Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Monday: An Idiot Aboard 2

Happy Monday:
Topic: An Idiot Abroad

I loved An Idiot Abroad.  I refused to finish watching it on my DVD because I didn't want the series to end.  Karl is a very simple and yet semi brilliant man who is befriended/bullies by Ricky Gervis.


In the first show, he was sent to the 7 wonders of the world.  He wasn't impressed.  Seriously.  He tried to feed a chip to a boa constrictor because he thought the snake might like it. 

The second season is on The Science Channel and it's totally amazing.  It's a bucket list.  He could pick off of a list of 100 items anything he wanted, and then Ricky and Steve would add some things in for fun.  What really sums it up is, during the Trans Siberian railway, he got off for a day trip.  He dug his own grave and laid in it while he was buried alive.  That was the most relaxing thing he did during the whole trip.

Karl has a girlfriend and they've been together for 14 years.  After going to Bangkok he met with some Ladyboys.  It blew his mind.  He said if his girlfriend told him she had been a man but all her bits were working, he would still love her.  WOW!  What a HUGE growth from the human being from the first season.  Then he follows it up with, "but she'd have to carry more stuff.  No more of this making me carry her stuff because she's a woman. I would say, "your a bloke, carry your own sh**."

The clip is here:  It's amazing. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review: The Statstical Probabilty of Love at First Sight

Have you read this book yet?  No?  Then what are you waiting for?  Turn off your computer, download it onto your ereader, read it and then come back.

Well, how freaking awesome right?  What did it take you like two hours?  Best two hours you've spent all week?  Yep. Me too!

Summary from
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

What I loved about this book- pacing was perfect, the conflict was realistic and yet just enough of escapism for me to enjoy.  And Oliver, bonus points for being British. 

The only draw back I felt was that the book was written in 3rd person limited, and considering how personal the story was, I felt distance from Hadley and would have perferred to be in first.  But besides that I LOVED IT. 

9 out of 10

What's the fastest you've ever read a book?  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Monday: New Girl

Happy Monday

New layout--- I HATED the last one.  It hurt my eyes and quite frankly looked like a 9 year old girl wrote this blog.

Anyway Happy Monday:

Genre: TV Shows
Topic:  New Girl

At start of a new TV season brings much trimoil in my house.  Which pilots will stay, which ones will I hate and therefore stay on the air for years (Seriously,  Grey's Anatomy  is still on the air?  Really?) and which shows will I love and be canceled in three episodes. Oh so many great shows ended up in the TV graveyard.  Wonderfalls, Clerks, Committed just to name a few.

 Each year as the quaility of television decreases and my need for time increases, I find myself simply not interested in TV like I used to be.

Until this year when I discovered  New Girl.  I will say I was HOOKED by the trailer.  Within five minutes I knew "THIS WAS MY SHOW."

 New Girl is all about Jess, a wacky, kind hearted girl who was dumped by her cheating boyfriend and forced to live with three guys in a loft.  It's the supporting cast that balances out the show, because Jess herself, while cute as all get out can be too much to take on her own, it's Nick's negative view of the world that's so funny.

Also what the show shines at is the balance of subplots, some of the best episodes aren't Jess focused.   For example when Nick and Schmidt go to war over fixing things in the apartment, is non stop awesomeness. 

Nick: Unlike you Schmidt, I don't just throw my money at problems!
Schmidt: All I'm hearing is I can't use my bathroom because you're poor.

And yes there is the minor subplot of will Jess and Nick get together, but it's not a HUGE part of the show.  

In the interest of FULL disclosure, if I had not met my husband back in college, YES I would be EXACTLY like Jess, and that's one of the reasons why I love it.
Do yourself a favor and give up 22 minutes of your life and watch New Girl.  It's basically perfect.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday FAILS

How many jokes can you spot in this picture?

This was pulled off of my public library website... for the record my library was vote  number one in the country. 

Sometimes the jokes write themselves and other times it's funnier just let the picture say it all.

Here's another picture to give you a frame of reference.

Fault in our Stars:  30 copies total and there are 25 requests.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Picking a name

Writer Wednesday

This post was going to be about the importance of taking a break from writing and reading... but instead I'm opting to rant about character names.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately and you know what I've noticed, a trend that female characters have outrageously stupid names.

What ever happened to names like, Jen, Elizabeth, Stacy?  These names no longer exist in YA.  And yes I'm sure you're going to give me a HUGE list of exceptions. 

Look I've never meet a Delilah.  In ten years of teaching I've only taught one Jasmine.  I've never once encountered a Sparkle.   (No these aren't names of characters in books I've read, but you ALL know what I'm talking about.)

I hate reading a book and thinking, "I know I'm supposed to like you but I don't know how to say your name."

What I'm a little sick of is female characters who have non traditional names to make up for the fact that she's not very interesting. 

Her name is Bella because she's pretty! 

Honestly it speaks to a lack of originality and the writer's lack of confidence in herself.  It's like saying, "No listen to me, my character is cool because her name is totally original.  She's named after a bird, because she's LIKE A BIRD... GET IT?!?!?!

Yes I get it.  Please stop.

A character's name should be well thought out and reflect something about the character without leaving any sense of reality.  Yes traditional names like Jen are being pushed out of the way for names like Jordan, but still, unless your character's parents were hippies, your character should NOT be named Flower. 

Make your characters interesting, taking a traditional idea and turn it on its head.
A jock who is afraid of the number six.
Cheerleader who wants to discover Dark Matter
Class President who hates public speaking
A geek who has never seen Star Wars

Oh and go to Baby Naming websites, search the year your character was born and PICK ONE OF THOSE NAMES. 

Your character is what should stick out in your reader's mind, not they're cheesy name.

What's your least favorite name in YA today? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Monday: Cracked

Genre: Website
Topic: Cracked

When I got my Nook Color I downloaded a lovely app called Pulse... it consolidates all the news and humor into one very cool and streamlined it. 

That's how I discovered Cracked. 

It's become my go to place for smart writing, humor and shocking realizations.

Many of these articles contain cursing and adult language, please use caution (or just look at the pictures) But you were warned.

Here are just a few of my favorite articles.

Images you won't believe AREN'T photoshopped.

Here's my favorite from the most recent edition: 
Yep that's a flock of flamingos in the shape of flamingo.
So far there are 8 editions of this series, each edition containing between 17-23 pictures. 

It's the best way to mess with your head.

5 ways you know it's time to get married

This article isn't like any of the other articles about relationships on this website.  This one is personal, smart with anecdotal stories weaved through. 
Reasons include:  You don't need to impress each other and You really understand the meaning of forever.  The article ends with the author proposing to his girlfriend... I won't spoil it for you but it's sort of the most perfect thing I've ever read on the internet.  IF you click on the link above you can read the last page of the article.

How Doctor Who Became My Religion is an article that best explains the complexity of an already amazing show.   I should also say, Doctor Who is the reason why I"m not terrified about 2012... because the Doctor showed me how the universe is going to end and I know for a fact, we go off too all corners of universe. 

The Most Bad Ass Final Words Ever Uttered. (Adult Language)

John Green would love this and probably knows all of them.  Final words hold huge significance, but wow to be a bad ass in your last breath.. very cool

I love this website and gladly give up my very few free moments I have to read it. 

Happy Monday Everyone!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Book review Tuesday: The Fault in Our Stars

Book Review Tuesday:

The Fault in Our Stars

Summary from 
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behin

At this point, everyone who is going to read this book has already been told to read this book.
It’s on the New York Times Bestseller List.  It’s been on like every blog.  It’s got billions of 5 star reviews.  In a word it’s perfect.

So here’s the thing, The Fault in Our Stars was my reward for finishing my revisions on Penny and Hank.  I spent three weeks avoiding all spoilers.  I knew four people IRL who read the book and asked me “Did you read it yet?” and every day I had to say, ‘no.’

I finished it in two days.

It was everything everyone had promised.

But I had a totally different reading experience than everyone else.  

My cousin had the same form of cancer as Gus Waters does in the book.

For a girl who spent the last three weeks of her life avoiding spoilers... my own life was a spoiler.

I cried.  

Not just for the characters and the pain they suffered but for my cousin who I didn’t know as well as these fictional teenagers.  

And when the book concluded it got me thinking, what makes a good book?

Is it the plot?  (admittedly Fault in Our Stars, doesn’t shine as much as Paper Towns)
Is it the characters?
or is the the emotional impact on the reader?  

And I’m still at a loss.  

Obviously the book is wonderful and I give it 9.6 out of 10.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Happy Monday: Fail Blog

Happy Monday:

Genre: Websites

Topic: Failblog

Do I take pleasure in other people’s pain... sometimes when it’s well deserved.  Does that make me evil?  Maybe a little but it’s not like I eat kittens or something. is one of my favorite time vampires.   Because it’ gives me gems like this:

And This:

But then there’s WIN! When someone does something so clever and perfectly geeky it can only be defined as one thing.  WIN.

The Internet can be a mean and spiteful place- I know I feel like I hate humanity a little bit more whenever I read the comments in a news article.

And while some times it’s mean to laugh at people, it’s also great to cheer in their victories.

Warning not everything on this website is work safe, but there is a rated PG option on the web page too. 

Friday, February 03, 2012

Five for Friday

Over at the Paper Hangover it's time for Five for Friday.  This week they are asking which 5 books do you WISH you wrote.

Five for Friday

Which FIVE BOOKS do I WISH I wrote.

1) Half life of Planets...
That book was my the first draft of No System At All should have been.  But it done a BILLION times better than I could have EVER imagined

2) Ghost and the Goth:
Wow... again this is what Penny and Hank SHOULD be.  The voices are SO distinct and every word jumps out of the book.  I love this series and I”m super bummed it’s ending.

3) Every book by John Green.  
At one point in my life I thought I had voice and style down... then I read Abundance of Katherines and my world imploded.  

4)Anna and the French Kiss-
I WISH I HAD A FRACTION OF THE TALENT THAT SWOONS OFF THESE PAGES.  Perkins knows how to create real and vivid characters, who I want to be friends with or make me wish I was back in high school again.

5) Last chapter in Harry Potter series... Only because I would have made it better.  Harry, Heriomine and Ron would work at Hogworths...  And then I would have written book 8--- all 7 years from Neville’s POV.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

sneaky sequels

So I've noticed a trend in publishing. A book gets a lot of buzz, via blogs.  GREAT!  WOOT!  HAPPY DANCE.

Everyone rants and raves about the awesomeness of the book: YAY!

I buy the book:  HAPPY DANCE FOR ME!

I read the book:  I love it, the characters are compelling, the world is vivid, the plot starts off really interesting... but then in the back third of the book I notice something.  There's not enough pages to fill all the plot holes.

Then I have a moment of hmm.  A nugget of doubt. Could this be the first book in a series?

No.  No, my blogger friends would have given me a heads up.

As I read through to the last twenty pages I think, "yep.  There has to be more."

Last page: SONOFABITCH There's another book.

This fills me with mixed emotions.

One half of me is HAPPY!  SUPER WOOT!  There's another book. I get to spend more time with the characters, fall in love with their world all over again. YAY.

Then the other half feels sort of let down. Is this the publisher's idea of getting more money out of me?  I don't want to wait a WHOLE YEAR before reading the next book. I want it NOW!   What if the second book isn't as good as the first one?


Now logically I know it's the author's fault.  I know it's the publisher.  But I would like SOME sort of warning ahead of time before I finish the book that there's going to be a sequel.

I READ a book differently if I know up front if its going to be a stand alone story or the first in a series.  I have a different set of expectations.

I like to know the author planned it all out, a little odd sentence in book one leads to a HUGE reveal in book three. Awesome.  And I'm a little bit more forgiving if the ending isn't what I expected because I'm hoping for a BIG payoff in the end.   

But as a reader I feel like sneaky sequels are a low blow.   I want the publisher to feel just as excited about the book and NOT HIDE the fact that the book is the first in a trilogy.  And YES I know it's a risky venture to put out a series, and the first book is sort of a test to see how the market is going to respond and I'm sure someone did market research and learned when you put Book One on the cover of a book that it makes the readers a little bit more hesitant to buy it.

Logically I KNOW all this.

But the reader in me gets all pouty.  And it's happened to me A LOT recently.

Anyone else feel like this?

Let me know your thoughts below.