Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top Ten Authors I Want At My Thanksgiving Dinner

So yes, this week is my week over at The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday, but here is my list over on my own humble little blog anyway. It's word-for-word, but whatever. What if you don't follow both blogs??? :)

This week we're celebrating Turkey Day, Bookish style. Here are my top ten authors I would want to be at my table on Thanksgiving.

1. Bill Bryson. Duh. Number one, always. If you all know anything about me, you know that I want this man to be a member of my family/my best friend. I'm sure we would spend Thanksgiving listening to hilarious stories of Thanksgivings past, and learn a lot about the history of the holiday too, told in an entertaining manner of course.

2. Maureen Johnson. Another fun house guest I'd love to host. Things would not be boring, and my life would be richer for it.

3. John Green. If the Nerdfighter videos and his books are anything to go by, John Green would make another fun guest. Plus, he's already friends with Maureen Johnson, so they would know someone! :)

4. Libba Bray. Another one I've met in real life, and another lovely person who is also funny and a good conversationalist. Also, friends with John Green and Maureen Johnson. The banter would be never-ending and awesome. BTW, Libba, I would tell you if you had something in your teeth. ;)

5. Madeleine L'Engle. If she were still alive, I'd be honored to host her in my home. She and her books have made a huge impact on my life.

6. Jane Austen. Since I'm including authors who've passed on, what the hell. I love her books and she seemed like she'd be a real kick to have around, if her biographies are telling the truth. (I'm sensing a theme here—I like fun people.)

7. Sherman Alexie. I love his books, especially The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and he seems like a really nice guy from what I've read of his personal writing and Twitter. (Have I mentioned how much I love Twitter? I love Twitter.)

8. Laurie Halse Anderson. I've actually met her before and can attest to her awesomeness first hand. She is a wonderful lady and I would love to have her at my table. Plus her books are pretty fantastic.

9. Veronica Roth. She is just so adorable.

10. Rebecca Rasmussen. Such a sweetheart. She always has the nicest things to say and would bring warmth to any gathering she attends.

It's too bad that my authors either are dead or have families of their own to spend Thanksgiving with. I hope you all have a lovely holiday with your family and friends! Enjoy the time around the table and with your loved ones.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review: "The Blood Lie" by Shirley Reva Vernick

Title: The Blood Lie
Author: Shirley Reva Vernick
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press, 2011

It's 1928. Jack Pool is 16 and desperate to move away from his small town of Massena, New York, to attend a prestigious music school in Syracuse. He is an excellent cello player and stands a good chance at his audition in a few days. But all that changes when he is accused of a terrible crime, based solely on lies and his Jewish heritage and religion. Will a town's prejudice ruin the lives of the Jewish community?

I had the pleasure of meeting with Vernick at Barnes & Noble for my teen book club the other night. We talked about how this novel is based on actual events that took place in Massena in the 1920s. What occurs in this book is scary enough, illustrating what happens when mob mentality takes over, but what is really scary is Vernick's afterward. She reports on incidents that have happened very recently; one might think that events like this won't happen in today's day and age, but it's not true. People are susceptible to rumor and will believe what they want to.

This story is very short and simply written, but the ideas within it are not something to be glossed over. The hatred within the pages is frightening enough, but what I found more appalling was the indifference the instigators of the rumor showed toward their victims. They simply capitalized on the prejudice that already existed in the community, basically just lighting the fuse.

Everything is completely realistic, and as Vernick told me, there is no Hollywood ending. It's as close to the real story as she could make it, and the characters realize what horrors lie within our world.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breaking Dawn is perhaps the greatest theater experience I've ever had and ever will have.

Please Google "Breaking Dawn" in images
to see the terrible fan art out there. This is
the official movie poster, believe it or not.
There is a good reason for midnight showings of movies, and tonight was one of them. I am not a huge fan of the Twilight book series. I think Bella is a terrible role model and abuse abounds throughout. BUT. This movie was just beyond words.

I have wondered since I read book four how they would go about THE SCENE. All of you who've read it know what I'm talking about. And let me tell you, the gag-inducing lovey-dovey-ness in the beginning was so worth sitting through for like the last half hour. THOSE MINUTES WERE GOLD. They left nearly NOTHING to the imagination and it was everything I could have possibly dreamed. I was so excited they didn't shy away from it that I was literally yelling in the theater, along with the rest of the audience. (Another great reason for midnight showings.)

One of my favorite things about this were the two ladies sitting to my right. They felt pretty much the same way I did, if I am to judge by their comments, and I honestly couldn't help but laugh and joke with them throughout the movie. My favorite was when Bella was arguing for keeping the baby, the woman next to me said "Bella, your body your choice!" and shook her fist at the screen.

Some parts were so ridiculous that I just had to giggle. I AM THE GRANDSON OF EPHRAIM BLACK. I AM THE GRANDSON OF A CHIEF.

I would also like to say that I TOTALLY called the exact moment of the ending. To the point where I feel a disproportionate amount of triumph.

All I can say is, I can't wait for the DVD so I can watch the unrated version. Next up: BREAKING DAWN PART II: NOT NEARLY AS AWESOME BUT TAHLEEN WILL WATCH IT JUST THE SAME.

P.S. In trying to find an appropriate image for this post, I discovered that there is a lot of really terrible fan art out there for this movie. Like, really really terrible. I decided on the not revealing but pretty image with no characters on it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: TONS of stuff goin' down

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!

Bah! I just got my invitation mock-up in the mail and it is AWESOME. It's purple with a silver backing behind the words, and it's so pretty! It's pretty much just what I wanted. (I'm not going to post a picture just because I don't want all my info to be out in plain view—not that I don't trust you all, but you never know what weirdos are lurking!)

It's a tri-fold with a pocket on the inside of the right-hand flap, where the inserts will go (you know, reception details, response cards, directions etc). We'll be ordering the save-the-dates soon too.

I also went to see a florist today to talk about my wedding flowers (obviously). I don't know if I'm going to use her, but it does help that she's right down the street from where I live. I'm going to meet another one on Friday to compare. Right now I'm really liking lisianthus and calla lilies, among others.

It's all starting to get real! So crazy. I'm almost 6 months away and have been engaged for longer than that already. People weren't kidding when they said the time would fly.

We're also in the process of booking our honeymoon in Hawaii, which is super exciting too. *squee!* We'll be there for just about two weeks! AND we get to stay in Marriotts for just about half the trip for free, since we'll be getting mucho points from the reception.

AND next week we're meeting with the officiant, my Der Hayr at my church (what we call the priest). Things are coming along!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: "The Name of the Star" by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011

Rory is excited about spending her senior year at Wexford, a boarding school in London, instead of her hometown in Louisiana. It also happens to be right near where the Jack the Ripper murders occurred more than 120 years ago—and where they seem to be occurring again. Murders that are eerily similar to those committed by the Ripper are happening at the exact times and dates of the first murders, causing a morbid fascination and slight panic in the city. When Rory starts to see someone who no one else can, she thinks it's strange, but then he seems to be the prime suspect in the case—and she's his next target.

Let me just start this review by saying, every positive thing about this book you've read is dead on. This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I couldn't put it down once it started going and ended up going to bed at 4 in the morning. I don't remember the last time I actually stayed up to read a book, let alone finish one.

Setting is fantastic. I spent time in London when I was in school, so I was familiar with the places Johnson mentioned. And I really enjoyed the characters, especially Boo. She was so much fun.

Maureen Johnson writes excellent suspense, mystery and humor. I just love how great this whole thing was. I can't wait until the next Shades of London book comes out—I read the last sentence, going on to the next page for more only to be confronted with the acknowledgments. Which I did read, anyway, but MAN what a great way to end it. I'm so excited!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Ten Books Over Which I Had Strong Emotions

Hi everyone! I'm doing a Top Ten Tuesday again, yay! It's been a while. But today I have time (and wi-fi, no thanks to the stupid storm that shut off my power for 72 hours). For those of you knew to this meme, it was created by The Broke and the Bookish, another blog I write for. If you have your top ten, hop on over and join in!

Here are the top ten books I cried over/got pissed at/laughed myself silly over/etc.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling: No spoilers here, but really. SUPER sad but so satisfying to have it all wrapped up.

2. The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones: I have no idea why I cried so much near the end of this one, probably something about being separated from a loved one. But all I remember is while reading this, I was sobbing my little heart out. I rarely do this.

3. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer: I got SO ANGRY reading this. I wanted to throttle Bella and smack her until she woke up out of her stupid coma she put herself in. REALLY. JUST STOP.

4. Anything by Bill Bryson. As most of you know I have a deep and abiding love for this man and his work. Everything I read by him is full of humor and incredible insight. I laugh and I think a lot about the way we live our lives. Favorites include A Walk in the Woods, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, and I'm a Stranger Here Myself.

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle: This book means a great deal to me. Love, loyalty and faith have never been better portrayed in a children's book, as far as I'm concerned. To this day I get goosebumps when reading it.

6. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater: I will never know why all the adults in this book are so despicable. I felt my anger and hatred overcome me a few times while listening to this audiobook.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: A favorite of mine. Just everything about this book made me feel.

8. Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp: It's probably because I identified so much with this woman and her struggles, but this book made me realize I needed to change the way I was living my life. I'll be forever grateful to my professor for having us read this.

9. The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness: Okay, so I haven't read the final book yet, but the first two had me glued to my seat. I can't remember the last time I was so captivated by a story before this. I raced through these pages like it was my job, and Todd's problems became mine.

10. The Bible: I know it's cliche, but this book holds all of my beliefs. It's got every emotion in here.
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