Saturday, August 31, 2013

This is Us and a Three Day Weekend

I'm currently home for Labor Day weekend, and it feels kind of odd to be back after only being at school for two weeks. It's also nice though. Not only did I get to go see This is Us with Haley and Aleah last night, but my family is getting together at my grandma's tomorrow as well.

Speaking of This is Us, the movie was amazing. I loved it so, so much. I don't think I've ever smiled through an entire movie before, but I maintained a constant one last night. I loved it so much, but I won't rant on and on about it.

Even though I have a decent amount of homework to get through this weekend, I'm still incredibly thankful for a three day weekend. It's still a bit of a break, even if I'm still doing a decent amount of work every day. I've managed to get most of my work done for today already. I just need to read some essays on The Secret Garden. I'm a bit worried about falling behind tomorrow, but hopefully I'll get the majority of stuff done before we go over to my grandma's house.

For right now though, I'm going to go finish my work for today so that I have that out of the way.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: A Bride for All Seasons by Margaret Brownley, Robin Lee Hatcher, Mary Connealy, Debra Clopton

ISBN: 1401688535
Published: June 18th, 2013
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Read from August 6th to 25th, 2013
Synopsis from publisher:
It All Started with an Ad in a Mail Order Bride Catalogue…Melvin Hitchcock of the Hitching Post Mail Order Bride Catalog isn’t dishonest—not exactly. If he tweaks his clients’ applications a bit, it’s because he’s looking out for their best interests.
This charming bouquet of novellas introduces four Hitching Post prospects in the year 1870, each one eager for second chances . . . and hungry for happiness. Year in, year out, they’ll learn that love often comes in unexpected packages.
And Then Came Spring by Margaret Brownley
Mary-Jo has been unlucky all her life. But who would guess she’d travel halfway across the country to meet her match . . . only to find him dead!
An Ever-After Summer by Debra Clopton
Ellie had no idea she’s not what Matthew ordered. And what’s wrong with being a “Bible thumper” anyway? She’s determined to show him she’s tougher than she looks—and just the girl he needs.
Autumn’s Angel by Robin Lee Hatcher
Luvena would be perfect for Clay if she didn’t come with kids. But kids are a deal breaker, especially in a rough-and-trouble mining town. The trouble is, there’s no money to send them back. . .
Winter Wedding Bells by Mary Connealy
David’s convinced he’s not long for the world. He needs someone to mother his boys when he’s gone—nothing more. Can plucky Irish Megan convince him to work at living instead of dying?


This is a collection of four different novellas that tell the experiences of four different mail order brides. In each story, the letters sent between the couple before they meet have been changed, and this leads to a misunderstanding between them. These misunderstandings range from one woman being portrayed as less religious than she is to one woman not knowing that the man she agreed to marry is apparently dying.

Overall, I did enjoy all four of these novellas. I'd never read a story about mail order brides before, although I'd always found the idea intriguing, and that was primarily what drew me to the book. The stories were each incredibly predictable, especially once you made it to the third and fourth stories. All four novellas are really the same situation just with different tweaks. They were still fun to read, but you know exactly what's going to happen. There really aren't any surprises.

I do think that the entire idea of mail order brides can be interesting to us today because it's a bit unbelievable in our society. However, it also led to some slightly unbelievable stuff in the stories. It felt to me like everything happened too fast, but I guess that's to be expected when you agree to marry each other before even meeting in person.

I would recommend this book if you are interested in historical romances, but not really for anyone else. The four novellas are predictable, but they're still fun and enjoyable.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Not Cut Out for Night Classes

Days I have night classes are always a struggle. By the time class comes around, I am far too tired from the rest of the day to sit in class for three hours. However, it also seems like it's always those days that I wake up feeling more tired than normal or get a headache or something else to make the day more difficult. I'm sure it's all in my head, but that's what it feels like. I'm hoping tonight's class will go by quickly, but we'll see. I'm not cut out for night classes, but I have no choice but to get through it.

Luckily, I've already managed to get all of my studying done for today, so I have some time to do whatever the next several hours until that class. Today is actually my busiest day, since I also have another class that is only this day of the week, so I'm shocked I got done with my work so quickly. I'm oddly tired today (and woke up this morning from a really strange dream), so I'm tempted to take a nap. Naps never end well for me though, as I always end up feeling worse afterwards, so I'm going to just make it through the rest of the day and hope I sleep well tonight.

Book Review: Iron Fist by Aaron Allston

ISBN: 0553578979
Published: July 1998
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Read from August 18th to 23rd, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
They are the Rebel Alliance's ultimate strike force--sleek, swift, and deadly. For these X-wing fighters, no job is too dirty or too dangerous. Now they must rise to meet an impossible challenge: stop a powerful warlord by pretending to be his ally.
Against all odds, the controversial Wraith Squadron has survived its first covert mission. But now they are called upon to cheat death twice. This time Wedge Antilles sends them in to stop the warlord Zsinj and his Super Star Destroyer, Iron Fist. If Zsinj joins the Empire, it could turn the tide of war against the Rebels. The Wraith Squadron's mission: infiltrate the warlord's fleet and uncover his carefully guarded plans. To do so, they must pose as ruthless pirates seeking to join Zsinj's forces. And that means first becoming pirates in space lanes teeming with Imperial Navy patrols. If that isn't enough to get them killed, they'll have to pass one last test--a suicide mission for Zsinj.
Can they survive the test and turn the tables on Zsinj?
Or is this the end for Wraith Squadron?


I really enjoyed this book, but as this is the sixth in the series, it's getting harder and harder to review these books. I feel like I'm repeating myself, and you have to have read all five other books for this review to help at all anyway. Still, I'll say what I can about it.

As I said in my review of the last one, I really enjoy the characters in Wraith Squadron. I definitely think this book chose a couple of them to focus on more fully and kind of pushed the others aside. While that meant you didn't get to see some of them as much, it was nice getting to learn more about the characters that were focused on. There were also a couple of new members to Wraith Squadron, which meant new characters. I, for one, really enjoy Dia's character. Rogue Squadron also makes a couple of appearances, and it was cool to see them again.

Other than that I don't really have much to say. I will say that the plot wasn't all that interesting in this one. It seemed more focused on the characters than anything, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, the plot just seemed to be more of the same thing that's been in the previous books, and there wasn't really anything new and exciting.

It definitely wasn't my favorite of the series, but it managed to keep me entertained, and I'm still looking forward to the next in the series in order to see what happens.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Film Review: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Directed by David Gelb
Magnolia Pictures
Rated: PG
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
Jiro Dreams of Sushi is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world's greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. Despite its humble appearances, it is the first restaurant of its kind to be awarded a prestigious 3 star Michelin review, and sushi lovers from around the globe make repeated pilgrimage, calling months in advance and shelling out top dollar for a coveted seat at Jiro's sushi bar.At the heart of this story is Jiro's relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, the worthy heir to Jiro's legacy, who is unable to live up to his full potential in his father's shadow. -- (C) Magnolia


I really wasn't sure what to expect from this film going into it. It's not really a documentary I would have chosen to watch in most cases, but something about it intrigued me. The film is about an 85 year-old sushi chef in Japan, which I know doesn't sound all that interesting, but somehow it is. This film made me extremely interested in sushi chefs actually, which isn't something I ever thought I would say.

Jiro is known as one of the best sushi chefs in the world, and he is incredibly serious about what he does. It seemed incredibly unreal to me how expensive his sushi was, but you can see in the film how much work goes into it. His apprentices have to be extremely dedicated and work for years to become a sushi chef. They're unbelievably dedicated to their work and making the best sushi possible. I'm going to bet that Jiro's sushi is unlike any sushi that most people have eaten. It's fascinating to watch the process of the sushi being made and listening to them talk about the work that goes into it. Everything has to be perfect, and Jiro works all of his apprentices hard to make sure that they learn how to do everything perfectly.

I recommend this documentary to everyone, even if it doesn't seem like something you would like. I didn't have that high of expectations at first, but it ended up really drawing me in. It was a fascinating look at something that I'd never really given much thought to before.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mondays and One Direction Premiere

Today feels like it's been a long day for some reason, when in reality it hasn't really been. I think it's just the typical Monday feeling, but since it's only the second Monday of this school year, I have to adjust to this again.

I had one class today, but I also had to meet with one of my advisors about a portfolio I have to do. It's a bit nerve-wracking for me, and I think that's a big part of why today felt so long.

The New York premiere of One Direction's new movie is in just a little bit, and I plan on watching the livestream since I was in class for the London premiere. However, I still have some reading and editing to do for class, so I'm going to go and see how much of that I can get done before the livestream starts. I should have time afterwards as well, but it'll be nice to get at least some done earlier.

Film Review: The Queen of Versailles

Directed by Lauren Greenfield
Magnolia Pictures
Rated: PG
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes:
The Queen of Versailles is a character-driven documentary about a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis. With epic proportions of Shakespearean tragedy, the film follows two unique characters, whose rags-to-riches success stories reveal the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. The film begins with the family triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America, a 90,000 sq. ft. palace. Over the next two years, their sprawling empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis. Major changes in lifestyle and character ensue within the cross-cultural household of family members and domestic staff. -- (C) Magnolia


I added this film to my instant queue on Netflix a while back because who doesn't find rich people intriguing. I wasn't sure how much I was going to like the movie because I could see it being more like bad reality television than anything else. While there were definitely parts there that can also be found in reality television, I think this film was much more thoughtful than the large majority of reality television. Yes, part of the entertainment of watching the film is marveling over rich people and their lives, but the film also looks at that lifestyle in a much different way then most reality television.

The film starts before the economic crisis when the Siegal family is building what is supposed to become the largest single family home in America. It's a replica of Versailles, and although you only get to see the house in construction, it still looks incredibly impressive. Then, the economic crisis hits, and you watch the family struggle financially. They never go into detail over how badly they're suffering. David Siegal at one points says something along the lines of not wanting everyone to think that they're penniless because they're not, and I'm sure that they were still fairly well off in comparison to most Americans. Still, it's this horrible life change for them, and it's intriguing to watch. You just have to marvel over their lifestyle even when they're going through a financial crisis. The film also looks at their business during the financial crisis, and it's those parts that got me a bit emotional, especially when they talk about the number of workers that they had to lay off.

I think what I loved most about the film is that even though marveling at rich people is what initially draws you in, the film does an excellent job of reminding you that these people are human. They're spoiled and a bit oblivious a lot of the time, but they're definitely human. One of the kids actually makes a remark once that she knows her parents' marriage isn't about love and that her dad just married her mom to be a trophy wife. That statement seems to be true based on what you can tell from the film, but you can also tell that Jackie Siegal seems to be trying extremely hard to make her marriage a happy one, but she's constantly brushed aside by her husband. It's sad. There are also plenty of other bits like that throughout the film that make you feel for the family, even as you continue to marvel over how disconnected they seem to be and the tons of cool stuff they own.

I recommend this film to anyone. If you enjoy reality television, then you'll definitely enjoy this film, but I think almost anyone will. Yes, it contains many of the aspects that draw people to reality television, but it it also much more intelligent than that. It is an extremely interesting look at the Siegal's lifestyle.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Top Ten Most Dislikeable Book Characters

This topic came from Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I'm going through and doing all of the old themes whenever I get a chance here and on my Youtube channel.

1. Peter Pettigrew from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Peter Pettigrew is my least favorite fictional character ever. I doubt few hate a fictional character quite so much, but I absolutely despise him.

2. Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I don't hate her quite as much as Peter, but she's still absolutely awful.

3. Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. This is the last Harry Potter character, I swear. Umbridge is so infuriating though that I had to add her.

4. Bella Swan from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Does this really need an explanation? Bella makes horrible life decisions and is just all around a horrible character.

5. Edward Cullen from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I don't think this needs to be explained either. I really wouldn't hate Edward as much if it wasn't for his relationship with Bella, which is just awful.

6. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I could probably include the majority of the Wuthering Heights characters in this list, but I'm just going to stick with Heathcliff. While almost every character is horrible in this novel, Heathcliff is without a doubt evil, which is understandable because of his former abuse but still not justifiable, of course.

7. Nellie Olsen from the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I did the mandatory Harry Potter in the list, and now it's time for Little House. Nellie always frustrated me so much as a kid. Her attempts to come between Laura and Almanzo were the most frustrating to me as a kid.

8. Eliza Wilder from the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Eliza was another character that really, really frustrated me, and a brilliant example of the teacher I don't want to be. She took Nellie's side on everything and had such a horrible prejudice against Laura. It was definitely one of those things that irritated me a lot when I was reading as a kid. (I do think it's hilarious that, after how horrible she treated Laura, Laura became her sister-in-law though. I would have loved to see them seeing each other for the first time after that, but sadly, we never do.)

9. David from the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I think my biggest problem with David was him brushing Shay aside for Tally in the very first book. I just couldn't like him after that. The same event made me unable to become all that fond of Tally either.

10. Romeo and Juliet from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. I'm including them as pair since I'm running short, and it all kind of goes together anyway. Romeo and Juliet is my least favorite Shakespeare play. They both get on my nerves incredibly, and I just hate listening to the both of them. I know they're young, and the entire play is supposed to be about how foolish young people can be when they think they're in love, but I still can't stand it.

The First Weekend of the Semester

The first week of this semester is officially over, and I think I'm adjusting pretty well. I've more or less gotten used to the homework load by now, even if I still miss not having any. However, I'm definitely happy that it's the weekend. Other than the homework I have to get done before Monday, I'm thankful that I get a break from classes, and I'm hoping that homework won't take up too much time.

I'm also really hoping to watch Naruto and How I Met Your Mother this weekend, since I didn't get to all week. I still really want to get caught up with How I Met Your Mother before the new season airs. I think there's a possibility, but since I slacked off at the end of the summer and didn't watch as much as I thought I would, I'm not as positive that it will happen. Even if it doesn't, I should still manage to catch up before the season stops airing, so that's something.

For the moment, I think I'm going to get some work on my Hunger Games fanfic done before I get started on any of my homework. I just got up though, and I'm still a little out of it. We'll see how good any of that turns out to be.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Almost Friday...

It's been a bit of a stressful week adjusting to school again, so I'm incredibly happy that tomorrow is Friday. However, two of the problems I had in the past couple of days were resolved today, so that's a weight off my shoulders. Those were the most pressing things that have been getting to me too, so I'm really glad that's taken care of now.

I ran into two of my instructors from last semester today, and talked to them briefly. I've spent the majority of my day either in class or doing reading for class though. Since I'm taking humanities and a literature course, I'm assuming that's going to be a pretty common occurrence. At the moment I'm reading Gilgamesh for humanities and The Secret Garden for adolescent literature, and then I have textbooks that I'm expected to read for my other classes too, of course.

Random thought, but I'm currently looking at the pictures I have above my desk. Quite a few of the pictures were taken senior year of high school before I cut my hair, and I'm just kind of looking at them longingly and missing how long my hair was. There are also pictures of there around the last time I cut my hair off though, and I realized it will probably be another three years before my hair reaches that length again. There's no point to me saying this, but I've just been really missing having long hair lately, so it's been on my mind.

Although I've mostly finished up school work for the day, I still want to work on a paper that I'm writing for my adolescent literature class, so I'm going to go do that. Then I will be finished for the day!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Second Day of Classes

I'm still adjusting to having a set schedule every day (other than just a list of things that I need to do). It's almost six in the evening (will probably be past by the time I publish this), and I still have homework to do. Not a ton, and I'm sure I'll get what I need to done. Still, I'm used to having gotten everything done by this point in the day. Now, I'm still doing homework and still need to get some writing done.

I had my first classes for professional writing and adolescent literature today. I'm really looking forward to both classes. Professional writing will no doubt come in handy during life, of course, and I love that I'm taking a literature course that's all about young adult literature. Not only are we studying books in there that I've wanted to read for a while, but we're studying The Hunger Games and The Giver, two of my all-time favorites.

One thing that sucks about classes having started again was that I had to miss the livestream of the This is Us premiere (One Direction's new movie for those who don't know). Still, I'm loving all of the pictures from it, and hopefully I'll get to watch it soon.

I need to go eat dinner so that I can get back to the work I need to get done. I'm sure I'll get settled in a routine soon, so I don't feel quite so busy with work all of the time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sophomore Year has Begun

It's been a somewhat hectic couple of days. I moved back to school yesterday. There's no doubt that the whole thing was much easier than it was freshman year, but packing everything up and (perhaps most importantly) getting it up to the dorm room is never going to be fun.

My dorm this year is newer than last years, and it's definitely noticeable. Plus, I don't have a roommate this year, so I have space. The only two downsides really is that there's an outlet without a cover on it that I need to get fixed, and we had a hard time getting the cable to work for the TV (and my mom eventually duct taped it).

I'm pretty much settled in now. Not everything is completely unpacked, but I imagine it never will be really. Even at home, I never typically bother to unpack everything unless I need it.

I had one class earlier today, humanities. I'm actually looking forward to it, especially the literature sections. I may be the only one in that class who isn't dreading it, but we're reading some stuff that I'm really excited about. Still, I'm a bit worried about the exams in that class. I'm ready for it to be Wednesday because I want to have my first class out of the way for every class.

I honestly kind of hate the beginning of the year. It means having to adjust to so many different things at once, and it's just all around stressful. There's the new dorm, new people, new classes, and so on. There's just so much happening at once that it gets somewhat overwhelming. This is nothing compared to freshmen year of course, but it still is. My social anxiety doesn't make any of this any easier either, and just like last year, the beginning of the year is making me think about the future a lot, which is an even more stressful thing. I'll just be glad when things calm down and I'm able to settle into a routine. Routines are much less stressful. It's not that spontaneity and new things and all of that can't be fun. It's just that I'd much prefer them in moderation.

Book Review: City of Blaze by H.O. Charles

Published: June 24th, 2011
Publisher: self-published
Read from August 12th to 17th, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Epic fantasy with romance. Hidden by monument and pride, the city is crumbling beneath a mountain of its own indulgences. Its army abuse the castle's servants, confident that deadly wielders have been exterminated; wars are fought to encourage otherwise absent mortality; countless people suffer from the terrible pangs of nalka, the hunger for intimacy; and all the while its king concerns himself with choosing which of his disappointing concubines to execute next.
The duty falls upon his emotionally withdrawn son, Morghiad, to restore the city's strength and the army's purpose. In his attempts to do so, he uncovers darker horrors and encounters a young servant who could either be his greatest ally or his greatest hindrance.
City of Blaze is a story of changing allegiances, self-control and love.
Now includes Glossary of Terms

I don't even know where to begin with this review because I became so completely obsessed with this book. It was absolutely incredible, and I'm dying to buy the second book and continue the series.

The world that this book is set in is fascinating. Not only are their wielders (females) and kanaala (males) that can harness blaze energy (a type of magic basically), but everyone is also immortal unless they are killed. Because of this, wars are incredibly common place as a way of keeping population down, and the king thinks nothing of performing executions, especially of his concubines that offend him in even the slightest capacity. The king seems to have an almost irrational fear of women, and he is especially scared of wielders. Because of this, he's called for the execution of all wielders. His son, Morghiad, has much different views, and he ends up wanting to change things. One of the ways he does this is by secretly allowing wielders to live unknown to the king.

Another intriguing aspect of the book is how relationships are treated. There's this phenomenon called nalka where, if two people stop sleeping with each other for more than two weeks, they will have to go through incredible pain. Anyone under twenty, can't survive nalka, so they're typically careful about entering into relationships. You'd think nalka would cause people to be incredibly careful about who they sleep with, but they're apparently not. There are always countless people who are suffering from nalka because they ended a relationship with someone. Child birth is also interestingly different from our world. Two people must be together for nine years before a child can be born, which I'm sure is good when people are immortal. I found the entire idea behind all of this stuff incredibly fascinating.

I just loved this book so much that I could go on about it for days. The setting was wonderful, and I've kind of fallen in love with this world. I'm sure that's obvious by the way I went on about it. The characters are just as amazing. The society as a whole is pretty oppressive of women, but the female characters are all strong characters that fight against that oppression. In addition to that, there are many decent men who either realize at the beginning or come to realize that women aren't weak, such as when the army men come to accept Artemi as a perfectly capable member of the army. Artemi did seem a bit too perfect at times, but I never found it to be too off-putting while reading. I do hope she gets a bit more flawed in later books though.

I'm going to stop now before I go on forever. I highly recommend this book to everyone though, and I plan on getting the second book as soon as possible.

ETA: Years later, I have re-read this book, and I have noticed important things that I feel it important to add onto my review. The biggest of these is a very transphobic moment towards the beginning of the book where one of the male characters is terrified at the idea of a woman he is attracted to "secretly being male". It really is an absolutely horrible moment that I greatly regret not calling out in the original review I wrote of this book.

There are other moments which are more subtle but which I noticed. I imagine I did the first time around too but I managed to brush them off easier back then than I did now. There's an attempt at LGBT (well, LG and T if you count the transphobia) inclusion in this book, but it's not always carried out well. The one openly gay character is very sexualized, though that could be dismissed as it's true for many of the characters. What's more worrisome are the ways the straight characters react to certain things. Artemi acts offended when her father asks if she's gay (though her father does not act like he would have a problem with it), and the king (who, to be fair, is the villain) is offended that there are gay rumors about his son. Each of these moments is small, but taken all together, there is definitely homophobia there.

There's also a moment of sexism that I had to mention in that one of the soldiers is threatened with the "punishment" of having to dress "like a little girl". Undoubtedly, there's a lot of sexism in this book, but what's disappointing about that moment is that it comes from one of the supposedly good characters who is often tearing down the more blatant sexism of those around him but who, I noticed this time around, also exhibits quite a lot of sexism himself that is just muted and slightly more concealed than many of the other characters.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A to Z Book Blogger Survey

Today I'm doing the A to Z Book Blogger Survey. This survey was created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner, and I got the idea to do it from Katie at Katie's Book Blog.

Author you've read the most books from:

Probably Sarah Dessen, although I can't say for sure. I'd read everything that Sarah had written until her last two novels. Now, I'm a bit behind, but I do own one of those and plan to get to it soon. I still think she wins for the most books from one author that I've read, but I'm not even sure how many books she has published.

Best sequel ever:

This is a tough one. I've read a lot of get sequels, but the second in a series is never typically my favorite. However, recently I finished the Desolation series by Ali Cross, and the second in that series, Desolate, was actually my favorite of that trilogy. I gave it five out of five stars.

Currently reading:

I'm reading two books at the moment. The first is an anthology of novellas that I got for review called A Bride for All Seasons. I'm also reading an epic fantasy called City of Blaze by H.O. Charles, and I've absolutely fallen in love with it.

Drink of choice while reading:

I tend to do most of my reading before bed, so I'm typically drinking water. Occasionally I may get juice or lemonade or something though if I feel like it.

E-reader or physical book:

Physical book. Always. I love my e-reader. It's extremely convenient, and both books I'm reading at the moment are on it. I was against getting one for the longest time, but I am unbelievably glad that I finally caved. Still, nothing will ever beat an actual physical book.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated during high school:

Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love Peeta. He is always my answer for "fictional crush" or anything similar to that. I could go on forever about why he is so wonderful.

Glad you gave this book a chance:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I was a bit put off by it at first because it didn't seem like something I would like at all. I'd heard such amazing things about it though that I had to see what all the fuss was about. I'm so glad I did because it's an amazing book.

Hidden gem book:

I'm just going to take this opportunity to plug the book I'm reading yet again: City of Blaze by H.O. Charles. Like I said, I've fallen in love with it. I only have two chapters left, and I'm so excited to read them but I don't want it to end. I don't know if I've ever been so thankful for a book to be the first in a series. If you enjoy epic fantasy, I recommend checking it out.

Important moment in your reading life:

All questions such as these immediately go back to Harry Potter. I've loved reading for as long as I can remember, but Harry Potter still had a massive impact on how I view books. For that reason, I'm going to say when my grandparents took me to see Sorcerer's Stone at the movie theater. I'd thought Harry Potter seemed boring before then, but after that I made my mom buy all four books that were out immediately. (She wanted me to buy one, but I wanted them all to read one right after the other.)

Just finished:

The Victor Part I by Andrew Meade. My cousin's book, which was fantastic. I still can't get over how impressive it was. Like I said, when I was his age I was writing two or three chapters of fanfics and then abandoning them because of my short attention span.

Kinds of books you won't read:

I really don't have a certain type I won't read. At least not one that I can think of right now. As a kid, I once tried to read the dictionary because I'd ran out of anything else to read in our house, and I read a lot of things that others would think of as odd. If it's made up of words, chances are I'll at least give it a shot.

Longest book you've read:

There's no way to tell really, especially with e-readers now where I can't compare lengths. I'm pretty sure it's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix though. No other books are coming to mind that compare to it in size.

Major book hangover because of:

There are so many books coming to mind for this, but I'm going to go with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. If you've read it (which you should have), then I don't think an explanation is necessary.

Number of bookcases you own:

It's really not that many. I have one in my closet, and then I have some shelves on my wall. At school, I just have one incredibly small one. Other than that, my books are just in extremely messy stacks all over my room.

One book you have read multiple times:

I'm starting to think that I should really force myself to answer something other than Harry Potter, but I've probably read it more than anything else so... I'm not sure I've read one more than the others since I tend to re-read the entire series at once.

Preferred place to read:

At home, I tend to read on my bed. At school it's usually at my desk.

Quote that inspires you:

This is a hard one. I love quotes, but I'm horrible at choosing just one quote. The quote I usually use as my favorite quote is actually a history quote, so I don't know if I should use it for this survey. I'm going to scroll through quotes on Goodreads to find one I like...

I think I'm going to go with the quote that I used when I was made student of the month freshmen year of high school, and they made me fill out this sheet thing:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

(Oh, look. Harry Potter again. I swear I was trying to look at other quotes.)

Reading regret:

How I first experienced The Hobbit. I hated it when I read it the first time in seventh grade. At first I thought it was my age, but I know plenty of people who read it that young and loved it. Now I'm thinking it's because I read it for school. The Hobbit is a great book, but I felt incredibly pressured to fly through it in order to get it done by the deadline, and it's too long of a book for that. I should have read a different book for school (this was a case where it was a book we picked ourselves) and saved The Hobbit for when I could read it at my own pace and actually enjoy it.

Series you started and need to finish (series is complete):

It's a manga, but Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori. I've read the first five (I think) volumes, and I own about five more. I love it to death. I just haven't gotten around to reading all of it yet. I also want to re-watch the anime, since it's been a while and I need to see the live action movie still.

Three of your all time favorite books:

This is a difficult question because my default answer is always Harry Potter, but beyond that I always struggle with narrowing it down. Here are three of my favorites that aren't Harry Potter or other books mentioned so far (but not a definitive top three): The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. The Chosen by Chaim Potok. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen.

Unapologetic fangirl for:

... Harry Potter, obviously.

Very excited for this release more than all the others:

The Relentless Warrior by Rachel Higginson. It's the sixth Star-Crossed book, and I'm so incredibly in love with that series. I can go on about it for days.

Worst bookish habit:

It's definitely buying books much, much faster than I can read them, so they pile up.

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

This is difficult sense I don't have many actual shelves, and the vast majority of my books are just in stacks. However, I'm going to pick a random spot and just start counting.

Okay, I'll be honest. I'm now staring around my room, and I have no idea where to start counting from...

After a while of trying to choose a spot to start counting, I finally just went with the bookshelf in my closet, which is entirely books from elementary and middle school. I got The Princess School: Let Down Your Hair by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines Stephens. I only have extremely vague memories of this book, but I remember enjoying it. After all, it's about a school for princesses, and sometimes I like to be vicariously girly through books. I think it was the only one of this series that I ever read though.

Your latest book purchases:

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It was for the young adult literature class I'm taking this semester.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last one that kept you up way too late):

The book I'm currently reading: City of Blaze by H.O. Charles has been keeping me up insanely late for the past three nights or so. I guess A Bride for All Seasons is partly to blame as well, since I read them both, but it's City of Blaze that I'm reading the most.

That took up more time than I expected it to, but it was fun! Feel free to let me know if you do or did the survey as well. I'd love to read your answers!

The Troubles with Packing

Tomorrow is my last full day before moving back up to Indy, and I still feel like I have so much packing to do. The problem is that I can't think of anything else to pack that I won't need sometime between now and leaving. That's my biggest problem with packing. I always forget something and nine times out of ten it's something that I needed within twenty-four hours of leaving, and that's why I forget it. Let's hope that this time I actually remember everything. Although, if I forget something, I'll be back home in just two weeks and can get it.

I spent more time packing this morning, and I actually started packing clothes. I think I've got most of it except for what I'll wear before Sunday. Still, I feel like I'm forgetting clothing for some reason... Let's hope I don't. I just need to go through everything one more time before leaving to make sure I didn't set something aside because I might need it before leaving and then not put it in the suitcase.

Packing is one thing that you have to get good at when you go to college I guess. I don't think I'll ever stop leaving at least one important thing behind though.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Need to Get Better at This "Seeing People" Thing

I currently have four days until I go back to school, and thanks to a conversation with Jordan on Twitter just now, I'm realizing how many people I didn't see this summer. Out of my closest friends, Haley is the only one that I've actually seen, and that just kind of sucks. Sure, this summer was amazingly awesome thanks to the concerts and meeting Little Mix, but I really need to get better at seeing my friends. I'm typically good at seeing at least some of my friends whenever I'm home, but I guess the longness of summer break made me feel like I could always see them later.

That's not to say that I didn't try completely. Summer and Ji both live relatively far away and are working constantly (at least it seems like it to me based off texts and Twitter), which makes it easy to make excuses. I made tentative plans of "maybe we can see each other somewhere around this time" multiple times with both of them, but none of them actually happened. I honestly think things would be a bit easier if I could drive, and seeing them didn't require them coming to me or me finding a ride. Still, I really wish we could have seen each other.

As for my friends that are actually in my hometown, I have no idea why we haven't seen each other more/at all. I mean, I guess we're all a bit reclusive. Not that we don't enjoy people, but we're not really social butterflies or anything. (Funnily enough, my most social friends are the ones that live farthest away, which makes them more difficult to see, so it all just kind of contributes to the "never seeing my friends" thing.) I don't mind being alone for the majority of the time. In fact, most of the time I honestly prefer alone time to social time. Still, I love my friends, and I really should have made time for them this summer because when I leave home and go back to school, I know I'm going to have an extremely emotional time of missing them. I love being home and knowing they're close by (relatively speaking in some cases) if I need them, even if I'm not seeing them. It's kind of cruel how I know I'm going to want to see them so much more once I'm back at school.

It's looking like I may get to see Jordan and Haley one more time after Jordan and I talked, but who knows. We haven't talked to Haley or anything, and the plans are tentative. I've also done the tentative plan thing again with Summer, but there are only four days left, so we're cutting it close. At least I know that even if I don't get to see all of my friends in person this summer, we've still been talking incredibly often this summer (thank you phones), and they're still the most awesome friends anyone could ask for. Next summer though, I really need to get better about this.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Over the Reading Burnout

Today has been a long day. I make myself a to do list every day because it's the only way I'll actually get everything done. However, I get really easily distracted, so I have to build breaks into said to do list in order to not get burnt out and unproductive. My breaks for today consisted of reading, but I'm extremely into the book I'm reading at the moment, so I've been reading a good portion of the day. Luckily, I'm still more or less done with my to do list for today. I just want to edit the Hunger Games fanfic I'm working on a bit more and then go over a chapter of the fanfic I'm pre-reading for someone one last time before I send it back to them. Then, I'll be done with my list for the day, and I'll probably go back to reading (but a different book this time).

It's actually a good thing that I'm into this book though. After reading those two books that I didn't enjoy at all (the two that I reviewed before The Victor) I was feeling a bit burnt out on reading at the moment. I've fallen absolutely in love with this book though. It's the best book I've read in months. I definitely don't read epic fantasy enough, and I have no idea because it's one of my favorite genres. (Well, fantasy as a whole is my favorite genre, but for some reason I tend to always read urban fantasy far more than anything else.)

I need to go eat my dinner. (Personally, I think it's rather early for dinner, but I'm already procrastinating, and the food is getting cold.) Then, I'll be ready to get back to editing some more for the day. I'm hoping to be done with these edits by the end of the month, and then I need to find a beta and/or pre-reader for this fanfic. I'm not sure if it'll happen with school starting and having to adjust my schedule around, but we'll see.

Book Review: The Victor Part I by Andrew Meade

ISBN: 148199042X
Published: July 25th, 2013
Publisher: self-published
Read from August 8th to 11th, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Adir is a gladiator. He is revered for his killing, but after escaping his captivity, he is reduced to the gravest humility when he is helpless to save his own life. Then he does something he's never done before. He prays. His journey of faith and persecution will ultimately lead him back to the bloody sands of the arena where he will have to face his death with only a prayer to this unseen God.


I'll start off by saying that Andrew is my cousin, so excuse any bias in this review. Still, I'm so unbelievably impressed by this book. When I was Andrew's age I was writing Harry Potter fanfiction that I would abandon after two or three chapters because I got bored of it. Not only did Andrew actually write a book, the book itself is really good. I can't imagine how good of a writer he's going to be when he gets older.

It's interesting because I've never really read anything about gladiators, which is weird considering how much I've read about this time period. I tend to read mythology stuff more than fiction actually about people at the time though, and I'd never realized how little I'd read about ancient Rome other than mythology until this book. I think Julius Caesar is it actually. I should really fix that... I think Andrew did a great job writing with setting because it was very clear that he knew what he was talking about, and I really loved the attention to detail in the story.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. I'm sure it will be just as great as this one!

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Week Until Classes

My brother and sister both started school today, so it feels a bit odd to still be at home. I have six days left now until I move back into the dorms and seven until classes start. I wouldn't say I'm ready necessarily. It's not that I'm dreading school and classes, but I wouldn't mind a longer break from them. What I am dreading is dining hall food and ramen, because that's what my life is about to become again next week. The dorm I'm in this year has a kitchenette for the floor, so theoretically, I can cook anything I want. However, that involves grocery shopping, and I still don't have a car. Plus, groceries cost money. So, yeah... I'm not looking forward to the food I'm going to be eating next week. Is it bad that the food really is what I'm absolutely dreading? I'd be much more enthused about going back if it weren't for that.

I don't really have plans for this week, but I really need to start packing. That's another thing I'm dreading, so I've been putting it off. Last year I had boxes for everything, and this year, my parents haven't given me any. I don't know if I have enough bags/containers/etc. to put things in, but I guess I'll have to begin packing to find out. Maybe I'll get started on that tomorrow...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day Full of Fanfiction Reading

Today has gone by extremely quickly, and that's mostly because I've spent most of the day reading fanfiction. I've seriously done almost nothing else. This morning our church had this thing to celebrate my dad and the other new deacon from our church's ordination, but after that I came home and started reading fanfiction and that's what I've been doing since.

The Teen Choice Awards red carpet is starting right now, and the majority of people I follow on Twitter (One Direction fans, Little Mix fans, etc.) are all watching that. I find red carpets and award shows to be boring for the most part, so I'm not bothering. Everything I want to see will pop up on the Internet later.

I still want to film a video today, but other than that I think I'm going to continue reading fanfiction for most of the day. I haven't done this in a while, and it feels pretty great to have a day to just spend reading fanfiction.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Why I "Ship" Larry Stylinson

It's been exactly two weeks since I made this post with the promise that I would start talking about One Direction and Larry Stylinson more here and on my Youtube channel. I have yet to do that obviously, and that's mostly because I've been so occupied with other things. I also thought that I was going to do this as a video, but it looks like it's going to be a blog post. I feel as if it probably would be better as a video because I'm not entirely sure what I want to say and rambling is easier in video form. However, maybe writing this will force me to focus things down to one specific topic.

The problem is that there's so much I could say about Larry that I could rant forever. I'm going to try and narrow things down by keeping this post about why I "ship" Larry. First of all, ship is in quotations for a reason. I know a lot of people hate the idea of real people being shipped, and that's a topic for another day. However, a good deal of people who believe in Larry don't like to use the word "ship" (although it's typically convenient) because they just believe Louis and Harry are together and that's it. I personally can see the argument both for using it and not using it.

It's important to point out that there's definitely a line that some Larry shippers cross into inappropriate behavior. However, they're also often unnecessarily attacked for things themselves. For example, just stating you believe Louis and Harry are in a relationship can get you attacked because you're "hurting them" or something. That's ridiculous for so many reasons. There are tons of gossip rags out there who consistently make up rumours about Harry being with random girls, and tons of fangirls choose to believe those. For some reason that's okay and not hurting Harry, but believing he's in a relationship with Louis is. That's ridiculous on a number of levels, but this isn't what I wanted to get into. It's just something I wanted to state before moving on.

It's hard to really explain to others why I believe that Louis and Harry are in a relationship because it's a conclusion that you have to come to after observing their behavior over an extended period of time. It's also important to point out that their behavior with each other has changed a lot over the years, and while others say this is because Larry shippers "ruined their friendship," that argument is frankly ridiculous. No rumours are going to affect a friendship so strong as Louis and Harry's. All of the other boys are consistently all over each other while Louis and Harry hardly interact on stage yet they are constantly sending each other looks.

It's worth noting that a good deal of the appeal of boybands comes from girls genuinely thinking that they are going to marry one of the boys. You have no idea how many young girls I've seen ranting about how they're going to marry one of the boys and have actually meant it. Even the ones who are "smarter" and claim they know they're not going to, still hope for it. It's many fans primary reason for being a fan of them. These fans are obviously not going to be happy if the boy(s) that they hope to marry is gay and therefore unavailable. Gay boyband members aren't as marketable as straight ones, and no one in charge of the boys wants them to come out because their sole incentive is to make as much money as possible. The people who claim, "It's 2013. If one of the boys were gay, they'd come out," really needs a reality check. First of all, society may be less homophobic than before, but it's still plenty homophobic. Secondly, homophobia is only part of the problem. There may be many girls out there who have no problem with gays, but they're still primarily concerned with One Direction because they want to marry them. Whether or not these girls are homophobic, they are bound to lose at least some interest in One Direction if any of the members turn out to be gay.

Also, I think it says a lot that various people in the entertainment industry (who therefore know very well how the entertainment industry works) have hinted about Larry being real before. If you pay attention to the ages of fans, you'll also realize that the Larry shippers tend to be older. I don't say this because I think that younger fans are stupid. However, I do think older fans are more likely to look at things objectively. They're less likely to believe they really have a chance with the boys, and that makes them more able to look at things in a different light. They're not as scared of any of the boys being gay because it's not going to ruin this illusion that they've created in their heads.

There are plenty of posts on Tumblr that contain tons and tons of Larry moments, so I won't go through those here. If you want to find them, you can. I've believed Larry was real from the second I became a One Direction fan because it was so obvious to me that they were together. I've heard many people say that if either Louis or Harry were a girl, their relationship would be much more obvious to everyone. I feel as if that's completely true. If you think there's no way they're together, just look at those moments and picture on of them as a girl and see what you think. (This also shows that homophobia is still a lot more prevalent than many like to think.) And arguing that "but one of them isn't a girl so that's pointless" is idiotic. It also shows a lot of homophobia. You don't treat platonic friends like Louis and Harry treat each other. I don't care what gender either one of them is. You don't look at platonic friends the way Louis and Harry looked at each other. (Seriously though. If one of my platonic friends looked at me the way Louis and Harry looked at each other, I would think something is up. How do people find that normal platonic behavior?)

There's so much else I could say, but I'm going to leave it there for now. Hopefully this wasn't too all over the place. It feels good to get this all off my chest though. I don't think I've ever actually said most of this stuff for myself. I've just agreed with others by reblogging or retweeting. It feels nice to have actually put it in my own words for once.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Caffeine Withdrawal and a Korra Short

I'm having one of those days where I hate the fact that I'm addicted to caffeine even more than normal. We have absolutely no soda in our house, so I'm currently suffering through a withdrawal headache. I've taken pain medicine, but it hasn't kicked in. I'm still hoping for the best.

I did manage to get some editing of the Hunger Games fanfic that I'm working on done, but I'll probably go back over it when my head isn't pounding. There's still a lot of work to be done on that fanfic before it's anywhere near being ready to post.

Other than editing, all I've really done today is watch a short bit of a documentary on Netflix and write the book review that I posted earlier. (I still feel bad about how negative that was...)  It's freezing in our house at the moment, so I'm currently in a hoodie even though it's August. It's strange because typically my parents have the AC down extremely low (if it's even on), so I have no idea why our house is so chilly. I'd say it'd be a good idea to go lay down in my warm bed and sleep off my headache, but then I'd just wake up feeling worse. I think I'm just going to have to suffer through it and hope this medicine kicks in soon. I could go outside where it's warm, but then that doesn't last long before it's too warm... We also have a chance of storms today, but I'm hoping for the best where that's concerned.

I think I'm going to go spend time on some Avatar fansites. If you haven't seen the Legend of Korra short that was released earlier today, you should check it out. It's a pretty awesome short, and almost satisfied my need for more Korra (almost). I haven't taken the time to properly fangirl over that yet, so I'll probably be spending a good deal of the rest of my day in the Avatar fandom.

Book Review: Goddess Legacy by M.W. Muse

Published: January 31st, 2013
Publisher: Penning Princess Publishing
Read from August 4th to 7th, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Legacy Kore is an average seventeen year old with your basic insane crush on the hottest guy in school... rather Adin Shepard was the hottest guy in school before he graduated a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s summer vacation and she’s not sure when she’ll get to see him again. Until he shows up at her surprise seventeenth birthday party. Cue saliva glands--it’s time to drool.
But her giddiness is cut short when her guardian delivers an emotional blow, telling Legacy her mother hadn’t died when she was baby, but that she’d left for Legacy’s protection all those years ago. After the initial shock, she expects some story about how her mother was in the Witness Protection Program or something else just as crazy, but when she’s told that her mother is a Greek Goddess and that Legacy is changing into one too, she thinks her guardian needs a trip to a mental hospital. Legacy a goddess? Um, yeah. Right. And her BFF is the Easter Bunny.
While trying to make sense out of something that was impossible to believe, Adin asks Legacy out on a date. She is thrilled that her fantasy might become a reality, but when she meets the new guy in town, River, she discovers everything isn’t always as it seems, and the legacy she wants just might not be the legacy she is destined to have.


I'm going to preface the rest of this review by saying that I didn't finish this book. I made it to the 56 percent mark before completely giving up on it. It was a hard decision as I hate giving up on books, but I had been struggling through the entire thing. The problem is that even if I have a large problem with a book, I can typically make it through it. However, I had multiple major problems with this book, and they all piled on top of each other and became too much.

Let's start with what's the most obvious when you start reading. This book was horribly edited. Every few pages or so the wrong pronoun would be used, and it was extremely ridiculous how many times that happened. Once or twice for book, I can let that slide, but I can't tell you how many times characters accidentally talked about themselves in third person. There were other editing mistakes as well, but those were the biggest ones that I really feel should have been caught before this book was published.

So much of the book also seemed extremely unrealistic. Legacy's reaction to being a Greek goddess wasn't believable, which is odd considering she doesn't believe it at first as I'm sure most wouldn't, but the way it's played out isn't believable. None of the characters are really all that believable. They don't act like real people, especially teenagers.

My biggest problem, however, as far as characters were concerned was Legacy and Aiden's relationship. Now, I didn't finish the book, so I'm not sure how it develops, but there were multiple times were I just had to stop and go, "No. I don't like this." I don't know if I'd go so far as to call their relationship unhealthy, but it definitely had signs that it could head that way as far as I was concerned. (Which is why I was unsurprised to figure out that the author has an adult book that has been criticized for portraying an unhealthy relationship.) There's one point in the book were Aiden becomes visibly annoyed when Legacy gets out of the car without letting Aiden open the door for her and help her out. Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting to "be a gentleman" and help a girl out of a car, but getting annoyed when she gets out herself, especially when she doesn't know you're planning to help her out? That's a little ridiculous. And Aiden did things like that consistently that bothered me.

It was obvious that the author was going to love triangle route though, and River seemed like a much better guy as far as I was concerned. Who knows how that would have turned out had I kept reading the series. I really didn't care for the characters enough to care though. Maybe she would have stayed with Aiden and their relationship would get better. Maybe she'd go with River and they'd have a good relationship. I don't know, but I didn't like the beginning enough to stick around to see if I'd be satisfied with the end.

I honestly think this is the most negative review I've ever written, but this was one of my least favorite books I've ever read. The only positive thing I can see is that it had an interesting premise. I love Greek mythology, and that's what drew me to this book. However, there are a ton of books based on Greek mythology, and I've read much better. I really wish this book had met it's potential. I think if it had been edited better and gone through a lot of revision, it really did have the potential to be so much better than it was.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Twisted Episode 9 Review

Things definitely seem to be picking up, and I'm getting even more excited about these upcoming episodes. I think I say that every week, but it's only because it's always true.

I'm really glad that Jo and Lacey are becoming close again. I was a bit worried that Lacey was going to be really upset with Jo after Jo told her about her father, but luckily, she wasn't. I really hope their friendship keeps getting better, and it doesn't break down. I could definitely see Jo getting upset if/when she learns about Lacey and Danny.

Speaking of Lacey and Danny, I definitely wasn't expecting the break up if that even was a break up. There is the potential that they could stay together I suppose, but I doubt it at this point. (I'm sure they'll get back together at some point, but not soon.) I can understand Lacey and Jo both being upset that Danny didn't tell them everything, but I'm not so sure that they should have immediately left. I just feel like they should have at least talked to him about it instead of storming off. However, I feel like Jo will forgive him relatively quickly while Lacey will take longer.

Karen wanting to be a good mother was an excellent part of the episode. I really love the focus on her and Danny's relationship, since it's an intriguing part of the show for me. We also learned that she knows something about Connecticut. I really don't think she's actually guilty or involved directly in either murder, but I do think that she has information that she's not telling anyone (other than just the Connecticut stuff).

I'm not sure what's going on with the secret business stuff, but that should be interesting, especially since I don't know why a business would be kept secret. It didn't seem to be illegal or anything since there was stuff about it on the Internet. It'll be interesting to learn more about that.

Rico getting the video was definitely unexpected. I expected the video to get out, but I wasn't expecting it to be done in that way. It'll be interesting to see how that goes as well.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Up Half the Night (Again)

I thought last night would finally be the night where I got enough sleep to fully recover from how tired I was this past weekend, but nope. Instead, things had to happen that kept me up half the night. I'm actually amazed that I'm not more tired than I am. I just woke up though, so I expect I'll get more tired as the day goes on.

I'm hoping to be as productive today as I was yesterday, but we'll see how that goes. I was going to film a video for Youtube right now, but my sister is now showering and making a lot of noise. I guess I'll have to wait on that, unless I want shower sounds and probably her singing in the background of the video. Since I'll have to wait on that, I'm going to go study Japanese some until she's done. I'm still making slow progress on that, but at least it's progress.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Starting Over and Relaxing

After not being productive at all for the past few days because of everything happening, it feels great to finally get to write again.  Not only did I get a book review earlier, but I also spent my entire morning writing.  I'm working on a one-shot fanfiction right now, and I got a really good start on it this morning.  I actually started it last week, and then I lost the entire beginning.  (Remember to always save regularly.)  I started over today though, and began it similarly but also very different.  I'm actually happier with this version, so maybe it's a good thing I lost it?  Luckily, it's not saved though, and I won't be doing that again.  I also got more done this time, so I do not want to lose it again.

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with the rest of my day, but I'm really hoping to watch both Naruto and How I Met Your Mother.  It feels like forever since I last got to watch an episode of either, although in reality it's only been about four days.  Other than that, I'm just going to enjoy relaxing after that crazy weekend.

Book Review: Wraith Squadron by Aaron Allston

ISBN: 0553578944
Published: February 1998
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Read from July 27th to August 3rd, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
They are the galaxy's most elite fighting force. And as the battle against the Empire rages, the X-wing fighters risk life and machine to protect the Rebel Alliance. Now they must go on a daring undercover mission--as the crew of an Imperial warship.
It is Wedge Antilles' boldest creation: a covert-action unit of X-wing fighters, its pilots drawn from the dregs of other units, castoffs and rejects given one last chance. But before the new pilots can complete their training, the squadron's base is attacked by former Imperial admiral Trigit, and Wraith Squadron is forced to swing into action--taking over an Imperial warship and impersonating its crew. The mission: to gain vital intelligence about Trigit's secret weapons, to sabotage the admiral's plans, and to lure him into an Alliance trap. But the high-stakes gamble pits Wraith Squadron's ragtag renegades against the Empire's most brilliant master of guile and deception.
Are they up to the challenge?
If not, the penalty is instant death.

Not only does this book have a different author than the first four in the X-Wings series, but it also focuses on an almost entirely new cast of characters.  At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about that, but after reading the book, I think it was a great change.  While I greatly enjoyed the characters in the first four books and did miss them a bit, I loved the characters in this book.  They were fantastic.  They have much more interesting pasts, then the majority of the characters in the first four books.  I think they are more complex characters, and that helped make me feel more invested in them.  During the first four books, I liked all of the characters but really only became attached to a couple.  In this book, I became invested in the story of almost all of the characters, and I cared what happened to them.  There's still a small bit of me that somewhat misses Rogue Squadron, but I'm perfectly okay with reading about Wraith Squadron.

The story was also interesting, with Wraith Squadron pretending to be the crew of an Imperial warship.  I wasn't sure how they would successfully do that, but I really enjoyed reading about it.  I thought it was a really interesting story.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A Busy Weekend

I've had a pretty busy weekend.

I spent a good deal of Friday with my grandma, brother, and cousins.  We all went to go see Despicable Me 2.  The movie was adorable!  I loved it.  I'm so excited the the minion movie as well.  It was also great spending time with my grandma and cousins too, of course.

Saturday was my dad's ordination as deacon.  He's been studying for it for four years, so it's hard to believe that it's actually happened now.  The entire thing took a couple of hours, and added onto the fact that I had to wake up pretty early, I was exhausted by the early afternoon.  Still, it's crazy that my dad is now officially a deacon.  That's easier to tell people then "my dad is studying to become a deacon."  I'll still have to explain what a deacon is to most non-Catholics though...

Today actually happens to be my twentieth birthday!  I can't believe that I'm two decades old and no longer a teenager.  That will take some adjusting to.  I haven't actually done much.  We went to church again today (since the ordination was too early on Saturday to count as Sunday mass), and it was one of my dad's first masses as a deacon.  Other than that, I've mostly just watched Little House and a documentary on Netflix.  The day has flown by, but I think that's because I'm so tired that I keep zoning out.  It's not a bad day to spend a birthday if I'm being completely honest.  I also got my presents from my parents, and you definitely know you've turned twenty when your parents give you books for your college classes for your birthday.  Oh, they also gave me wasp spray.  I can't blame them considering the events from last semester...  At least now I know there won't be a repeat of that!

I'm actually looking forward to this week because it should be a lot calmer.  I have exactly two weeks from today until I move back to school though, and I'm trying not to think about that.  After this weekend, I don't want to think about the stress of classes.  Hopefully these last two weeks of break will be pretty calm.

Book Review: Catholic Dictionary by John A. Hardon, S.J.

ISBN: 9780307886347
Published: June 2013
Publisher: Image
Synopsis from publisher:
John Hardon's comprehensive, one-volume work of reference defining the key
terms of Catholicism; updated to include the most recent developments in the
Catholic Church.
Clear, concise, and faithful, with over 2,000 entries, Catholic Dictionary is the essential Catholic lexicon in the areas of faith, worship, morals, history, theology, and spirituality. Now revised to include the statements of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II, new movements and devotions, and other recent developments within Catholicism, this edition brings the legacy of Father Hardon into the contemporary era. A worthy companion to Catechism of the Catholic Church and Scott Hahn's Catholic Bible Dictionary, this book is an essential resource for the Catholic reader.


I think this book is a wonderful book for any Catholic to have around.  It explains what many Catholicism-related terms mean, and many of the definitions are in depth.  Some definitions are only a few sentences while others are multiple paragraphs, depending on how much detail is needed to explain the term.

I didn't sit down and read the book from front to back, although I was tempted to.  I did, however, spend a lot of time flipping through and reading various definitions, and I'm really impressed with this book.  I will definitely enjoy having it around, so that I can use it to look up any terms when I need to.  It's true that the Internet can often be used for those cases nowadays, and it's what I would have done before.  However, I like the idea of having this book, as sometimes it can get confusing when you look up certain terms on the Internet.  This way I can look in this book and get at least an idea of something.  Then, if I want to look at it more in depth, I can Google it.

I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting from this book, but it definitely trumped my expectations.  Even though many of the entries are relatively short, I would almost think of it as an encyclopedia than a dictionary, as most of the entries are longer than your typical dictionary entry.  They're all very good explanations for the various terms that you may hear when reading about or discussing Catholicism.

I think this is a great resource for any Catholic to have around, especially if you read a lot of Catholic literature and may come across terms you don't know.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Book Characters

This topic came from Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I'm going through and doing all of the old themes whenever I get a chance here and on my Youtube channel.

1. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  This won't be a surprise to anyone who knows me.  I've loved Hermione since I saw the first movie as a little kid.  I related to her so much, and I think she was the main reason that I was never ashamed to be an obsessive reader as a kid.  A ton of my days as a little kid were spent reading books, and she was the first person/character that I discovered who loved reading as much as I did.  She basically became my role model.

2. Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  I've said before that if I could marry a fictional character, it would be Peeta.  I pretty much fell in love with him in these books.  I think it's incredible how good of a person he remains even in the situation he's in.  It really sets him apart from a lot of the other characters, as Katniss comments on frequently.  Even after the events in Mockingjay (which I won't mention specifically since it's a spoiler), he still tries really hard to do the right thing and become better.

3. Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  It took me a bit longer to warm up to Ron than Hermione.  I think a lot of that is because I saw the first movie before reading the book, and I kind of pictured him as the comic relief that they make him in the movies.  It wasn't until I was older that I could fully appreciate him.  I think it helped that whenever we played pretend at recess with Harry Potter characters, I was always Ron because no one else wanted to be, and once I because a huge Romione shipper, I began to love him even more.

4. Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  I should just clarify right now that the majority of these characters will be from Harry Potter.  Remus was always my favorite Marauder.  I think because I could relate to him the most out of all the Marauder Era characters.  James, Sirius, and Lily were too impressive for me to relate to, and I didn't want to relate to Peter Pettigrew or Snape.  Since I read a lot of Marauder Era fanfiction, Remus became one of my favorite characters.

5. Johanna Mason from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  This probably seems like a weird choice considering my past picks and how I liked them because I could relate to them.  Johanna and I are nothing alike, but I really love her character.  I love her sense of humor and how tough she acts, but you also see her weaknesses over the course of the series.

6. Leah Clearwater from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.  Yeah, I wasn't expecting any Twilight characters on this list, but then I chose Johanna and I instantly remembered how similar Leah and Johanna seem to me.  Leah has been my favorite Twilight character for a long time, and the majority of fanfiction I read focuses on her.  Unlike the characters that I admired because I related to them in some way, I admired Leah because I wanted to be as tough as her.  Plus, she's the only female wolf, and that's pretty awesome.

7. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  I feel like I shouldn't even have to explain this.  How can you read the Harry Potter series and not love Luna?  It's incredible how easy she can be herself and not care what others think, even though what she thinks is so utterly different from everyone else.

8. Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  Like Ron, it actually took a long time for Harry to become one of my favorite Harry Potter characters.  He was the hero of the series, but for some reason he wasn't particularly remarkable in my mind.  Then, in the past few years, I've come to completely appreciate him.  I always loved him because he was Harry Potter, but for some reason that's become stronger in recent years.  I think I just started thinking about everything that he had to go through in a way I hadn't bothered to when I was younger.

9. Seth Clearwater from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer.  I put Leah on this list, so I figured I might as well...  I don't think I've ever heard of someone disliking Seth.  Even my best friend freshmen year of high school used to go on and on about how much she hated all of the wolves (she was ardently Team Edward) except Seth.  Seth was the only one that she thought was tolerable.  I really love his character and how he's the only wolf to accept the Cullens.  He's also almost always upbeat and happy.

10. Augustus Water from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  If you've read The Fault in Our Stars then I think this makes immediate sense.  Augustus is amazing, and I think everyone who read the book kind of falls in love with him.  I don't want to say any more though because it could get spoilery.

This list is basically dominated by Harry Potter and a bit of Hunger Games and Twilight (which I was honestly not expecting).  I guess when you read fanfiction about characters you get even more attached to them though.  When I think of fictional characters, the ones that I read about regularly are the first that come to mind.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Finishing a First Draft and Starting a One-shot

I didn't get much writing done yesterday as I spent a good deal of the day in Owensboro with my sister Regina.  We each had hair appointments, and the hairstylist that was supposed to do mine never showed up.  That meant they only had one hairstylist attempting to do the appointments for two of them.  Since I was getting my hair dyed again in addition to having to wait longer, we were there quite a while.  I'm glad my hair has red in it again though.  The red from before had more or less faded completely and left my hair just a brown color.  (Plus, my roots were getting bad, but that's not as exciting as having red in my hair again.)

After our hair appointments, Regina had to shop for school supplies, and since she's an incredibly picky person that took a bit of time.  She wasn't happy with most of the supplies in the store for various reasons, and I don't think she got even the majority of things she needs.  After all of that, she had to go get her eyebrows done, but luckily that was incredibly quick.

That all took up the entire afternoon, and by the time we got home I wasn't in the mood to write at all.  Luckily, I had gotten some done early that morning, so the day wasn't a complete waste in that respect.  I don't know what I'm going to do when I have to go back to school and don't have as much time to write.  It's reached the point where I spend a good deal of every day writing.

I actually managed to finish the rough draft of the story I've been working on today, but there is still so much work I need to do on that.  It's more the length of a novella at the moment than a novel, but I definitely plan on that changing.  I need to expand on things a lot.  It's a planned start to a series, and I'm still kind of figuring out how to pace out the story over the different novels/novellas/what-it-ends-up-being.  I think I have a good start though.  I mean, it's complete crap really, but I'm happy with the potential it has as long as I keep ironing everything out.

However, I think I'm going to take a break on that story for a bit and write a one-shot fanfiction I've been planning for a while.  I'm hoping it won't take too long since it's a one-shot, especially with the amount of writing I've been doing recently.

Twisted Episode 8 Review

First of all, I'm really happy that Jo realized that Danny doesn't have feelings for her, but I was not at all happy that she immediately decided to go on a date with Tyler.  I understand her motivation, but there were just so many things that I hated about that.  I never liked Tyler, and that dislike was finally fully justified in this episode.  I also feel so sorry for Rico.  I can't believe how oblivious Jo is to his feelings for her.

While I expected that something was up with Tyler, I was not expecting him to be making a documentary.  I really hate his character so much, and it's not even just the horrible things he does in this episode.  His entire personality annoys me.  I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the future episodes though, and I am not looking forward to that.

When Danny and Lacey were kissing in Danny's living room and it started panning out, I immediately knew that someone was going to see them.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out.  I wonder if they'll be blackmailed or if their secret will just be revealed to the school.

I definitely wasn't expecting Karen to admit to Regina's murder.  I know there are some people that believe she really did kill Regina, but I'm not so convinced.  It's possible, but I honestly think she's just doing it to protect Danny.  She really hasn't done anything to make me think she's guilty.

After the ending to this episode, I'm really looking forward to next week's episode to see what happens.