Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Review of 'Where She Went' by Gayle Forman (Audio Book)

"'My first impulse is not to grab her or kiss her or yell at her.  I simply want to touch her cheek, still flushed from the night's performance.  I want to cut through the space that separates us, measured in feet-- not miles, not continents, not years-- and to take a callused finger to her face...

But I can't touch her.  This is a privilege that's been revoked.'

It's been three years since Adam's love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it...

...and three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is L.A. tabloid fodder,thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend.  When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night.  As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-- and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, powerful prose that defined, "If I Stay," "Where She Went" explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope,and the flame of rekindled romance."

I was nervous when I discovered that "If I Stay," one of the most eloquently written novels I have ever read, had a sequel.  You know that nervousness one sometimes gets when they walk into a movie that's based on a book that they really liked?  Yeah.  That doesn't change with sequels to books.  But luckily, I was pleasantly surprised!

Gayle Forman has never failed to deliver before (at least from what I've read of her writing), so my nervousness was for not.  I was just as attached to everything that Adam had to say as I had been to Mia's story.  I loved that music continued to play a huge role in this book.  It added an element of surrealism to the story.  It's hard to put into words, but if you are a musician yourself, I think you'll know what I mean when you read this (or listen to it, as I did).

Another thing that I appreciated that I remember appreciating in "If I Stay" was the realism of Adam and Mia's relationship (how it was, is, and will be).  They had history together, they had their rough patches and arguments, as well as their tender moments where they're just talking and being honest with each other or joking around.  It feels like the most flawless relationship in all of fiction, even though it's truly far from perfection.

I loved that we learn more that we knew from "If I Stay" and I also liked that this book didn't take place at the exact same time and place as "If I Stay."  This way, the two were connected, but it had a soul of its own, if that makes any sense.

"Where She Went" was a wonderful sequel that has just the right amount of "aww" moments balanced with unfortunate and/or less than desirable events.

I give "Where She Went":
Thanks for reading!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Review of 'What Comes After' by Steve Watkins

"How do you pick up the pieces after a tragedy?

How do you do it twice?

After the death of her father, sixteen-year-old Iris Wight is uprooted from her hometown in Maine and sent to live on a farm in Craven County, North Carolina, with her hard-bitten aunt Sue and her hulking, monosyllabic cousin, Book.  Almost immediately, Iris, a vegetarian and animal lover, clashes with Aunt Sue, who mistreats her livestock, fritters away Iris's small inheritance, and thinks nothing of striking Iris for the smallest offense.

Grief-stricken and alone, Iris finds solace in her aunt's willful but lovable herd of goats.  But when Iris sets two of the young goats free to save them from slaughter, the tensions between her and Aunt Sue come to a frightening and violent head.  Can Iris recover from tragedy for a second time and find a way to save not only her beloved goats, but also herself?

Powerful and deeply moving, What Comes After is at its heart an affirmation of the redemptive power of animals and the resilience of the human spirit."

This is one of the most amazing books I've read in a long time!  Quite a while ago, I added this to my Shelfari bookshelf and I reserved it without rechecking the description again.

At first when I started to read this book and I read the article on the very first page, I thought, "Oh dear... here we go," as I read that Iris had set a herd of goats free.  Once more, I am taught that I must be cautious of anything that is published as factual and I must also ponder the circumstances of the situation.  I was under the impression that Iris was an animal rights activist/PeTA member and this was going to be a book chronicling her adventures as an overbearing animal rights activist/member of PeTA.  While this may be true in some respects, it's an overall incorrect assessment.

It's a story about love, grief, redemption, abuse... there's quite a laundry list.  When everything comes together, everything works, from the characters, to the plotline, to the twists and turns strategically placed throughout the story.  This book makes you feel for the characters, even if it's on a very basic level.  There's something for just about everyone: vegetarianism, "red neck" ness, animals, romance, family, drama, life, death, friendships broken and amended...

Steve Watkins is an unbelievably talented writer.  I don't know if he has any other books published, but if he does, I fully intend to read many, if not all of his titles.

I give 'What Comes After':
Thanks for reading!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Review of 'Hold Still' by Nina LaCour (Audio Book)

"An arresting story about starting over after a friend's suicide, from a breakthrough new voice in Young Adult fiction.  

Dear Caitlin, there are so many things that I want so badly to tell you, but I just can't.

Devastating, hopeful, hopeless, playful... in words and illustrations, Ingrid left behind a painful farewell in her journal for Caitlin.  Now Caitlin is left alone, by loss and by choice, struggling to find renewed hope in the wake of her best friend's suicide.  With the help of family and newfound friend, Caitlin will encounter first love, broaden her horizons, and start to realize that true friendship didn't die with Ingrid. And the journal which once seemed to chronicle Ingrid's descent into depression, becomes the tool by which Caitlin once again reaches out to all those who love Ingrid-- and Caitlin herself."

I found it kind of scary that Caitlin's friend left an entire journal for her detailing everything that went on in her head up until her death.  I can't even imagine having a close friend of mine leaving a note, much less an entire journal, just for me detailing what happened in their life.  It's both scary and sad.

I like that even though this story started out quite sad, with Caitlin still recovering from Ingrid's demise and purposely trying to fail one of her favorite classes, she opens up and meets new people and also begins to construct in her grief.

The characters (what was left of Ingrid, Caitlin, Dylan (spelling?  That's the only down-side of audio books... you're never sure how to properly spell the names of characters...), and many of Ingrid's old friends) fit well with each other-- they didn't feel like they were pulled from different stories or anything like that, which is always a good sign.

The part of the book that really got to me was how Caitlin's mother reacted when she heard Caitlin ask for rope that would be thick and strong enough to hold her weight.  Her mother thought that she was going down the same road as Ingrid, when all Caitlin needed the rope for was for her tree house.  This scene really hit home how a suicide doesn't just touch the victim's immediate family and friends, but also the extended family and the parents of those friends.  This example helped to hit this point home and it was very effective.

I liked the use of photography in this story too, though I think the book was just trying to torture me, knowing that my camera is still in for repair... kidding :)  But it was still torturing me.

Overall, I give 'Hold Still':
Thanks for reading!  I promise I'll read books that aren't about suicide for a while.  I think I need a break from such a dark subject myself.


Friday, July 22, 2011

In Which An Explanation is Given

I'm not sure how many of you watch my LONTEM Project videos, but if you do, you're probably wondering why there hasn't been a new video in about two months.  There is an explanation for this.

At first, it started with laziness.  I really didn't want to make a video at the end of May.  Too much work.

Then I got to thinking.  I was doing my garden project (I'm still doing my garden project) and I realized that a month wasn't nearly enough time to effectively learn how to do this thing.  My plants weren't even beginning to produce vegetables.  I could cover things like keeping pests away and storing the vegetables that I picked.  If I waited longer, I would be able to get footage of these things happening.

Then it started to become not my fault.  You may have noticed that I haven't put another Gallery Walk post up in a while.  Well...

Once upon a time, there was a wonderful, awesome, best camera ever that was a Nikon.  I loved it very much and I took it everywhere with me.  One day, my mother, sister, and I were in the porch taking pictures of Louie being a total goof ball, when suddenly, we made to use it again, and the lens wouldn't open up.  We were confused and I kept trying to get it to open up and work.  But it didn't.  The world aligned itself with my gargantuan sorrow and on the day when it rained so hard that you couldn't even see two feet in front of you, my dad and I drove out to Edina to National Camera Exchange (if you're in the market for a camera, go to these guys.  They'll help you with everything from deciding which camera would work best for you to teaching you how to use said camera) and asked if they knew what to do.  The guy behind the counter tried to fix it, but he told us he didn't want to force it too much because then the lens would have a crack instead of just a chip.  He took off the strap, removed my batteries, memory card, and lens cap and gave them to me and filled out a damage report that would be sent in for repair with my camera.  He told us it would take 6 to 8 weeks to fix/replace my beloved camera.  He told me that if I heard from them or Nikon on Tuesday, that would mean that I needed to send in something saying that I had a 2 year warranty on my camera or that the damage that occurred wasn't covered by my warranty at all.  I haven't heard anything, so that means that there was no issue.  Hopefully I'll be able to get my camera fixed or at least replaced.  This story is to be continued...

So any way, that's my excuse.  Of course, I have my integrated camera on my laptop, but I've been trying to do music covers by using this camera and it just isn't good enough.  Every time I play back what I recorded on that camera, I'm okay with what I did, but there is a perpetual beeping in the background that I certainly didn't miss upon getting my Nikon.

So I don't know when I'll be able to finish my garden project (as far as finishing the recording part) and also record learning how to juggle and snorkel.  Doing these videos and completing them will depend on a few things:

1. When my job decides to pay me and get up to date
2. When I am able to get a tripod (I have one picked out and I had every intention of getting it when I brought my camera in, but then it turned out that it was more expensive than I thought, so I didn't get it.  It's really cool, because it can bend and I think it's magnetic on the stand parts, so it can stick to/wrap around all sort of things!)
3. When I get my camera back in probably 4-6 weeks now.

Because of these things, I'll probably be pretty behind in videos, so I do hope that you'll bear with me.  They'll come pretty soon!

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Movie Time! 'It's Kind of a Funny Story'

"Being a teenager is too much for 16-year-old Craig (Keir Gilchrist), who shocks his parents (Lauren Graham and Jim Gaffigan) by checking himself into a mental health clinic for a little R&R.  But when the youth ward is unexpectedly closed, he's forced to live among the adult patients.  Zach Galifianakis, Viola Davis, Emma Roberts, and Aasif Mandvi co-star in this quirky drama written and directed by the screenwriters of Half Nelson."

And based on the novel written by Ned Vizzini!  Netflix conveniently forgot to mention him, though the directors didn't.  Allow me to explain... in the late beginning of the movie, Craig is explaining what kind of people are in his school.  He introduces this random girl with test scores higher than the moon, a boy that does a whole bunch of smart-looking stuff for extracurriculars, and then himself, who is holding one of Ned Vizzini's books that I recognized as 'Be More Chill.'  I couldn't finish that book... I think that I should try again sometime.  When I'm in that sort of state of mind.  Maybe.

I really liked the format of this movie.  Transitions were sort of laid out like they are in 'The Shining' where they tell you when a day has passed (they never go to specific times though).  Not only the transitions, but also the strategic pauses in the movie that are used to help Craig explain certain things (the dreams where he jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge), to emphasize points that come with the tangents he sometimes goes on (why he was attracted to Nia.... mostly because she was hot), and also to have a stealthy speed-up of time (towards the end).  I feel like it really worked for this story.  It seemed to mirror the jumbled thinking of someone with a lot on his mind and a lot of baggage to deal with, so it was perfect.

From what I can remember, it was mostly true to the book.  Of course it's not a carbon copy, the writers and directors added new scenes and their own touches, but I really believe that what they added didn't crush the integrity of the original story.

The romance, while at one point felt like it was going too far (because that's how it went in the story), was innocent; just the beginning of falling in love, which is the greatest feeling one can hope to experience.

This movie was funny on many occasions as well!  I found myself laughing out loud several times.

This movie was also humbling because of the stories of these characters.  Solomon who did too much acid at once, Bobby who is very secretive and hard on himself, Noelle and her scars... they've been through a lot, whether that's what life handed to them or because of the choices that they made.

Overall, this movie will make you laugh, despite the serious undertones.  A very well-made movie!

Thanks for reading!


A Review of 'After Ever After' by Jordan Sonnenblick

"Even though the cancer should be far behind him, Jeffrey worries that it will return.  He has normal stuff to worry about too-- friends, parents, girls, school.  Normally he'd ask his older brother, Steven, for advice.  But trusty, responsible Steven is finally rebelling and has taken off to Africa to join a drumming circle.  Meanwhile, Jeffrey's best friend, Tad, is hatching some kind of secret, crazy plan involving eighth-grade graduation.  And Lindsey Abraham, a way hot girl who is new to the school, thinks Jeffrey's cute-- which totally freaks him out.

There's a lot about life that cancer has prepared Jeffrey for, but there's also a lot that's brand-new.  Now is the time for him to stop surviving, stop worrying, and start living again."

First of all, I picked up the book because of the cover.  There isn't a lot to it, but there's something about it that I like that I have trouble putting into words.  Simplistic, triumphant, like there's going to be a happy ending.

While I was reading the book, I honestly liked it.  But after I was finished from cover to cover, I realized that what I read had something missing to it and it felt like there was something to be desired at the end.

Let's start with characters.  Jeffrey is okay, but he can be whiny at times.  All he talks about is his cancer.  I'm starting to sound like a jerk, but a similar situation has happened to me in real life (but I won't go into detail about that).  My whole issue is, even though you can't forget that you had cancer (or, more generally, that something bad happened to you), it would be nice if you could eventually have some closer and learn to grasp onto the next big thing in your life.  It was fine for a while, but he kept talking about his cancer.  His problems.  He's in remission and he's past the two year mark that means there is next to no chance of experiencing a relapse.  I think it's time to move on.  Maybe this is just something I will never understand... I'm sorry if I offended any one...

Tad was cool, and I think he was actually the most developed of any character in this book.  He had a dark side where he was really sarcastic and he told a lot of "your mom" jokes like any middle-schooler might, but then he also had interesting insights on life.

Lindsey was cool, but I don't feel like I knew her very well, so I probably wouldn't have felt anything if something horrendous had happened to her.

The relationship between Jeffrey and Lindsey felt effortless, which added an element of anti-realism.  Real relationships take work after a while.  I have discovered this and I feel that it's completely true.  They took to each other right away, there was no resistance.  There was a little bit of struggling between them to find out if they were actually "an item," which was good, that's very normal.  But the rest of what they had kind of fell flat for me.

I need something positive.  I liked the way that Jeffrey and Tad interacted with each other.  Their conversations were interesting, they were humorous, and you can tell that a decent amount of work went into what they said.

Overall, I would say if you happen to come across this book, it's a decent book and it's definitely worth reading if you need something light and relatively short to read, but I don't think I'll end up taking a trip to Half-Price books or Barnes and Noble to get a copy for keepsies.

I give 'After Ever After':
Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Movie Time! 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2'

"The final chapter begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying the Dark Lord's three remaining Horcruxes, the magical items responsible for his immortality.  But as the mystical Deathly Hallows, and Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again."

Once You Get Past This Point, You Will Be Bombarded With Spoilers.  Don't Say I Didn't Warn You.  You May Continue.

If you know me or have been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I'm a humongous fan of Harry Potter!  Yes, I'm one of those people that was wondering weeks before this movie even came out how life would be different when this movie came out and I had seen it.  But we'll get to that part later.

This final (I hate that word) installment in the Harry Potter movie series did justice to the series as a whole.  It was the crowning glory of these movies.  Everything was extremely well done!

Alan Rickman performed so well.  I've never been terribly taken with him or Snape, but I couldn't help but be impressed.  I'm always impressed with an actor that can convey pure anguish or any other soul-crushing emotion, and when Snape's memories were being shown with Lily, and he was hugging her limp corpse to himself as Harry was crying in the background with a raw looking, brand new scar on his forehead, my heart snapped into seven pieces.  The same thing happened when I read the books.  I didn't realize that Snape could feel this deeply.  Many emotional displays came out as the movie went on, especially as Harry walked to his death, when Fred died, when everyone thought that Harry was dead (I'm thinking of Ginny mostly), the list goes on and on.  This raw emotion prompted my own tears.  This might not seem very significant until I tell  you this: I don't usually cry during movies unless the animal dies.  I cried like a baby during 'Marley and Me.'  Now there were people dying and I had tears in my eyes.  It was very new.

From what I remember from the book, the movie was very true to what J.K. Rowling wrote.  I went into the movie knowing that certain things wouldn't be included due to time or fluidity, but I felt like the directors and writers went about this movie in such a way that they included many important scenes and several memorable quotes that appeared in the book (one of them is going to be my senior quote, I've already decided) and also one that I don't remember being in the books, but Dumbledore said it while Harry was dead.  Something to the tune of, "Words are a powerful weapon, and when used without caution, they can injure."  I really wish I could remember the quote, because I loved it so very much!

"Tell me one last thing.  Is this real?  Or has this been happening inside my head?"
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" 
 (Page 723, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling)

There was so much action from start to finish.  In the beginning, we're headed straight to Gringott's so that we can break into Bellatrix Lestrange's vault.  We ride a dragon and break everything we so much as brush past. We're headed into the Forbidden Forest aiming to give up our own lives for the sake of humanity.  We're rushing around Hogwarts dodging killing curses and debris.  So much action that you'll be sitting on your seat the entire time.

But this movie isn't just violence, sorrow, and romance, it also makes you laugh, even though many feel they shouldn't be laughing, this is such a serious part (hello!  The Wizarding World is in mortal peril!), but it's great comic relief.

The romance: I'll be brief, because this post is long enough as it is.  Ron and Hermione's kiss was perfect!  I cheered in my seat (I'm not even kidding).  I couldn't have asked for more.  Also, Ron calling Hermione his girlfriend, made me smile, because it was finally happening!  It's about time, guys.

'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' will appeal to a variety of viewers, whether they like funny parts, drama, movies that make you cry, or action-packed adrenaline rushes.  Overall, this movie was very well made and (as I said before) the crowning glory of this series of movies.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. I'll make a "Harry Potter=My Childhood" post later, seeing as this review is getting pretty long.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Review of 'Happyface' by Stephen Emond

"Cute girls dig him.  He even has his own fanclub.  But he wasn't always this awesome.  He used  to be Mr. Comic Book, a resident of Lonelyland.  So when he switched schools, he slapped on a grin and went from big nerd to big shot.  Meet Happface.  This is his story."

'Happyface' is a novel with pictures, so there will be some comments on both the writing and the art as well.  Now, on to the review!

The art was amazing and there was quite a variety within the covers.  There were cartoons, there were life drawings (as in, they were realistic and very detailed), there were scrawls (as in, you could tell what the pictures were, but it wasn't necessarily a time-consuming project).  And it all really worked together.  It helped the story to flow and if you feel like you missed something, you're bound to be caught up.

The language was like that of your average teenager, as Happyface was.  It was easy to read through and I don't remember ever stumbling over any new words or feeling like this was a huge undertaking of a read.

The characters could easily be you or me or one of our friends.  Of course there were a few stereotypes, but name a book where there isn't one to make a point.  Despite the stereotypes, each of the characters were different from the one next to them and when they came together, there were always interesting scenes.

This book is quite relatable becauase it deals with fitting in and reconstructing yourself when you come to a new place.  I know that when I went to high school, that was almost all that my eighth grade class was talking about: changing themselves, straightening out... did that happen to a lot of people that I used to know?  Of course not.  Because changing yourself and putting your past in the shadows is a hard thing to do, especially if you're comfortable with who you are.  Also, it's just easier not to change, because you're so used to being who you have been, whether you like it or not.

This was a very enjoyable read, made even more real because of the integrated art work.  It's keeps you thinking, but not on a very deep level, so it's good for light reading.

I give 'Happyface':
Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I've Been Featured!

Isabella from Book Garden Reviews approached me about a week ago and asked me if I would like to be a featured blogger on her site!  If you are so interested, you can pop on over to her blog and check everything out-- I know she has at least one if not two or three giveaways going on right now, so that's always really exciting!  Click HERE to visit her (this will take you to the post where I'm featured, but then you can navigate very easily everywhere else you want to go)!

P.S. I have finished 'Happyface' and I still have to write and post movie reviews for 'Water for Elephants' and 'The Time-Traveler's Wife' so you can expect those this weekend.  Possibly a review of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' as well, but I might make a video for that instead of one that's written.

Thanks for the love and support!  It means so much and I truly appreciate it!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jude Rosenberg Unlocked the World

So yesterday, I was waiting for my AP test scores to come which involves waiting for the mail.  I soon became distracted by practicing some Dr. Horrible songs on guitar so that I can play them in a video in the near future (meaning after Saturday, which I will sob about even sooner on this blog, but not today).  But once I remembered that it was not my first intention to come outside and draw sea turtles all over the sidewalk, I ran back inside and demanded (that's right, demanded!  But closer to politely asking, really) to know if the mail had come already and also I demanded to know where it was.  I demanded this of my dad who pointed to a spot four inches away from me.  I rifled through the pile and to my utter delight, I found not my AP test scores, but my passport that had arrived two weeks earlier than anticipated (my guess is the government shut down, but I'm not sure if that makes a lot of sense...).  I tore into that priority mail cardboard envelope and pulled out that little navy books.  I held it like Rafikki the baboon in The Lion King beheld Simba atop pride rock before the inhabitants of the African savanna.  I was that excited and it was that awesome.

Can you tell that I've never had a passport before?

There's a point to this blog post.  I'm not here to make references to The Lion King this time.

The passport wasn't the only thing lying in the cardboard priority mail envelope.  There was also a pamphlet of information that I should really look at, but I totally didn't at the time.  I still haven't.  On the front of that pamphlet, there were words that were more than likely never meant to be inspiring, but they totally were.
"With your U.S. Passport, the world is yours."
I basically melted upon reading this, because it's true.  And I'm about to take advantage of this new freedom very soon.  In eight months, I will proudly present this little book to the people in customs and tell them that I'm going to France for two weeks!  They're probably going to think that I'm on drugs because I'll be so hyperactively happy and excited, which means I'll temporarily be detained for tests and stuff, but then they'll let me go and I'll sail into the world with my happiness.  After France, I'll have my college years where Iplan to spend at least one year, if not two years, abroad (I would love to live in Australia and England for a year each).  Of course, if I'm abroad, I won't be able to come home all the time, but the countries in Europe are so close together that I could make weekend or even week-long trips to Ireland, Scotland, Germany, back to France, New Zealand... not all at once, of course, but you get what I mean, right?

With this little book, I have opened up doors that I have been dying to open for years now.  I feel so free!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, July 11, 2011

A Review of 'Bumped' by Megan McCafferty

"When a virus makes everyone over the afe of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.  Girls sport fake bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid infused food. 

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody's doorstep.  Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths.  Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens.  While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother.  She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin.  But harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.  

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls' lives are changed forever.  A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, on that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood-- in a future that is eerily believable.

What an astonishing writer!  What a superb story!  I fully expect Megan McCafferty to come out with a sequel, because she just can't leave us hanging like this.

Melody, Zen, Harmony, and an assortment of other characters are so well developed and when they come together, they work magic and create a thing of beauty.

I thought that since this book revolves primarily around sex (or the talk of sex and pregnancy) I would be reduced to my inner middle school self and giggle at every sexual term that passed by me.  Maybe it was me and maybe it was the way the book was written, but talking about sex and pregnancy didn't give this book a feeling that one should be uncomfortable.  The conversations are so much apart of this society that you are tricked into believing that these aren't significant conversations to have like they are in many societies today.

I found the vocabulary quite interesting as well.  They used a lot of words that loosely related to pregnancy: neggy, preggy, pregg, humpy, bump, fertilicious, etc.  I couldn't help but smile because I found them rather funny (there's my inner middle-school self!  I knew you'd come out sometime!)

I liked some of the points that Harmony brought up about religion.  I think I related to her very well as she began to question what she was told she must believe.  I highlighted something she said while I was working, which might not have been smart because the kids that were awake at the time might be more impressionable than I think, and if they saw their teacher write in a book after telling them not to... oh dear...

" can find a verse to support just about any argument, and another verse to shut it down.  If it's all the word of God, how can we simply ignore the parts that don't fit our beliefs?"
(Page 244)

What a great quote and what an amazing something to think about!  I thought it rung pretty true, though I'm not much of a biblical scholar.  Maybe I should read the bible just so I can match their level of argument by quoting something to support my point.  It seems to be the only thing that can convince anyone of anything these days... (wow... what bold statements, Jude).

Any way, what a great question to ask.

'Bumped' was a very imaginative novel that touched on many serious subjects (not just sex and religion, but the power of choice and making your own decisions despite what a higher power-- who might just be your own parents or extended family-- wants.

I give it: 
Thanks for reading!


I Promise

Okay, in about seven or eight hours, I will post something with substance on here.  I have written a review of 'Bumped' and I'm planning on starting to write two movie reviews ('Water for Elephants' and 'The Time Traveler's Wife').  I'll start writing those on my break and also keep reading 'Happyface.'  I've been kind of in a funk as far as posting.  Hopefully this will be the end for quite some time.

Thanks for sticking with me, if you have.


Friday, July 8, 2011

What I've Been Up To

I have an excuse!  But I'm going to share it with you through visual representation, because I'm cool like that.

Hint: It has to do with online health class.  Two more quarters to go after this and I never have to run the freaking mile again!  Click to make either of the pictures big enough to read.

*The object of this assignment were to find the symptoms of an oncoming asthma attack, figure out what to do, and when to do it.  This all needed to be visually represented in poster form.

**This one was probably the most fun, but the most time consuming.  I needed to show a family exhibiting healthy behaviors in the form of a cartoon.  I know having 3 STDs is not healthy, but the way the family handled the situation of their daughter contracting three of these things (one of which will never, ever go away, no matter what) is healthy.  They were honest and respectful with each other and they dealt with change quite swimmingly, considering the situation at hand.

Thanks for looking!  You can expect a review sometime this weekend!


Monday, July 4, 2011

A Review of 'By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead' by Julie Anne Peters

"Daelyn is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she's determined to get her death right.  She starts visiting a web site for 'completers'--  (You're welcome to visit the site.  I nervously typed it into the address bar and it's discussion questions for the book.  This is a made-up site).

On the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, revealing a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten.  When she's not on the web, Daelyn's at her private girls' school, where she's known as the freak who doesn't talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she's waiting for her parents to pick her up.  Even though she's made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won't give up.  It's too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life... isn't it?

National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters shines a light on how bullying can push young people to the very edge."

This is a book that sets you on edge for several reasons:

1. The way the book is written causes the reader to be constantly curious about what's to come in the next few chapters up until the very end.
2. It's really bizarre to read this book through the eyes of someone who is planning their own downfall.

I don't know if websites such as exist, but that was what freaked me out the most about this book.  Daelyn would log on and read through the suggested methods of death.  They're all categorized by level of pain and availability.  That was probably the scariest thing that I've read about in a while.

I was impressed by Julie Anne Peters' ability to develop characters.  I didn't like Daelyn at first because I had feelings towards her that I feel towards all suicide victims-- it's sad, but there are other ways to cope.  But then I read her story and my eyes were opened a little wider.  She had reasons for not wanting to live any more.  She tried to make it better, but those who were trying to help her weren't helping her in effective ways.

I like that Julie Anne Peters takes a subject that's difficult to talk about-- it's not easy to read about either.  It's good for people like me who thought suicide was just an attention-getter (which, depending on the situation, it could be, but not always) when really it's a serious issue that needs to be treated as such.

Can I just take a moment to talk about Santana?  I love him.  I want to hug him.  True, he's a little annoying at times, but I found him to be very lovable and charming, just like Ariel did.  He was so cool and a truly round character.

'By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead' was an unsettling (in a good way) book that will open the eyes of many and find itself on the bookshelves of many.

I give this book:
Thanks for reading!


Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gallery Walk-- July 3, 2011

Welcome to this weekend's Gallery Walk!  Feel free to look around, tell me what you think, and critique!
Just click the pictures themselves to make them bigger for a more detailed viewing.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a good week!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Friday/Saturday!

Happy Friday (yesterday) and Happy Saturday!  I'm so glad it's the weekend!

The Blog Hop, Follow Friday, and TGIF are brought to you by Jennifer @ Crazy for Books, Parajunkee's View, and Ginger @ GReads!  Let's get to the questions!

What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages and what makes you want to stop reading a book and put it back on the shelf?

Ooh... it varies... I've only ever put a handful of books down never to pick up again, but they were for good reasons.  I think it's list time.

1. The plot seems to be missing from the book-- the story really isn't going anywhere.
2. The sequel was basically the same as the pilot (or first) book.
3. The writing style was bland.
4. I have no hope of understanding what's going on.

Let's end this question on a positive note!  Reasons why I keep reading a book:

1. The characters are awesome!  Very well-developed and interesting to read about!
2. Even if the characters leave something to be desired, if the writing style is excellent, it's totally worth it.
3. If the plot is interesting and I just want to know how it ends.

Follow Friday

ACK! Your favorite book/movie character (example Hermione Granger played by the Emma chick) just walked into the room! Who is it and what would be your first reaction? You get extra points if you include visual stimulation.

If Marlena/Reese Witherspoon walked into the room, I'd pretty much die, resurrect myself, and then ask for a picture/interview/both :)

Actually, can I meet both of these guys?  Because I liked Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon (Marlena and Jacob) in this movie.

Mr. and Mrs.: Who are your favorite book couples?

List time!

1. Jacob and Marlena (Water for Elephants)
2. Lena and Alex (Delirium-- or what I've read of it)
3. Daelyn and Santana (By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead-- I liked them.  I'm not sure if they can really be seen as a couple, but you can tell they like each other even though Daelyn denies it)

Friday, July 1, 2011

In My Mailbox-- Weekend Edition!

Today, I took a journey with my friend Avery to Barnes & Noble and Half-Price Books (that's right, we've tackled two of the greatest book places in one day!).  I just thought that I would share my findings with you.  Here they are:

 "Happyface" by Stephen Emond
--This was recommended to me by Avery who had read it and really liked it.  I'm really excited to read it because there are pictures, and pictures are a nice change in a novel!
 "Bumped" by Megan McCafferty
--I couldn't help myself.  Normally, as a student with a job that is like a ticking time-bomb (in that I have a limited amount of time to spend there), I would have waited for this book to come out in paperback before I got it, but I've read too many good reviews, and I really wanted to read it, so I splurged.
 "The Food of France" by Sarah Woodward
--Oh Half-Price Books, how I love thee for your relatively cheap cook books!  I will never go anywhere else!
 "Half Empty, Half Full: The Psychological Roots of Optimism" by Susan C. Vaughan, M.D.
--It was my first time going into the psychlogy section at H-PB and many of the titles are quite intriguing, so I decided to read a little non-fiction (or at least a different kind of non-fiction).
 "The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies" by Natalie Savona
--I am the happiest child alive!  I'm excited to make so much juice and a bazillion smoothies!
"Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen
--Read it and loved it to pieces!  Also, I saw the movie tonight.  It was excellent!  I think I'll review it in the future.  Near future, that is.

I also found a blank notebook with a Monet print on the front and back covers.  It's really quite beautiful and I can't wait to write in it!

That's all for today.  Thanks for reading!