Wednesday, December 28, 2011

RTW Top 5 books of 2011

                Every Wednesday YA Highway ask a question Road Trip Wednesday.  This weeks question is:

What were your top five favorite books of 2011?

I’ve already written reviews for these books so I’m not going to rewrite them but simply supply the links. 

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead 

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

The Death Cure by James Dashner

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (okay so the 3rd book Beautiful Chaos came out this year but I didn’t want to have to wait when I read so just started)

Also adding in a 6th
The Dark and Hallow Places by Carrie Ryan which I read before I started my blog and haven’t gotten around to writing reviews for all the other books on my shelf I’ve already read.  So quick note on this book it’s the 3rd book in the series about a world filled with undead.  I have liked all the books in the series but I have to admit this one was my favorite of them. 

I love the darkness in Annah, her world is so dim but yet she keeps on hoping for light.  The undead are everywhere and even the safe zones aren’t really that safe when you think about it.  Those who have the power to keep you safe can do you harm, maybe even more harm than the creatures who want to eat you.  Then there is Catcher who is just as messed up as she is in his own way and they find a connection.  That and he holds the answers she’s spent so long both trying to forget and wanting to remember.  I very much enjoyed it and hope she continues the story, there is so much more that could happen next.

I have read so many books this year and it was so hard to pick just five.  I would recommend so many more.  Looking forward to another year of wonderful books.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Beautiful Creatures Review

                The book Beautiful Creatures, is the first book in a supernatural trilogy written by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl.  It’s the story of a small southern town who is so stuck in their ways and convinced anyone unlike them doesn’t deserve to be there.  In the small town of Gatlin, the town shut in who lives in the haunted mansion has a new visitor, a niece Lena Duchannes staying with Uncle.  She is different from everyone else and with her living in the haunted mansion of course she is shunned.  Not by all though, Ethan Wate is a guy who fits in but he always questions why he does and he wishes for something different whom he can be himself with, his real self.  The two are thrown together in a mystery of a shared dream, more like a nightmare and Ethan learns the small town of Gatlin has a deeper history no one in the local Historical Society knows about.  One of magic.

                Yes magic is a big part of the series.  I found this book hard to put down because it was so relatable.  No I don’t have magical powers despite my deep inner wishes.  Come on tell me having magic wouldn’t make life more interesting, it always does in books.  The small town feel, the way everyone knows everything about you even if you don’t really know a person.  Nothing is really yours.  Judgment about you as a whole if you don’t fit into what they consider the norm to be, especially in the South where even if you’ve been somewhere for 15 years you still are not from there and hence still an outsider.  It’s crazy, I understand and that made it relatable for me.  Then add in the mess with not fitting in and having no friends in school or being judges by your family.  Yeah things everyone can relate too I think.

                Then there is the romance.  It’s beautiful and innocent.  It was refreshing, stammering and uncertainty.  To be honest that’s why I adore reading YA books.  Everything is so intense for the characters you can’t help but feel that intensely about it and it’s amazing.  Mix that with the mystical powers and the mystery of the town he thought he knew and it makes for one hell of a story.

                I loved this book and I can’t wait to start the next in the series, Beautiful Darkness which I already have but need to do a few things before I lose myself to another book. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Every Wednesday YA Highway ask a question Road Trip Wednesday they post a question and everyone answers.  So here is this weeks question:

Where do you buy most of your books? No one is judging!

                Okay so this seems like an easy question right?  Not so much.  I don’t have any place I must buy a book.  I did get a Kindle so I do buy books on there through of course but I still buy books in print.  Mostly when I’ve already gotten some in a series and want to have them all in the same format.

                So when I buy books in print if it’s a new release I admit I first check Walmart or Sam’s Club as they usually have a good price.  Then I check online, I’m economical.  I also can check Books A Million which I have nearby, well by nearby I mean as close as nearby is where I live.  Barnes & Noble is a bit further away but I use their website a lot, especially when they have a sale.  However for older books there are a few discount stores a little ways away that have books for under $10.  Some even for $1.  Yep if it’s been out for a while checking there is a good idea. 

                That’s about it.  Don’t have a specific place to buy books.  Anywhere that has a good sale I’m likely to get a couple books.  What about you?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Movie Marathon Reviews...

                I know I’ve been sporadic the for the last few weeks and I apologize for that but not much time spent at the movies or even reading sadly.  I guess that has to do with both writing and getting ready for the holidays.  Alas, my good movie day buddy and I did one of our days and now I have four new movies to review for you.

                First we saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which we were both excited about.  This movie we also had another friend who unfortunately couldn’t stay for the day, holiday shopping and all.  I should start this review by saying that I have never read any of the books or short stories so I had no expectation other than based on what I saw in the first movie.  My friend however did read the books and has her own opinions on some things which I’m sure she’ll share in the comments.

                Holmes was my favorite movie of the night.  It had the level of intrigue, mystery, suspense, action, and comedy you expect.  I have to say I adore the way Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. play off each other with their banter so well written but the acting in those moments you can’t help but laugh.  Everyone in my opinion did a fabulous job in this movie with their parts, playing them perfectly.

                The story was good, for me what I expected from the previews; a game between two great masterminds.  Holmes is a genius but he’s also a bit crazy too which is what makes him so much fun.  He has an unusual way of looking at things and sometimes you’re not sure if he really knows what he’s doing but then he pulls it all together and you see his ‘crazy’ was part of an intricate plan.  Overall I found Sherlock Holmes 2, to be a fun movie and I can’t wait to get it on DVD. 

Rating: 5 Stars 

                Next we have Tower Heist.  This movie was hilarious.  It’s also relatable in a Robin Hood sorta way.  Bad man takes your money to live the high life and you’re still supposed to treat him and cater to his every whim.  Ben Stiller’s character leads a band of ordinary people on a heist.  It’s so funny because they are normal people and not criminal masterminds so they are pretty much just guessing and making a bunch of mistakes.  You root for the ‘thieves’ because well let’s face it the guy is a complete ass but also because they are doing it for a good reason, to help others.  I don’t have much to say about this movie, it was cute and funny and I recommend seeing it.  It is very predictable but it’s a good time.

Rating:  4 Stars

                Now onto Immortals.  I like mythology so it was a given that I would see this at some point no matter what just to see it.  It is in the same style as 300, lots of blood and gore so if that is offensive to you then you shouldn’t go into this movie.  There is also a cast of yummy eye candy for the ladies, which is always nice.

                This is the tale of a normal guy (Theseus) who just wants to protect those he loves.  King Hyperion is leading his legion of killers on a quest to find the Epirus Bow said to have been lost in the war between Gods and Titans.  He kills without mercy in his quest.  He is played by Mickey Rourke, who plays the role of pure evil sociopath with conviction.  The Bow is the only weapon that can set the Titans free for those who still believe in the myths.

                See the Gods are having their own issues up in the sky.  No God can help the mortals or they go against the will of Zeus.  They can only get involved should the humans set the Titans free.  So Theseus is on a mission of revenge which he comes to learn things about himself along the way.  Along on the journey is the oracle Phaedra who has visions of what is to come.

                It was pretty good.  Better than I expected.  It would be something I’d watch again but not in any hurry.  If you want a gorey action movie have fun.  Also memorable mention before I forget, Joseph Morgan (from Vampire Diaries), and Kellan Lutz (Twilight) and Luke Evans (Three Musketeers (2011)) were in the movie which was something of a treat.

Rating:  3.5 Stars

                The last movie on our marathon yesterday was New Year’s Eve, which is ensemble movie.  It is slam packed with stars.  The movie centers around New Year’s Eve, I bet you didn’t guess that from the title, in New York City.  There are a bunch of different little stories that shift easily into one another.  Each is different in it’s own little way and fun.  If you like the movie Valentine’s Day then you’ll like this, it’s cute.  Not much to say about it other than that.

Rating: 4 Stars

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Before I Fall By: Lauren Oliver

               I just finished reading this book Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.  I overall enjoyed the book and it kept me intrigued and I’m giving it 4 stars but I warn you ahead of time that this review is sorta hard to write without spoilers but I will try my utmost best.  Mostly it’s just hard to explain my feelings on the ending and how I just feel…caught.

                Okay so basically you have Sam who is part of the popular crowd at school with her three best friends.  She’s dating a super cute guy who she’s always had a crush on and life is perfect for a high school senior.  The typical high school stuff occurs, popularity contests, hating on people who are less than perfect even though they really are good people and all once you get past the ‘not cool enough’ label.  Anyways it’s Cupid Day, which is the day before Valentine’s Day when the students get roses delivered to them throughout the day from friends, admirers, and so on.  A visual popularity contest, who gets the most.

                Well this day is special in that it ends horribly.  Then she wakes up and it’s Cupid Day all over.  Yep Sam is caught reliving the same day over and over.  It’s pretty interesting.   Each day Sam tries different things, both trying to break the repeat cycle and also just do the most outlandish things possible with complete confidence you get another do-over.  Honestly the thought is rather invigorating.  What would you do one day if you knew you could do whatever you wanted and as soon as you went to sleep it’d start all over clean slate?

                So the story delves deeper and throughout you get to see how friendships were formed.  How they weren’t always popular.  Different aspects of what was supposed to be a so called perfect life.  I won’t lie and say I didn’t see it all coming but still it was good.

                Now as for the ending.  Part of me understands it completely and sees really it’s the only way the book could have ended.  The other part of me isn’t content.  I feel cheated.  I’m sure once it’s settled in my mind and isn’t fresh I’ll move more to the understanding side but I just can’t help feel that the ending left open so much and could have caused so many ripples that it could lend itself to another story.  So I guess I say read it, enjoy it, and if you feel at the end like me then just imagine your own little added part to tack on.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Every Wednesday YA Highway ask a question Road Trip Wednesday which I was turned onto by reading a fellow writers blog Unavoidable Awkwardness by Laurie Dennison.    

This week’s prompt was: How far would you go to get published?

                I want to say that I’d do whatever I have to in order to get published and to an extent that is true.  I’ll re-read, re-write, revise and as many times as needed to make it that much better but as much as I would love to be published there is one thing I won’t do. 
                I won’t jeopardize my characters.  I know who my characters are.  I am willing to make minor adjustments to make them more but their overall self I won’t…can’t change them to fit the publishers needs or desires.  That may sound silly but to me that’d be like changing who I am.  All of my characters are real to me, they have pasts, feels, needs, dreams, fears, everything and I know it all. 
                That was very short and to the point but I’m working on my book and the characters I love so they need my attention back.  They are rather demanding.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Every Wednesday YA Highway ask a question Road Trip Wednesday which I was turned onto by reading a fellow writers blog Unavoidable Awkwardness by Laurie Dennison.   

What's the best book you read in November?

                At first I thought I could never pick one book for a month but as this has been a slow month book wise for me I find it doable.  Well that and I went back and realized the two books I instantly thought of didn’t have to compete.  What a relief because that would have been hard.   What were my two choices you ask?  The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, which thankfully I read in October, and my pick Bloodlines by Richelle Mead.

                This will be a short blog post since I just reviewed this book a couple posts back.  Just had to answer this weeks question and once again point out how much I enjoyed that book.  It took me back into a series that I loved so much and was sad to see ended.  Now I get more of the story I loved but through the eyes of a different character who has a completely different mindset and belief system and best yet learn more about lesser characters.  Win/Win if I do say so. 

                That’s about it for me.  What did you read this month?  What was your favorite?  Share I’d love to know and also might add it to my own ‘to-read’ list.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crazy Stupid Love, Priest, & The Next Three Days Review

                This will be a quick little review of these movies all of which I got on Black Friday.  Just thought I bared a review even though they have been out for a while…oh well this is my blog and I’ll review what I want J
                So first we have Crazy Stupid Love.  I wanted to see this movie in theatres so badly but sadly the timing would never line up with the movie marathon days or I just couldn’t get someone to go with me and let’s face it movies seem more fun with shared with someone else.  So I watched it on DVD the other night finally and thought it was ubber cute. 
                Steve Carell is funny, I never watched the office and some of his movies for me are hit or miss but this was a hit.  Ryan Gosling who might I say is sexy also plays his role of womanizer/teacher well.  You believe everything he says and half the time you’re laughing your behind off.  The rest of the cast Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon were great.  Basically it’s a story of love and how it can be crazy and stupid as the title might suggest.  Marriage, adultery, bar hopping/one night stands, young love, crushing on an older man, safe choices and going for it.  It was a really cute movie that had moments of sadness and awe mixed in with pure unfiltered laughter.  I recommend it.  4 Stars

                Now let’s talk about Priest.  I watched this movie originally in theatres.  I enjoyed it.  It’s not the type of movie for everyone but what can I say I’m open minded.  As mentioned I bought this the other day on sale and re-watched it last night.  It’s a dark and different take on vampires and even though I’m a total romantic and Twi-hard I still like the dark evil vampires.

                This has Paul Bettany, Maggie Q, Cam Gigandet, and Karl Urban among others.  It’s a different world ravaged by vampires and the only thing that helped keep people safe were Priests.  They were found by the church, faster, stronger than normal people who could take on the murderous vampires.  After the vampire menace was eradicated the church who controls everything stripped them of their title and duty.  The people live under the church, the only ones who can keep them safe in the walls.  Basically Bettany’s  character’s niece is taken by a group of vampires and he asks permission from the church to go find her.  They decline he goes rogue.  Simple enough but you have this threat that isn’t supposed to be a threat coming back the church denying it, and a priest trying to save his family.
                I liked the movie.  Sure there are some continuity problems and some of it, okay most of it is totally outlandish and unbelievable but come on people it’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller with vampires.  Just sit back and enjoy.  If you life sci-fi and action then you’ll enjoy this.  Don’t take it too seriously, it’s fun…in a dark way.  I give it 4 stars.

                Last but not least we have The Next Three Days featuring Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks.  This movie is a crime drama thriller.  Basically Lara (Banks) is put in jail after being convicted of killing her boss.  It’s been 3 years and things are looking bad, no upside.  Husband and father to their 6 year old John (Crowe) immerses himself in planning her escape.  The movie was pretty good, you follow the trials and errors and how a school teacher plans a prison break and deals with the stress of everything.  I had to laugh at parts, you really can find anything online as John learns lol.  Also there is a guest appearance by Liam Neeson who I adore.  Overall the movie was pretty good and I was entertained.  I give it 3.5 stars.

                That’s all the movie reviews until next time.  Let me know what you think about these in the comments.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bloodlines Review

                I finished this book last night, early this morning but I stayed awake only long enough to finish.  I really loved this book, it goes along with The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.  I’ll be the first to admit when the Vampire Academy series ended I was so sad I wanted more of all the characters so when I heard there was a book that was in the same universe I had to check it out. 

                Bloodlines is based just after the other books end so I highly recommend you read those first or it shall spoil them for you and you might not grasp the depth of some of the relationships that are discussed.  By this I mean back story with some of the characters, why they feel the way they do.  Sure you could read it alone and understand things but I don’t suggest it.

                Basically the story is from Alchemist Sydney’s point of view.  Readers met Sydney in the last few books of the original series but it’s never clear what happens after to her after that story ends.  Now we find out.  This also continues with the overall story that was created but expanding on more and different characters.  This new spin-off series will focus on Sydney, Jill, Adrian, and Eddie and others.  I have to say I’m super stoked about Adrian being in it because I liked him, he had tons of flaws but he still had these moments where you can’t help but love him.  In the previous books he was in love with a girl who was already so deeply and completely in love with someone else she thought she’d lost forever when they got together he didn’t really stand a chance at having her full heart or keeping her when things turned around.  As happy as I was with how the triangle ended up (Adrian is great but I heart my Dimitri) I was still sad for him.

                So we have Jill going into a type of witness protection for vampires.  Trying to hide from her own kind who are trying to kill her.  Eddie is her Guardian and the Alchemists are trying to help with everything for the sake of keeping balance in the world which is their job.  Sydney is in trouble from her actions in the other series but gets sent on this assignment and finds herself in a bit of a mess.  Not only does she have to live with a vampire which she is raised to believe is horrible monsters but she has to work on being socially inept at school, a senior alchemist in charge trying to get rid of her, and a mysterious tattoo ring in school.  Lots going on that’s for sure.

                What I like most about Sydney is her struggle.  All her life she’s been raised to believe that the Mori (full alive vampire), Dhampir (guardians of Mori and half vampire), and Strigoi (undead vampire/evil), are all horrible abominations.  That however conflicts with everything she has seen when helping in the original series, she sees they can be normal people if you don’t think about the other part (well not the Strigoi).  So she struggles with her beliefs, she believes in what she does but not in everything, the way you have to give yourself up no more choice in your own life and you can’t have an opinion.  Rules and procedure.  That is life. 

                We also get to see more flushed out sides to Jill.  She wasn’t really developed too much in the original series, a major part of the story rested on her but as a character we didn’t get to know her.  In this we do.  Also as I previously mentioned more Adrian, yeah.  He struggles daily with things and as a Spirit user (all the Mori have a special ability with magic, one of the 5 elements, Spirit being only recently discovered again), and Spirit dose take a toll. 

                I enjoyed this book so much and I highly recommend the whole series.  I can’t wait for June when book 2 comes out.  Even thought The Vampire Academy ended I am excited to be able to continue the story and get glimpses of one of my favorite couples here and there while enjoying everything this new spin-off series has to offer.  Some romance of it’s own is blooming I dare say. 

***** 5 Stars

Black Friday!

               So everyone knows about the craziness that is Black Friday Shopping.  I admit I go.  I don’t go crazy and sit outside the store for hours for one item or anything.  I mostly go to check out the deals that I see in store, normally don’t even check ads too much.  I go to get cheap DVD’s.  Yep you heard me I go to get the movies on sale, $2 for some. 

                Now this year I’m currently unemployed and considered not going knowing I need to save all money but I had this small stash I’d had saved for some fun/entertainment fund and well…the opportunity to go watch the madness of Black Friday won.  Yep my mother asked if I wanted to go with her and help her so I got a free meal and picked up some good deals too.

                My favorite moment though was in Wal-Mart.  Now this year they did the scatter sales starting at 10pm and then different ones starting at midnight.  Well we had raided the movies and had just picked up a couple things not on sale but still needed from the back of the store.  Knowing we’d be in line forever, as the lines were so long we had to go along the side of the store to the garden department to get into the heart of the store.  Ironically the movies were set up in produce this year (opposite side from garden in ours).  Any who we made our way through, myself smiling and laughing the whole way enjoying the madness.  Normally I don’t like crowds of people but this for some reason always seems more interesting that horrifying. 

                Well we decided to take turns using the restroom in the back and all and as we were sorting out her things and I helped her check off some of her lists midnight hit.  WOW there were screams and other loud commotion I couldn’t quite identify but apparently they opened the midnight electronics sales not far from where we were hidden out.  It was like watching starved wild cats fight for the bloody scraps of meat.  Seriously.  If I hadn’t been helping my mother organizing her things and had my hands busy I would have found a better angle and video recorded it on my phone. 

                This is why I love Black Friday shopping.  I write and that stuff gives me so much to write.  OMG the stories you hear in the packed lines, people are crazy.  They will do incredibly stupid things to get something on sale.  Like the ones who wait outside the store for hours before they open to get something.  Hey I respect your dedication and need to get a good deal but please remember this when you criticize and question people waiting outside for a midnight showing of a movie.  We have the same goal, get something.  You a good deal, us a good seat.  And might I just point out that while the people sitting outside the store are sitting at least us outside the theatre are doing more, we don’t consider it sitting in line its more of a party or gathering of friends for fun before an event.

                So this was short and sweet but I had to comment on the night.  Also thank you to all of you who do the crazy things that give me this giddy feeling.  I am off to go watch some of my new DVD’s.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Vampire Diaries The Hunters: Phantom Review

                So this review will be short and simple.  This book took what amounted to me as forever to read.  It was good and along the lines of the other books in the series.  Damon is supposed to be gone for good.  Everyone has emotional insecurities and they are brought to surface and made more dominate no matter how silly they are.  Everyone is acting very strange, new people coming into town and also coping with figuring out what they missed in their re-undestroyed town.

                Basically Elena is front and center with her group and still in love with both brothers Stefan and Damon.  One is gone and she loves him still and acting totally irrational in my opinion.  I guess I don’t care for this Elena as much as the one on the show.  Maybe I don’t get the constant pull between both brothers, sure I get it they both have their appeal and love her but when you see in the very first or 2nd book of the series how it destroyed them loving the same woman, and how it hurts them both how do you justify putting them in the middle for your selfish needs.  Choose one or neither, clearly this option doesn’t work.

                Anyways my feelings on Elena aside, everyone is coping with the new differences in their un destroyed lives.  Also save the town yet again from an evil, but this evil they created.  A Phantom, clear given the title.  Anyways the gang has to work on this problem while dealing with their own personal dramas that seem to take up twice as much space as the main plot point but never get resolved really.
                So overall I’d say it’s like the others in the same style just with a new evil foe.  Maybe 2.5 stars.  Meredith, Alaric, and Mrs. Flowers are my favorite characters which is funny being as they are the most level headed in the series.  I’ll  keep reading them, I’m an addict and I can’t start a series and not finish it when I have even a scrap of interest in it so until the next book…

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breaking Dawn Pt 1 Review

                Okay so I meant to get this in sooner but sigh I passed out last night way earlier after spending the day with family.  But here is my much anticipated review for Breaking Dawn Pt 1. 

                Now I have to give a shot out to all of my amazing friends and fellow Twi-hards who sat outside the theatre before hand and had our own little party.  Lots of games and trivia, which I must say I rocked at.  So the movie started with an invitation to their wedding.  I loved the movie.  As with the others I still love the book more but that aside it was a beautifully done movie.  It captured all the beauty and intensity of the books.

                The wedding was beautiful.  I mean beyond beautiful I don’t have any desire to get married or anything but if I ever did that wedding was it.  The honeymoon, Isle Esme was gorgeous.  I want to vacation there.  That I felt stuck pretty good to the book, how nervous Bella was about it but also excited.  Her ‘human minute’ which I have to say made me giggle since I have been slightly disappointed that they haven’t made mention of her human moments before now.  The water, the dreams/nightmares were vivid and clear.

                So from the previews you know she ends up pregnant that isn’t really a spoiler unless you live under a rock.  So yeah that is unexpected and no one thinks it can happen because well…let’s face vamps don’t sleep with humans.  They did cut down the droopy brooding after the first time some which I liked, not focusing on it so much just getting to the point and moving on.  The pregnancy takes its toll on Bella and everyone physically and emotionally and I think they portrayed it very well.

                Now I admit there was a bit of cheesiness with one part with the wolf pack.  They are all in their wolf forms and they are arguing so its mostly voiceovers as they talk telepathically.  I know they had to do it that way, they had to be in wolf form for it to really make an impact and they did their best.  Speaking of wolves, I’m so happy we get to delve into Leah and why she is…bitchy.  The scenes from all the movies flashing through Jacob’s mind as he runs through the woods, everything was stunning. 

                Now as for where part 1 ends I will brag that I had it pegged.  Me and my friend talked about it before the movie and towards the end I told her where I thought it would end and sure enough I was so right.  Also for everyone who hasn’t seen it yet wait after the credits there is a scene with the Volturi.  Overall I shall give this movie the full 5 Diamonds (fitting I think).  It’s PG-13 but nothing major they don’t show too much clearly.  There are a few lines in the book I was sad I didn’t see in the movie but as a movie itself it was very good and I can’t wait to see it again.  The biggest downside is that I have to wait until Nov 16, 2012 to see part 2.

                I hope you have enjoyed this review and that you enjoy the movie.  Oh and side note I just recently read a review a guy wrote about the movie.  There is no pedophilia going on, imprinting is described in book and movie 2, New Moon, as a connection.  It’s also described again in this movie, a connection, a friend, protector, whatever the person needs it doesn’t have to be romantic.  Had to clear that up after reading that in a review.  Okay that’s it.  Please comment.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday

Every Wednesday YA Highway ask a question Road Trip Wednesday which I was turned onto by reading a fellow writers blog Unavoidable Awkwardness by Laurie Dennison.  So I’m going to start taking part as often as I can because it’s just so much fun.

In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

                Okay so I don’t have a ton of time before I finish packing up the baked goods and head to meet friends but had to respond to this weeks question.  First let me say that my school reading experience was different than most it seems.  Sure we read Romeo & Juliet, sections of The Iliad, The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter, and numerous others but not nearly as many as some others in different areas I’ve discovered.  I don’t know the reasoning but I turned out okay and my love for reading did not start there I can say that.

                What would I change?  I would keep some of the classics that have great lessons about different areas, for instance I love mythology.  I don’t care for the old English, I know most kids in school didn’t but it literally gave me a headache and is one of the reasons I never read The Scarlet Letter, but I passed every one of my tests with flying colors.  No I didn’t watch a movie, I simply found really good chapter notes online that broke the chapter down into 2-3 pages in normal everyday speak for me.  Even those notes didn’t make me interested in the book. 

                That being said I know no matter what kids are going to use online notes and not read it’s unavoidable.  But I think mixing books in there that they can relate too but also have great depth like The Hunger Games trilogy or The Maze Runner trilogy you can teach about the developing issues in society.  I find that people relate better when they know the rules.  Reading about ‘old times’ they don’t really understand why people don’t just ‘do this’ or ‘do that’.  The ways people would react to that issue today has changed and the characters reasoning might no longer make sense.  A woman had an affair and the town shunned her…today pop culture is littered with cheating spouses some even claiming sex addiction.

                Overall I think the stories should be a mix or old and new but keep relevant to the world around them and if not then given better context.  I wish I could think of more books that have a great meaning and would be great for teaching but at the moment I am at a loss.  I think the main goal for reading in school is to educate, but also to inspire students to want to read.  Adding things they will enjoy and be eager to read I think would benefit everyone.  Well that is my opinion now off to finish getting ready.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blog Update

                Okay so I haven’t updated in over a week and I was doing oh so good before.  So this is just an update and brief thoughts.  I am currently reading a book, the new Vampire Diaries The Hunters: Vol 1 Phantom and it is just like the others. 

                On these books I don’t really get as excited.  I started reading them before the show came on because a good friend of mine (same one who got me into Twilight) told me she was reading them.  She told me they were strange and very different but that they were making a show and the trailer looked amazing so I figured why not.  I know I know most of the time people like the book more than the show/movie but in this case I like the show better.  Strange right?  The first episode I was slightly upset that they changed so much, the main character is supposed to be blonde, have a very little sister, and 2 best friends and one of the characters who is evil (brunette).  The main character isn’t blonde, she has a HOT younger (slightly) brother, one of the best friends doesn’t exist, and the evil girl is blonde and one of the nicest fun characters on the show.  There is also the changes in mythology.  But after I finished the episode I thought it was really cool and just decided it was totally different from the book and take it on its own which for me has worked. 

                Now some of you might wonder why I read the books if they aren’t my favorites.  That would be because I have to.  I can’t just stop reading something especially if it’s still mildly interesting.  The books are okay, way out there for sure, and sometimes the main character drives me insane but oh well.  Between ¼ and ½ way finished and these seem to take longer to read so the other books I can’t wait to read have to wait. 

                Also keeping me occupied this last week was writing and editing.  I mentioned before I’m working on my book…which I haven’t done in a while.  I know bad me.  But on the up side I did write a short story which I submitted earlier today to a contest so hoping something happens there.

                Let’s talk about short stories.  I never thought I’d be able to tell one as I can go on and on and well you get the picture but I decided to give it a try.  I had this idea for a meeting between two people that I wrote down over a year ago and planned to work into either my fan fiction or my book but decided that wouldn’t work but seeing the contest thought it’d make a great short story.  So I wrote it and really enjoyed it.  So much in fact that I have a couple more in my head to write.

                What about you?  Have you ever wrote a short story?  If you love to write or have the idea for one I say give it a go.  It was so much fun and I’m finding it very helpful, although distracting me from my book but I will have to work on that too.

                Also I had the great pleasure of reading a fellow writers book draft.  I met her at the conference and after being amazed that she’d finished her book I offered to read.  I am hoping that before too long it will be out and I can write a review for it.  Once she sends me her blog info I’ll totally post it.  I’ve also been continuing my horse riding lessons.  Yes my mom and brother have had the 2 horses for 5-7 years now and I never had any inclination to get on until last month.   They are being helpful and teaching me, slowly as it hurts and sometimes Beauty (the horse I ride) is stubborn.  Sometimes I do what I’m supposed to but she decides she knows better than me.  It’s a process but it’s fun learning even if my body hurts the next day.

                Oh and there is the little fact that the midnight showing of Breaking Dawn is oh so deliciously close.  I can’t wait to meet up with my midnight showing crew and have a fun entire day of fun.  Also I get to try some new recipes Wednesday for the event so should be fun.  Anyways that’s all for now.  I’m sure I’ll write a review for Breaking Dawn. 

Until next time,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Movie Marathon Review

                So it has been a few long painful weeks since I’ve went to the movies.  Yes it’s hard when you love to watch movies to have to wait but waiting for my friend to do a movie marathon day was well worth it.  We saw 5 movies yesterday, yes effectively spending our entire day at the theater especially when you account for getting to the first one an hour early…I forgot to set my watch back an hr my mistake.  But overall the day was great, we weren’t hugely disappointed with any of them but read on and see.

                Reviewing in the order we saw them.  First we have the newest telling of The Three Musketeers.  I enjoyed it a lot.  I also admit to being a sucker for these three musketeer tales, the 90’s Disney one being my all time favorite, The Musketeer, and of course The Man in the Iron Mask, all great tales.  Now onto the real part this new tale.  Dose it stack up?  I loved it.  I give it 5 stars.  Musketeers must stop the plot set in place by the Cardinal and save France.

                Diving deeper it’s not as believable as the others with flying war ships and all but visually it was spectacular.  The sword fights and action scenes were beautifully shot and they had me both cringing and laughing.  Yes like my 90’s fav this one also has wonderful bits of comedy embedded.  I love the snarky and witty comments that fly from their mouths even in the heat of battle.  But back to the visuals for a moment, wow.  I love period costumes, even if they make me giggle (as the kings did many many times) they were great. 

                Now onto characters.  I love the cast.  Christoph Waltz plays a great Cardinal who you can just hate easily and let’s face it that’s what his character is for.  He’s a bad guy and no that’s not a spoiler should you have seen any trailer or know anything about Musketeer movies.  He is deliciously evil as is his right hand man and leader of his guard with one eye played this time by Mads Mikkelsen.  Most importantly though you have the Musketeers, Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), and young D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman).  They play so well together, and the viewer can see the easy with which they fit and balance one another out.  One of my favorite things about this story is that unlike some it flushes out more of the story of Milard De Winter (Milla Jovoich) and Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). 

                The story was straightforward and easy to follow along with and yes I admit easy to predict at times but still worth the watch.  I can’t wait to see it again.  I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan of the musketeer tales and who likes a good action comedy.

Rating: 5 Stars

                Now we move to my least favorite movie of the day, The Rum Diary.  Okay I admit I wanted to see it mostly for one reason…Johnny Depp.  What can I say he is great.  Sure he has some strange movies at times but Capt. Jack Sparrow hehe wow.  Anyways I went in expecting from the trailer a comedy of sorts.  I don’t have too much to say about it really.  There were really good parts that made you laugh your ass off but other parts that left you wondering why?

                As I couldn’t write a fitting summary of the movie here is one curtsey of  Paul Kemp (Depp) is a freelance journalist who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life while writing for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean. Paul is challenged on many levels as he tries to carve out a more secure niche for himself amidst a group of lost souls all bent on self-destruction
                This movie also made me cringe but anyone who knows me knows I have an aversion to eyeballs them being messed with or looking strange makes mine water.  Also my issues with chickens my partner in crime laughed when there was part of the movie with cock fighting.  No I’m not scared of chickens on the screen, I’m not that neurotic but still when I see it I think ‘uh huh no way evil things’.  Moving on Johnny Depp did a good job with the role as did the supporting cast Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard and Richard Jenkins.  They were all pretty good and the story was okay for a while but about halfway through you lose it.  It goes from having a semi-understandable plot to really diving off the deep end and just sorta leaving you hanging.  It wasn’t horrid but I give it 2.5 stars simply for the comedy.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

                Movie #3 of our marathon was In Time.  I admit this tied with Three Musketeers as my favorite movie of the day.  It was different which is seemingly harder and harder to do these days.  It had tons of things to enjoy.  This is a story of the future where people don’t age past the age of 25.  There is no money, time is the currency.  At 25 you have 1 year on your clock (which is displayed on your arm) and if you don’t want to die you have to work, cheat or steal to keep more time.  The rich can live forever and the poor die young.  Timekeepers keep the balance and make sure the balance is kept.  Interesting right?

                Well Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a simple man who lives day by day working hard with his mom (Olivia Wilde).  Then one day he’s at the bar to get his friend and he sees a man not from their time zone (the world is divided into different zones by income basically).  The man is flashing around over 100 years which in an area where people work hard for each day is dangerous.  Salas saves the man from the towns Minuteman (time thief played by Alex Pettyfer)and explains the system to him.  He’s old and he’s tired of living but can live forever, he then gives his time to Will and tells him not to waste it.  The story goes from there and basically he decides to help people, wanting to make sure everyone has a chance to live.  He ends up with Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) and on the run from the Timekeepers (leader is played by Cillian Murphy).

                I enjoyed this movie a lot and really want to see it again.  The cast to me was spectacular as was the acting.  I can’t give too much more away without giving away the story.  Basically it’s a Robin Hood story of the future.  There is a lot of chasing, crashing, action which was a good change.  It keep me entertained.  I give it 5 stars.

Rating: 5 Stars

                Now we have our animated movie of the day Puss in Boots.  I admit this hadn’t been on my list of movies I really wanted to see never really watching Shrek movies past #1 but my friend wanted to see it and it fit our time frame so I figured why not.  Basically this was a cutesy movie. 
                Puss is an outlaw.  You learn the history of how he became Puss in Boots and why he is an outlaw.  You also meet his brother (orphanage) Humpty Dumpty and another feline Kitty.  Together they embark on a quest for the magic beans to grow the beanstalk and get the gold eggs.  It’s a kids movie but there is surprisingly quite a bit of adult humor stuffed in there which made me laugh harder as being in a kids movie I wasn’t expecting it.  Overall it was a good time, Antonio Banderas, Selma Hayek, and Zach Galifianakis are the voices of the 3 main characters.  It was good and yet another laugh as there is a giant Goose at one point and my friend laughed at the trend in movies and ‘evil demon birds’ for me.  Side story I was attacked by geese when I was like 7 or 8 which I think the start of my phobia.  This movie was cute and I’d watch it again if it came on, it did make me want to give my bebe Keira some attention (fyi she’s a cat lol).  I give this movie 4 stars.

Rating: 4 Stars

                Finally to round out our movie day and my reviews we have A Very Harold & Kumar3D Christmas.  There isn’t really much to say for this one.  If you’ve seen and enjoyed the other Harold & Kumar movies then you will enjoy this one.  It is so explicit and way out there but it’s good for a laugh and honestly I think my favorite 3D movie yet.  Yeah they have weed (of course it wouldn’t be a H&K movie without it) and although I’ve never tried the stuff it was hilarious to see the smoke coming out in 3D.  Was it cheesy?  Yes.  Was it full of stupid and raunchy comedy?  Yes.  I knew that going in and my expectations were set accordingly and I wasn’t disappointed.  It gave you just what you’d expect from a Harold & Kumar movie with some wicked 3D action, and as usual some celeb cameos like Neil Patrick Harris.  So I’m giving this movie a 4.

Rating: 4 Stars

                So there you have it my long…long blog full of my movie reviews for a movie Marathon.  I hope you liked them and enjoy.  Let me know what you thought of the movies or my reviews.