Friday, June 27, 2014

Why the 90s are made of AWESOME

I got all nostalgic checking out SourceFed's countdown of great 90s TV and theme songs.  Oh SourceFed...I watch one of your videos and I all of the sudden lose 2 hours of my day.

So what do you think they're missing?  I'll admit it, I was a HUGE fan of the more cheesy TV shows (Salute Your Shorts and Hey Dude, I'm talking about you) and was a little sad not to see them on the list, but Legend of the Hidden Temple made it high on the list, so all is good.

And then I found this and the walk down memory lane continued.

What do you think is the best cartoon theme song of all time?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

We Were Liars

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): The lifestyles of the rich and privilaged, and boy are they messed up.

Author: E. Lockhart
Info: Delacorte Press, copyright 2014, 240 pages

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

~Goodreads Description~

Cadence Sinclair loves spending time on her family's island  Yes.  They have an island.  They're kind of like the Kennedy's...or what I imagine the Kennedy's to be like.  For all the money and material possessions, there is a truth they never let anyone see.  They're not happy.  But on the island, with her cousins, Cady forgets all about the trust funds and the family promises.  Until one fateful summer.  A summer Cady has forgotten, but a summer she desperately wants to uncover.

The Awesome
There is a cool airs of mystery going on in this book.  Lockhart gives you just enough to keep you guessing, but not enough to spoil the fun.  She interweaves a unique storytelling in Cady's voice that brings depth to her emotions and frustrations and adds to the false fairytale of life of a socialite.

The Not So Awesome
Picturing Cady's world and sympathizing is a little difficult.  Her "reality" is so far from anything I know that I definitely had moments of wanting to tell the poor little rich girl to get over herself.  And I spent some time wondering how realistic the story really was for the rich and fortunate.  I would have enjoyed see parts of the story from someone else's perspective...maybe the patriarch or a greedy daughter.

An all-around excellent read!  I started out with the audiobook but switched to print half way through because I just wasn't in the car enough, and I absolutely had to find out what was going on.  The characters were interesting and the story was a thriller without being an adventure which was a breath of fresh air.

Read this book!  Read all of E. Lockhart's books.  They're kind of awesome.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  Cinder's mysterious backstory unfolds and everyone fears a full-moon :)

Author: Marissa Meyer
Info: Macmillan Audio, copyright 2013, 9 sound discs

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

~Goodreads Description~

So it maybe has taken me forever to actually finish this audiobook, but I'm definitely glad I stuck with it. Marissa's Meyer's futuristic dystopia weaves fairytales into a cool tapestry that is both exciting and romantic. Scarlet is stubborn, a girl from my own heart, and refuses to accept that nothing can be done about the disappearance of her much beloved grandmother.  Cinder is also a force to be reckoned with as she develops her newly discovered Lunar powers.  She's looking for answers, and she is willing to test the limits to find the truth.

Marissa Meyer has developed several strong female characters.  She allows them to be women with emotions and fears, but she has endeared them with strength and courage that rivals that of the men in the book.  There's a lot of story going on in book two, but she keeps separate stories lines moving well before eventually bringing them together in an exciting conclusion setting up for the third book.

The second installment is a little slow going.  There's a lot of travelling that felt log, but I'm also not sure how much of that felt long because of my stretching out the listening experience.  As audiobooks go, the read was excellent.  Rebecca Soler created unique voices for each character and really got into the different parts.  Sometimes Scarlet's French accent was a little awkward, but overall a great listen.  I'm more than likely going to continue on the audiobook path for book three.

Overall, a great read.  I've got my fingers crossed for a happy ending.  Maybe not clean and blood free, but a girl can dream that there is a happily ever after at the end.  If you're a fan of fairytale retellings, dystopias, or adventure/thrillers, check out The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top 10 Book Cover Trends: The good and the bad

Ten Book Cover Trends (or just elements of covers)
I Like/Dislike
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I'm the kind of girl that judges a book by its cover.  This doesn't mean that I haven't read some absolutely amazing books with pretty ridiculous cover art, it happens, but in general I gravitate toward the shiny and pretty.  Here are a few trends I love (for better or worse), and a few trends I can't stand.

What's on your list?

The Good

1) Cool fonts

2) Pretty dresses

 3) Continuity

4) Hand-drawn/Cartoon look

5) Artistic designs

6) White space

The Bad

7) Decapitated heads

8) Just heads

9) Kissy kissy

10) This look...

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Book Blogger Test

Stephanie at Don't Be Afraid of the Dork (great blog title!) tagged me for the Book Blogger Test.  I get to answer some fun, book related questions and tag other bloggers to join in on the fun!  It's my first time being tagged on anything blog wise (thanks Stephanie!) and I'm super excited to get to participate and to send you on (hopefully :) to a couple of other pretty awesome blogs.

Here are my answers for the book blogger test:

What are your top three book pet peeves?
1) Talking animals
2) Whiny characters
3) Waiting on the next in a series

Describe your perfect reading spot:
Curled up on the arm chair in my living room, blanket tucked tightly around me, and my cat purring on my lap.  (When I can get to my chair...there's usually someone already squished onto it.)

Tell us three book confessions:
1) I prefer fantasy over realistic fiction.  Reading is my escape, and I like to let my imagination run wild.
2) I like the movie of The Perks of Being a Wallflower SO MUCH MORE than the book.
3) I like to re-read books.  Usually not the whole thing, but I like to flip to my favorite parts and read them over and over again.

When was the last time you cried during a book?
I'm a crier.  Like, an ugly crier.  But it has been awhile since I've read a tearjerker.  Last summer I went back-to-back with books that left me sobbing (Second Chance Summer and Me Before You) so I've been a little gun shy picking up anything that might make me tear up.

How many books are on your beside table?
I scatter books around the house instead of keeping them by my bed, but I'm currently reading Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart,  and Takedown by Allison Van Diepen.

What is your favorite snack to eat while you're reading?
Popcorn.  And then I get the pages all buttery and salty...and it's a mess.

Name three books you would recommend to everyone:
1) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
2) Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
3) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase:

Write how much books mean to you in three words:
"Pass on Castle." (which means passing on Nathan Fillion to finish a book, and that's hard for me to say out loud...because I adore Nathan Fillion :)

What is your biggest reading secret?
Here goes.  My name is Emily, and I read the last page first.  I heard you gasp in horror.  "How could you do that?" I hear you screaming in my head.  And the answer is simple.  I hate surprises.  Not knowing drives me crazy.  Will the guy get the girl?  Will the hero live?  Does Ron Weasley make it to the end of the book? And no.  It doesn't ruin it for me.  It just prepares me for what is about to happen. Whew!  Glad that's off my chest.

Thanks again Don't Be Afraid of the Dork for tagging me!

And I'm tagging:
Stylish in the Stacks
The Blue Tulip
Kendra Book Girl
The Bookwyrm's Hoard

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Forget Me Not

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): 

Author: Carolee Dean
Info: Simon Pulse, copyright 2012, 384 pages

Ally is devastated when a scandalous photo of her is texted around school. With her reputation in shambles and her life essentially over, she hides out in a back hallway, trying to figure out where everything went wrong.

Elijah has spent time in that hallway too. He landed there after taking a whole bottle of sleeping pills. Now he can see ghosts, and he knows what Ally has yet to suspect—that she’s already half dead, and one choice away from never coming back. Elijah has loved Ally for years and would do anything to save her from the in-between place. But if she’s going to live, Ally must face her inner demons and find the will to save herself.

~Goodreads Descriptions~

The Awesome
Another rocking novel-in-verse!  This particular title did an amazing job switching up formats, using poetry not only to convey the story, but creating a visually interesting layout as well, and found creative devices to actually include some dialogue.  Oh dialogue!  That is one thing I definitely miss in non-prose formats.  It's also a heartbreaking, yet hopeful, tale about bullying, suicide, and the courage to live.  Not that heartbreaking books about bullying are awesome, but the author does an amazing job approaching the topic in a fresh way.

The Not So Awesome
There was quite a bit back and forth between Ally and Elijah.  Sometimes it was difficult remembering who was speaking, because at times, their voices were very similar.  I would have enjoyed a bit more from the perspective of the bully and Ally's friends who turned against her, but that's just because of personal interest.

This is a book I would definitely recommend to the teen crowd at my library.  The verse format was accessible and the plot intriguing.  It also opens the door for a great conversation on bullying, manipulation, and the potential evils of popularity and peer pressure.

Well done Carolee Dean.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top 10 Books On My Summer TBR list

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Here's a list of the books I would love to read this summer, but in all reality, fully realize will stay on the to-be read shelf for months to come.  If, by some miracle, I get my reading butt into action, at least I have a priority list.  What's on your summer reading list?

1) Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

2) The One by Kiera Cass

3) Cress by Marissa Meyer

4) Blood Red Road by Moira Young

5) More Than This by Patrick Ness

6) The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

7) The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier

8) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

9) Landline by Rainbow Rowell

10) Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Avery Shaw Experiment

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): Girls can be good at science, and get the guy without being too cliche.

Author: Kelly Oram
Info: Bluefields, copyright 2013, 278 pages

When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest.

~Goodreads Description~

I think I'm going to forgo the "Awesome - Not Awesome" today for some good old-fashioned gushing.  I liked this book.  A lot.  I didn't expect to like this book, really, even though it kind of screams "Emily you will love me!" from the description.  The cover is a bit cheesy.  The plot is extremely predictable.  And the main male character is named Grayson. But I loved it.  It was exactly what I needed to read during a difficult week.

Kelly Oram keeps great pacing going between the two main characters, and her dialogue is extremely entertaining and relatively believable.  The characters are endearing, even when you want to flick them between the eyes for being a bit annoying, and while the ending is no surprise, you can't help but cheer on the hopelessly awkward teens as they make a love connection.

Like most of the movies I thoroughly enjoy, I don't need profound moments and artsy-emo characters to keep me entertained.  I just need a story that draws me in and an author who knows what he or she is doing.  The Avery Shaw Experiment delivers.

For a fun, light summer read, you can't go wrong with this rom-com teen novel.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Red Handed

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts) :  A crime ring of strange criminals, and one angry young woman.

Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes
Author: Matt Kindt
Info: First Second, copyright 2013, 272 pages

Welcome to the city of Red Wheelbarrow, where the world's greatest detective has yet to meet the crime he can't solve—every criminal in Red Wheelbarrow is caught and convicted thanks to Detective Gould's brilliant mind and cutting-edge spy technology.

But lately there has been a rash of crimes so eccentric and random that even Detective Gould is stumped. Will he discover the connection between the compulsive chair thief, the novelist who uses purloined street signs to write her magnum opus, and the photographer who secretly documents peoples' most anguished personal moments? Or will Detective Gould finally meet his match?

~Goodreads Description~

The Awesome
If you like a good who-dun-it or enjoy the Encyclopedia Brown books, hunting for the answer to the mystery, then you might just like this creative, interesting, beautifully drawn graphic novel a whirl.  There's also a pretty spectacular conversation on the possession of art and morality.

The Not So Awesome
It was a bit confusing at times, skipping around a bit.  There were quite a few characters and storylines to keep straight, but it came together relatively cleanly in the end.

Overall, a decent read.  If you're not into superheroes or "graphic" images, you might give this one a whirl.  Matt Kindt's artwork is appealing, and his story is creative and unique.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top 10 Books I've Read So Far This Year

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

Not a bad start to the year.  I've read some historical fiction, some spectacular fantasy, and a few contemporary stories that have left me speechless.  I even read a short story collection I enjoyed, and believe me, that doesn't happen very often.

What's on your list of best reads so far this year?  Happy reading!

1) The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff

2) Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

3) Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

4) Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

5) The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

6) The Good Braider by Terry Farish

7) Just One Year by Gayle Forman

8) The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

9) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

10) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Monday, June 9, 2014

Saying goodbye is hard

Last week I said goodbye to my grandpa, g-pops, the Big Kahuna.  I had the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with him over the last nine years after the passing of my grandma.  He was my Friday lunch date, and I would load him into the car and take him to the store every other week where we would argue about the price of food.  My grandfather was a grocer and found it impossible to believe that milk was no longer a quarter.  After years of back and forth's in the aisles, I took to telling him everything was $3.00.  He caught on, and then we would argue about how I was trying to trick a blind man.  My grandpa loved a good joke, had the memory of an elephant, and had a heart for his family.  And I miss him.  But I trust, I believe, and I am comforted knowing that he now lives a life everlasting without pain and discomfort.

But because this is basically a book blog (with random posts gushing over Tim Curry and the awesomeness of movies), I thought I'd let you know about a little nonfiction book about World War II.  Little Ship, Big War by U.S.N. Commander Edward P. Stafford is a day-by-day account of the USS Abercrombie, a ship that toured the Pacific Ocean escorting convoys, chasing submarines, picking up downed pilots, and leading landing craft to invasion beaches.  And it just so happens that my grandpa was on that ship.  So if you've got the time and the inclination, it's available as an eBook and in paperback.

Goodbye is hard, but grandpa gave me a lifetime of memories to keep my company.  I'm so glad for all of the stubborn, frustrating, hilarious moments, for the long conversations over coconut shrimp at Red Lobster, and the same exact conversation the next week over Chinese (because you never heard a story just once :)  Rest peacefully g-pops until we meet again.

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