Thursday, May 31, 2012

May TBR Challenge: Mayday Disasters

And by Mayday Disasters, I'm talking about book cover disasters.

Christa from Hooked on Books challenged us to find some horrible book covers and post them. Talk about what we don't like and what we would change.

I'm a shameless cover judger, so this challenge comes easily to me. When I see a book, I want the cover to give me a little hint at what the book is about or the overall tone of the book. Like if a I see a fierce looking chick holding a bow, I want to hear about a fierce chick who is skilled in archery.

So here it goes...

 The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I'm not a big fan of the empty space on this book - I get that the dude is a wallflower, but how about instead of putting the picture in the just made that fit the whole cover and not have that ugly puke green color be the main attraction.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower

In the Arms of Stone Angels by Jordan Dane
I really don't like the contrast of pink with grey on this cover - it seems juvenile. Plus the wings just look a little lame. Overall, it just looks like the person who made the cover did this in 5 minutes flat.
In the Arms of Stone Angels

Delirium by Lauren Oliver -and- The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
I absolutely despise solid color with the picture in block letters. I don't really know why. I just DON'T like it. It drives me bonkers. I have an alternate cover on my copy of Delirium and it is much better. The alternate cover of The Way We Fall is better too.
 Delirium (Delirium, #1)The Way We Fall (Fallen World, #1)

May in Review

You can find April's review: here!

Finally, NY has some warm weather :) We've been able to get out and about FINALLY! Did I mention FINALLY????

So here's what has been going on:

1. I signed up for a readathon: Bout of Books. It was May 14 thru 20 and it was tons of fun. {Initial post, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 & 4, Day 5, Day 6 & 7, Final Thoughts} Bout of Books 5.0 is going to be some time in August and I will definitely be participating again.

2. I made some more Top Ten Tuesday and Books or Bust posts. {TTT #7, BoB #8, BoB #9, TTT #8}. I'm pretty sure I'm about to go on a book-buying ban, so the Books or Bust posts may become fewer in the next few months.

3. I'm still a Pinmaniac. I'm about to be over 9000 pins. I'm so stoked!! Here are my Pinterest posts!

4. I posted about my kitties...because they are cute. See?

5. I did my nails...and shared them every Friday: Nail Files #18, Nail Files #19, Nail Files #20, Nail Files #21.

6. I made one Currently post - it's pretty recent still!

7. I also talked about our venture to Boldt Castle {here}.

8. This month I read a bunch of books and it made me super happy to get through what I wanted to for the month and start on extra books not on my reading schedule :) 8 books just like in January and February.

What I reviewed:
  • City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare {here}
  • The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry {here}
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth {here}
  • City of Glass by Cassandra Clare {here}
  • City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare {here}
  • City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare {here}
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver {here}
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova {here}

Some progress on my "resolutions":
  • Eat more fruit - We've been eating lots more fruit this month, but I still think I can do more.
  • Drink more water - I've gotten up to nearly 4 - 8 oz cups a day. With the warm weather, it is much easier to drink a lot of water!
  • Exercise 5x a week - Again with the warm weather, we've been out and about. We play on the playground with the kids. Next month I would like to add some Jillian Michaels into my routine maybe 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Get organized - Doing a little better here :)
  • Stay on schedule (I'm hoping to manage my time better) - I think I can cross this off next month if I continue doing what I'm doing!
  • Read A LOT - Thanks to the readathon - I obliterated my reading this month!
  • Keep track of finances and save lots of money -I seriously need to do this asap.
  • I want to blog more - regular blog stuff. Just talking about whatever. Less fluff. - Getting a little better...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Oh the Places You'll Go!

So...we have been here at Fort Drum for going on 5 years now. It's a horrendous place. By horrendous, I mean the winters are awful that when the warm weather comes, you forget that you can go outside and do things. Winter makes you bitter as hell!

The area we live in is 30 miles from Canada and has very little stuff around. Granted there is some stuff, but for example, we have no bookstore. NO BOOKSTORE!!! All our fast food places and restaurants are disgusting! People up here are rude (which you do often find with military communities, even though in this very small area without the military it would be in the economy shitter). And then you have our neighbors...oh I could write blog post upon blog post of rants about them. But they are hopefully leaving in 2 months and we'll never have to see them ever again. And that would be too soon. an effort to not go insane, we try to get out and do things that aren't relatively expensive. We've been to the "zoo" and we've been to Old McDonald's Farm (which incidentally has more animals than the zoo). We went to a water park 2 summers ago, but it's not open just yet and it's hard to enjoy it when you are watching 2 kids and making sure they don't drown.

Two weekends ago, our friends Matt & Amanda asked us if we wanted to go up to Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands. We were going kind of stir-crazy trying to avoid our neighbors, so we immediately accepted.

Boldt Castle is like 4 miles, if that, from the border. It's a gorgeous area and exploring the castle was a lot of fun! So now...comes the pictures :) Warning: this is very pic heavy!

The "Boardwalk"
 Getting our tickets for the ferry
 The view from the ferry of Boldt Castle
 Family Ferry Pic!
 A little info on the castle. There are hearts everywhere because he was building it for his wife!
The tower that they used for balls and activities - we couldn't go in it though.
 The grand staircase!
 Looking straight up is a gorgeous stained-glass dome.
 The dining room - it has a gorgeous view of the bay.
 Creepy basement hallways...apparently they did a GhostHunters on one of the houses near Boldt Castle.
 One of the views of the castle.
 Nick climbing the dove cove. LOL
 View from the second story.
 I believe this is his wife's room. I think it's absolutely gorgeous.
 Creepy Nosferatu molding on the 3rd or 4th floor. I cannot remember!
 View from the 5th-ish floor balcony!
 Hubs was saying how cool it was that they had the Stag of Baratheon on the house. LOL
 I was obsessed with how gorgeous the water in the bay was. The building to the left is the Power House. We were disappointed that we didn't get any powers from it. :(
 A fountain!
 Matt & Cami in front of the castle sign.
 Amanda & I :)
 Nick and the kids taking a break.
 Found a heart stone outside :)

After a few hours exploring the castle, we took the ferry back to mainland and decided to walk the "boardwalk" - we ate lunch here.
 Nick had a delicious Killian's Red in a cool glass. LOL
 I had a much more delicious virgin strawberry daiquiri :)
 Rotten little man wearing big Matt's hat :)
 My super delicious lunch - fried chicken sammy with french fries!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Still Alice [Review]

234 pages [Kindle]
Published 7 July 2007

Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she's a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life - and her relationship with her family and world - forever.

My Thoughts:
Overall, I think this is a must-read. It's a very heartbreaking story and it's told from the viewpoint of the person suffering from Alzheimer's. You really get a grip on how it affects the person suffering from the disease, instead of just a loved one or friend seeing it from the outside.

My opinions on the characters:

Alice: I had a bit of trouble connecting with her as a mom at first. She is very against Lydia's acting career, whereas John is very for it. She seems very consumed with her career. When she thinks about her daughter, Anna, having kids, she thinks of how it will screw up her career. Later she talks about how her colleagues are like a family to her. It seems like a combination of lack of family and passion for her work that leads her to this way of thinking.

John: He really annoyed me for most of the book. Genova wrote a lot about him messing with his wedding band. I honestly was surprised he stuck around - I thought for sure he would duck out. He was in denial and I think that is a normal response, but the lack of support was frustrating. Like Alice said, "I have Alzheimer's Disease. What's your fucking excuse?"

Anna: I was frustrated with her at first too. She seems very childish and self-absorbed until she becomes a mom herself. When her mother first reveals she has Alzheimer's and she had a 50% chance of also getting it, she immediately thought of herself. But once the twins came, she did a lot of taking care of her mom and seemed like a really solid backbone, unlike her father.

Lydia: She was the first to notice the signs, maybe even before Alice did herself. Once the Alzheimer's really started to deteriorate what made Alice "Alice" - Lydia really stepped up. She helped her mom remember, she engaged her mom in conversations and complimented her skills that Alice didn't even know she had, Lydia really was the strongest source of support for Alice and helped her to cope with the disease.

As for the story:

I was really irritated with John. He seemed to want to learn how to fix Alice and not accept that there was no solution. He didn't go to support groups. He didn't give her moral support. He was very selfish. He led on that he knew about "Butterfly" towards the end and I think he knew what she was doing in her room that day. I wonder if he stopped it and why he would do that, if he was so against doing anything that would benefit her. Other people were so much more supportive, like Dan for example. When she went to his commencement, he gave her this huge meaningful thank you and then gave her an envelope with it written down so she could read it whenever she wanted to.

Previous Review:
Delirium by Lauren Oliver {here}

Clamhouse Book Club Pick for May 

[Counts toward my TBR Pile challenge: here]

Linked up at...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Delirium [Review]

470 pages [Paperback]
First published 1 Feb 2011 by HarperCollins
ISBN: 0061726834

THEY SAY that the cure for Love
will make me happy and safe
And I've always believe them.
Until now.

Now everything has changed.
Now, I'd rather be infected
with love for the tiniest
sliver of a second than
live a hundred years
smothered by a lie.

My Thoughts:
Delirium ranks really high on my books read this year, right up there with Divergent and Insurgent. Oliver is a brilliant author. Her writing style is beautiful and flows so smoothly!

In Delirium, we are taken to a futuristic United States, specifically Portland, Maine. Love has been identified as a disease and scientists have developed a cure, a cure that all people must get at 18. The administering of the cure is done by removing part of the brain. You take an evaluation, are rated, and then your life is planned out for you - what your career will be, who you will marry, how many kids you will have, etc.

The main character, Lena Haloway, is counting down the days until she can be cured. She is terrified of the disease, as many are. Her mother committed suicide when she was 6 because of her disease. Lena lives with her aunt Carol, uncle William, and cousins, Penny and Grace. Her evaluation day comes and she has rehearsed her answers, but when she is in the evaluation room, she chokes. Lucky for Lena, the Invalids of the Wilds (people who are not cured and live outside the fenced city) release a stampede of cows in the building. One of the Invalids is on the observation deck and winks at Lena. And so starts the cautionary tale...

Oliver spared no details when it came to the new cured US society. She includes excerpts from the Book of Shhh (The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook) and various other books, mandates, laws, even outlawed quotes, verses, etc. She weaved a very intricate storyline and it was easy for me to get sucked in.

Most of the time, I find myself hating the whiny, weak female protagonists. However, Lena only seems mildly whiny and weak on the outside. Really, she is brave. It's very understandable in the society she was born in to, that she would fear amor deliria nervosa (love) and want to do what society has told her she needs to do.

I feel like Lena's relationship with her best friend, Hana, is very realistic and I really love Hana. I know there is a short story about her that I want to get my hands on. Alex is such an interesting male lead. I'm definitely ready to see where Pandemonium goes with him! I also cannot wait for more on Grace, who is mute for much of her life and is "resisting" in her own way.

Previous Review:
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare {here}

[Counts toward my TBR Pile challenge: here]

Linked up at...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Nail Files #21

The Nail Files

I've been trying to do crazy nail things now that I'm pretty much worn out on the base pink color with a glitter accent. So I tried to do a glitter gradient, but it was rather hard. Well, for me, it was rather hard. LOL. I'm really not skilled with nails. I still did like how they turned out though :)

I used Urban Decay's Love Train & Xanadu 

Designs from Pinterest to be all inspired and such!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Currently #4

current book(s)
I'm reading a book club book and a Goodreads group book. I love them both!

Still AliceDelirium

current playlist
  1. Three Evils (Embodied in Love and Shadow) :: Coheed & Cambria
  2. Wasteland ::10 Years
  3. Under the Sea :: Little Mermaid Soundtrack
  4. Out of Control :: Hoobastank
  5. Unholy Confessions :: Avenged Sevenfold
  6. Sarah Yellin' :: 3 Doors Down
  7. Nearly Witches :: Panic! At The Disco
  8. Lucky :: Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
  9. I Just Had Sex :: Lonely Island & Akon
  10. Gives You Hell :: AAR

current color
 I'm wearing Maybelline Pink Shock with a ring finger with leopard spots in Urban Decay Fame. My toes are Pure Ice Coral Reef.

current food
Thin Mints, that's right at 8am.

Source: via Sheila on Pinterest

current favorite show(s)
Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

current needs
To finish my hair...bleached it last I need to dye it the right color.

current triumphs
Hubby's amazing day yesterday. I'm really happy for him!

current banes of my existence
Fort Drum, always. {I never have to change this answer :(}
And also my neighbors.

current celebrity crush
JABLES!!!! :)

Source: via Alison on Pinterest

current #1 blessing
It's summer. Thank you baby Jesus, it's summer!

current indulgence

current outfit
Grey camisole, purple plaid shorts

current excitement

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

current mood
Tired and anxious! But neither in a negative way :)

current favorite quote or verse

current wish list item(s)
A new plastic hubcap for my car...and a new stereo system. I think my stock one is going bad :(

current favorite product(s)

                                                Source: via Tracy on Pinterest