Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May Wrap Up

So the month of May was a good one for me.  It being the first month of my summer vacation, I'm still adjusting to not having to go to class and just being at work a lot of the time.  However, since I have no class, and no studying, I have gotten a lot of books read this month!

Good Reads
Unfortunately, this month there just weren't a lot of books that stood out to me. I did read the first of the Harry Potter series over again (though the "review" hasn't been posted) and that was one of my favorites.  Everything was good, but nothing was REALLY good.  Two that I did like that I remember very well are Desperation and The Regulators, both by Stephen King.  They were set with the same cast of characters, just in alternate universes, which made for a very interesting read.  Oh, I almost forgot Cat's Cradle, another Vonnegut read.  That was one of his brilliant works, I did really enjoy that one.  Other than that, nothing really stood out.

Movie Reviews?
Yes, I actually have started doing movie reviews on my blog.  I like watching movies and I like watching Book to Movie adaptations, sometimes.  I know a lot of people that read book blogs skip over things that aren't reading related, so they're there for people that want them, and people that don't can skip them.  I saw two movies in theaters this month, but I only have one review posted.  All of the reviews for the month, both book and film will be at the end of the post.

June promises to be a busy month in terms of work and other things, so hopefully I can keep the train going and read as much next month!  Here's a list of the books and the movies that I reviewed.  I hope everyone had a good month of May and you have an amazing June to look forward to :]

Desperation by Stephen King
The Regulators by Stephen King
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Blockade Billy by Stephen King
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides
The Hangover Part II

New Release Tuesday (7)

Here's a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about for the upcoming week in both books and music.  I only feature one or two for each category, but there a LOADS of new releases every Tuesday and you can find them by visiting B&N.com or FYE.com!
Title:  Centuries of June
Author:  Keith Donohue
Release Date:  May 31, 2011
book cover of Centuries of June by Keith DonohueSummary:  Set in the bathroom of an old house just before dawn on a night in June, Centuries of June is a black comedy about a man who is attempting to tell the story of how he ended up on the floor with a hole in his head. But he keeps getting interrupted by a series of suspects—eight women lying in the bedroom just down the hall. Each woman tells a story drawn from five centuries of American myth and legend in a wild medley of styles and voices.
Centuries of June is a romp through history, a madcap murder mystery, an existential ghost story, and a stunning tour de force at once ingenious, sexy, inspiring, and ultimately deeply moving.
Why I'm Excited:  I can't say that I'm actually excited again, but as I was going through the releases for this week, this really intrigued me.  the way the description is, it seems like the narration could possibly be confusing, but it still seems really interesting.  Dark comedies are some of the best too :]
Album Title:  Ukulele Songs 
Artist:  Eddie Vedder
Release Date:  May 31, 2011
Eddie Vedder Ukulele Song album coverWhy I'm Excited:  I grew up in the 90's.  I knew of Pearl Jam, I even liked some of their stuff, but Eddie Vedder was never my favorite vocalist.  He has a voice that I can only take so much of.  I'm a music lover, and lately, Eddie taken his music to a place I never really saw it going.  If anyone has ever seen the movie Into the Wild, then you know that Vedder actually did the soundtrack to that movie, and I thought he did a damn good job.  This album is actually exactly what it says it is.  Ukulele songs.  I'm really interested to see what he does with the instrument!  

Monday, May 30, 2011

This Weeks Reads (2)

Here's my reads for this week and how I'm feeling about them.  If I get these finished, hopefully I'll get some more things started!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
I love the Harry Potter series.  Originally, I never wanted to read them, I thought they were stupid and I could not understand why anyone would want to read them.  And then one day my mom grabbed the paperback and brought it home and stuck it on my dresser.  I didn't have anything else to read, so I picked it up.  My opinion was immediately changed.  If you've read my Sunday Salon post from a few weeks back, you know that I haven't read the last two in the series, so I'm trying to reread the first books and get through the next ones.  Sometimes when you reread things, you realize that maybe it wasn't as phenomenal as you thought it was the first time.  I have no worries of that with this book.  I know I'm going to love it.  I'm not very far yet, but maybe I can get it finished by the end of this week.

The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon
Okay, I've gotten further in this, I'm about a third of the way through it.  And quite honestly, I'm not a fan of the main character.  I don't know, she just has this attitude that rubs me the wrong way.  You have to feel bad for her because she was snatched from her home when she was a child, lived 18 years in a house that never felt like a home and now finds out who she really is, all in this whirlwind way, but her attitude is just...I don't know.  There is also a lot of time spent on describing what each of the characters is wearing every time there is a costume change.  Sometimes I see it as unnecessary.  Overall, the book is okay.  So far.  There's still a loft of book to get through though!

So those are my reads this week.  A lot less that last week because I got some things finished and there are still some reviews to be posted so be on the lookout!

REVIEW: Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

book cover of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Title: Cat's Cradle
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Date Published: First published in 1963
Genre: Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
Page Count: 192 pages
Challenge: E-Book Challenge

Since I picked up my first novel by Vonnegut, I have been in love, and this was no exception.  One of the greatest things that I love about Vonnegut is his humor.  His writing is so poignant, but its so wildly funny at the same time, its a complete contradiction.

One of the finniest things about this novel to me was Bokononism.  The religion.  I can't even say much about this, you just need to read the book for yourself.
Anyway, the narrator of this book is John, as he tried to write a biography on Dr. Hoenikker, who is the inventor of an odd thing called "Ice-9."  He has 3 strange children, one of which being a midget and another one who becomes involved in the military of a country that I think is something like Cuba.

Honestly, this is one of those books that I can review, but you have to read to really have any idea of what I'm talking about.  If you're a fan of Vonnegut and you haven't read this, you need to.  This is one of his best works.  Funny in his own way, while being satirical and funny.  Please, just read this book!  Ready, set, GO!

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5!

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com  Cat's Cradle: A Novel

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Sunday Salon (9)

Edition #9 of the Sunday Salon.  Remember that if you want to become a participant, log onto Facebook.com and join the group!

I actually had a pretty productive week in terms of reading.  I finished several books and got some reviews up.  I also decided that I was going to post some movie reviews as well.  Originally, I had posed the question to twitter.  I didn't get much of a response, but the wonderful Ashley from Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing (@BasicallyBooks, follow her twitter and blog!) let me in on her secret that she always skips movie posts or almost anything else that doesn't involve reading!  I'm sure that there are a lot of people that do that as well, but I'm not really concerned with that.  People might skip it, but its not going to be the primary concern of my blog so it can't hurt! Its there for people that want to read them, and people that don't can skip them :]

Series Reading
I started the Harry Potter series again.  I'm just a little bit through the first book.  I'm trying to finish a review request before I get too far into the series.  Also, when I was browsing the Nook Book store and decided to buy The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) again (my copy that was published in the 80's is nowhere to be found) I think I've decided that I want to read that series again as well.  Its been so long since I've read it and I finished it at the beginning of high school, which would make it about 8 years ago.  I also feel like I would get more out of it by reading it again since I was so young when I read it the first time.  So, it looks like this is going to be a year of re-reads for me, but I don't think there's a problem with that.  Especially with the Dark Tower series, because they are phenomenal.

Book Lending
Okay, so I have a question for my blogging friends.  How often do you lend your hard copies out to people?  I've been known to do it from time to time, but it seems like every time I do, I never get my books back.  Its even worse when you ask the person a million times if they have your copy and they continually tell you that they lost it, and then you see it the next time you go the their house.  And its funny when they tell you that its not your copy, but theirs.  I've lost several books this way, including Jane EyreWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, and I think that's what happened to my copy of The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1).  So, how do you say "No, you can't borrow my book because I know you won't give it back to me," without looking like a jerk?  Or is there even a way to do that?  Just interested to see if anyone else has this problem and how they handle it.

I think that's all I have for this week.  I hope everyone had a wonderful week, and as always, happy reading! :]

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where you basically post your week in books.  Interested in participating?  Click the link to sign up!

So I skipped IMM last week because I didn't really have much to report, and to be honest, I also kinda sorta forgot about it!
This week was a good week though.  Under the "Books I Bought" heading, I got all 3 of those trade paperbacks at my local Books-A-Million for $3 and some change each.  I had access to WiFi this week, hence my buying the Nook Books, which I probably shouldn't have done, but I did it anyway.  And I finished quite a few books this week, so be on the lookout for the review posts soon!

Books I Bought
The White Queen The Other Queen The Fall of the Templars
NookBooks I Downloaded
Blockade Billy The Gunslinger
Books I'm Currently Reading
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone The Dream Crystal
Books I Started
Blockade Billy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Books I Finished
Blockade Billy Cat's Cradle Pride and Prejudice

Thursday, May 26, 2011

REVIEW: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

book cover of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Title:  Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Date Published: First published in 1813
Genre: Classic Literature
Page Count: 392 pages
Challenge: E-Book Challenge

I think this is one of those books that everyone is required to read at some point or another.  It took me forever to actually read this and despite the problems that I had at the very beginning, I am glad that I read this.

Okay, I really struggling with this at the beginning.  I get what Austen's point was and I understand the time period that this was written in.  Wit was very important, especially when it came to exchanges between men and women.  So, with that said, I understand the point of a lot of the dialog , but that didn't make me like it anymore.  Getting through the first 200 pages was something similar to torture.  I did not enjoy it, at all.  However, once Austen really started getting into the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, I got interested.

Though I didn't like the beginning, it was necessary to get through all of that to get to the good part.  The end of the book was well worth it, and I ended up loving Mr. Darcy.  I have to say that I always liked Elizabeth from the very beginning.  I think that was because she was constantly being harassed about how headstrong that she was and she spoke her mind, and that's something that I can relate to.
Some of my favorite parts:  The exchange between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth was by far one of my favorite parts of the novel.  Lady Catherine was such a bitch that I could hardly stand it, and when Eliza let her have it like she did, I just loved it.
Other characters I hated were Mr.Collins and Lydia.  Mr. Collins was such a ridiculous excuse for a man that I just couldn't make myself like him.  And Lydia was just such an idiot through the entire book that I had no love for her.

So aside from the ridiculous characters that I couldn't stand, the love story was sweet and it wasn't a bad read.  If you love classic literature and haven't read this, I suggest you do.  Overall, I would give this a 3.5 our of 5.  Definitely a must read, but not quite up my alley.

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com  Pride And Prejudice

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides movie posterTitle:  Pirates of the Caribbean:  On Stranger Tides
Release Date:  May 20, 2011
Run Time: 2 hours and 17 minutes
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: B+

So I rarely go see movies in theatres.  The last one that I think I saw was Jackass 3D, which was back in March I believe.  Anyway, when I saw that this was coming out, I was pretty excited about it..

I was a little apprehensive to see it, because I LOVED the first one, the second one was pretty weak and the third one was just okay.  But I still wanted to see it because there wasn't going to be the ultimate sissy boy that is Orlando Bloom and the whiner that is Kira Knightly.  And overall, I was not disappointed by this movie!

I think one of the reasons that everyone loves these movies so much is because of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack.  I think he'll forever be known for that characters and I think he's okay with that.  Anyway, I love him, I think his character is fabulous.  I'm also not a fan of Penelope Cruz, but I thought that he role in this fit her very well.
Of course I love Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa.  He's one of my favorites from the series.  But, the cast member I was most excited for was Ian McShane as Blackbeard.  I LOVELOVELOVE Ian McShane and I thought he was wonderful as Blackbeard.

So in terms of the actual storyline, I liked it.  If you know anything about it, they're all on a mission to find the fountain of youth.  It's Barbossa, who is mysteriously working for the English, Captain Jack of course, and Blackbeard.  And of course madness ensues and there are funny moments and overall it was just a good movie.  One of my favorite scenes was the mermaid scene, I thought it was wonderfully done.  And there were several minor characters that I really liked through the course of the movie.

Honestly overall, I didn't have many complaints.  My biggest complaint is that it was really long and there were probably parts that could have done without, but I have a short attention span with movies anyway.  I don't regret paying the money to see it and I would probably watch the entire thing again.  I definitely recommend seeing it.  Oh, and its playing in 3D, but I saw the regular showing so I can't really say anything about that, but I definitely give this movie a B+. Go see it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Release Tuesday (6)

Here's a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about for the upcoming week in both books and music.  I only feature one or two for each category, but there a LOADS of new releases every Tuesday and you can find them by visiting B&N.com or FYE.com!
Title:  Beauty Queens
Author:  Libba Bray
Release Date:  May 24, 2011
Summary:  From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island.
book cover of Beauty Queens by Libba BrayTeen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to emall. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.
Why I'm Excited:  Once again, I can't say that I'm excited about this, but the summary definitely intrigues me.  Also, I've seen several bloggers who have gotten ARC's of this and several other people that are excited about it, so I would say that this is definitely worth listing.  Beauty queens and a body count?  Sounds hilariously funny and morbid at the same time.
Album Title:  Codes and Keys
Artist:  Death Cab for Cutie
Release Date:  May 31, 2011
Death Cab for Cutie Codes and Key album coverWhy I'm Excited:  I actually did not know that this was coming out until I started looking for things for this post, so this is genuine OMG excitement.  I LOVE Death Cab, they've been one of my favorite bands since I was in high school and I'm pretty sure that I own almost everything that they've ever recorded.  Anyone that listens to them knows that they haven't released anything since Narrow Stairs in 2008.  So, the fact that there is a new album is mucho exciting to me.  I hope that its just as amazing as I think that it will be!

Monday, May 23, 2011

This Week's Reads

So, heres what I have for the week.  Some things I'm feeling, some things I'm not., unfortunately.  Maybe things will get better, we'll see.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
So, I'm on the fence about this.  Again, I understand the time period, and the exchanges that take place between the characters, but its just so tedious that I'm having a hard time.  I have a feeling that I haven't hit the good part of the novel yet though.  I will say that I absolutely CAN NOT STAND Mr. Collins.  I basically think he's a super annoying man, and I would have done the same thing if I were Elizabeth.  Speaking of Elizabeth, I'm interested to see where things go with her and Mr. Darcy.  I really hope that I like this book in the end.  I really want to like it.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
I haven't gotten very far into this yet, so I don't have too much to comment on yet.  I just know that I love Vonnegut, and I love Kilgore Trout.  There is so much about him that is funny and crazy at the same time.  That's the way that a lot of Vonnegut's characters are though.  I think that this will be another novel that I love by Vonnegut, I just have to get through it first.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Okay.  This is another example of "I really hate making myself read classics."  I see all the time how many people absolutely love this novel and they love the story of it, but I just can't make myself get into it.  I hate it. About the only thing that I really know of that's going on, is that someone is having an affair, and someone else is trying to propose to someone else.  And I'm only like 40 pages in.  But the names are throwing me for a loop and I just can't make myself get into it.  I hate it, because I want to just read it and get it over with, but I think that I may have to just suck it up and either put it aside or....put it aside.  I'll make a decision late on this week.

The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon
This one is actually a review request by the author. Its a fantasy type story, which interests me, and I'm about 30 pages in, but I haven't really had much of a chance to read this week, which if you've seen my Sunday Salon post, you know why!  Anyway, about the book.  I'm on the fence about this.  Because I haven't gotten far yet, there's a few things that are starting to happen, and there is a lot that hasn't yet been explained, which is kind of bugging me, but that's because I'm a ridiculously impatient person.  I'm also not sure how I feel about the main character.  She's got this attitude that I don't really know how to respond to.  But I have a lot more to read, so I'll try not to make assumptions.

Those are my reads this week!  Hopefully I can get some things read and you'll see more reviews before June begins!  Happy reading everyone!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Sunday Salon (8)

Edition #8 of the Sunday Salon.  Remember that if you want to become a participant, log onto Facebook.com and join the group!

This Week...
This week has been a little bit different.  Honestly, I have gotten almost no reading done.  My aunt has been in town since Monday afternoon.  Despite not getting any reading done, its been wonderful.  She is one of the funniest people that I know, and I enjoy it so much when she gets to visit!  I get my workouts from how hard we laugh when she's here.  Another thing that I love about her is that she reads!  She reads more than my mom, and she reads a little bit of everything, so we've actually had some really good conversations about books this week. When she finished her book she brought, she started going through my collection and my mom's.  She actually found a copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude, which she said was one of her all time favorite books.  So, its just one more thing that I added to my TBR pile.  Anyway, I take her to the airport tomorrow, so we're going to be sad to see her go, but its been amazing to have her here.

Challenging Myself
Anyone that reads knows of the Harry Potter series.  Well I'm a complete slackass and I haven't even finished the last two yet.  I also have only seen the first 4 movies.  Okay, okay, so I'm a little behind.  With the end of the movies series fast approaching, I want to challenge myself to read the entire book series before the last film comes out.  I probably won't see the last film in theaters, since I hardly ever go to the movies, but I'm also going to challenge myself to watch ALL of the movies, and just wait until the last one comes out on OnDemand.  Unfinished Person's blog actually gave me the idea to watch the movies consecutively, as well as some encouragement on twitter. :] 
However, as fast as I want to get all of these books finished, and the movies watched, I definitely want to finish Pride And Prejudice, The Dream Crystal (The Dream War Series), and Cat's Cradle: A Novel so that I don't have so much on my currently reading list.

I think that's all I have for the salon this week.  I hope those of you that are going to BEA have a blast, and the rest of you, happy reading!  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

On My Wishlist (10)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City.  Click the link to sign up!
This weeks edition is basically just from exploring Goodreads :]  I spent only a little bit of time on there and found a lot of really good looking books!

book cover of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. MartinTitle:  A Game of Thrones
Author:  George R. R. Martin
Genre:  Science Fiction/Fantasy
Page Count:  835 pages
Summary: (From Goodreads.com)  Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom's protective wall. To the south, the King's powers are failing, and his enemies are emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the King's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but also the kingdom itself. A heroic fantasy of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and evildoers who come together in a time of grim omens. The first volume in George Martin's series.
book cover of The Story of a Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
Title:  The Story of a Beautiful Girl
Author:  Rachel Simon
Genre:  Adult Fiction
Page Count:  352 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads.com) It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone-Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia-lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love
book cover of Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Title:  Graveminder
Author:  Melissa Marr
Genre:  Fantasy/Paranormal
Page Count: 336 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads.com)  The New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series delivers her first novel for adults, a story about the living, the dead, and a curse that binds them. 
Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you." 
Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk
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