Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Review: Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

ISBN: 1250030390
Published: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Read from June 20th to 29th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Pitched as The Devil Wears Prada meets James Bond for teens, featuring a fashion magazine intern in Rome who uncovers a plot to kidnap the First Lady.
Expelled from yet another boarding school for hacking, sixteen-year-old Rebecca "Bec" Jackson is shipped off to Rome to intern for Parker Phillips, the editor-in-chief of one of the world’s top fashion magazines. But when a mysterious accident lands Parker in a coma, former supermodel and notorious drama queen Candace Worthington takes the reins of the magazine. The First Lady is in Rome for a cover shoot, and all hands are on deck to make sure her visit goes smoothly.
Bec quickly realizes that Parker's "accident" may not have been quite so accidental, and when the First Lady's life is threatened, Bec is determined to uncover the truth. On top of that, Bec must contend with bitchy models, her new boss, Candace, who is just as difficult as the tabloids say, and two guys, a hunky Italian bike messenger with a thousand-watt smile and a fashion blogger with a razor-sharp wit, who are both vying for her heart.
Can Bec catch the person who's after the First Lady, solve the mystery of Parker's accident, and juggle two cute boys at the same time? Blonde Ops is a fun, action-packed romp through the hallways of a fashion magazine and the cobblestone streets of Rome.


I won this book through Goodreads First Reads, and I entered the giveaway because this looked like it had the potential to be a fun book. Overall, I think it did live up to my expectations. It was a fun book, and I can see a lot of people really enjoying it.

I did have problems with the book just because I couldn't get over how unrealistic everything seemed. I don't want to say too much and ruin the book for those who haven't read it, but Candace's backstory was the most illogical to me. I think those who've read the book can get what I mean from that. I didn't find that believable at all, and I had the hardest time with it.

The book was also incredibly predictable, and the love triangle all seemed rather pointless and boring. I honestly would have preferred the book without the hints at romance at all. Bec frustrated me where the boys were concerned because she really did string both of them along. I would say more about that as well, but again, I don't want to say anything spoilery.

The book was fun for the most part, and I enjoyed it enough to keep reading to the end. However, I wouldn't go into this book expecting much, and you really do have to suspend your disbelief for almost everything. I just couldn't get behind a lot of the story that seemed too unbelievable to me.

Life Post: Last Minute Babysitting Changes

I haven't written a life post in more than a week, and that's mostly because I spent a lot of last week babysitting. I was supposed to get last week off, but like I said in my last life post, I found out on Sunday that I was going to be babysitting on Monday. Then on Monday they asked me to babysit more that week, so that was the majority of what I did last week. However, the opposite happened this week. I was supposed to babysit today, but late last night, they called and said they didn't need me. They also said that they weren't sure whether or not they'd need me on the other days I was supposed to babysit this week. We'll see what happens.

So, that means I have free time today that I didn't expect to have. Unfortunately, I was kind of lazy after I got to unexpectedly sleep in, and I got off to a slow start as far as writing is concerned today. I managed to get a lot done in the last hour or so though, and now I've done almost all of the writing I want to get done today.

I also need to clean my room. In the process of organizing my bookshelves, which I managed to finish last week, I pulled out a bunch of junk that wasn't books. That stuff is all lying on about half of my bedroom floor now, and I have to walk on it a lot to get over there. I've been avoiding cleaning it up mostly because I don't know where to put any of it. That's going to change today though. I'm too fed up with walking on papers and old folders instead of carpet.

Now, I'm off to finish up my writing for today so that I can be done with that. I'm really close to finishing up this fanfiction, and then it'll be ready to start being posted. That'll be the second one I've finished up in only about a week or two. I'm loving the amount of writing I'm managing to get done this summer.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Legend of Korra Review: Book 3 Episodes 1-3

With the wait until this season and getting three entire episodes packed full of stuff all at once, I have no idea where to even begin. First of all, I'm insanely excited to be reviewing Korra again, and I'm even more excited that there's more Korra to review. Three episodes is a lot, so I'm going to break this up episode by episode.

Episode 1: "A Breath of Fresh Air"

I quite honestly hadn't thought about the inconveniences of there being vines all over Republic City. I'm also a bit confused as to why this seems to be a problem only in Republic City. Airbenders are popping up everywhere (at least in the Earth Kingdom, it was a bit unclear if they were elsewhere), so why do the vines seem to only be in Republic City.

The problem of the vines also seems to be dismissed as soon as they leave Republic City for Ba Sing Se. That can't be the last of that. It was opened as a storyline, so they have to come back to it. I just wonder when.

Bumi was great as always, and I love how excited he got about being an airbender. They also made a lot of comments throughout these episodes about how happy Aang would be to see more airbenders, and that got me emotional. Tenzin looking out at Aang's statue and talking to Jinora only contributed to that.

Mako. Where do I even begin with Mako? First of all, I absolutely loved the scene with Asami and Korra driving around because it showed that they're close no matter what happened between either of them and Mako. That was incredibly nice to see, and I really love their friendship.

Back to Mako specifically though, I'm actually getting a lot of enjoyment out of how awkward he is around Korra. I wasn't as upset about the break up as I thought I would be. (Mostly because I still feel like they'll end up together I think.) All of these awkward moments might completely make the break up enjoyable to me though. I almost feel bad for saying it, but a lot of Korra and Mako's interaction was hilarious. I look forward to seeing what happens between them for the rest of the season.

Tenzin and Korra's conversation about how she's no longer able to access her past lives was interesting and a bit sad. I'm not going to lie. I really wish she could talk to Aang. Korra also has a line that's something about how there's no Avatar wisdom moments since she doesn't have her past lives anymore. I look forward to seeing that help Korra come into her own and develop her own wisdom, which is what I'm sure will happen.

We also get our first look at one of the main villains now at the end of this episode. I'm really excited to have a main villain who's an airbender after the Air Nomads being nothing but pacifists in the story before. This is going to be incredibly interesting. Also, I don't think we've really even had a firebender villain yet. Season one was a nonbender. Season two was a waterbender. Now we have multiple benders (one of whom is a firebender), but the one who seems to be the leader is an airbender. That's a nice mix that I really like. Also, it's interesting to me that Zahir seems to be the leader when, until extremely recently, he was a nonbender and all of the others were benders.

We also learn here that Zahir wants to take out the White Lotus, but we're not given any reasoning as to why he wants the White Lotus gone. I look o hearing more about the group's motivations. I also don't think we've had a name for the group yet. Unless I'm forgetting something. Every good evil group needs a name, so I'm wondering when we'll get one of those.

Episode 2: Rebirth

The group is traveling around the Earth Kingdom now, and I'm wondering how long it'll be before we'll see Republic City. (That vine storyline has to mean it'll come back into play at some point.) I'm really excited to see more of the Avatar world though, so I'm not complaining for the break from Republic City, especially to see places such as Ba Sing Se.

I really like what they're doing with the airbenders not wanting to go with the group. I think it'd be easy for a cartoon to get away with having characters just blindly go along with the heroes, but it definitely makes sense that almost no one would just want to leave their lives behind. I really like that they did that. I also enjoyed Bolin's idea to stage a show in order to get people's attention.

Kai's an interesting character, and Jinora has a crush on him, which is adorable. It's looking like he's going to stick around at least for a bit, so I look forward to learning more about him. I do find him a tad bit annoying at the moment, but I can see him growing on me depending on how his character is developed. We'll see how I feel after a few more episodes.

Gazan and Ming-hua are both broken out of prison in this episode. I don't have much more to say about that group other than the fact that I am incredibly excited about having an armless bender.

ZUKO! Guys, Zuko finally appears in this episode. I've made it no secret that I've been waiting ages for him to appear, and if you follow me on Twitter, you got to see part of my insane freakout as soon as he appeared and every time he was on screen and even for a while after the show went off. We knew he'd be in this season, but I didn't want to get my hopes up that it would be as soon as these first three episodes. I'm insanely happy, but oh my God, guys. Is Zuko not the absolutely coolest!? My love for him has been cemented. Was there a time I hated him? I almost feel like a dreamt that. There can't possibly be a time where I didn't see him as incredibly amazing.

Okay, okay. I'll try to tone down the fangirling and actually focus on what Zuko does in this episode. I really only have two things to say. 1. I love how involved Zuko is. He hears dangerous criminals have escaped, and he may be insanely old, but of course he's going to go deal with the situation himself. Why would he let anyone else do it? He also sends word to Lin which feels me with an insane amount of emotions. He's just sending word to the daughter of one of his now dead friends, no big deal. I'm picturing him being around sometimes when Lin was a kid now, and wow, I cannot even deal with this.

2. He has the most awesome dragon! It brings me back to A:TLA when he met one of only two remaining dragons and learned from them, and now he's flying around on one. Is that not the absolute coolest thing!? The scene of him taking off on the dragon may or may not have made me scream. I couldn't control myself at all, and that was the absolute best way to end that episode.

Episode 3: "The Earth Queen"

Like Zuko, I wasn't sure when exactly to expect the Earth Queen's appearance. I think we had this episode's title, but I'd tried to not pay close attention. As soon as I saw the title card come up though I knew of course.

One thing that's been bothering me since we learned that Bolin and Mako's grandmother was in Ba Sing Se is why they didn't go there when they became orphans. I get it though if their dad was estranged from their family.

Of course Mako and Bolin just happen to make fun of fruit their cousin, of all people, is selling, and of course they just happen upon their entire family. It was nice though. I liked seeing them so happy, especially with their grandmother, and the moment Mako gave her his scarf was perfect. I'm not sure if Mako and Bolin's family will have an important role to play in the outcome of the story or not, but I'm glad we got those scenes.

Kai running off pretty much strengthened my annoyance of them. If anything can make me sympathetic for him though, it would definitely be getting captured by the Dai Lee and thrown into an airbender army. (Which, funnily enough, the airbender kids were joking about earlier.) I'm pretty sure this storyline is going to change Kai, and I'm interested in seeing what happens to him.

The Earth Queen is far more annoying than Kai though, and I'm already insanely frustrated with her. I do have to briefly mention the comment about her hating animals. I'm assuming she's Kuei's daughter because I don't think the years would work out for a granddaughter. Did someone not like the family pet? Is it out of resentment of her father? I don't know, but I can come up with a lot of fun backstory based on that one simple tidbit of information.

Anyway, I feel like she's going to be a huge pain for the rest of the season, and her people don't seem to be too fond of her. I'm sure that'll become an even bigger deal as things play out.

Desna and Eska make an appearance that I wasn't expecting. I did think they'd show up again, but I wasn't really betting on it being so soon. I really liked their scenes though, and I wouldn't mind them sticking around. They've really grown on me since they were first introduced.

Eska and Zuko (who is still being awesome by the way but I'm trying to contain myself!) also give us what is the best exchange in these entire three episodes, and you can't convince me otherwise. I mean, come on, guys.

Zuko: Ironically, I once hired a man with a similar power to kill the Avatar myself once. (pauses) Didn't work.
(another pause)
Eska: Don't feel bad. I tried to kill Korra after she ruined my wedding. It happens.

I was dying of laughter. It was actually embarrassing. The tone of both their voices is what really nailed it for me, especially Zuko's. He says it in such a matter-of-fact way. Like, "Yeah, that was a thing that I did in the past, but it's over. Oh, well." I love it. I have a feeling I'll be repeating that exchange for a long time to come.

Oh, I absolutely have to throw out there how amazing it is to me that Zuko just goes to the Northern Water Tribe and just goes to see Eska and Desna. No more war or anything. The former Fire Lord appearing just means he wants to check on a prisoner that you both want locked up since you're allies. It's all cool and everyone's friends. I love thinking about that in comparison to the first series when Zuko had to sneak in if he wanted to get to the Northern Water Tribe.

Of course, it's not all great. The Earth Queen clearly harbors some resentment of Aang and Zuko for Republic City. What's really interesting to me is that I can completely see that being a popular Earth Kingdom belief, but we also know that the Earth Queen isn't very popular among at least part of her people. It seems like there's a lot going on there, and I'm excited to see how it plays out. I love when politics is brought into the story.

Wow, that was a lot, but I think I got at least most of what I have to say. No doubt I missed some things here or there.

We don't get a new episode next week, but I'm looking forward to the one the week after that. As before, I'll be reviewing some episodes here and some on my Youtube channel. I have no idea where the next review will wind up, but I'm excited for it. This seems like it's going to be a pretty great season so far! We're pretty much guaranteed to get more Zuko, so that's a good sign.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

To Read Spoilers, or Not to Read Spoilers, That Is the Question

I have an odd back and forth relationship with spoilers. Sometimes I don't care about them at all. I've even been known to Google the endings of movies if I have a computer with me because I get curious and impatient. I've been watching Naruto for years now and still haven't caught up. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't looked things up before because it's too tempting knowing that there's far more information out there than what I have.

I don't regret doing those things either. For some reason it seems like no big deal, and I'm not entirely sure why that is.

When City of Heavenly Fire came out, I was extremely careful to avoid all spoilers because I didn't want the ending ruined for me. However, I'd had spoilers for all five of the books before. I even know most of what happens in the Infernal Devices, and I haven't even read that trilogy yet. Knowing those spoilers never bothered me, but I became very committed to not seeing any CoHF spoilers before I finished the book. I'm still not entirely sure why I reacted so differently to that book than I had in the past.

I think a lot of it had to do with it being the ending. Knowing what leads up to the ending is one thing, and knowing that doesn't really bother me. I still want the "grand finale" so to speak to be a surprise though. If the Naruto anime finishes before I catch up, I'll probably be more careful about avoiding spoilers. Still, I know spoilers for the ending of the Ouran manga, which I haven't reached yet, and while I'm trying not to learn anymore, I'm not really bothered because all that I know is stuff that I kind of guessed anyway. I guess that makes it less bothering to know.

I do know that I fully support using spoiler warnings. It's a bit hard on the Internet to put spoilery stuff out there and make absolutely sure that you'll keep it away from anyone who doesn't want to see it. Sometimes warnings can only be so useful. I also completely understand that stuff happens on the Internet, and sometimes people are trying to avoid spoilers and people are trying to hide spoilers, yet people will still get spoiled. Still, I'm completely for trying as hard as possible to make sure that only people who want to see spoilers will see spoilers, even if sometimes stuff just happens.

I can both completely understand why someone would want to avoid spoilers and why someone wouldn't care about learning spoilers. As for me, I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle. A lot of the time spoilers don't bother me. I'll even look them up because I can get on the impatient side. Sometimes though, I like to keep the surprise, such as with City of Heavenly Fire, and I avoid spoilers with all that I've got. I'm trying to get more patient though. I don't want to constantly fill the need to Google things when I'm impatient to know something. Not when I could be using that time to actually read or watch more of the story.

It happened last night while I was reading. I started to flip ahead to see how the romance pans out because there seems to be two potential boys for the main character. Then I told myself to stop and that I'd find out in time. Just typing this out right now is making me tempted to go and look again. (I will say that is one advantage of ebooks. It's harder to look ahead when you're tempted.) I'm going to try and make an effort in the future to be more patient with the stories I read and watch. I'll find out the answers in time. I need to be more content with enjoying the story as it comes and not just be anxious to get answers.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Just Posting Some More Quotes, This Time From Avatar: The Last Airbender

Last week I made a post that was just a ton of Ouran quotes, and I decided to do that again only this time with Avatar since Book 3 of Korra airs this week. I'm doing less this time though because that Ouran post took an insane amount of time, and I don't want to do that again. These aren't any ten particular quotes (like my favorites or something). They're just ten quotes that I enjoy and happened to put down first. (Just like last time, I used to Internet to help with wording and all that, so I apologize if some of them are wrong.)

"Without you, all my plans are suddenly possible. I have a vision for the future, Roku." - Sozin

Azula: We have been presented with an extraordinary opportunity, girls.
Ty Lee: Mai finally gets to wear make-up that's not totally depressing?

Toph: You noodlebrains don't have a clue what you're doing. I miss Sokka.
Katara: Ooh! I got one! If you miss him so much, why don't you marry him?

Doc: You know, you're not so bad for a Waterbender.
Sokka: Yeah, you wouldn't mind keeping that a secret, would you?
Doc: No problem. Keeping my mouth shut is a speciality. But my brother, Xu on the other hand, oh, he's a blabbermouth!

Warden: Tell me exactly what you saw.
Captain: Well, Sir, it looked like a flying bison.
Warden: A what?
Guard: It was a giant flying buffalo, Sir, with an empty saddle.
Warden: Which was it? A buffalo or a bison?
Captain: Uh, I'm not sure what the difference is, but that's not really the point is it, Sir?
Warden: I'll decide what the point is, fool!
[Warden throws the Captain over the railing. A scream trails off into nothing as a splash of water is heard. Cut back to the Warden and the remaining guard]
Warden: You! Wake up the Captain. Search the entire rig!
Guard: Sir?
Warden: What!?
Guard: That was the Captain you just threw overboard, sir. So…
Warden: Then wake up someone I haven't thrown overboard and search the rig! There's something going on here and I don't like it.

"The Avatar? My lucky day!" - Azula

Aang: But we thought you were going to the dam. How come you went to the town instead?
Katara: Let me guess, Your instincts told you?
Sokka: Hey, sometimes they're right.
Aang: Uh, Sokka, you know we're going the wrong way right?
Sokka: And sometimes they're wrong.

Warden: No, please! I can't swim!
Tyro: Don't worry. I hear cowards float.

Katara: You mean after all Roku and Sozin went through together, even after Roku showed him mercy, Sozin betrayed him like that?
Toph: It's like these people are born bad.
Aang: No, that's wrong. I don't think that was the point of what Roku showed me at all.
Sokka: Then what was the point?
Aang: Roku was just as much Fire Nation as Sozin was, right? If anything, their story proves anyone is capable of great good and great evil. Everyone, even the Fire Lord and the Fire Nation, have to be treated like they're worth giving a chance. And I think it was about friendships too.
Toph: Do you really think friendships can last more than one lifetime?
Aang: I don't see why not.
Sokka: Well, scientifically speaking there's no way to prove that-
Katara: Oh, Sokka, just hold hands!

Zuko: Out of my way! Step aside, filth!
Iroh: He means no offense! I'm certain you bathe regularly...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Life Post: Editing, Organizing Bookshelves, Korra, and Stuff

My favorite part of this weekend has definitely been being able to sleep in after babysitting last week. It's nice, and I don't have to babysit this weekend, which means that I can look forward to sleeping in this week too. I'm more excited than what is possibly normal.

Saturday was a really productive day. I did some editing on the fanfiction I'm working on right now. I think I'm going to have that all ready to begin posting sometime this week. I have yet to actually get around to working on it today, but I plan to.

In addition to that, I also did some organizing on my bookshelves. I don't think I've mentioned this here on the blog yet, although I've been tweeting about it almost every day. My mom bought two bookshelves for my room, which is something I've wanted for an insanely long time. (Of course she does it when I'm in college and away most of the year.) Now I'm going through the process of sorting through all the books I own and arranging them on the shelves. My room's a mess now because everyone under my bed (i.e. all books) has been pulled out, and I have stacks all over the floor (which is how my room used to be before Jenny moved in anyway) in order to sort them out by series, author, etc. I haven't even started on the boxes and stacks in the closet, so there's a long way to go. I don't even see them all fitting on the shelves. I made some good progress yesterday though, and I plan on making more today.

Yesterday I also drove out to my aunt and uncles. They live in the country, and I'm terrible at driving on those narrow, curvy roads. I made my mom drive back because I just couldn't handle it again. At least I drove for a bit though because I hadn't in a while. Anyway, we were up there for a bit visiting with them, and my aunt gave my mom some green beans and tomato juice as well as some eggs that their chickens laid. We also saw my grandfather's tractor. This tractor is the first one he ever bought, and my uncles (and I think some of my cousins were in on it too) managed to track it down and buy it back from whoever had it. They've restored it now, and I think they're probably going to show it. Apparently one of my cousins wants to actually use the tractor in the fields, but no one else is going to let him. It has too much sentimental value for them.

I'm a bit behind on what I want to get done today, so I need to wrap this up. I still need to edit and organize books and all of that. I'm actually really excited to get to it all. I want to have pretty bookshelves. You have no idea how nerdy I feel over my excitement at finally having bookshelves other than the small one in my closet. I'm also excited to get to editing since I'm so close to finished. Today should be good.

Oh! I can't forget to mention Korra! We got an announcement the other day that the new season starts on Friday! I wasn't expecting that at all, but I'm insanely excited! That means I get to start doing reviews again soon, and we'll have more to talk about! My obsessive use of exclamation points should show how I feel about all this. We have a new trailer that shows Zuko talking too, and since all I've wanted for a while is to see Zuko, I'm pretty much on cloud nine. It's all very exciting.

Well, as I was finishing up this post I got a call asking me to babysit this week, so ignore what I said earlier about getting to sleep in. I was looking forward to a week off, but at least I'll get paid. Honestly, I have mixed feelings, but I think most of my negative ones come from the fact that I've been getting terrible headaches every day I go over there for some reason. Oh, well though.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Book Review: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

ISBN (for th edition picture, which is not the one I read): 0141439807
First published: 1814
Read from June 4th to 19th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
'We have all been more or less to blame ...
every one of us, excepting Fanny'
Taken from the poverty of her parents' home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny's uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry's attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary's dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords' influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen's most profound works.


This is the second Jane Austen book that I've read this summer, and I was really excited to get to another of her books. I knew this was a morality epic, so I was interested in seeing what Austen did with it. However, I'll also admit that it had me wondering if I would enjoy it as much as the other Austen books I have read.

That being said, I actually think that Mansfield Park has been one of my favorites so far. I need to re-read Pride and Prejudice (which I was planning to do anyway) to really see which I like more now I think. I really enjoyed Emma too though, so Mansfield Park didn't beat it out too badly. I can definitely say I enjoyed it a lot more than Sense and Sensibility though.

I think the reason I enjoyed this book so much is because I probably related to Fanny more than any of Austen's other heroines (of the ones I've met so far). While Fanny is supposed to be some symbol of great morals or something in this book, that has nothing to do with why I really related to her. I saw some criticism of Fanny over her personality especially at the beginning of the book. And true that she does seem somewhat unsure of herself and all of that. She's not as confident as many of Austen's other heroines. However, that helped me relate to her, and I definitely think I can find more of myself in Fanny than any other character in Austen's books so far. Besides that, I also think that Fanny's character makes perfect sense considering her position.

Fanny really did grow over the book though, I think, and that made me enjoy her even more. She becomes more confident with herself, and I liked seeing that.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one, and I'm looking forward to getting to another Jane Austen book soon.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Life Post: I'm Really Not Happy with Sleep at the Moment

Two days ago while babysitting I wrote a blog post all about sleep, and I wrote that blog post at the exact same time in the day as I'm writing this one now (that part I swear is a coincidence). Well, I'm going to do that again.

See, I wrote that blog post while extremely tired, but otherwise just fine. Then, as the day went on things went downhill. This is a usual thing for me when I don't get enough sleep, so it wasn't entirely unexpected. Sometime after lunch (between about one and two I think) I started to get both an extremely bad headache and feel nauseous. It only got worse, and those few hours spent babysitting like that felt five times longer than the entire rest of the day. I knew the only way to fix it was by sleeping, but I couldn't because I was babysitting.

Needless to say, when it came time to go to bed last night, I was not going to go through Wednesday again so soon while babysitting today, so I went to bed two hours earlier than normal last night. I rarely do that, so that in and of itself is a sign that I'm desperate to now feel as horrible as I did Wednesday. My body, however, seems to be unable of thinking ahead and wasn't very happy with going to bed early. I laid in bed until basically the time I normally would have gone to bed anyway, which means I really didn't get more sleep than usual.

I'm hopeful that just laying in bed will have helped a little bit. I'm being optimistic because I actually woke up before my alarm this morning, and on Wednesday I actually overslept because I turned off my alarm and was immediately asleep again. I'm hoping that means I'm actually more well rested than I was Wednesday, even if it doesn't feel like it, and I'm hoping I'm well rested enough to avoid the nausea.

All that means that I'm kind of living in horrible fear that I'll start feeling sick here in a few hours. It doesn't help that my allergy medicine doesn't seem to be helping at all, and that typically leads to headaches too. I'm scared the two things will exacerbate each other. Here's hoping for the best though. I'm hoping I'm paranoid over nothing.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Best Day Ever"

I've decided that I throw out the title "best day ever" a lot. At first I wondered if that was a bad thing. Maybe I was cheapening it by declaring so many days the best day ever, but I've decided that I like it. I'd rather have a million best days ever than a million worst days ever. I have plenty of terrible days, but I don't tend to refer to them as the worst days ever the same way I call positive days best days ever. I think that's the most important thing.

It's also not like I'm calling every good day a "best day ever." I do limit my use of the term. Any day I've called best day ever has been a once in a lifetime event, and I can recall all of them now. I think the real trouble would start if I began using the term for every single day that didn't suck. Then we might have a problem.

So, some people may think the term "best day ever" should only be used once, and some may roll their eyes and think I'm a bit overenthusiastic, but I like it. There's nothing wrong with calling attention to those once in a lifetime days, even if there may actually be more than one of them. I like the positivity of thinking they're all "best day ever" days. It helps remind me of all the awesome experiences I've gotten to have.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Let Me Just Post Some Ouran Quotes

I wanted to write a blog post, but I'm tired and not really capable of putting much thought into anything. For that reason, I'm going to share with you some of my favorite quotes from Ouran High School Host Club because I started rewatching it in the middle of the night a couple of nights ago, and it's one of the only things I can think about. These aren't in any particular order or anything. They're just random. (These may wind up being from either the anime or the manga. I'm not limiting it to either one.) I'm mostly getting exact quotes from other places online, so I apologize if they end up being off somehow. I can't write most of them completely from memory.

"I hate these damn rich people!" - Haruhi

"You're a hero to other poor people Fujioka! You've shown the world that even a poor person can excel in an elite private academy. It must be hard for you to constantly be looked down upon by others. Spurned, neglected! But that doesn't matter now. Long live the poor! We welcome you poor man to our world of beauty!" - Tamaki

"Sempai, stop growing mushrooms in other people's closets!" - Haruhi

"Quick! Everyone in your PE sitting positions! The commoners invented this exercise in order to save space!" - Tamaki

"I'll put on a more macho front next time. That's what I'll do. Yeah!" - Haruhi

"Well, then he's lucky because our club is full of dummies." - Kyoya

"Forgive my rudeness, but to hide your true self and make a vain display. I think that's just running away from reality. To know what you are really like, and acknowledge it... a positive thinking of enjoying yourself... isn't that what true strength is?" - Tamaki

"Haruhi. Ootoro doesn't taste like this at all. You have been deceived." - Mori

"Someday, Hikaru will want to take the next step on his own. And when he realizes that, I don't know what I'll do." - Kaoru

"It was my fault. It was my carelessness that led to Mitsukuni's cavity. I forgot to tell him to brush his teeth before napping. Twice." - Mori

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry, Takashi! I won't forget to brush my teeth again! I won't forget." - Honey

"But why do you look so stupid!? It's as if you're a light-headed narcissist! Useless! Too ordinary!" - Renge

"I'm okay with anything as long as it doesn't harm me." - Kyoya

Tamaki: I'm sorry, but Honey-senpai is on a long-time lease to Mori-senpai right now, so I can't let you borrow him.
Honey: Is Tama-chan telling the truth? Are you renting me!?

Haruhi: The day before school started, one of the kids in my neighborhood got some gum in my hair. It's a real pain to get gum out of long hair, so I decided to cut it all off. I didn't care if I looked like a dude, you know.
Tamaki: Hosts should never refer to ourselves as a "dude!" Mama! Haruhi's using those dirty boy words again.
Kaoru: I'm sorry, but who is "Mama?"
Kyoya: Based on club position, I assume it's me.

"We've had enough of this! You're both to blame for this fight! Hika-chan and Kao-chan, I want you to make up and go halfsies on this cake, okay? But, I want to have a piece too, so I guess we're gonna have to go thirdsies. We're not going to be able to split the strawberry on top though. What should we do? Maybe I should just take it. After all, strawberries are my favorite. Oh, I forgot to ask, Hika-chan, Kao-chan, do you like strawberries?" - Honey

"That's enough, you two. Leave assault and battery to the professionals." - Kyoya

"Let's go to my place and play video games all night long!" - Renge

"Haru-chan, there's tupperware too! Do you want to bring some home?" - Honey

" If you think about it, he will never be Haruhi's female practice partner because of their height." - Kaoru

 "Stop imagining weird stuff! Thats why you keep getting called a pervert!" - Haruhi

Tamaki: With the blindfold on you can't see anything, and the earplugs help muffle any sound!
Haruhi: Wow! You're right!
Hikaru: You nasty pervert.
Tamaki: AH!!
Kaoru: What kind of foreplay is that?!
Tamaki: It's...not like that! It's not what you think!

"This is the so-called "I'm-very-near-you-guys-but-I'm-not-going-to-look-at-you" childish method of quarreling." - Kyoya

Host Club: Haruhi-chan! Please come out to play!
Ranka: (opens door, no make up on, obviously annoyed at having been woken up)
Host Club: (run away)
Tamaki: Sorry. Wrong house.

"They are still connected where they should be connected." - Mori

"Yeah, Hikaru will have the same. We always have the same tastes, we always like the same thing. It would have been good if there were two... exactly the same, like these two cans of fruit juice... But what do we do when there's only one and we both want it?" - Kaoru

"(with puppy eyes) Woof!" - Tamaki

Nekozawa: But I thought you were against the occult.
Renge: It's okay for fiction. It's not okay for fashion.

"I have a daunting task. I must paint the perfect picture on a canvas that has already been placed inside a magnificent frame." - Kyoya

"If senpai thought of me as a guy, I figured that was okay with me. Probably my consciousness of being a guy or a girl is lower than other people." - Haruhi

"Your mama wears too much makeup! That's it! We're over!" - Hikaru and Kaoru

"That idiot! I'm going to kill him! (after hearing the PA that describes him as a child)" - Kyoya

"All right! The Low Blood Pressure Evil Lord has given his approval! Fellow subjects! Let's dress up the evil lord and bring him to the car!" - Tamaki

"This person is so evil it actually makes him look refreshing for some reason." - Haruhi

Hikaru: And another thing, how come this stupid script portrays Kaoru as the pitcher?
Kaoru: Yeah...
Haruhi: What does that mean?
Hikaru and Kaoru: If you don't know, nevermind.

"Somebody! Bring fancy tuna here quick!" - Tamaki

I got so caught up in this and spent way too much time on it, so that's all I'm going to do. I've seriously been doing this for more than an hour. Whoops. I meant to be quick. Oh, well. I love Ouran, so getting a chance to laugh over these again was fun.

Life Post: All I Can Think About is Sleep

Babysitting is like a reminder of what school's like. I'm actually waking up earlier to babysit than I ever would at school because I can only schedule classes as early as eight, but I have to be here to babysit earlier than that most days. Needless to say, I'm not getting as much sleep as I should be. Luckily, I only ever have to babysit every other day, so I can use the off days to sleep more, even if it doesn't seem like enough. It's also looking like it's going to alternate weeks every time this summer, so I have entire weeks of catching up on sleep. Still, the actual days of babysitting are tough to stay awake during.

It doesn't help that the kids are still asleep every time I get here. Right now, for instance, they're sleeping as I write this post. Even the dog is curled up on the couch, but that's not really out of the ordinary. It definitely makes me wish that I could be sleeping too.

I don't want to sound like a complainer though. Babysitting over all is easy, and I manage to get a lot of writing down most days while I'm here. I'm definitely not complaining about making some money. Right now though it's early in the morning (earlier than I'd be awake otherwise), and sleep is all I seem to be capable of thinking about. I keep zoning out and going into this half asleep state, so thinking about other things at the moment is a bit difficult. I'm sure I'll wake up in a few hours though. I'll be tired all day, but it shouldn't be like this.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Review: The Harm in Asking by Sara Barron

ISBN: 0307720705
Published: March 25th, 2014 (first published July 9th, 2013)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Read from June 4th to 16th, 2014
Synopsis from publisher:
Welcome to the perverse and hilarious mind of Sara Barron. In The Harm in Asking, she boldly addresses the bizarre indignities of everyday life: from invisible pets to mobster roommates, from a hatred of mayonnaise to an unrequited love of k.d. lang, from the ruinous side effect of broccoli to the sheer delight of a male catalogue model. In a voice that is incisive and entirely her own, Barron proves herself the master of the awkward, and she achieves something wonderful and rare: a book that makes you laugh out loud. Simply put: if you read it, you will never be the same.*
*That's not true. You'll probably stay the same. But you'll have laughed a lot. And you'll have learned a fun fact about Jessica Simpson's home spray. See? You didn't even know she had a home spray! The learning has already begun. 


I was interested in this book because I hadn't read much humor before and wanted to try it out. I'd say this book was enjoyable, but I don't think I found it as funny as it was trying to be. There were parts throughout the book where I'd be amused, but I don't think I ever laughed or had a desire to laugh for the majority of the book.

The beginning of the book was harder to get through for me than the rest of the book. The primary reason for that is I found the author a bit too annoying to find amusing in the earlier chapters. It wasn't an "I can't stand her" kind of thing, but it definitely was an "I don't really care about reading all of this" thing. Since the stories go more or less in chronological order, the author is younger in the earlier stories, I suppose that can be an excuse for that. I'm not sure if it was maturing as the stories went on or just that I got used to it, but the latter stories didn't have the same sort of annoyance.

Overall, I didn't love this book or even "like" it necessarily, but I did think it was okay. Reading it wasn't really a waste of time, and I never considered not finishing it. I think the biggest thing is that the humor in the book is only going to appeal to certain people. It's definitely not a sort of humor that a lot of different people will get amusement out of. I'd recommend checking the book out more before you read it in order to see if it's a type of humor that you would enjoy.

You can read the first chapter of the book here.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Life Post: Sleep in the Summer

I'm babysitting again today. I've only been here about twenty minutes or so, and I'm insanely tired. Actually babysitting isn't hard at all, but waking up so early is definitely the hardest part. I should be going to bed early on days I babysit, but that never actually happens. This week I'm babysitting every other day, and I'm slightly worried that by the end of it I'll have lost it over lack of sleep.

The problem isn't really how early it is but what time of year it is. I adjusted into a summer sleep schedule where my body can't seem to process that I need to be asleep at a certain time. I go to bed really late on some school nights too, but overall, I'm more aware of what hour have to wake up at in the morning. This is different, and since it's summer, I can't get myself to sleep at all. Hopefully I'll adjust more each time I babysit and I'll actually be able to sleep.

In good news, the dog didn't bark when I came in, so that's a huge improvement. He really is extremely sweet once he gets to know you, and I'm really glad he seems to be over the getting to know me part.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Supernatural Review: First Half of Season Two

I'm finally actually doing a review before I've gone farther than the episodes that the review is for. That's more because I've had actually no time to watch more episodes though than it is that I've actually done this quickly after finishing this set of episodes.

I feel like a lot more happened in these eleven episodes than I'd even realized until now when I'm looking back over my notes. It seems like ages since Sam and Dean's date died, but in reality I'm only ten episodes after that.

As usual, I'm at somewhat of a loss over what to say. I really think I need to start separating these reviews into smaller chunks like I did with Naruto because this isn't going so well. I may be doing that in the future.

Overall, I really enjoyed these episodes. As always, I have to comment on the fact that they went to Indiana (Lafayette in particular) because I always find that cool. At one point, Dean describes Lafayette as a "real funky town" or something along those lines. I've never actually been to Lafayette, but I thought that was hilarious.

There was also a Myspace reference in episode eight of this season that I found hilarious because it really dates that episode. Sam acts like Dean should know what that is when these days I can just picture younger people watching that episode and not getting it either. That joke ended up being funny in a way it wasn't even intended to be.

Recently none of the episodes have been freaking me out or anything, but I have to say that the last episode I watched (the eleventh in the season) kind of did. I'm not sure if it was the dolls or just the ghost or what, but something in that episode had me really freaked out for at least the next day after watching the episode.

I think that's all I really have to say on these episodes. I'd be expecting the next review to be over a smaller amount of episodes, so that should also mean it'll be up sooner than it would be otherwise. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of season two.

Life Post: Summer Break Isn't for Resting

I always think that summer break is going to be full of a lot of time to rest, and then summer comes and I get no rest at all because it's so busy. I'm not complaining though because most of it is really great. However, this next week is set to be a long one. I haven't gotten much sleep for at least half a week at this point, and I'm babysitting three days this week, which means very little sleep this week. I have a strong feeling that I am going to be extremely tired by next weekend.

I'm already exhausted actually after the concert Friday. I still haven't recovered, and my ears are still ringing. I'm really nervous about whether or not that's going to go away anytime soon. That was the best night ever though, and I'm still on a high about it.

I have a lot to get done today since I won't have time tomorrow with babysitting, so I'm off to get to all of that. A lot of it is stuff I should have done yesterday but couldn't thanks to my computer nearly dying on me. It was a scary moment, but thankful it's working again now. Fingers crossed it manages to last for quite a while longer. I'd have a huge problem if it doesn't.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Life Post: Birthday Bash (i.e. Seeing Little Mix)

Where do I even begin? Yesterday was unbelievably amazing. We got into the arena and realized that our seats were actually second row instead of fourth, and although we were as far off to the side as you could get on floor, our view was insanely good.

Icona Pop and Karmin were the first two acts, and while I only knew a couple of their songs, both did an amazing job. I definitely think I became fans of both groups after seeing them perform. It was really awesome.

Josh Kaufman was after that, and he wasn't on stage for that long. Plus, he had a bit of trouble with the technology. He seemed kind of nervous, which is completely understandable considering he hasn't been performing like that for long. He's insanely talented though, and I look forward to seeing what he does in the future. I think it's awesome that he's from Indianapolis.

Then it was Little Mix's turn, and that was, of course, the entire reason I was there. Oh my God, guys. They were unbelievably amazing. I can't even get over the fact that it happened. Like I said, our view was incredible. It wasn't like One Direction or anything where we were far back and all of that. I could actually make out the girls' facial expressions and everything throughout the entire thing. I've never been to a concert like that, and it was the most incredible time ever.

As soon as Salute (the first song they performed) was over and the girls started talking, my sister leaned over and shouted (resulting in just barely being heard) that their accents were cute, which is so true. I already knew that from seeing them in Indy last year, but I feel like I need to say it again. It's not that they sound different in person, but there is some sort of aspect to their voices (both singing and talking) that you don't get through recordings. Each time I've heard them in person it's struck me how adorable they talk because it's not quite the same as watching them in a video.

Speaking of my sister though, she's now a Little Mix fan! She used to go on about hating them, but before the concert I think I'd managed to warm her up to a "they're okay" sort of thing. Once Little Mix had finished though, my sister told me that she was now a fan, and we were talking about that in the car during our ride home too. I'm really happy about that. Honestly, I don't think you can see Little Mix perform live and not fall in love with them. They're insanely talented, and while you can see that a thousand different ways, it really hits you when you watch them perform. It's just insane.

One of the best parts (if I can even choose a best part about seeing Little Mix) was that we got to sing Jesy happy birthday. I'm so, so excited about that, and I can't even believe it happened. I wasn't expecting them to acknowledge it because her birthday is actually today (the day after the concert). However, it was already her birthday in England by the time they were on stage, so I'm considering that as counting. At any rate, the girls brought it up and got us all to sing. It was amazing.

The girls all looked so happy too. You can tell they're in their element when they're on stage, and they were all smiling and happy. It was the best. I should stop gushing though. My sister filmed bits, including the happy birthday and them singing Wings, so I'm really happy to have that, and I'm going to put it up on Youtube once it all finishes uploading right now.

Austin Mahone and Jason Derulo were both good too. I'm not a big fan of either, but they're each good performers. It was fun.

I'm still just really happy about it all. I'll definitely be remembering that night forever. My ears are still ringing really badly too, so I wonder when I'll have my complete hearing back. It was worth it though. Last night was the best.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Life Post: A Lot of Waiting and Excitement

Yesterday was a long day. After my sister's doctor's appointment where I posted from the waiting room, we had to pass a bunch of time in Evansville before we both had a dermatologist appointment. We went and ate lunch, but then I had to sit there and wait for my sister to get her eyebrows done too. There was a lot of waiting, and my phone's battery did not appreciate it at all.

The dermatologist appointment went well though, and I now have a longer wait between appointments because we seem to have found a treatment that works. Having to go to the doctor less is always a plus, even if all he does it look at my face and ask a few questions anyway. I was insanely tired of having my medicine switched up every time too, so here's hoping this keeps working for the foreseeable future. You never know.

I'm trying to refrain myself from going on a long rant about my excitement over the Birthday Bash being in two days. (Two days!!! I get to see Little Mix again in two days!!!) It's not so much that I don't want to go on the rant. It's just that I've already started shaking since I started this paragraph. I get just a little too excited every time I think about it.

Oh, other exciting news that doesn't cause me to completely lose it: my Sorry I'm Late CD and signed Cher poster came in the mail yesterday! I'm so happy. It got delayed because I guess Cher hadn't signed the posters yet. It's a really nice poster though. It's thick like cardboard as opposed to the thin paper ones that frustrate me, and she signed in purple, which is my favorite color. I am so in love with it, and I'm really happy. I have no where to hang it in my room, so I don't know when I'll put it up somewhere, but I'm still really happy about it.

Not So Scary Anymore

I have a complicated relationships with ghosts. If you were to ask me if I believed in them, I would just flat out say no, but if you put me somewhere dark and started to tell me a scary story, it would be very easy to get me to believe that something was going to come out at me. At least, it used to be like that. I actually think I'm becoming less easy to scare, which I have to say makes me rather glad.

I avoided scary movies like the plague for most of my life, but over the years I would see one here or one there. They really don't bother me anymore, and I've found that they never actually succeed in freaking me out more than the slightest bit, even if I watch them at night. I still don't seek out horror movies, although I will watch somewhat creepy stuff on my own. Supernatural is a good example because a few years ago I would have never willingly watched that show, but now I really enjoy it.

I don't know if the reason for this is just growing up or if I managed to see enough scary movies that I was just desensitized. I do remember the first time I actually realized that things that used to be scary weren't so much, and that actually revolved around haunted houses. If I hated scary movies, then I used to despise haunted houses. I never went in one, and I had no desire to. Then, when I was in high school and my brother was in middle school, his class got together to go out to these two haunted houses around Halloween. I can't remember why exactly I decided to go with them, but I think it had something to do with wanting to see if I was actually brave enough to go in.

I was pretty much terrified as we paid and walked to the entrance because even that area was so terrifying that I couldn't imagine what was farther in. Then our group had to be split in two, and they cut us off right in front of me. Yep. I was utterly terrified, and I was no being charged with leading the rest of us through the house. There was no one to cower behind. I basically freaked, and the only adult who remained with us stepped forward. There was no way I was going first. Still, I was second, and the only kids left with us were a group of middle school girls. (We really weren't split in half. Our group was actually really small.) The next thing I know, I'm now second in line, but I have two girls gripping either arm in a death grip with even more trailing off of them. Getting through that haunted house was a struggle, but by about five steps in it wasn't because I was scared. Instead, I could hardly walk because I had a group of preteen girls pulling me back. I was so focused on just being able to walk (I had bruises on my arms after that day.) that I couldn't even bother being scared by my surroundings. The entire experience completely took away any fear of haunted houses I had harbored, and I went through the second one with no problems.

When I think about it, that experience probably bled itself over into being less frightened of horror books or horror movies as well. My blood phobia still causes some problems while trying to watch or read certain things, but that's really the only thing that bothers me. Even if I don't seek the stuff out, I feel much more distanced from the stuff and able to rationally remember that it's fiction.

It's left me feeling a lot more at ease at night too. I was scared of the dark much longer than most people, and I used to have such a strong fear that our house was haunted whenever it so much as creaked at night. (My sister's insistence that there was, in fact, a ghost in our house didn't help.) Now I may get the prickly feeling of slight fear every so often, but it's much easier to push away and sleep without worrying.

If you had told me before that I would eventually not find that sort of stuff scary, I wouldn't have believed you. After all, my family went to a supposedly haunted library once, and while I was using the restroom, my sister convinced me that the draft from the air conditioning was a ghost, which resulted to me yelling. In a library. In the middle of the day. Needless to say, I was very easy to scare, so I never thought I'd be able to actually sit through a scary movie and laugh at the cheesiness instead of jumping at everything. I have to say that I'm happy with the change.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Life Post: Little Kids are Cute

I'm currently sitting in the waiting room of a doctor's office, and it's not me who has the appointment. It's my sister. She hasn't even gone back yet either, so I'm in for a long wait out here. I'm not looking forward to it. If I was smart, I would have bright my kindle, but I didn't want to lug it around, which means only my phone to occupy me.

I'm here because the two of us actually have another appointment with the dermatologist after this, so I had to come with her to this one too. We'll probably be in Evansvillefor a long time because of the length between appointments and everything though, so most if my day will probably be here. We have to figure out how to occupy time between appointments too other than eating lunch. We'll see what happens.

I'm wrapping this up now because I hate writing on my iPhone. I keep making typos. Here's hoping I caught them all.

Okay. Nevermind. One last thing: there are a ton of little kids here because it's a pediatrician, and two toddlers are talking to each other about their baby siblings. That was unbelievably adorable.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

ISBN: 9781481426305
Published: May 27th, 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Read from May 28th to June 3rd, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.
The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?
When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...
Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!


I've been debating for a while what to actually say in this review, particularly since I want to keep it spoiler free. For the most part, I just want to jump up and down and rant on and on in a way that would basically turn into a long recount of every single moment in the books. I guess that tells you something: I loved this book.

I thought this book tied up the series amazingly, and that's really all I think that needs to be said in the long run. I'm actually amazed because, while I usually enjoy endings of series, I feel like the last book always gets a decent amount of hate from some fans. I haven't seen that with this one. Everyone seems happy with it, and I know exactly why. This was just the way things needed to be wrapped up.

I'm happy that we'll be seeing at least some of the characters again in the next trilogy that's set in this universe. I was really sad about leaving these characters behind, so I like knowing there will be a bit more with them in the future. Oh, and we're getting Simon short stories, which has me unbelievably excited.

If you've read the other Mortal Instruments books and just not this one yet, then you're crazy and need to get to this book now. If you haven't read any of the series, then you need to get to that now too. It's weird to think about the journey I went on with this series because I was absolutely convinced I wouldn't like it much at first, and now it's definitely one of my absolute favorites. I'm so happy it had such a fantastic, emotional conclusion.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 166-170

I was a pretty big fan of these episodes. They (with the exception of 170) were incredibly intense, and I loved every second of it.

I particularly loved that we got to see Hinata confess her feelings for Naruto, and in addition to that, we got a flashback to them when they were younger. I thought that was adorable. From Hinata being told multiple times that she shouldn't associate with Naruto to Naruto saving Hinata from the bullies. It was all just so sweet, and it made me feel really happy about how things have gone for Naruto sense then.

Naruto's reaction to it all was probably the best part. For a while Naruto was just staring with this look of blank shock or something, as if he had no idea how to take all of this in. I'm pretty sure it's the only time something has actually caused Naruto to be that speechless, and that was overwhelmingly emotional for me. You can tell how much it affected him too because the Nine-Tails came out.

I thought the combination of the Nine-Tails and the Sage Mode was interesting, and I enjoyed seeing both used within the same story. It kind of emphasized again for me how powerful Naruto is, and that was even more obvious once he learns that his father was the Fourth Hokage. I've been waiting to finally get to the point in the story where Naruto learns that, so I was really excited to get to that episode. I have to say, I was really happy with how it was done. The crying and getting angry definitely seemed like a realistic reaction, and I can't even imagine how Naruto was feeling after all of the Hinata stuff and then that.

I also don't have much to say on this topic, but I wanted to briefly mention that I liked a lot of the interaction between all of the characters in these episodes. I don't know what it was, just the heightened emotions I suppose, that made almost every exchange in these episodes a great one for me.

Naruto, being the awesome and increasingly powerful person that he is, manages to find out where the real Pain is, and he goes to confront him. We haven't gotten too far into that yet, so I don't have much to say other than that I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.

I'm not so sure how I feel about the little "break" that is episodes 170 and 171. (I have watched 171, but I'll save specific talk of it until next review.) Maybe it's a good thing they put a break in between all the tension of the other episodes, but personally I'm not a huge fan. Still, that didn't stop be from feeling a bit nostalgic over how young they all are, and I thought it was a cute, if mostly pointless, episode. The only thing is that I kind of wish Sasuke had interacted with the others more. As the episode stood, it just kind of seemed like the showed him for a few seconds to try and get people excited, but then nothing really comes of it.

Overall, I loved this group of episodes, and I'm really excited to keep watching and see how the story goes!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life Post: First Thoughts on Babysitting and Can't Get Over City of Heavenly Fire

I started babysitting yesterday. It wasn't terrible, but it also didn't go as well as it could have. I kind of got sick towards the end of the day, and I'll just say that from there on out, things weren't so good. I'm also still a nervous wreck about it, and I feel so out of place in their house. I babysit again tomorrow, so here's hoping it keeps getting less scary. I also hope I stop feeling so bored. I take stuff over there to do and everything, but there's just something about being there that makes me feel like I'm not doing anything.

Anyway, that and left over feelings from City of Heavenly Fire is just about all I'm thinking about at the moment. With The Fault in Our Stars movie coming out tomorrow and the Birthday Bash in a little more than a week, I should be all excited over them, but any break I take from anxiousness over babysitting is focused on still freaking out over CoHF. I just can't help it. That book was amazing.

The Name Tag

Not for the first time, I've decided to take a Youtube tag (or in this case more specifically a Booktube tag) and do it here on my blog instead. I had originally meant to make a video on my channel, but I've been so bad at making videos lately that it was taking too long to get around to.

I have no idea who started this. If someone knows, please let me know so I can credit them here. The purpose of the tag is to take your first name and find books that start with each letter of your name that have some sort of meaning to you. Since my name is Haley, I'm going to list five books (or series, which might technically be cheating) that start with each letter that are important to me.

H: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone (i.e. the Harry Potter series) by J.K. Rowling. I think it's fitting that the first letter of my name is also the first letter of Harry's name and, therefore, the entire series. All of the books start off "Harry Potter and the..." so I think I can safely combine them all here with it only being cheating a little bit. Harry Potter has definitely affected my life more than any other books. I've always loved reading, but Harry Potter was something else entirely. The first story I ever wrote was Harry Potter fanfiction too, so I think I can contribute my love for writing to Harry Potter.

A: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I almost chose Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen for this to kind of represent all Sarah Dessen books, as they were what really got me reading young adult. However, Part-Time Indian is one of my all-time favorite books, so I had to choose it. Since it's a more recent read, I can't give any stories about it really affecting my childhood. Still, I love how this book is able to portray a story so honestly, even it's really terrible bits, but do it with an amazing sense of humor. Plus, it's always nice to read books that are coming from an entirely different background than what you've experience.

L: Little House in the Big Woods (i.e. the Little House series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Along with Harry Potter, the Little House series kind of defined my childhood. Harry Potter got me into fantasy books and writing, but Little House got me interested in history. (Fun fact: I was a history minor until the workload became so full that I wouldn't graduate on time unless I dropped it.) Being intrigued by pioneers led to wanting to learn about all parts of history, but I still have a particular fondness for the 19th century thanks to Little House.

E: Endless Magic (i.e. the Star-Crossed series) by Rachel Higginson. This is another one of my favorite series, but I read it once in college. I don't have any stories about how it affected my childhood or really my life at large, but I can say that I love the series. This is also the originally stopping point of the series (although it's sense been expanded much to my happiness), and I love endings. I can say that this was one of the first series I read that was self-published, and it kind of introduced me to that entire concept.

Y: Your Novel, Day by Day by Mary Anna Evans (i.e. the only book I seem to have read whose title starts with a "y"). I don't really have much to say about this one, since the only reason I chose it is because I had no other "y" books. I do remember liking this book though, and I guess it can represent my love for writing.

Feel free to comment with books that have impacted you somehow that start with the letters of your name (or link to where you do this tag). I'd be interested in hearing your answers.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Book Review: Emma by Jane Austen

ISBN:  0307386848
Published: May 16th, 2012 (first published 1815)
Publisher: Amazon
Read from May 11th to 27th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
'I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.'
Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work.


This is one of those books where it's hard to really say anything in a review because it's a classic. Clearly, it's a good book. I randomly stumbled on most of Jane Austen's novels being free for the Kindle, and spontaneously decided that I was going to try and read them all this summer. Emma was the first one I picked up. I'd read Pride and Prejudice in middle school (and seen the Keira Knightley movie multiple times) and Sense and Sensibility in high school, and I was interested in seeing how I would feel about Jane Austen now.

I ended up enjoying Emma just as I had the other two Jane Austen books that I read. There is a shallowness to her books, which is something that only becomes clearer to me as I get older, but the books are also very aware of their shallowness, which is what makes it enjoyable to me. The books are great at examining the culture they are set in, and I find that culture both fascinating and frustrating at times. The frustration in Emma definitely came through for me in the way that Emma focused on people's class. She is very clear at the beginning of the novel that if Harriet marries someone of a certain status, they will never be able to be friends again. As someone coming from a different time, such an outlook really angered me, even though I knew that it was realistic to the time period.

Honestly, even though that was a bit frustrating, I really did like Emma as a character. I'd read before that she was supposed to be unlikeable, and while I found her a bit irritating, I did care for her and want things to turn out the best for her. I think that was only helped by Mrs. Elton's presence later in the novel. While Emma and Mrs. Elton strike me as very similar in many way, Mrs. Elton was far more unlikeable to me, perhaps just because of the narration. At any rate, she made Emma a far more likeable character as far as I'm concerned, and I found myself sympathizing with Emma more and more as I read, even though there was never a point where I completely disliked her.

I did really enjoy this book, and it made me look forward to reading more of Jane Austen's novels this summer. While it's a bit on the shallow side, it's enjoyable, and I enjoy exploring what life was like for women of Emma's status in this time period. It's shallowness really indicates a lot about what women who were at least relatively well off were concerned with and what their lives were like, and I think that's what fascinates me the most about Austen's books.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Life Post: Almost Finished with CoHF and Starting Babysitting

There are only two things that have been on my mind all day: 1. Whenever I get time tonight, I'm going to finish reading City of Heavenly Fire. I will finally know how the series ends. The idea of being so close is driving me crazy. 2. I learned last night that I'm going to start babysitting the neighbors' kids tomorrow, and I'm really nervous about it. I feel awkward being in the houses of people I don't know very well, and now I'll be over there for the entire day. It's nerve-wracking to me. I'm also a bit nervous that one of the kids won't behave well because his mom seems nervous about it. Let's hope for the best I suppose.

Anyway, I wanted to get all of that out, but I still need to write about a 1000 words today before I can even start thinking about reading City of Heavenly Fire, so I need to get to work.

The Fault in Our Stars movie release: 3 days
How to Train Your Dragon 2 movie release: 10 days
Birthday Bash/Little Mix concert: 10 days

Book Review: Heaven is for Real Movie Edition by Todd Burpo

ISBN: 0849922070
Published: March 4th, 2014 (originally published November 2nd, 2010)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Read from May 10th to 27th, 2014
Synopsis from publisher:
“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said.“Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
When four-year-old Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the following months—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.
This true story, retold by his father but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”
Heaven is for Real will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe like a child.
Bonus material in this special movie edition includes:

  • Photos from the movie set
  • Updates from father, Todd, and son, Colton, on recent events including the making-of-the-movie experience
  • “From the Set” Q&A’s with the movie’s filmmakers and actors


This book is the story of the Burpo family whose son Colton had a burst appendix when he was four years old. Later on, Colton tells his parents that he was in heaven and starts sharing with them some of the things he saw there. This book is the story of Colton's parents trying to learn more about heaven through Colton's stories.

Reviewing this book is going to be difficult. First of all, I will say that I enjoyed the writing throughout the book. It was written in a way that was easy to follow and interesting enough to hold my attention. That alone really made me want to like the book.

However, I didn't really like the book. I'll preface this by saying that I was pretty disbelieving of the entire story before I even started reading the book. However, I was also intrigued enough to want to hear it all. In the end, I wasn't convinced at all that Colton really went to heaven. That being said, I don't think the Burpos are lying. I think Colton really believes he went to heaven, and I think the Burpos really believe he went there too. However, nothing Colton says actually convinces me he did.

I believe it's far more likely that Colton was always told that when you die you go to heaven, and when he was in such a scary situation, he really did imagine he was in heaven to a degree that he thought was real. After all, the doctors never tell the Burpos that Colton actually died for any length of time, even though his situation was very serious. The book likes to make claims over and over again (almost as if they're pounding it into you) that Colton couldn't have learned this one piece of information because he was so young and what young kid has reached this level of theological understanding. That makes no sense to me though. Colton's dad is a preacher. I know without a doubt that there was a ton of religious discussion going on around Colton from the time he was born. Sure, most of it went straight to his subconscious, and he probably couldn't have pulled it up on his own. However, stuff in the subconscious can come to your conscious at the strangest of times, and I'm pretty sure the fear Colton felt and his subsequent imagings of heaven would be more than enough to help him suddenly remember the variety of things he'd heard and dismissed over his lifetime.

Overall, I enjoyed the writing style of the book, but as for the actual argument that Colton went to heaven, the book only strengthened my feelings that he didn't. There are just too many other explanations that make far more sense to me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> 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.”

Monday, June 2, 2014

Reign Review: Season 1 Episode 22: "Slaughter of Innocence"

It's been more than two weeks, but I'm finally reviewing the Reign season one finale. Here's hoping I didn't forget anything. I will say right off the bat that the finale concluded a lot of stuff that I thought would carry over to the next season, but that's fine because they still have plenty of loose ends to cover.

Mary decides she's going to wear the English coat of arms as a statement that she's claiming the throne of England without her actually having to say that. I kind of cringed at that because it's a horrible idea, and I was much happier when Mary was writing to her cousin Elizabeth to show her support. I know a lot of people don't like learning about historical stuff because they're scared it'll spoil the show, but we all know who Elizabeth is right? I mean, she's queen while Shakespeare's writing his plays. We all know that Elizabeth will be queen for far too long for Mary's claims to work. I don't think that's a secret to anyone at all. So, with that historical perspective, I'm sure we can all see that Mary claiming the throne is a horrible idea.

I do love that Mary is stepping up into her role as queen though. Believe me, I do enjoy that. I just wish she was doing it without claiming the English crown.

Man, did Henry get creepy this episode. The thing is though, even though all of this stuff is because he's going crazy, it also still seemed kind of in character. I doubt Henry would have tried to steal his son's wife if he were sane, but still, trying to get all of the women he can has kind of been a theme with Henry even before he was crazy. It was hard to watch the scene where he was sitting in between Catherine and Mary and you could see both of their reactions to what he was doing. It was just painful. What really got me was that he really seemed to think Mary was interested in him.

We finally get to meet "The Darkness" and it's just a normal man. I think it's nice that they played that the way they did. People at that time really would have believed in magic the way people on the show do, so giving the audience that same sort of "is magic real or is it not" feel really helped but that sort of thought into perspective, yet in the end it wasn't magic and the show remained realistic.

Where do I even begin with addressing the couples?

Kenna and Sebastian are adorable as always. I love how they've made the best of their situation and really grown to care about each other. It's cute.

My heart is kind of breaking for Greer and Leith. I want so badly for them to be together, but I was expecting the problems with her already being engaged. What I really want to have happen is for Greer to open up to Lord Castleroy and for him to let her be with Leith because he truly cares about her. I know there are still issues with Leith not actually having a title, but with Francis now king after Henry's death, I feel like that's a problem that could easily be fixed in the future. I do want Lord Castleroy to be happy though because he's a nice guy, so I hope things work out for him. At any rate, I don't think Greer is going to marry Lord Castleroy and that'll be the end of it. This love triangle is going to carry over and continue to be a story, I'm sure of it.

Lola goes into labor in some random woman's house (poor woman), and Mary tells Francis that it's his child. I'm glad that's out in the open because I didn't think it would be this season. He deserves to know though, and while I'm sure this will be played for drama, I think overall everyone will be okay.

I am a bit concerned that there's now a plaque and Lola and Francis are locked outside the castle though. Random idea that came out of nowhere: what if the kid gets the plaque and dies? This isn't really a "I think that will happen" thing, but it's an idea that just occurred to me. That would be a lot of drama, and it would get rid of a future source of drama at the same time. I'm not sure if I want the show to do that because it almost seems like a copout, but who knows. Oh, wait. What if Lola gets the plaque and then dies, leaving the child to Francis and Mary to raise? I think that option actually has more potential now that I think about it. I'm pretty sure that kid doesn't exist historically, but neither did Sebastian, so the kid being raised by Francis and Mary seems likely to me. Plus, didn't Nostradamus's one vision involve Mary and Francis discussing a kid, so the kid probably lives.

Okay. Moving on from all that brainstorming. The only other thing I can think of to talk about is that Henry's dead and Francis is now king. I was just waiting for this to happen, so I'm not really surprised. The only thing that I find kind of annoying is that we never learned the source of Henry's madness, and now I doubt we ever will. That irritates me quite a bit because I'd really like an explanation, but I suppose there's nothing I can do about it.

I look forward to when season two starts and we get to learn more. I'm particularly anxious to see what happens with Greer and Leith. I'm hoping for the best.

Life Post: CoHF Feelings and Writing a New Story

I have six chapters and the epilogue left of City of Heavenly Fire, and I'm in this constant state of anticipation over the ending. I'm not going to post spoilers here, but I have this very strong need to just rant about the book, which isn't very useful. A blog post or Youtube video would be odd when I'm not finished with the book but only several chapters in. I'm starting to think it would have been interesting to film myself at different intervals of the book and combined it into one video, but it's kind of late for that. I can't tweet anything either though because there's no way to conceal spoilers or warn people well over Twitter. I'm just settling for having long periods of freaking out in my room by myself. I seriously had this entire internal rant about something the other day. I just have so many feelings over this book.

I'd be reading it now except I started writing a new story today. It's not "new" per se. It's part of a series of stories that I've been working on for at least a year at this point but even longer if we want to go back to the short story I wrote in eighth grade that's the basis for the entire thing. This is the third story, and I outlined it last week. I'm a couple of thousand words in right now after starting this morning. I want to get at least another thousand today too. I'm trying to hold off on reading City of Heavenly Fire until then.

Also, I think I wrote on here already that I was taking the weekends off writing now, but I don't think I've mentioned yet that it looks like I'm going to have a summer job babysitting our neighbor. It should be easy enough, but I'm worried that'll cut into writing time. I may go back to writing on the weekends if I don't like how much writing I'm getting done. We'll see.

Anyway, I'm off to get everything else done so I can read City of Heavenly Fire. I'm way too excited to see how the book ends.

The Fault in Our Stars movie release: 4 days
How to Train Your Dragon 2 movie release: 11 days
Birthday Bash/Little Mix concert: 11 days

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

ISBN: 0974320625
Published: June 16th, 2009
Publisher: TalentSmart
Read May 9th and 10th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
"Emotional Intelligence 2.0 succinctly explains how to deal with emotions creatively and employ our intelligence in a beneficial way."
For the first time ever in a book, TalentSmart's revolutionary program helps people identify their EQ skills, build these skills into strengths, and enjoy consistent performance in the pursuit of important life objectives. The book contains proven strategies from a decade-long effort to accurately measure and increase emotional intelligence. Trusted by upper-echelon leaders inside companies worldwide, these strategies will enable you to capitalize on the skills responsible for 58% of performance in all types of jobs.
Includes a passcode for online access to the world's bestselling emotional intelligence test, the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal®, which will show you where your EQ stands today and what you can do to begin maximizing it immediately.
Rooted in sound research involving more than 500,000 responses, this new edition of the test will:
--Pinpoint which of the book's 66 emotional intelligence strategies will increase your EQ the most.
--Reveal the specific behaviors responsible for your EQ scores.
--Allow you to test yourself a second time to measure how much your EQ has increased from your efforts.
The book's smooth narrative style turns rigorous research into memorable stories and practical strategies that anyone can use to his or her advantage.
With 90% of top performers high in EQ, and EQ twice as important as IQ in getting where you want to go in life, who can afford to ignore it?


This review is a bit hard to write as I don't really know how to judge this book. It's definitely easy to read, and it presents its information in an easy to understand way. It also does a very good job of explaining why emotional intelligence is so important and should be worked on.

The only downside to the book as far as I'm concerned is that its suggestions for improving your emotional intelligence were so broad that for many of them I didn't even know where to start. There were also so many suggestions that I didn't know where I should start from among them. I wish the suggestions had been a bit more straight-forward and more laid out because I just didn't know where I should begin. Also, I told myself I was going to choose one of the suggestions and start trying to apply it, but I've started that about five times now with no success. I just don't even think about it most of the time, and when I do, I don't actually feel like I'm doing anything that's making a difference.

Overall, I think this book is a good introduction to emotional intelligence and presents some great information. I just don't think it's going to actually help me improve my own emotional intelligence. Others may be able to get a lot more out of it.

I received this book for free through Goodread's First Reads.