Thursday, February 26, 2015

Reading Update!

I have been reading out the wazoo this week! I started the Read Harder challenge over at Book Riot. I just finished 'A Book Published This Year', and I chose Veronica Mars, book two, Mr. Kiss and Tell. I was a huge fan of the show when it started, and am constantly re-watching it! if you haven't heard of it look it up, watch it, and love it! As I said this is the second installment in the book series, it picks up a little while after the last book. It's a series that you could technically go into without having watch the series or movie, but I am a huge Marshmallow and highly recommend it (plus there's only three season, a movie, and two books, so it easy to jump right in, and be caught up real quick). This book was SO good, it brought back a character that was forgotten since her appearance in season two, and I loved the way that her story was finished after the nine and a half years since she was introduced. I don't want to give too much away but I will say we get to see a lot more Logan, and even an appearance of Leo! I highly recommend this book, Rob Thomas just keeps getting better, and it'll tide you over until his new series iZombie starts on the CW!

 I'm currently reading quite a lot of books. I got the Bluffer's Guide to Chocolate by Neil Davey about a year ago on LibraryThing's Early Reviews, but it took me forever to start reading it because it was in .epub format and I couldn't find a program that would read it, and when I did find one I could only read it on my computer at home, because I couldn't find a way to upload it to my phone(I've finally decided I need an e-reader). And so I restarted it this week and I'm really enjoying this book. It's just a brief overview on the history of chocolate, and some fun facts that you can use to make yourself sound like you know what you're talking about when the subject comes up, but it's actually fairly interesting for a brief-history-type book. and these books are all under 100 pages from what I've seen so far, so they are quick reads, if you don't quit on them because of weird formatting like I did. I'm also starting the book on surfing in this collection, written by Craig Jarvis, which I got the same way and had the same issues with, but that being said LibraryThing's Early Reviews are a great way to check in on what's coming out soon, and get free books at the same time. This one is good too so far, but I'm not that far along with it, so it's too early to tell. I knew a lot of the terminology, growing up here in California and having sisters who surf, but I am hopeless on a board, and though this would be a bit of an encouragement to get back out there, and work on my balance so that I can start surfing again. Also I just really love the beach, and want one of those Goof Boards.

 One book that I have been enjoying so much, but I just had to put down so I could finish a couple of others is Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. This book is interesting, it's cute, and it's just absolutely absurd! I can't even begin to describe it so I'll let Amazon do that for me:
"When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
"On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers."

It's one of those books you just can't put down, then again I have an addiction to Korean TV dramas(Rooftop Prince is amazing so for, and You Are Beautiful controlled my soul for sixteen episodes), so maybe I just can't put it down. 

The next one on my list I haven't picked up yet, but I've read all the previous books in the series, Hidden by the mother-daughter duo P.C. and Kristen Cast is the tenth of twelve books in the House of Night Series, not including the six Novellas. I haven't started this one because I wanted to finish off the first three in this list before diving back into this series because it just takes you away from reality. The House of Night series is set in Tulsa, Oklahoma in an alternate world where Vampires(they spell it Vampyre) are real and everyone knows about them. The main character is Zoey Montgomery (as she starts out, soon changing her last name to Redbird to identify with her Cherokee heritage) who gets Marked as a Vampyre and her life is completely changed around, she starts going to the House of Night, a high school/finishing school, that teaches students how to be a Vampyre, there's a ton of hippy-dippy mythology related to the Cherokee legends, as well as their own mythology related to their Vampyre goddess Nyx. The series dose touch on social issues like homosexuality, and slut-shaming, which in my opinion can become preachy in the sense that the authors teach a lot of acceptance of diversity, which I'm NOT bashing, but then they can start off saying don't be mean because someone is gay and then turn around and talk about how being a Christian is the worst thing you can possibly do. Zoey's mother and step-father are very conservative Christians with sudo-Mormon beliefs, which I found irritating because the authors seemed to bunch up all types of religious views and only explain the judgmental conservative types, using this as a basis for why religion is cruel, In my opinion a bias and hypocritical conclusion. However this series is action packed, with some great mysteries along with some silly teenage drama, and it's altogether really fun! Zoey has some amazing friends each with great personalities. The Vampyres in this series each have different affinities, from James Stark's archery skills(he never misses the target), Aphrodite's visions of the future, and even to Zoey's ability to control all five elements(water, earth, fire, air, and spirit) this series is so good! I will caution that, though it is labeled Young Adult, the series was originally planned to be adult fiction, so there is a lot of cursing, and discussion about sex, it's kind of Gossip Girl with Vampyres. That being said I can't wait to dive back in to this series!

This is a book that doesn't bother me that I'm reading it with multiple other books, in fact it makes it more enjoyable. Robert Frost was a very wordy poet and many of his poems are dreary and depressing, but because I am a stickler for finishing a book once I've started it I continue to tell myself I will finish this book. His poems can run long, and some of them are quite beautiful, but many end in tragedy. Which I don't mind, I love Edgar Allen Poe's work, but Frost's tragedy is more akin to Nicolas Sparks than Poe so it can be a bit dreary, and if you're like me you'll yell, "BUY A PUPPY, AND EAT SOME ICE CREAM, YOU DEPRESSED OLD MAN!" on more than one occasion in this collection. But it can be quite enjoyable in small doses if you do enjoy a bit of mopey poetry every once in a while, so it doesn't bother me that I'm reading this one in between the others.

The first book int the Wildwood series, simply named Wildwood, by Colin Meloy, the lead singer of the band The Decemberists, and illustrated by his wife Carson Ellis is another one that I am enjoying tremendously, but for my own sanity I put it down so I could finish off a few others. The series is set in Portland, Oregon, where the authors currently reside, and follows the story of a young girl, Prue and her friend Curtis as they embark on an adventure to save Prue's baby brother, after he's been kidnapped by a murder of crows and taken into the Impassable Wilderness. This book is just a really good story beautifully illustrated and very well written. If you like The Decemberists you've probably heard of this series, but if you haven't I highly recommend it! Especially if you're into the Portland scene, or just really like Portlandia.

And last but not least, especially because it has the most pages in it, is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I was kind of late to the whole Harry Potter craze, I am a tremendously slow reader so once I got to the fourth book in this series it took me forever to get through them, and also Netflix doesn't really help with concentration. The Harry Potter series is pretty self explanatory if you've been living on earth for the last twenty years. I was a huge fan of the films, but I was in the middle of a series that my mom had suggested at the time, and I was trying to finish it(I never did). And then I just kind of forgot about Harry Potter, and when I did think of it I was too involved in other series so it just sort of slipped through the cracks, if you will. But I started reading them in 2011 in between other books, because I had already seen the movies, and knew what happens. I really love this series, and understand why the fans are so devoted. And even though I loved the films, the books just have so much more to them! One complaint that I had when I watched The Sorcerer's Stone for the first time was that Nicolas Flemel's character was not explained at all, and so I did enjoy answering those questions I've had when I watch the films. J.K. Rowling is one of those authors that help you forget that there is an author (does that make sense?), the charters have such strong voices, even if they're being narrated over (eg: "he was thinking" vs. "I was thinking"). I just love this series, and I do actually regret seeing the films before I read the books.

And that's it! My really long reading update!
Links for Readers:
LibraryThing - Book Community, Free Accounts, Book Swaps, News, and Free Early Review Books!
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Book Riot - Book Community, Free Account, Giveaways, and News!
Book Riot YouTube - News on New Releases, Reviews, and more!

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Years Resolutions (While it's Still January)

Ugh, I have been incredibly busy and lazy all at the same time. Work got hectic for a while, and so in the evenings and on weekends I just vegged. A lot. I had a lovely holiday season, and hope you all did too. My sister came home from Texas, and we got to spend more time with her than I thought we would. We had a lovely 'ol time together, and then she went back, and we all miss her a lot. My days have been filled with work, and then it died down for a little while until we had some emergency filing this last week. But finally that is done.
I've been really thinking about the idea of a New Year's Resolution. It's viewed as something you have to do, and I feel like that's why December is unofficial New Years Resolution Month, because everyone thinks "Oh Crap, I didn't do the thing!" So I didn't make a New Years Resolution, instead I thought about happiness and health and how they really go hand in hand. People are healthy when they're happy, and it's hard to find happiness in life when you're in unhealthy situations. I'm not talking solely about dieting, or a bad relationship, though that can also be applied here. I'm mostly talking about habits like making sure that you are positive about the morning, no matter what and then seeing where that takes you. Now I'm not going to say that just because I get up in the morning and say "I'm gonna be happy dammit!" that it makes it so. I'm talking about making little goals and treats for yourself everyday. I've definitely struggled with it so far, so I'm not going to lay out this Forty Week Fitness Plan like you see on Pinterest. I'm going to make small, teeny tiney, itty-bitty goals, a few a week and try to keep good on them. They say it takes a full 21 Days to change a habit, which means I would have been really productive on Tuesday if I had started working on my laziness on New Year's Day. But alas the cycle continues. So I was thinking that if I make fifteen large goals for 2015 I can come here and check off all of the little things, as I work on those big things. And it gives me a chance to do a bit more blogging than I usually do, which is nice. I know what you're going to say, 'that's the exact same thing that you said you hate', well not exactly. I get motivated by lists and goals and moving. I will not clean my room on the weekend if I don't sit down on Friday and say 'what needs to be done, and how can I accomplish it?' That's just who I am.
I also like to workout a lot when I'm trying to loose weight because I tend to eat healthier when I'm working out even though a large amount of being overweight is not lack of exercise but poor eating habits and  I'm also, unfortunately, the person who will make plans and come up with excuse after excuse if I don't have a way to check in on myself. Today I saw a vlog from a lady I follow on YouTube, Louise, and she was talking about getting into working out again, and keeping herself motivated through social media. She's been using a hashtag #GlitterGetsFitter and it kinda motivated me to work on my health as well. Diabeties runs rampant on my mom's side of the family, and so I have really been trying to get myself to start eating right, and stop snacking, and the likes. So today I went on a long walk with our puppy, Henrietta( but we call her Henny), and I felt really good! I was really productive afterward, and even went out and ran some much needed errands. It was great! Hopefully I can stick with this for the rest of the year, because I'm always more productive if I run in the morning, and I sleep better if I do some walking in the evenings.
I have been doing a once a week yoga class at our local studio Anam Cara where they do Donation Yoga on Tuesdays, it's basic poses, great for people just getting into it, and I just love it. My sister, Grace is becoming a full-on yogi and is obsessed with it too! I've started doing some of the poses throughout the week in the evenings, it's a great way to wind down from work, and helps clear my mind so I can focus on my home To Do List. I love it!
That's pretty much all I've been up to in the past few days. And I'm making myself a promise that I will be sticking to it all. I hope everyone is having a great new year, and I'll talk soon!