Saturday, December 7, 2013
Love You More than Anything is an adorable and sweet picture book that communicates to the child in your life that you well...love them more than anything! After going through a series of delightful and fun things, the author reminds the child they are loved even more than those things. The illustrations are whimsical and darling featuring a family of chipmunks in Autumn.
I love this book and think it would be a fantastic read for any parents with small children.
I received a review copy from Sterling Publishing.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
It's December 5th already!! How did this happen?
Also, lol, I totally thought I'd be blogging everyday this week, oops! I keep thinking I'll get back on that sort of schedule and it keeps not happening. Ah well.
Partly because it's cold!! This makes me tired. (yes cold to me is like...40 degrees)
There are a few books I read this year and never reviewed so I thought I'd try the trusty old...please ask me questions about them approach.
Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans (now The Memory of After)
Epic Fail: Bad Art, Viral Fame, and the History of the Worst Thing Ever by Mark O'Connell
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
I will probably still write an actual review for Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick but I welcome questions for it as well!
SO YES please any question goes!
The Millions has started up A Year in Reading which you will definitely want to check out, it's my favorite thing about the end of the year round ups!
There is not too much else going on...oh I liked The Originals this week quite a bit and in answer to Jenny's question about the treatment of the pregnancy...well it's really hard to explain. I was rolling my eyes all over the place about it as well, but it's not...sentimentalized? It doesn't actually bother me that much, but it is a very important thematic consideration in the show because of how much the show is about family. One of the producers/writers tweeted this quote before the show started: Relationships that do not end peacefully do not end at all." -- Merrit Malloy
Man I love that quote and I think it fits the show so well. Anyway, it's really not perfect and there are definite problems with racism. I really don't blame anyone who doesn't want to watch it, but I am enjoying it well enough for now.
Oh and I haven't talked about The Good Wife for awhile, but I've really been enjoying it as well, I just don't have that much to say about it! Admittedly, I am really looking forward to the return of spring TV and so many of the shows I enjoy like the ever feel good The Fosters and Switched at Birth, and I am REALLY excited for The Americans!!! Plus later in the spring, Orphan Black and Bates Motel! Whoever knew spring TV would be the thing I love, lol.
Anyway, I have some fun giveaways coming up! How are you guys doing with holiday prep? Making any new year's resolutions for reading and blogging? Done with your shopping?
Please ask me questions about the books and I'll talk with you all again soon!
Posted by Amy at 7:38 PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
In "Once Upon a Jingle Bell," A Bah! Humbug cruise to the Mexican Riviera is Joss Snow’s answer to this year’s quest to avoid the holidays completely; at least until she’s rebooked on a different kind of cruise altogether. Candy canes, holly wreaths, reindeer and ornaments seem to be stalking her on the 12 Days of Christmas holiday cruise extravaganza. An escape back to land is her only goal . . . until she meets a kindred spirit in rugged Irishman Patrick Brenneman, and then the game is on! Avoid Christmas festivities at all costs . . . except maybe for that one stop under the mistletoe.
In "It Came Upon a Midnight Deer," Reese’s guilt over abandoning best friend Joss on their holiday tradition of avoiding all things Christmas is trumped by the joy of her recent engagement. Meeting Damian’s family for the first time on idyllic Sugarloaf Mountain is about as far from that Bah! Humbug cruise as she can get, and Reese can hardly wait to get there. But from the moment they hit that deer in the road just two miles from the cabin, everything seems to go wrong. There are no drummers drumming or pipers piping this particular year! And once she sets her future in-laws’ family cabin ablaze, she’s pretty sure there won’t be even ONE golden ring in her future.
Posted by Amy at 11:34 AM
Monday, December 2, 2013
I'm so pleased to be participating in the Virtual Advent Tour yet again. This year I have decided to ramble about the kind of TV I'm taking in right now...TV Christmas movies!
I watch a load of these every year and to be honest a lot of them are terrible. I have almost no tolerance for the ones that pretend Santa Claus is real. I never believed in Santa Claus so maybe I just don't get those? It's even worse when Santa Claus's son is falling in love or whatever. Or his daughter. Just...no.
But I do have a soft spot for holiday romances. Just like the holiday romance novellas I've always enjoyed reading, these bring that special warm feeling. And since romantic comedies are pretty much nonexistent in the movie theaters it's always nice to find a real charmer. There's just something about Christmas that is romantic in nature and romances lend themselves very well to Christmas stories because of the individual character growth that must take place in order for hero and heroine to wind up together.
So! I watch the movies Lifetime and Hallmark churn out every year. So much depends on the casting. For instance, last year Hallmark had Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, which might have been awful, but I was too blinded by how cute Autumn Reaser was and how cute her vintage wardrobe was to care!
I found something similar this year with Lifetime's 12 Trees of Christmas...the lead actress was so adorable! But this was also the perfect Christmas movie for book lovers because it was all about saving a library! It reminded me a little bit of You've Got Mail to be honest, with the antagonism between the leads stemming from their professional careers and the dialogue wasn't bad! It actually made me laugh at times. A real delight.
I also enjoyed Fir Crazy on Hallmark. Again, a really cute cast with all the right sweet moments and just enough humor to survive.
Look, this is a genre of its own and I know these movies aren't to everyone's taste. I don't even know why they work at Christmas for me when I pretty much cannot watch them set at any other time of year. But I always enjoy them at Christmas! I'm not really feeling the spirit this year...not in any Scrooge sort of way, but I just feel sort of blah to Christmas. But I'm still enjoying these movies. :)
What are some of your favorites? Do you watch? Do you like Christmas romances? Do tell all!
Sunday, December 1, 2013
I don't actually have many thoughts. I'm sort of assessing the first half of the season and the truth is that while I was willing to go with the show for the first several episodes those Governor episodes like...killed a lot of my interest. And so this episode spent another solid chunk of time with him... I just.. ugh.
Having said that, here are a few thoughts.
*I definitely thought the show was going for some Breaking Bad flavor with these Governor episodes, with how prominently featured the chess set was, and then showing the king trampled underneath a zombie foot. Which, like I can't say there's anything bad about this, I just didn't care. I really feel like The Governor's takedown came too late.
*Aw, I felt sorry for Megan. I actually said, "oh no!" when she got bit. Even if she was annoying child on television.
*:( Hershel. And aw I was really touched when watching The Talking Dead and Lauren Cohan kept choking up! But it was a fitting death, and I'm glad Rick showed so much optimism in his final moments, lol. I don't think you get to "come back from the things you've done" and I think this is the wrong way to look at it. I do think it's possible to find a way forward, though. Hershel's death was so brutal, though, I was especially horrified when he was scooching along on the ground after the first hit! I think everyone longs for a quick death.
*I felt like the episode conveyed an appropriate amount of chaos and it did remind me of the end of season 2--which was my favorite finale, sigh. But I don't think this midseason finale was anything like last year's which was perfect in every way. Anyway, tough to have the group split up, but I look forward to new friendships and stuff?
*Lizzie is the psycho am I right?
*Daryl's reaction to the Carol news was...I don't exactly know.
*Michonne stabbing the Governor was the single best moment of the episode and very cathartic. I'm so glad he's dead.
*Do you think Judith is dead? I'm undecided but when the kids were lugging her out, I was like ARGH BE CAREFUL WITH JUDITH!
I'm looking forward to the second half of the season, I think it has the potential to be good. But I don't feel the same excitement or obsessiveness with the show I'm used to feeling after finales, so...I don't know? I mean I still love this show, I just think I'm glad all that other stuff is behind us now so we can hopefully get back to meaty and juicy stories.
Oh will Daryl and Beth hook up??? IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. Also why didn't Michonne stay with Rick?
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Aw, this is our last check-in before we're done! I'm pretty excited to finish it up to be honest! Just a reminder, whether you finished, finished a long time ago, or didn't finish at all, we're having a War & Peace carnival at the end of the year to celebrate our journeys through the book this year. Also, since it's all Russia themed, it's a good time to get your mind ready for the 2014 Winter Olympics!
Anyway, how did you guys feel about this section? I guess this is the end of the book since the next two sections are a lengthy epilogue? Do you think W&P fans felt about the W&P epilogue the way Harry Potter and The Hunger Games fans feel about theirs? Constantly debating the merit? (for the record I like both, oops)
Haha anyway, I haven't read the epilogue yet, but I did manage to read this section, although, confession: I totally skimmed through a lot of the war stuff. I just didn't really care plus I knew Tolstoy was lecturing us about The Truth of what happened.
Poor Peter Rostov :( I was amused by him which meant to me that for sure he was going to die, which he did. I think he represented the idea of the young clueless men caught up in the glory of war quite well. Aw oh well.
I also really liked how Tolstoy described the grief of Marya and Natasha, aw. And it's going to be Pierre and Natasha after all.
Let us glory in the fact that a REAL WOMAN exists to help a man feel listened to and understood and good about himself. RME. Why do you write these things Tolstoy? But aw despite myself I liked how he described the closeness of Natasha and Marya even if he said it was the kind of closeness only women can have. Perhaps from his perspective that's true, but surely close friendships between men have been recorded even earlier than War & Peace!
I don't have much else to say about this section...but I do want to know what you think!!
If there was no epilogue, how do you feel about this ending? Were you surprised by Peter's death?(after you remembered who he was) Do you like the final couples? Do you think you learned about this war? Has Tolstoy made you smarter and wiser? Tell me everything! And please join in our carnival at the end of the year!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving American Friends! As we head into the weekend, I just wanted to write about a few little things and also pose a very important question to you!
I liked this week's episode better than last week's, but I really hope we're nearing the end of the governor. In the season premiere, Rick was grappling with the question, "Can you come back from the things you've done?" And while Gimple said that would be sort of his...question of the season, I see that it's not confined to Rick in the least and instead the focus of the entire show. And that was really evident with these episodes focused on the Governor. It was like the show wanted you to think yes, it was possible for the governor to come back from it, to start up with a new family, and be normal, and then pull the rug out and be like HA HA NO. I mean the framing of Martinez's death was sort of shocking and also a glorious turning point. This man is not safe, he is not sane, and he will kill everyone. What really drives the Governor? I mean is it really keeping Megan safe? I'm not exactly sure, tbh. Making hard decisions to keep someone safe makes sense, but there's a hard streak of cruelty in him that doesn't account for...so. I don't know.
The Walking Dead also seems preoccupied with the good brother/bad brother relationship (though not in the same way as say The Vampire Diaries, lol). Rick/Shane, Mitch/Pete, The Governor/his brother, even Daryl/Merle. Just out of curiosity is this from the books? I don't hate it, but I would like to remind the writers that sisters can be the same way. :) But it does provide a context for new relationships...like we didn't know these people but because we've seen these same sort of stories play out again and again it makes them feel richer and deeper without having to provide all the necessary background. Oh and Tara and her girlfriend mark the first LGBTQ relationship on the show, right?
I can't decide how I felt about them coming across the soldiers with the signs affixed all representing the sins of The Governor's past. I don't know if it was a little too obvious for my tastes or not. I think I'd have liked something like that if it wasn't the Governor, so perhaps my dislike of the character is affecting things for me.
Also, I was pleased when they came across the camp because we don't get to see too many small little settlements like that on the show? But wow they were wiped out pretty quickly. I'm hoping that whoever wiped them out is the new threat. It couldn't have been the Governor right?
Lastly, I'm really worried for Hershel. He had such an awesome episode, a real upswing for his arc a few weeks ago that I could easily see him being a casualty here. I'm not worried for Michonne from the standpoint of her dying, but I know bad things could happen. I'm really excited/nervous for next week's episode.
So after talking about how surprisingly good this show was for its first several episodes I am now here to say it has taken a disappointing turn. I shouldn't be surprised, I never actually cared much about the originals when they were on TVD but omg. The endless whining from the three of them on their own show is too much. I've been trying to figure out why I liked the first episodes so much better and I think it's because the show really sold me on the concept of New Orleans as a supernatural melting pot and there were all these intriguing stories about vampires, werewolves, and witches going on. There wasn't so much Klaus ~introspection. I think the show really failed in executing a few of these more interesting plotlines and now they are just hanging there while Klaus cries.
BUT. Having said that, I'm further amused by myself because I do really love the character of Cami. She's the token human, and she's incredible. I was annoyed by the idea of her inclusion in the show to begin with, but now I love it. As I wrote when I talked about The Walking Dead, I like stories that deal with the struggle of being...well yourself? good? moral? And I think Cami's story represents that in many ways. She's become a pawn to Klaus, he erases her feelings, messes with her memories, etc. And she's actively fighting against that. Additionally, she's fighting against the idea that should could turn out like her brother. Ugh, I just love her so much. It helps that Leah Pipes is a fantastic actress as well. I think I actually had a lot more thoughts about this but I can't recall them at the moment. :/
I'm in denial that it's December this weekend.
Somehow I missed out on signing up for any sort of exchange :( Just as well, I suppose!
Also, I watched something on how corrupt the Sochi Olympics are which...I guess it just dawned on me that this is practically a tropical location and makes no sense. Also, this thing I happened to be watching on it on HBO (free trial weekend, woo!) was talking about all the actual needs of people in Russia which. Well, I'm not saying this isn't a valid point, but isn't this always a point? The Olympics do take a lot of money and they are expensive and ridiculously political and there are hungry people in countries everywhere. Anyway, this particular background makes them even more interesting to me to be honest, sports need narratives and this is a juicy one.
Baseball + My Nephew
The Cardinals have been surprisingly efficient this offseason, quickly dealing with some of the major issues from the postseason in acquiring a new outfielder and a new shortstop (to MUCH controversy). For the most part, both of these deals have been regarded as smart business decisions and they clearly show the organization's interest in preserving draft picks and young talent, omg. Anyway, as I was reading over the millions of analyses of the deals, I couldn't help but think about how nice it is to be a fan of a team consistently regarded as smart. (even if John Mozeliak said they weren't the "morale" police instead of the "morality" police....)
Which brings me to...
I have a new nephew! Those of you who follow me on Twitter already knew this but, yay! I already had three gorgeous perfect nieces and while I certainly would have welcomed and loved another, it's also fun to have a nephew.
Now my nephew lives in Denver where his parents live. I want to get him a little Cardinals outfit, but I feel like the nice responsible thing to do is get him a Rockies outfit. My brother is not really a fan of baseball, so it's not like it would be going against him...but he lives in Colorado, lol. But then I was thinking about how I've heard people say they were Cardinals fans because of aunts or uncles and I mean...shouldn't I influence my bb nephew to love the best team in baseball*?
So here's a poll, tell me if it's okay to get him Cardinals gear or should I be self-sacrificing and go with the Rockies?
(*KIDDING. JUST KIDDING. At least I didn't invoke BFIB! If you don't know what that is, you're better off, lol)