Friday, September 30, 2011

Review: "The Morganville Vampires" Series Books 1-8

The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine
Series Books 1-8; Omnibus Volumes 1-4
4 out of 5 stars averaged!

Another series review! :) I really enjoyed these books, more so than House of Night and The Immortals. I read these in the volumes or omnibus' instead of the individual books, which I liked because I got 2 in 1 and they were still cheaper than most books! I picked the first one up at Walmart, unsurprisingly, because my sister liked the cover and said I should read it. For someone who doesn't read a lot and definitely doesn't read supernatural/paranormal books, she sure picks out some good ones! :)

I have 2 mini-rants before I start the reviewing though: 1. I'm assuming at least one of the girls on the covers is supposed to be the main character, Claire. Does she look 16 on any of these covers? No. So annoying. 2. Because I got the first 4 in the omnibus, I obviously want the rest like that too. So now I have to wait until the newer books are released in that version. Or until I can't stand the waiting anymore. Arg! Okay, on we go.

In the first volume we meet Claire Danvers, a 16 year old prodigy, who's parents won't let her go off to a big, fancy school but instead ship her off to a small community-type college a few hours away. Did I mention this book is set in Texas? So cool. Did I mention that I'm in Texas? Now you know. :) Morganville is a small town in the middle of nowhere with a big secret: most of its residents are vampires. And not the pretty, sparkly, I-totally-won't-kill-you-because-I-love-you-but-I-might-snap-one-day-when-I-have-a-moment-of-pure-happiness kind. Hah. These guys are bad. They drink blood. Some of them are certified insane (I <3 Myrnin). They keep humans as pets. Unfortunately for Claire, this was not in the brochure next to which biology class to take.

So besides Claire and the vampires, who else do we have? Well, there's Monica Morell and her cohorts, who are pure evil, only in an I-have-a-pulse way. They beat the crap out of Claire when she gets on their bad side and cause her to flee the dorms in search of a new place to live.

Then there's Michael Glass, who is an 18 year old, wise beyond his years, musician who has a big secret. He owns the house that Claire ends up running to and while he doesn't want some 16 year old kid staying with him, of course, he can see she needs some help.

And we also have Eve, another 18 year old, goth, punk chick with an attitude on the outside, but sweet and gooey on the inside. (Like a Payday haha!) She's one of Michael's roomies and works at a coffee shop, for a hippie vampire named Oliver.

And then there's Shane. *swoon* Also 18, also Michael's roomie, slacker, moody type. I kept picturing Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World lol. He's got a serious past like the rest of them (the rest of the town really) and it comes back to haunt him.

The last one I'll talk about is Amelie, who is the big bad vampire in charge. She's way old, way prim & proper and way interested in Claire. As in her brain. As in if she could cut her brain out and stick it in a robot, she would. (And still might, I don't know since I haven't finished the series lol)

I don't want to write much more so I don't spoil it, but I highly recommend these books. They're fun, scary and exciting. There is some romance too; it's not just all Grr Arg. ;)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: "Mary Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery: The Baby-Sitters Club #17"

Mary Anne's Bad-Luck Mystery: The Baby-Sitters Club #17 by Ann M Martin
4 out of 5 stars

Me: Oooh....I remember this one! It's kind of spooky.
Sister: Okay, whatever.
Me: *holds book out to sis* what is Mary Anne wearing??
Sis: Shiny pink pants?
Me: ew. *starts reading* Oooh! There's already a "What Claudia is Wearing"! Ready for it?
Sis: *blank stare*

Me: Okay then! [Claudia] was wearing her vegetable blouse: an oversized white shirt with a green vegetable print all over it - cabbages and squashes and turnips and stuff. [Awww...I just did the hamburger shirt outfit!] Under the blouse was a very short jean skirt, white stockings, green anklets over the stockings, and lavender sneakers, the kind boys usually wear, with a lot of rubber and big laces and the name of the manufacturer in huge letters on the sides. Wait, I'm not done. Claudia had pulled the hair on one side of her head back with a yellow clip that looked like a poodle. The hair on the other side of her head was hanging in her face. Attached to the one ear you could see was a plastic earring about the size of a jar lid. Awesome.

Sis: *blank stare*
Me: *back to reading* Oh! Mary Anne got a chain letter!
Sis: Is someone trying to kill her?
Me: What? No.
Me: Oh! She got a bad-luck charm necklace in the mail!
Sis: Did it choke her to death?
Me: Whaaat? No! She has to wear it "or else".
Sis: Or else what? That's dumb.
Me: I'm getting a little freaked. I may need to put this in the freezer for a while.
Sis: Nerd.
Me: Jackie Rodowsky wants to be a robot for Halloween. Can I be a space cadet? Will you make me a space helmet?
Sis: How the heck am I supposed to make you a space helmet? How about I just hot-glue some Christmas tree toppers to your head?
Me: *pouting* Jackie Rodowsky gets a robot head. Ooops...his costume fell apart.
Uh-oh, Jamie fell down the stairs. Look, this is Jamie *points at cover* he's four.
Sis: No, he's like nine.
Me: No! He's four! Whoa! There was an explosion in the science lab!
Sis: Did anyone die?
Me: And a fire in a trash can!
Sis: Did anyone die?
Me:  They're looking up books on witchcraft in the card catalog at the library.
Sis: What's a card catalog?
Me: *rolls eyes* Logan & Mary Anne are going to the Halloween Hop as cats. Mary Anne is wearing a leotard and tights. For somebody so shy, she sure is showing off her body.
Sis: I think I want to be a 50s girl. With pink hair. I really want a wig! And I'm totally keeping them after! And we'll get you a purple wig! Yeah! And I'll keep yours too!
Me: Oh! Cokie Mason said "nice bad-luck charm". I bet she sent it to her!
Sis: What's a Cokie Mason? Is she going to kill her?
Me: Oh my goshness! Mary Anne got a letter telling her and the BSC to go to Old Man Hickory's tombstone on Halloween at midnight!!!
Sis: Are they going to kill someone?
Me: They figured out it was Cokie. They're going to get even with her.
Sis: By killing her?
Me: Dude. Nobody dies in this book. Mimi dies later on and it's very sad, but no one kills her.
Sis: What kind of mystery series is this??
Me: It's not a mystery series! I haven't even started those yet.
Sis: Oh. That's boring.
Me: I am totally turning this into my blog review.

Hope you enjoyed this slight change of format! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

3 in 1 Review: Fallen Angels

The Fallen Omnibus: Vol 1 by Thomas E Sniegoski
2 out of 5 stars

I will admit it right up front, I picked this book up because of the hot guy on the cover. And I completely regretted judging this book by it's cover. I have come to realize that I do not like fallen angels or books written about them.

This is actually 2 books in 1 and while I semi-enjoyed the first book "The Fallen", the second half "Leviathan" just about killed it for me. So much that I have absolutely no interest in reading the 2nd volume, even with the super hot cover lol.

Aaron is an 18 year old boy who has been traded off to different foster homes all his life. He has finally found a family that fits well with him when he starts hearing voices and understanding all these different languages, including that of his dog, Gabriel. Gabriel was probably my favorite character. :) Aaron discovers that he is a Nephilim, half angel-half human, and is suddenly being hunted by the Powers, who are fallen angels and pretty dang vengeful. I like Aaron as a hero; he's a good, average boy who suddenly finds himself thrown into this crazy situation and really wants nothing to do with it.

I didn't really enjoy the fallen angels part of the story, not because I'm anti-religious (which I'm not), but because it was so...much...and so deep that it was hard to understand and take it all in. Also, the 2nd book, Leviathan, has this creepy, gross Jabba the Hut type creature which I was so not into lol. I can see how some would enjoy this book though, especially if you are interested in fallen angels and such, so take this review with a grain of salt!

Hush, Hush #1 by Becca Fitzpatrick
2 out of 5 stars

Compared to the book above, I should have given this one half a star. It is seriously so, so, so bad. So. Bad. And yet. I read the second one too. Eesh....I apologize that you even have to look at these reviews!

This is another fallen angel/Nephilim book, but it is centered around a Twilight-esque relationship between Nephilim Nora Grey and Fallen Angel Patch Whatever-his-last-name-is. There's plenty of really good reviews on Goodreads about this, so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail.

The relationship between Nora and Patch is so wrong on so many levels it just gives me asco. You know that shuddery, creepy feeling you get when you walk by somebody on the street and they're just leaning on the wall watching you? That's how I feel about Patch. And Nora did too, at first, then she's all "Oh, he would never hurt me, he's my true love, blah blah blah, I've been watching New Moon, etc etc etc..."

Aside from the Twilight aspect, the writing and editing is just awful. The timing is all wonky for most of the book and characters disappear a lot with no explanation and suddenly show back up the next day like nothing happened.

Crescendo (Hush, Hush) #2 by Becca Fitzpatrick
1 out of 5 stars

The sequel to Hush, Hush...I know, you're thinking "Jenn. Why the heck did you read the sequel after that awful review above??" I don't know. I just had to. And in my defense, I did at least check this one out at the library instead of buying it! Lol...

If it's possible, this one is even worse than the first. More Patch and Nora drama, but of the "He doesn't show and say he loves me every single second of the day, so I'm going to break up with him and be miserable for 200 pages" variety. Blegh.

I know some of you are going to try to read this anyway, despite my warnings. And that's okay! I'll be here waiting with your favorite ice cream and a fluffy book about 13 year old baby-sitters solving crimes and child-behavior issues in 140 pages or less to make you happy again. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Banned Book Week...

September 24th-October 1st is Banned Book Week and I thought I'd celebrate with a quick post on some of my favorite banned books. According to Goodreads' Most Frequently Challenged Books List, I've read 42 horrible, shameful, should-be-censored books. ;) Seems like I should be reading more, don't you think? Maybe I'll make that a challenge next year.

(Awesome image found on The Lisa Simpson Book Club Tumbler, which I will be adding to my faves soon!)

1. Harry Potter Series of course...number 1 in 2001 and top 10 in 2002-2003. Banned because it promotes witchcraft and a fantasy life. Well, duh, I'm still waiting for my Hogwarts letter!

2. Their Eyes Were Watching God banned for sexuality in 1997, which coincidentally, is the year I read it in 11th grade English! :) Thanks Mrs S!

3. Hunger Games number 5 for 2010! Banned for being sexually explicit (um, wasn't Katniss completely socially backwards in this aspect?) and the violence. I think these people missed the whole point of this book.

4. My Sister's Keeper number 7 in 2009...I don't really consider this a YA/children's book, so I don't know why it would be on the banned list? Apparently for sexism, violence, suicide and homosexuality (which I don't remember at all, guess I need to do a reread soon!).

So that's just a few books that people think you shouldn't be reading. What do you think? What's your favorite banned book? Not sure? Head to your local library and check some out this week! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

What I'm reading right now...

The reason there is no review today...this book was kind of wigging me out, so I had to stop reading it last night! Lol...I'm such a weenie. Maybe I should put it in the freezer like Joey on Friends when he reads Little Women.  Good news is, there's a "What Claudia is Wearing" right in the beginning! And I'm already planning on doing this review slightly different, involving my sister, should be fun!
 I'm finding it hard to read this one because I know what happens and I don't want ALL THE TEARS. *sob* Hopefully, I'll get a big chunk read this weekend though...I want to finish it by the end of September. I'm considering skipping next year's Annual Summer Reread just to make it fresh and exciting the next year. Hmm....

This is my new "work" book today. I've looked at them several times before, but never got interested enough to get it. My sis saw it on her beauty vlog she watches and said the girl loved them, so I checked it out at the library. We shall see. :) This girl looks like some actress, but I can't think of who. Maybe somebody from the 90s?

I hope I get to read more than one BSC book this weekend so I can have plenty of reviews for next week. The BSCers go visit Stacey in sophisticated New York, because I guess their parents are made of money. From what I remember, they clash horribly with Laine and is this possibly the one where Dawn freaks over all the germs and Mary Anne turns into Miss Tourist? I hope so! :)

So...what are you reading this weekend? Do you have more than one book going at once? As you can see, I usually have 3-4. I like to have options, for what mood I'm in. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

TILT: More Reading Posters!

I had so many fun reading posters from last week that you get a second edition this week! :)

A Good Book Has No Ending Print by LittleSonrisa --so true...I'm looking at you, Harry Potter!

Reading is Cool Art Print by ParadaCreations --I love love love the little owl! I need someone to draw me an owl for my blog header and twitter picture...I can't draw at all lol. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Princess Bride Poster by HappyLandings --Princess Bride. Need I say more?

A Book Lover Print by ILoveDoodle --this guy was too awesome to even fit all the way on the page! Check out the link for the full awesomeness!

Book Nerd Decal by EllieHearts --a bonus today because it's too cool for school (or is it?) and it wouldn't fit in the little squares! :) I want this for my library bag. Extra bonus because the seller lives in my area!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: "Tales of an Extraordinary Girl #1-2"

Playing with Fire & Twice as Hot by Gena Showalter
3.5 out of 5 stars

I love the Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter, so when I saw the first "Tales of an Extraordinary Girl" at Half Price one day, I decided to try it out. I was glad I did and later bought the 2nd one new, which I didn't like quite as much but still a good quick read.

In Playing with Fire, we meet Belle, who is a 24 year old sarcastic barrista. She can't hold onto a job because of her short temper and sharp tongue and yet she needs one desperately to take care of her dad, who lives in a nursing home and flirts with every woman he meets. One day, after almost getting fired again, she drinks a latte that has apparently been spiked by this mad scientist being chased by secret agent guys. She wakes up several days later with super powers and a hunka-hunka man watching over her called Rome. Action, mayhem and lots of naughty hijinks ensue when Rome & Belle go on the run. Belle's BFF, Sherridan, is a great supporting character as are Lexis and Cody. But the one who made me keep reading was Tanner, AKA Crazy Bones, the 19 year old horndog lol. He was so funny and so sweet, you just had to love him.

Twice as Hot picks up a few months later I believe. I don't want to ruin too much of either, but all your favorite characters are back along with a few new ones. The ending of this one definitely leaves it open for more, but from what I've read, she is not planning on continuing the series at this time. :( Still worth the read though!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: "Jessi's Secret Language: The Baby-Sitters Club #16"

Jessi's Secret Language: The Baby-Sitters Club #16 by Ann M Martin
3 out of 5 stars

Poor Jessi...apparently the book artists didn't know how to draw "darkish cocoa" people because this cover is not flattering at all. And her first book too! Anyway, Jessi gets assigned a special baby-sitting gig for some new kids in the neighborhood, Matt & Haley Braddock. Matt is completely deaf and uses American Sign Language. My sister taught me the alphabet and the colors over the summer; we like to practice them in the swimming pool lol.

So Jessi is apparently super awesome at learning different languages. Once, my family and I went to Mexico on vacation, and during the week we were there, I practically became bilingual. Okay. She picks up Ameslan pretty quickly (like, stringing full paragraphs together) and decides to start teaching some of the other neighborhood kids the "secret language" too, in the hopes that it will help Matt and especially Haley get some new friends. Of course, the Pike kids are all for it and start making their own language too. Those Pike kids are awesome, they'll just pick up any stray kids that come along lol.

In between teaching children new languages and helping them make friends, Jessi is also dancing the lead in a ballet called Coppelia. Since she's the newest and youngest (and only black) girl in her school, of course she gets some snarky comments and dirty looks from the other girls in her class. But she proves she can handle it all by dancing her skinny little butt off. She also decides to invite Matt & his class at school to the ballet, because most of them have never seen a ballet or even heard/felt music. I can't even begin to imagine that. This whole book is sickeningly nice and helpful, but it works! :)

And I'm happy to bring you another "What Claudia Should Have Worn" to Jessi's ballet, which the entire BSC was invited to: Claudia was channeling her inner-ballerina, in a short, high-waisted, flouncy blue & purple skirt with black tulle underneath and a wide black-and-white striped band on the waist. She had paired it with a blue silk tank-top and purple batik print tights that she had dyed herself. Around her neck she had a purple, animal-print scarf and a big chain necklace she had made...going with the animal-print theme, she had black & purple, zebra-print ballet flats. Her jewelry consisted of black shiny earrings, tons of black & jewel-toned bangles and huge shiny rings over long, black, fish-net, fingerless gloves. Her hair was loose and super straight, with a feathery headband that surely annoyed anyone sitting behind her. To top it all off, she was carrying a bright pink clutch purse with a large bow and purple jewels on the front.

Monday, September 19, 2011

3 in 1! "Hex Hall", "Kneebone Boy", "Mini Shopaholic"

Time for another 3 in 1 mini-review!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
3 out of 5 stars

This was a cute and fast read. Sophie is a teenage witch (hello, Sabrina?) who is sent to a sort of reform school, Hex Hall, after a prom-night spell goes wrong and she attracts too much attention. Hex Hall is full of mystical creatures (witches, vampires, fairies, werewolves) and there's tons of mystery and suspense: like who's killing girls, who/what her father really is, why this hot guy is attracted to her when he has a girlfriend, etc...but there's also some humor and lots of sarcasm. But this room looked like it had been decorated by the unholy lovechild of Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake. I loved the bit where they are learning to make their fancy dresses. I did buy this book at Half Price, but I think I sold it back later on lol...I'll definitely pick up the sequel at the library next time I'm there though.

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
3 out of 5 stars

I would have given this one 4 stars, but I just did not like the ending. I did enjoy it though and it's actually on my Christmas Wishlist since I just checked it out from the library. This is the story of the 3 Hardscrabble children: Otto, Lucia and Max. They have had a hard life so far what with their mother disappearing several years before and their father being gone for long periods of time painting pictures of eccentric rich people. The oldest boy, Otto, is somehow blamed for his mother's disappearance by the townspeople and no longer speaks at all. He communicates only with Lucia through a special sign language they came up with. This is a mysterious, twisting, convoluted story that will leave you scratching your head and wanting more.

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
4 out of 5 stars

If you are a fan of the Shopaholic books, the 6th (I so didn't realize there were 6!!) novel will not disappoint. Becky Bloomwood (Brandon) is still a crazy, scatter-brained, shopping oriented woman. But she now has a 2 year old daughter, Minnie, to shop for too. And boy, does she. Minnie is just as spoiled and shopping-addicted as her mother and her favorite word is "Mine".  :) Like all the other Shopaholic books, this will make you seriously reconsider your own spending habits and hope that you aren't going out of control crazy like Becky. (I really needed this lesson this past weekend when I had to pay $725 to get my car fixed!) The party that Becky is planning for Luke is obviously going to be totally over the top, but the ending manages to surprise and delight you (and Luke).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: "House of Night" Series Books 1-8

House of Night Series Books 1-8 by PC & Kristin Cast
3.75 out of 5 stars averaged

This is a little different for me...I haven't reviewed a whole series at once yet. But I just didn't see the point in reviewing each book separately because A. They're all pretty much the same and B. I am lazy. :) So there you go! I'm not going to go in a lot of detail on each one; I don't want to spoil any of them for you if you haven't read them yet. And guess what? I did some mini reviews in Goodreads on the first couple way back when I read them in October, so I am going to be even lazier and cut & paste that here too! Yay for lazy Fridays! Lol...

#1 Marked: My sister watches these YouTube videos of these silly girls doing makeup reviews and such and they mentioned this book, so she recommended it to me. I took a look at it in Barnes & Noble one Sunday afternoon (don't you just love spending all afternoon in the bookstore looking at books and drinking cocoa? No? Just me then?) and decided to give it a try. Well, I am really glad I did.

I was really pleasantly surprised by this book and think I will enjoy the series. (Of course she has to recommend a series with like 10 books in it lol) It jumps very quickly into the main plot-line and while I could have used some more back story, I think they will get into that more in later books. I loved the cats! And I think it is hilarious and intriguing that it is set in Oklahoma!

The only thing I did not like was the grammar mistakes. I know I no speak sometimes real good ;) but I do notice silly little mistakes when I'm reading and it annoys the crap out of me. I hope they get a new editor for the 2nd book. Luckily, there weren't that many or maybe I was just getting better at ignoring them after a while.

#2 Betrayed: **spoiler alert ** I'm going to try putting it in white & see if that works...if not I will take it out! eta: yay! It works, so highlight to read spoilers :)  I had to give it 3 stars only because I didn't like that Stevie Ray died. :( Also, I really feel like they give too much information in those little blurbs about the next books at the back. I now know too much about the series and it's not like I can stop myself from reading them! Lol...

#3 Chosen: **spoiler alert** In white: I'm glad Stevie Rae is "alive" again. :) And that Loren guy is a total douche. Yep, I said douche. Also, is anyone else wondering if Nala is one of Neferet's minions? Or possibly Nyx's? I'm going to take a guess at future books and say Nala is working with Nyx just because I want her to be a good sweet kitty...also I just realized typing that, they all start with N. Coincidence? More spoilers: And I don't think the Heath thing is over, I think he still loves her and it had nothing to do with being imprinted. Okay, I'm done rambling about my silly predictions! :)

#4 Untamed: Darn, this is where I stopped writing my mini reviews lol...Okay, it's been a while since I read these, but I know they were pretty good. Average teenage vampire fluff.

#5 Hunted: This was one of my least favorites...and this girl has some serious boy issues! For someone who claims to be all "pure" and stuff, she sure does have a lot of boyfriends!

#6 Tempted: The constant repetition of descriptions, words used, nicknames, and slang was starting to get really old back in Book 2, but by Book 6 it's beyond annoying. And yet, I still read them.

#7 Burned: This was probably my favorite because **spoiler alert** in white: Zoey was dead, so we didn't have to listen to her whine and complain about which boy to choose! Haha!!*end*

#8 Awakened: This was the last one to come out (apparently there are going to be between 12 and 15 total? Can I just complain for a second about the amount of books that are huge, long series now? You hardly ever see stand-alone books anymore; there's always a trilogy or a mammoth collection and some books just don't need to go past one. Okay, done with the mini-rant.) I may have to do a quick reread when the next one comes out, which is annoying when there are so many (oops, wasn't done with my rant! lol...) but I'll deal.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

TILT: Reading Duh!

Today's TILT is brought to you by the letter R, for Reading. :)

Quiet Please I Am Reading Print by LittlePlaces --I would put this on the door of my reading nook. I need a reading nook.

I <3 Reading Bottlecap Magnet by PeaceandLoveBoutique --use this to hold your book list or your library receipt! Speaking of library receipts, I think I have some overdue books darn it!

Book Lovers Bottlecap Magnets by PendantLicious --have a mega book list like me? You need more magnets!

Keep Calm & Read a Book Poster by Agadart --excellent advice!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: "Little Miss Stoneybrook...And Dawn: The Baby-Sitters Club #15"

Little Miss Stoneybrook...And Dawn: The Baby-Sitters Club #15 by Ann M Martin
2 out of 5 stars

Appropriately enough, I read the majority of this book while watching the Miss Universe Pageant the other night. Which my sister was forcing me to watch. I'm with Mallory and Jessi on this one: these competitions are, for the most part, completely useless and sexist. I will say this though, the Little Miss Stoneybrook contest was a heck of a lot better than some Toddlers & Tiaras episodes I've watched. Also forced lol.

Okay, let's get serious for a minute shall we? Who here can peel a banana with their feet while reciting "this is the house that Jack built"? Anyone? No? Well, then Margo definitely should have won the talent competition. Or at least taken second place after that goody-goody Myriah Perkins. Am I getting ahead of myself here? Sorry.

Claudia agrees to babysit for Charlotte without asking the other BSC members, which as you'll recall, is a big fat no-no. But Charlotte asked for her specifically, because she misses Stacey, so I don't know why the others get all bent out of shape. But of course they do and suddenly they're all trying to prove how they're the best baby-sitter ever. Even though they're only 13 and can't stay overnight or drive or know CPR (yet).

So when Mrs Pike asks Dawn if she would help Claire & Margo prepare for the Little Miss Stoneybrook contest, she of course jumps for it. And then all the other BSC members have to drag some poor innocent kid into the middle of their petty, little feud. Mary Anne "encourages" Myriah Perkins, who has actual real talent, to join; Kristy tells loud-mouth Karen about it; and worst of all, Claudia talks Charlotte into it. There are no "What Claudia is Wearing" but we do get a nice visual of Claire & Margo's choices for the competition vs what they actually end up in, including an alligator swimsuit, a sparkly princess party dress, velvet dresses, sailor outfits and painters clothes.

Luckily, or maybe unluckily because this book was pretty dull, the mini-feud does not turn into a full-fledged BSC FIGHT. They realize in the end that they were being stupid and putting all their insecurities on these poor kids. I mean come on, poor Charlotte ran off the stage in tears! None of the "good" kids win of course, although Myriah does get second place which is A-OK with her since it's a toy store shopping spree!

There's also a subplot with Dawn's brother Jeff...he goes totally berserk and joins a gang and stops eating....oh wait, no he doesn't. He gets in a fight at school and finally talks his mom and dad into letting him move back to California. Dawn is of course pissed, because he's breaking the family up even more and she doesn't get to move back to Sunny Cali. *Foreshadowing*

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: "The Book Thief"

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
5 out of 5 stars

Incredible. Moving. Horrible. Terrifying. Beautiful. And more....this is what I wrote right after finishing this book back in April. I gave it 5 stars, making it only 1 of 2 5 star books this year that are not Harry Potter or the BSC. :) When I was going back through it this weekend to mark passages I wanted to talk about, I did something I haven't done since elementary school: I wrote in the book. This is just that kind of book. You have to mark the parts that are important to you, the poetry that moves you to tears, the simple words that break your heart.

"The sky is blue today, Max, and there is a big long cloud, and it's stretched out, like a rope. At the end of it, the sun is like a yellow hole..." Max, at that moment, knew that only a child could have given him a weather report like that. On the wall, he painted a long, tightly knotted rope with a dripping yellow sun at the end of it, as if you could dive right into it. On the ropy cloud, he drew two figures-a thin girl and a withering Jew-and they were walking, arms balanced, toward that dripping sun.

There's not a lot I can say about this book, except that you should read it. Everyone. I'm going to admit right up front: I hated History in school. It was my worst subject, I had a horrible time memorizing dates and facts, I failed Geography one semester in the 9th grade because I couldn't remember the state capitals. Yeah. However, I've always held an interest (absolutely NOT the right word, but I don't know what else to put) in WWII and the Holocaust. I read Night and Anne Frank in junior and high school. The Book Thief shows a different aspect of that time, telling the story of Liesel Meminger who is 9 years old in early-1939 Munich, Germany. She is not Jewish but she has "dangerous brown eyes" and Communist parents, so she is sent off to live with a foster family, Hans & Rosa Hubermann.

Liesel observed the strangeness of her foster father's eyes. They were made of kindness, and silver. Like soft silver, melting. Liesel, upon seeing those eyes, understood that Hans Hubermann was worth a lot. .... But she [Rosa] did love Liesel Meminger. Her way of showing it just happened to be strange. It involved bashing her with wood spoon and words at various intervals.

Oh and one other thing: Death is the narrator. Yep. It's not nearly as gloomy as you think it would be either. Death is kind of a comedian almost. ...he [Rudy] managed to perform his first nude "heil Hitler." In a perverse kind of way, he conceded that it didn't feel half bad. He/She/It (?) tells the story of Liesel, the book thief, as she grows up dealing with a whole heck of a lot of loss and torment and eventually into this profound story-teller.

Yes, the sky was now a devastating, home-cooked red. The small German town had been flung apart one more time. Snowflakes of ash fell so lovelily you were tempted to stretch out your tongue to catch them, taste them. Only, they would have scorched your lips. They would have cooked your mouth.

Death is gentle and kind and respectful and loves the colors of the sky and the souls they collect. Personally, I like a chocolate-colored sky. Dark, dark chocolate. People say it suits me. I do, however, try to enjoy every color I see-the whole spectrum. A billion or so flavors, none of them quite the same, and a sky to slowly suck on. It takes the edge off the stress. It helps me relax. I love colors too, in particular crayons. One of my favorite smells is a fresh box of Crayola crayons. When I was a kid, I would organize my 96-box by color, laying on the living room floor with my little sister next to me. I can definitely see how colors help Death relax lol.

I know this review has a lot of quotes from the book, but that's the only way I feel I can write it. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to go back to the beginning and start it over. That could be because I took a month and a half off in the middle of it and couldn't remember the beginning, but whatever! ;) I want to go through and underline and highlight the important parts to me. I want to inspect every silly little drawing Max made for Liesel to see what I missed the first time. I want to laugh with Death at Rudy's antics and cry for Liesel and feel the words soak into my bones.

The BEST word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words...She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be WITHOUT words.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Special: Baby-Sitters Club All Grown Up!

Since I just finished the first Super Special, which is a milestone, I thought I'd do something fun for it! :) So here's the first Baby-Sitters All Grown Up, starring Kristy. Because she's the prez and it was all her idea and she's the boss, yo. Yes, I know this has been done before. And before. And before. Lol...but I don't care! I wanted to make my own and it was another chance to make a Polyvore, so you know I had to take it.

I think we can all agree that Kristy turned out to be gay. And I think she secretly hoped that Mary Anne would be too, but alas, they are just best buds still. They do have a weekly Glee date on Tuesdays though; Kristy is Team Sue Sylvester while Mary Anne covets Miss Pillsbury's wardrobe.

Kristy is the head PE teacher at Stoneybrook Elementary and she's one of those "still fit" PE teachers that tells the kids they have to beat her in a foot race to the playground or they have to run laps. (I say this on personal experience, those teachers suck. *ahem* Miss P! *ahem*) In her spare time, she still coaches Little League and plays on the all-women's softball team that kicks butt each year against the dry-cleaners.

Luckily, Kristy's style has evolved drastically from turtle-necks and sweaters. Yes, she's still very casual...wearing mostly straight leg jeans, super soft, comfy button down shirts and baseball tees with lots of sneakers. She has a serious addiction to Converse, even buying the "girly" colors occasionally, and is known for them at school along with always having her hair in a ponytail and the coaches whistle around her neck. On date night, she's more likely to wear her dressier black jeans and a simple boatneck top with her "fancy" red ballet flats that Mary Anne talked her into buying. She does have a nicer black bag for evenings out, but prefers her beat-up, brown, leather satchel bag for everyday use.

One weekend trip to New York to see Stacey and the rest of the BSC girls ended with them forcing Kristy to finally buy some makeup. She refused to get the 252-eyeshadow palette Claudia pointed out and settled for a basic eyeshadow set, some mascara and a barely there lipgloss. The eyeshadow and mascara are currently gathering dust on her bathroom cabinet and she only uses the lipgloss when her lips are chapped and she can't find the Vaseline.

Kristy still has her old baseball cap with the collie on it and her old Krushers captain t-shirt and likes to wear them around the house on the weekends. Her partner despises that beat up old t-shirt and has threatened to throw it out many times.

I hope you've enjoyed this super special All Grown Up edition of the Baby-Sitters Club! Does it live up to your expectations? How do you see Kristy in the future?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Review: "Baby-Sitters on Board! The Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #1"

Baby-Sitters on Board! The Baby-Sitters Club Super Special #1 by Ann M Martin
3 out of 5 stars

Grr...the holiday on Monday threw me all out of whack. I hope you all had a great weekend though! I read the first BSC Super Special over the weekend and it was an experience lol. First of all, my book is literally falling apart. The spine is half gone, the cover comes all the way off and the pages are in 2 separate sections! o.O I really enjoyed this one as a kid apparently. I also took offense to the dedication, because I marked it out in crayon and pen beyond recognition. And then I decided to rewrite and check off most of the names on the first page. But not all of them. I guess I didn't like them. Hmm...

The Super Specials are fun because they're a lot thicker than the regular books and they are narrated by more than one person; in this case all the BSC members (including Mallory although technically she's not a member yet in this one?) plus Karen & Byron. And there are usually cheesy illustrations in it too lol...also, plenty of outfits! :) (I improvised quite a bit)

I [Claudia] put on my new blue-and-white bikini and over that, a pink sundress with spaghetti straps at the shoulders and big blue buttons down the front. Then I accessorized. I tied a pink-and-blue scarf around my waist, knitting it in the middle, added my snake bracelet and feather earrings, wound my hair up on top of my head, and finally put on these white sandals with long laces that you crisscross up your legs and tie in a bow.

This is the outfit Claudia helped me [Dawn] to choose: [for her date with Parker] a white tank top under lavender overalls, lavender push-down socks, lavender high-top sneakers, and a beaded Indian belt, which we looped droopily twice around my middle. In my hair we put lavender-and-white clips that looked like birds.

Okay, now on to the actual plot. This is just so ridiculous, it's not even funny! Mr Pike won a contest at work and they sent him and his whole family on an all-expenses paid trip on a cruise to Disney World. I bet they are really regretting not putting some stipulations on that trip now. They invited along Mary Anne & Stacey as baby-sitters again. Then, Watson heard about it and, in an effort to suck up to Kristy and her brothers, decided to take his whole clan on the trip too. AND! He paid for the remaining BSC members, because it wouldn't have been a very good book if Claudia and Dawn were left behind. That just seems...odd to me. I mean I know Watson is a nice guy and all, but it's not like he hangs out with Mr & Mrs Pike (do they have first names? Hmm...). Why would he horn in on their vacay? There are lots of little subplots and each one is more far-fetched and crazy than the last. Let's run them down, shall we?

-Kristy befriends this old guy (like grandpa-old) and spends all her time with him. He's super cranky and lonely after his wife died and for some reason, agrees to hang out with K.

-Mary Anne has this odd semi-crush on some hot girl she sees on the boat. She had masses of dark, wavy hair that cascaded over her shoulders and partway down her back, and she was wearing one of the skimpiest bikinis I'd ever seen. Even though she looked just a little older than me, she had a figure that filled out the top of the bikini nicely. "Wow," I said softly. I was highly impressed. Ooookay.

-Claudia has this creeper stalker that keeps buying her ice-cream and pearl earrings and following her around on the islands.

-Dawn falls in LUV with some guy she just met who pretends to be a stowaway on the ship.

-Stacey meets a kid in a wheelchair who has a heart problem and uses him to get to the front of the lines at Disney World. (Okay not really, but I bet she thought about it!)

-Mallory just finished reading Harriet the Spy and of course decides to spy on people. Who didn't do that after reading that??

-Karen becomes even more of a spoiled little rich kid and gets her nails done (while Kristy is waiting for her btw) and "charges it" to Watson's cabin. I'd beat her butt if she was my kid.

-Byron and the other boys find a copy machine diagram in a different language and automatically assume it's a treasure map.

You know what my biggest problem with this book is? The BSC members are 13, yes? Mallory is 11. The triplets are 10. And yet, their parents have no problem letting them run around this giant ship and on the islands BY THEMSELVES. Are they INSANE??!! I went on a cruise with my parents and sis in 2004 and we all went everywhere together. I'm 30, I'm 31! lol...and I wouldn't go off by myself on the excursions. What were they thinking?? Ahh...BSCLand. The place where no one gets kidnapped or injured and if they do, it's all better in 200 pages or less.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

TILT: Book Art!

I know, I know...I haven't blogged all week. I'm bad. But I'm still here! I'll have the BSC Super Special #1 post up tomorrow, just have to take pictures tonight! :) Until then, how about a TILT? I normally wouldn't approve of ruining a book, but these are just too cool.

Art Block Diptych: Telepathy Between Sisters by MoonAndLion -you have to open the link up to get the full picture. Go on, I'll wait. Isn't that awesome?? My sis and I sooooo need this. We have ESP(N) you know lol.

We hear each other thoughts
though sometimes
our hairdos get in the way
causing a bit of interference.
-You mean your hairdo.
-Of course yours is the problem.

Book Lovers Stack Print by GlassLionStudio -love the red hearts and the bold printing of the books.

Carousel Horse Print by NewDayPrints -love the vintagey-ness (yes, that's a word!) of the colors.

Blackbird Song Lyrics Print by TexasGirlDesigns -my favorite Beatles song :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Review: "Where She Went"

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
4 out of 5 stars

I've been putting off writing about this book just because I didn't want to reread parts of it and cry again! I'm such a big baby lol...This is the sequel to If I Stay so I knew it was going to be a cry-fest. It's 3 years after Mia's accident and lots of things have changed. Adam is a major rock star. Mia is a musical prodigy at Juilliard. And they are not together.

In a lot of ways, I liked the sequel better than the first. I think most people who have read it do. It's hard to say you enjoyed a book about death and losing people that makes you openly sob. This book is about loss too, for sure, but it's got a hopeful feeling to it. If you enjoyed If I Stay, then you should definitely read Where She Went. It brings the story of Adam and Mia to an acceptable ending (I'm not saying they are or are not together at the end by the way :) just their story).

She left for Juilliard the day after Labor Day. I drove her to the airport. She kissed me good-bye. She told me that she loved me more than life itself. Then she stepped through security. She never came back.

So. Mia decided to stay. But she also decided to run away from everything and everyone she had left. Including Adam. He's of course heart-broken, but he has no choice but to let her go. I know I probably shouldn't feel this way, but Mia was pretty selfish. Yes, I know she lost her family and she has all this guilt, etc...but Adam lost them too. He was like their surrogate son. And on top of that, he lost Mia after thinking he had her back. Because he told her he would let her go. And she heard him.

I'll be your mess, you be mine
That was the deal that we had signed

Fast forward to the present...this book is told in Adam's perspective. We get to see what he is feeling, what he felt. He's this big rock star, totally famous and he hates every minute of it. It reminds me of some story I read as a teen, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was. Superstar musician who has everything and yet nothing. Maybe something about Axl Rose?

Anyway, Adam is on the brink of a major breakdown in New York when he stumbles across a poster advertising Mia in concert. He decides to go and watch her play, incognito, but of course he's recognized and she asks him to come backstage after. They end up spending the night together, walking around New York and finally talking. Like Talking. The ending was satisfying. It's like Ross & Rachel getting together at the end or something lol. This one didn't make me sob like the first, but I did have some burning-I-have-something-in-my-eye moments.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

TILT: Harry Potter!

Today is September 1st and you know what that means...if you're a witch or wizard, you should be on the Hogwarts Express heading back to school! And if you're a sad little Muggle like me and Ramona, well hopefully this TILT will cheer you up. :)

Please be warned, there are spoilers slightly in today's if for some silly reason, you haven't read Harry Potter yet, do not proceed!

Set of 4 Harry Potter Inspired Bookmarks by HotApplePie --I need more bookmarks! Okay, not really, but I really like these! :)

Harry Potter Bracelet: Like Snape Loved Lily by SpiffingJewelry --awww...*tear*. I would love for that special someone to buy me this! Le sigh.

Zombie Potter, The Boy Who Didn't Art Print by KiWiCuties --so cool! I seriously need this! I'm going to ask for it for Christmas. :)

Harry Potter Coloring Pages by Pixie Corpse --fun!! I think I would have to get Crookshanks, Lockhart & Snape.