Saturday, November 30, 2013

Family Thanksgiving and Star Wars

Today was Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family, and it was a lot of fun. I hadn't seen most of them in quite a while, so it was nice to catch up. My cousins in particular are always really entertaining to talk to. Plus, more Thanksgiving food is always a plus. It was a really fun time.

Star Wars: Episode I was on TV when we left, and we came home to Episode II on. That's how I'll probably be spending the rest of my night since they're playing the entire series. It's been far too long since I've watched any of the Star Wars movies, so I'm really enjoying this.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review: The Mass by The Mass by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina

ISBN: 0307718816
Published: March 5th, 2013
Publisher: Image
Read from November 2nd to 16th, 2013
Synopsis from publisher:
An insightful and practical exploration of Catholicism’s most sacred tradition.

The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition is an engaging and authoritative guide to Catholicism’s most distinctive practice. And now, with the Church introducing revised language for the Mass, Catholics have a perfect opportunity to renew their understanding of this beautiful and beloved celebration.

With eloquent prose and elegant black-and-white photography, bestselling authors Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina guide readers through the different parts of the Mass, from the entrance procession to the blessing and dismissal, capturing the deep meaning of elements that are at once ordinary and mysterious: bread and wine, water and candles, altar cloths and ceremonial books.

Step by step, they explain the specifics, such as the order of the Mass, the vessels used, the unique clothing worn, the prayers and responses, the postures and the gestures. Then they explore the rich historical, spiritual and theological background to each. Prayerful but practical, fact-filled but readable, The Mass prepares readers to participate more fully and appreciatively in the sacred rite at the heart of Catholic life.


This book is an excellent guide to every single part of the Mass. The book is divided up into each of the sections of the Mass, and each part is explained. Not one part of the Mass is left out, and the book is very easy to read and informative.

I found the book to be entertaining, and it wasn't the slightest bit boring. Even though I've been Catholic my entire life, I still found the information in the book to be very informative, and it was interesting to learn more about the Mass. I think this book is excellent for anyone who is interested in learning more about the Mass. Both Catholic and non-Catholics can learn something from this book, and it is written in a way that is open to both groups of readers. It is a great resource for learning about the Mass that isn't as formal as many other books on the Mass. I think it would be an excellent introduction to the Mass for anyone who doesn't know much about it and wants a good starting point to learn from.

The book goes into every detail of the Mass, but it does so in a way that isn't overwhelming. I was surprised at how simple the book was, even though it is packed full with information. I think a lot of that has to do with the easy to read writing style. I haven't read many books all about the Mass, but I really enjoyed this one. If someone wanted a recommendation on a book about the Mass, then I would highly recommend this one. I thought it was a great book for anyone that wants to learn more about the Mass or Catholicism in general.

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

The Day Between Two Thanksgivings

Today seems very uneventful compared to yesterday. I'm basically using today to catch up on writing and get the majority of my homework done. I've managed to write quite a bit, but I haven't been quite as productive with my homework.

We're having Thanksgiving with my dad's family tomorrow, so today is basically a break in between two Thanksgivings. I'm excited to see my family, since I haven't seen a lot of them in quite a while. It should be fun.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Americans, and happy Thursday to everyone else! I've been looking forward to this forever, so I'm incredibly happy. Today we're just having Thanksgiving with my parents and siblings. My grandma was coming, but now apparently isn't. We'll have Thanksgiving with my dad's family on Saturday too though.

I wanted to film some of Thanksgiving, but my mom gave our dogs gizzards and liver earlier and I filmed it. Now my camera is almost dead. We'll see how much it lasts throughout the day. My family doesn't like being filmed anyway, so there's not a ton I could film. Other than the food of course, which is probably what I'll mostly end up filming.

I'm so excited to finally get Thanksgiving food after waiting for a whole year! Yay!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ticket Worry and Thanksgiving

I'm finally home for Thanksgiving break! I was so looking forward to having time off, and then One Direction announces tickets for their 2014 North American tour. I've been pretty stressed out over that now. I don't have tickets yet, but I'm forcing myself to not worry about it. I got to see them once, so I shouldn't worry about getting the absolute best tickets. I'm just going to enjoy Thanksgiving, and be okay with whatever happens with the One Direction tickets.

I really am extremely excited about Thanksgiving tomorrow. Today is baking day in our house. My sister Regina is more or less doing the most, but Jenny and I have helped. I'm really happy because we made two pumpkin pies, and I've been looking forward to them for more than a month now. Tomorrow I will finally get Thanksgiving food!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Almost Thanksgiving Break

Tomorrow's finally Thanksgiving break! I'm so excited even though I still have two classes to go to tomorrow. My last big project is due tomorrow, and I already have it done. There's a few other papers due after break, but they're all mostly finished as well.

I'm just really excited to go home for a few days and see family and eat Thanksgiving food. I've seriously been daydreaming about Thanksgiving food for the past month. It's easy to do when you're at college and have to eat in the dining hall.

Hopefully I'll get caught up with stuff during break, but I'm not too hopeful. I'm too far behind, and I'll probably be fairly busy with family stuff. Still, I should get some stuff done, so that's good. Mostly, I'm just glad to get to see my family and have a bit of a break from school before finals.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Seven Hour Live Streams Throw Everything Off

I still can't believe that I spent seven and a half hours watching One Direction the other day. Needless to say, I got very little else done, and today hasn't been much different. Spending seven hours watching a live stream apparently throws you off a bit. I've been having trouble focusing on anything, but it's getting better as the day goes one.

It helps that I only have two days of classes left until Thanksgiving break. I've been looking forward to Thanksgiving for more than a month, and it's actually somewhat unbelievable that it's now less than a week away. I'm very thankful to have a short break from school before finals afterwards. But after finals, it's Christmas break! I'm even more excited for that. Hopefully I'll finally have time to catch up with everything I'm behind on.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Legend of Korra Review: Book 2 Episodes 11 and 12: "Night of a Thousand Stars" and "Harmonic Convergence"

It's currently 1D Day, and I'm planning to watch for the full seven hours. However, I'm really behind on reviews, so I wanted to try and write this while watching. It's going to be really distracted and probably disjointed, and I'm sorry about that. I can't believe it's been more than a week since we saw the finale! I'm going to try and keep finale stuff out of here though. I'll do another review for those episodes, and hopefully I won't be quite as distracted.

I'm so proud of Bolin in these episodes! He hasn't gotten to do all that much this season, and I was extremely hopeful that he would do something awesome in the final episodes. Sure enough, he did. I got so excited when he realized what was going on and managed to save the president. I'm really glad that he finally got to do something useful and not just be comic relief again.

I was also extremely happy that everyone finally realized that Mako was right. That was my other biggest frustration this season: no one believing Mako. I'm so happy that he was finally taken seriously and let out of jail.

The romance in these episodes really frustrated me. I just found it all cringe-worthy. As I've said before, I really didn't like how they went for a love triangle thing, and it just got worse in this episode.

Bumi taking everyone down and getting them out was excellent. That was just a really awesome and fun scene. All of the fighting in these episodes was great, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I loved it.

The biggest issue I had with these two episodes (other than the romance) was how Asami was just pushed into the background towards the end. I know she's not a bender, but they could have had her do something important later. Instead, we just don't get to see her, and she looks so disappointed when Korra tells her to go with the others. I hated that.

I hope I'm not forgetting anything really important, but like I said, I've been working on this post for about two hours and sporadically writing sentences. I'm going to get back to focusing on 1D Day. I hope to review the finale soon!

1D Day

It's 1D Day! I honestly have no idea what to expect from 1D Day or if it will even turn out to be exciting, but I'm still excited to see how exciting it will be. (That made so much sense...)

I've managed to get a good deal of my homework done for the day ahead of time, but I still have too much to do for there to be any hope to get it done before 1D Day starts. I'm hoping that there will be a bit of time where whatever's going on is just disinteresting enough for me to get some work done. Even if there's not, it's no big deal. I can get it done tomorrow. It's not that much work.

I still can't believe it's going to be seven hours long. It'll be interesting to see what they do for that amount of time. I know there are a bunch of guests, but I still don't know how they're going to fill seven hours. It'll be interesting to see.

I didn't mean for this post to become all about 1D Day. It's just that it's all I'm really thinking about. I don't even know if I'm going to end up watching all of it because seven hours is such a long time, and I'm not even "bouncing up and down" excited. It's just that it's all I can make myself focus on. I'm interested to see how it actually goes.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Almost Thanksgiving Time

Today has been a long day. It was also overcast this morning and rainy all evening, which never helps. Still, the day was overall a good one. It's just dragging on forever.

I still have homework to get done, even though I would typically be finished by now. I don't know why that is exactly. I've just been a bit slow at getting everything done to day. I'm blaming the weather because this always tends to happen on overcast, rainy days. It also probably doesn't help that I haven't slept well recently. There's no particular reason for that. It just seems like something new keeps me up each night or wakes me up during the night.

I'm very happy that tomorrow's Friday. I really need the weekend right now. Plus, next week is only two days long, and then it's Thanksgiving break. I need this break so badly. All of my big projects will be turned in (I only have one left as of right now that's stressing me out), and I will be able to relax before finals stress sets in. Plus, I've been craving Thanksgiving food for at least a month now, and I only have about a week until I finally get some.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nightmares Throw Me Off

Today started off weird. Primarily because I woke up early this morning from a nightmare, and it really shook me up. I was able to fall back asleep, and when I woke up again, I wasn't even able to remember what the nightmare was about. I still remember how scared I was afterwards though, so it just kind of threw me off this morning.

I haven't even been awake that long, and I haven't managed to get anything done. I wanted to watch an episode of Naruto before class and then do homework afterwards (or maybe homework before class if I had time). I'm kind of moving much slower than normal though, so I don't even know if I'll get around to watching an entire episode of Naruto. I'll maybe get halfway through if I'm lucky. Who knows though. I could get through it faster than I think I will.

Hopefully today goes well. I have less work than I have had recently, so I'm looking forward to that.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Getting Behind on Everything but School

I've reached that point in the semester where absolutely everything is getting pushed aside other than schoolwork. There's hardly any time for anything else. I've gotten so behind on reviewing everything (from the TV shows I watch each week to the books I've read), and I have no idea when those reviews will be up. I have a video that I'm planning on editing today that's a review of last week's How I Met Your Mother, but another episode airs tonight and who knows when I'll review that. I have a feeling I'm going to get a lot more behind before I catch up. I'm not allowing myself to stress out about that though. I'm just focusing on getting all my school stuff done, and if I have time after that to get anything else done then I will.

I have a done of stuff due this week, and then next week is Thanksgiving. After that we go straight into finals, but at least I have Christmas break after that. Nothing is overwhelming at this point, so I'm just thankful for that.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

So Much Work

You don't really realize how busy you are until it's Saturday and you realize how much work you have to accomplish this weekend. I have been doing pretty good at working on everything at a pace where I can get it all done without being too stressed out. Still, I have multiple things due this week, and I'm feeling a little bit of pressure. I'm almost done with most of the stuff, but because there are so many projects, I don't feel like I'm almost done. I know that I'll be fine, but I am ready to get this stuff done and be finished. Luckily, it's almost Thanksgiving break, and then I just have to get through finals before Christmas.

To be fair, spending time watching both Naruto and Dawson's Creek this morning probably wasn't that helpful. I worked on one paper though, and it was extremely difficult because I was so tired. (That might have something to do with staying up to watch the amazing Korra finale last night. It was worth it. I can't wait to review it.) Watching Naruto and Dawson's Creek woke me up a bit, so I'm finally managing to get some work done. I've also written more than a thousand words on my story today, so that was awesome, even if it detracted from homework. I'm going to try and write more later too.

Also, I haven't mentioned any of my fanfiction on here in an extremely long time, but I currently have two chapters of a Hunger Games fanfic up (here and here). I'm planning on getting the third chapter up today, and it would be awesome if you checked it out. (Catching Fire is out in a week, so I've been very excited about Hunger Games lately. Studying it in class helped too.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Papers and Korra

There is going to be a lot of paper writing this weekend. I have about three papers due next week, and while I've started on all of them, I still have work to do on each of them as well. It's not even really three papers. One of them is more of a collection of papers. It's nothing overwhelming or anything, but I'm going to be busy. We're getting so close to Thanksgiving though. I just keep focusing on that.

And we're getting the four final episodes of this season of Korra tonight! I couldn't believe that when I first heard it. The two episodes set to air tonight are still airing like they were supposed to, and then the final two episodes are going to be released online at midnight. I was shocked to hear that, but I am so excited! I don't even know if I can emotionally handle all of four episodes within just hours of each other, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to watch them. I have such high hopes for these episodes, and there's only a little more than an hour to go until the first two!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reaching the End of the Semester

We've definitely reached the part of the semester where everything is happening at once, and I am constantly doing homework. I'm not too stressed out as of right now though, and that's mostly because of knowing most of it will be turned in by Thanksgiving and that's not too far away. I'm hoping the thoughts of Thanksgiving will keep me from going crazy over the next two weeks.

I still have work to do today, but I've been working almost nonstop today (other than the break to watch an episode of Little House), so I decided to take a break really quickly. I just need to work on one of my papers and do some reading for one of my classes. Hopefully I can get it done in the next two hours.

I also have a mandatory hall meeting that I have to go to latter. It's going to be about Thanksgiving break and the safety check that happens while we're gone for Thanksgiving break. I don't mind going to the meeting, but I hate how late it is. I think they want to make sure that everyone's free, so they set it up when nothing else is going on. The only problem is that means it's late enough when I am done for the day, and I don't want to sit through a meeting. I wish they could have it now and get it over with. I'm hoping it won't last long. They're doing some sort of activity too, but I'm assuming that will be after they talk to us. I'm hoping the talking part only takes a few minutes.

Now, I need to get back to my homework if I want to finish before that meeting.

Book Review: Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 6 by Bisco Hatori

ISBN: 1421505843
Published: May 2nd, 2006 (originally published July 5th, 2005)
Publisher: VIZ Media
Read from November 10th to 11th, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this sharp-witted romantic comedy about the clash of the classes (of all kinds), a poor girl at a rich kids' school ends up working at the school's toniest club-and gets mistaken for a boy!
In this high anticipated title, a kind of cross between HANA-KIMI and BOYS OVER FLOWERS, Haruhi is a scholarship student at an exclusive private school: Ouran High School, where it turns out the bespectacled, short-haired Haruhi is the only student from a lower-middle class family in attendance!
Then, to make matters worse, one day she breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to one of the campus clubs-a mysterious outfit called the "Host Club," consisting of six superrich (and gorgeous) guys. Haruhi can't afford to pay back the cost of the vase, of course, so she's forced to work for the Host Club! And it's there that she discovers just how rich all the boys are and how different the rich are from you and me...And meanwhile, the eccentric but good-hearted rich boys are shocked to find out how life is on the other side...


I didn't realize until I was looking through Goodreads that it had been three years since I read volume five. That is just sad. Sure, I watched the anime multiple times (and the live drama at least once) in that time, but I can't believe it took me years to get around to reading the next volume. I've had up to volume ten sitting around forever, and I've been trying to get so many other things read that I just never got to them.

Ouran is one of those things that I remember I love it, but as soon as I watch or read it again, I'm reminded just how much I love it. There is just something about it that makes me love it so, so much. It's so hard to explain to other people. You just have to read or watch Ouran to get it, and this volume was just like that. Since it had been so long since I last read manga, it took me a few pages to adjust to going right to left again, but like usual, that wasn't a problem a few minutes after reading.

I really enjoyed this volume and the storyline with the school festival. I really enjoyed Tamaki's dad. I'm not entirely sure, but he seems to come across as more caring in here than he did in the anime. (I could be mistaken because it's been a while. Netflix had to take Ouran off their website in the middle of my most recent re-watching.) Either way, I enjoyed the story just as much as always.

I could go on and on about Ouran, but I feel as if most of what I would have to say is about the series in general. Two quick things I'll mention: I love how all this crazy stuff happens and Haruhi is the only one who questions the craziness. It's one of my absolute favorite things. Also, Tamaki was always my favorite character before, but recently I had been starting to like Kyoya a bit more. While reading this though, Tamaki is right back to being my favorite. I just love him so much. Kyoya is a great character though, and I really never realized just how great until recently.

Ouran is a series that I just wish I could make everyone read and enjoy (or watch in the case of the anime). I just love it so incredibly much. I'm already reading volume seven, and I'm hoping I'll be able to finish the series a lot faster than I've managed to get through it so far.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The First Snow and a Poetry Reading

It began snowing before I went to bed last night, and even now some of it is left in the shady areas. I find snow to be really pretty, but I absolutely hate how cold that means it is outside. Snow is such a good and bad thing at the same time to me.

My allergies seem better today so far. Let's hope it stays that way. Yesterday was quite horrible as far as they're concerned.

Other than the work load getting a bit heavier as it nears finals, school is pretty much the same as always. Today I have to go to a poetry reading though. I have to have one more arts experience for my humanities class, and it's the only one I know of coming up that isn't during one of my classes. I've never been to a poetry reading, so I think it'll be pretty interesting. The only thing is that it's somewhat late, and I know the temperature will have dropped by the time I have to walk across campus. (I think it's very clear from this post how much I hate the cold.)

It's almost time for me to go to class though, so I don't have much time left. Hopefully my classes go by easily. We're talking about The Hunger Games in one class again today, so that should be a lot of fun.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Legend of Korra Review: Book 2 Episode 10: "A New Spiritual Age"

I loved getting to see the spirit world in this episode. It seemed so different from what we saw in the first series, which I'm pretty sure is just because we saw more of it. I really love how Korra is showing us more of the world's history than Last Airbender did. It's fun.

I may or may not have actually screamed out loud when Iroh appeared. There was a lot of gaping at the screen, jumping up and down, and just general freaking out. I mean, I've been going on and on for weeks about how badly I wanted to see Zuko's family, and I was starting to lose all hope of that happening any time soon. Then, the relative that I'm expecting to see the absolutely least (okay maybe more than like Ozai but still not expecting at all) shows up out of nowhere! I wanted to see Zuko's living family so badly, but I never stopped to think that we'd see Iroh in the spirit world. I'm so unbelievably happy. I love Iroh so much, and I obviously never expected to see him in this series. It was the most amazing surprise. (I still want to see Zuko's other family though. Korra really needs to make another trip to the Fire Nation soon.)

Seeing Korra as a little kids was adorable. I loved everything that symbolized and how it showed her growth over the episode. That was done fantastically. So was Iroh showing Korra that the spirits weren't really scary and that she needs to look for the light in things. I never expected to get Iroh's wisdom in Korra, and it was the greatest surprise ever. I just loved how this entire episode was done, especially how the spirit world and the spirits were portrayed.

The animation for this episode, by the way, was amazing as well. I had to throw that in here somewhere.

Jinora is wonderful. I love getting to see more of her character, and the more we see of her, the more I grow to love her character. I tend to love bookish (or Ravenclaw-like characters is how I typically think of them in my mind) characters. Mostly because I feel like I connect with them. I wouldn't consider myself spiritual like Jinora (of course I don't live in the Avatar world where I could see invisible spirits floating around), but I just love her personality.

Getting to see Wan Shi Tong again was interesting. We knew he'd be showing up ahead of time, of course, and I think everyone was curious to see what would happen there. I thought it was a bit odd that he let Jinora in relatively easily after what happened during the original series, but I kind of pushed that thought into the back of my mind until we learned the truth.

I'm both surprised and not surprised that Wan Shi Tong was working with Unalaq. On the one hand, he seems to despise humans, so working against humans doesn't surprise me about him. At the same time, I'm surprised he's helping Unalaq for the same reasons. I don't know who he feels he can trust Unalaq when he seems so distrustful of every other human. I'm wondering if Wan Shi Tong will even show up again though, or if he was just in this episode.

Jinora getting taken captive was very shocking to me. I wonder how long she'll be kidnapped. I'm almost positive that she'll make it back relatively unhurt, but I'm still worried about her. Also, her spirit "friend" took her, but I don't fully understand if he just randomly took her somewhere or if Unalaq will actually take her from the spirit and have her. Either way it's intense. I'm hoping she gets away sooner rather than later. The worst part is that Korra opened the other portal hoping to save Jinora, but Jinora's still gone and now the portal's open. Big problems there.

The very end of the episode was heartbreaking. It was so hard to watch Tenzin realize what had happened to his daughter, and Korra looked so heartbroken as well. Tenzin is one of my favorite characters, and part of that comes from how he often seems to try and disguise his emotion but it's very clear that he cares so, so much for his family. I'm really liking the development of the entire Kataang family's relationships this season, whether it's Aang and Katara's kids, Tenzin's kids, or Tenzin and his kids. I just really loved every time their relationships get developed in some way. Still, it was horrible for that to happen this way. That may have been the most heartbreaking seen of the show so far in my opinion.

We get two episodes next week which is exciting, but I'm sure they'll also be extremely intense. I can't believe we only have two weeks (or four episodes) left of this season. I'm looking at the short "summaries" of the coming episodes now, and it looks like next week we get one episode that's about what's happening in Republic City (which we didn't get this week) and then one that goes back to focus on Korra. I just hope someone has gotten around to believing Mako and helps him. Let's hope both episodes are as good as I expect them to be.

Snow, Allergies, and Finals

When my allergies are at their worst, it seems impossible to get through a Monday without a terrible headache. Sure enough, that's a problem today. I keep hoping and hoping that I'll wake up one day and my allergies will be better than they were the day before. It hasn't happened yet.

We're supposed to get snow tonight, and I can't say I'm thrilled about that. I love how pretty snow is, but I despise actually having to deal with it. I'm hoping that it'll start once I don't have to be out in it, and it will melt before I have to go out in it tomorrow morning.

Other than that, it's more or less a typical Monday. Because Thanksgiving is so late this year, it doesn't feel as late in the semester as it actually is. Basically, we'll have Thanksgiving break, come back just for finals, and then be on winter break. That means that all the final projects are starting/have started and things are getting busy. I'm not too stressed out yet, and I'm hoping Thanksgiving break falling where it does will make things less stressful than more. We'll see.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Leftover Nerves

This week has been a bit strange now that I stop to think about it. I just say that because the first half of the week seemed to go by at a normal pace, but now that it's Friday, it doesn't feel like Friday. I'm not going to complain though. I'm perfectly willing to take a weekend.

I spent yesterday evening being a bit of a bundle of nerves, and I'm still feeling the leftovers of that this morning. It's one of those things where I get nervous about one thing (far more than I should) and then it spreads to other things that I typically wouldn't be nervous about. It'll wear off sometime today I'm sure and everything will be fine.

I interviewed Ji last night (that's not what I was nervous about), and it was awesome getting to talk to her over Skype. Now I have to start writing the paper on the interview though. I'm hoping it won't be that difficult of a paper to get through.

Class starts in less than half an hour, so I need to go get ready and whatnot. Hopefully this turns out to be a pretty relaxing Friday and my nerves stop bothering me.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

An Awesome But Tiring Day

Today has been quite the long day. I woke up feeling like I'd gotten no sleep at all even though I'd actually gotten just as much as I typically do. I think this had a lot to do with my allergies as they were particularly bad today. Whatever the case, I also wound up with a massive headache, and getting through today has been somewhat challenging.

It's really a pain because both of my classes today were pretty great. In one we talked about John Green books and nerdfighters, and in the other, all we did was discuss The Hunger Games. (And that Hunger Games discussion got pretty heated. More heated than any other discussion we've had this semester.) (I just wish I could have experienced those awesome conversations without a pounding headache during them.

I still have to email one of my friends tonight for a paper I'm writing for one of my classes. We've been planning it for a long time, so I'm excited to finally get that out of the way so that I can also get the actual paper out of the way. I'm hoping Skype will cooperate for the interview since it freezes all the time. (We can't talk in person thanks to there being about four hours in between us at the moment.)

I'm ready to go to bed and get some sleep. Unfortunately, some work still needs to be done before that happens. Hopefully, I can stay awake long enough to get everything done.

Book Review: 4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan

ISBN: 9780989741101
Published: November 7th, 2013
Publisher: Lemon Sherbet Press
Read from September 4th to 20th, 2013
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all. Jane’s life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow. To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends. But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person. With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane’s only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues. The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life’s like when the computer is shut off, and that’s a reality she’s been fighting for years.


I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started this book. I was looking for something to read on Netgalley, and it caught my eye primarily because of the fact that it is about a girl who spends a lot of time online. I'm always interested in books that try to portray Internet culture because it can be done brilliantly or horribly. I wasn't expecting just how deeply this book would also delve into mental illness.

I cannot stress how much I loved this book. It was one of my favorite reads this year. The book is told entirely through what Jane is doing online. That means emails, chat logs, posts on a diary site that will remind many people of Livejournal, and posts on a website that had to be inspired by Tumblr. This means that each section is relatively short, and there are no chapters of any kind. These kinds of books are always hit or miss with me because it can be difficult to get emotion across when writing in that way, but believe me when I say that the emotion gets across in this book. I cried multiple times while reading. It kind of made me an emotional mess.

Jane is such a relatable character to me. There are a lot of people who would read this book and not connect with her, but I do in so many ways. She's very involved in Internet culture and fandom, just like I have been since I was a preteen. Jane is struggling with depression to though, and while I have never been through what she goes through, I know all about using the Internet as a way to escape from the "real world," especially when it comes to my struggle with social anxiety. I've never created alternate identities like Jane, but I still understood her motivation perfectly and completely got it.

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time on the Internet or struggles with depression or other mental illnesses will be able to relate to Jane in this book. To anyone that doesn't fit one (or both) of those two things, I think this book is a good way to kind of help people understand what it's like to be so involved on the Internet and what it's like to struggle with depression and use the Internet as a coping mechanism. I could see the book setting the stereotype that the Internet is a way for people to mask their problems and that everyone involved in fandom is like that, but I don't see it like that at all. Not everyone involved in fandom is mentally ill, but many people do use fandom as an escape in at least some capacity. Jane serves as a somewhat exaggerated example of that. However, so many teens struggle with depression and other mental illnesses, so it is wonderful to have books that address that in a realistic and relatable way. I have no doubt that many, many people could relate to Jane and her situation.

This is one of those books that I just want to give to everyone. Not only is it a book that I emotionally connected to, but it's a great book to get people around you to understand what you spend all your time on the Internet doing. I highly recommend this one. I really do.

Note: I received this book for free through Netgalley for review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I Want Thanksgiving and Catching Fire

Nothing eventful has happened the past several days at all. I just go to classes and everything like normal. I'm so ready for it to be Thanksgiving. I hate it being so late this year because it feels as if it should be so much closer than it is. Not only do I have a countdown until Thanksgiving on my phone, I also have a countdown to when my family is actually getting together. I just want it to be Thanksgiving. Of course, since Thanksgiving is late this year, we have finals almost immediately after Thanksgiving break. I'm not looking forward to that as much, but I still want it to be Thanksgiving.

It's also been raining all day today, so that hasn't put me in a good mood. I'm not really in a bad mood or anything. I'm just kind of neutral at the moment. I just want it to be Thanksgiving break. Have I said that already? Thanksgiving break also means getting to go see Catching Fire (and hopefully The Book Thief movie as well), and I really want to see Catching Fire. The trailers and TV spots are all so amazing. I have a lot of hope for this movie.

I'm hoping something somewhat exciting happens between now and then though...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

HIMYM Review: Season 9 Episode 8: "The Lighthouse"

I really loved this episode. I found every storyline in it enjoyable, and it was a really fun episode in a lot of ways.

I'm still really loving Marshall and Daphne's arguing on their road trip. I loved her little speech to Marshall about not letting people walk all over him, and then Marshall forcing her to listen to "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)." It reminded me of when my sister plays that song in the car actually. Also, I loved the bit where Marshall wants to take the mug to embarrass Ted, and then him and Daphne deciding to wait for the picture. Their storyline in this episode was probably the most hilarious to me of all of them.

Robin and Loretta fighting over scrambled eggs was a bit odd. I don't know how you could make scrambled eggs that great, but maybe I'm biased since I'm not a huge fan in the first place. I like scrambled eggs okay, but they've never been more than an okay thing to me. I've never thought of them as something that one could make that much superior to another. It was amusing though, and I would have liked to see if Robin's mom really could have beaten Loretta if she had shown up.

It's really sad that Robin's mom isn't coming to the wedding. I was excited about the possibility of seeing her during the episode, but I also really like that Loretta began to comfort her at the end of the episode. It was a nice storyline, and I hope they continue to get close during the season.

I can't believe we got to see Ted propose! I started freaking out when I realized what was about to happen. I was excited enough to see the mother again, but I hadn't been expecting to see the proposal on the show since it's supposed to end when he meets her. Even with the few flash forwards that we've had, it never occurred to me that we would get to see the proposal. I'm really happy we did though. It was cute, and I'm happy we got to see that. I hope the mother appears again soon too because I enjoy seeing her.

I hope next week's episode is just as good as this one was. Maybe we'll even get to see the mother again next episode. That would be pretty awesome.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Family Weekend and the State Marching Band Competition

It's definitely been a long weekend. I got Friday off from classes and didn't do much that was exciting, but Saturday was crazy. My family came up for the day, partially because of family weekend at my school and partially because my former high school's marching band was competing for state and my sister and Jenny (the exchange student my family's hosting) were helping out by being a part of color guard (a small part).

We ate breakfast on campus at a special breakfast for family weekend before walking around my school's Ecolab for a bit. Then we went and checked out IUPUI's campus because my sister is most likely going to be going to school there next year. My sister wasn't with us, since she was on the bus with marching band, but my parents wanted to check it out anyway. It was a pretty cool campus. I can see Regina really loving it. It's entirely different than my school, but I can see how each one of us ended up at the different schools.

After eating lunch in downtown Indianapolis, we went ahead over the Lucas Oil Stadium, where state was being held, even though it was hours before their class (class D) even performed. We sat in the parking lot of a while in order to charge our phones before going in... Eventually we went inside and got to watch part of the class before them perform and get their awards.

They did an amazing job. They came in eighth place which is better than they did last year, but still ended up disappointing everyone because of everything that went into their performance this year. It was a bit of a gloomy atmosphere around everyone from our high school afterwards. We went to see Regina and Jenny at the bus (which, by the way, I'm pretty sure they were riding on the bus I rode in high school which was weird), and Regina was going on about how frustrated she was because everyone around her was in a bad mood. Jenny and the others were clearly disappointed as well, and it was really obvious that everyone was irritated with each other and what not. I have no idea how their bus ride home went, and I probably don't want to.

It was late when I got back to my dorm, and I was exhausted. I'm really thankful that I got an extra hour of sleep thanks to the clocks changing. I'm recovering today, although I have a lot of homework to do since I put it off yesterday. Hopefully I won't be quite so exhausted on Monday.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reign Review: Episode 3: "Kissed"

I wasn't expecting a character like Prince Tomas to come into the picture, but after it happened, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. I have no idea if he's based on any real person or not, but I don't really see him staying on the show for long. Mary accepted his proposal at the end of the episode, but I assume the proposal will be broken off soon. That will probably be messy though, and I wonder how it will happen.

I absolutely have to mention (yet again) how frustrated I am with the accents. I've already talked about how much I hate that every single character from every country has an English accent. Well, now they introduce Tomas from Portugal and give him a different accent. Is there a certain reason that the Portuguese guy needs to be portrayed as somehow more foreign than all of the other characters on the show? I'm just really frustrated about this. I can deal with the historical inaccuracies, but the accents are quite honestly ruining the show a bit for me.

I totally get the king thinking about what he's doing politically. You have to do that when you run a country. At the same time, I'm really frustrated because Scotland needs help and it would be the right thing to do. I can see both sides of the problem, but no matter what the king's belief that not helping is in France's best interest, I still want them to help. It's thinks like this that remind me I should never be allowed to run a country.

Mary's one handmaiden (whose name I can't remember) and the servant were really cute, and I look forward to seeing how that goes. I don't see it ending well though...

I also hope Sebastian ends up being okay. I can't see them letting him die, especially not this early in the show. I also started to kind of like the idea of him and Kenna together after this episode, but that also makes me feel weird because of his dad. I don't know. We'll see how that goes.

Francis kissing Mary at the end of the episode and then telling her to marry Tomas was sad, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm fairly certain that she's not going to marry Tomas. I'm not really worried about it.

Lots of Writing and the Coming Holidays

Today has been a somewhat mentally exhausting day just because of the amount of writing I've been doing it. A lot of it was school work, but I've also been spending a ton of time working on the story I'm writing at the moment. I've made a lot of progress with it, and I'm really happy with where it's going. It's tired me out a bit though.

The only class that I usually have on Fridays was canceled today, so in a lot of ways it feels like a Saturday to me right now. I know that's going to end up throwing off my whole week next week, especially with the clocks being set back on Sunday too. It'll be crazy.

I can't believe it's November already. Just about one month to go until Thanksgiving, and I'm incredibly excited. I'm ready for it to be the holiday season.