Thursday, March 31, 2011

What I've Been Watching

I believe that teenagers receive their newsfeed (Facebook pun intended) from all sorts of sources. The internet, friends in school, television, magazines and then once in a while, books. In a small way, I am trying to view the world through a teenagers eyes, I am failing, of course, because my taste in television tends to differ. But I think I'll start tracking what I do watch, just to see how it relates. And, to stalk myself.

Because I am addicted to Netflix streaming on my Wii, I have access to what feels like an endless supply of entertainment. In the last month I have watched:

Teen Stuff (aka my guilty pleasures)
The last 2 seasons of Greek (some how they had the current season streaming!). I liked the story, it's a lot of friend drama, a little family drama and most of all, it's just fun. It was the last season, I'll miss it.

2 seasons of The Secret Life of the American Teen I have ranted about this show before. Haven't decided if I'll continue to watch it.

Currently I am watching Veronica Mars. For the 100th time. I want to be a teenage spy. Seriously.

Other Stuff
6 seasons of Weeds. I have watched them all before, but the boyfriend hadn't. I can watch them over and over again and not be sick of them. The new season will start this summer and for the first time ever, I don't have Showtime to watch it. Sad!

The 6th season of Grey's Anatomy, for the second time. I watched it weekly last year. Still love this show.

The first season of  Californication. When we finished Weeds I felt like I needed to fill the void in my heart, somehow.

We've also watched many documentaries lately. Mostly about food. FoodMatters was good, but Food Inc was better. It was an excellent documentary on how our food is processed. Kinda makes me want to move out to a farm and grow all of my own food. We also watched Beer Wars. Boyfriend has a wish to be a brewer when he grows up. Seriously entertaining depiction about how certain beer companies are taking over the market, while those fabulous micro brews are put out of the spotlight. And off the food topic... I watched a Hugh Hefner Documentary earlier. He's kinda great. Also, The One Percent was so good I actually put my laptop away. Pretty much, the rich keep getting richer and they don't feel bad about it. Great views of the rich families in America.

It's official, I watch too much TV. Or, I have no life.

What I've Been Reading

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then i'd Have to Kill You
The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women lives up to its name. Not only does this exclusive boarding school teach advanced language skills and correct deportment; its students also master the arts of tapping phones, hacking into computers, and spying in public places. At school, second-generation Gallagher Girl Cammie Morgan has impeccable credentials: She is fluent in 14 languages and able to kill an assailant in seven different ways. But recently life has dealt Cammie a card that she never anticipated: She has fallen in love with an ordinary boy who knows nothing about her exotic double life. A truly covert romance.

I thought this book would be a nice break from all the dystopianness. I am usually not a fan of girlly books, but I sincerely tried. I got to the last 30 pages or so before I kind of just wanted to give up. I thought it was going to be a big time girl power spy book. But then the minute she meets a boy, she kind of wants to give up all the spy stuff to sneak around. 

I felt the characters were one dimensional. Cammie was too much of a girlie girl and while watching a girl fall in love for the first time is always heart warming, I found it a little self deprecating. It was told in first person so we got to know her pretty well. On the other hand she had the tough friend, Bex and the smart friend, Liz. Macey, the new girl was the only stand-out, but mostly because she was trying to be a mean girl.

I know this is a series. I think that it probably has redeeming qualities as you read more, so I would still recommend it as an easy quick read for any girl. I would recommend Gossip Girl to the same type :-). 

The Water and the Wilds

When Bee woke up, there was a girl standing in her room. "You are me," the girl said. Then she was gone.
I am a thirteen-year-old double Gemini. I get bad grades, write poetry with my left hand, dance in my room, surf the net. I Google images of the tattoos my mom won't let me get. . . .
But my world belongs to someone else. Someone who lives below the concrete of Los Angeles, someone with wild eyes and twigs in her hair.
And I think she wants her life back.

Quotable Francesca: 
"How do I know right from wrong? I come from a place where it isn't the same."
"Under the ground where the roots take hold and everything end but also begins" 
 As per usual, I loved every word. I read this book in about an hour. I remember reading Weetzie Bat about 16 years ago at the same speed. That's what I love about Francesca Lia Block. No matter how old I am still amazed by her words. And I feel like I should be on a first name basis with her, mostly because I am her friend on facebook. I will re-read this, because she always uncover the story little by little, doesn't really make complete sense until the end.

The characters are beautifully written, completely complimentary to one another and all necessary in each other's life. It is a character driven story, more than a plot driven story. It is a snippet out of someone's life that we are chosen to be able to view. It would make any outcast feel like there is hope. And everyone who dream of fairies and doppledangers believe that the could indeed exist.

This book is hard to recommend at my particular library. They're in to graphic novels, urban fiction and fantasy. I know that this is considered fantasy, but... it is bit too wordy in the world of graphic novels.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday...

I found this book while looking at books for my April order. It looks so different (from what is out now) that it peaked my interest, and (hopefully the interest of my teens!)

Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.
Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.
Daniel Kraus's masterful plotting and unforgettable characters makeRotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Friday, Friday, Friday!

For your musical pleasure: Most obnoxious Friday song ever.

The Hunger Games
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

So I finished Hunger Games. Yes I know I am the last one on earth. I literally went from disliking this book so much I didn't want to read the whole thing, (much less the series) to reading the whole thing in 24 hours. I just finished it and threw it across my living room because it just ends! Thank god I can go get the sequel tomorrow, but those people who had to wait, I feel for them.

I liked Katniss. She was strong, stupidly stubborn and smart. I felt like she played the martyr card a lot, but not so much so that it was annoying. Peeta was humble and kind of dreamy, understated. I wish Katniss would just open her eyes and see him. Stupid loveless girl. I have a crush on Peeta by the way.

This is a good examply of dystopian lit. I feel like I am reading only in this genre and it has a lot of competitors. They lived in a truly cruel world, in which no one is left unscathed. Children die and their parents mourn. That is scarier than big brother. Bad example of dystopian lit is XVI, I tried to read it again and just couldn't do it. I was forced into this weirdo world with nothing explained to me. 

The Goddess Test
Every girl who has taken the test has died.
Now it's Kate's turn.
It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
 Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.
 If she fails...

I read this early courtesy of NetGalley. It will be released April 19. I absolutely loved it. I needed the break from dystopia and this was the perfect brain candy.

Kate was a very well rounded character, Henry was dreamy. And Aimee Carter wove in mythology very well. It didn't seem over done or under explained. I can't wait for the next one! (I think I liked this book too much, can barely give it a proper review!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Another Challenge

Challenge courtesy of A Few More Pages

Guidelines for the 1st in a Series Challenge 2011

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. If you're not a blogger, leave your information in the comments.

2. There are four levels for this challenge:

  • Series Novice: Read 3 books that are the first in any series.
  • Series Lover: Read 6 books that are the first in any series.
  • Series Expert: Read 12 books that are the first in any series.
  • Series Fanatic: Read 20 books that are the first in any series.

You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you. Any genre counts.

3. The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2011.

4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2011.

5. If you're a blogger, write up a sign-up post that includes the URL to this post so that others can join in. Feel free to use the button above. When you sign up in the Linky, put the direct link to your1st in a Series Challenge sign-up post.

I am going to go for the Series Expert level and read 12 books.

What I've Been Reading

I finished Hex Hall. It took me a while to get into it (mostly my own time constraints) but once I did, I literally could not put it down. Sophie Mercer is amusing and honest. Her school is a mismash of different supernatural beings. That is a part of the plot that could have been explored more, the shape shifters were left out a bit. But I guess that's what makes it a great first in a series, I am really looking forward to Demonglass and to see what happens to Sophie next. Sidenote: as much as I am against the whole every teen book becoming a movie, I could see it becoming a movie. It will fill the void in our hearts when the Harry Potter and Twilight movie franchises conclude this summer and fall.

I started reading Bumped (via NetGalley) and quickly got bored of it. On the other hand I have started The Goddess Test, (also via NetGalley) and it is addictive. Love Greek mythology.

I am also reading the Hunger Games. Again. I am now going to eat my own words... it is not boring, I was wrong. I should have given it a better chance the first time I tried to read it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Top Ten Characters You'd Want as Family Members

  1. Jo March (Little Women)
  2. Sophie Mercer (Hex Hall)
  3. Sam (Hold Me Closer Necromancer)
  4. Novalee Nation (Where the Heart Is)
  5. Lena Holaway (Delirium)
  6. Valentine (Brava Valentine)
  7. Sookie Stackhouse 
  8. Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City)
  9. Margaret Simon (Are you there God It's Me Margaret)
  10. Weetzie Bat 

Friday, March 11, 2011

The John Hughes Coincidence

1. I have been watching The Secret Life of The American Teen with Molly Ringwald. (Rant below)
2. I have also been watching Greek which recently had an episode Camp Buy Me Love which references John Hughes movies. One of the characters was using them as a guide to life.
3. Last week I watched the documentary Don't You Forget About Me.

So I just finished up the 5th chapter of The Secret Life of the American Teen... because ABC Family does chapters when they release the DVDs and seasons when on television. Super confusing! Anyway, that isn't what the rant is about. The main character, Amy, is a teen mom, we watched the progression of her pregnancy and the first year of her baby, John's life over the last 3 seasons. Adrienne is following in Amy's foot steps, with Amy's ex-boyfriend Ben... Did I mention that Adrienne's ex boyfriend, Ricky is the father of Amy's baby? Yea, exactly. So it barely needs mentioning that we also see her surrounding friends and family and the obnoxious soap opera that is their life. Her parents are separated, divorced, reconciled and separated again. her sister Ashley is trying to sleep with Ricky... It's all about sex. Who is having it and with who. There is a major lack of maturity (which actually rings true, since they are indeed teenagers). But they are teenagers who are in very adult situations, the lack of maturity and selflessness is astounding sometimes. They all just want to grow up so fast.

And this flows into (what I think) is the void that television has right now.  Because back in the 80's when John Hughes was making movies, he got an accurate picture of teenagers. In the 90's when I was a kid I was hooked on Saved by the Bell and 90210, and it felt like they were at least trying to have shows for teens.Are there any realistic Teen shows right now? Where teenagers can turn on the TV and see others just like them? (Glee is definitely not the answer to this question by the way).
Taken from the Cheryl Renee Herbsman via  Reading Lark .

Distractions. They always occur at precisely the wrong time. What are FIVE things that always seem to distract you from reading or distract you while you are reading?

1. Boyfriend. He likes to talk as much as me :-)
2. Television. But not always, I am a great multi-tasker, if I am not sincerely interested in what is on the TV, I can read with it in the background. This makes the person above happy. 
3. Crocheting and or knitting, I am usually working on 1-3 projects at a time.
4. Facebook, oh the endless amount of time I can waste there.
5. Lately, Super Mario Brothers 3, we bought it for the Wii. Love the old school video games!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Read this last night, kind of felt like she was saying everything I was thinking, only more concisely and without the random tangent in the middle...Natanya's Ramblings on the Dystopian Genre.  And another... The Future Sucks – A Visitor’s Guide to Dystopia

Again, read this last night. The "Ick" Factor. I have also been noticing this trend in YA fiction, where the characters and/or their romances make me want to puke. Plus, no matter how much I want a romance in a book, you can't take away from the originality of the story OR make the characters be "those" people who just do it for love, and in the process ruin the story. I felt that way about the Twilight books... I couldn't stand the sappyness between Bella and Edward. I made it a 3rd of the way through the first book.

Only piece I've read so far defending Harper Collins (since I live in library world, we're thinking "poor us")
Well Done Harper Collins...
"In spite of the heat HarperCollins can expect to receive from its library customers, I hope they stand their ground. Librarians need to shift their thinking as digitisation transforms the reading landscape. "

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It only took me a whole month...

I have had this book from NetGalley since before it was released, but did not have the proper software at the time to actually read it. Then it came in a couple weeks ago in the February order... and then finally I had the correct software to read it. I need a Nook. Now. Please?

Anyway... To make a short story shorter, I finally finished Delirium.

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

I loved the story in Delirium. I am a huge fan of Dystopian stories. I like that Lauren Oliver took the time to fully explain the world in which Lena lived. A lot was explained with excerpts from their rule books. Some days I would think the story was moving too slow, and maybe that's why it took me so long to read. But at the end of the book, I was truly satisfied and immersed into Lena's world where Love is a scary.
"Love, the deadliest of all things: It kills you both when you have it, and when you do not... the condemner and the condemned. The executioner; the blade; the last minute reprieve; the gasping breath and the rolling sky above you and the thank you, thank you, thank you, God. Love: It will kill you and save you, both"
I also thought this book was a great introduction to the series as a whole. The story took place over a span of about 3 months... and the last few chapters happened in a matter of days. The pace seriously picked up at the end of the book, I am not going to say that it needed to... but it felt right, it got me waiting impatiently for the next installment of Lena's life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Don't You Forget About Me

I watched the documentary Don't You Forget About Me this morning. It is four film makers on a road trip looking for John Hughes as well as interviews with those who worked with and appreciated him throughout the years.

Here was the point of the documentary. John Hughes made movies that resonated deeply with (myself) and many other teenagers/ grown-ups/ kids around the world. One of the interviews makes the point that his writing is what did it, or the casting is what did it, either way, somehow, he epitomized teenagers in those movies. While a lot of his characters were archetypes/ stereotypes of people in the world (i.e. The Breakfast Club). His writing in moves, his directing was spot on, he made movies teenagers could and still can relate to.

The next main point was, and my question for the day, which movies do that for teenagers now?

To be continued...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

A weekly meme from Breaking the Spine

Thank god I received the ARC from Netgalley because I am seriously looking forward to this read. I have always been a fan of Greek Mythology (i.e. Percy Jackson series). Plus I think I need a break from my dystopian/utopian reads for a while. I would much rather be in someone's fantasy world than perfect world. 

From Goodreads:
Every girl who has taken the test has died.

Now it's Kate's turn.

It's always been just Kate and her mom--and now her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails..