Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

So back to normal again, if normal is what this is.

Practical MagicPractical Magic by Alice Hoffman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I just finished reading this recently and still am not sure if I really liked it or not. I loved the movie but the book is entirely different. Basically only the names and a few points were the same.

Sally, her daughters and her sister spend most of the book being either emotional, snobby or just plain horrible. I didn't like any of them. Sure, they had their moments and in a house filled with estrogen bad stuff is always going to happen. Trust me, I have a sister.

After Sally's husband dies she moves her 2 girls to New York to start a life away from her aunts who encourage her girls to be horrible and nasty. She could have helped stop this but she basically spent a year hiding in her room being hurt and not taking care of her kids. When her girls get to be teens her sister shows up with a dead guy in her car. Much weirdness and drama ensues. Sally pretty much has no happiness until Gary shows up- and he cries a lot, it's annoying. Then he leaves a couple pages later. What? It was an average read, but this is one instance when I like the movie better than the book. There is also next to no magic. I thought it was more about the magic in ourselves (who/how we love, how we act, etc.) and overcoming obstacles.

I think my next read will be a challenged (classic) book. I think I have The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird around here somewhere so I'll attempt to read one of those. The only problem with classics is that a lot of them bore me. I haven't read The Lord of the Rings yet either so maybe that will be more exciting since I loved The Hobbit so much.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

TOP 7 FAILS OF HISTORY- This makes me feel better about my NaNoWriMo fail

NaNoWriMo Failure

So once again I fail. I realized that it was highly improbable that I would be able to finish because I am so far behind the word count... so I quit. I also realized that I don't like to write (please excuse my language here) shit. And shit is what it is. I would rather take my time and edit as I go. I would rather be proud of any work that I do, which I can't be if I'm simply writing to get to a certain amount of words. I'm going to keep writing my story and am excited about how it is going so far.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo- Day 3

It's going ok so far. However, I have to ignore my blog until the 30th so I can try to get this book done on time. I'm only ignoring you for my own good. I'll be back in about 27 days!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why I'm Freaked About NaNoWriMo

To start, I never finish anything (project wise) I start. Ever. No, really. Ever. I think the last time I finished writing a story was in the 3rd grade. It had something to do with a haunted house. I don't know. I need someone to push me.

Some examples of my failure:

Half Marathon- Last year I was going to run a 1/2 Marathon with my Dad, but his knee hurt him and I was traveling home from a conference for work the day before. I also hate running so that was a bad idea. 
Cooking blog- I started ok but haven't posted anything in about 2 months.
Photography blog- I started one but never posted any pictures.
Family History- I'm trying to research my family history but stopped and now cannot find my research. Shit.

So those are just a few examples of my sucktitude. Fail. But I must win this time or I fail. And failure is the opposite of win. (Insert sarcasm) I'm going to be a writer.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

National Novel Writing Month takes place November 1st-30th and I am going to attempt it. A 50,000 word novel in one month. Of course, I won't expect it to be good. It will need A LOT of revision and I've always wanted to actually finish something I write. So... I need book ideas.

If you would like to join me or want to know more about NaNoWriMo, click on the link. Last year Nerdfighter and author John Green (of the Vlogbrothers) made a Youtube video about it (that's a lot of links).

I'll have to write it on an old laptop that you have to keep plugged in because the battery is shot. I can't use my desktop because after it died and was resurrected, I couldn't find my Word disc. So, crappy laptop it is! Wish me luck (I'll need it for my horrible grammar)!

Oh yeah, and yesterday was my birthday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dracula by Bram Stoker

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What's not to love about the original vampire novel? Nothing written about vampires since has come close (Twilight sucked- vampires don't sparkle).

Written in 1897 in "journal" format, the reader follows written accounts of the characters. That makes it a little hard to get into at first, but I loved it. Anyone that likes vampire books or movies should read this. Classic.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Accidental Vampire by Lynsay Sands

The Accidental Vampire (Argeneau, #7)The Accidental Vampire by Lynsay Sands

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn't enjoy this book, but the sex is hot. Really hot. The main problem is that the ending seemed something out of a high school play. Everything is happy, la de de dah.... dumb.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Taking by Dean Koontz

The TakingThe Taking by Dean Koontz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'll be honest- this book freaked the shit out of me. So much that when my husband was gone on a work trip while I was reading this, I made my dog sleep in the room with me. I guess that may be a sign of good writing- that it can scare you that much.

The entire book is filled from beginning to end with mystery, suspense and horrible, frightening images. I've never been that afraid to pick up the book and see how the story progresses. Eventually I made myself read the end before I finished the book so I wouldn't be so worried as I read it. Considering how freaked I was, I'd say it's a good book.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mockingjay (Book 3 of the Hunger Games series) by Suzanne Collins

MockingjayMockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've used the word "haunting" in the past to describe The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. This book is the most haunting of the 3. The series has effected me in so many ways. It's one of those books that stay with you well after reading it. I actually feel for the characters in a way I haven't before. Their injustice and struggles have had me on the verge of tears (and sometimes actual tears). It made me feel so sad, which, I'm not sure is good or not. However it is such wonderful writing that you can't help but feel.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Movie Saturday- Scott Pilgrim

I almost forgot about Movie Saturday. Again!

Tuesday I saw Scott Pilgrim vs the World. In one word: amazing! It certainly is an epic of epic epicness. Truth. The video game themed fights and the music made it extra nerdgasmic for me. Nergasim. What?

I pretty much love all things directed by Edgar Wright. Hot Fuzz? Love. Scott Pilgrim? Love more (want to have movie babies with).

The bottom line? See it. Now : )

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the second book in the Hunger Games Triology, new horrors arise. Katniss is still in trouble for her act with the berries. For the Quarter Quell it has been decided that winners of the hunger games must go back. Filled with sadness and the start of uprisings. Katniss and her Mocking Jay pin become the symbol of the Uprising. It's a fantastic book and I can't wait to read the last installment, Mocking Jay.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I realize I haven't written anything in like, forever OMG. Truly though, I've been very busy lately. I got a new job! Hence the busy schedule. Last month I read The Hunger Games and loved it very much.

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book. Even though it has been a month since I first read it, I still think about it. On my mind most is the horrible things the characters went through. I love the characters. The author does a good job of making us feel for the characters. I've never felt so connected a story as I have been with The Hunger Games. Truly mesmerizing.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Twilight Saga- The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To my surprise, I actually liked this book. Maybe it was because I liked Bree and the story is interesting. I have a grudge against Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse so I wasn't expecting anything really great. The best part is that you can read it for free online at until July 5th. I like free things. They make me happy.

The characters and story made me want to keep reading. You find out a little more of what went on in Eclipse. I was surprised about how much Edward really knows in the end.

Because it is a novella she has to keep it short, so that made her cut down on her useless information that she had to include in all of the Twilight Saga. I don't care what Bella had for breakfast or what she made for dinner or that she is driving home in her truck (over and over and over again).

If you've read Eclipse, this is a great companion book.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian is a search for the historic Dracula, based on Bram Stoker's Dracula, involving three generations connected through mysterious events.

Did I make it sound good? Good. Because it is.

The Historian is written in the style of Stoker's Dracula, through journal entries and letters. I think that's what makes it exciting. It lets the reader experience different details you wouldn't know otherwise.

I also recommend the audio book because the character's voices aren't annoying like some audio books I've heard.

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm a Slacker

I'm distracted this week. I have family visiting and internet that sometimes works. I'll be back to business next week. Keep reading!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Why Are Books So Offensive?

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book when I read it as a kid and again when I had to read it for an English class. The characters are interesting and I especially loved Cassie. She's a bit naive but I love her spirit. The troubles that the family has is sometimes heart breaking.

Going back to the previous post on the ALA's Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books of 2000-2009, this book was number 66. I really don't understand what makes this book so offensive.

I was wondering recently, what is it about books that make some people so upset? Libraries provide a service by having a variety of books available to the public. They aren't forcing people to read something. It is the reader's option. I was also wondering if movie rental places have people challenge the movies they have for rent? You aren't forced to watch something, it's your choice and you are charged for it.

So what makes a book the "bad guy"? I don't think it can be generalized. My best guess is that certain topics challenge the way people think and they don't like it. I, personally, like to be challenged. I want to be able to experience new things when I read a book, like walking through a doorway into another world. It's the only real magic we have.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Most Challenged Books: 1990- 2009

 2010 Banned Books Week
September 25- October 2


Some of these surprised me the most:

3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
8. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson

Sex, by Madonna is even lower on the list (18) than these books. According to people that are "offended" by library books, Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, and Katherine Paterson are worse than Madonna. I don't get it. I know people have the right to challenge something, but loosen up!

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was first published in the US in 1885...... really, 1885! And it was still challenged between 1990 and 1999. That's over 100 years and it was STILL on the list.

It's ridiculous. Are any of your favorite books on the 90-99 list?

2000- 2009

13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
 I can't believe Captain Underpants would be so offensive (insert poo joke).

Can we challenge the challenged books? Classic books are on these lists. Which is why, I suppose, they're classics. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger (1951) is on both lists as a many others (To Kill a Mocking Bird; Of Mice and Men) changed they way people think and challenges us all to look inside ourselves.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Witches The Witches by Roald Dahl

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of my favorite books as a kid and later, a favorite movie. It was first published in London in 1983. I read it in the 90's after watching the movie. Parts may have been a bit scary for me at the time (I was about 10) but I still remember how exciting this book was to me. A society of Witches that a kid/mouse sets out to expose? I couldn't have imagined anything better. I won't give away the ending for those who haven't yet read it, but it wasn't the happiest of endings. Still good but not the same as the movie. Overall, as a kid, it was quite magical (no pun intended).

I find it funny now that it is listed in the 1990- 1999 ALA's (American Library Association)Most Frequently Challenged Book list.

I guess it isn't surprising seeing as Harry Potter is on the 2000-2009 list. People must not like witches or wizards. It amazes me what appears on these lists, but I'll talk about that another time. Tomorrow maybe? Maybe.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Echoes by Ashley Vogel

Echoes Echoes by Ashley Vogel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Echoes, the first young adult novel by Ashley Vogel is entertaining and exciting. What would you do if your mother was getting remarried, you have to move to another town (meaning a new school where you don't know anyone), you have two new step-brothers (one nice, one bratty) and on top of that, you have an aunt (who went missing before you were born) who wanted you and the guy you like to find her body?

Welcome to Alden. Claire has to move to Alden when her mom, Amelia, gets remarried. When Claire and Jerard are assigned by their teacher to do an essay about what happend to Fiona Kelly, Claire discovers that her aunt didn't die as a child like her mother told her.

The only problem I had with this book was the typos... a few, but I noticed. I'm really anal about grammar, so when I saw them I cringed. Other than that I loved it!

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I saw this book I HAD to buy it. I was compelled. I had no choice. Who wouldn't love honest Abe as a vampire hunter? The book my have dragged a little bit (very little and only in a couple parts) but I always wanted to keep reading, to the dismay of my poor husband (I never wanted to turn the light off and go to bed). I also loved the use of Poe's strange death. They way he combines fact & fiction is great.

I loved Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and am glad I picked up this book as well!

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Movie Saturday- Sex and the City 2 and The Happening

I love movies but I didn't want to add ANOTHER blog to what little free time I have, so I decided that Saturdays would focus on my favorite movies and if I've seen any in the theatre (or new releases) recently I'll put that here too.

Friday night I saw Sex and the City 2.

Despite some poor reviews I went to see SATC2 with friends and had a GREAT time! There are a lot, OK the movie is pretty much all sexual references and jokes, but if you like that stuff (or don't mind it) and want a girl's night I would recommend it. Samantha is going through menopause, Carrie is dramatic (as always), Charlotte is dealing with the new hot nanny that doesn't wear a bra and Miranda has to deal with the major business woman question: do I work and miss spending time with my family or will I continue to be a lawyer?

I really liked this movie, but some of the fashion was just too ridiculous even for SATC. I give it an A-

One of my favorite movies (I have many) is The Happening directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I could watch it over and over again. I love that "what if" scenario of older movies. The acting is great (I think). Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Dechanel do a great job. The directing was fantastic and M. Night does a great job of setting up the story. It doesn't drag on at all like some movies do.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Twilight Saga" Book 4- Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like that the Edward/Jacob battle is over with. Bella becomes a stronger version of herself (literally)and I like her more for it. And her powers are sweet.

I think this is the book I like best out of the entire saga. Edward can stop being so ridiculously protective and everyone can live happily ever after. Except for the fact that the Volturi are still watching them. Insert more drama. Blah, blah, blah. Edward and Bella cuteness.

The End

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Twilight Saga" Book 3- Eclipse

Eclipse (Twilight, #3) Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I actually like Bella a lot more in this book than in Twilight and New Moon. She's coming into her own. She's getting rebelious. I love it.

Edward tries to tell Bella that she can't see Jacob anymore because he doesn't think she will be safe on the Quillette reservation (like she's safe with vampies.. jeez). So Bella spends much of her time trying to go see him, with amazing scenes where (1) Jacob picks her up on his bike and she hops and they escape (but she ditches school, tsk tsk) while Alice is watching angerly (yay!) and (2) when she is coming back, just after she cross the "line" Edward's car peels out from the trees and follows her through town. Stalker much? I'm just happy that she ignores him. He's being a douche. There just isn't a better word to describe him.

Jacob gets more selfish and both he and Edward do their own things so they can prove they are the "better man."
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Twilight Saga" Book 2- New Moon

New Moon (Twilight, #2) New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book bothers me more than Twilight. Really? She just can't live without Edward? What message does this send to girls? Oh, if the guy you love leaves, just give up all hope.

It gives readers a chance to know Jacob and the reservation. It also give Bella a chance (eventually) to get a little stronger once she knows she can still live after someone breaks up with you (surprise).

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Inevitable "Twilight Saga" Review- Book 1

Twilight (Twilight, #1) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'll try to be honest here. I liked this book (and entire series) the first time I read it. After about 1 year I decided to read them again. Only then did I realize how terrible the message of this book is. Edward stalks Bella, watches her sleep and wants to kill her, yet for some reason it is....... romantic? I was duped by it the first time I read it, just like a lot of others. Only after did I realize how strange it all is.

Edward is a vampire (duh) and Bella is the love of his life/ food that you REALLY want to eat but can't because you're on a diet... and in love with the food. Weird. Edward is mysterious and Bella is constantly trying to figure out what his deal is. That is basically the entire book.

"What is your problem?"
"Some strange comment that makes me sound more mysterious."

I'm exaggerating a little but that makes up for a lot of the conversations.

I also don't like how EVERYTHING is explained in so much detail. I don't care what Bella had for breakfast, I really don't.

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Updated 9/3/12
I didn't know this article existed on NPR but now that I do, I suggest you read it. They make fun of Stephenie Meyer's writing ability (or lack of) and it's hilarious.
"The Writing Style of 'Twilight':  We Kick Off The 'I Will If You Will' Book Club"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Seth Grahame Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tried reading the original and found it snore inducing. I was wondering though the local bookstore one day and a ray of light appeared over it while I heard angels singing "Hallelujah". OK, that's an exaggeration but I was still happy to see it.

I thought this book was hilarious and even though I was never a huge fan of katana swords or ninjas, this book kept my attention. I never thought the Bennett girls could kick so much rotten stinking zombie butt.

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