Sunday, January 31, 2010

7/25: The Hunger Games

:O that's the best emoticon I can make on the keyboard to describe this book.
It is indeed a Young Adult fiction novel, but certainly (for me anyways) on the older side of YA.

The Hunger GamesSet in the future, there are 12 districts surrounding the Capitol that send a boy and a girl to the Hunger Games each year. A fight to the death in an arena. Sounds morbid, and it is, but the story is amazing.
Katniss pulled me in from the beginning. She shows a battle of wills and smarts. I don't want to go into much detail of the book because it's so amazing I couldn't forgive myself if I ruined it for someone.

All I can say is this... My FI disappeared for the two days he read this book. Never have I seen him ignore everything just to finish it. He's done the same thing for the second novel, and I'm sure when the third one comes out (in May), I will not see him for 2 days again.
I disappeared from life for the two days I read the first book. I plan to spend Friday and Saturday reading the second and want to pre-order the 3rd already.

I read this book for the WBC because my fellow Nesties voted for it on my book poll. Thank you so much Nesties!!!! You have officially got me addicted to another series.

Movie Review (1): Book of Eli

My FI and I have tried twice to see this movie. Everytime we went, the parking lot was so full we couldn't find a spot to park. Friday we decided we'd go to a matinee. The lobby was busy with kids, but they were all going to a different show. When we got to the theatre our movie was in, there was 4 other people.
On with the review:
Very disappointing.  The story had lots of potential. Denzel's character has the only Bible left in the world, and is on his way West to find a place that is worthy of it's power. The previews looked promising for action. there was lots, but it somehow just seemed all fake to me. The world is in shambles (which they never really explained why) and somehow this one town has water, food, gasoline, booze, and lots of guns. I guess I was expecting more. I thought perhaps it would follow him farther than just through one town. His cross-country walk seemed to have been going on long before the movie began.
We used free tickets to go see this show, and I wish I hadn't. This is just my opinion. The ratings for the show were high, and I've read another blogger who gave this movie a great review.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Wedding Fair... I survived

I was anticipating a lot of women. Check.
I was anticipating a long morning. It was, but I didn't notice.
I was anticipating getting a good amount of stuff. Check, but wow not to that extent!

Doors opened at 9:30, so I got there around 9:20. Long line up. I had to wait for my mom and sister, so I stood in line. Once 9:30 hit and they opened the doors, I didn't realize how quickly they could get people through the entrance. I ended up waiting just inside the ticket gate for my entourage. They gave me this neat little sticker that said "Bride" and my mom got one that said "Mother of the Bride".
We figured out that most people just start at the beginning of the booths and work their way to the other side. We started at the end and worked our way back. Thought maybe there would be a few less people. It worked out fairly well.

I managed to enter my name into a number of draws. Hopefully I win something other than just being on a ton of mailing lists. I did book a free consultation with a DJ and got an envelope for $150 off their services. They didn't have a price list, so I'm not sure about that.
I had a blast, which wasn't what I expected. I had thought the whole thing would be somewhat stressful, and it wasn't! I was so impressed and happy.

There was a fashion show included in the entrance. They had wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, tuxes, mother-of-the-bride/groom wear and lingerie.  Took a few pics with my phone, but they didn't turn out great. I did find it helpful for my bridesmaid and mom to get an idea of what I'm looking for. Narrows down the field a little when I go looking for wedding dresses in March. The highlight, other than the wedding dresses, was the entertainment the men provided. Salsa and hiphop dancing sure gave the crowd a hoot.

Once I unloaded the super heavy and very full bag I collected things in, I sat down and went through it all. I seem to have collected cards and papers mostly for attire (both FI and I), DJ's, and decorating.  I was hoping to find a lot of catering, but that wasn't the case.  This week I'll have to sift through a lot of the DJ things and make some appointments.

I'm rather disappointed there isn't another fair until September now. Hopefully by then I have most everything organized and won't need to go.

Thanks mom and sis for coming with me! It was very fun.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

6/25: Dead in the Water - Stuart Woods

I picked this book for the 5 point task of "read a book by your favorite author."

Dead in the Water: A Novel (Stone Barrington)"Dead in the Water" is the 3rd Stone Barrington book in the ever expanding series. I believe there are currently 17 books that are a "Stone Barrington Novel".  I love his character. Stuart Woods takes a man, strips his job, his girl(s) and puts him in unpredictable law scenarios. His police background really gives him the upperhand when it comes to representing a client.

In Dead in the Water, he is vacationing in St. Marks, awaiting the arrival of his live-in girlfriend. Aside from the girlfriend not coming because of weather in New York, Stone finds himself representing a widow being tried for the murder of her husband. She sailed into port without her husband, after sailing from another island with him. In St. Marks, there is a capital punishement for murder, and it's a completely different legal system from that in North America. Stone finds himself trying to save the woman, representing her in a place where he feels out of place in the courtroom, not something he's used to.

I liked the story, I liked the characters. I did find Allison (the widow) a little transparent. A great quick read, and one that transitions nicely into the 4th book "Swimming to Catalina", which is next on the list of to-read.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pole Update

I am now done level 7! I still can't believe how far I've come since the beginning of last year. I am in need of making a montage of pictures and videos of all the things I learned last year. That would be a fantastic keepsake, and really show myself and others what I can do. I forget sometimes all the things I've learned, and go back to the basics.

I will be starting level 8 next week. I'm ecstatic! I'm also realizing that I need to start practicing at home. I 've reached a level now, where I can't easily do things on the first try and actually have to work at it. There are those moves that I can get every time, and they come easy now. For the majority of level 7, I was learning moves that will require a little effort on my part to perfect and easily do. The more you do something, the easier it is. In this case, the less frightened I'll be that I'll need to bail and crash to the floor (this is why I LOVE my crashmat)

This leads me into one of my New Years goals.  I want to become better at pole and improve my skills. I've been focusing on so many things, and never completing any of them. I want to learn so many things in my life, that I can't focus on them all. So, that said, I have two major things to focus on (other than the wedding).

I will take the next 6 months to:
  • Finish the RCIA process (date I should be done is May 19, 2010)
  • Concentrate on practicing pole at home on my own time

Monday, January 18, 2010

5/25: The Lost Symbol

Another Dan Brown novel with Robert Langdon.

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, No. 3)This one follows after "The Da Vinci Code". Set in Washington, Robert is trying to save his friend, and solve a mystery. The main focus is on the Ancient Mysteries that is a secret protected by the Masons.
I found the book slow to get into. I loved the chapters that were about Robert, but found the ones about Kathrine boring. After about page 100, the action got started, and continued almost to the end. Dan Brown wrote about Robert in the same fashion as the other books. Robert was chasing clues, figuring the mystery out, and giving insight to ancient secrets.  After the excitment ended, I found it very hard to finish the rest of the book. I believe it was because I was so tired from travelling all day and not the book itself.

I gave this one 4 stars

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back to Reality

I'm back from vacation.
It was wonderful! I had such a great time visiting Fi's nephew, brother and sister-in-law.
Recap of the vacation:
The Flights
We arrived late evening and found no luggage at the airport. With such a short gap between flights, we just made it, but our luggage didn't. We got it the next day so it wasn't too bad. No problems on the flight home at all. I was very happy to not be too overly stressed while travelling.

The Weather
The weather was pretty well overcast for the majority of the trip. We got a couple hours sun each day, but then it would cloud over and we'd head inside. We had good sun the last few days we were there.

The Diving
We did manage to get 3 wonderful dives in.
First was a shore dive. We swam from shore, out to a reef and dove around for 45 minutes. Felt great to get back down there. We saw a turtle this dive. So majestic. Also saw a school of Tarpin. They are bright silver and very large fish. Amazing to see them all in the light.
The other two dives were off a boat. First one was down 80 - 100 ft down. We saw two amazing Puffer Fish swim by. They weren't puffed out, but had to have been at least 3 - 4 feet long and 1 foot wide. They have these flat square faces that are so cute. Second one was shallower at around 50 ft. This was a cool dive because the reef created these little road ways through it. You could swim in between the coral and see all the neat things on the sides.
We went snorkelling on our last day. The fish at Cemetery Beach are used to being fed by snorkellers. Even if you don't take food out, they will swim towards you in large numbers. It's a little daunting the first time you go, but amazing once you're used to it. This particular reef has a lot of sea urchins with large spikes. They look very neat coming out from the cracks. We had been to this reef on our last trip down, and found the cute little blue fish with white dots again. They are really tiny, but so beautiful. I could watch those particular ones swim for a long time.

Rum Point
We went out to Rum Point for an afternoon one day. We hung out on the beach chairs reading, drinking pinacoladas, and just waiting for the evening. We went for a night kayak out to what they call Bio Bay. The water in this bay contains these little organisms that when you agitate the water, light up. Everytime we put our paddles in the water it created a bright blue trail.

We went to visit FI's Brother, Sister-inlaw and their beautiful 3.5 month old son. He is quite the little guy. Happy, smiley, and didn't fuss too much other than one bad day. He managed to roll over once on his own. The next time we see them will be this summer. Nephew will be 9.5 months old by then!

The trip was successful. I had a great time, was very relaxed and managed to read a lot.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

4/25: In The Woods

Our January Book Club book was "In The Woods" by Tara French.  I also counted this book towards the WBC task of a book written in Ireland.

In the WoodsBasic story is there is a murder of a young girl at an archeoligical dig. The detectives Cassie and Ryan are investigating it.

The book was slow to get in, and never really picked up for me. I got about halfway through and they still had no leads, no suspects. Finally there was a break, and it seemed like this book was going to pick up and get moving. I was thoroughly disappointed with the ending, and feel the book was very anti-climatic. It seemed like there was no point to the whole thing by the time you got to the end. I was left disappointed, and feeling like I shouldn't have used my time to read it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

3/25: Still Alice

My sister had read this and said it was good. I needed a book for the WBC that was about someone living with an illness. A book about alzheimers never struck me as something I would read, but this was a powerful book that I will remember for years to come.

Still AliceLisa Genova is a genius in her writing of this book. Alice is a 48 year old woman who is diagnosed with early-onset alzheimers disease. The book journey's through the diagnosis, the denial, the early signs, and through the few years it takes the disease to fully develop.  The book goes through not only Alice's feelings, but also through those of her family and collegues.
What struck me most about this book was that it was told from Alice's point of view. I had to read several pages again, because there were repeated conversations, but when you start to realize that's because she can't remember having it before, you're heart-strings pull.
The hardest part of reading this book was not the parts of life that Alice forgot, but the parts she KNEW she would forget. The part I will forever remember is when she tells her daughter if she (Alice) doesn't recognize her (daughter) tomorrow, that she loves her.

A fantastic read!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2/25: Touch of Dead: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel

I have read all the previous Sookie books. I bought the whole box set, read them all in a matter of a few weeks. Touch of Dead is the latest in the series. I waited on the library queue for this book for several months, and it finally came in!

A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories)The book consists of 5 stories that the author wrote to give the reader a bit of background on Sookie and some of the other characters. They were short, to the point, and entertaining as always. I would almost recommend reading each story right before or after the book it goes along with. That way, you're not digging out the book the story is related to and trying to remember what that book was about.

Good book, not my favorite of the series.
This book counted for the Winter Book Challenge for "Read a book with a woman as the main character"

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Book Challenge

On the Nest Book Club, there is this thing called the Winter Book Challenge.
There are a series of tasks worth points and we read one book per task over the winter season (first three months of the year)
So far I have read 2 books! The tasks they counted for add up to 10 points which is pretty good for my first week. I'm very excited about this. It will give me a chance to broaden my book reading genres and really get back to reading.
I have read so far:
Dance to Despair by Rebekka Stathen Black
Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris

1/25: Dance to Despair

I had received this book a few Christmas's ago and never got around to reading it. It's fairly short, so I decided it use it as the "read a book curled up in bed" task on the Winter Book Challenge.

Dance to Despair: Memoirs of an Exotic DancerThis book was eye-opening. This woman wrote about the adult industry through her life and it's affects on her. It's written as a memoir and wow did she ever go through a hard life.

I don't have much else to say about this book. I enjoyed reading it, it didn't profoundly change my life.