Sunday, July 31, 2011

Found (The Missing #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Found (The Missing, #1)You are one of the missing.
Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was any big deal. Then he and a new friend, Chip, who's also adoped, begin receiving mysterious letters. The first one says, "You are one of the missing." The second one says, "Beware! They're coming back to get you."

Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's sister, Katherine, are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere -- and people who seem to appear and disappear at will. The kids discover they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for Jonah and Chip's lives.
Do Jonah and Chip have any choice in the matter? And what should they choose when both alternatives are horrifying?
With Found, Margaret Peterson Haddix begins a new series that promises to be every bit as suspenseful as her Shadow Children series -- which has sold more than 41/2 million copies -- and proves her, once again, to be a master of the page-turner.

First Look: ***** Shady adoptions?  Brother-sister adventures?  TIME TRAVEL?  Um, yeah, why I wouldn't I pick this up?

Setting: ***** 
The setting, an average suburban neighborhood, wasn't really a big part of the story. I assume setting will become a huge part in the next books, though...

Characters: ****
The teenage years, for some odd reason, are so incredibly difficult for adults to portray correctly in their writing.  I see it all the time: the teenager is sarcastic, snippy, impatient, with no respect for adults.  Yeah, some teens are like that, but not all of them.  A big old fat high-five to Haddix for actually making realistic seventh graders!  They were so refreshing to read about.  Jonah seemed very, very real to me.  And trust me, I know how seventh grade boys act.  I mean, I live with one, people.  Katherine was right alongside Jonah the entire time, and I loved the way the siblings interacted.  So real!

Plot: *****  
Yay for top-secret FBI investigations involving shady adoptions!  And airplanes.  While the time travel didn't come in until the very end, it was awesome.  And the parts leading up to it were awesome, too.  It was suspenseful, and exciting.  I have a feeling the next book will be beyond exciting, since this one was already super-fast. I really enjoyed it.

Uniqueness: ***** 
This book tackles a time travel story, and a coming-of-age story, without majorly copying anyone.

Writing: *****
Haddix did a great job with a teenage boy voice.  It felt really connected to the story, which is good.  Lately I feel like I've been reading so many books with narratives that just weren't connected to the story.  The action sequence at the end was maybe a bit rushed, and I got confused at one point, but overall the writing worked very well for me. 

Likes:
I really, really want to know who Jonah is now.  The missing-children-of-history thing is an amazing concept, the kind that makes me bang my head into a wall and wonder why I didn't think of it first.

Not-so-great: I hate doing short reviews, but this is late and I just can't bring myself to say a whole lot, for whatever reason.  So sorry about the lateness and the short review, people. :)

Total Score:
I really got into this book!  It had a compelling plot, realistic characters, and some killer suspense.  And plus, it had time travel, which really takes the awesomeness up a notch.  Most YA readers are much older than the characters of this book, but that doesn't mean they can't relate and still immerse themselves in the plot.  There isn't a predictable moment in it.  Now I really need to get my hands on the next one!

Reviews of other The Missing novels:


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In My Epic Mailbox: (1) Cue the Darth Vader Theme

I've seen this on other blogs, and I decided it was time to start my own version of In My Mailbox.  Here's how it works: every Sunday, I'll feature the books that I've accumulated that week from who-knows-where.  It's just an experiment, since I tend to get a huge pile of books one week, then nothing for the next two weeks, then repeat.  I got a jackpot this week.
Divergent (Divergent #1)
I received this from another one of those Inkpop contests.  It's about time I got my hands on a copy.  It looks purely amazing, though it wasn't quite as large as I expected.
Nightspell (Mistwood, #2)
Another Inkpop Weekly Challenge win.  Mistwood was just okay, but I'm hoping this will be better.

The Miracle Stealer
From the library.  I've picked it up a few times, then put it down, so I just decided to grab it.






The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)
From the library.  We'll see about this one....

The Doomsday Box: A Shadow Project Adventure
Yay!  I finally got this from the IWC.  The title just sends the Darth Vader theme running through my head.

A Need So Beautiful (A Need So Beautiful, #1)
The book that I didn't pick out; it just came with the contest.  Doesn't look overly interesting, but I'll try it....

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Care and Keeping of the Fictional Horse

(updated 9/16/12 because I've found some new problems that keep coming up

Since I'm at horse camp this week, I thought this would be appropriate.  In this post, I'm going to give you some basic horsemanship advice to use in your novel.   Why?  Because I see horses portrayed unrealistically in books (especially fantasy), and it makes me mad.  You'll have no trouble fooling the non-horse people if you don't do your research, but the horse people will smell your ignorance a mile away, and they will scoff at you.  Just a heads-up.

Care of the fictional horse is really easy, as long as don't do the following(and I have actually seen every example in a book before):
  • Horses cannot gallop for miles on end without stopping.  It's highly convenient to toss your travelers onto some horses, set them galloping, and sha-zam!  They're there in no time!  But it's not possible.  Sorry.  Horses need rest.  Even racehorses need a long time to recover and restore their strength after a mile-long gallop.  
  • Horses can't nibble some grass for five minutes and call it a day.  Grass actually has very little nutrients in it.  This is why horses need to consistently eat on and off all day to get the vitamins and minerals they need.  If this doesn't work for your story, and you want to get moving, then they'll need some grain.  Do your research if you want to know approximately how much.
  • It's harder to fall off than you might think.  If you're just sitting on the horse, walking, or even trotting, you're not going to fall off, unless you're doing something stupid.  I don't care how clumsy you are; it just doesn't work that way. 
  • Don't say the horse is cantering if you don't know what that means.  If you're writing with horses in the story, please, please, please look up your gaits.  Horses have four gaits.  I won't explain here, but if they're in your story, you need to know what they are.
  • You don't have a lap when riding.  So you can't set things on it.  When you're riding, you have on leg on either side of the horse.  You could set something across your saddle, but it'd probably fall off right away.
  • Horses don't whinny and rear whenever it's dramatic.    I was at a horse farm all day today and I heard maybe half a dozen whinnies.  Horses actually don't whinny that often, and they rarely rear.  
  • If you're writing a fantasy novel, your saddle most likely does not have a horn.  Most fantasy worlds are loosely based off medieval Europe, where they would've used English-style saddles.  Which don't have horns.  Western saddles have horns.  Look up the difference.  
  • If you're traveling, you aren't going to gallop the whole way.  Galloping just isn't comfortable for long distances.  Neither is cantering.  Or trotting.
  • You don't use long whips for hitting the horse.  You hit the ground near the horse to encourage them to move.  A short whip is called a crop; you do use it to hit the horse, but again, please look this up.
  • Horses and ponies are not the same thing.  The terms "horse" and "pony" are not interchangeable.   A pony is not just a small horse.  A pony will not grow into a full-sized horse.  A horse is a horse, and a pony is a pony.  There is no overlap.  Learn the difference. 
  • People under the age of 18 are still perfectly capable of riding full-sized horses.  In many books, a kid or even a teenager is given a pony to ride, because "they aren't big enough to ride a full-sized horse".  This is nonsense.  Yes, ponies are smaller and therefore easier for small children to control.  That doesn't mean they're not capable of controlling a bigger animal.  I "graduated", for lack of a better term, to a full-sized horse instead of a pony for riding lessons when I was, oh, around ten.  I was a few inches under five feet tall and probably weighed 80, 90 pounds.  Now I'm a towering 5'1" and can control a 1,400 pound horse with no trouble.
  • You wouldn't use the same horse for racing as you would for battle or farming or hunting.  Well, maybe you would, if you only had one horse.  But if you were, say, a rich noble, you'd have different horses.  Battle horses would be bigger to support armor and weapons, yet agile enough to move quickly.  Farm horses would be big and muscular.  Look these things up.

Don't abuse your fictional horses.  If you learn one thing from this, it's that you need to know your stuff.    You don't need to go read twenty issues of Horse Illustrated, or anything.  Just follow this one rule: when in doubt, look it up.  Wikipedia should be fine for most things.  Keep in mind that horses aren't perfect creatures; they don't always follow your directions.  They each have very distinct personalities.  So you should give them a little respect.    

Of course, if horse abuse is part of your story, feel free to break any of these rules.  Or if you made up your own species of horse.  That'd be cool, too. 


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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1) by Michael Scott


The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1)

He holds the secret that can end the world.

The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest Alchemyst of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life.

The records show that he died in 1418.

But his tomb is empty.

The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects—the Book of Abraham the Mage. It's the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. That's exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won't know what's happening until it's too late. And if the prop
hecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it.

Sometimes legends are true.

And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

 First Look: ***** I've picked this up probably three or four times now at the library, and each time I put it down.  Okay, maybe I put it in my pile to take home once, but it was booted out by a shiny copy of The Eternity Code that I just couldn't resist rereading for the fifth time.  This has everything to do with the fact that the name Nicholas Flamel was on the cover.  My thought process went a little like this: "Oh, hey, this book again.  It looks kinda interesting, but...Nicholas Flamel?  He was in Harry Potter.  Does that mean Michael Scott just made a dumb move and used the same name? Why should I bother, then? Or maybe...hey, look, Pendragon!"

Setting: *****  
Setting wasn't really part of this book at all.  It started in San Francisco, which is a nice place.  I've been there, but I still couldn't get a feel for it from this book.  And as soon as they started driving south, I was completely lost.  I have no idea whatsoever what's south of San Francisco. And Nick didn't even care that his bookshop was completely destroyed?

Characters: ***** 
They were okay.  I would've thought Nicholas Flamel (who was actually real! Yeah! Go check it out on Wikipedia, people!) would be a really interesting character, since he's...well, ancient.  In the end, though, he was just okay.  The main characters, the twins, just weren't enough for me to fall in love with.  They felt a tad flat, and I couldn't bring myself to care about them.  I saw some nice I'm-about-to-pull-a-Murtagh-on-you with Josh at the end, though, which shows promise.  Hopefully they'll improve in the later books.  I did really like Scatty.  She made me laugh.

The Alchemyst (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1)
The UK cover...which is cooler, if you ask me.
My huge problem was with the villains.  Especially John Dee.  He wasn't freaky or scary.  In fact, at times he really didn't seem all that evil.  When he was evil, though, he acted very, very typical. Your average muahahaha bad guy. The other villains just didn't do anything for me.

Plot: *****
It was very exciting!   It was full of action and magic and magical fight scenes, which are the best kind.  Magical battles are cooler than regular ones any day.  I also loved the clash of mythology.  I love mythology, and this used themes and characters from Celtic legend, Egyptian, Greek, and more. Amazing!

While I liked this plot, I'm really not sure how it can span another four books. We'll have to see how that goes.  *crosses fingers*

Uniqueness: *****
This is a new, fresh kind of read.  While it borrows from mythology, it was done in a new way, putting a different spin on it. 

Writing: *****
The beginning drove me absolutely nuts. Most authors would write "Josh Newman" the first time the character is introduced. After that, he would just be "Josh". But no, not Michael Scott. For the first few chapters, he kept using characters' first and last names, as if we would forget. It was beyond annoying.  It gradually faded off after awhile. 

After that, just a few things annoyed me: First, the word "was" was used a lot.  It bothered me.  Second, some of the prose seemed...I don't know...off.  I know that's vague, but...  Last, he seemed to remind us a lot that Sophie and Josh were twins, when we got it fine the first time.

Likes:
I really liked the mythology stuff.  And the magic.  And the title.  Alchemyst is a cool word, though I don't know why it's spelled like that. 

Not-so-great:
It was way too easy to get the parents out of the way.  And other things mentioned above. 

Total Score:
I liked this. It was an enjoyable, exciting read.  It effectively blended modernity and mythology and super magical powers.  The characters were a tad flat and the writing wasn't spectacular, but not enough to keep you from liking this book. I'm not sure how it will hold out over an entire series, but I'm certainly going to have a go at the next book.


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Saturday, July 23, 2011

ABC Saturday: I is for iPod

If you ask people "What would you do without music?", most would shrug and say "Eh, life'd be more boring and lonely."

If you ask Annie, she'll flat-out say "I'd die."  And she believes it, too.  But thankfully, she doesn't have to live in that sad, musicless world, because she's got her iPod to keep her happy.

Annie has a lot of David Archuleta music on her iPod.  Every single song he's released but one, to be exact.  And OneRepublic.  And Jordin Sparks and Leona Lewis and The Fray.  She also likes Taylor Swift, Britt Nicole, The Afters, Owl City, Kelly Clarkson, Kerrie Roberts, and more.

This is the most played song on Annie's iPod.  Say (All I Need) by OneRepublic. Her favorite. I dare you to tell her Ryan Tedder's voice isn't amazing.
 

The second most played song.  Never Say Never by The Fray.

 
And another amazing song.  Sweet and Low by Augustana.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely #1) by Melissa Marr


Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.


Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer. 

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.
Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning 21st century faery tale. 

First Look: ***** The cover is very pretty--I like the purple.  I wasn't too sure about the premise, though.  I usually steer clear of faerie books (not counting Artemis Fowl, but those aren't your typical fairies anyway.), just because I've simply read too many that I didn't enjoy. I thought maybe I'd give the faeries another shot.

Setting: *****
I honestly have no idea whatsoever where Aislinn lives.  I know it's in a city, but that's all I can tell.  It could be anywhere from San Francisco to Istanbul* (Constantinople?  Why did Constantinople get the works?  That's nobody's business but the Turks.).  The only place I could picture was Seth's train house.  That's actually kind of cool, to live in a train like that.  Like The Boxcar Children. But goth.

Characters: *****  
Speaking of goth...why are all these people so...goth?  I don't have anything personally against that, but still.  They all had tattoos and piercings in weird places and all that.  So, okay, I can live with that, because hey, they're fictional.  But then the characters' friends did drugs and smoked and everyone was just fine and dandy with that? Nuh-uh, people. Not okay.

 I never really cared for Aislinn.  She was bland and boring and Mary Sue-ish.  Seth was just too perfect.  He never did anything wrong, and it seems like his supreme goal in life is to make sure Aislinn is happy.  Their relationship was way too weird.  They're friends, but "friends" don't stroke each other's hair and kiss their necks.  At least, my friends don't.  I've never met any teenage friends like that. It wasn't real. Keenan was just annoying, and I couldn't figure out why on earth Beira was so evil. Donia was the only vaguely interesting character. I liked her.

Plot: *****
It took forever for something to actually happen.  Once it did, though, it was interesting enough.  I didn't care at all for the romance, but all the stuff with the faeries battling each other and the world being in danger was really exciting.  Unfortunately, most, if not all, of the attention went to the romance, which felt forced and unrealistic. And the carnival was just creepy.

Uniqueness: ****
This is sometimes the hardest rating to give.  I could give a book five stars on this, then read another book that's exactly like it, but the second book was written first. So who's the unique one then?  The faeries seemed unique enough, but the love triangle... pretty close to isosceles.  Ugh.

Writing: *****
I can't pinpoint what didn't work for me in the writing.  I hate it when I say that in reviews, but it's true.  I'm not sure what it was, I just didn't care for it. The writing just didn't feel connected to the story. I feel like I've been saying that a lot lately.

Likes:
All of the faerie mythology stuff is interesting.  These faeries aren't the tooth fairy. They're not all cute and fluttery.

Not-so-great:
Argh.  This book had too much casual sex.  It was never shown, but they just...didn't care.  They treated it like it was just nothing.  What?  That's just wrong.  And I also didn't like some other small, weird little insignificant things I won't bother mentioning here because it'll take too long for nothing.

Total Score:
  I feel like I'm being overly negative with this review. It wasn't a bad book, really. It was just okay. The plot was interesting, but it had too much unrealistic romance, and in the end I just didn't feel connected to any of the characters. I might read the next one if I happen to see it laying around, but I'm not going to bother searching it out.



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Techincal Difficulties

Just ignore this blog for now.  Pretend it doesn't exist. :)  It's having issues.


For some reason, I've always wanted to post something like that.

PS If you know how to fix it, please share.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm On a Roll

This post will be random.  I'm just warning you now.

Here are a few things that you might or might not care about.

  • First off, you might have heard of Rebecca Black's new song My Moment.  While I still don't care for her voice or her songs, the lyrics to this made me grin.  I like how she basically tells the haters that she's going to keep doing what she loves to do, no matter what.  I admire her for that.  And anyway, there's this theory out there that the song Friday is actually about the JFK assassination.  Which is actually pretty clever, if you ask me.  
  • I'm just on a roll here.  First I make an appearance in The Hunger Games (and marry Finnick, at that).  Now I'm in an Owl City song.  Yes, no joke.  Here it is.
  • Teen Ink has an amazing article that you all need to go read, right now.  It's about different ways writers can stand up to the bullies that try to put them down because of their writing.  Read it.  NOW!
  • Looking at my blog stats sometimes raises interesting questions.  Apparently someone searched "Bobby Pendragon relation to astral projection" and came here.  So now my question is...what is Bobby Pendragon's relation to astral projection, and why would someone search it?
  • I have 30 followers!  Thanks so much!  You guys are all awesome! 
That's all, for now.  I think.  Maybe I'll add if I think of something.  Hope you enjoyed those little bursts of randomness.
This has been a   by Annie.

    The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms #2) by Cinda Williams Chima

    The Exiled Queen (Seven Realms, #2)You can't always run from danger...

    Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean danger isn’t far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.

    Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.

    The Exiled Queen is an epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.


     I very much enjoyed The Demon King, but not quite enough to give it a five star rating.  I was expecting about the same from The Exiled Queen, but I was pleasantly surprised.

    Let's start at the beginning.  First, the cover is cooler than the first book.  That's a pretty cool ring, people, and the cover is a tad shiny and it just looks all-around nice.

    This book dumped me right into the plot where the first book left off, plopping me down into the middle where I like to be: in the midst of all the betrayal, politics, loss, deceit, responsibility, intrigue....so basically, all of the exciting stuff.  Oh, did I mention intrigue?  If you've been hanging around my reviews for any amount of time, you should know that I love, love, love some good, deep, tangled court intrigue. 

    And boy, did this book have some good intrigue.  Wow.  These characters really do have a knack for getting themselves in huge messes, don't they?  First she runs away.  Then Han's a wizard.  Then Amon reveals his little secret.  Then Han and Raisa meet.  Then Micah Bayar decides to join the party.*

    Speaking of characters...I loved them.  I really did.  They all were so deep and utterly real.  There was a love triangle (SCALENE!!!!!  Hahaha.), but it didn't bore me one bit, because it actually seemed like real conflict between actual real people, not some fluffy oh-he's-so-hot-but-so-is-he-now-what-do-I-do-I'm-so-pathetic kind of thing. You know what I'm talking about.

    This is one series that, so far, actually gets better as the books progress.  This book was better than the first, so hopefully the next will continue the pattern...  I've been debating whether to give this four or five stars.  It's such a tough decision, because I really feel it might deserve five, but...  Well, since it does, five stars it is.  Fantastic.  




    Now I really really need to get my hands on the next book in this series.  I really want to know what happens.  Amon Byrne, I'm watching you.



    *DID SOMEBODY SAY DRACO MALFOY?  Seriously, though.  I have this theory that Micah is a reincarnation of Draco or something.  And yes, I just quoted AVPM.  Deal with it.

    Reviews of other Seven Realms novels:
    The Demon King (Seven Realms #1)
    The Gray Wolf Throne (Seven Realms #3)

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Thoughts on "Hot" Characters

    A while back I was browsing the YA section at my library.  Now, my library isn't very big, so there's usually nobody else in the section.  But that particular day two girls I didn't know were browsing along with me, and I couldn't help but overhear their conversation.  (Note: this was brought to mind as I read everyone's recent updates on Goodreads for The Exiled Queen.)  It went something like this:

    "Hey, can you recommend something for me?"
    "Um, sure.  What do you wanna read?"
    "I don't know.  I really don't care, as long as there's a guy who's *@$%&##ing HOT in it!"

    I then proceeded to vomit all over the new releases. 

    No, not really.  But if you were watching, you probably could have seen me cringe and hold on to the nearest copy of any Artemis Fowl book. 

    I don't know.  I may very well be the only one who finds this concept completely and utterly appalling.  The idea of reading a book just so you can swoon over some fictional character who's been described as attractive?  *shudder*  It just seems...wrong, to me.  Horribly and utterly wrong.  Here's why:

    1. I don't know about anyone else, but that isn't why I read.  I don't read so my mind can create mental pictures of guys to lust over.  That's just gross.  I read to involve myself in an exciting story.  I read to immerse myself in another world.  I read so I can find a book that really has an effect on me.

    I don't read so I can pretend I'm the main character so I can be in love with some guy who doesn't exist.  To me, that's the literary equivalent of looking at questionable pictures on the internet.

    2. I've noticed that many of these "hot" guys in books aren't realistic at all.  They're just way too perfect to be real.  They have everything, and they're virtually flawless.

    If you know someone like that, feel free to shoot me a message.  But the truth is this: you don't, and you won't.  People are people and they make mistakes, so therefore they are not perfect.  Perfect people don't exist, and you'll never find one in real life.

    3. Again, reading just so your mind can create mental pictures to lust over is just plain wrong.  That kind of thinking is wrong and isn't good for anyone, no matter who they are.  I'm not trying to be all preachy here, but if you aren't married, then...you shouldn't be thinking like that at all.  If you are, then isn't that like cheating?  How would your spouse/boyfriend/whatever feel if they knew you were reading about other guys in that way?  I know that if my future boyfriend asked me for a book recommendation "with a girl who's HOT in it", I wouldn't be too happy with him.  No, I lied.  I'd glare, ask him "What's wrong with me?" and then walk away to the children's section where they have copies of Rowan of Rin to make me feel better.

    4. I feel bad using Twilight as the example for this, and I feel bad bringing it into my argument.  But I don't see an alternative.  Right here is an article that is definitely worth reading.  Take the part about fantasizing about Edward and apply it to any book you read.  There you go.   

    5. Eew.  Really.  Are you so incredibly starved for entertainment that you have to read books just so you can lust over someone who doesn't exist?  Can't you find another alternative?  As a certain character on Cyberchase would say, "Ew, ew, and double ew!"

    This is just what I think.  Feel free to disagree.  I don't care, but this is how I feel.  Now, don't get me wrong: there's nothing bad in reading about "attractive" characters in and of itself.  It's just when that becomes the whole point of reading that it just seems so incredibly wrong.  I'm not trying to tell you what's right or wrong, either.  That's not my place to tell you.  And I'm not suggesting we ban or censor these books, either, because that would also be wrong.

    My point is...before you read a book just for the sake of reading about a "hot guy", think about it for a second, will you?  There's got to be a better reason for reading.

    DISCLAIMER: Yes, I am a teenage girl.  So you can't say I'm stereotyping them, because I am one, and I know that everyone's different.  I have nothing against those girls I overheard.  I don't even know them.  I just know what they said, and what I've heard other people say in the past.

    Yes, I am a Christian.  Got a problem with that?  Great, because I don't care.

    Yes, I know there will be people who disagree.  Guess what?  I don't care about that, either! Feel free to give your opinion in the comments.  But please, please don't be mean.  Don't be rude.  You are entitled to your own opinion, but I reserve the right to delete any comments that I feel are unnecessary.

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    ABC Saturday: H is for Horses

    Annie loves horses. 

    Okay, that's an understatement.  But she really does.  She's been riding for about six years now, and has loved every minute of it.   Well, maybe not the falling off minutes.  Or the helmet-cracking minutes.  But that's not the point.

    A picture from a few years ago.  The horse is Jerry and Annie loves him.
     There's really no specific reason as to why she loves horses so much.  Maybe it's just because they're gorgeous and graceful and smart and on and on.  Or maybe it's because the bond between horse and rider is so special.  Or maybe it's just because it's a part of her.
    A horse Annie will get someday.
     Annie has never owned a horse, but she will someday.  Just you wait and see.  And she'll gallop bareback across a snowy field at sunrise whenever she wants (because she has always wanted to do that). 

    Annie likes mustangs.  And Fresians.  And Appaloosas, and paints, and black horses and white horses and tobianos and...well, she just loves them all. 
    The other horse that Annie will get.

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    The Final Harry Potter Movie

    Last night (this morning?) I was lucky enough to go to the midnight showing of the last Harry Potter movie.  So, without further ado...here's what I thought.  

    The Experience
    First, I've got to say...there's just nothing quite like the midnight showing.  More than half the people were dressed up, wearing capes and scars and carrying wands.  I saw some kid dressed as Dobby, another as the snitch, and quite a few Professor Trelawneys.  People would start random cheers, British accents and all.  I can't count how many times I heard someone shout "Expelliarmus!"  I'm sorry, but this movie just wouldn't be the same on the small screen.  The battle at Hogwarts just wouldn't feel as intense when the theater wasn't booming with sound, sending vibrations through your chair.  It's a one-of-a-kind experience.    

    Even though Dobby isn't in this movie, I just love him.
    The Intensity
    Speaking of intensity...   Wow.  It was purely epic.  The action sequences were amazing.  The special effects were spectacular, too.  And the dragon.  We can't forget the dragon, 'cause dragons are just cool.  The end battle was breathtaking and had me on the edge of my seat, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen.  Every single scene was loaded with intensity and emotion, which brings me to another point...

    The Emotion
    This movie wins as the most emotional of the eight, hands down.  There's just no question about it.  I heard people sniffling in the theater around me.  With Snape...ah, that was a rough one.  I've been a Snape fan since the beginning, and that was the part I was not looking forward too.  If I had been the type to cry during movies, I would've been crying right there.  Especially with all the flashbacks.  Young Snape and Lily were adorable, and you just can't help but feel awful for them.  And for Fred.  And Harry.  And that shot of Remus and Tonks laying side by side, reaching out for each other's hand.... And I don't even have words for the shots of little tiny Harry.  It was just...yeah.  I'm failing at explaining all this.

    The Applause
    I've never been to a movie before where people actually applauded during the film.  All part of the experience, I guess.  I'll say it right now: this movie will make you love Neville.  And McGonagall.  And Filch, just sweeping at the end, all by himself.  What earned the most applause, though, was the five words Mrs. Weasley said to Bellatrix.  That made my day, and a lot of other people's, too.  She totally deserved it!  I do think, though, that Tom Felton should've gotten some applause, just for...you know...being Tom Felton.  I was a bit disappointed with the way Draco, um...chose sides at the end.  But...oh well.  I think the mini-Draco at the end made up for it.  

    The Legacy
    I loved, loved, loved the epilogue.  It was one word: ADORABLE!  The kid who played Albus Severus definitely has a future somewhere in acting.  He was adorable, as were all the kids.  It was a fitting ending for the series, a great way to say goodbye.  I can't count how many people exclaimed "Awww!" (in an awww, how cute sort of way, not an aww, that was dumb way) during that part.

    The End
    If you're a Harry Potter fan, you've got to see thisIt was simply indescribable.  Amazing music, great acting, amazing everything, the whole package.   I don't know; maybe the fact that it was 3 am was getting to my brain, but I don't think so.  It was just amazing, and you'll have to see it to believe it.   Have fun topping this one, movie companies.  

    So, how shall I end this?

    Mischief managed, people.  Mischief managed.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    It Ends. At Midnight. Or 12:02, To Be Exact.

    Tonight is the night, people.  The final Harry Potter movie comes out.  I'm happy to say I'm going to the midnight showing, which should be exciting because 1) it's my first ever midnight movie and 2) it's...well...Harry Potter. 

    So, to celebrate...here is all my Harry Potter related flair.  I hope I amused somebody, at the very least.  Enjoy.

    Yes.  I said it.

    Now, if only someone could tell me which is which...
    Yes, I got your texts.  All nine thousand of them.
    Nice hair, Malfoy.  Did you know that your cane is in SkyMall?

    It's Draco.  'Nuff said.
    Because, you know...gotta poke fun at Twilight.
    It's not HP related, but it's anti-Twilight, so...
    No!  Not the Zefron poster!
    This brings to mind another great movie.  "I'm really beginning to question your teaching methods!"

    How true.

    Did you turban just sneeze?
    Awww, come on.  Really?
    Hahahahaha.
    Move over, Jonas Brothers!
    The best quote from all seven books.

    Yes!  How true!
    I knew it, I knew it!

    I will go there someday.  And it will be awesome.

    And then my life would be complete.
    I want Hermione Granger!  And a rocket ship.
    I actually just got a whole case of Squirt at Target.  I feel amazing.
    DUMBLEDORE!

    Okay, I thought this was funny even before I read the books.
    It's a pipe bomb!  Yaaaay!
    Oh, Dobby's sock!
    The all-purpose excuse.

    Well, um...did you really expect me not to throw in an AF flair somewhere?
    Fake noses, 30% off!

    Sorry Edward.  By the way...the Aphrodite cabin wants their shimmer gel back.
    Perfect way to end any conversation instantly.
    Stab it!  With the sword of Gryffindor!
    No caption needed!


    What about you?  Are you excited?  Are you going to the midnight showing?  Are you just happy that it's all over?
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