Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Hard Books

What hard books have you read? That's the question today over at The Broke and the Bookish. I've decided to divide my hard book list into two subjects, hard because it's difficult to read and/or understand and hard because the subject is a difficult one.

Five Hard to Read Books
1. One Hundred Years of Solitude
2. Love in the Time of Cholera
3. Bleak House
4. Possession, A Romance
5. The Way We Live Now

Five Six Hard Subject Books
1. Rose Under Fire
2. Wintergirls
3. Twisted
4. Blindness
5. Thirteen Reasons Why
6. Room

Yeah, so basically Gabriel Garcia Marquez books, Laurie Halse Anderson books, big fat classics, and books about the Holocaust or WWII POWs! :)

What would you put on your list? Write a post and link it up today!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review Discussion: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Book: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: MG Fantasy
Rating: ★★☆ ☆ ☆
For: Review

From: Received for free from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 

Short Synopsis: Call is a magician but he needs to pass the tests that allow him to get into magic school. (These tests are called the Iron Trials.) His dad is adamant that he fail, because if he ends up going to this school it will be BAD BAD BAD. But Call does not know why. All he knows is that his dad has told him that magicians killed his mom and that they want nothing but to do bad things to people. Despite his best efforts, Call passes and ends up at the school being tutored by the best teacher there. Adventures ensue and he, along with his new found friends, learn some deep and dark hidden secrets.

My Response: Hmmm... sadly, a little on the boring side for me and I struggled to get through it. All the description of the actual physical school... boring. All the back history of the magicians... boring. I enjoyed the characters and their interaction, but it seemed a small part of the story. I enjoyed the bit of mystery that Call needed to find out, but only a little. It wasn't compelling to me. I'm wondering if younger kids will like this one? Maybe. Maybe it will be too boring for them too? And the whole thing is much too Harry Potter-ish for comfort.

Bottom Line: It was okay in parts, but in the end I was disappointed.

Let's Talk About: Do you think all magic school books from now on will be compared to Harry Potter? Is that fair? Can no one write about a magic school ever again? I think it's okay if you make it very unique and different from Harry Potter. But so good if you make so very similar. What do you think?

Other Reviews:

The book is not a fast read. Especially not for a MG book. It’s actually quite slow to get started. By the end, though, it was kinda hard to put down. I wanted to keep reading, but didn’t find I had to. From Proud Book Nerd

Fans of Harry Potter will enjoy both the differences and similarities here, though readers of Percy Jackson will also find themselves right at home. From Walking Brain Cells

The Iron Trial has a fun story line with some unexpected twists and the characters are fun, but it really let me down when it came to world-building. From A Word of Reviews

The Magisterium series is not about to usurp Harry Potter in my heart. I truly loved reading it, but until the series continues I can’t say whether this story will become important to me or not. From Bibliomantics

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Currently: Pumpkins and Kitties

(as written on Saturday evening)

My brother's pumpkin patch.
We bought a few at his Harvest Party.

Listening: to my Imagine Dragons station on Pandora. I'm sort of in the mood to blast something, but it's kinda late.

Watching: watched a few season premieres this week. Parenthood and Survivor. Caught up on Outlander. Need to still watch the new Amazing Race, and tomorrow hopefully we'll see Once Upon a Time. Ah, TV is back! Now to keep up on it all!

Reading: I just finished Cruel Beauty. Interesting book. Not sure how to review this one! Maybe I'll finish The Letters this weekend. It's a tiny book, but has been put on the back burner and is taking me forever to finish.

Writing: Sigh. I'm so frustrated. I want to do this thing so bad, but I'm constantly second guessing myself. Constantly. I must get over that somehow. I have a new writing space though! So now I HAVE to keep writing stuff! I will show you pictures soon, I have a couple more things to add to it and then... pictures!

Blogging: Bloggiesta went well. I had fun running things, but I didn't end up with much time to actually work on my own blog. I don't know what's up with blogging these days, but something is off for me. Ugh.

Eating: Two plus months tracking what I eat and not one pound lost. I need to fit in the exercising more, but I've been doing it more than I was, so there's that. And still... nothing. I want to give up.

Crafting: I should delete this category...

Mika the new kitty!

  • We got a kitten! To kill mice. And to inspire stories. And to cuddle while reading. And to make us crazy I think too. It's been 2 1/2 years since our other cat died. I guess it was time to embark on the journey with another one. We named her Mika after the French singer we've been enjoying of late. But I still tend to just call her Kitty.
  • Went to see Laini Taylor today. She who authored the most awesome trilogy that starts with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I loved loved loved the writing in these books and what do you know... she struggles! She agonizes! She stresses! She takes days on one paragraph! And here I just thought it poured out of her! (I'm sure it still does more often than not. I mean... have you READ her stuff?) Anyway, I wanted to fangirl a little but I maintained composure. I think. Perhaps I'll write more on what she had to say later, if anyone is interested.
  • Wow, but it rained today! Loved it!
  • I think I've told you everything else that's been going on around here.
Laini Taylor. She really does have pink hair. :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Book Review Discussion: All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

Book: All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Beehive Awards
From: The Library

Short Synopsis: Judith was abducted when she was 14 years old. And now, two years later, she's come back.. a changed girl. But then she seeks out her abductor in order to save her Puritan village. She doesn't expect that this act will throw suspicion onto the boy she's loved her whole life.

My Response: This is the first book I've read as part of the Beehive Book Award project. (See my explanation here.)  I was so happy to get my hands on it and finally read it. And once I started, I could NOT put it down. Except for those moments where I started getting nervous for the characters and I had to stop to breathe and gear up to read what I knew. . .felt. . . thought. . . was coming next! Ah, I love books like that were you are scared and nervous and anxious for the characters and you are DYING for certain things to happen and certain things to NOT happen. So good. I loved it. It has some disturbing things and deals with a pretty painful subject, but it's ultimately a beautiful love story that will have you swooning.

I also loved that it was written in second person. I mean, it was also first person as the girl is narrating and is the "I." But she is talking to the boy she loves, Lucas. So everything is "you this and you that". It was so well done and so different and the perfect way to tell this story.

Bottom Line: Loved loved loved it! I'm pretty sure this book will be on my top ten year end list.

Let's Talk About: The second person point of view. Do like it when authors shake up the whole point of view thing? What other second person books have you read that were done really well? Does it worry you that this book is in the second person and might keep you away from it? (Please, I hope not!!)

Other Reviews:

It’s a dark story but within the intensity comes a beauty that you cannot help but want to see shine through. From Good Books and Good Wine

I loved this one. I thought the narrative was beautiful, haunting, memorable. The book was not what I expected at all, based on the cover. It was so much better. From Becky's Book Reviews

Is it a mystery? Yeah, kind of. Does it have way more going on? Definitely WAY more going on. From Lisa Likes Books

All the Truth That's In Me truly hit all the right notes, at least in my book. Not only did it take a myriad of challenging qualities (see above) and make them work, but it also took the essentials I look for in a good story - characters with depth, thriller plot lines, and emotional undertones - and excelled in those areas as well. From Ivy Book Binding

This story is masterfully constructed full of suspense and twists along the way, which all leads to a chilling conclusion that will stir many emotions. From Book Nerd Reviews

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Book: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Genre: YA Romance
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Fun
From: Bought at Amazon

Short Synopsis: The third in the trilogy, yet a story all on its own, we have Isla who lives in New York, and goes to school in Paris (the same on as Anna, though they weren't really friends.) She has had a crush on Josh forever and he finally takes notice of her when they go head back to school. (Josh IS friends with St. Clair from the first book.) So this is their ups and downs, their back and forths... their romance. Isla can't believe he really likes her, after all this time, and this feeling could make or break their relationship.

My Response: It's awesome to read a book set in Paris after having been there. Barcelona too for that matter. I need to see all the cities so I can feel this with every book! :)  I need to re-read Anna that's for sure! I liked these two characters, though Isla made me crazy at times. Josh seems like a pretty genuine guy, which is the best. The best part was the end when all the characters from all the books got together. How fun that was! Everyone always talks about... so which couple was your favorite? I still stick by Lola and Cricket I think, just because I fell hard for Cricket. I need to re-read that one too just to see if I still feel that way. Anyway....

Bottom Line: Cute, fun and fluffy. You just can't help but get caught up with these books and these characters.

Let's Talk About: Why does everyone love these three books so so much? Can you put your finger on it? I think it's because they are real,  and Stephanie Perkins can capture feelings so well. They settings are a big part of these books too. I think all three stories are fun and exciting romances. A new hot exotic guy, the boy next door you never noticed, and a guy you had a crush on for three years. Hmmm... all awesome fun scenarios, agreed? Anyway, what do you think? Why are these books so well loved?

Other Reviews:

Isla and Josh are, by far, my favorite couple in this entire series. Not that I didn’t love Anna and St. Claire and Lola and Crickett, but there was just something uniquely special about Isla and Josh. From YA Reads

Perkins reminds me of why I fell in love with her writing in the first place. Within the first chapter, I knew. From A Backward Story

I had so much fun reading this book and would recommend it to any fan of YA contemporary. From Chachic's Book Nook

Josh has made me rethink my stance of being on Team Cricket. From Book Nerd Reviews

Isla and the Happily Ever After is such a vibrant and true portrayal of falling in love and how dizzying, but confusing and painful it is. It made my heart ache in all possible ways. From So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR (Possible Beehive Books)

Here in Utah we have the Beehive Book Awards, which I've talked a bit about before, And this year I get to help read and review and rate a bunch of books that have been suggested for this award. I think from this list they come up with the actual list of nominees, and then from THAT list... the reading public reads and votes.

Here's what it actually says on the site: "The award winning book in each category is chosen by the children and students of Utah who read ten to twelve books and vote on their favorite. The title with the highest percentage of votes from the children wins the award. In order to prepare the lists of the ten to twelve books members of CLAU create a long list of books which though a committee process is then whittled down to the top twelve. "

Yes! I get to help with the whittling! I've already read a bunch from this list, but I hope to read a bunch more. So I thought I'd list ten from this list that I hope to read by the end of this year. Please let me know if you've read any and if you loved them or not.

1. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
2. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
3. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
4. West of the Moon by Margi Preus
5. Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy
6. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
7. The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise
8. Love by the Morning Star by Laura Sullivan
9. All Our Yesterdays by C Terrill
10. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

I'm a little late to the Broke and Bookish party today, but if you want to see other Fall TBR lists, you can see the huge linky here!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Movie Review: The Maze Runner

Movie: The Maze Runner
Genre: Drama
Starring: Dylan O'brien, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Rating: PG13
My Rating: Two thumbs up

Guys. I've been looking forward to this movie for so long! How fun was it to finally be going on Friday night? SO fun! We went to the IMAX and happened to pick the showtime that the author, James Dashner himself was going to introduce and do a little Q and A beforehand. Also, sign movie posters as it turned out. We were there early and in line when he showed up. He saw us (me and Toto) immediately and even though he was with a ton of people and there were a ton of people there in line, he came right over to us and said something... I can't remember what.... like "Hey, you guys came! Thanks for coming! This is going to be awesome!" And I said, "I'm so excited!" Yeah, it was a great exchange,but it was cool that he said hi and singled us out. It helped that we had just seen him at a signing a few weeks before, which helped him to remember that we've been stalking him for all these years.

All the boys

Anyway, so that was a great start the evening! We got our poster signed, found our seats and then eventually, he did come in and talk a bit and answered a few questions. Then the movie started... no previews or anything. And being in the IMAX? Well, you know I love it, like so so much. The sound that rattles your bones and seriously makes you feel like you are in the movie, just like the IMAX intro says ("watch a movie? Or be in one?")


The movie starts out with a bang with that awesome scary elevator ride. . . Thomas flying up up up and into the glade. Dylan O'brien did an amazing acting job and pretty much blew me away. I love love love him. The other boys were freaking amazing too.

I loved the look of The Glade. Just as I pictured it. And then, there was the maze. Wow, but it was cool. And creepy and scary. It's very own character for sure. The noises and the moaning and groaning it does? So cool. And all the running these guys do through it? Just what you'd expect with a movie called The Maze Runner!

The maze

If you haven't read the books.... this movie is about a kid who shows up at this place where he discovers he and bunch of other boys are trapped in the middle of a huge, massive maze. Some of the boys run the maze during the day and have been trying to figure a way out for years. They don't go at night because there are awful terrible monsters out there. When Thomas gets there, things start changing and either they'll all be dead soon or they'll get out.

It's crazy exciting and very intense. The music adds so much to it all and is wonderful. Everything was done so well and not at all cheesy as I sort of worried about.

Seriously guys, it was awesome.

So much so that we went again Saturday night with the rest of the family.  Not often that I'll see a movie twice on opening weekend.

Here's trailer if you've not yet seen it:

And here's a taste of the music, with lots of movie clips thrown in. If you are a fan of movie music, listen and tell me what you think. :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

30 Authors in 30 Days: Kami Garcia Reviews Vivian Divine is Dead by Lauren Sabel

30 Authors in 30 Days is a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers, and authors. Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event takes place during September and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. There are also some great prizes provided by GoneReading.com and BookJigs. For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel or join the Facebook group. You can also follow along on Twitter with the #30Authors hashtag!

I am pleased to be part of this awesome event. Today I am privileged to host Kami Garcia on my blog. Please, a warm welcome to her! Take it away Kami!

Author Kami Garcia on Vivian Divine Is Dead by Lauren Sabel

One of my favorite books of 2014 is definitely Lauren Sabel’s YA novel Vivian Divine Is Dead. Vivian is a Hollywood “it” girl whose entire life is chronicled by the paparazzi. But when her mother is murdered and Vivian realizes she’s the next target, she takes off for Mexico. An entitled Hollywood starlet hiding out on the bus is funny enough, but things only get worse for Vivian. With the help of Nick, a handsome local who might not be what he seems, Vivian is drawn deeper and deeper into a mystery that takes center stage.
The story has a little of everything I love in a novel—humor, romance, twists, and a sense of urgency that makes it impossible to put down. Vivian's voice is compelling and authentic, and as the plot twists turned darker, I found myself rooting for Vivian even more. It takes a powerful novel to make me cry, and by the end of Vivian Divine Is Dead, I was sobbing.

Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures novels and the author of Unbreakable and Unmarked, in the Legion series. Kami lives in Maryland with her family and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Learn more about her on her websites www.kamigarcia.com & www.thelegionseries.com, and follow her on Twitter @kamigarcia.

Interested in Vivian Divine is Dead? You can learn about Lauren Sable by liking her on Facebook or following her on Twitter. Or, you can purchase the book now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can also learn more about Kami Garcia by liking her on Facebook, following her on Twitter, or purchasing her book, Unbreakable here. You can also currently get a preview of the first seven chapters of Unmarked, here. Just do it! You know you want to!
And finally, the big huge giveaway! Be sure to enter. If you have problems, click here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Bad Moon Rising by Lorraine Kennedy

Book: Bad Moon Rising by Lorraine Kennedy
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating:★★☆ ☆ ☆
For: Fun (and research!)
From: Free on Kindle

Short Synopsis: Mya goes to live in the Navajo Nation reservation to work with her uncle for a sort of police internship. There's been a rash of murders and she is helping with the investigation. She learns that one family is accused of being Skinwalkers and everyone assumes they are responsible. She also learns another group, a gang if you will, is looked upon as strange and sinister and not to be messed with. They are the enemies of the Skinwalkers. She is attracted to one of these guys and ends up learning some crazy secrets they have and also some crazy things about her own life.

My Response: Well, wow. When I saw a free book that said it's about Skinwalkers I decided, what the heck. I'm anxious to learn what others are saying about these creatures! However, there wasn't much Skinwalker talk at all, and it ends up being much more about (spoiler) werewolves instead. Sigh. And the romance? Gag. This is not my cup of tea, this sort of romance! Wham bam! And lots of cliche. Actually, it's great to read stuff like this now and then so as to see how NOT to write a book. Or, at least how I don't want to write a book. Am I right? So, anyway, I was disappointed. It was a little interesting and I kept reading, so there's that. And the Navajo talk and customs, Skinwalker and other, was all very interesting to me.

Bottom Line: It was okay. The story was, tolerable. The romance was awful. But the setting was awesome.

Let's Talk About: Misleading covers and titles! This one says... Bad Moon Rising, Skinwalkers Trilogy 1... or something like that. I was really expecting much more with Skinwalker stuff! What to do what to do? Does it bug you if you see the title and/or cover and expect one thing, but get another? It doesn't happen to me very often, but it does happen and it makes me quite crazy.

Other Reviews:

Can't really find other reviews on blogs, but the Goodreads reviewers seemed to like it okay. Lots of 3 and 4 stars. Even some 5's! Wow. To each their own, eh? I wonder if those people would give my 5 star books, 2 stars. Probably.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bloggiesta Starts Today!

I hope a few of you are joining me for this party, I mean, fiesta! Let's work on our blogs for the next few days, together!

I'm breaking out the music (my favorite Latino singer of course!): 

And the food:

And I plan to get TONS done! Ole!!

Oh... be sure to join me for the Twitter chats. I don't want to talk to myself!!

  • Blogging and Life (Time Management): Thursday September 18 @ 2 p.m. Eastern
  • All Your Blogging Problems Solved: Friday September 19 @  6 p.m. Eastern
  • Book Blogging Basics: Saturday September 20 @ 11 a.m. Eastern
  • End of Event Wrap Up: Sunday September 21 @ 1 p.m. Eastern

See you around!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Maus: A Survivor's Tale Volume 1: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

Book: Maus: A Survivor's Tale Part 1 by Art Spiegelman
Genre: Graphic NF Memoir
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Book club
From: Book club library set

Short Synopsis: The author sits down and interviews his dad about their experiences during WWII. This is the stuff leading up to their imprisonment in a concentration camp. The rest of the story is in Part 2. It's all harrowing and terrible and gut wrenching.

My Response: I wasn't overly fond of the drawings themselves. I mean, I could take them or leave them. But the story was powerful and sad and crazy. My favorite parts, however, were back in the "present" (the story was written in the 70s I think) and seeing the interactions between the son and the dad. I loved the dad's cute accent. And loved that the author decided to leave that in and let us enjoy it. Some parts of the story were very hard to read. And the dad told it so matter of factly. I wonder if that's how he really told it, and if he had to distance himself from things that way just in order to get through the telling. And also, I'm with the author and feel pretty furious about the throwing away of the mom's diary. Say what????

Bottom Line: I can see why this one gets so much attention. It's yet another wonderful, terrible Holocaust tale. And yes, I'll for sure be reading the rest of the story. I think it's in my house somewhere.

Let's Talk About: What do you think about a story such as this being told in graphic (comic) form? Strange I think. Very strange. But still, I guess it can make it even more a powerful story to actually SEE it as the author would like us to see it. The animal thing I just think is weird. I don't get why he decided to do that. Just... weird.

Other Reviews:

While I read this, I found moments to laugh, but there are also many moments to cry. From Historical Tapestry

There’s a good reason Maus has won nearly every award that can be bestowed on graphic novels. From Little Read Reviewer

I cannot possibly recommend Maus I and II enough. If you are new to graphic books, this would be a perfect place to start, and if you are an old pro with the genre – why haven’t you read these yet?? From Book Addiction

To say much more would come across as trite but suffice to say that Spiegelman never trivialises Vladek’s experiences but articulates them with brutal honesty and creativity that emphasises rather than detracts from the horror whilst also presenting it through an accessible medium. From Paperback Reader

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: I NEED To Read More of These Authors!

Today's list prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is. . . what author have you read just once... and are pretty much dying to read again. I had no trouble coming up with a list:

Ten Authors I NEED to Read More Of:

Juliet Marillier
Maria V. Synder
Sarah Waters
Jandy Nelsen
Jamie Ford
Kate Morton
Anne Rice
Rick Yancey
Erin Morgenstern
Justina Chen Headley

Some of them only have the one book. Some of them just came out with another book. Some of them have TONS of books, so what am I waiting for????

What authors are on your list today?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Skinwalker Ranch: The Path of the Skinwalker by Ryan Skinner

Book: Skinwalker Ranch: The Path of the Skinwalker by Ryan Skinner
Genre: NF Memoir
Rating:★ ★ ☆☆☆
For: Fun
From: The library

Short Synopsis: So this guy, Ryan, has a strange experience out in the middle of nowhere Utah one night. After that, he's obsessed and he learns that there's a place near Fort Duchesne Utah where strange things happen all the time. So he begins to investigate. This book is the story of what first happened to him, and what happened to him during a couple of times that he camped on the ranch. For those interested... some of the strange stuff he sees are: blue floating lights that come up out of the ground, bigger lighted orbs that circle overhead and charge at him, voices in the sky that speak a strange robotic language, a wolf that emerges out black smoke, power lines that furiously wig out, creatures that appear out of the orbs of light, sounds and lights that are there one second and gone the next, etc. etc. etc.

My Response: I'm researching skinwalkes... yes. It's crazy I know. And fairly spooky. But I wanted to learn more about how others see them, or portray them, or what they think. This ranch here in Utah is named for the Skinwalker, but the stuff that goes on there is mostly alien, UFO, other worldly related. Spooky stuff for sure, but I still haven't heard any stories that are truly about the Skinwalker, which is a Navajo folk legend about evil shape-shifting witches. So, this book was disappointing in that regard. Plus, it had many problems. No editing at all (I've never read a book with so many mistakes!) and extremely strange writing. (And what do you think about the author's last name in regard to the subject matter? Now THAT's what's weird!)

Bottom line: Interesting as far as the stories go, terrible as far as the writing goes, and the fact that I'm still not sure if he has any idea what a skinwalker is.

Let's Talk About: When it comes to other worldly phenomenon, what do you think? Do you say yay or nay? Do you believe that we have aliens among us? How would you explain the strange goings on at Skinwalker Ranch? An elaborate hoax that someone's been keeping up on for the past 50 years? Or truly a mystifying enchanted haunted place?

Other Reviews:

There really are no other reviews on blogs that I can find. But you can always check out what the people on Amazon have to say!

A little clip from a SYFY show:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bloggiesta To Do List September 2014

Hey everyone! Bloggiesta is happening this week! I hope you'll be able to join in the fun. Check out the website for all the information. We'll be bloggiesta-ing for FOUR days again, Thursday through Sunday. There'll be Twitter parties every day. Here's the schedule for those:

  • Blogging and Life (Time Management): Thursday September 18 @ 2 p.m. Eastern
  • All Your Blogging Problems Solved: Friday September 19 @  6 p.m. Eastern
  • Book Blogging Basics: Saturday September 20 @ 11 a.m. Eastern
  • End of Event Wrap Up: Sunday September 21 @ 1 p.m. Eastern
Here's hoping you can join in the fun!

This week, bloggers are being asked to sign up for Bloggiesta by linking up their To Do Lists. (You can find the linky here.) I actually should (SHOULD!!) have lots of time to blog during this event, with only book club on Thursday night and The Maze Runner movie on Friday in my plans at the moment.  Here's hoping the rest of the days stay free!

So here's what I hope to accomplish this go around:
  • add reviews to Pinterest
  • update the archive (as usual)
  • update Utah Authors read list
  • add events to Utah Books blog
  • fix my broken social media icons
  • update My Favorites list
  • update my blog roll
  • update other lists on the tabs
  • host twitter chats
  • visit lots of bloggers
  • write some fun posts
  • do a couple mini challenges
  • catch up on reviews

A pretty big list, but all basic stuff, yes? Here's hoping it all goes down!

I hope to see all you, my blogging buddies, joining in! See you there!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy
Genre: Superhero Drama
Starring: Chis Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana
Rating: PG 13
My Rating: One thumb up

I'm not sure I understand all the hype around this movie. So I went to see what I thought.. despite the fact that the previews and trailers I'd seen made it look so so stupid to me!

So, it was less stupid than I expected, but I still don't quite get the hype. Yes, it's funny. A silly sort of parody funny. Is it trying to make fun of itself and other superhero movies? I think so. But I'm not quite sure.

The almost kiss. This is as close as it got.
And that's it for the romance!

I was surprised at the emotion it contained. It had several nearly weepy-eyed moments. Groot's face was especially expressive, which I found to be fascinating.

Did you want a short synopsis? Let's see if I can even do it! So, we have this guy who was kidnapped into space when he was a kid. He's since been living a sort of life of thievery and when he steals this thing, this orb thing, he's caught up in a battle for it. And he has no idea what it even does. But he learns and then he has to save the world! I mean, the galaxy! With the help of his trusty sidekicks... a genetically engineered raccoon, a sentient tree, a revenge filled killer, and an alien girl who has a ton of baggage. Their characters are all a bit silly, and it's amazing they can accomplish anything!

So, bottom line: It was fun. A good ride. But, nothing I'd come home and say... "you HAVE to see this!"

Here's the trailer for those who have been living under a rock:

And P.S. Why do they always destroy Lee Pace's beautiful face and make him a bad guy.. in all the movies lately?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Book: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Fun
From: I bought this one at B and N.

Short Synopsis: This is the third and final book in this trilogy. So spoilers for the first two books may appear! In this book, the bad angels have gone through the portal and appeared in the mortal world. Karou and Akiva have joined their forces in an uneasy alliance to stop them. Many wonderful and awful things happen in the process. In the end, a whole new crazy aspect to this story is discovered and the craziness continues!

My response: The writing is so beautiful that I have no words to gush. I just love it so so much. The plot gets a bit complicated and sometimes makes my head spin, but I love it too. But most importantly, I really really love the characters Such unique characters. Angels and demons? I mean, hello. And these are not your typical angels and demons. Sometimes the angles are pretty demonic and the demons are pretty angelic. It's all a bit confusing! But makes for such a compelling story. And our resident humans, Zuze and Mik, are just the perfect touch to keep the humanity in the story. I want a whole book just about them, you know? And Ziri? Sigh. I loved him too, like, so so much.

Bottom line: I loved this book. I love this series. Totally and completely.

Let's Talk About: What is it,  for you, that makes writing... good writing? Awesome metaphors? Unique adjectives? Descriptions that are perfect and not overdone or cliche? Funny, humorous moments? Writing filled with emotion? It's all of that for me. And I wish it was something I could learn, but seriously, I think it's just something one comes with. And I just realized this author is coming to my area in a couple of weeks. Here's hoping I manage to get there to see her. Do you think if I ask her... "how do you write so well?" she'll tell me? Ha.

Other Reviews:

There is so much action, emotion, and tension packed into every page (or every minute of the mp3 in my case) that it forces the reader to race on. From My Books. My Life.

It is an investment, but you will not be disappointed. From Annette's Book Spot

The entire point of this book: peace is worth whatever it takes. A New Kind of Living is worth giving your life for. From The Book Nest

Laini Taylor has a talent for writing a modern epic story in a poetic style that is not hit you over the head poetic. This I completely appreciate and think her unique style of writing makes this story. From My Little Pocketbooks

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Salt Lake Comic Con Experience

The crowd on Saturday. Over 90,000 people attending
just that one day. Yes, it's a little crazy.
(This picture from the SLCC Facebook page)
I've wanted to go to a comic con forever, well, not forever perhaps, but ever since I realized what a comic con even was and read all about the fun everyone was having down there in San Diego. It blew my mind when last year we suddenly had a comic con of our very own, in our very own neighborhood. Though, I didn't learn about it fast enough to actually attend.

So, to finally be at one this year was... awesome to say the least. A dream come true one might even say. But, did it live up to expectations? Was it all it's cracked up to be? Did it turn out as cool as I had dreamed about all these years?

I'd have to say yes! There were some bumps and a few disappointments, but mostly, we figured out the strategy and had a blast.

First of all, I must say, that I'm not a huge spender and to pay 50 bucks for an autorgraph and 100 bucks for a picture with a celebrity, for me, is insane. It's just not going to happen. Unless certain really high profile celebrities come (coughTomHiddlestoncough), and then I may try, though, I have a feeling if certain high profile celebrities come, I'll be fighting my way through such a huge crowd that I'm still not totally sure how I'd react! So for me, this experience did not include face to face moments with the celebrities, which I know is, for many people, the whole point of a comic con.

However, I did enjoy going to audience Q and A panels that these celebrities did. For many of them, we worked our way to the front of the huge room and did get a sort of close and personal look at them. Over the course of the three days, we saw:

** Cary Elewes aka. Westley from The Princess Bride, one of my all time favorite movies. And he was awesome. Such a nice guy and so very personal with the audience. I loved seeing him in action. And he still looks as cute as Westley ever did. We were 15 minutes late because we were stuck outside in the massive line, but I was happy just to have made it for most of it and that it "only" took us an hour to get in. It was the very first thing we did at the con, and I think probably one of my favorite moments.  I found someone's video on YouTube of highlights of his appearance:

**  Colin Baker and Paul McGann: former Dr. Whos.... namely number 6 and 8. They were fun, not quite as personal with the audience as Cary was. But I mean... Dr. Who!!! Hello! :)

Here's what they looked like in their Dr. days.

** Manu Bennett: the guy behind Azog the Pale Orc in The Hobbit. Also, he's Deathstroke in the TV show, Arrow. He's from New Zealand, half Maori and so very big and buff... and extremely sweet. I hadn't really heard of him until comic con, but now, I'm totally in love! Once again, he was awesome with the audience and very personable.

** Partrick Warburton: many different voices in many different things but my daughter was especially excited about his Kronk (from The Emperor's New Groove) performance. I guess he's also some dude on Seinfeld? Anyway, I had no idea who he was, but he was a ton of fun and yes... awesome with the audience, all the kids that asked questions, and even took a lady backstage with him to send a personal message to her sick husband. Sweet. So many sweet celebrities! I'm impressed!

** Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez  aka. Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro! Ah, I love this movie! And Efren came out and started talking like Pedro and it was awesome. And Jon did a bunch of Napoleon impressions and it was awesome. Weird thing though, Jon reminded me of Josh Groban, same sort of mannerisms, same build, etc. It was SO WEIRD. Yeah. I was freaked out a bit. Anyway, they were funny and we loved it.

** Lou Ferrigno aka. The Incredible Hulk! I didn't watch a ton of TV when I was growing up. For awhile there, we didn't even have one, but we DID watch this show. And to see this guy in person... so cool! And another very sweet man. His soapbox, so to speak, is to talk against bullying, so he did that a bit. I guess he got so teased as a kid because of his hearing problem and speech impediment and then he grew up to be a body builder and he came back and let those kids have it. Now they are all friends. What a story. What a cool guy. We were very close by this time and at the end, they had us "rush the stage" and I ended up right there front and center when he turned around and did his Hulk two armed flex and growl. I didn't get my camera out fast enough! But can you say... wow!! Wow!!!

Yeah, this.... right in front of me!

** Simon Helberg aka. Howard from The Big Bang Theory... a show I've never watched. So... yeah. We were just here in order to be in the room and have seats for John Barrowman two hours later! Strategy I tell you! It's very necessary. Anyway, this guy was very nervous I think. It was weird considering the confidence so many of the other celebrities seem to have. Or at least show. I felt a little bad for him. He looked like he was in pain!

** Stephen Amell aka. Oliver Queen in Arrow. Now this show I've wanted to
watch but just haven't fit it in yet. Watching at this very moment as I type this. Let's just say that this Stephen Amell guy... very impressive. Nice dude. Very nice all around. Loved seeing him even without knowing the show
very well.

** John Barrowman aka. Captian Jack Harkness from Dr. Who... and a bunch of other stuff. We love him! What a dude. I was fangirling when I saw him in Celebrity Row signing authographs. So cute! And we were really looking forward to his panel. However, even though he was cute and funny and very energentic... he was not what we expected. It turned into a bit of a gay rights lecture... and lots of pretty inappropriate gay jokes (especially considering the family sort of auidence) and... we didn't even know he was gay! So it was a bit to wrap our head around. I can handle the gay thing... but I wasn't so keen on the content of the panel . Oh, well. It happens. But... we did love his singing at the end. He's got an amazing voice! Here's the video I took... scratch that.. the video someone else took... I'm too lazy to upload my own video!

** Barbara Eden aka. Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie. Another show that I managed to watch during my kid years... probably after school specials or something. Such a fun show. Good memories. It was awesome to see her. We managed to move to the third row, center, by this time of the day.

I should have stayed there and enjoyed Stan Lee (who I don't really know other than he created Marvel) and Leonard Nimoy, who was joining the con by Skype, but I also really wanted to see Danny Glover... so I left and moved on!

** Danny Glover who I especially loved in Silverado... but many other movies too. It was cool to see him. He eneded up talking quite a bit about civil rights and etc. But it was cool to hear some of his history and that he remembered his grandma (or aunt) who was actually a freed slave. Also, he talked about how his grandma was so very bugged at him when she saw how he acted in The Color Purple. You know, he wasn't too nice in that movie.

In between all this celebrity stuff, we went to a few panels. I showed up to some writing ones featuring some of my favorite local authors like Bree Despain, J.R. Johannson, Natalie Whipple, Lisa Mangum, etc. We also went to a YouTubers panel. That was fun. And then, finally, a panel (well two guys) talking about the Skinwalker Ranch. Now, as it turns out, I'm extremely interested in skinwalkers these days, so I was very much looking forward to this one! However, they didn't talk much about actual skinwalkers because on this ranch, many more paranormal things are going on besides skinwalker sightings... things like UFOs and dinosaurs. They actually think it could be a time portal. Wait, what? I know!! Did you hear that? A TIME PORTAL! How cool and creepy and fantastic is that? Anway, if you want to know more about this place.... click here on the Skinwalker Ranch site. Some crazy stuff.

But... they did talk about skinwalkers a bit.. and I guess the one guy was actually abucted by one. He didn't want to talk about it much though... hello... I was dying! I wanted to know it all. But I could tell it freaked them out. And it was hard to talk about. Which is a thing, you know, having a hard time talking about them. But still, I wanted to know and now I want to buy the guy's book but it's out of print.

In between the panels and the celebrities, we managed to walk about a bit. That's when we took some pcitures and tried to shop. I wanted to at least buy a tshirt and maybe a Loki print, but didn't find the perfect one of either thing. So it never happened. Anyway, here's some of the pictures we took:

This is the line for Alan Tudyk.. . aka. Wash in Firefly and Wat
in A Night's Tale. Sadly. we did not get in. After this,we learned
that if you want a certain celebrity... go to the class before him!

In the end, the experience was wonderful and so much fun. The crowds were crazy, but can be avoided if you have strategy. The lines to get in were crazy but they figured it out for the other two days. Everything was crazy, but in a fun way. I loved it. I'll go again!

(P.S. As for my "official" Comic Con blogger status? Eh, that turned out to not be as cool a thing as I expected. They've only published one of my posts... I sent them three. We'll see... maybe there'll be more eventually, but I'm not holding my breath. It didn't send any more readers my direction that I know of either. Oh, well. It was a fun thought! And they did give me my ticket to the con after all!)

(P.P.S... sorry, what a long post! Gold star for you if you read the whole freaking thing!)


Related Posts with Thumbnails