Sunday, February 28, 2010

Professional Blog Designs; worth it?


Recently I have been looking around the blog-sphere, and have been noticing some really amazing blogs. Most of which are handled by the bloggers themselves and designed by them, but there are also some that are professionally done by web designers. A couple of months ago I looked into getting a web designer to design my blog, it was pretty much a go until I realized I really couldn't afford it at the time (most blog designs will end up costing you min 100 dollars).
Now I know there are ways to decorate and design your blog yourself, this website has great tips for new bloggers, however I am not one of those people who are gifted with the internet. Sure I can get online and I can do my little blogging bit, but I know NOTHING about designing a blog, or 3 coloumn templates(which I still can't figure out!! URG), or any of that jazz. I have promised myself that come the summer, if I am still blogging and loving it, I will let myself invest in a proper web design.

What are your thoughts on blogs that have been personally vamped up? Like? Unnecessary?
And If any of you have your blog designed, is there anyone you would recommend?

IMM!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren!

Bought;
-Lover Avenged, J R Ward
-Black Dagger Brotherhood Insider Guide, J R Ward



Borrowed;
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson #1), Rick Riordan

And on a unrelated matter, this is a picture of my current bookmark (below). I know some people have very nice and expensive bookmarks that they pride themselves on, however I find that I read books so fast my bookmarks usually end up getting lost or destroyed, so I just pick up the closest thing around me and use it. This little gem is actually a tag from my Joe Boxer Underwear, and I think they are the coolest thing ever made, and they make me happy (bonus!).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A little Inspiration

When I was in grade five, I would have been around nine, I grew really close to my teacher. I was a shy, scrawny, girl with glasses and a eye patch (yep pirate style, I have a weak eye), but this teacher I bonded with. She was kind, and keep reassuring me that in time I would grow up and be someone who would do great things. I can still remember what she said to me when she retired a couple years later. She had just finished hugging some other teachers and students when she looked at me and gave a weak smile, and then pulled me into a hug and whispered; "I'll see you in ten years when your a Prime Minister, a Doctor, a Lawyer, an Academic..". Talk about big shoes to fill. Anyways my digression has a point, this wonderful teacher gave me a beautiful poetry book because she knew I liked it. "Moments of Meditation" by Albert DeConkey, is a beautiful book filled with inspirational short poems. There is one poem in particular that has always spoken to me, "Be the Best" by Douglas Malloch.

If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley--but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
Doing something for somebody's sake;

If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass--

But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.
There's big work to do and there's lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail--
Be the best of whatever you are!

In a blog related fashion, I strongly recommend everyone to go to your library and read this. Maybe find your favorite inspirational poem within the covers. Every time I'm having a stressful day and feel like quitting, I think back to this poem. Even though my problems seem monumental and overwhelming, I remember that they will pass and the hard journey will be worth it.

This one goes out to a very special teacher that makes me believe in the power that one person can have on someone's life, and make them Believe.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Random Ramblings; Yellow Eyes



OK, before I start and convince everyone that I am the oddest person around, I must defend myself by saying; I know I'm odd. I will not sit here and demand that I am not, I am aware that I am an oddity, and that I may be the only person alive that thinks of these sort of things, but I just had to get it off my chest. Does anyone else think yellow eyes are NOT ATTRACTIVE?!

I know you all (or maybe no one is reading this) are reading this thinking why am I even thinking about this? But recently I had an epiphany that yellow eyes are everywhere in books and TV! I was recently reading J R Wards series The Black Dagger Brotherhood and in book three, Lover Awakened, Ward describes Phury and Zsadist has having brilliant yellow eyes.
Bella, Zsadist's mate, is apparently so enthralled by Zsadist's eyes and in one part I believe she describes them as the sole factor in making him appear beautiful to her. Maybe its just me, but yellow eyes are not the making of a beautiful male, they are the indications of a demon. Now before you all condemn me for being a hardcore religious zealot, let me show you what I mean;


Perhaps I watch to much Supernatural, but yellow eyes do not a beautiful man make. And its not only in Wards series that we see this new phenomena. In Maggie Stiefvater's bestselling book 'Shiver', Sam, one of the main characters and werewolf, is described (if memory serves me) to have large brilliant yellow eyes. This ruined the book for me.
Every time I pictured loving, gentle Sam I saw this;
Not My ultimate fantasy in the opposite sex. Am I totally alone in this? I think I am..

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review; A Million Little Peices


Authorà James Frey

Release Dateà September 22st 2005

Reviewà 3/5

Amazon.com

The electrifying opening of James Frey's debut memoir, A Million Little Pieces, smash-cuts to the then 23-year-old author on a Chicago-bound plane "covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood." Wanted by authorities in three states, without ID or any money, his face mangled and missing four front teeth, Frey is on a steep descent from a dark marathon of drug abuse. His stunned family checks him into a famed Minnesota drug treatment center where a doctor promises "he will be dead within a few days" if he starts to use again, and where Frey spends two agonizing months of detox confronting "The Fury" head on:

I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a bottle of the purest, strongest, most destructive, most poisonous alcohol on Earth. I want fifty bottles of it. I want crack, dirty and yellow and filled with formaldehyde. I want a pile of powder meth, five hundred hits of acid, a garbage bag filled with mushrooms, a tube of glue bigger than a truck, a pool of gas large enough to drown in. I want something anything whatever however as much as I can.

One of the more harrowing sections is when Frey submits to major dental surgery without the benefit of anesthesia or painkillers (he fights the mind-blowing waves of "bayonet" pain by digging his fingers into two old tennis balls until his nails crack). His fellow patients include a damaged crack addict with whom Frey wades into an ill-fated relationship, a federal judge, a former championship boxer, and a mobster (who, upon his release, throws a hilarious surf-and-turf bacchanal, complete with pay-per-view boxing). In the book's epilogue, when Frey ticks off a terse update on everyone, you can almost hear the Jim Carroll Band's brutal survivor's lament "People Who Died" kicking in on the soundtrack of the inevitable film adaptation.

Pros;

This is a book with a big buzz! As many people know, thanks to our good friend Oprah, James Frey is known around the world as a fraud. He claimed that A Million Little Pieces was a true story of his fight with drug and alcohol addiction, when the truth came out that certain events, said to have had happened, were a little more fictional that an autobiographical novel should be he and he was shunned on international TV. The verdict? EVEN MORE FAME FOR MR. FREY! I must confess this was why I read this book! I like reading books with a big buzz and breaking with the general census, cheering for the underdog if you will. If you allow yourself not to get caught up in the fact that some events are fabricated, and read this book for the same reasons you read any other book, its an o-k read. The writing was endearing, and heart breaking. I do believe I shed a few tears for Lily and James. In the end, it doesn’t matter if Mr. Frey created some characters or fudged some details, when its all said and done he is still a recovering addict with a true story. One that is memorable in its own right.

Cons;

Well, it’s no happy read. This is not a chick-lit novel, this is not a romance novel, there will be no paranormal action in this book, this is a depressing, real book. I don’t usually pick up books that will make me upset, I read to be HAPPY, however I broke the mold with this one. In the end I was happy I read it, but getting to the end was tough. There are so many sad turns of events in this book. Also, one thing to be aware of which is hard to get use to, there are no quotations in this book marking speech, instead this is signaled by a new sentence.

This for example, is how its done.

Odd eh?

All in all, this is a rough read, but worth it in the end. I recommend this to anyone who came stomach a gritty novel.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Linger


Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Authorà Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date-> July 20th 2010

Product Description from Goodreads;

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Why I can’t wait;

Ok honestly who isn’t waiting for this release? With the release of Shiver last august, readers all over the world are captivated with Maggie’s spellbounding story of one ordinary girl and the love of her life, who is anything but ordinary. And can I just say, I LOVE Sam! He is without a doubt one of my all time favorite characters! He plays the guitar, writes songs, and when asked by a certain candy seller how long Grace and him had been dating for he replied; “ six years” (he counts this from the first moment he first saw her) how friken A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E is that? If I had been a smart cookie I would have used this post last week for my “waiting on Wednesday” post and used it as a extra entry for the giant Linger giveaway on Maggie’s blog, but atlas it seems I am not a smart cookie. How am I going to wait till July?!?!?!


Oh P.S how beautiful are the covers for Linger and Shiver?!?!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday; The Lighting Thief


Here's how it works:- Grab the current book you're reading- Open up to a random page- share 2 "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page ***Make sure your section is spoiler free!!
"we"ll pulverize you", Clarissse said, but her eye twiched.
Perhaps she wasn't sure she could follow through on the treat.
She turned toward me; "who's the little runt?" (89, Riordan)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Mention Monday; The Lovely Bones




For anyone who has read the book, know that there isn't another story-line like this one. The Lovely Bones, is without a doubt the most original book I had ever had the pleasure to read. I read this book back in high-school, grade 10 I think so when I was a sophomore I believe for you US types, and I remember then that I wasn't able to finish. Right from the first sentence this book grabs you; "My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." (1, Sebold), intense right? Books of this intensity and brutality usually have me running in the other direction, sue me but I like happy feeling books! However I took a chance on this book. Since my horrible high school days however this book has generated quite the buzz, and when I heard this was going to be a movie I was pretty excited to see how they were going to make this film appropriate.
For such a disturbing premise, the producers and actors were able to portray this book in a tasteful and eloquent nature, which was quite surprising and enjoyable to watch. I thought that Mark Wahlberg did a fabulous job, and Saoirse Ronan who plays Susie Salmon did an amazing job for such a young actor!
This movie was fast paced, there wasn't any boring lulls or particularly slow moments in the movie. There was a couple changes made from the book, but nothing big, for an example she has a brother and grandmother in the movie and she didn't in the book, and other small things like extra stock characters. I was also really curious to see the movie because I wanted to see how they created "heaven", as Susie spends her afterlife up there watching over her family. The "in-between" was done very creatively; it wasn't flashy and crazy green screened, I was impressed.
All in all, I enjoyed the movie. I would definitely see it again, however next time I will be better suited with some kleenex.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review; Handle with Care


Authorà Jodi Picoult

Reviewà 3.5/5

Release Dateà March 3rd 2009

Product Description from Amazon.ca

"Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby,

just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health." Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?

Pros;

I have read several of Jodi’s novels, and her novels My Sister’s Keeper, and Plain Truth are among my favorite novels of all time. These books however are not my favorite because of their writing style or even their ability to draw me in like a crack addict waiting for her next hit (I know this is a odd simile, but yes this is how I describe most of my book addictions), these books are among my favorite because Jodi has a raw power to pick subjects that will eat away at your most guarded emotions and make you ball like a baby. This book was no different

What I liked about this book; Willow has to be one of my favorite characters, she made me ache and laugh and I especially like her spews of useless information (for example did you know that the average women consumes 6 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime? I didn’t). This book was also an interesting read because it taught me about the disease featured in this book.

Cons;

There were a lot of things that bothered me in this book. The biggie? The ending. It was totally uncalled for and left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Also, this book is not a happy book. Do not pick this book up looking for a relaxing, light read. That is not this book. There’s also a lot of legal jargon in this book that makes some scenes boring to those of us who didn’t attend law school. I also wasn’t a fan of Charlotte, one of the main characters. I found her greedy, cold and standoffish. Another thing to be aware of, this book switches characters and times every chapter. This technique is hard to adjust to but adds to the final impact of events at the end. Was this my favorite book? No. Will I read another Jodi Picoult book? Definitely!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday; The Maze Runner


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading.
Here's how it works:- Grab the current book you're reading- Open up to a random page- share 2 "teaser" sentences from
somewhere on that page ***Make sure your section is spoiler free!!!

"He scrambled to his feet and walked around the tree, craning his neck for a sign of whatever
he heard, but he only saw bare branches, gray, and brown, forking out
like a skeleton fingers-- and looking just as alive" (13, Dashner)

**I must admit i cheated on this one. I'm actually not reading this at the moment, but i will be very shortly so i decided to get ahead of myself!

Review; The Devouring


Authorà Simon Holt

Release Dateà September 1st 2008

Reviewà 1/5

Product Description

"When dark creeps in and eats the light,

Bury your fears on Sorry Night.

For in the winter's blackest hours,

Comes the feasting of the Vours,

No one can see it, the life they stole,

Your body's here but not your soul..."

THE VOURS: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.

When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act strangely, it's clear that these creatures exist beyond a madwoman's imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to life.

To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her?

The Devouring is an engrossing tale of terror that will have you wondering: what if your worst fears became your living nightmare?

Pros;

I realize this will be a harsh post, but I honestly don’t have much to say “pro” wise towards this book. Since my mother taught me that hate was a evil word, I will say that I disliked this book. I really really really disliked this book. However, if your interested in horror books, about evil “demons” and an annoying lead character, this book is for you. This book was successful as a horror book, there were several scenes that made me cringe, the imagery was very good!

Cons;

Ok, I’ll keep this short and sweet, or should I say sour? Well… I felt like the plot was unoriginal, boring, and maybe its just me but I think love story sidelines are kinda important to YA novels, and this book didn’t have one. Well it kinda had one, for those of you that have read it will know what im talking about. It’s hard to pinpoint the main reasons why this book was so unappealing to me, but I was just bored reading it. There wasn’t anything that keep me intrigued, I’m not the biggest fan of horror books, except for some Steven King, so that might be the reason. Who liked this book, and what were the reasons that you enjoyed this book? Comment back please, I’m quite interested to find out if it was just me that disliked this book.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Movie Mention Monday; Dear John



I know out in the blog universe, there are various editions of this meme on movie versions of books, I don't know if this will be a regular post every monday, I guess that depends on the amount of movies I see based on books I have read!

This weeks post will be about the movie DEAR JOHN. I saw this movie February 5th, so the friday it came out. I went with my roommate and my sister. I lent my book to my roommate so she had read the book before we went, however my sister hadn't, and i found that having read the book effected my feelings on the movie.

My opinions; well I might be biased since I have a soft spot for Channing Tatum, ever since his "Step Up" days. However, I don't think his acting is the best, certain mannerisms of his annoy me, but I think he was made for this role. He fills out the army silhouette nicely. Amanda Seyfried WAS Savannah, even though the Savannah in t
he book was a brunette, this didn't bother me.

I really enjoyed the book. It was a typical Nicolas Spark's book; a light, enjoyable, romance book with a twist. The only thing that bothered me about this book was that there was a couple of long passages about "war" scenes that were hard to remain concentrated on, but they were also mandatory to the setting of the book. After all, this book is about war and its loses. War is the reality.

The movie was different from the book in a couple aspects, however I tried to remind myself that one should watch the movie with the notion that it is a piece of work on its own and shouldn't be judged beside the book, the book is a separate piece of work.

Overall, I liked the movie. I thought Tatum and Seyfried had great onscreen chemistry. The ending was different, but i think if the ending was the same as the book there wouldn't be as many satisfied viewers. My sister, having not read the book, didn't like the movie. She had a problem with one of the characters who she thought was too "old", this character was younger in the book, and because of the ending of the book this was disturbing to her. I didn't have a problem with this, probably because I knew the character differently in the book, and viewed him the same as his onscreen character.

However, I recommend people going to watch this. It was a heartbreaking, real, movie. I live in a small town where the boys my age play hockey and join the army, so i felt connected to John. I will definitely watch this movie again when it comes out on DVD.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

IMM and Happy Valentines day !


Happy Valentines day all! I hope your valentines spoil you all with sweets! I plan on buying my valentine something super duper fabulous this year, maybe a book? (This year my valentine is myself, I was contemplating buying myself Orchids cause their my favorite and I love them, but i thought that would be a little to sad..).

This week I thought I would do a IMM (in my mailbook), hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

So this week I bought, "Sweet Little Lies" by Lauren Conrad. I fought myself over this purchase, I wasn't sure if it was worth buying, the first one was cute but i coulnd't justify spending the money on it, plus I hate this genre. I'm more of a fantasy lover. In the end I ended up buying it cause i got a coupon that saved me around 7 dollars.

It was a pretty slow week for me. However the week before that I went pretty crazy and bought a box full of paranormal romance books (sappy covers included), 3 Gena Showalter books, and the J R Ward boxset.
OH. P.S............... Just as I was about to finish this post, my beautiful, lovely, kind, baby sister came into my room with these.....
Yup those would be the orchids I was going to buy myself. Who needs a BF when you have such an amazing sister?! I think I'll remain unattached from now on in :) You RoCk Mehgan!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Review; Evernight


Authorà Claudia Gray

Release DateàJune 1st 2008

Reviewà 3/5

Product Description from Amazon.ca

Bianca wants to escape.

She's been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He's not the "Evernight type" either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

"I couldn't stand it if they took it out on you," he tells Bianca, "and eventually they would."

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

Pros;

I picked this book up just coming off my “Breaking Dawn” high, so I was eager for some more vampire- soul mate books. This book actually surprised me. I thought I was in for the typical vampire book, but was actually shocked at the turn of events in Evernight. I really enjoyed the world Claudia Gray paints in this book, you can practically feel the dark ominous castle, and dark energy. I ”kinda” liked Bianca. I thought her love for art and stargazing original and relatable.

Cons;

Unfortunately my cons list outweighs my pros list for this book. I hated Lucas. I thought he had such a pseudo-machoness to him. It irritated me to no end. I actually loved Balthazar and wished that he were Bianca’s love interest. I also hated a lot of the characters in this book, Balthazar was really the only one that I couldn’t get enough of. The girls were so vapid and uninteresting, even Lucas’s silly, fun loving roommate bugged me, I really didn’t find him that funny. Evernight feels like one of those books that you’ve read dozens of times before, it has to many popular concepts in it from other popular YA books like Vampire Academy. Even though its an unoriginal concept, I read this book pretty quickly and read the second book Stargazer and will most likely read the third book Hourglass.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: The Dread-Tossed Waves

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Author--> Carrie Ryan

Release Date--> March 9th 2010

Product Description from Amazon.ca

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Why I can’t Wait…

I am proud to say that Carrie Ryan’s first book The Forest of Hands and teeth took my Zombie book virginity, and as such I feel quite nostalgic towards this author. I really enjoyed Ryan’s first book, it was one of those books that you will find yourself yelling at when reading. You may yell such things as; “WHY Ms. Ryan…WHY?!?!” when things don’t go as you planned! And oddly, make you love the book all the more. This book has me counting down the days, because it will be a spinoff of the first book, although it is not a series, the zombie theme will be present. I look forward to getting me some more Zombies!

Can March 9th come any faster?

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