Monthly Archives: December 2012

What’s it Like to be Beastly?

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So before I get into my review 2 things.
1. I got coffee this morning. It made me happy that I could get some quiet time with coffee and reflect on life.

2. A guy I went to high school with was found dead in his house this weekend. Cause of death not known at this point. 22 years old and deceased. I didn’t know him well since we ran in different circles, but still a hard thing to hear this time of year.

I got to read a lot this weekend. I finished 4 books, Beastly by Alex Flinn and the Angels Trilogy by Lurlene McDaniel. I’ll talk about Beastly today and then work on the trilogy for a post.

Beastly is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I love the Disney movie. I didn’t care so much growing up but now that I’m older I love the movie. I don’t have a reason why. This novel is a y.a. novel, which I’ve read a lot of this year for some unexplained reason. With being a y.a. novel, I totally expected to feel mediocre about it. Instead I really liked it. It’s not that I don’t like the writing of y.a. novels, it’s part of why I read them sometimes. They’re simple. This novel is definitely not one that is really complex when it comes to the writing. With that I mean it’s not like Anna Karinana where you have to think when you read.

I did like the chat room discussion at the beginning of each section. I thought it was a smart way to introduce each section and then bring in some other fairy tale characters. I loved seeing Adrian’s transformation from a complete jerk to a sensitive guy. Now I understand all 16-year-old’s are jerks and self-centered but Adrian took the cake on it. The way he’s written makes you root for him.

Lindy was okay. I can’t say she was a really developed character but she wasn’t a main character. She was but she was talked about more than she was there, I feel.

Another character I feel like I need to talk bout since there aren’t many characters in this novel is Kendra. She’s the witch that transforms Adrian. I liked her character more than I thought I would. I liked how she appeared in the mirror and that she was really the maid in the end. It’s a little creepy that she was kind of always watching over Adrian but it’s a cool concept that she was always someone in his life guiding him.

One thing I totally loved in the book was that they referenced The Princess Bride. It’s one of my favorite movies ever and they watched it and discussed it in the book. I had a little bit of a nerd moment when that came up. I also really liked the rose playing such a big role throughout the entire book.

Adrian didn’t look like I expected him to in the book. I had seen/own the movie and I thought he looked really cool in the movie when he was transformed into the Beast. Instead, in the book, he looked almost like the Disney version of him. Not a bad thing but it did catch me by surprise.

Like I said, I have the movie and I like it. Not a complete favorite but it’s good. It has Vanessa Hudgens in it as Lindy (whom I thought didn’t develop overly much in the movie either) and Neil Patrick Harris as Will the tutor. Hudgens didn’t suck and I always like Neil Patrick Harris. He has some really good one liners in the book and the movie. The guy they have for Adrian is Alex Pettyfer. I enjoy him. He is one good-looking guy. sigh.

Any who. That’s what I thought.

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A Story of Christmas

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I got a Nook Tablet for Christmas that’s also my birthday gift. I was totally excited about it for 2 main reasons. 1) that was going to be merry Christmas to me if I didn’t get it. (my mom kind of hinted at me getting it from them. Well she didn’t hint, I figured it out.) 2) I totally am using it a lot.

I was just thinking like an hour ago how weird it was that when readers and tablets first started coming out, I was so against it. I thought they would be the death of printed books. I’m sure that actual paper books have decreased some. I love having a book in my hands. What changed my mind. Well, I’m not sure. I think that part of it is I played around with my grandma’s i-Pad enough that it was intriguing enough. Now I feel like I have to name it. Maybe I’ll get my friend’s 6 year old to name it. He comes up with the best names.

Anyway, on Christmas day my cousin, uncle and I went up north east about an hour and got one of their trucks. Now for those of you who might be wondering what the difference between a pick-up and a truck is, (because there’s probably some of you out there who didn’t grow up with this) when I say truck, it means something to haul stuff like grains to the elevator or coal some-where. It’s like a small semi. Anyway, my uncle’s GMC truck had broken down and he had gotten the part to fix it and the 3 of us went up to fix the truck and then my cousin and I were going to bring the car back so he could take grandma and his mom home.

My cousin E and I are close in age, like I’m 6 and a half months older. And growing up there was 6 of us cousins and we were always divided into the older 3 and the younger three. So E and I (and E’s older brother) always hung out during holidays and other family get-together’s. But hanging-out and really knowing each other are 2 different things.

It’s not like I don’t know anything about him, it’s just that we lead 2 different lives and don’t confide in each other a lot. We do have the same sense of humor and make fun of my sister-in-law when we’re together(she takes it well). Once you get us going, we feed off each other.

Anyway, we brought the car back from Center which is about an hour away. And we were the only 2 in the car. Which could have been awkward because sometimes I can be that way. But it wasn’t. E has had a lot going on. His brother and best friend got married to a girl this year and he just announced that he was leaving the farm and moving in the next year. It’s been a lot for him. His brother is married and now he’s pretty much changing professions. He has more going on than I do and he needed to talk. We bounced a lot off each other in that hour. Now I won’t say anything more about our conversation. I feel like that conversation was just between the 2 of us.

What I learned or figured out or was reminded of was that we all have those moments where we just need someone to sit there and listen to us. I also learned that I really love my cousin. Not because we’re family and that we think a lot alike but because he has a good heart. Side note- I told him he can’t get married before me because our family gets engaged chronologically without planning it and I’m next. So he needs to put his love life on hold and he reassured me I would be just fine.

A Rant on my Own Sex

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There are some aspects of human nature and literature that I don’t understand. Let me make that statement a little more clear so you can see through that mud.

What is with females (especially teenage girls) and the love aspect in novels?

I wouldn’t have a problem with this if it was like a book like Pride and Prejudice where the love was legitimate (or at least somewhat, because I’m still confused how Elizabeth and Mr.Darcy got together. Maybe I just didn’t understand the timeline? Because it seemed quick. But I still love them.) and they had problems like social class and money and had real world problems. Not this “Oh I’m in love with a vampire and my best friend shape shifts into a wolf”. That was obviously a Twilight reference, but I have other novels that I have a problem with.

Now I do understand that I am female and I’m going to think about falling in love, it pretty much comes pre-installed. And I understand falling in love with a character. But I do have some stipulations.

Here’s some things that I have a problem with.

There are some novels that have a weak female and have to depend on a man or man-like figure for protection. What is wrong with a female protecting herself in a book or real-life? Isn’t that teaching our little girls that they can’t do that?

The female is willing to kill herself for a guy. Romeo and Juliet comes to mind. She was 14 when she killed herself because of her “husband”. Obviously, I’m a little skeptical about their relationship. But our girls need to understand that a guy isn’t worth dying for. I realize that a death of a loved one like a husband is something to be broken about but not a boyfriend of like 2 days.

For the older women, I don’t completely understand 50 Shades of Gray. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve protested the book because from what I understand, it has a lot of sex. Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I don’t need a book for sex. Yes, Outlander has sex but I think it’s not bad, not compared to 50 Shades. Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre doesn’t have any sex in it, I don’t even remember many kisses exchanged in them. Maybe at the end, but I don’t remember. But point is, they didn’t have sex and they’ve lasted about 200 years. So someone needs to explain this to me.

What is with falling in love with a character that isn’t a human? I understand falling in love with a character, I mean Jamie Fraser. But what’s with vampires and the such? I’m almost 25 so being a teenager wasn’t so long ago for me. I don’t remember me and my friends obsessing over and falling in love with a character like Edward Cullen. We might have talked about Harry Potter but we weren’t in love with him. Silly us being in love with someone that was actually human.

I’m not going to touch some of the y.a. distopian novels. Some of them I understand where the love story comes from and they seem like healthy relationships (unlike other books such as Twilight. Can you tell I’m on a Twilight hating spree lately?)

Why can’t we have our teenagers read some of the classics or other books to spark a love of legitimate literature with healthy relationships? I think it would help us some with single parentage. Not that it’s the full answer but it could help. Just a thought.

I think I’m done with this rant. I’m sure if I thought about it more, I could totally figure some more stuff out. But I’m tired. I need a nap.

Since the World isn’t Over yet,

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The world hasn’t ended yet today. Big shocker right? Before I get to what I really am going to talk about, let me share a conversation I had this morning with my sister via text.

She texts me asking if she went 75 mph how many seconds would it take her to go a mile, this went on and I answered. Then I sent her a text saying “Did Santa slack off this year since everything was supposed to end?”. She didn’t know how to respond. Think about that answer and I’ll answer it at the end.

The Mayans were predicting the end of the earth today. Well, I don’t quite believe in the Mayans but what if the world really did end tomorrow? Would you survive a zombie apocalypse? I thought about this. Pretty sure I wouldn’t survive. But I have a tentative list of what literary figures I think would survive. (Come on, did you not see that coming?) This list does not include non-fiction.

James from James and the Giant Peach by Roland Dahl. Think about it, he’s a kid on a giant peach with insects. Endless food supply. True story. That peach would take forever to eat and then if he got really desperate, the insects.

Obviously Edward and Bella from Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (I just puked a little in my mouth). Can vampires survive zombies? I sure hope not because I really don’t want them to survive.

Harry Potter and pretty much everyone from that series. They have magic. BOOM take that Twilight.

Jane Eyre from the book of the same name by Charlotte Bronte. Because she has spunk. I swear she should have died several times in that book but she kept saying no to death. I totally respect that. I want to be just like her. Sometimes.

Jamie, Claire and young Ian from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. They should have been dead several times as well. They’re tough, they know how to fight and heck, they have dirks. That makes them automatically awesome and better than death.

Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. He’s God there. No one kills God.

Lemuel Gulliver from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift. He’s survived a lot and he talks to horses. He survived how many years away from the human race so that makes him a survivor. In my head he looks like Ted Danson. That doesn’t make him have special powers but it should. I like Ted Danson.

John Fell from The Books of Fell by M.E. Kerr. I chose him because he’s smart. He can survive on his wits.

Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Hello, why not. She can kill other humans if she has to and can kill her own food.

I’m sure there’s a lot more that can survive, but that’s just a quick list. And I didn’t include a lot because I didn’t want them to survive. As horrible as that sounds, it’s true. Like Voldemort. Who want’s him to survive?

To answer my question on Santa slacking off I responded in, obviously the world isn’t ending and the elves do all of Santa’s work for him, so it’s really a trick question.

I will Read

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I really can’t stand when people say they don’t like to read. If I don’t know the person, it makes them sound not so smart to me and, therefore, not cool. If I do know the person it saddens me because they know how much I do like to read, it still makes them seem not cool to me and a lot of them are creative enough that I know if they applied themselves (does the phrase “applied themselves” make me seem schoolmarm-ish? ……dang it, yes it does.) they would love it.

Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense why they don’t. For example my brother. He’s smart, probably the smartest of the three of us and he doesn’t care to read. my sister and I read a lot. Our mother reads a lot. Our father likes to read, but not as much as the females in the family. His wife likes to read and his kids like books. So what’s my brother’s deal,not liking to read? He says there’s other things to do. I can respect that. But I still wish he’d like to read. But not reading because you don’t want to or it’s to much work. Shame on you. The possibility of our being friends went down about 30%.

Then there’s those people who you say you like to read and they get that quizzical look on their faces and say “you like to read? Seriously?” Like there’s something wrong with you or you have the plague or anthrax. Anyone remember the big anthrax deal of like 2002? Not that anthrax has anything to do with anything right now or this post. I just keep getting distracting. I know my degree is in English Lit but for me literature is more than a degree that I got but a hobby and a lifestyle so when they turn up their noses at reading, I have a tendency to put up a guard with that person.

Since the end of the year is coming up really quickly, almost to quickly, like a jackrabbit, or a cheetah or a really fast giraffe here’s my list of what I want to read next year.

I will get through Watership Down by Richard Adams. I got this book for Christmas from my sister when I was like 14 and I read it really quick back then and really wasn’t so impressed by it. But my sister loves it so I might as well try it again and 10 years is a long time. I might appreciate it more now.

Mere Christianity and Screwtype Letters both by C.S. Lewis. I love C.S. Lewis. I learn so much from him. His vocab is ridiculous. I wish I could speak like him. Actually, I think that everyone should have his vocabulary.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I don’t know why but I’m fascinated by this book and I have no reason to. I haven’t seen any movie base off the book, I’m just a little fascinated by the concept. I have the book so now I just have to read it. Go me!

If I get really ambitious I’ll read the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But that’s only if I get ambitious. I know I would like them and I’ve looked at them at on my library’s shelf, I just need ambition to read them. Now that I’m not in college I don’t read things like this anymore. If I read them, I’ll watch the movies. That’s right, I haven’t ever watched the movies. This is the time that if your mouth just dropped open you need to shut it because it’s true.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. This shouldn’t be to hard since I have it kind of started. This book is just really long so I think it won’t get done until next year. Again if I get through the books, then I can feel comfortable enough to watch the mini-series.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Again I’m not in college so I don’t have to read things like Jane Austen novels. I really like Austen though, she’s in my top 3 favorite authors. But I kind of browsed through the first chapters and I like it.

End of list. Period.

The Tragedy

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The title isn’t over dramatic. I know that I have a tendency to have a dramatic title every once in a while, but this isn’t one of those times. For those of who don’t know, I rarely write about big serious things that happen in our country. That’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I feel like there’s enough people talking about the situation that there needs to be someone giving a distraction. Trust me, I have an opinion on a lot of the major things going on in the country and world. I won’t be making a habit of it. Pretty sure.

Today is different. Why? Because this, the shooting of innocent people, especially children, hits a different nerve in me. Yes, I’m talking about the school shooting in Connecticut that happened a few days ago. The reason that I haven’t talked about this before is because 1: I had a relatively busy weekend 2: (and more importantly) I needed time for this to “sink in”. I needed time to get through this subject and not break into tears.

For those of you who don’t know, who either live out of the country and it hasn’t gotten to you or if you’ve just separated yourself from media the past couple days, here’s what’s happening. A shooter went into an elementary school and shot 20 first graders and 6 teachers and that wasn’t before he killed his mother and then after that killed himself.

I don’t know all the details, I’ll admit that now. After I found out, I kind of avoided the news. I tried to watch at one point but this event has hit me in a way that other shootings haven’t. I think that it’s because it deals with children on a major scale and my ovaries are kind of reminding me that they’re there and they have a purpose.

I know a lot of people are asking why now. Why so close the holidays, why did this happen, why children. The difference, I think, with this time compared to the other times is the children dying, the amount that died and that Christmas is just over a week away. These whys are much sadder. I do ask these whys and my heart breaks. I can’t imagine the pain those parents feel. I know how I feel when my niece or nephew are sick or in pain, I can’t imagine if they, heaven forbid, died. And they aren’t even my own children. How do you recover from that kind of loss? How do you move on or lose your mind?

Even the town. How does a town recuperate from a shooting like this? From what I understand this isn’t a huge town. The deceased (I hate calling them “deceased” because that’s so cold but since I don’t have names or anything that’s the closest word I can come up with) were connected to everyone else in that town. I was telling someone at work today that if someone and shot 20 of my classmates, we’d graduate 1 kid.

Like I said, I’ve been kind of ignoring that the news has existed since this tragedy happened. I planned on writing this and I tried to pre-write it last night, but I can’t find the words. This situation has hit a lot of people hard. It can’t be explained. Words aren’t enough, nor should they be.

I could go on and talk about this but I feel like I’m babbling and like I just said, words aren’t enough. This time I’m glad I don’t have the words because my words won’t make a difference to the families, they won’t bring back the loved ones. So my thoughts, prayers and condolences to the ones in the midst of the tragedy.

A Mish-Mash.

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So a few housekeeping things to take care of.

1. Yesterday was my best day when it comes to people viewing, liking and commenting. So BIG thank you to everyone. I didn’t expect people to read that post or comment about it. So kudos to you guys! Keep it up, I like it, makes blogging more fun for me.

2. The page looks a little different. I got tired of the last look so I changed it.

3. I started Pillars of the Earth by Ken Folliet last night. If you’ve ever read that book, you know it’s like a million pages long so until then I’ll be doing some general book thought posts and some reviews of books that I never got to. I’ll probably throw in some general life stuff because I can. If there’s something you want me to talk about or a book to read or anything, let me know in the comments.

I feel lately I’ve read quite a variety of books. From The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to Justin Bieber’s mom book. I mean I’m not complaining because when you get your degree in English you have to read a lot of literature that you never thought you would have to read. My point is that I got myself in a rut and was reading a lot of historical literature and I really got into chick lit and distopian lit this year for a little bit. Life isn’t fun when your reading one kind of book. So if you look at my recent books in goodreads, that’s what you’ll find a lot of.

Here’s my favorite and least favorite of the year.

Favorites In no particular order

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. I wasn’t in love with this book when I first read it but I’ve read several others in the series and have began to love it.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I loved this book from the get go. I saw the movie first and liked it, that’s why I did the audio book of it. I’m glad I did the audio book version of it so I could associate the voice with the narrator better. There’s 3 narrators in the book and I think if I had just read it, the voices wouldn’t be there for me. Not that voices weren’t clear it’s just the audio version helped my imagination better. I also liked this book because it was something so different from what I’ve read in the past.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I originally read this book because I was tired of hearing everyone talk about the series. It turned out to be a lot more thought provoking literature than I expected for a y.a. novel that everyone has read. I mean look at Twilight, it’s not that thought-provoking or that well written. Collins, however, pulled off a decent series very gracefully and it spoke on subjects (death, war, killing, etc.) that isn’t always clear for y.a. readers. I really appreciated that.

Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith. Very funny, pretty true to western culture and smart. One of my local librarians had recommended it and I trusted her enough to do it. Another audio book. I liked the guy who narrated it, he made it sound western. I’m so cautious about reading westerns. If you’ve read a lot in my blog you know my dad is a cowboy and so I look for legitimacy in movies and literacy and then I fact check it with my dad. This book was funny, had compelling-ish mystery and the cowboys acted pretty much like cowboys. A series I can see myself continuing in the future and recommend.

Not so Favorites

March by Geraldine Brooks. It’s not that I hated this book, it’s just it’s a fan fiction of Little Women. I have a hard time with the fan fiction books I’ve read. I can’t get into them. They’re not really the true voice of the original. Maybe I just haven’t found the right book to read. The other reason I didn’t care for it, was because it was in a book discussion I had at the museum in conjunction with the library and the leader was creepy and tried to hit on me. So bad memory associated with it.

The Tea House on Mulberry Street by Sharon Owens. For me it was to many characters and stories. Narrow it down or make it a series. Make your choice, woman.

The Pioneer Woman:From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond. This one I was super disappointed in that I didn’t care for because I like her blog so much. (www.thepioneerwoman.com) The reason I didn’t care for this one is that pretty much everything was on the blog. So it was redundant reading for me.

See previous post on Blue Like Jazz.

Rain by V.C. Andrews. Picked this off my sister’s shelf at home because I needed something to read. I regret that. Give me a round character and a plot that I can’t see what’s going on. Please? I mean V.C. Andrews was popular with my sister when she was like 14 and didn’t know better and I should have taken that into accord. But I was disappointed.

The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer. I talked about this a few posts ago so I’ll let you go back and read that.

Honorable Mentions

Devil Colony by James Rollins

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Divergent By Veronica Roth

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

So this is a long post for me, I know but you made it through. I’ll be back later (I’m sure) with more opinions.