I made a movie poster for crying out loud!




Granted it's not that great because I had a hard time looking for suitable photos that would represent the actors as the characters they're playing. But hey, I made an effort!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Writing again!

So I have decided to write again.

Not blogging, but write as in write a novel and go self-publish it. Because as much as I love making this world a better place by designing stuff, I couldn't stop myself from coming up with stories. I mean, I LOVE telling stories! Guess that's just normal with me being on the creative side or whatever. But yeah.

I currently have 3 ideas for great novels but I couldn't share them just yet since I practically want to finish them first.

So...I think that's for now. 

Ciao!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday blues

So I've become one of those people who hates Mondays.

Btw Technorati, here's your code.
EVDXTZCW6CA8

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Like death warmed up

I hate having a cold.

I'm averaging ten sneezes per hour as of writing this, no shit. And my mucous drips out of my nose with the consistency of warm water. (Sorry for the mental image.) Here, have a graphic image instead.


On second thought, this looks like an ugly doodle of a crying Paul Frank


Anyway, my head and my face hurt from blowing my nose almost every five minutes. It's as if I'm perpetually producing mucous, like my entire body fluid is being automatically converted into this bacteria filled clear liquid. If a person could die from dehydration through this, I wouldn't be surprised if I suddenly drop on the floor dried and shriveled up like a raisin.



FYI: I hate raisins.

Also, I don't know about you, but having a cold makes me want to eat. It is as if I've developed an appetite similar to that of a hungry truck driver's, and I have to be constantly munching on food to feel better. And guess what, eating somehow calms my nose and even though I'm having a hard time tasting anything, the sneezing stops.

I don't know if it's stress eating or there's a scientific correlation between sinus relief and pigging out, but as it is, I need food 24/7.



Another annoying thing about having a cold, is the ensuing throat itchiness that follows. It's like having an annoying leprechaun tickling my throat for the sole purpose of annoying me. I know there are quick remedies for this, like gargling salt water or lozenges. But I'm too lazy to get my ass off my bed, or from the sofa, or wherever I've stationed myself to enjoy a good book.



Speaking of remedies, I also refuse to take any medication as I suffer through this ordeal. The reason for this is the fact that a study has been released claiming a certain ingredient found in cold medicines can cause brain hemorrhage. And I wouldn't want to subject my brain to any form of abuse considering I've probably fried up my brain cells from staying too long in front of a computer both at home and at work. Besides, I'm giving my anti-bodies a chance to prove how useful they are.

And natural is always good, right?





Oh, and if you're wondering about the title of this post, I took it from a line from the movie The Devil Wears Prada where Andy (Anne Hathaway) asked Emily (Emily Blunt) how her cold was doing, into which the latter, answered, "like death warmed up."

That's all for now.

Ciao

Friday, June 14, 2013

Goodbye SMASH

Originally posted from my personal site, denisewy.com on May 27,2013

So it has finally come to an end. Just two seasons and NBC have decided to close the curtain for perhaps one of the best musical series on television. (Haters gonna hate, but I freaking love this show.)

Photo Credits: NBC Smash 
Photo Credit: NBC Smash

I can still remember the day I finally decided to watch SMASH back in early May 2012. It was after I listened to Katharine McPhee's version of Run by Snow Patrol. By the time I finished the first episode in which Kat and Megan was singing Let Me Be Your Star, I had goosebumps all over my body, and I know right then and there that I'm going to watch the whole series and that it's going to be my number one favorite TV show. A year later, it still is. And if you're wondering, here's my current top 5:
  1. SMASH
  2. Game of Thrones (I'm reading the book too!)
  3. Once Upon A Time
  4. How I Met Your Mother
  5. Downton Abbey (this would've been 2nd if Julian Fellowes hand't decided to go on a killing spree!)
I guess what I really like about the show, aside from the big musical numbers and awesome original songs is the fact that it's not just focused on being a musical itself. Sure I knew nothing about Broadway, and some may even argue that SMASH's portrayal of the backstage drama isn't accurate, but then again, the show's main goal was to entertain us. It made us laugh and cry, forget about our problems and lose ourselves in this colorful musical world that reminds us that yes, bitches and jerks do exist, and that dreams do come true. (I sincerely apologize for the cliché.) 

The cast 

Regarding the characters and the actors/actresses who played them, it is kinda obvious that Karen Cartwright is my favorite character, that sort of changed when season 2 came and the writers had decided to make her a whiny giggly bitch paired up with Jimmy (played by Jeremy Jordan). 

Don't get me wrong, I love Jeremy, but I hated his character. I do get his tortured, rebel-without-a-cause attitude, but Karen getting head over heels for him wasn't believable. I was actually rooting for Cartwills, or even Dev to come back or whatever. But well, we saw what happened. As for Ivy, I hated her during the first season, most especially in the season 1 finale where she slept with Dev. I do admit she have a great voice and that she had proven herself as the better Marilyn as season 2 progressed. That's when I started liking her character, and I also came to accept that Derek was better off with her. That smexy hot playboy son of a bitch! 

 Perhaps also one of the reason why I loved this show was because of Tom and Julia's partnership. I mean there were a lot of times that I would tell myself that I freaking need a Tom Levitt in my life! (not to be confused with the  British Labour Party politician)

I'll miss this couple 
I'll miss this couple

Then who would forget Elis? The character we just love to hate. In fact, I even find Jerry more likeable than him. All in all, this show featured an all star cast, even casting real Broadway people alongside powerhouse guest stars such as Liza Minelli. 

The songs

Oh, the heart and soul of this amazing show! As I've mentioned earlier, Let Me Be Your Star gave me goosebumps, but so were the other songs like Don't Forget Me, I Heard Your Voice in a Dream, Broadway Here I come (both the solo Jimmy version and the finale acapela version) and Second Hand White Baby Grand.

But perhaps, the song that had elicited great emotions from me was Jimmy's The Love I Meant to Say. I wasn't a fan of Kyle (Andy Mientus), and though I was saddened by his death (which was unnecessary), Jimmy's performance left me broken in a puddle of tears. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uNpLclbNQc  

The Finale 

 Before the finale came out, it was pretty obvious that Ivy was the one who was going to win the at the Tony's. The spotlight was on Karen during season 1, so it's just fitting that Ivy gets this season, and she actually deserved it. But then, as a die-hard McPhee fan, Karen will forever be my Marilyn. And hey, her version of Don't Forget Me was waaaaaaaay better! (Let it be known that I do love Megan Hilty as well. I really do! I swear!) So despite the fact that I'm happy for Ivy, I felt really sad for Karen.

 
my sentiments exactly

And to put an icing on the cake, as Anna have said, they let Daisy won. Where's the justice in this world?! 

Anyway, I don't want to do a blow by blow recap of the whole finale since that isn't the primary reason why I wrote this post. 

 With all that being said, I'm really disappointed, not to mention heartbroken, that this will be the last time I'm going to see these talented people together. The ratings may not be as high as NBC wanted it to be, but they could've given SMASH a chance to prove itself. A lot of people love this show very much, that a facebook group was created solely for the purpose of saving this show!
A group dedicated to save SMASH
In fact, this group is so determined, they went ahead sending emails to NBC executives asking them to reconsider renewing SMASH for another season, and they even reach out to other networks hoping they'd pick it up. I personally wouldn't mind it, as long as they don't change too much and they'd continue to entertain us. 
outpouring of love from fellow SMASH fans 
outpouring of love from fellow SMASH fans

I never loved a show as much as this one. In all the series I've watched, including the top 5 list I mentioned above, SMASH was the only series where I went to buy a DVD copy so I'd be able to watch it over and over again. 

I'm very passionate of this show that I urged my friends to watch it (yeah, I can be persistent if needed be) and I'm proud to say that they all loved it! SMASH has become a part of my life. Something I look forward to every week. And now that it's gone, it feels like saying goodbye to a close friend. It's sad and painful. 

I know it may sound selfish to say that I want this series to go on and on forever, seeing the characters we learned to either hate or love. But as it is, all things must come to an end, and it came too soon for SMASH. (Just like Kyle) But for whatever it's worth, I'll forever love this show and I'll continue belting out their awesome songs till the day I become sick and tired of it, which is...never.

  jeremy jordan

I'm back! Again...

If  you've somehow followed my posts, you would know that I've repeatedly announce my departure and subsequent return in this blog. I know, I am fickle (did I just use that word??), and if I should really start being serious in maintaining a blog, I should better do it on my personal website. 

But then again, there's just something about this blogger account that keeps me from leaving for good. I don't know what it is. User interface? Free hosting? Brain wash? Whatever it is, I guess I'll never truly say goodbye. 

So with that being said, here's what I'm going to do. (If I have the time.)


  • Redesign this blog
  • Remove unwanted old posts
  • Come up with more interesting posts.


What do you think?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Les Miserables could've been perfect but...

Les Miserables could've been perfect but they made Russell Crowe sing.

Don't get me wrong. The guy is a great actor, but singing is a big no no for him. It was like Pierce Brosnan on Mamma Mia all over again.

Again, like my previous post regarding the movie "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," this post is not a movie review post. So, again, I'll just post the things I find interesting.

1. Loved Anne Hathaway!
2. Loved Hugh Jackman!
3. Loved Amanda Seyfried!
4. Sacha Baron Cohen was good but I'm slightly annoyed whenever he shows up. I'm not really sure if it's because of his character or well... Whatever.
5. Samantha Barks (Eponine) was great! Wish she had more scenes.
6. Loved the finale song. :)
7. I think it would've been better if they had re-cast Geoffrey Rush as Javert.
8. Russell Crowe's suicide scene couldn't come soon enough.

That's all. What do you think?

-Den

Sunday, January 13, 2013

We are infinite

I just finished watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and though I liked it, I'm a bit disappointed that they left out some details from the book. But then again, I had to remind myself that film adaptations of great books would always be produced like that, and somehow, that makes me feel a bit smug thinking that having read the book before watching the movie gives me an edge from those who didn't. Sorry.

Anyway, this is not a movie review post, so I wouldn't bore you with the details or give you my own version of the film's synopsis. But I do want to point out the things that I enjoyed, or rather found interesting.

1. Ezra Miller is cute. I know he's gay but I don't care.
2. Logan Lerman as Charlie is amazing.
3. I couldn't really concentrate on Emma Watson's dialogues considering the fact that I kept on waiting for her to slip into her English accent.
4. And lastly, I liked Charlie's monologue in the end. It was a bit different from the book but it almost made me cry.

That's all.

Ciao!

-Den

P.S I told you this wasn't a movie review post.