Friday, December 30, 2011

My Favorite Reads of 2011

I read a lot of books this year. According to GoodReads I read 60+ (and that doesn't include the HP or HG series re-reads that I did). Of all the books I've read this year these are my favorites.

I usually do these lists without declaring a absolute favorite but I have to admit that Hourglass was my favorite book of the year. I can not put into words how much I loved this book! I have quite a few friends who have book blogs and they all gave it glowing reviews so I knew it was good but I had no idea just how amazing it was going to be. I adored this book with it's sassy heroine, swoony boys, supportive family and quirky & extraordinarily talented support cast. If you haven't read this book yet you're missing out!! Do it now!!

The rest of this list is in no particular order because I love them in different ways for different reasons.

I don't think I can do the beauty of this book justice. On the surface this is a cute teen love story but it's SO much more. There is the teen love story, which is delicious (serious swooning!!), but it's also a story about family, trust, being true to yourself, and more. I can't even put it into words- just read this book NOW!!! (Actually, if you haven't read Anna and the French Kiss you need to read that one first)

Divergent was another book that all my book blogging friends were raving about. I was feeling slightly burned out on the dystopian genre so I wasn't all that excited to read it but based on my friends recommendations I gave it a try. WOWZA!! I was blown away!! Divergent is the kind of book that will keep you up late at night because you need to read "just one more chapter" and then at the end of that chapter there is no possible way you can't read the next one. The action and adventure is non-stop. Plus there is a really swoon-worthy boy in it, so of course I loved it ;)

I love a good paranormal romance but if the book makes me laugh it takes the book to a whole new level. Sophie's sarcasm made me a fan of these books from the first page. I adore her! Add a swoony boy who isn't all that he seems, a pink obsessed vampire roommate and a whole lot of trouble and I'm hooked. I can't even explain how much I love these books- take my word for it. You'll love them!!! 

I picked up Nightshade in January because Andrea was coming to Salt Lake as part of the Breathless Reads Tour. I was leery about reading yet another wolf book but the Guardians are completely different than any other wolves I've read about. The world and characters that Andrea has created are beautiful and heartbreaking. The themes that are present in the books have fueled many hours of conversation with my friends. I'm so excited to see where the story goes in Bloodrose, which is out next week.

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

One of my all time favorite series is the The Poison Study series so when Maria announced she was starting a new series I was ecstatic. But to be honest I was also worried. I loved the Poison Study series but only liked the Storm Glass series and the Inside Out series so I tried to not get too excited about this new book. My fears were in vain. Touch of Power is Poison Study good (if you've read PS you'll know what I mean). It has all the elements I was looking for- a kick ass heroine, a love interest that took my breath away, sidekicks that stole my heart, a villain that made my skin crawl and a magical mystery. It is SO GOOD!!

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

Oh my goodness!!! Sometimes a book completely takes me by surprise and I fall head over heels in love with it. I put The Near Witch on my to-read list after watching videos of an author retreat that Victoria attended. I was intrigued by her description of the book. This book is so beautiful and haunting!! Victoria's writing is so descriptive and rich. I could see the Moors and hear the wind rushing through town. I could see the little rock wall surrounding the town. I can't say enough about this book- read it!!

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
I knew when I picked up Clockwork Prince that it was going to be good. I adore all of Cassie's books so I knew this wouldn't be any different. I was not disappointed. I have to admit that although I love the Mortal Instruments that the Infernal Devices are where my heart truly lies. I love the setting of Victorian London and the characters have wormed their way into my heart in a way that the MI characters never have. Clockwork Prince made me cry, swoon and laugh. My heart broke in several ways as I read this book. I'm a die-hard Team Will girl so those of you that have read it will understand part of my heartbreak. I can not wait to see where Cassie takes us in Clockwork Princess.

I'm going to stop here. I could list more books but that would make this post completely out of control. If you're interested in what other books I've loved make sure we're friends on GoodReads. I track everything that I read there.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Sneak Peek at 2012

My friend Kate went to NCTE and got a bunch of books while she was there. When she posted a picture of all the books she got I jokingly listed a few of the ARCs that I would like to read. She was kind enough to loan them to me after she read them. They arrived just after finals so I've been able to devour them during the break. Here are my thoughts on Take a Bow, Everneath, Pandemonium and The Rivals.

I'm a huge fan of Elizabeth Eulberg's books so I went into this with really high expectations- they were blown away! I absolutely adored this book!!!

As with Elizabeth's prior books Take a Bow captures the teenage years perfectly. This book is the story of four students in a performing arts high school. I wasn't a performer in high school but the majority of my friends were in choir or theater so much of the competition and drama that takes place in the book was very familiar to me. The joy, the passion, and the heartbreak was all spot on. These students journey to discovering who they truly are and what they really want to be is one that is familiar to everyone even if they aren't into the performing arts.

When I finished this book I had tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face. I honestly loved or hated all the characters in the book. I can't really say more without spoiling anything but take my word for it you want to read this book. You will love it!!

One last note: I'm not a fan books that are written from multiple points of view. I find them to be confusing and very rarely do they flow well. I admit that I when I realized that Take a Bow was from more than one point of view I rolled my eyes and inwardly groaned. But I was very pleasantly surprised that I never had to question who was speaking, each character had a very distinct voice and the story flowed naturally.

I've been hearing buzz about Everneath by Brodi Ashton for a while so when my friend offered to let me borrow her ARC I jumped at the chance. I'm not sure what I was expecting going into the book but it certainly wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

Everneath a sad, desperate story about the repercussions of a bad choice. I am not usually a fan of sad books, they usually take forever for me to read, but I couldn't put this one down. The underlying story of the possibility of redemption, love conquering all, heroes and hope kept me turning the pages until late at night.

Everneath is not one of those books that will sweep you away from the world. It's not easy to read but it is well worth the journey. The story is beautifully written. The characters are the kind that you talk about as if they are real. And the lessons learned are ones that apply to everyone.

I'm really looking forward to where this series goes.

Oh, one last thing. Those of you that know me know that I am a fan of the bad boy. They are my weakness. I was very surprised to find myself rooting for the good guy this time.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver is the sequel to Delirium, which I devoured in one sitting earlier this year. This series is a dystopian story where love is considered a disease and at age eighteen everyone receives the "cure". This medical procedure removes a persons ability to love. The idea of love being a disease is fascinating to me and these books do a beautiful job of exploring the repercussions of removing love from a society. I don't want to say much about this book because I don't want to spoil anything but I can say WOWZA!! Lauren managed to blow me away again! I loved this book! It's very different from Delirium but it's just as good. I loved seeing Lena figure out who she is now that she's out on her own and able to make her own choices. Based on my experience with Delirium I was fully expecting the cliffhanger ending but even knowing it was coming the end of the book made me say a few not very lady like words ;)

The Rivals by Daisy Whitney is the sequel to The Mockingbirds. I loved The Mockingbirds. I loved that it addresses the topic of date rape with class and respect without making the crime any less horrific. I wasn't sure what I would think of the sequel- how could the author top the emotional journey that takes place in The Mockingbirds? I was very pleasantly surprised that the next installment of Alex's journey was just as heartfelt and moving. Alex is still struggling with what happened to her last year plus she is dealing with the pressures of senior year and leading The Mockingbirds. Throw a boyfriend, a male friend who she's not sure how she feels about, a couple of bullies, an unsupportive school leader and her first big case with The Mockingbirds into the mix and you get a story that requires its main character to really figure out who she is, what she wants from life and where her loyalities lie. As with The Mockingbirds this book isn't always an easy read but the lessons learned are well worth the extra effort.

Huge thanks to Kate for giving me this little sneak peek at the books coming out next year! I loved each of these books. If these books are any indication, 2012 is going to be a great year for books. Make sure you add them to your to-read list!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer!!

First things first- Squeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of the way here comes the more detailed gushing.

I am in love with this trailer!! I've watched it more times that I can count today. It brings tears to my eyes every single time I watch it. There are key moments that bring the tears- the Reaping and the salute.

The Reaping- This is the scene that starts it all.
  • Elizabeth Banks looks perfect as Effie. Her hair isn't as pink as I thought it would be but she still looks perfect. I can just hear her saying "May the odds be ever in your favor." I think they left that part out of the trailer on purpose. It's her trademark line, I bet we don't hear it until the actual movie. 
  • What gets me in this scene is the desperation in Katniss's voice as she volunteers to take her little sisters place. It's so real. Jennifer won me over in just that moment.
  • And Gale carrying off a screaming Prim? Gah!! Rip my heart out!!!
  • I also love the look of shock and disbelief on Peeta's face as his name is called. How did Josh become Peeta in a blink of an eye? Wow! I'm amazed.

The Salute. I had forgotten the exact details of it so I looked it up. When we see the crowd do it, it is this moment:

At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means goodbye to someone you love.
When we see Katniss do the salute in the arena, this is the moment:
"Bye, Rue," I whisper. I press the three middle fingers of my left hand against my lips and hold them out in her direction. Then I walk away without looking back.
These moments are so significant in the story and the upcoming revolution. I'm so glad we got to see them in the trailer.

A few other thoughts from the trailer:
  • Donald Sutherland- he's so creepy and evil in the small glimpse we got of him. He even has a white rose on his lapel- he's perfection!! 
  • Cinna!! I've declared my great admiration for Cinna many times. I'm so relieved that it looks like he will be the subtle, brilliant madman I was hoping for. “It crosses my mind that Cinna's calm and normal demeanor masks a complete madman.”
  • How perfect is Willow Shields as Prim?!?! She's exactly like I pictured her.
  • Stanley Tucci- I need MORE!! I'm so excited to see him. The glimpse we get in the trailer is no where near enough.
  • Peeta's speech about wanting to stay himself in the arena. He's my boy with the bread ♥
  • Rue peeking around the corner. My heart is already breaking.
I've been nervous about this movie adaptation from the start. Even though there is still the possibility there may be something I don't like the trailer makes me feel much better. I'm really looking forward to the movie!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Launch Party for Ally Condie's Crossed

Last Tuesday, November 1st, I had the chance to escape real life and go to the book launch party for Ally Condie's new book, Crossed. The event was at the The King's English in Salt Lake.

Ally talked about Crossed, read a expert from the book and took questions from the audience. Here are my notes on what she said.
  • Crossed was the hardest book she's written. If people hadn't been waiting for it, it probably would not have ever been finished.
  • The setting of Crossed is Outer Provinces, which are based on Southern Utah where Ally grew up.
  • This is Ky's book
  • Because it's Ky's book it was more complicated to write because he's a very private person. Getting inside his head was difficult, even for her.
  • There are several new characters in Crossed- they caused Ally a lot of grief but then joy.
  • Vick was easy to write because he is based on Ally's brother and brother-in-law. They are both natural hunters/fishers.
  • Indie was a loose cannon. She was like the tiger in the backyard- she was ok until all of a sudden she wasn't.
  • The painting that Xander gives Cassia at the end of Matched- Chasm of the Colorado by Thomas Moran is what the landscape in Crossed looks like.
  • Matched focuses on poems, Crossed focuses on paintings.
  • Ky's mother was a painter. None of her work lasted very long but she still did it.
  • Ally's mother is also a painter. She paints in watercolor- Ally asked her once why she didn't paint in something more permanent. She told her that she didn't care how long they lasted, she just wanted them to be beautiful. This is the same way Ky's mother felt.
  • Matched influenced by George Orwell's 1984 and Ray Bradbury's There Will Come Soft Rains.
  • Book three is still in progress and is currently title-less
  • Ally has nothing to do with the book covers, but she loves them.
  • Ally has always been a reader. Her favorite authors are Agatha Christie, Wallace Stegner and Ann (didn't catch the last name- sorry!)
  • Her favorite national park is Zion's because she grew up hiking there
This is the Thomas Moran painting Chasm of the Colorado

After she was done speaking and answering questions Ally signed books. As she always is, Ally was kind and gracious with every single person that stopped at the table, even though the line was long.

Book signings make me happy. There is something magical about listening to an author speak about the characters and world that they have created. It makes the book reading experience even better. I'm extremely lucky that Utah has a large community of authors so that I can get my fangirl fix often. I'm also lucky there are amazing bookstores like The King's English to host these events.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

James Dashner's Launch Party for The Death Cure

On October 11th my friends and I attended the launch party for James Dashner's The Death Cure at The King's English. James talked about the book, answered audience questions (actually he evaded quite a few of the questions because his agent was in the audience and he's not supposed to talk about movie news or what he's working on next), read from the book and then signed books.

Christy, Bonnie, me, Ali, and Rae with James

As with all events at The King's English and James, it was a fabulous evening!!!

The Death Cure is the final book in The Maze Runner series so none of you have any reason/excuse not to read it. Like the first two books in the series, The Death Cure, will blow you away! Read it NOW!!!

You can read my review of the book here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Becca Fitzpatrick, Moira Young, Elana Johnson & Michelle Hodkin Book Signing

On October 11th there were two book events scheduled at the exact same time that I wanted to go to. I was so sad that I was going to have to choose between them. Luckily the group of authors that I was going to miss, Becca Fitzpatrick, Moira Young, Elana Johnson and Michelle Hodkin, added a book signing at the Hasting's in Ogden earlier in the afternoon. I was able to sneak out of work early and attend. I was slightly disappointed that the authors didn't get a chance to speak, they just signed books. (Which was all I think they had time to do.) I would have preferred to just hear them speak and not get my books signed but I'm still really happy I got to meet them briefly. It was fast and crazy and fun.

 Michelle, Elana and Moira
(Sorry for the not-so-great phone pictures)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

One for the Money Trailer

I'm taking a break from my hiatus because I had to post this trailer. I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. The movie adaptation of the first book in the series, One for the Money, is coming out and the first trailer has just been released. Not all the characters look like I imagined them but I still think it looks great. I'm super excited to see this!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

School has taken all my free time so I'm going to have to take a break from being fangirly. I'll be back when this semester is over.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Hunger Games Teaser

MTV debuted a very short teaser of The Hunger Games movie tonight. Even though it wasn't very long I loved it! The arena, the voiceover, the archery, the four note whistle (possibly Rue's whistle?) at the very end- I loved it all!!

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music

 It certainly did its job- it teased us and made us want more. Is it March yet?!?!?


I found this picture on a friend's blog, who found it on her friend's blog, etc. I want a copy to hang in my house but can't find where it originated from :(

Monday, August 22, 2011

Music Monday

Adele was here in Salt Lake last night. I'm still having a pity party that I couldn't get tickets. Next time she's here I will go, even if I have to sell a vital organ to get tickets.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Help

A while ago pretty much my entire office read and loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I tried to read it but I was unable to get into it. It's been a while so I don't really remember why but I think it was during finals so I was really distracted and unable to get into a serious book. I kept meaning to get back to it but haven't had a chance. I knew the movie was coming out so I decided to go see the movie before reading the book so that I could have the movie characters in my head when I read the book.

I saw the movie yesterday and was blown away. It was phenomenal!! I laughed, I cried, I got angry and my heart broke. What a beautiful story!! Now I'm really looking forward to reading the book as soon as I'm done with the book I'm currently reading.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love

I am not a huge Steve Carell fan. Most of his movies are too over the top for me so I wasn't planning on seeing Crazy, Stupid, Love. But I kept seeing commercials and reading good reviews for it so I decided to give it a shot even though he's one of the stars in it. I am so glad that I did. I loved this movie! It's a romantic comedy but it's not the typical cheesy rom-com. It is sweet and funny and heartfelt. The humor wasn't too over the top, which made me very happy. Steve's role reminded me a lot of his role in Dan in Real Life- not because their characters are the same but they do both show the same kind of vulnerability. Many of my friends commented on how hot Ryan Gosling is in the movie and it's very true but I found myself loving Steve Carell's character more. I've also decided that I adore Emma Stone. She's fabulous in everything I've ever seen her in, including this.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Music Monday

I love the music from Les Misérables. This arrangement of Bring Him Home by Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson is absolutely gorgeous! As an Army Brat the dedication at the beginning of the video is especially touching (and made me cry!).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top Fangirl Moments

My lovely friends over at Eve's Fan Garden recently posted their top five fangirl moments. Their lists started my brain churning about my favorite fangirl moments and I decided to post them here.

Breakfast with Stephenie Meyer: My amazing friend Donna worked some magic and arranged for a small group of us to have breakfast with Stephenie when she was here in Utah on her book tour for The Host. It was an unforgettable morning! We had a fabulous time!!

Visiting Platform 9 3/4: In 2008 my Mom was in England working so Dad and I went to visit her. I insisted that King's Cross be one of our stops while we were in London. My Father was a bit perplexed as to why we were going to a train station to look at a wall. I just told him it was a Harry Potter thing and that I couldn't visit London without going there. Once we got there it made a lot more sense.
I hate this picture of me but it's proof that I was there. Sadly I couldn't get onto the platform ;)

The 6th Annual 1-800 Suicide Press Conference: On April 10, 2010 I had the opportunity to attend Hopeline's annual press conference on Capitol Hill. Justin Furstenfeld was one of the speakers and Blue October performed an acoustic set. It was a very touching experience. My write-up and video can be seen here.

TwiCon: I used to be an administrator on a very large Twilight fan site. In July of 2009, before the large Twilight conventions came to be, there was a fan organized convention in Dallas. I'm not usually a convention type of person but I was invited to go to this one because of the site. The convention itself was pretty much a disaster but meeting hundreds of women that I've been visiting with online made the entire weekend worth it. This is a slide show of the many, many pictures I took of the weekend.

Donna outs me to Jeremy Furstenfeld: I run a Blue October fan site. It's named after a very random song that was a B-Side on their last album. I chose it because I wanted a name that only true Blue October fans would understand. The song was actually written by the drummer, Jeremy. A few months after I launched the site I went to Denver for a concert. My friends Donna, Janicca and I went out back afterwards to get pictures and autographs. I had no intention of mentioned the site to any of the guys but Donna had different plans. While we were chatting with Jeremy she mentioned the site. Jer said that he'd been to the site and that he liked it. After he said that I had the biggest fangirl grin on my face. I know it's a silly moment but it still makes me grin when I think about it.
 Janicca, Me and Donna before the show

Meeting Shannon Hale: One of the first book signings I ever went to was Shannon Hale's. I've been to many others since then and even several of hers since then but the first will always be a highlight of my fangirl career.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Music Monday

I had another song in mind for today's Music Monday but then I got an email telling me that The Parlotones will be in Salt Lake on October 26th so I had to post one of their songs. I first fell in love with this South African band when they opened for Blue October last Fall. They came back to Salt Lake during their US tour this past Spring. I'm so excited they are coming back again!!!

This video is from the first time I saw them in Las Vegas.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Stalking Kiersten White- Supernaturally Edition

On Saturday I was able to go to Kiersten White's book signing at The King's English Bookshop. She is on tour for her new book, Supernaturally. It's the sequel to Paranormalcy. Both books are fabulous. If you haven't read them- do it now!

I've been stalking Kiersten for a while now so I knew it was going to be a great event. Kiersten talked about her books, her writing process, read from Supernaturally and then signed books. It was a wonderful, laughter filled afternoon!

Here she is reading a very humorous excerpt about a unicorn from Supernaturally-

One of the questions from the audience was about what her favorite letter is. I love her answer- I would never been able to come up with something so clever that quickly-

A couple of pictures from the signing portion of the day-
Me, Rae, Catie and Christy waiting in line
Kiersten signing
Me, Bonnie, Christy, Catie and Rae with Kiersten

The best part about being Kiersten's stalker? She's 100% ok with it ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

If we're friends on Twitter or Facebook you know that last week I was stalking my UPS man for the delivery of several books. One of those books was Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer. It is the sequel to Nightshade and I have been counting down to its arrival for months. I finally got my copy last Friday and put everything on hold until I finished it. My read through included all of the following emotions/phrases (not necessarily in this order and often repeated):
I knew it!
What the?!?!
How did that happen?!?!
That did not just happen!!
He did what?!!?
Are you kidding me???
Wolfsbane was a roller coaster from page one and the ride didn't end on the last page of the book. The cliffhanger at the end left me feeling like I was stuck upside down on one of the loops of the roller coaster. Of course, I knew going into it that it would be like that. I willingly got on this ride ;)

I can't say much because just about anything will be a spoiler. I can say that I adored this book. Andrea has created a world and characters that evoke very strong emotions from me. Andrea also tackles themes like feminism, nature vs. nurture, racism, free agency, and many more. The beauty of her books is that she brings up these topics in a way that doesn't come across as a homework assignment. (I don't have children but if I did I would love to have my older teens read these books and then discuss them. What a great way to start conversations about deep topics that's not a school lecture!)

In addition to creating deep, meaningful characters and situations Andrea is also the queen of creating swoon-worthy men. I was in love with several of the men in Nightshade and in Wolfsbane I fell in love with a few more. I'm still unsure which way I want the love triangle to go- poor Calla has quite a choice to make!

I know that Bloodrose is going to be a rough read but I'm really looking forward to it. Only 201 days until it's out!!! (Not that I'm counting or anything)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Music Monday

I'm not a fan of Bluegrass music but I love me some Mumford and Sons. I really need them to come to Salt Lake on their next tour.

In these bodies we will live,
In these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love,
You invest your life.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Boy With The Bread

Yesterday posted the their weekly cover with the first picture of the men from The Hunger Games movie.  The picture made me nervous. I don't think that Josh looks like Peeta. He looks too hard, too tough to be Peeta. I know Peeta is supposed to be tough because of all the lifting that he's done while growing up in the bakery but my version of Peeta isn't hard and callous and that's what the cover picture looks like. I'm not sure that even makes sense but I just wasn't feeling it. Every time I saw the picture pop up in one of my friends Facebook or Twitter feeds I got a little sad. But today posted some of the pictures from inside the magazine and this is one of them-
*big sigh of relief* There's the boy with the bread that I was looking for!! I'm still a little nervous just because I've never seen Josh act but I'm planning to rent a couple of his movies. Hopefully after that I can stop worrying about my beloved Peeta being portrayed on screen.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Music Monday

Blue October released the video for the The Chills today. I love it!

Harry Potter: Anime Style

This is gorgeous!!!! Make sure you click on it to make it full size so you can see all the detail!!

For some reason I can't upload the high res version so click here to see it ---->

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Iron Knight

The Iron Knight is the fourth and final book in The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa. This review won't make any sense if you haven't read the first three books. (If you haven't read them, do it NOW!)

I've been Team Ash from day one. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Puck but I see way too many similarities between him and me for me to swoon over him. When I recovered from my ugly crying at the end of The Iron Queen I comforted myself with the knowledge that I would get to spend more time with Ash in The Iron Knight. I'm pretty sure everyone in Utah heard my fangirl squeal when I got the email saying that I could download the ARC. I devoured this book in two days and absolutely loved it!

There is so much I want to say about this book but I hate spoilers so I refuse to include any in my review. I will just stick to the things we know from the plot summary and my general impressions. The Iron Knight is the story of Ash's quest to find a way to be with Meghan in the Iron Realm. I loved being in Ash's head but it took some getting used to. The thing about changing character point of view is that you have to get to know the narrator all over again. I thought I knew Ash but I really only knew Meghan's version of Ash. It was almost like meeting a brand new character. Of course I fell in love with Ash again but I had to work at it a little bit. This isn't the swoon-worthy, protector that I knew in the other books. He was still those things but I also got to see the skeletons in his closet and those scared me a little bit. Ash's journey isn't easy; in fact it's almost impossible. He is warned multiple times to not even attempt it but he will not be deterred from the vow he made to Meghan. So with the help of some unlikely friends and by digging deep into himself he sets out on a journey to get a soul. I'm not going to say whether he is successful or not, you'll have to wait until October to find out.

This book, through its ups and downs, is a masterpiece. In a time when YA lit is being attacked on one side for being too dark and on the other for being fluff The Iron Knight is a shining example of why both of those theories are not true. This is a book that forces its main characters and its readers to take a hard look at themselves. The book focuses on the importance of keeping promises, on overcoming our dark side, of loyalty to friends, and the value of a human soul. Lessons that everyone, no matter how young or old, need to learn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The History of Rap

Last Fall Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon took me on a walk down memory lane when they performed The History of Rap on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. It was brilliant!!

Last night they did The History of Rap Part 2. It's equally as brilliant!!

Love it!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Boy Who Lived

I've been trying to figure out all day how to express my feelings about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two but it's turning out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. There is so much more than just a single movie involved in DH2. It seems to be the end of an era. When the last book was published it was bearable because we still had the movies to look forward to. Now the last movie is out and my inner fangirl is feeling a bit lost.

I've cried through previews and interviews for months now so I knew that the first time I saw the movie it was going to be rough. I was extremely lucky to win tickets to a pre-screening last night and it was even more brutal than I thought it was going to be. Even though it was brutal, I LOVED this movie. I went in with really high expectations and they were blown out of the water. The movie is non-stop, can't-catch-your-breath action. Mix the action of the battle with the emotional roller coaster that takes place and I was a mess!!

I won't go into specifics because I don't want to post spoilers but every moment that I loved from the book is in this movie. Every moment that made me cheer out loud while reading made me (and the entire audience) cheer when it happened in the movie. Every moment that ripped my heart out in the book is there. Seeing these actors, who so beautifully play these beloved characters, act out these heart wrenching moments induced serious ugly crying. At one point in the movie I was crying so hard that my friend Rae said to me "Amy, you've got to breathe!" I've been emotional all day as my mind wanders back over the movie. I wish that there was some way I could personally thank J.K. Rowling, each actor, the director, the producers and anyone else involved in this movie for doing all they could to make it perfect. It's obvious that everyone involved has great love and respect for this series and its fans because of the product that they have created.

I've been pondering these books and movies quite a bit the last little while as I've been preparing for the final movie. There are so many themes and messages in each individual book but for me the overwhelming message of the whole series is love. Love for self, family, friends and beliefs. This isn't a love that stops bad things from happening, Jo isn't afraid to let bad things happen to her characters, but in the end love conquers all evil. Two quotes that I feel really express my feelings about the whole series are:
"Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love." ~Albus Dumbeldore
"You're the weak one. And you'll never know love or friendship. And I feel sorry for you." ~Harry Potter
At the London premiere, J.K. Rowling said exactly what every Harry Potter fan needed to hear-
"The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home." 
This video montage is perfect way to wrap up my thoughts on this amazing movie and book and movie series as a whole.

ps- I saw the movie in 3D, which I wouldn't recommend because it hurt my head, but I did get to keep the really cool glasses so it did have its perks.

Trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Robert Downey Jr. = yummy
Jude Law = delicious
Together = brilliant and funny!
I'm super excited to see this in December!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Music Monday

I just got home from a pre-screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two. I'm going to try to put my thoughts into words about it tomorrow. Right now I'm too emotionally drained to be coherent. I just wanted to get a Music Monday post up and then I'm headed to bed.
Music is so essential in any movie. A good score can complete a scene and evoke emotions that might not have been felt otherwise. One of the moments that really started my emotional downward spiral is this piece entitled Statues.

Harry Potter Marathon

I spent all weekend having a Harry Potter movie marathon in order to be ready for the final movie. I loved spending time back in that magical world. I'm in awe of how much the kids have grown and what a magnificent job they've done with their characters.

After watching all of the movies so close together I've made a few observations. I should have taken notes because I don't remember all of my thoughts but here are few I can remember: 
  • Goblet of Fire is my least favorite movie. Mostly because I hate the way Michael Gambon portrays Dumbledore in it.
  • The scene where Ron is under the influence of love potion is one of my favorite moments in the entire franchise. Rupert plays it so perfectly!
  • Watching Hermione erase her parents memories kills me every. single. time.
  • These movies are funny! I forgot how much humor they have in them. "Ronald would like me to tell you that Seamus told him that Dean was told by Parvati that Hagrid is looking for you."
  • I'm way too attached to these movies and these kids. It makes me so sad the it's over.
  • I love the majority of the casting decisions in these movies. There are a couple of exceptions but 99.9% of the cast is stellar. That is so rare in book to movie adaptations. The casting gods were smiling down on this project.
  • It's impossible for me to watch the spider scene in Chamber of Secrets without getting the heebie-jeebies. Most of the time I don't even watch it, I avert my eyes until it's over.
  • Half Blood Prince is my favorite as far as relationships go. The awkward hooking up, the unrequited love, the heartbreak and drama are dead on.
  • One of my favorite quotes from the entire franchise is: "You're the weak one. You'll never know love or friendship. And I feel sorry for you." I think it sums up why, in the end, Voldemort could never have won. Love conquers all.