Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hello

How are you all doing?



Amy

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Few Things I Love

Hi everyone!

One of my 2016 goals was to blog more regularly. I have failed so far, but no longer! Here I am to chat about a few of the things putting a smile on my face.

The new key art for The Walking Dead's 6B season.


If you know me, you know this makes me very very happy. That's my two favorite characters on top of the world, okay? (Richonne is finally happening, it IS!) I am really excited for the return of the show which happens to be...VALENTINE'S DAY!! ♥♥♥ (which is also, appropriately, Danai Gurira's birthday)

Speaking of Danai Gurira, she plays Michonne, she is also a playwright! Her play, Eclipsed, will be opening on Broadway this March (previews in February). Danai is the real deal and the play is aiming to bring 10,000 girls aged 16-24 to see the show who would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so. You can learn more here. Is this starvation? No. But art matters and is a powerful force and if you feel likewise, here's a chance to be a part of it. I really admire the way Danai consistently uses her platform to bring change.

Two of my favorite books, Silence by Shusaku Endo and A Monster Calls will be movies this year! These are not light or easy books--they are both pretty heavy, but they are both excellent. The trailer for A Monster Calls is available with the music from Cloud Atlas, a movie that made me cry a lot, lol.



And finally, the United States and Canadian national figure skating championships are taking place this week. While many of the lower/younger competitions have taken place, the ones you care about, the senior level, start tomorrow! I am not as excited this year as I have been in the past, mostly because my favorites are either injured or unlikely to improve on their standings from last year with a few small exceptions. Even so, this is a fun and beautiful sport! My favorite discipline is ice dance and I think you'd like it too! One day I will write the post about partnered performance and the immense appeal ice dance and pair skating hold for me, but until then I encourage you to watch these competitions if you are in one of the countries or on youtube! My friend wrote an excellent preview post for the dance event...it is very detailed with information on the various elements which you may not recognize, but it also has gorgeous gifs, and will you give an ideal of where the top teams stands. Hint: my favorite team is likely to place fourth, lol. But I seriously love all of the US teams and will enjoy the competition.

Amy

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella


Something I'm sort of being forced into right now is catching up on all the stuff I've meant to read along the way. It's actually very satisfying as most of these reads (listens) turn out to be quite good and so I'm reading delightful thing after delightful thing.

When I wrote about what I loved in 2015, I forgot a few things, namely this book.

I can remember very clearly the experience of reading my first Sophie Kinsella book, Can You Keep a Secret? I remember the absolute compulsion to keep reading it as it was both funny and emotional. The world actually disappeared around me as I consumed the book. There is really no experience that is better and for years I've included it on my favorites list. But somehow, with the shifting tides of my own taste, I guess I thought I would enjoy her books less and so I put off reading them. For whatever reason, I decided to listen to Twenties Girl this fall and I'm so glad I did as I don't think I had a more enjoyable reading experience in the year.

What I loved about this book is that yes it's funny in a somewhat absurd and over the top way and yes it's romantic in the way her books always are, but it has SO MUCH HEART. Just brimming with heart and goodwill.

Kinsella's humor has a light touch, by which I mean it seems to flow effortlessly in her books. This is so rare to me for me. I don't know if this would be true for everyone, but for me this seems to be the case. Like, there are scenes that in the set-up I thought, oh no, she's trying too hard, but in the execution ended up being genuinely funny and delightful. :)

The premise of this book is that when Lara attends her great-aunt's funeral, she also becomes acquainted with her ghost! Her grandmother's ghost, as her younger self, haunts her until she helps her find her peace. And it sounds odd, but it's actually...delightful? And hilarious. I think "haunt' seems like a strong word as Lara is never scared, only hassled and as time passes, the two get to know each other and form an understanding. Lara helps Sadie find a missing necklace and thus find

I think what I loved most about this book, though, was that it has a sort of redemption after death, Lara got to know Sadie in her ~afterlife, but got to know her life. And she regretted not having had the chance to know her better while she was alive and letting her die alone in a home. And they form this incredibly strong bond and I'm tearing up just writing about this, lol. There's something about the ties of family, the ones who came before and the precious reality of every life despite outward appearances. And they are so family even in Sadie's ghost state, they fight like sisters but obviously love each other very much.

So anyway, this book made me laugh a lot, and it made me cry but in that ~deeply touching in my heart sort of way. It was just such an incredibly satisfying experience--the kind where you enjoy absolutely every minute and then bask in the glow when it's over. :)

So...yeah. Still a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella. I also read Wedding Night and enjoyed it very much, though not nearly to the extent of this one, which might join Can You Keep a Secret? on the list of favorites.

Amy

Friday, January 1, 2016

Stuff I Loved in 2015

Better late than never?

It's been kind of a weird year. I've lost near total concentration for TV shows and movies and I listened to more books than I read with my eyes. Most of energy seems to go to my sports fandoms which sort of ends up taking up all of my time because baseball has a 162 games a year and figure skating takes up 7 weekends in the fall!

But, I still liked some things.

Most notably, The Walking Dead. Still love the show and am pleased with it even with issues of a cast that is too big to be written for. Other issues, most notable with the characterization of Rick, but I think it's all going to come around. I absolutely loved the midseason finale, especially everything to do with Michonne, and I'm excited to see where things go. Hopefully I can get back to writing about the show more here!

I also loved Bates Motel, thought it was an absolutely stellar season. I randomly stumbled across some fans discussing the show and it how it needed to go back to the roots of a story about a mother and son who are in love with each other. Oh man. I actually think the show does such a great job of illustrating the dysfunction in the family and how broken everyone is and kind of why they are so attached to each other even if they shouldn't be, but I guess people will see what they want to see. The show will end after two more seasons and there is a rumor that Norma will be killed this season. I'm so not ready, tbh.

And Better Call Saul was the best surprise for me, such a great show. I'm looking forward to season 2, but I don't think it will have the same heart and emotional depth since he's officially "broken bad." Even so, I do really recommend the first season.

And The Americans! What will happen next? Such a great cliffhanger.

I'm sort of watching a bunch of other stuff, but I'm behind on it all, lol. IZombie is super charming and Z Nation is fun, too. I liked but don't love (yet) Fear the Walking Dead. I did enjoy Orphan Black, too, especially Helena.

Books!

I finally listened to the Raven Cycle books and might write more about them in the future because I not only enjoyed the fascinating world and action plots, but I felt it was a meaty series? Like there was stuff to really sink your teeth into and think about. The books deal sort of heavily with socioeconomic statuses in an interesting way. Definitely recommend.

I listened to The Exorcist which was surprisingly good. I expected some sort of shock horror book, but it's actually a pretty thoughtful examination of doubt and faith.

Blew through Attica Locke's books in a week, (The Cutting Season, Pleasantville, Black Water Rising) all of which were very good crime thrillers. I especially liked The Cutting Season. All recommended. Great characters, interesting social issues, fast paced, etc.

And I ended the year with Ready Player One which I had sort of put off reading because I thought I wouldn't get it due to all the 80s pop culture references, but I loved it. So much fun and I absolutely loved how the virtual relationships were treated as real even while cautioning they can't be everything.

Sports

The Cardinals had one of the most inspiring seasons ever only to be wiped out almost immediately in the post season. Oh well! Baseball is always fun to watch imo, and I love getting caught up in the season.

Figure Skating is always heartbreaking, but I hope to write more about some of the reasons I love it later and try to get you all invested in it. Did you know the World Championships are being held in Boston this year?

So that was my year! Would love to hear about all of yours!
Amy

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who still reads this blog...I hope your day is wonderful!

Amy

My True Love Game to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories Edited by Stephanie Perkins


I only had time to read one Christmas book this year unfortunately, and it was this one, fortunately!

I really enjoyed this collection a lot. I realize it's now Christmas and you may think the time is past for such a book...but not really. You have a whole week still to enjoy the festive stories and beyond if you are not particularly bothered by theme. But the collection starts off with a swoon worthy romantic New Year's Eve story so as you can see..STILL TIME.

The Rainbow Rowell opening story is one of my favorites. I actually read it last year and then again this year because I love how well she captures that changing time in life from going to college from high school but also the romance. She describes that love feeling in a way that gives me butterflies even when the romances are less than ideal. Can't help i t!

But there are other good stories in here one that reminded me of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and allowed faith to play a role, and one that included a young Jewish girl during Christmas as well. There's some fantasy, too! The Matt Pena story offered a much needed POV from a male and was one of my favorites, too.

The one that did make me tear up a bit was Kiersten White's story about a girl who lives in a small Californian town called Christmas. It was such a quintessential Christmas story to me, a little magic of Christmas! a little romance! a little realizing not everything is as it seems and things are actually better! a lot of love. Just precious. Please consider it (and actually any of these stories) for a movie next year Hallmark or Lifetime or Ion--your movies this year were pretty terrible.

Anyway recommended enthusiastically for lovers of YA and lovers of Christmas stories--totally enjoyable.

I did receive a copy of this book for review.

Amy

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Don't miss this great giveaway from Postertext!


I'm so pleased to be featuring a giveaway for the 2016 Calendar for Postertext.

Here's some information about it:

From the philosophy of Thomas More to the exceptional jungle-themed prose of Rudyard Kipling, the 2016 Literary Poster Calendar inspires and delights with twelve stunning images representing some of literature’s most enduring works. Designed using only the words of each classic text, these original pieces of art serve a dual purpose as both a month-long reminder of each author’s exceptional masterpiece, and thanks to perforated edges for easy removal, a stand-alone work you can display on your wall in perpetuity.

The Literary Poster Calendar’s diverse and invigorating selection of included works makes the passing of each month a chance to discover one of literature’s great pieces all over again. Perfect for the bibliophile or casual reader alike, the incredible artwork featured throughout this one-of-a-kind calendar is guaranteed to make 2016 a year you’ll never forget.

You can check out a sample here:


To enter to win:

You can visit the Facebook.

Or directly on this page.

Or right here!

Postertext 2016 Calendar giveaway




Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton Presidential Playset



Bill: Finally living out my dream of retirement!, Um, Hilary aren't you a little overdressed?


What is this you ask? It's this super awesome Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential playset. Visualize Hilary as president and play out all her roles with this super clever and fun paper doll set.

The set includes several characters like Hilary, Bill, Republican adversaries, and White House ghosts! There are two "sets" several costume and hair changes, and props.

There's a little pocket in front where you can store your dolls. The dolls could be a weeeee bit sturdier, I had trouble keeping Hilary standing up though Bill did fine, but the idea is just so clever and fun.

Which is where I say, don't take this as a political endorsement, it's not. I just thought this was super cute and also a great holiday gift idea.

I received a copy from Quirk Books in exchange for posting a picture with my caption!