Monday, July 28, 2014

Space Mountain here I come

So I don't need a distraction topic today, because I'm finally on vacation!  Yay!  I'm a little bit excited.  The summer went by super quickly, and while I feel a little be winded by the rush of library programs and leadership trainings, I'm feeling really good about what I accomplished in just a couple of months.

That being said, I'm extremely happy vacation is here.  So on that note, here are...

The Top 5 Rides Emily Plans to Conquer
 Dawn over the building that houses Space Mountain

1) Space Mountain
My favorite.  It's short.  It's dark.  And I rode it 3 times last year and laughed through each rides.

2) Splash Mountain
The song is catchy, the splash is refreshing, and it's just a classic.

3) Muppet Vision 3D
Because they're the Muppets.  And I love them.

4) Expedition Everest
Because going backwards is just as much fun as going forwards.

5) Castaway Creek
Yes.  The lazy river.  I plan on planting myself on a tube and riding that river all day long.

And I super excited to experience the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, see the look of fear on Kendra's face when we ride the Carousel of Progress, and to totally beat her on the Toy Story Midway Mania!   It's going to be a good time.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of relaxing.  Lots of fireworks.  But most importantly time away with a fun friend.

So with that, I bid you adieu until next week :)  Disney, here I come!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me 

On A Deserted Island

(Picks based on pure randomness)
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I'm just going to throw this out there...I suspect that I would not last long on a deserted island (much like in the occurrence of a zombie apocalypse).  While I'm pretty level-headed in tense situations, I'm not really handy and would most likely not find a way to catch my own food.  But maybe, just maybe, if I picked out the right crew of literary characters to have on the island with me I would find a way to survive.

1) Perry from Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Not only is Perry a studly character full of heart, he's also a warrior, a survivor, a man of many talents, and handy in the wilderness.  

2) Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
She's a little whiny and moody, but she's smart, fast on her feet, and handy making fire.  As long as we're not being chased by desperate careers, maybe Katniss would be a great addition to the island team.

3) Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
If we're going anything goes on this deserted island, I'd want Hermione there with her magical bag to offer all the comforts of home.  Sure, she can be a little bossy, but I could just stick her in the cave with Katniss (because there is a mysterious cave on my fictional deserted island :)

4) Celaena Sardothian from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Purely for protection.  The girl is wicked, and I'm confident she could protect me from any possible danger.

5) Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
He is a wealth of information, a joy to listen to, and a little bit dreamy.  I'm not sure if Levi could help keep me alive, but he could definitely keep me entertained.

6) Flint from Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
Talk about your tough guy!  I'm pretty sure Flint's got it all.  He knows how to rough it; he's handy with a sword; and he's mysterious and handsome.  Yep.  I want Flint on the island.

7) Puck from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Maybe a bit unconventional, but he's a fairy, and I'm sure he has his uses.  He is also a bit of a mischief maker, so I figure Puck will help keep morale up until help comes by goofing off (ideally good-heartedly).

8) Sophronia Temminnick from Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Sophronia is quick on her feet and extremely resourceful.  She'll  also be an asset in identifying any dissenters in the group which can come in handy if we need to vote anyone off.

9) The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Every deserted island needs a little madness to make things interesting.

10) Superman...because if I'm being honest, I really don't want to be on a deserted island.  As long as their isn't any sneaky kryptonite anywhere in the vicinity, my caped friend can just fly me home.  Yes.  I just cheated.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I can go the distance

One more week to go, hey!  One more week to go, hey! (As I perform a graceful little happy dance in my living room :)  The next week is the one I've been dreading a bit...a week long library retreat...but since I've made it here, that means I've survived Summer Reading at my library, and, fingers crossed, I'll be able to enjoy my vacation in a week!

Today's distraction topic:

Emily's Top 5 Disney Songs

1) Belle (Beauty and the Beast) - "Look there she goes that girl is strange no question.  Dazed and distracted, can't you tell?  Never part of any crowd.  Cuz her heads up on some cloud.  No denying she's a funny girl that Belle."  What's so bad about wanting more?

2) When You Wish Upon a Star (Pinocchio) - "When you wish upon a star.  Makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you.  If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme, when you wish upon a star as dreamers do."  Anyone can dream.

3) I See the Light (Tangled) - "All those days watching form the windows, all those years outside looking in, all that time never even known, just how blind I've been."  Go Tangled!

4) I-2-I (A Goofy Movie) - "If a wall should come between us.  Too high to climb too hard to break through.  I know that love will lead us.  And find a way to bring me to you."  Such an underrated movie and awesome song!

5) Santa Fe (Newsies) - "When I dream, on my own, I'm alone, but I ain't lonely.  For a dreamer nights the only time of day when the city's finally sleepin', all my thoughts begin to stray, and I'm on the train that's bound for Santa Fe.  And I'm free, like the wind, like I'm gonna live forever.  It's a feeling time can never take away." 

Do you have a favorite Disney song?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top 10 Favorite TV Shows

Top Ten Favorite Movies or TV Shows!
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

So this week we have the choice between Top Ten Favorite Movies and Top Ten Favorite TV Shows.  I tackled the movies list a few months back (see list here), so today I'm going after my favorite TV shows.  Summer is always a fun time because I don't feel held hostage by my TV with new shows airing every week.  Now, this doesn't mean I don't watch my fair share of television during the summer (hello binge watching!), but I have the freedom to watch whatever, and that usually means revisiting some of my favorite shows.  So here goes, Emily's top 10 favorite TV shows.

1) Chuck - There's Zachary Levi, which makes everything better, but for a pop culture fantatic, Chuck is the ultimate for weird nerdy references and ridiculous characters.  Plus it's about a guy, a normal guy, trying to do something extraordinary.

2) Castle - Hello Nathan Fillion!  The writing is fantastic, the characters are endearing, and the back and forth between hilarious moments and tense situations keeps you watching.  And there's Nathan Fillion.  Did I mention there's Nathan Fillion?

3) Lost - For all the good and the bad, I was addicted.  I was addicted to the conversations at work the next day and the conspiracy theories created to try and guess what was really going on.  I was addicted to the weirdness and uniqueness of the show that no one has been able to pull off since.

4) Firefly - Oh look, Nathan Fillion again!  This steampunk, western, science fiction bucket of awesome never gets old.  Joss Whedon is a genius, and this particular show, despite its short tenure was filled to the brim with adventure, loyalty, and courage.  And Nathan Fillion :)

5) Veronica Mars - A super sleuth wrapped in a tiny package.  I love a good mystery, and I love a good, confident, fierce young woman who doesn't back down.  Should she have on occasion?  Probably.  Absolutely.  But I never stopped cheering for her whenever she brought down the bad guy.

6) Psych - Okay, so Psych is most definitely on par with Chuck for pop culture reference awesomeness.  Come one!  They did whole episodes dedicated to John Hughes and the Tim Curry classic Clue.  My face hurt from smiling through the entire episode.  Sean and Gus are the perfect duo, especially when Gus pulls out his jazz hands.

7) Joan of Arcadia - I watch this series in its entirety once a year.  I can't help myself.  There's something about the search for purpose, the openness of faith, and the fear of the unknown that draws me in every time.

8) Fraggle Rock - Jim Henson and his awesome Muppets have to make any pop culture list in some shape or form.  But the kids of Fraggle Rock get me right in my heartstrings.  There was a characteristic in each of their personalities that I could identify with, and Henson broached important, meaningful topics in a safe way.  Plus there's a talking trash heap.  So yeah.  It's on my list.

9) Call the Midwife - I cry at every stupid episode.  Every single one.  The show is so human, and open, and hopefully that I'm always a puddle of tears at the end.  I care about these characters and there struggles, and it's so much less soap opera-y than Downton Abbey.

10) Gilmore Girls - I decided after the first episode I saw that I wanted to live in Stars Hollow.  I want to go to town meetings with quirky community members.  I want to eat at the same diner every day and be best friends with Sookie.  I want to watch cheesy movies with the Gilmore girls while eating a disgusting amount of junk food.  I want to have fast conversations filled with obscure references.  I want to believe a place like this really exists.

Doctor Who, Pushing Daises, Saved By the Bell, and New Girl  are right on the heels of my top ten.  I mean right on the heels.  Like 10.1-4 :)  We all knew I couldn't really just pick ten, didn't we?

What's on your list of favorite TV shows?

Monday, July 14, 2014

I've finally played a scene with Neville Sinclair

One more week down!  Only two more to go before vacation!  Getting to this particular blog means I made it through two teen programs, three meetings, and a family movie night.  Not a bad week.  A little hectic, but full of fun at the library.  Which also means that not much got done around the house.  But so it goes.

Once again, in the spirit of distraction, this wonderful Monday I'm enjoying a Disney theme.

This week's fun:

Emily's Top 5 Live-Action Disney Movies

5) Mary Poppins- Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way, and who wouldn't ant to fly a kite?

4) Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl - Went to the theater 3 times to see this one.  Sure...the series gets a little weird, but the first one was just a great adventure.

3) National Treasure - Don't mock me.  I know Nicholas Cage is ridiculous, but the history major in me really enjoyed the appreciation for our past and the desire to preserve our heritage for the future.  And I like riddles.  Even though I can never solve them.

2) Newsies - Kind of liked the Broadway version better, but there wouldn't be a Broadway version without this musical gem.  And who doesn't like a young Christian Bale?

1) The Rocketeer - Nostalgic.  The best kind of nostalgic with a hero that you're rooting for and a plot that makes you dream of what could be.  And the soundtrack is awesome.

What's on your list of favorite live-action Disney movies?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Since You've Been Gone

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  A scavenger hunt of discovery and a summer of amazing opportunities.

Author: Morgan Matson
Info: Simon & Schuster, copyright 2014, 449 pages

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

~Goodreads Description~

The Breakdown
Sloane is Emily's best friend.  And Emily doesn't know who she is without Sloane.  So when Sloane up and leaves mysteriously at the beginning of summer, the big plans of happiness together disappear.  Until Emily find a to-do list from Sloane that will push her out of her comfort zone and force her to show the world just what she has to offer.

The Awesome
While I'm a sucker for the "she was pretty all along, but no one noticed until she took off her glasses" plot-lines, what I really appreciate about Emily was that she didn't change her hair/clothes/makeup to become a "new" Emily, she allowed herself, to try, and dream, and experience far more than she ever had before, on her own.

Matson also brings back the playlists like in Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and carefully places flashbacks to better understand Emily's relationship with Sloane.

The Not So Awesome
Not applicable :)

Morgan Matson, I adore your writing style.  Sarah Dessen has been the epitome of summer romance, coming of age stories, but you, my fine author, are definitely on par.  Her characters are heartfelt and genuine, and like Dessen's characters, I'm always left wondering what's next in their lives.  Of course I'll never get that, but maybe that's the beauty of these kind of tales.  She gives them wings, and we just have to believe they can fly.  Wow.  That was sappy.  But I'm a happy girl.  Two summers in a row I've gotten to enjoy a great book by a fantastic author.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


A review in 10 words (or thereabouts):  A contemporary tale about life on the streets and the hope of a brighter future.

Author: Allison van Diepen
Info: Simon Pulse, copyright 2013, 288 pages

Darren took the fall for Diamond Tony, the notorious head of the city's drug cartel. Two years later, Darren is finally out of juvie and determined to get even.

Working as an informant for the police, Darren infiltrates Diamond Tony's operation. But falling for sweet, innocent Jessica was not part of that plan. She is a distraction and a liability. She is also everything Darren dreamed about while he was locked up, and with her, he has the promise of a fresh start.

When a deadly turf war breaks out between Diamond Tony and the Bloods, Darren gets caught in the crossfire. The cops think he's playing both sides, and any mistake could be his last. Darren has to stay on his game if he's going to protect Jessica and if he is going to stay alive.

~Goodreads Description~

The Awesome
First, does carrying around a book with brass knuckles on the cover give you street cred?  It's probably the closest I will ever get to brass knuckles.  Now I'm fascinated, and I'm finding it difficult to stay focused :)  Back to the review, Darren is a pretty amazing character.  He's a young man who has learned from his mistakes.  He's clean, working hard at school, and wants to make the streets safer for his little brother Kiki.  What he's doing is dangerous, but he understands the consequences and holds his ground anyway.  Darren is a pretty amazing role model (despite the fact that he's working for a drug kingpin).

The Not So Awesome
Sometimes Darren seemed a little too clean cut.  I'm not sure how believable I found the story.  The thing is, I could be completely wrong because I know very little of what happens in city neighborhoods filled with poverty and drugs.  Darren dreams of becoming a music producer and van Diepen sprinkles rap lyrics throughout the book, but in the end, they have little to do with the outcome and do not enhance the book in any way.  Darren's own inner-dialogue, outside of the lyrics, is much more interesting.

Overall a fast-paced, engrossing book about a young man try to make a better life for himself.  Darren is a likeable and sympathetic hero who you want to see succeed in his mission, hopefully in one piece.  Reluctant readers will gravitate toward the book, and it's an excellent selection for teens who like urban lit.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Top 10 Blogging Confessions

 Top 10 6 Blogging Confessions
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

So I couldn't come up with 10, and while I started to feel a bit guilty about that, I realized that I just have to let my guilt go when it comes to books and writing, and embrace that I've kept this endeavor going far longer than I ever thought I would.  That being said, here are a few of my blogging confessions.

1) I'm terrible at proofreading.  Horrible.  And I like commas,. and I'm sure I over use them, a lot

2) I feel guilty when I don't post.  Really guility.  It's not as if the five wonderful people who actually read my blog would even notice, but I feel committed to this here blog, and when I skip a day it's like I've forgotten to turn in a homework assignment.

3) I'm not always as honest as I'd like to be.  I can't even imagine having a book published.  The time.  The frustration.  The bravery to have your words read by others.  So when I come across a book I don't particularly like, it's hard for me to say how I truly feel because I so totally admire that authors who have the courage to put themselves out there.

4) If it wasn't for this blog, it is very likely that I would have no recollection of what I've read.  I'm kind of terrible at remembering plots and names.

5) I really write to amuse myself.  I sometimes think my reviews need to sound more professional, and then I realize that the whole point of this exercise has been to express myself, so it can't be helped that a little bit of my weirdness slips onto the screen.  Some of my favorite posts to write have been about random things I think are awesome (i.e. Tim Curry), and those are purely for my own enjoyment.

6) I don't make enough time to keep up with some of my favorite bloggers.  Really need to do that.

Can't wait to see what's on your list!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Here Comes the Smoulder

Three weeks until vacation!  To say I'm excited would be an understatement.  Despite my enthusiasm, however, there is a mountain of work I have to finish before my final destination...which just happens to be Disney World again this year.  I had so much fun last year I thought I'd do it again, this time with an awesome buddy in tow.  So to distract myself from what has to be done, I've decided that my Mondays are going to be a pep talk that the fun is just around the corner.

Today's topic:

Emily's Top 5 Favorite Animated Disney Movie

5) The Emperor's New Groove - Cronk. Is. Awesome.  That's really why it's on my list, despite David Spade.  But it's also an endearing story about family, friendship, and loyalty.

4) Robin Hood - An oldie, but a goodie.  Robin Hood is a romantic, noble character who just so happens to have a travelling minstrel telling his tale.  I like a good travelling minstrel, especially one voiced by Roger Miller.

3) Aladdin - Riff raff, street rat, I don't buy that...Aladdin comes from nothing, but he has the world at his fingertips.  He is more noble than any prince, and more endearing than any genie.

2) Tangled - It was SO close to being my all-time favorite, but I just couldn't pass up a castle with a giant library.  My adoration for this particular title is, in no small part, because of  Flynn Rider.  He's charming, charismatic, and flawed, and he keeps all of that even after his transformation.  But then there are the songs, which hearken back to other classic Disney movies.  Don't think it's as good as Frozen?  This blogger disagrees.

1) Beauty and the Beast - Belle was always my favorite Disney character.  Even though her nose was always in a book, she dreamed of a world, bug and bright full of adventure and interesting people.  She was fiercely strong, stubborn, and realistically terrified.  But she looked for the good in people, something I always hoped to do.  And she has her own library.  She has her OWN library!  So jealous.

What's your favorite Disney movie?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ruin and Rising

A review in 10 words (or thereabouts): An epic battle between light and dark.

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Info: Henry Holt and Co., copyright 2014, 417 pages

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

~Goodreads Description~

The Awesome
The of the best villains.  Ever.  He is so mean, and so sinister, and so beautiful, and so awesome, and a BIG part of me really kind of wanted him to win.  He was a sympathetic bad guy, overwhelmed with power that no one else understood, and while his motives might have been a little selfish, they weren't completely sociopathic.

The same can be said for Alina.  She a little bit selfish, a little bit power hungry, and her motives aren't entirely self-sacrificing.  There's a depth to both sides, an almost ambiguity, that makes the characters interesting and the plot unique and exciting.

The Not So Awesome
Not a whole lot happens in the final installment.  The first two books are leading toward an epic battle, which we get, but that doesn't happen until the last thirty pages.  There's a whole lot of wandering, a whole lot of moping, and not nearly enough Darkling.

Then there's the clean ending.  She was doing so well.  Some characters met with fateful endings and one of my favorite characters story took an unexpected turn, but then everything ending in a nice little bow.  Too clean.  Not everything ends with a happy ending.

Overall, still an excellent of my favorites. You should read it.  Please read it.  Because it's awesome, and we can talk about it together :)

Leigh Bardugo, please write something else quickly.  Anything.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Top 10 Classics

Top Ten Classics
(Feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

I'm going halfsies with this list because I differentiate classics into two categories..."grown-up" and "kids and teens." And to be honest, I've not read a lot of "classic" books.  I have my moments of shame and guilt especially as a library, but I've come to realize that life is too short, and there are too many shiny books, to let this get me down.  So here's a mix of age stretching classic books.

And I would LOVE to get your recommendations.  One of my reading goals was to read a classic a month this year, but that's SO not going to happen...but I might be able to squeeze in a few before 2015.

What's on your list?

1) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

3) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

4) The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

5) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

6) The Little Prince by Anotine de Saint-Expery

7) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
8) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

9) Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

10) The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

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