Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - April 26th, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  Here's what you do:
•Grab your current read

•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"Space exploration can be seen as a continuation of humanity's need to explore, to push the limits of the frontier.  With future population pressures and the speedy consumption of natural resources, space exploration and colonization may one day become a necessity." page 18 of Space Exploration for Dummies by Cynthia Phillips, PhD and Shana Priwer

I know it may not sound like an interesting book to some people, but I've always loved learning about space.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Musing Mondays - April 25th, 2011

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  This week's musing is:
Do the members of your family read? Do you think it was passed down to you? ((or, if you want you can answer this: Who do you think influenced you as a reader?))
Most of my family reads, but I definitely read the most (maybe excluding my brother).  My mom and dad probably each read a book or two a month at some points and then don't read as much for a few months.  My sister goes through periods (usually during the summer) when she can read a ton, and then she'll go without reading for months at a time.  My brother's probably the only one in the family who comes close to reading as much as I do.  Sometimes he reads more than me.  He usually reads books multiple times though because he gets interested in them.  (Keep in mind that he's 11 and most of the book's he's reading are nonfictional about space or something like that.  He's also obsessed with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books.)  Most of my extended family on my dad's side reads a decent amount.  I don't think people on my mom's side read quite as much.

I definitely think my love for reading comes mainly from my family.  My parents and grandma used to read to me for hours every day.  I'd fill a wagon with books and made sure they'd read every single one to me by the end of the day.  That's how I spent most of my time as a kid especially at our old house and before I started school because there weren't any kids my age to play with.

I'd have to say my parents and grandma influenced me most as a reader because they were usually the ones who read to me as a little kid.  If they hadn't, who knows if I'd read as much as I do now.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

This isn't going to be like my normal posts.  I just got home from Easter Vigil mass (My favorite mass of the year.), and I wanted to post something quickly to wish all of you guys a very happy Easter.  Easter and Christmas are tied as my favorite holidays.  (Easter beats Christmas when it comes to church, but I like Christmas more for non-religious reasons-like presents.)  I hope you all have a very happy Easter, and if you don't celebrate Easter, a happy Sunday.

There's also something that I wanted to post really quickly because I've been meaning to say this for a while.  Right now, this blog has 21 followers.  I've decided that once it hits 25 followers I'll do a giveaway, so spread the word and get people to follow!

Now, I'm going to go try and get things done before I fall asleep.  (I'm amazed that I stayed awake during mass.  There were some close calls.)

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Cover

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme.  This week's question is:
CAN you judge a book by its cover?
In some ways, I think you can. There are some things you can learn about the book from the cover (if people have done their job well). The cover can probably give you some idea of what the book's about, and it may show you that you probably wouldn't like the book. For example, if you don't like romance, you could probably tell it's a romance book from it's cover. However, I don't think you can completely judge a book by it's cover. To do that you have to actually read the book.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Books I Want to Read

I know I did a post kind of like this before, but I decided to do another one today.  I have a huge list of books to read, and no where near enough time to read them all.  I don't even want to know how many books are currently sitting on my shelves, in my closet, or where ever I could find room for them.  That I have yet to read.  I'm going to share a few of the books that I am most dying to read.

Cassandra Clare's books.  I have City of Bones sitting on my desk waiting to be read.  Hopefully I'll get around to it soon, but I'm trying to get through some of the books that I've had longer first.

Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori.  I've read volumes one through five, and I have volumes six, eight, and nine sitting on my desk.  The rest will be bought sometime in the future.  They're quick reads, so it's hard to convince myself to wait instead of just picking them up now and reading them.

The Darwin Award books.  My AP biology teacher has a couple of these in her classroom, and we've read some of the stories in class.  They were so hilarious that I had to go out and buy one of the books so that I could read it all the way through.  I have yet to get around to it.

The Twilight Saga:  The Official Illustrated Guide.  I'm not even sure if I got the title exactly right, but it's close enough for you guys to know what I'm talking about.  I feel like a bad Twilight fan because I haven't even bought it yet.

I could probably think of more, but I think those are the ones I want to read the most right now.

I'm thinking about doing this same type of post only about DVDs too because I have a bunch of those that I've bought or want to rent that I haven't gotten to watch yet.  I haven't even bought the Deathly Hallows Part 1 DVD yet.  (So, in addition to being a bad Twilight fan, I'm also being a bad Harry Potter fan.  I need to fix that soon.)

What about you guys?  What books do you most want to read right not.

In My Mailbox - April 17th, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.  I know I said I wasn't going to get anymore books for a while, but I needed a book for SSR (Silent Sustained Reading) at school.  My mom was going to the store, so I asked her to just pick up any Jane Austen book she wanted.  She got this one:

Sense and Sensibility (Barnes & Noble Classics)Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility is a wonderfully entertaining tale of flirtation and folly that revolves around two starkly different sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. While Elinor is thoughtful, considerate, and calm, her younger sister is emotional and wildly romantic. Both are looking for a husband, but neither Elinor’s reason nor Marianne’s passion can lead them to perfect happiness—as Marianne falls for an unscrupulous rascal and Elinor becomes attached to a man who’s already engaged.

Startling secrets, unexpected twists, and heartless betrayals interrupt the marriage games that follow. Filled with satiric wit and subtle characterizations, Sense and Sensibility teaches that true love requires a balance of reason and emotion.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What Makes The Hunger Games Different

It's been a while (two weeks) since I've posted a blog post that was just about whatever I wanted to talk about, so that's what I'm going to do.
Today is the last day of the 30 day challenge I've been doing.  (It will also be the last one, but I'll talk about that more in my video on Monday.  Today I'm supposed to talk about what makes The Hunger Games different from other series.  I'm not sure what I'm going to say, so I'm just going to start writing and see what happens (in other words, this will probably turn into a long rant).

The first thing that comes to mind for me is the fact that a huge part of the plot is children killing each other.  Sure, things like that happen in other series, but I don't think it's ever been done quite like it is in Hunger Games.  I think that's the main thing that makes is completely unlike other series.  Their government is so corrupt that they put 24 kids in an arena and force them to fight to the death.  That's pretty messed up.  I've read a lot of dystopian novels, and none of them have ever effected me quite like The Hunger Games.  It's full of starvation, killing, etc.  The main character kills loads of people over the course of the three books, and *SPOILER* even votes to have more children fight to the death at the end of the third book.  I think that definitely makes The Hunger Games different from other series.  What do you guys think?

I actually thought of a lot of things to say while writing that last paragraph, but none of it really had anything to do with the challenge.  Maybe I'll save those topics for future blog posts or videos.  Most of the ideas had to do with politics (mainly politics today compared to The Hunger Games) though, and I don't want to say something that will turn into an argument or anything.

I quickly wanted to mention a site I found the other day that you should check out if you're a Hunger Games fan.  You can find it here.  You sign up (you can even sign up to get text messages) for "tesserae," and then they'll send you an email assigning you to a district.  I got District 1.  I'm not entirely sure what all's going to happen yet, but I'm assuming it's going to be sort of like this Harry Potter site since I found it through that site.  If you sign up, let me know what district you get.

Oh, and I'm being a bad Harry Potter and Twilight fan.  I have yet to get the Deathly Hallows Part 1 DVD or the Twilight:  Official Illustrated Guide yet.  I need to convince my mom to take me somewhere to buy them.  (Or, I could use my debit card to buy them online, but in the month or two I've had that thing I've only used it once.  You'd think I was slightly scared of it or something...  Okay, so I am...slightly...  It just makes it so easy to overspend!)

Days Until:
LeakyCon 2011: 88 (We're down to less than 100!)
Deathly Hallows Part 2 Movie: 90 (Same here!)
My 18th Birthday: 110
Breaking Dawn Part 1 Movie: 216
Breaking Dawn Part 2 Movie: 584

(New) Books Read in 2011: 12 (I've decided not to count books I'm re-reading anymore.)

Harry Potter Reread: Ootp 16 (I know, I know.  I'm extremely behind.  What's new.  I'll catch up (again) soon.)


Book Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights (Signet Classics)ISBN:  0451529251
Release date:  March 2nd 2004 (First published in 1847)
Publisher:  Signet Classics
Read from January 5th to April 12th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
"Wuthering Heights", Emily Bronte's only novel, is one of the pinnacles of 19th-century English literature. It's the story of Heathcliff, an orphan who falls in love with a girl above his class, loses her, and devotes the rest of his life to wreaking revenge on her family.

At the beginning of the semester, my English 11 Honors teacher told us that we were going to be doing SSR (silent sustained reading) througout the semester.  Since we were honors students, he wanted us to read what he calls "smart people books."  I chose Wuthering Heights because I'd been interested in reading it for a while.  (Mainly because it's talked about in Twilight, which might sound kind of stupid, but it's true.)

I really enjoyed the book.  It's so weird because I hated a large portion of the characters, yet I also kind of liked them and enjoyed reading about them.  It doesn't even make sense to me, but it's true.  There's something about how the characters are written that makes you root for them even when they're doing horrible things (especially Heathcliff).

This definitely isn't the happiest book, so if you want something cheery to read, I wouldn't recommend Wuthering Heights.  However, if you want to read a book that doesn't have an incredibly happy ending, you should read this book.  (I wouldn't say it's a depressing ending either, but it's definitely not an ending that makes you feel all warm inside or anything.  At least, not for me.)

I think this is a wonderful book, and I'd definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review: The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

The Shape of Mercy: A NovelISBN:  1400074568
Release date:  September 16th, 2008
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
Read from March 30th to April 6th, 2011
Awards: ECPA Christian Book Award for Fiction (2009), Romance Writers of America RITA Award for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements (2009), American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year (2009)
Synopsis from Goodreads
“We understand what we want to understand.”

Leaving a life of privilege to strike out on her own, Lauren Durough breaks with convention and her family’s expectations by choosing a state college over Stanford and earning her own income over accepting her ample monthly allowance. She takes a part-time job from 83-year-old librarian Abigail Boyles, who asks Lauren to transcribe the journal entries of her ancestor Mercy Hayworth, a victim of the Salem witch trials.

Almost immediately, Lauren finds herself drawn to this girl who lived and died four centuries ago. As the fervor around the witch accusations increases, Mercy becomes trapped in the worldview of the day, unable to fight the overwhelming influence of snap judgments and superstition, and Lauren realizes that the secrets of Mercy’s story extend beyond the pages of her diary, living on in the mysterious, embittered Abigail.

The strength of her affinity with Mercy forces Lauren to take a startling new look at her own life, including her relationships with Abigail, her college roommate, and a young man named Raul. But on the way to the truth, will Lauren find herself playing the helpless defendant or the misguided judge? Can she break free from her own perceptions and see who she really is?

This book is amazing.  It takes place in two different time periods.  Lauren lives in the present day, but you also get to read Mercy's diary entries from the Salem Witch Trials.  If you've read this blog long enough, you know I'm a huge history nerd, and the Salem Witch Trials happened during one of my absolute favorite time periods.

Often I can't sympathize with rich characters that well because, well, I don't know what it's like to be rich, but I didn't have that problem with Lauren.  She had so many aspects to her character that I could relate to.  Throughout the book, Lauren's trying to figure out who she is, which is something I think all of us can understand.  She also has a love for books (all three of the female characters do), and I love reading about other people who love books.

I felt the same way about Abigail.  She was a very relatable character in spite of the fact that she has a lot of money and grew up in a different time period.

Mercy was probably the most fascinating character in the story even though she's been dead a long time when the book is actually taking place.  Her diary entries are wonderful, and even though you know it's impossible, you keep hoping that she won't die.  She was amazing to read about.

All of the other characters are amazing too.  I loved all of them.  I think the characters were by far the best part of the book although I also loved reading about the Salem Witch Trials in Mercy's diary.  Susan Meissner used a lot of real facts about the trials in the story, and it was fascinating to read about.  The diary entries are also extremely emotional (the later ones at least).  I read the end of the book at work, and I had to force myself not to cry in case someone walked in and saw me.

I highly recommend this book to everyone.  I think even people who don't care at all about history or the Salem Witch Trials would enjoy it.  There's just enough history in the story for people like me to enjoy it, but not enough to turn people who hate historical fiction off.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - The Sacred Oath by D.C. Grace

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  Here's what you do:

•Grab your current read

•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I could hear Dasan and Jake, rushing now to my aid, but suddenly the world got larger, and I seemed to be falling away, shrinking down into blackness.  The world was devoid of sound, and everything grew hazy." - page 36 of The Sacred Oath by D.C. Grace

Saturday, April 9, 2011

DVD Review: The Young Victoria

The Young VictoriaRating:  PG
Running time:  1 hour 40 minutes
Release date:  April 20th, 2010
Distributor:  Apparition
Directed by:  Jean-Marc Vallee
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:

A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria's rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.

I love both history and romance, so I was really looking forward to seeing this movie.  It didn't dissapoint.  I loved it.

It's rated PG, but young children would probably be bored by the movie.  They'd also probably be kind of confused for most of it.  My sister's fifteen, and I had to explain some things about British history and such as we were watching the movie because she didn't get it.  If you're not a history fan, this probably isn't the movie for you, but if you enjoy history (and romance) then I definitely recommend watching it.  it was a wonderful movie.

Special features:

Deleted and Extended Scenes:  I loved watching these, but one thing bothered me.  They were kind of out of chronological story, so for every scene, I had to try and figure out where it would have been in the movie.

The Real Queen Victoria Featurette:  I loved this.  I always like learning new things about history, and Queen Victoria was someone I didn't know much about before this movie.  I learned some interesting things.

Making of the Young Victoria:  I always like seeing how movies are made, so I really enjoyed watching this.

Lavish History:  A Look at Costumes and Locations:  This was also interesting.  Again, I'm always interested in learning how films are made, and this talked about some jobs in film making that I think are often overlooked by the general public.

The Coronation Featurette:  I also enjoyed this.  It's more about filming the coronation scene than about the actual coronation of Queen Victoria.  It was very interesting.

The Wedding Featurette:  This was a lot like the coronation one and was also very interesting.

DVD Review: The Last Airbender

The Last AirbenderRating: PG
Running time: 1 hour 43 minutes
Release date:  November 16th, 2010
Distributor:  Paramount Pictures
Directed by: M. Night Shamalan
Written by:  M. Night Shamalan
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
Based on the hugely successful Nickelodeon animated TV series, the live-action feature film is set in a world where human civilization is divided into four nations: Water, Earth, Air and Fire.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of the Avatar: The Last Airbender TV series.  When I heard about it being made into a movie, I was excited but worried about how good it would be.  Before going to see the movie in theaters, I had extremely low expectations, and because of that, wasn't really dissapointed because I was expecting to hate it.

My biggest complaint about this movie is how they pronounce a bunch of names wrong.  It's not based on a book series where different people could read a name and pronounce it differently.  It's based on a TV series that clearly pronounces each name a certain way.  I don't know how you can mess that up, but somehow they managed to.  They even pronounced Avatar wrong.  It made me cringe throughout the whole movie.

Watching it for a second time, I noticed a few things I didn't notice when I watched it in theaters.  I actually like the movie a little more now.  Not that much more, but my hate has gone down a bit.  It could have been worse I guess.  I did think a few of the actors did a good job (I've been a Dev Patel fan ever since Slumdog Millionare.), but I think a lot of the characters could have been cast better.  For one thing, they could have been Asian.  I have an Asian friend who was extremely annoyed that so many white actors where cast when all of the cultures of the show are based on Asian cultures.

I did think the bending looked pretty cool although I didn't like the air bending too much.  I understand that they wanted the audience to see the air, but it just looked really fake to me.  I also thought Momo and Appa looked pretty cool.

One thing that only occured to me when watching it for a second time was the difference in the relationships between the characters.  I'm mainly talking about Katara and Aang (and Sokka and Aang too really).  In the show season one (which the movie is based on) covers several months, and by the end of the season, Katara and Sokka have become extremely close to Aang.  In the movie, it's implied that this movie has actually taken place over a whole year, but at the end of the movie it still feels like Aang has just met Katara and Sokka.  They get along and have become friends, but they don't really seem that close.  I guess the actors just didn't have good chemistry or something.

(This is the first time I've ever really ranted about everything I think is wrong with the movie other than a video I filmed right after seeing it the first time, but I missed a lot then.  I left out a few minor complaints in here, but I think I mentioned all of the major ones I had.  It actually feels pretty good.)

Special features:

Origins of the Avatar:  I think this was a nice interview with Mike and Bryan (the creators of the awesome show) for people who aren't Avatar fans, but many fans will already know everything they talk about.

Deleted scenes:  I always enjoy watching deleted scenes.  I can see why all of these were cut from the film, but I enjoyed watching them.

Outtakes:  I was greatly amused by the outtakes.  Most of it was pretty funny.  I noticed that a lot of people on the set liked to randomly start dancing, and everyone seemed to fall down a lot.

I kind of wish that I could have gotten the combined Blue-Ray/DVD, so I could have the extra special features (I love special features), but we don't own a Blue-Ray player.  Oh well, I didn't like the movie much anyway, and I don't care to buy a BLue-Ray player just so I can see some special features.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Visual

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme where you answer a question about books each week.  This week's question is:
So … the books that you own (however many there may be) … do you display them proudly right there in plain sight for all the world to see? (At least the world that comes into your living room.)

Or do you keep them tucked away in your office or bedroom or library or closet or someplace less “public?”
Some of my books are displayed in my room and some are in my closet.  That's not really by choice though.  I have too many books to fit them all in my room.  If I had room, they would all be proudly displayed around my room or even the rest of the house.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays - The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  Here's what you do:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.
"There were plenty of observers in the meetinghouse who heard him defend my honor.  He who defends a witch..." - page 204 of The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner
The Shape of Mercy: A Novel

Monday, April 4, 2011

Musing Mondays - April 4th, 2011

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  This week's question asks:

When you were little did other children tease you about your reading habits?
No. I went to a really small Catholic school, and no one really teased each other (that much). I was really quiet, so no one really bothered to tease me about reading. My two best friends did kind of joke around about how obsessed I was with Harry Potter sometimes because I always wanted to play Harry Potter themed games. Other than that though, I was never really teased about loving to read.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

In My Mailbox - April 3rd, 2011

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.

I had a much longer post planned, but whenever my In My Mailbox posts get long, Blogger always screws them up.  Instead I'm just going to do it this way.  I bought:

Come, Sit, Stay by Arden Moore
Come, Sit, Stay by Arden Moore, Buck Jones (Illustrator)

Why Do Dogs Do That? by Kim Campbell Thornton
Why Do Dogs Do That?: Real Answers to the Curious Things Dogs Do
(The edition pictured is not the one I own.)

Ouran High School Host Club Volume 8 by Bisco Hatori
Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 8

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Matched by Ally Condie

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola by Elizabeth Candler Graham and Ralph Roberts
Classic Cooking With Coca-Cola

The Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Vacation, 2011 Edition by Steven Barrett
The Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Vacation, 2011 Edition

Universal Orlando 2011: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure by Seth Kubersky, Kelly Monaghan
Universal Orlando 2011: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel by Tom Monteleone
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel, 2nd Edition
(The edition pictured is not the one I own.)

At some point in time I plan on filming video In My Mailboxes, so I can say more about the books without Blogger screwing everything up.  However,  I can't this week.  I already have another video filmed, and it's not long before I need to go to work.  Maybe next time

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review: Nerve by Taylor Clark

Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and CoolISBN:  0316042897 (ISBN13: 9780316042895)
Release date:  March 6th, 2011
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Read from March 6th to the 28th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Nerves make us bomb job interviews, first dates, and SATs. With a presentation looming at work, fear robs us of sleep for days. It paralyzes seasoned concert musicians and freezes rookie cops in tight situations. And yet not everyone cracks. Soldiers keep their heads in combat; firemen rush into burning buildings; unflappable trauma doctors juggle patient after patient. It's not that these people feel no fear; often, in fact, they're riddled with it.

In Nerve, Taylor Clark draws upon cutting-edge science and painstaking reporting to explore the very heart of panic and poise. Using a wide range of case studies, Clark overturns the popular myths about anxiety and fear to explain why some people thrive under pressure, while others falter-and how we can go forward with steadier nerves and increased confidence.
This book is great for anyone who wants to learn more about fear.  It's really something that's a lot more interesting than you think.  The book explains why and how we feel fear and how it's possible to overcome fear.

I was surprised and how interesting this book was.  With most nonfiction books like this, I get bored after a while, but that wasn't the case with this one.  It had so many interesting facts in it that I wanted to keep reading.

I found the subject of fear intriguing because I deal with it a lot.  I'm very awkward in social situations, and whenever I'm forced to have a conversation with someone I don't know, I get really nervous.  A sentence or two to just one person, I'm okay.  Carrying on a conversation or being put on the spot in front of a group of people, I have to try really hard not to panic.  If you go to my Youtube
channel and watch my old videos, you can very easily tell how terrified I am in them.  That's gotten better since, but I still have moments where I get really nervous in my videos.  I hope what I learned while reading this book will help me get over that a little more.  The books doesn't promise to help you get rid of all of your fears though (that's not really possible unless you take out part of your brain), but it does give some good ways of working to overcome your fears or at least make them easier to live with.

I definitely recommend this to everyone.  If you have a certain fear or phobia (doesn't everyone?), then I definitely think you should check it out.  It really changed my views on nerve, fear, anxiety, etc.

*I recieved this book for free from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Lots of Hunger Games and Harry Potter Talk

I'm trying something new and separating this post into different sections.

Hunger Games 30 day challenge:

Today is my last day of doing two challenges a day because of missing the days I was in Georgia.  (For more about they 30 day challenges, see the page at the top of this page.)

The first one I have to do today is:  something you wish didn't happen in the series.  This is a difficult question, and my answer is going to contain some spoilers for the Hunger Games series.  I didn't really enjoy the fact that Peeta was hijacked, but I think it was a good move storywise.  I don't think I would change it because it would change Mockingjay too much.  I enjoyed it as a part of the plot, but I was sad to see Peeta go through that.  I also wish Rue, Prim, Finnick, etc. hadn't died, but again, I see why that was important for the story.  I'm also not a huge fan of any scene that includes Katniss and Gale kissing.  As for something that I hate becase I thought it was unnecessary to the plot, I can't really think of anything.

The second one is:  your favorite kiss.  I'm going to choose Katniss and Peeta's kiss in the Capitol in Mockingjay.  (I always seem to choose scenes from Mockingjay for these things.)  I just love that scene (not that I don't love everytime Katniss and Peeta kiss in the series).  It's the first time Katniss and Peeta have kissed without having cameras filming them and having to pretend for the Capitol.  In case you're interested, here's the scene:
Only one figure stays huddled against the wall. “Peeta,” I say. There’s no response. Has he blacked out? I crouch in front of him, pulling his cuffed hands from his face. “Peeta?” His eyes are like black pools, the pupils dilated so that the blue irises have all but vanished. The muscles in his wrists are hard as metal.

“Leave me,” he whispers. “I can’t hang on.”

“Yes. You can!” I tell him.

Peeta shakes his head. “I’m losing it. I’ll go mad. Like them.”

Like the mutts. Like a rabid beast bent on ripping my throat out. And here, finally here in this place, in these circumstances, I will really have to kill him. And Snow will win. Hot, bitter hatred courses through me. Snow has won too much already today.

It’s a long shot, it’s suicide maybe, but I do the only thing I can think of. I lean in and kiss Peeta full on the mouth. His whole body starts shuddering, but I keep my lips pressed to his until I have to come up for air. My hands slide up his wrists to clasp his. “Don’t let him take you from me.”

Peeta’s panting hard as he fights the nightmares raging in his head. “No. I don’t want to…”

I clench his hands to the point of ain. “Stay with me.”

His pupils contract to pinpoints, dilate again rapidly, and then return to something resembling normality. “Always,” he murmurs.
Hunger Games news:

I just want to briefly say that the Hunger Games movie casting is driving me crazy.  That's all I really have to say.  I was wondering what you guys think about all of it.  I'm not sure how I feel about any of the guys up for the role of Peeta.  I wish I could actually see them acting as Peeta.  I used to have a huge crush on Josh Hutcherson, but I'm not sure I'd like him as Peeta.  I think he's a good actor, it's just that I can't picture him as Peeta.  What about you guys?

Harry Potter news:

Apparently Deathly Hallows Part 2 is going to be the shortest Harry Potter film.  I guess it makes sense.  It is only half of a book.  It's still over two hours long though, so it's not a short movie by any means.  I just hope it's good.

A few deleted scenes from Deathly Hallows Part 1 have been released on the Internet.  I'm strongly attempted to watch them, but I'm forcing myself to wait for the DVD.  There's supposed to be one of Ron teaching Hermione how to skip rocks.  It sounds so cute!  I can't wait to watch them, but I'd much rather watch them on the DVD.  That just makes it more special to me.  I have no idea if that makes sense to anyone else.  Have you guys watch any of them yet?

Someone also leaked the opening scene of Deathly Hallows Part 2 online, but it's already been taken down.  (*Slight spoilers* It's apparently of Ollivander and Harry talking about the Elder wand.)  It's actually going to be on the Part 1 DVD, but I'm not sure if I'm going to watch it.  It's going to be really hard to stop myself once I have the DVD in my hands, but I think it would be a much better idea to wait until I get to see the whole movie.  I don't think watching Part 2 would be as epic if I've already seen the first scene of it.  What do you guys think?

There was also a test screening of Part 2 today.  I'm jealous of the people who got to see it and yet not jealous at the same time.  It would be amazing to see the film early, but I wouldn't want to watch it unfinished.  It just wouldn't be the same.

Wow, there was a lot of Harry Potter news the past couple of days.


I had no idea what to title this section, so that will just have to do for now.  Honestly, not much happened today.  I worked part of the day and got to find yet another cockroach (this one was dead, but I don't think that's much better).  I'm trying to enjoy my last two days of spring break.  Unfortunately, I have to work for six hours tomorrow.  That is not a fun way to spend your last day of spring break (especially if I find another cockroach).

Days Until:
Deathly Hallows Part 1 DVD: 9!
The Twilight Saga: The Complete Illustrated Guide released: 10
LeakyCon 2011: 102
Deathly Hallows Part 2 Movie: 104
My 18th Birthday: 124
Breaking Dawn Part 1 Movie: 230
Breaking Dawn Part 2 Movie: 596

Books Read in 2011: 10

Harry Potter Reread: Order of the Phoenix 6


Friday, April 1, 2011

Book Review: Harry Potter: Film Wizardry by Brian Sibley

Harry Potter Film WizardryISBN:  0061997811 (ISBN13: 9780061997815)
Release date:  November 1st, 2010
Publisher: Collins Design
Read from January 21st to March 26th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
On November 19th, the opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 will cause crowd scenes at movie theatres all over America. This large-scale, fully-endorsed book is the first to delve into this singularly successful film festival. Harry Potter Film Wizardry contains illuminating interviews with key cast members, producers, and directors; and high-quality behind-the-scenes illustrations of the settings and devices that make the movies come alive. Designed to resemble an antique spell book, this deluxe coffee-table hardcover casts its own magic.

I heard really great things about this book from other Harry Potter fans when it came out, and I was incredibly excited to finally get it.  It didn't disappoint.  If you're a Harry Potter fan, you absolutely have to buy this book.  Seriously.

It's divided up into sections by movie, and their's a production designer's notebook and producer's diary for each movie that actual people who worked on the movies (Stuart Craig and David Heyman respectively) talk about making the movies.  There are also lots of quotes from other members of the cast and crew.  It gives a lot of information about how the films where made.  Even if you're not a Harry Potter fan, this would be a great book if you're interested in film making.

It also comes with a lot of cool stuff inside the book.  You get a copy of Harry's Hogwarts letter, Umbridge's educational decrees, (my personal favorite) a Maurader's map, and more.  (I may have damaged one of my friend's hearing after screaming in their ear after seeing the Maurader's map for the first time.  I had a huge fan girl moment.)  I may make a video showing all of the awesome stuff in this book.

It's not something that I sat down and read all the way through.  (You can see at the beginning of the post that it took me about two months to get through the whole book.)  I liked picking it up every so often and reading bits at a time.  Even though there are tons of cool pictures and things, there's also a lot of information.  At first I thought it would only take a day or two to read, but I underestimated how much text the book contained.

This book is just amazing, and I'm so happy to own it.  I'll definitely be picking it up every so often just to look at the awesome pictures and read little bits and pieces.  (And, of course, play with the Maurader's map.  I may be a little obsessed with it.)  If you're a Harry Potter fan who doesn't own this book yet, you need to go and get it as soon as possible.

Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird [Mass Market Paperback]ISBN:  0673583503
Release date:  December 1982 (originally published in 1960)
Publisher:  Warner Books (Note: The cover pictured is not the cover of the book I read.)
Read from February 21st to March 9th, 2011
Rewards:  Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (1961)
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus--three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.
I was excited when my English teacher told us we were going to be reading this book.  I'd heard a lot about it, and everyone I knew who read it talked about how great it was.  I think everyone in my class enjoyed reading it as well.

I've read some negative reviews on Goodreads that criticize the book saying it's naive or idealistic.  I can see where their coming from, but I don't think that makes it a bad novel.  It may not be very realistic for a man to defend a black man in the south (or anywhere in the U.S. for that matter) during the time period when To Kill a Mockingbird takes place, but I don't think that really matters.  It is, after all, a work of fiction.  I also don't think naivety is necessarily a bad thing in certain cases, but I don't want to talk much about that.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I'd definitely recommend this to others.

*I'm not really to happy with this review.  It's probably because it's late.  I'm tired, and I don't know if any of this will make sense after I've slept.  I may come back and edit this later, but I felt like I needed to (finally) get it up.