Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve Follow Friday and TGIF!

Happy New Year's Eve and Happy Saturday!  I was preoccupied with tons of things yesterday, so the Friday memes are going to have to take place today for me.  Here we go!

Follow Friday and TGIF are brought to you by Parajunkee and Ginger @ GReads.

The New Year is here-- and everyone wants to know your New Year's Blogging Resolution!  What are you going to try to revise, revamp, and redo for 2012 on your blog?

I'll keep this part particularly short, because I plan on doing a separate blog post for this (when, I'm not sure, but it will get done!).  In 2012, I plan to...

  • Okay, no promises on this, but maybe try doing giveaways.  The reason why I wasn't doing this before is because I'm still living at my parent's house and it just seemed a little weird to me to do this.  So when I move out, it might be something kind of fun to do.  This being said, my next bullet point is...
  • Talk to publishers so that I can get ARCs.  If you have any advice on this at all, I'm all ears.  Please tell me how to do this and there could be giveaways in the future of "Whirlwind."
  • Do reading challenges!  I found those to be quite a hoot this year, so I'm going to do them again this year. I won't create a lot of my own challenges this time though.  I've found that I have trouble keeping up with my own challenges when I make them.
First and Last: What was the first book you finished in 2011 and the last book you finished in 2011?  How do you feel about these books?  Would you recommend them to other readers?

Looking through my old book reviews, it looks like the first book that I finished reading in 2011 was 'Water for Elephants' by Sara Gruen.  The last book that I've finished and reviewed was 'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro.  I would absolutely recommend both of these books-- I think those were two of my absolute favorite books that I've ever read, and I'm pleased that I had the opportunity to read such awesome literature this year!  Now we just have to make 2012 even better :)  If you'd like to read my opinion on these books, click the titles and you will be taken to my reviews of them.  

Have an excellent New Years!  To those in Europe and countries other than the U.S. in different time zones, tell me how the New Year is, since you'll get to experience it before me.

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where I've Been All This Time

Hello there!  So, I haven't been very present for the past ten days or so.  But I have an excuse!  Over the past ten or so days, I've been...
... making snow angels in the middle of frozen lakes!  Okay, not exactly in the middle, but still on a frozen lake.  Where I live, it's been uncommonly warm.  It's been forty degrees Fahrenheit for the past week, so my cousins, sister, and I decided to take a walk around a lake close to my grandma's house.  It's insane, because last year at this time, we had like, five feet of snow.  Now there's nothing, and it's really actually nice :)
My cousin McKenna and sister Shannon
Cousins Thomas, Kenna, and Sister Shannon
So yeah!  I've been hanging out with family this weekend!  Also, during my absence, I turned eighteen, but there will be more on that later in video form.

I haven't had a lot of time to read what I want to read-- it's all reading for school.  So I haven't been very motivated to read (though I do need to finish one by tomorrow... oops...) so I can't really give you a specific date on when the next review will be.  So there might be a bundle of lists and picture posts headed your way soon.  I'll space them out though.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Review of 'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro

I know, I know... "It's about time, Jude!"
"From Book Prize-winning author Kazuo Kshiguro comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss.

As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them so special-- and how the gift will shape the rest of their time together.  Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go is another classic by the author of The Remains of the Day."
In a word: Stunning.

I finished this book just today (I was supposed to finish about a week ago, but... eh, too late to turn back now) and if I could cry during sad books or movies, I would have been balling.  I'm really glad that this was a discussion book, otherwise I probably would not have realized the full magnitude of the sadness of this book.

This book is romantic, it's... slightly historical, but not too much.  It's a little bit scientific, but it doesn't go in depth when explaining certain processes (I'll tell you a little later, but I'll put a spoiler tag.  Seriously, if you know about the students of Hailsham, everything will make so much more sense.  It did for me).  This book is more for those that like reading romance novels, sad novels, controversial novels... anything like that, this book is for you.

Now it's spoiler time.  Don't read any further if you want to discover everything for yourself.  If you don't mind being spoiled, read ahead and the book will make a lot more sense.


The children of Hailsham are all clones.  Their "possible" is their original.  This whole story is based on the central question of "Are clones really human?"

This is the most amazing book I've ever read.  It's touched my soul like no other book has to date (aside from Harry Potter, maybe). 

I give 'Never Let Me Go':
Thanks for reading!


P.S. I have a few more sad books to read and then there'll be books about food.  Or sad books about food.  I certainly didn't plan it this way, but now you kind of know what to expect soon!

I apologize for not posting this review yesterday.  Funny story: early yesterday morning (like, 2:30 am) I woke up and I decided to finish the three papers that I needed to turn in in twelve hours.  I finished two of them and then my power cord for my laptop broke.  I was running on a battery that was only going to last another hour-- my computer is about six years old and I haven't replaced the battery since I initially bought it, so that's why it doesn't last very long.  So, I'm using my dad's computer to keep on blogging and keeping up with the various other computer-related things until Amazon sends my new power cord (yes! is amazing and I'm only just beginning to discover it's awesomeness!).

Follow Friday/TGIF-- December 17, 2011

Happy Friday!  Saturday!  The day that it currently is!

Follow Friday and TGIF are brought to you by Parajunkee and Ginger @ GReads!  Let's go to question time!

When you've read a book, what do you do with it (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it?)

Typically, I borrow things from the library, so after I'm done reading and reviewing a book, I'll bring it back :)  But when I buy a book (usually from Half-Price Book-- that place has spoiled me, I swear) and I really, really like it to a certain point where I would absolutely give it to a future daughter/son of mine, I will keep it on my bookshelf forever.  This could be a problem when I go to college, but it's a welcome one, I guess.  I haven't done this yet, but I have a pile of books that I'm planning on selling because I've had them for years and I haven't been able to get past the beginning.  So when I get a decent enough pile, I'll take those over to Half-Price and sell them.  It should be an adventure!

Most Popular: What blog post has gotten the most activity/comments on your blog this year? 

THIS ONE and THAT-A ONE.  They both have 16 comments on them and incidentally, they're both Follow Friday/Blog Hop posts (no TGIF yet!).  So... there are more questions to read, if you want.  I guess bloggers really like to meet people!

Thanks for stopping by today!  If you'd like me to stop by your blog sometime, leave a comment below with your web address and I'll try my best to come by for a visit this weekend!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Musings on a Less Than Awesome Day

Today has not been a fantastically awesome day.

First, my alarm never woke me up this morning.

Then, I discovered that a majority of the band that I play in does not like Harry Potter.  We had a song, we read it, it was beautiful and totally not a lame rendition of many of the songs from Sorcerer's Stone, and then it was voted off the island.  Now we're playing music from The Incredibles, Fiddler on the Roof, and Porgy and Bess.  I hate the Porgy and Bess song.  Am I a terrible person?  There is kind of an up side to this horrible occurrence though.  The Community Band gets to play Harry Potter now.  I'm going to ask my director when they're going to start playing it and then promptly join in on the next available Tuesday.  I think I'll do that tomorrow.

I'm having trouble finishing books.  Like I said in my previous post, I have three going.  That's changed.  I just received my fourth one.  I miss reading the books that I want to read and I miss writing reviews.  I'm trying very hard to finish "Never Let Me Go" so I can begin reviewing that.  If I can finish one, the others are sure to follow very soon.

Participation, for me, doesn't come easily in my college-level English class.  I'm constantly thinking about what we're reading and what everyone else is saying, but it's the saying things out loud part that I can't seem to grasp.  I got one of my essay/journal things back and there was a big fat C on it.  On the essay/journal things, this is a regular occurrence and I can't seem to shake it.  My teacher keeps telling me that I'm not articulating my points enough, but when I'm writing these essay/journals, it feels like I've reached my point.  He never elaborates on how I can elaborate and explain my points better.  It's really frustrating.  I'm not used to being bad at English.  I left the classroom today feeling incompetent thinking to myself, "Really?  You want to be an English teacher?  Yeah, your students are screwed..."  I keep thinking back to myself, "Yes, I really want to be an English teacher.  Just not like my current English teacher."  So I guess I'll never be a college English professor.

Math was better.  I can always rely on that class to be constant and mostly unchanging.  We change seats every once in a while, but that's about it.  The information is broken down enough where I can understand it and feel a little more competent at life again.

Biology is getting better.  It's chaotic, but it's getting better.  We're not receiving gobs of vocabulary words any more.  We're actually doing labs.  We spent last week doing a big packet, but now I can kind of tell you about the general process of DNA and RNA transcription.  I still don't feel good enough to take the AP Biology test at the end of the year, but I feel better about this class than I did last quarter.

After I got home, I went to my last piano lesson at 7pm.  My teacher and I spent a good fifteen minutes crying and reminiscing because we won't get to meet every other Thursday at 5:30 any more.  I love playing piano (even if I'm never going to be the next Lorie Line or some other famous pianist) and my teacher is absolutely amazing, but I can't bring myself to regret my decision to quit lessons.  I stopped in anticipation of everything happening at the very beginning of 2012 and then afterwards.

To counter these not-so-good events of the day, I was accepted to my last college-- I've been accepted to all four that I've applied to, which I'm really excited about!  Now I just need to make a decision on which one to attend in the fall.  I think I know which one I'm going to pick though.  I also have tons of felt that I want to make things with and it's making me happy.  This Thursday, I'm going to a meeting so that I can hopefully write an excellent one-act play and have it performed.  My eighteenth birthday is in 8 days (almost 7, since it's just about 11pm right now).

So I guess this day wasn't too terrible, in hindsight.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better though.

Tomorrow I have to go to school, so I'm going to wrap this up here.  Good night, readers!  I promise I'll have a review for you by the time it hits the weekend.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, December 5, 2011

An Update On A Number of Things

Hello there!

I haven't really done a legitimate blog post in a while.  I've mostly been doing Friday memes and announcing useless things instead of writing reviews or lists or useful updates.  This post is going to be more useless updates, but at least it's not a Friday meme.

At last, my lack of sleep and too much... stuff to do has caught up with me.  I have caught my first cold of the season.  A few days ago, my throat was just sore and there was a burning sensation about it.  That was okay-- nothing I needed to worry about really.  Well then, that sore throat turned into a cough and congestion.  Then there was mucus.  A LOT of mucus.  The kind of mucus that just likes to sit in your head and back up your nasal passages.  It's disgusting.  And I'm totally blowing the situation out of proportion.  I'm not that sick, I'm just even more tired than usual which makes everything kind of suck.

We need happier updates.  Happy is good.  Tomorrow marks the two week count down (or whatever you want to call it) to my passage into adulthood-- my eighteenth birthday.  I have no idea if I'm doing anything or not.  I've never really been one for large birthday parties or anything like that.  I've jokingly asked the boyfriend if I could have a diece-y-ocho or a dix-huit (eighteen in Spanish and French) like Latinas have Quincineras (the passage into womanhood on their fifteenth birthdays).

I have been reading a bunch, just at a snail's pace.  This month will be extra busy and I'll have three relatively big reviews for you: "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro, "As I Lay Dying" by William Falkner, and "Prozac Nation" by Elizabeth Wurtzel.  These three books are my priorities right now because they're actually for classes of mine.

Honestly, I can't wait until I have a normal high school level English class again.  I love my Intro to Lit class very much, but I can't wait until I have a teacher that will give us two or three weeks to start and finish a book.  Next semester will be so much easier after this.

My senior slide has gotten worse and worse.  I just really want to get out of high school.  It's not that I've had a bad experience or anything, in fact, it was just the opposite.  Middle school was just horrible, mostly because everyone is a little ball of puberty on steroids, but it seems to mellow out a little as we adjust to our bodies and minds in high school.  That's reason number one why I want to teach anything but middle school kids after college.  But yeah, "worse and worse" to me is forgetting an assignment or three, but to someone else that might mean flunking a class.  I haven't reached that point and I don't plan to.  My minimum goal for any class I set out to do is to earn a C.  Of course, I shoot for those A's-- they're just beautiful.

I've been preparing for my France and Washington D.C. trips as well.  I've obtained several small consistent jobs and they're proving to help tremendously.  I've become a dog walker, babysitter, and house-looker-after(er).  Heck, I might even get to be a chicken-sitter when my neighbors go off for the holidays (they have chickens in their backyard.  Sometimes they fly over the fence).

I've been hearing from colleges!  So far, I've been accepted to three of my four schools that I applied to.  I've even heard from both of my first choices!  I just need to hear from one more before I need to make plans to visit and then work on making my final decision and then indicating my decision to that school.  I was especially pleased that I was accepted to the college that I had to write an essay for-- so thank you for getting me into college!

Biology has become less of a pain.  It hasn't gotten much easier, but the teacher seems to be listening to us and trying very hard to help make things a little easier, which I appreciate.  It's not her that's bothering me now.  It's another girl that is just adamant about hating that class because of what happened first quarter.  It's still not my favorite class, but it's not the worst class any more.  I've even used information that I've learned from that class in conversations with my friends because it came up and I actually knew what I was talking about.  It was kind of exciting!

Some of you may have been wondering about the LONTEM Project.  It's kind of come to a stand-still.  There are months where I have the footage and other months where I didn't do anything at all because I either a) lost interest in the activity, b) just plain ran out of time, or c) forgot.  Come winter break, when I'm simultaneously celebrating the holidays and catching up on whatever work I have to do, the LONTEM Project will definitely be one of them!  I want to get my gardening video and soap-making video out there the soonest because they're the closest to being done.

I will cut this video short (or at least before it gets any longer) and I will mosey on to bed.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of my updates in my life and for this blog!  Enjoy the rest of your week!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Happy Friday!

Hello and welcome to Friday!

TGIF and Follow Friday are brought to you every Friday by Ginger @ GReads and Parajunkee.

Writing Reviews 101: What's your process for writing book reviews?  Any tips or suggestions you would recommend to other bloggers?

I'll break this down into steps to keep it relatively short (or at least to prevent a wall of words).

1. Copy the synopsis from the inner flap/back of the book into my notebook.  Continue to write down thoughts right under it (I write everything in a notebook first so that I can carry it with me and keep writing whenever I have a free moment)
2. Transcribe what I wrote on paper to a blank post on blogger (it's so inefficient, but I can't be bothered).
3. Quickly edit and add in embellishments (you know, like the bold effect or italics... maybe even underlining things-- "Oh no she didn't!")

This works for me and it's a good way to filter and edit what I want to say before I actually say it.  I can write whatever I want, but then I'll take those thoughts and feelings down a couple of notches before I actually post it for you to read.

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books?  Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots?  Tell us about it!

I've found that I'm super picky about the writing style.  I hate walls of words (though, I will admit, there are one or two exceptions) or when an author decides not to capitalize letters despite the context they're in.  As a writer myself, it's very distracting and hard not to take a giant red pen and correct everything.  It's a blessing and a curse.

Overused plots are kind of annoying too.  If you haven't read a certain kind of plot for a while, it's nostalgic, but if a certain author or a group of authors use the same basic plot over and over again, it's just bad.  For example: girl falls in love with a vampire, boy ALWAYS gets the girl, two girls fight over one boy... that kind of thing.  Cliches, really.

Welp, that's it for me!  If you'd like me to stop by for a visit, feel free to leave your web address in comment form below and I'll try my best to come and visit this weekend!

Thanks for reading!