Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Late Wedding Wednesday: Bridesmaid Dresses!

Wedding Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner. She's planning her wedding, and so am I, so I'm taking part in this feature too!

Sorry I'm a day late; I completely forgot to post yesterday, since I was scrambling to get ready for my very first program (that I designed and led!) at the library. :)

Sooooo great news! We have our bridesmaid dresses!! After three shopping trips (first the one with everyone except my MOH, then just me and my MOH, then the first group again), we found it. Let me just say, the best thing I did was go just with Rachel when she came to visit me Columbus Day weekend. It was SO MUCH EASIER to find options with one person, let me tell you. What we did was pick three dresses, and then the rest of my BMs went on another trip with me to pick out of the three.

Here's what we picked, but not in this orange color (we got plum):

I am told it is also very comfortable. They won't be strapless either, we're going to put on spaghetti straps. I'm debating on whether they should have a shawl too—I'm afraid it's too much skin for a church. At least they will have the straps.

In other news, I need to call the guy I was going to use as my florist. Unfortunately he will be selling the business and might not be able to do the flowers for my wedding anymore; luckily I haven't given a deposit or anything, but I have to talk to him to see what's going on. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Storytime! La Llorona: The Weeping Woman

Hi all. As you might glean from my quick intro in the following video, I'm taking a storytelling class, and a big part of that class is telling stories. I've already told one, but I'm a bit more nervous about my second story. So I decided to practice in front of the camera and ask you guys what you think. It's the story of La Llorona, a well-known folktale told throughout Latin America.

Thanks for listening! I know it's not perfect, and please excuse my disheveled appearance. Yes, I am in my pjs, and yes I am on my bed.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: "The Monstrumologist" by Rick Yancey

Title: The Monstrumologist
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2009

This is what you should be reading this October 31st.

The diary of Will Henry chronicles his apprenticeship with the eminent, albeit known only within certain circles, Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, monstrumologist and scholar. Will's tale begins in 1888, when he is 12 years old. Dr. Warthrop has been told, secretly and in the middle of the night, of a strange and horrific creature found during a grave robbing. This monster, which he quickly identifies as an adult male Anthropophagus, is only one of a pod of the enormous, man-eating predators in the New Jerusalem area. Certain questions arise: Why are they in New England, when their natural habitat is in Africa? Why are they so many? And why have they suddenly emerged from hiding to feast on human flesh once again? Warthrop and Will must find out these answers, but they also must end this infestation before it is too late for the people of New Jerusalem.

There is a blurb on the front of this book from VOYA, which calls this novel "A cross between Mary Shelley and Stephen King." I really can't think of a better description. The horror and gore in here is so intense and ever-present,  yet philosophy is threaded throughout all of this in Will's musings as he writes down his experiences years later. Morality, loyalty, duty, and inheritance are at the heart of the novel, interspersed with the action and horror.

I love that this is a framed narrative. The book begins with a modern-day author who is given the notebooks found in Will Henry's room after his death—the proprietor of the home he was staying is interested in looking for clues within the writing to the identity of the man who called himself Will and claimed to be 131 years old, born in 1876. The first narrator then shows us this first part of Will's diary, and when he is finished with that, tells us about his often fruitless research about finding more information or ways to corroborate the story within Will's notebooks. This hearkens back to Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, for sure, a nice tip of the hat to early horror literature. It also provides us with a mystery and second storyline to follow in the subsequent books of the series.

The setting of the late 1800s makes this book seem much more like the classics we read in school, giving it an authentic taste of the Gothic that used to be so prevalent. The language is sublime and eloquent, yet still accessible for teens today. Not to mention the often breakneck pace of the story.

This is a perfect book to read around Halloween. Scary and creepy, full of suspense, plenty of blood and guts, and exquisite writing. I'll definitely be getting to The Curse of the Wendigo soon!

Disclosure: I won this book in some giveaway I never remembered entering. Seriously, this and the next book in the series just showed up at my house one day with a note telling me I won them but not what  I won them for. Whatever. I'll take it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hocus Pocus is the greatest Halloween movie in existence.

Title: Hocus Pocus
Release year: 1993
Production company: Walt Disney Pictures

That is not an exaggeration, folks. I mean it. At least it is my very favorite movie for the season, along with the Halloweenie episode of Pete & Pete (which I also own on DVD). I may have blogged about this last year, but I don't remember and honestly I don't care.

There is nothing like some good old-fashioned nostalgia in the form of classic movies from my childhood. Bette Midler is priceless, what with her fabulous rendition of "I Put a Spell On You," backup vocals provided by Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, and her overall wackiness.

Honorable mention goes to SJP, by the way, for being the most sexy she's ever been and ever will be in this movie. It never happened again. Then again, she was next to Better Midler and Kathy Najimy, and had the best hair.

I'm also going to take a few lines to say Salem is not like that AT ALL. It's not nearly so cute and New England-y, since there are SO MANY college students around. It's got a more urban feel. The police cars do all have witches on the sides of them, though. I'm not kidding.

Some say this movie is not good if you didn't see it when you were little. I highly disagree. And I hope you do too.

There are so many great '90s references too. If anyone is interested, check out my tweets from watching this tonight. My twitter handle is @Tahleen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: House? Dresses?

Wedding Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner. She's planning her wedding, and so am I, so I'm taking part in this feature too!

I've been super busy lately. We've been seriously considering one of the houses we looked at a week ago, which is great, but there are a few things about it. First, they want more than we want to offer. Second, oh hey, they moved next door. So I'm just worried that they might not be happy with us if we do move in and don't give them the amount they want. I don't want it to lead to bad feelings. We would just have some work to do if we took the house, like replace all the windows and appliances.

We're also going to pick out bridesmaid dresses this Saturday, hooray. Finally. You might remember my maid of honor and I picked out three during Columbus Day weekend, so it should be much faster than the last shopping trip!

Anyway, that's about it. We had to reschedule our engagement photo shoot for next Friday, so I'll let you all know how that goes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Audiobook Review: "Glow" by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Title: Glow
Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Narrators: Matthew Brown and Ilyana Kadushin

On the Empyrean, life is routine in deep space. Grow the crops, raise the livestock, and prep yourself for the life you are supposed to lead—repopulating the human race on a new planet, which you'll reach in about 40 years. Waverly and Kieran have known this their whole lives, as they were the first two successful births in deep space. When Kieran proposes, Waverly knows she should be happy to accept, but a part of her is hesitant.

But all this changes in an instant.

The New Horizon, the Empyrean's sister ship, has somehow managed to rendez-vous with them, something that should never have happened. A vicious attack and a traumatic separation force the children, especially Waverly and Kieran, to grow up a lot faster than they have had to thus far. Now, their main concern is survival.

This book was really intense. I listened to the audio version, and I found that I got too stressed out listening to it at night, so I would turn it off and put on Bedtime Magic instead. The situations in Glow were truly awful to think about. True manipulation, sabotage, violence, sinister motives, all of them were in here. And yet, ethics are always at the root of each issue. At what point does a person become an accomplice if they do nothing while watching atrocities? To what extent should someone go to do what they think is right? I was always eager yet afraid to find out where the action was going, and how one character would triumph over another. And that's what it came down to at the end. There was no compromise, only a winner and a loser.

The book is split between Waverly's and Kieran's perspectives, in the third person. Kieran, still on the Empyrean, is caught in a really bad situation. As the captain's protege, he tries to assume control, but finds that not all the boys are willing to let him. What ends up happening is a Lord-of-the-Flies-like breakdown, which was really terrifying to hear about for me.

Waverly, on the other hand, is stuck on the New Horizon, where there are no children. Fertility disappeared among the women on this ship, and that is the reason the girls from the Empyrean are brought aboard. For a woman, listening to how the pastor Anne Mather manipulates her congregation/ship and the girls is downright despicable. That said, she has this humanness that is startling at points—you're not sure when to trust her, if you can at all. She was very complex, and I really liked that.

One problem was with Kieran and Waverly, though more so with the former. I never really connected with Kieran, only because he is pretty dull. Waverly seemed a bit distant to me as well, though I could understand her better since she's a girl. It was really nice to see her stick to her guns, too.

What I didn't like much was the how anti-Christian a lot of the book seemed. I understand what Ryan was trying to do, but I think she missed the mark. She made it seem like all Christians are manipulative and controlling. Some are, sure, but not all, and I personally would have liked to see a positive instance in there.

As for the narrators, Ilyana Kadushin again did a great job. She is just a delight to listen to. Matthew Brown was all right. I wasn't crazy about his voice, but it did the job, and I got to listen to Kadushin for half of the book anyway.

I'm interested to see where this series goes. It wasn't my very favorite, but it certainly got my attention and I enjoyed listening to it.

Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: MOH Visit!

Wedding Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner. She's planning her wedding, and so am I, so I'm taking part in this feature too!

This weekend my maid of honor, my cousin Rachel who lives in Chicago, came for a visit to meet my fiance and go gown shopping with me! It was a lot of fun, not only because we did fun things like to to the Samuel Adams brewery (free keychain, glasses and beer!), but because it's just nice to see her. I don't get to see her that often, since she grew up in Michigan and now lives in Illinois, so this was a treat.

We went to La Reine again for bridesmaids dresses, and it was just the two of us and my mom. It's just so much easier to go with a few people—not quite so many opinions to worry about. We picked out three dresses for my other maids to choose from, so hopefully I'll have my bridesmaids' dresses finished with on October 22.

In other news, Steve and I looked at a house today that we liked very much. Stay tuned to see how that turns out!
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