Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Books: January Edition

I am actually on time with something! Cause for celebration. This month I read 2 1/2 books. Yep, two and a half. I haven't quite finished the third one I started, but I am going to review it anyways because I am still counting it.The first book I read was City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. To be honest, I started this book months ago, got about thirty pages in, and lost interest completely. I read the first two books in The Mortal Instruments series because everyone kept recommending them with high praise. I read them and thought, "Well, they are OK I guess". So that explains my limited interest in City of Glass.

But at the beginning of January, I decided I wanted to finish the series mainly because I wanted to read The Infernal Devices series. I would feel like a slacker if I didn't finish The Mortal Instruments first. So I picked City of Glass back up and started over.

It turns out, City of Glass was my favorite in the series so far! I read it pretty quickly, enjoyed it much more than I had thought I would, and was glad I read it. I wont give the plot away, seeing as how it's the third in a series, so I will just say that I really enjoyed it. I didn't find Clary as annoying as I did in the first two books, which was nice. I actually grew to like Jace, who I had decided was arrogant and obnoxious. The plot kept me reading to find out what happened next and wasn't very predictable. I would give this one three and a half out of five stars. Definitely my favorite of the entire series.That said, the next book I read was City of Fallen Angels. And sadly, I think the series should have ended with City of Glass. I'm not saying that City of Fallen Angels was bad, because it wasn't. I didn't have to suffer through it and I even liked it. But I would have been happier if City of Glass was the end. I feel like City of Glass wrapped everything up quite nicely, then City of Fallen Angels just undoes everything.

I sort of had the feeling that the author is just writing more of the series simply because she can. And I find that annoying. Even so, I will probably read the next two books in this series when they come out and who knows, maybe I will change my mind. I give this one two and a half stars out of five. I did like it, but it wasn't amazing like other books I have read.The third book that I started is Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Let me *fangirl* for just a minute. I love (multply that by a million) Robin McKinley. Anything she writes turns out amazing. And I mean amazing. I have read quite a few of her books and never been disappointed. So when I found out she had written a book about vampires, I had to read it. It was calling my name.

I read a lot of paranormal/romance-esque things. And I read a lot of vampire/werewolf/witch based books. I just find it all very interesting. But I am super picky about it, too. If it isn't done well, it's cheesy. Sunshine is the exact opposite of cheesy. I am almost exactly halfway through it right now and I am loving it.

Sunshine is about a girl nicknamed Sunshine (her real name is Rae) who works as the baker at her family's coffeehouse. She is not sweet or cute, she is in fact rather harsh and unique. She has a fascination with the Others (vampires, were-things, etc.) and yet treasures her normal life. One night, she drives out to her family's abandoned cabin by the lake. No one has really gone there since the Voodoo Wars fought between humans and the Others. She is kidnapped by a gang of vampires and taken to an old mansion on the shore of the lake.

I really want to say more, but if I do I will ruin all the mystery of the book. I do have to say, I like that Robin McKinley doesn't make her vampires unrealistic. The vampires in this book are gross and described as "wrong". They are not gorgeous creatures and they are not appealing (and they don't sparkle, he he). Because of this, the book seems more real. It's a dark, intricate story that I have not been able to put down. I give it four and a half out of five stars. I would really recommend it if you enjoy the paranormal genre.


P.S. Sorry for giving everything half stars. I don't know why I was in that mood today...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Brad Paisley Concert!!

For Christmas, Brad and I bought tickets to the Brad Paisley concert. I have been impatiently waiting for the day to come. Not only do I love Brad Paisley, but I also love Scotty McCreery and The Band Perry who came with him! And it was well worth the wait! The concert was simply amazing and so much fun. All of these artists are wonderful performers and a blast to watch. We had an incredible night! Mr. Brad Paisley with his blue paisley guitar. He is awesome.
We love Brad Paisley! Mine and Brad's song, "Then", is by Brad Paisley. It was so great to hear it live last night at his show. Scotty McCreery was so good! I love The Band Perry. They were insane. And I heart her hair. It is fabulous.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Launch: Everneath

So the other night, I went with my Nana, Mommy, Aunt Kris, Aunt Amy, and cousin Sara up to Salt Lake for the book launch for Everneath by Brodi Ashton.This is the book cover. Cool huh? My Nana is good friends with Brodi Ashton's mom, so we have been hearing about this book for ages. Here is the summary for the novel (found at brodiashton.blogspot.com):

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...

Doesn't that sound interesting? Obviously this book falls into the popular young adult-paranormal-romance category, but I like the fact that the plot sounds really unique and different from the run-of-the-mill plot line that I find in a lot of teen/young adult books. It also sounds like it is based on the myth of Hades and Persephone, which would be awesome. I have a bit of a thing for mythology of any sort. Basically, I am really excited to read this book. Hopefully it will be one of my books for February.

Here are some pics of the book launch (sorry for the quality, but they were taken on my phone):That's me. Obviously. This is Brodi Ashton. She was kind of a hoot and I loved her sense of humor.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Since one of my goals for this year is to be healthy, I downloaded MyFitnessPal on my iPod. MyFitnessPal is an awesome, free app that tracks my daily calories and activities to keep me on track. This app is seriously wonderful. I know exactly how much I should be eating and I can find out how many calories I burn on my exercises! If I am questioning whether to eat something, I can search it and find out if it has too many calories. I have honestly been surprised at some of the things I was eating before that are so bad for me!!
I love that this isn't a super strict diet. I can change my profile any time if I want to eat more or less calories, and I don't have to eat any specific foods. I can eat whatever I want. Cool, right? If you are trying to lose weight or simply keep your weight steady, I definitely recommend using an app like this. I know there are a ton out there! Hooray for a healthy new year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Books: December Edition

Well, I'm a few days late, but I guess better late than never right? For December, I had planned on reading certain books but somehow along the line, I read a few books I hadn't planned on at all. And funnily enough, December was a re-read month for me. I had read all of these books at least once before, but I am a girl who loves to re-read books, so it was still just as fun for me. First, I re-read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I realized after reading an awesome post on Busy Bee Lauren (check out her blog!) that I had only read this book once and had started forgetting the details! So I immediately pulled out my Nook and got reading. Seeing as how Mockingjay is the end to a Trilogy, I will try not to spoil it for anyone. Reading this book made me so excited for The Hunger Games movie to come out! (March, can we please skip ahead to you!?)
I was reminded of all the reasons that I love this book series. I love Katniss because she's not really loveable. Does that make sense? She is not even close to perfect, she's sassy and stubborn and hard to get along with. I think that's what makes her such a realistic and likeable main character. I remembered all the things I loved about Peeta, such as his patience, kindness, and steadfast love for Katniss, and remembering that made me even more angry at what President Snow did to him in this book. Another thing I love about this book is watching Prim grow up. She's not such a big character in the first two books, but in this book she really caught my attention and admiration. I adore the love that Finnick and Annie share. I love that he grew to love her and that their love is so strong. I'm a sucker for romance.
I know many people who hated the ending to this book. And when they tell me that, all I can think is WHY?! How could you hate such a great ending to such a tragic book (so many of my favorite people die, but so I don't ruin it I wont say who)? To me, the ending was real. I could picture it in my mind and I can't imagine how it could have ended any other way. Katniss and Peeta were never going to be the same, but they somehow made a life for themselves from the ashes of the past. Real or not real? Real.
The next two books I read were also in a trilogy. Have you read The Giver? Well, it's short and an easy read and I love it. I'm not sure why, but I'm totally into this Dystopian genre and I have been for a really long time. I first read The Giver when I was eleven and have read it many times since. Some people don't know that The Giver is actually the first book in a trilogy. Well, it is and the last two books were the ones I read this month. First I read Gathering Blue. This one is sort of a companion novel to The Giver. It is about a girl named Kira who lives in a village that sort of went the opposite way of Jonas's in The Giver. Jonas's village had progressed technologically, but Kira's regressed into a more simple, brutal way of life. At the beginning of the book, Kira's mother has just died. Kira, who has a twisted leg and cannot walk normally, is threatened to be sent to the Field, where people are sent to die because she is not useful to the village anymore. However, the council brings her to live in the council edifice to work on the Singer's Robe because she has an almost magical gift of weaving. Every year, the Singer sings the history of the people and his robe depicts the history as well. Kira meets Thomas, the gifted child carver who carves the Singer's staff, and the young girl who is meant to be the next Singer. Each has a gift that the council wants to use for their own purpose. Kira also begins learning how to dye thread, but the one color she cannot make is blue. As the story goes on, secrets begin to unfold and Kira's little friend Matt, who is a ragtag little boy from a rough part of the village, disappears. So I don't give away the ending, I will stop there. I just have to say, this book is really good and makes you think the entire time. I give it four out of five stars. Messenger is the last book in this series. This book connects The Giver and Gathering Blue and is the sequel to both. Little Matt from Gathering Blue has grown into a young man and lives in Village, a place where all people are accepted no matter if they have something wrong with them. He lives with a blind man who's true name is Seer because he can see things that other people can't even though he is blind. Matty delivers messages all over Village and to other villages as well. Leader, who is Jonas from The Giver, sees that Village is changing and people are becoming less accepting of others. People are becoming greedy and trading too much of themselves away at Trade Mart. As this is happening, Forest, which surrounds Village, is becoming unwelcoming and inhospitable. Matty is the only one who is able to continually travel through Forest, but even to him it is seeming to get more dangerous. Matty also discovers that he may have a special gift that frightens him and so he keeps it a secret. Leader knows of Matty's gift because of his ability to see the future.
As the villagers become more selfish and less altruistic, they begin to petition to close Village to outsiders. Matty is given the task to take messages to the other villages that Village is closing and is especially given the task to bring Kira to Village. That's where I will stop, but I would definitely recommend this book and the entire series to anyone, young or old. This book definitely deserves four out of five stars.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

I am amazed that 2011 is officially over. Wow. What a year it was. So many wonderful things happened this year. I got married. I got to go to New York on my honeymoon. I got my first 4.0 since, like, elementary school. I chose my major. We got a puppy. There are so many awesome things I cannot even write them all. But I just have to point out, 2011 was a good year for me. And now I am thrilled that 2012 has arrived.
I like new beginnings. It's nice knowing that I have a clean slate and still get to keep all my great memories from last year. I get to start over without forgetting. What a blessing that is.
Before I start writing about all my hopes for this year, I have to finish up last year. Christmas was so fantastic. I love that I got to wake up with Brad and Christmas morning before anything else happened and have some time to ourselves to open our gifts to one another. He spoils me. I love him more than anything and am so blessed he is my husband. We got to spend time with all of our loved ones. Sometimes I feel like we are spread so thin, trying to make the rounds to see everyone. But I am grateful that we were able to see everyone and enjoy the Christmas spirit with our family. It was a great way to end the year.
I have a lot of plans for this year, although I admit that some of them are half-formed or still just ideas. I want to keep going with some of my goals from last year, such as being healthy, peaceful, writing in my journal (I am still working on this one... it's hard). I discovered Zumba a couple of months ago and am loving that form of exercise. I actually got a Zumba program for the Wii with some Christmas money and am really excited to begin using that, too. I am also working on being peaceful and calm. I think I more fully realize how rash and impatient I can be (especially with other people) and I know that I still need to work on it. It's difficult, but I am trying. I think I have done pretty well with blogging more, but still not as often as I would like. Another goal to keep working on.
One thing I would like to do with this year is spend more time on myself. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed and stressed out that I forgot I need to spend some time developing myself. I need to remember to take time to breath, read a good book, listen to some music, watch one of my fave shows, or do the things I really neglect like draw or play the piano. I would really love to rekindle my love for my sketchbook and playing the piano.
Another thing I would like to do this year is take more photos! It is really hard for me because not only do I have a husband who hates cameras, but I often lose track of both of mine. But even if there aren't many pictures of me or any of Brad, I want to document as much as I can through photos because I am tired of regretting that I don't have any. I love photography and even though I am not talented or profess to be a photographer of any sort, I am going to try my hardest to at least capture as many things that make me smile as I can.
I am going to make myself the goal again to read at least two books a month, hopefully more. I have always loved reading, my problem is making time to read. I have a million books (possibly an exaggeration) on my to-read list, so the next part of this goal is that I need to read the books I already own before I buy any more. That is certainly a challenge for me, since I seem to be addicted to buying books!
This isn't a complete list of my goals for this year, but the good thing about life is I get to create mine as I go, so when I think of more I will write them down also. I am really excited for this year and I just I hope I can hold myself to my own standards!