Monday, September 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

This weeks' Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, is Top Ten Book Turn-Offs.

I feel like we did something slightly similar a few weeks ago with the Top Ten Topics That Will Make You NOT Pick Up a Book, but since this is a lot broader, I will create a new list.

1. Excused unfaithfulness: Unfaithfulness is a sad part of life, but it happens, therefore I expect to see it in books.  What I hate is when authors portray the unfaithfulness as justified or excused, as if it was okay.  That bothers me.  I will stop liking a book immediately if I feel that the cheating is justified.

2. Sexual abuse: I know this happens in life, but I hate reading about it.  Its even worse when its graphic.  I can't handle it.  The scene will haunt me for weeks, so I avoid it.

3. Dropped plot lines: Have you ever read a book that has a few storylines and one seems to be dropped and never mentioned again?  By the end you are like, "Hey, what happened to so-and-so?".  Ugh, annoying!

4. Recommendations that start with "If you liked.....": I find that these recommendations are for copycat books.  The first was good, so why read a subpar version?  And if it is a good book you are recommending, let it stand on its own.  Don't compare it.

5.  Unnecessary sexual details: If I walked in on a sexual encounter, I would close my eyes and run out.  Awkward!  So why would I want to read about it?  It feels intrusive. If the details are applicable to the story, okay, I get it.  But if not, you are adding sex to get more readers.  Its a cheap tactic and I lose respect for writers that do it.

6. Too much detail: Do you ever feel like the story gets lost in the details?  I find myself yelling "I get it! Now get back to the story!"  Details are necessary but too many makes for a bored reader.

7. The phrase "Modern Day Classic": A classic is a classic because it stands the test of time. Modern Day Classic is a contradiction in terms.

8. Twilight:

9. Grammatical errors: I will stop reading if there are more than a few grammatical errors.  Too distracting.

10. Really thick accents written out: I get that some characters have really thick accents and you want to convey that the listener is likely struggling to understand just like the reader, but the more complex it is, the more likely I am to get frustrated and stop reading it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Once again, I chose this book because I was reading through the alphabet this year and I needed and "E". I am not a huge fan of science fiction novels, so I had a feeling right of the bat that I wasn't going to be a huge fan.  In fact, if it weren't for the fact that I needed and "E", I never would have read this book.

Ender's Game takes place in a future where the Earth is not only overpopulated, but under attack from an enemy force known simply as "Buggers". Due to both of these problems, families in the United States are limited to two children each.  Anything over two, and the government will monitor your kids and eventually take one. Such is the case with Ender Wiggins. At the age of 6, he is taken from his family to join the training group against the Buggers.

In school, someone is always watching and monitoring Ender, manipulating every action. Ender is praised immediately by the instructor, leaving him an outcast amongst his peers. He must learn to thrieve on his own, with no one to help guide him, at the age of 6.

Back on Earth, Ender's siblings are left to their own devices. Ender's older brother, Peter, is evil and sadistic, hellbent on world domination. On the other hand, Ender's sister, Valentine, is sweet and loving. She truly loves and misses Ender, secretly celebrating his birthday each year without him.

Valentine, although begrudgingly, eventually decides to help Peter achieve world domination.  Each of them creates a false persona on the internet system, to avoid anyone finding out they are children. Peter knows that if the Buggers are defeated, the world will fall into chaos, making his goal achievable.

I found this book to be very well written.  It had a fantastic underlying meaning about war and our mindset about war. 

However, I was not a fan of the book.  Besides that it was a science fiction book, there was one element missing from this book that I felt it really needed:  hope.  You feel no hope in this book at all. Ender goes off to become cold and hard, growing up in a environment all about competition and war, with no love. The world below also seems to be void of love.  Not only do the siblings left on Earth show no love for each other, but you feel little love from their parents.  You know full well that even if the Earth is saved from the Buggers, it is not saved from the likes of Peter.

While I understand Card's approach with the story, the lack of hope made for a glum read  Not only that, but the characters came off cold, and to me at least, less likeable.  Even at the end, I felt Ender was a cold,  wholly unhappy person. While I believe this was the author's purpose, it did make me less likely to read anything by him again.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bel Canto: 4 Stars

In an unnamed South American country, a party is being held in honor of the owner of an elite electronics company. The country really wants the company to build a factory there to stimulate the economy, so they threw a lavish party for his birthday, inviting his favorite opera singer. The man, Hosokawa, has no intention of building a thing in the country, but he could not resist the chance to meet Roxane Coss, a woman whose music has warmed his heart. Everyone of importance is attendance, except for the president of the country who feigns ill to stay home and catch up on his soaps; a wise decision in the end. 

The nights beauty ends abruptly when the lights go out.  While seeming to be a simple power outage, it is actually a calculated attack by a rebel army with the goal to take the president captive.  Upon finding him absent, the gang decides to keep the majority of the party captive; a decision that lasts months. 

The majority of this novel revolves around the relationship of the the captors and the victims during the months of stand off. The author tells you in the first chapter who will survive and who will not. This almost makes it harder to bear as you slowly get to know each person. Wile many may cry that the victims begin to suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, I would say that they just understand those holding them against their will. 

Since I do not live in a country with such problems, this concept of month long stand offs is very foreign.  However, they do happen.  In fact, this book is based on actual events.  In 1996 in Lima, Peru,
14 members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took hundreds of people hostage who were attending a party at the home of Japan's ambassador to Peru, Morihisa Aoki, in celebration of Emperor Akihito's 63rd birthday. While most hostages were freed, the remaining hostages were held 126 days. That situation ended in similar fashion to the book.

This book, while unbelievably sad, is rather eye opening. The book was moving. The world is not black and white.  There are not clear cut bad guys and good guys.  Everyone is gray. Every situation is gray if you look at it deep enough. I commend the author for their ability to convey the emotions and reality of a very gray situation.

Also, the ease with which she used music to convey the beauty and love of the situation and people was magnificent. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Danylle's Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and The Bookish, the theme is best sequels.  For those of you who know me or have read this blog, I don't like sequels. I don't read sequels except for on rare occasions. In fact, there are very few that I HAVE read and actually enjoyed.  They may be decent books, but putting them on a list as "best ever" just gives them more credit than I'd like to give them.  So, rather than skip this week completely, I asked my sister to guest blog for me again and complete this top ten.

While my sister and I are related, our reading style is completely different.  Because of what ended up on her list (*cough* Twilight *cough*), I wish to acknowledge that this is not a list I can endorse.  So without further adieu,

Danylle's Top Ten Tuesday!

1. UnWholly by Neal Shusterman, sequel to UnWind.  I found the story line to UnWind very interesting, thought provoking, and a little controversial.  I wasn't sure what more could be done, but was intrigued enough to read UnWholly.  This book knocked it out of the park for me and, if possible, went further into interesting, thought provoking, and controversial.

2. Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale, sequel to Austenland.  For anyone who has fallen for Mr. Darcy or any of the Austen heroes, Austenland is awesome and fun.  Midnight in Austenland adds a murder mystery to the fun!  That's definitely something that's right up my alley!  

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, book #3 in the Harry Potter series.  Out of all 7 books, I enjoyed Prisoner of Azkaban the best.  I love the little twists and the creativity that went into making this story great.  Definitely, my favorite Harry Potter book.

4. Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull, book #3 in the Fablehaven series.  I can't mention Harry Potter without giving props to Fablehaven. One of the most creative and fun children's series aside from Harry Potter.  Brandon Mull is a very talented writer and Fablehaven creates another world but doesn't go nearly as dark as the Harry Potter series goes.  Just like the Harry Potter series, Fablehaven's book #3 is my favorite.  It has twists and fun characters that make the story something amazing.

5. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, sequel to A Discovery of Witches.  I really enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, but I tend to like plots involving supernatural characters and humans developing a strong connection. After finishing the first book, I realized the sequel would take place in the past, 1590 to be exact, I wasn't exactly thrilled.  I thought some of what drew me to the story would get boring or changed being in the past.  I was pleasantly surprised to find I liked the sequel even better.  The characters already established got more depth and new characters were introduced that quickly became my favorites.  The mystery continued to ebb and flow with some questions being answered and more questions popping up.  I was very happy with this sequel.

6. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, sequel to The Hunger Games.  I loved The Hunger Games! To me Catching Fire built on the first book and added much more depth to the trilogy.  Some of my very favorite characters are introduced in Catching Fire.  I found The Hunger Games a great start to something and Mockingjay held the more dark and depressing ending.   Catching Fire was exciting and intriguing and left you ready for more!

7. The Moor by Laurie R. King, book #4 in the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series.  I've loved how Laurie King has portrayed Sherlock Holmes in his later life with his younger wife Mary Russell.  She handles the character of Sherlock Holmes well and makes the mysteries fun and exciting.  The Moor is the fourth book and takes place in the Devonshire moors where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles took place.  It was very well done and was a great addition to the series while also paying homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original work and characters.

8. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, book #1 in The Infernal Devices series and spin-off from the Mortal Instruments series.  My hat off to Cassandra Clare who wrote a prequel series to her popular series Mortal Instruments and staggered the release of books from both series to create a mystery all its own.  I happen to be a fan of The Infernal Devices series and like most of the characters from that series better than the characters in the Mortal Instruments series.  I love how she was able to keep key favorite characters in both series and create family trees for other characters.  So you could read about great, great, grandson and great, great, grandfather in their perspective timelines.  Very well done and a very way of doing things!

9. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, book #4 in the Twilight series.  Forgive me for those who hate Twilight and the hype that surrounds it, but I can't do sequels without mentioning Twilight.  I did like the series, I'm not big on the hype though.  My favorite book in the series was the last book, Breaking Dawn. I felt that through the whole Twilight series, Bella was kind of pulled around and leaned on many of the other characters. In Breaking Dawn, Bella comes into her own and takes control of her own actions.  She makes things happen, she does things on her own, and she protects her family instead of being the one everyone protects. I loved the turnabout.  I loved the way things ended and how well things worked out.  Breaking Dawn was definitely my favorite in the series (since I usually skip the bulk of New Moon......but that's a topic for another time.....).

10. This may be taboo so please forgive my unorthodox ways.  But my last sequel is Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett, meant as a sequel companion to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  Yes, two different authors and one is a classic, I'm probably going to hell.  BUT I truly loved Bennett's insight to a character that takes up a few pages in this well-loved classic.  Who was Jacob T. Marley?  Why didn't he get a second chance? R. William Bennett's Jacob T. Marley enhanced my love for A Christmas Carol with his spin on these characters.

Again, I would like to thank my sister for her help in completely this week's Top Ten Tuesday!  Thanks Dany!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Death of a Stranger: 4 Stars

Death of a Stranger by Anne Perry

I do not like starting series in the middle, but this was the only Anne Perry book currently at the library and my dad recommended the book. Not only did my dad recommend it, but having discovered Anne Perry's dark past, I was intrigued to see what she would write about. 

While William Monk is a nice character, it was his wife, Hester, who kept me listening. She was not the weak, let-me-ask-my-detective-husband-what-I-should-do type. She was strong willed and independent while being a great wife. 

Honestly, the book could have dropped the William Monk story line and I would not have cared. It was Hester's story that was compelling, suspenseful, and fun to follow. I need to see if I can get my hands on more of this series.  Perhaps there will be more Hester Monk than William Monk. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dexter is Delicious; 2 Stars

Dexter is Delicious By Jeff Lindsay

This is the 5th installment in the Dexter series.  In this one, Dexter becomes a father.  When this happens, something strange starts to happen to Dexter: he gets feelings. While trying to sort out this new element to his life, Dexter decides to stop killing. This becomes difficult when his serial killer blood brother from the first book comes back and starts to spend time with Dexter's family.  Not to mention their are two young girls missing and it looks like they were taken by vampire cannibals.

I have been a fan of these books, but this one didn't do much for me.  First off, I really enjoy the element all about Dexter trying to navigate through life without emotions. I love the psychological element and look and social norms. By adding in emotions to Dexter, he didn't work anymore. And it barely made sense.  There was very little consistency.

Second, seriously, how terrible of a police force is in Miami? Debra and Dexter definitely did not solve this one so much as they lucked into it.  They were acting really dumb in this one and if they had done this on a really police force would have been fired halfway through the book. 

Not my cup of tea.  I hope I get the Dexter I know and love back in the next one.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted every week by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week's theme is Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List (you could do top ten fall releases you plan on reading or just your planned reading list).

I'm not great at keeping up with books coming out, mostly because there are so many out already I need to read.  So I decided to list what I am reading next, summaries courtesy of Goodreads.

1. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock: Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

2. Empire Falls: Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it’s Janine, Miles’ soon-to-be ex-wife, who’s taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it’s the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town–and seems to believe that “everything” includes Miles himself. In Empire Falls Richard Russo delves deep into the blue-collar heart of America in a work that overflows with hilarity, heartache, and grace.

3. The Book Thief: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

4. Atlas Shrugged: This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world—and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor—and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.

Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life—from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy—to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction—to the philosopher who becomes a pirate—to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph—to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad—to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.

You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions. This is a mystery story, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder—and rebirth—of man’s spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, that is the first of your premises to check.

5. Freedom: Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul—the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter’s dreams. Together with Walter—environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man—she was doing her small part to build a better world.

But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz—outré rocker and Walter’s college best friend and rival—still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become “a very different kind of neighbor,” an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street’s attentive eyes?

6. World War Z: The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

7. Middlesex: So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of 1967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

8. Thirteen Reasons Why: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

 On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

9. The last Harry Potter: Harry Potter is preparing to leave the Dursleys and Privet Drive for the last time. But the future that awaits him is full of danger, not only for him, but for anyone close to him — and Harry has already lost so much. Only by destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes can Harry free himself and overcome the Dark Lord's forces of evil.

In this dramatic conclusion to the Harry Potter series, Harry must leave his most loyal friends behind, and in a final perilous journey find the strength and the will to face his terrifying destiny: a deadly confrontation that is his alone to fight.

10. The Lightening Thief: Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Following Atticus: 3 Stars

Following Atticus: 
Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship 
by Tom Ryan

After years of engrossing himself in the politics of a Massachusetts town with his own independent newspaper, Tom Ryan begins to long for more, and almost by accident ends up changing his life, all with the addition of a little dog. Initially for a friend, but eventually for himself, Ryan begins hiking mountains with his little dog in tow, blogging all the way. With the help of the bravery and loyalty Atticus provides, Ryan finds answers to questions.  In the end, Ryan finds happiness, something long since out of reach.

I did enjoy this book. I rated less, with only three stars, because the author gets a little high and mighty at times and because he has so many "revelations" that it seems to make them less important after awhile. But it was a great story that was well told. This is a man who grew up lonely despite his huge family. He is searching for who he is. While he defines himself as the editor of a self run newspaper, one little dog changes everything. He learns to understand his father, learns to love, learns to forgive, and to finally do what he wants to do. 

For dog lovers, hikers, or people who are lost in this world, I would recommend this book. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Night Circus: 2 Stars

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The first chapter immediately grabbed much attention with the promise of mystery, intrigue, and magic. My attention and excitement were quickly let down, however. 

The book became mundane, predictable, and boring. I knew the ending of the book by the third chapter. The excitement of a mysterious circus and real magic were wasted on a silly, predictable, boring love story. The only reason I finished the book is because I listened to the audiobook, read by Jim Dale. As my dad always says, "Jim Dale could read the phone book and I'd listen."  Frankly, I would have preferred the phone book. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show (set in a perfect which movies don't butcher the books we love.)

Guess what time it is?  It's time for Top Ten Tuesday!  The Broke and The Bookish host a weekly blog with the theme and I love it.

This week's theme: Top Ten Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show (set in a perfect which movies don't butcher the books we love.)

I'm so glad they added the stipulation in that this is set in a perfect world. Being a book lover, if I have read the book first, I usually hate the movie. Directors tend to ruin them!  I hate that. Occasionally they will get it right, but that is rare.

So here we go:

1. The Dinner: While this was definitely not my favorite book ever, I found the topic and theme intriguing and think that the medium of film might actually do it justice. As far as the casting, I would suggest perhaps Tom Hiddleston as the main character. He needs to be someone with a dark side but you understand why he has a dark side and feel pity for him, almost cheering for his evil.  We all know Mr. Hiddleston's got that down pat!

2. Boy21: I loved this book. It was all about a young man who is trying to find his way in the world and is suddenly given the responsibility of watching over someone else. That someone else is a troubled young basketball star who recently lost his parents and now believes himself to be an alien. This tale really goes into what some teenagers are forced to deal with and coping with tragedy. As far as casting, I have no idea.

3. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald: We hear and read a lot about F. Scott Fitzgerald. There are countless movies about the man.  But what about  from Zelda's perspective?  They were a young couple newly married thrown into fame and somewhat fortune. Scott had his issues with wanting to write the great American novel and alcoholism.  Zelda struggled with loneliness and eventually schizophrenia. In a time when mental illness was treated with electricity, she tried to rise about it all, only to be dragged down. I think a good Zelda Fitzgerald would be Emma Stone

4. Calico Joe: Baseball always makes me happy and this tale of the rising star who was humble and sweet is brilliant. I would go with a young Robert Redford for this one (we are in a perfect world, remember?)

5. The Screwtape Letters: Ok, so I am not exactly sure how this one would work, but I love it none the less. I was thinking maybe as a miniseries or TV show.

6. The Count of Monte Cristo: I know what you are thinking. "There are a ton of movies based on this book."  And you are correct. HOWEVER, none of these movies actually follow the book!  Again, this one may not be good for a movie.  A mini-series would be better since there is so much to cover.  But I don't want to see Edmund Dantes happy and smiling at the end!  Did no one read the book?! And as the lead character, hmmmm, that's a tough one. You need someone who can pull off innocence, ruggedness, desperation, and evil. Maybe Jude Law?  What do you think?

7. The Shadow of the Wind: I ADORE this book. I have a mad crush on Julian.  Who could play him?  Hmmm.... I haven't a clue!

8. I've Got Your Number: This one was my guilty pleasure. This would be a stereotypical chick flick.

9. Angels and Demons: Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon?  NO!!!!!!  Let's redo this with someone who is ACTUALLY like the character in the book. I am sorry Tom Hanks, but that's not you.  I am looking for a Daniel Craig, or a Michael Fassbender.

Ok, that was all I could come up with!  Agh!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Animal Farm: 4 Stars

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm starts out like any regular farm, but after a motivating speech and death of a leader, the animals revolt against the farmer, taking over and kicking him out. They are free and own the farm. They work hard, but reap a larger reward. They get to vote on things that happen. They are all equal. Well, at least that's how it starts out.

Once again, George Orwell's work presents a negative outlook on a totalitarian society. Written years before 1984, Animal Farm has a much lighter and funny tone to it, making it much easier and enjoyable to read. This story is a metaphor of Lenin and Stalin in Russia.  In my opinion, it helps explain a political situation in a way that is easy to understand.

I thoroughly enjoyed this one and highly recommend it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Latest Distraction: Doctor Who

While I listen to books on tape while I work everyday, I like to actually be reading a physical book as well. This is usually at night or on the weekends.  However, I have had a major distraction this last couple weeks. 

Yep, that's right, Doctor Who.

I started Doctor Who a few years ago (I am talking about the new series, not the older doctors). My husband was a huge fan of Tom Baker and thought he could get me into because of my love for Christopher Eccelston. Well he was right.  The problem is, the Doctor changes. I struggled with the change to Tennant but eventually adjusted.  But then came Matt Smith. Ugh!  I knew Matt Smith before he was the Doctor and was appalled at how terrible of an actor he was, not to mention I think he's funny looking. So I kept putting off starting the Matt Smith years. When they announced the new Doctor, I decided I wanted to see that guy.  So this meant I needed to watch all of Matt Smith. I told my husband there was only one way I could do it and that was to power through as quickly as I possibly could. So I watched three seasons in roughly three weeks.

Here is my analysis of Doctor Who, the current years: SPOILERS!

The Companions:

Rose Tyler: I really liked Rose when we first met her. She dumped her boyfriend and left her hum drum life to go on an adventure.  Oh, what's that you say?  She DIDN'T actually dump her boyfriend?  She's just leading him on an toying with him while she falls for the Doctor?  And then she started getting really really whiny. Ugh. Then when the Doctor has to leave her in the parallel universe and we find out what she's done with her life...she's back at the shop.  Come on Rose!  Even Mickey, the idiot, did something with himself. Then there is the episode where the Earth is moved by the Daleks and everyone is getting together to save the Doctor.  Rose sees Martha first and keeps whining "Who is she?  I was his companion first!"  Wow.....grow up honey. 

Needless to say, I am not a fan of the "wonderful" Rose Tyler.  I don't get it. 

Mickey, the idiot: Mickey really was an idiot in the beginning.  But then he met Rickey and the boy really manned up. He made something of himself. He saved the world on several occasions!  Go Mickey!

Captain Jack:  Yummy!  I love me some Captain Jack.  Do I really need to go into it?

Martha: Martha was already pretty active on her own, before the Doctor. But she went with him to go through time and space and well, she was hopelessly in love with him.  But he was like a bad boyfriend, who missed his ex-girlfriend so he was a jerk to his new one. I really wanted him to be nicer to her.  I was so glad when she told him that she couldn't do it anymore and needed to leave and move on with her life.  She too made something of herself.  Also, the whole walking the world for a year, avoiding capture to spread the message of the Doctor...what a bad ass! Plus when she first saw Rose, she immediately said "You found her!" in happiness and excitement (not quite Rose's reaction to seeing her).  

Donna:  Ah, Donna Noble, how I love thee. She is my favorite by a long shot.  So full of sass and spunk.  I miss her. 

River: Seriously, I could take with traveling with River for awhile.  She does what she wants.  But her love for the Doctor is undeniable.  

Amy: I can't lie, I have a love and hate relationship with Amy. She's so sassy and spunky and really holds her own.  Plus her life is a giant moving storm and she handles that pretty well.  But could you be a little nicer to Rory?

Rory:  Oh Rory, I want to marry you! Seriously, I am love with Rory (Shhh....don't tell my husband). He proves time and time again that he'd do anything for Amy. ANYTHING.  I miss Rory. 

Clara: Smart, sassy, cute, and so much fun.  I really have grown to like her a lot. 

The Doctors:

Christopher Eccelston: I adore the man. Long before he was the Doctor, I adored him.  So he won me over immediately and I am sad he was only there for a year.  And I would LOVE to see him as the Doctor with Donna as him companion! 

David Tennant: I also knew him before Doctor Who, but he was a bad guy.  So it took me awhile to like him.  Plus he was with Rose at first (and I hated her by then) and then he was so mean to Martha.  Donna helped me grow to like him. 

Matt Smith:  Ugh....he never grew on me.  Luckily I loved his companions! When you first see the episode where he dies and everyone knows it but him, instead of thinking "No! That can't be!  How will they save him!?"  I thought "Well, River knows how to fly the TARDIS."  

I know, I know....people love Matt Smith and Rose Tyler.  Sorry. I know I am in the minority on this one.

I would say the distractions are done but I am an entire season behind Supernatural.  But I have two books I need to get through before I am allowed to start that!

(I swear you guys will think I have no life now!)