Monday, August 31, 2009

Grab Your Muskets!

A Redwall update:
So far I really like it a lot. I like the letter from Brian Jacques in the beginning, explaining how the time period isn't really a time we can relate to, and how he wanted to write about a time when there weren't machines and technology. I love the creatures and the personality traits for each species. Cluny the evil sea rat is pretty terrifying so far and I look forward to happens in the upcoming pages.
I'll update more when I'm further into the book. As of right now though, I'm a fan.

How about some other things I like that I am not embarrassed by nor are they terrible:

Top YouTube Channels: SHAYTARDS, fiveawesomegirls (made up of Kristina, Lauren, Kayley, Hayley, and Liane), sxephil, the vlogbrothers, meekakitty, and The Station

Blogs: Maureen Johnson, John Green, HayleyGHoover, Pamie, Sarah Dessen, Post Secret, 11 Points, The Superficial

Music: Third Eye Blind's new cd "Ursa Major" (here's a video!) Faber Drive, Miley Cyrus "Party in the USA" (and this), Kings of Leon, The Used (particularly the Artwork and Lies for the Liars albums)

The Boston Bruins

Daily Booth & Twitter

By the way, can you tell I didn't know how to do links before? Sorry for the onslaught... but oh well!

The following is courtesy of MLIA
"Today I ran down the halls of my dorm yelling, "THE BRITISH ARE COMING! THE BRITISH ARE COMING!" Some random guy stuck his head out the door and responded, "GRAB YOUR MUSKETS MINUTEMEN! WE'VE GOT SOME REDCOATS TO STOP!" This was easily the greatest moment of my week. MLIA."
Today I was at the mall and I saw a pregnant woman wearing a shirt that said, "Maybe now he'll marry me." By far the best maternity shirt ever created. MLIA. "
Today, I filled a Windex bottle with blue Gatorade. I then sprayed it into my mouth infront of my mother. She began to panic and scream and get hysterical. I thought it was funny. She didn't. MLIA."

I Have A Secret

Every Monday night I watch The Secret Life of the American Teenager. And every Monday day night I wonder WHY? If you've never seen it, it's about a group of teenagers and their experiences in high school, mostly pertaining to their relationships (sexual and otherwise). The main character is Amy who got pregnant in the first season and is now raising her son with the help of family, friends, and the baby's father. I've watched it since the beginning, and now even Mike watches it with me. Every Monday we sit down with our dinners and watch the story unfold. It's part of our Monday Night Tradition (MNT for you acronym lovers out there), which also includes Taco Bell, Jon & Kate Plus 8, Intervention, and Hoarders. It's a good time.

The problem: the show isn't any good.

None, seriously NONE of the characters have any redeeming qualities. Everyone sleeps with each others boyfriends and cheats on their significant others. No one is actually honest with their friends or boyfriend/girlfriend. Even the adults just lie. Amy, the girl who now has a baby, is whiny and tries to use her baby as a way to get pity and help from her family, but then also uses the baby to show that she's and "adult" now -- at 16. Ricky, the father of the baby, sleeps around, most frequently with Adrienne. Adrienne also sleeps around, sometimes with her step-brother. Grace is the religious wannabe-doctor who had sex the night her father died, and now thinks that she caused his death by having sex. Ben is Amy's boyfriend, and he may be the worst character of all. He tries to act and talk like an adult, which doesn't work so smoothly when you're a 16 year old boy with your voice changing.
I can't even get started about the parents.
You would think that the woman who did 7th Heaven would be able to manage at least one family that's not full of nutcases, but I guess not.
It's awful and I love it. I love seeing who's going to fight with whom, who's going to fight with their parents, and who's going to say the most sentences that sound like whoever wrote the script has never been a teenager, let along spoken to one.
I know this is ranting and terrible, but I really just don't understand WHY I like it. I don't even like it, I just can't stop watching it. It's the worst train wreck on TV and I'm watching every minute of it as if there's crack seeping into my eyes from the TV screen.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I know a lot of people have heard of the FML website, which has made the phrase "fml" become so overused that I can't stand it. I hate when I see people's facebook statuses end with those three little letters, it seems to tacky and self-involved.
But now I have been introduced with MLIA (My Life is Average), which is so much more hilarious because a lot of the posts are about small sometimes amusing thoughts regular, average people are having. And I somehow don't think people will use "mlia" half as much on their facebooks as they use "fml."
Apparently there is also a MLIG (My Life is Good), but I have the feeling that it will just be people being braggy and pretentious, so I may not check it out.
The following are some quotes from MLIA:

"Today, my parents made me put a flashlight in my car because they didn't think the lightsaber in my trunk would help in a time of need. What fools. MLIA"

Today, I was cleaning the garage and found our old christmas lights. I noticed that the label said "for indoor and outdoor use only". I'm still wondering how anyone could possibly break this rule. MLIA"

The other day, dinner with my mom was awkwardly quiet. To break the silence I randomly asked her what her zombie plan was. She said she didn't have one. We spent the next half an hour discussing the best strategies against the undead and she is now sufficiently prepared. I feel like I've re-payed her for bringing me into the world. MLIA"

Today, I was about to put a pie in the oven, so I checked the time. It was 3:14. I felt like the universe wanted me to have pie. MLIA"

I love the Zombie Plan one. Earlier this Summer one of my best friends and I came up with a plan to defend his house if Zombies ever attacked. We worked out multiple scenarios and even got his mom in on the plans so she'll know what to do when the time comes.

Books and Bookworms

Thanks to a friend, Jim, I no longer have to make the decision on what book to read. I've started "Redwall" by Brian Jacques a couple of times, once while babysitting about 5 years ago, and once maybe 2 years ago. But both times I ended up losing the book for a while and by the time I found it, I couldn't remember what happened. My copy has been sitting on my shelf for a couple months now after I found it in the trunk of my car, Lyla. Finding books in my trunk happens more frequently than I'd like to admit. I've bought books at B&N, put the bag in my trunk, and completely forgotten about then for months until someone mentions a book and I go "Hmmm I think I bought that but where the heck is it?" Then I remember the dismal abyss that is the back half of Lyla and go hunting around in it, barely escaping with my life, until I find that bag of books.
One of the main reasons I've always wanted to read Redwall, and hopefully some of the following books in the series, is because the Redwall Abbey books are the only books I have ever seen my brother read. Dan is not quite the bookworm that I am, so if an author can write adventures so well that even he will be sucked in, then I definitely want to check them out too.
Speaking of bookworms, I've been playing the second volume of Bookworm Adventures, an almost-RPG where you spell words to defeat your enemies and increase your health & strength. It's extremely nerdy and I completely love it. I've beat the first volume too many times to count and I've almost beat the second volume. Whoever designs it is hilarious and includes all these hidden literary jokes. One of the "chapters" in the game refers to a bunch of classic characters for literary history and their "attacks" are all references to the books they are from, which amuses me to no end. The great part about the game is that I, a book nerd, can play and have fun, and Mike, who is more into computer/video games than books, can also play and have fun, so it really appeals to both worlds. I recommend it as a great cure for boredom.

I Certainly Do Love Lists

Soon you will all (all zero of you) come to realize that I love lists. Correction, I love making lists, I don't necessarily love abiding by them or actually doing the things on said lists.
Here's my list of books I want to buy, some already released and others that are coming out in the next few months:

Books Already Out:
The Key to the Golden Firebird - Maureen Johnson
Devilish - Maureen Johnson
Vacations From Hell - Johnson, Bray, Clare, etc
When You Reach me - Rebecca Stead
Love is the Higher Law - Dvid Levithan
Break - Hannah Moskowitz
Another Faust - Daniel and Dina Nayeri
Hate List - Jennifer Brown
The Miles Between - Mary Pearson
The Hollow - Jessica Verday
How To Steal A Car - Pete Hautman
Pretty Little Liars - Sara Shepard

Books Yet To Be Released:
Sept 1st - Catching Fire - Collins
Sept 22 - Pretty Dead - Block
Sept 22 - Going Bovine - Bray
Sept 29 - Liar - Larbalestier
Oct 5 - Fire - Cashore
Oct 6 - Leviathan - Westerfeld
Oct 19 - Goth Girl Rising - Lyga
Nov 10 - WTF - Lerangis
Nov 24 - Deadly Little Lies - Stolarz

Jan 2010 - Scarlett Fever - Johnson
April 6 - The Unwritten Rule - Scott
April 6 - Will Grayson, Will Grayson - Green & Levithan
April 20 - The Six Rules of Maybe - Caletti

I realize this list is rather ambitious, especially considering my already lengthy list of books I already own and need to read, but it is just too hard to not buy books. But buying books has to be better for the greater good than buying shoes, right?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Something New and Unusual

Warning: this blog post is not about books. Escape while you can.
While I enjoy writing about the books I'm reading, I also just enjoy writing for the sake of getting something out there and turning a thought into something that exists out in the world. I used to keep journals and write in them everyday, but then I went to college and actually went out and experienced things for myself. Instead of watching other people and writing down what I was observing, I went out and had fun and no longer needed to write about it because I knew I'd remember those times on my own.
Lately, though, I've missed writing. It's seriously been ages, as I've now been out of college for over a year. So my idea was to start writing about specific things (like books) and maybe that would one day (which I just wrote as "wonday," that fantastic day of the week where everyone wins!) get my creative juices flowing and I could start writing about other things going on.
...... 2 hours later ......
I was distracted by having fun, oops! And now I am going to continue to do so, and I will finish this later.
Time to actually post this and write more tomorrow!

Dismantlement by Jennifer McMahon

I finished "Dismantled" by Jennifer McMahon quicker than I though I would. It was very well written, and I truly just wanted to rush through it and find out all the bits and pieces of the story. I was completely fooled by the end of the book. There I was, proud of myself for figuring it out, and then the final twist was tossed in and I was thrown for a loop. For being a random pick out at Target, it was superb.
I have to say the parts with Emma's "invisible friend" were very creepy, and they added this whole other dimension to the story. The talk of Suz's ghost being around and causing all the problems for the group gave it a supernatural feeling, but knowing that the author was trying to mess with the reader's mind, I figured there was going to be some crazy plot twist (which there was). But having Emma actually feel and see and smell "Danner," without it being a plot twist, was the creepiest part. And to find out at the end that "Danner" is apparently the ghost of an unborn shild was equally as disturbing.
I felt bad for Tess and Henry, neither of them wanted to cage the other, and neither of them knew how to tell the other the whole truth of how they even started as a couple and as a family. If they'd been honest throughout their relationship, I think they could have worked better together during the "current" part of the book.
The Compassionate Dismantlers idea was completely engrossing. Though the theory is well based (that you can't fully understand something until you take it apart), their practices were a bit much. Instead of merely taking things apart they shattered things and people and then completely destroyed them. Suz lured them into her path of destruction and then lead them astray and forced them to ruin lives, buildings, anything they touched. They were all lucky they never got caught, since almost of all of their acts of dismantlement were incredibly illegal.
Not that any of these people are real or anything... It was just a really good story so I just want to keep gushing about it!
I'm not at home now, so I don't have my next book picked out. I might try Boy Toy though, so I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Book List Update

I've never really listed the books I plan to read in the future... meaning the dozens of books I buy and put on a list to read and then never do. I've already written them down on a piece of paper, but I'll type up maybe 10 or 15 of them here. Maybe this will force me to read some of the books I'm not all that excited about.
Now, you ask, why would I buy books I'm not excited about? Well, because there are some books that have been recommended to me, or that I'm the last person on earth to read (sorry Harry Potter), or that I know are supposed to be good and well written books but just aren't appealing to me. However, I am able to get past my likes or dislikes and at least admit when I book I've read has been a good book, even if I didn't enjoy it myself.
SO here's the list of upcoming books, possibly won't be read in this order:
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
Dork Whore by Iris Bahr
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Footfree & Fancyloose by Elizabeth Craft & Sarah Fain
Gone by Michael Grant
Redwall by Brian Jacques
All Souls by Michael Patrick MacDonald

I'll try and stick to the list, however a few books are coming out soon that I am really excited about, and I will probably drop everything and read them as soon as they are in my hands... Really, it just can't be helped!

Still reading "Dismantled." An update will come when I'm further into it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nothing Less Than Astonishing

I finally finished "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" today, honestly, it was incredible. It was only Volume 1 though, so I've got to go out and get Vol 2 if it's in paperback yet. I like when books in a series all match on my book shelf. If you haven't read this book, I seriously recommend it; it has everything a quality book should have. It's smart, beautifully written, at times humorous, but above all, it makes the reader think about some really difficult topics. I'm most looking forward to what happens with Dr. Trefusis in the next volumes, besides Bono, he seems to be the most level-headed person in Octavian's irregular life.
Now I am starting "Dismantled" by Jennifer McMahon. This happens to be on my bookshelf because I was wondering around Target one day and decided to check out their pretty limited book selection. I bought this one in particular because it's about a group of former friends who went astray after some terrible accident, and now something tragic is making them relive the past... oddly enough, I like this kind of book. Usually this sort of story line is done in way too typical a manner, but hopefully this one actually keeps me guessing.
I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Survey from hayleyghoover

Here's a survey from HayleyGHoover's blog. My answers probably aren't as fantastic as they could be because I am very, very hungry right now and just really want some lunch. This is not helped by my boyfriend sitting down next to me with a sandwich. Grr.

1. What author do you own the most books by?
Sarah Dessen (9 books), Kevin Brooks (7 books) & Deb Caletti (6 books)

2. What book do you own the most copies of?
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen & Dracula by Bram Stoker (and, for some reason, Twilight)

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Not really, since when do surveys have proper grammar anyways?

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Dexter from This Lullaby, Adam from Before I Die, & Sebastian from The Nature of Jade (Yes, all these characters are teenagers and I'm 23... I should probably start reading books with male characters my own age now)

5. What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen gets read about once a year, as does The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti. The Catcher in the Rye and Love Story have both been read 3 times (I think)

6. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
When I was ten? Probably the Rosy Cole books by Sheila Greenwald

7. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
The Time Traveler's Wife. Everyone said I would love it and so on, and I read it and the guy, Henry, just had no appealing qualities as a person. So he can time travel, ok, that doesn't make him nice or funny or smart. He was a slutty drunk until he met Clare. And the only things Clare liked about him, were attributes he developed because of her. Henry reminded me of Edward.

8. What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Graceling by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and I'm currently reading The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, which is already going to make the "best books" list

9. If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Paper Towns, I think it would reach the most people

10. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
I mostly dislike movies that have come from books, but I would love to see what boy would play Dexter in This Lullaby

11. What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Dracula already was, and the movie was not so hot, so if we could make it so that never happened, that would be good... Keanu

12. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I can't say I've ever had a weird dream involving any of those things, not that I don't have weird dreams, just not about those topics.

13. What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I'm gonna go with the Twilight series, and then close my eyes and pray I don't get struck with lightning for admitting to reading them all.

14. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. It's very well written, just very difficult to read because it alternates chapters of the story and chapters of learning about various philosophers, and I have difficulties going back and forth between things like that. I do recommend it though, because Sophie's story is very nice.
Lolita was very hard to read to, not because of the writing or the topic, but because for some reason it took me about a year to read it on and off, and I still don't know why.

15. What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
I've seen A Midsummer Night's Dream many times, and while the play itself is not obscure, the performance the Theater Co at my college did of it, definitely was.

16. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I do enjoy the Russians, but maybe it's because I haven't read much French?

17. Roth or Updike?
I've only read bits of both, so... tie?

18. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Definitely a David Sedaris fan, but I haven't read any Dave Eggers, yet.

19. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
I do love Shakespeare, but after my college British Lit class, I do find Chaucer quite amusing

20. Austen or Eliot?
Austen for sure

21. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I own tons and tons of books I will never get through, and then I buy more tons of books. There will always be gaps.

22. What is your favorite novel?
The Great Gatsby has been a favorite since freshman year of high school, Dracula is definitely at the top as well, and 1984 also makes the cut.

23. Play?
The Glass Menagerie, for no other reason than the memories I have from reading it in class always make me smile.

24. Poem?
TS Eliot "The Wasteland" and many by EE Cummings

25. Essay?
Not a genre I have a favorite in

26. Work of nonfiction?
I love reading autobiographies and memoirs, I'd have to say Smashed by Koren Zailckas, or even the book my dad wrote on John Ruskin for his doctorate because it is so very "my dad"

27. Who is your favorite writer?
I'm going to have to be a 13 year old girl for this and say Sarah Dessen.

28. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Since I don't have the mass following that HayleyGHoover does, I think I can say Stephenie Meyer and still escape with my life.

29. What is your desert island book?
Hmm.. something long that will distract me.. Let's go with Atlas Shrugged.

30. And... what are you reading right now?
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by MT Anderson, The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle, and some stories in Geektastic

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Book 30 and sort of 31

"Stealing Heaven" by Elizabeth Scott was a very good Summer read. I kept getting angry while reading it because Danielle's mother made no sense by dragging her daughter into a life of crime, knowing that everyone gets caught at some point. Every time they actually referred to her as Danielle I'd get confused because I mostly though of her as the other names she had to go by so no one knew who she really was.
The boy was very adorable, and it was funny to read the second book in a row to have a cute cop boy in it. It was nice that he and even Allison showed her what friendships and relationships have the potential to become.
It was sort of obvious that her mother was going to be seriously sick from the very start of when she started coughing. "Going Too Far" did a better job of making cancer be more of a surprise than this book did. While it's always sad to read a book that involves a serious illness, I think it's better and more heart-wrenching when it comes as a shock.
Anyways, after I finished that book I started "Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd." It's a compilation of short stories and comics from some of the "nerdiest" authors around. John Green is one of them, and his story was very good. I only read about half of the stories, because honestly, I am not that much of a geek. I don't know anything about Star Trekk or computer games or comic books. And those are the things these stories were talking about. I am more into nerdy TV shows (Buffy, Alias, Roswell), and classic novels (& all other novels) and biographies of random people. I could read all day long. I can't play video games for more than an hour.
So after finding "Geektastic" just a little too on the geeky side for me (I just had no idea what some of the stories were referencing.... sadly), I started MT Anderson's "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" (Vol. 1). So far I really like it, I am not that far into it, but so far it just wraps you up into Octavian's world, and the way it is written you can tell that Octavian never questioned anything for most of his early years, and this only makes you as the reader question things more. Definitely intriguing and I think I'll read through it pretty quickly when I have some more time to do so.
Tonight's about fun though, since it's Saturday, so I'm gonna get back to having some.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Onto book 30

I finished "Going too Far" last night, and was actually very pleased with it. The whole time I was reading it I was guessing at the two main characters' secrets, and I didn't guess either one correctly. Jennifer Echols pulled off a somewhat typical storyline in a very unique way. I liked how she put Meg and Officer After together in a way that would force them to talk to each other and sort of uncover the other's secrets.
Now I am onto Elizabeth Scott's "Stealing Heaven," which is so far a pretty good read. I don't know how Scott writes so many books, every time I go to B&N there's another one! I am only a few chapters into it, so I don't have much to say about it, other than that I already correctly predicted one of the "plot twists," so hopefully the rest of it isn't so easy to pick up on.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

50 books a year

So last year I did completer my "50 Books in One Year" challenge.. which was inspired by "italktosnakes" of Youtube. I am also doing the same challenge this year. I got a late start and only read about 9 books by July, and then read about 20 books in July to catch up. Now I am on roughly my 30th book of the year, "going too far" by Jennifer Echols. So far it's pretty interesting, it's doing the typical style of slowly revealing the truth about a character & all that... but the way they are setting it up is different.
I just finished "The Time Traveler's Wife" the other day, and I have to say I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as everyone said I would. Henry just wasn't appealing... he wasn't particularly charming, witty, nice, and so on. He was just sort of there, and then of course sometimes he wasn't. He was mostly a jerk in the "present time" when he was an alcoholic and just slept with a bunch of women and wasn't very nice to any of them. The only thing Clare liked about Henry was Clare. She's what made him likable. It reminded me of John Green ("vlogbrothers" on Youtube) and what he said about Edward Cullen from Twilight... that he's just a vessel for you (the reader) to put your thoughts and feelings etc into, basically he is what you want him to be, without actually having any good personality qualities on his own.
I've been keeping a sort of book report diary on all the books I've read since the beginning of the Summer, which has kept me up with my writing and it's been nice to write by hand and not on a computer. Two of my favorite books that I've read this year are "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins and "Graceling" by Kristin Cashore. Both books have very strong and independent female lead characters and both have sequels coming out this fall, which I am very excited. I recommend both books to anyone who likes a little adventure in their YA fiction.