Monthly Archives: June 2012

My (sort of) Disney Trip

That title sure is a little ominous, isn’t it? Well, as much as I hate how ominous that sounds, it is mostly true. It all started on the day before we left, last Friday, after I made that post informing everyone of my weeklong hiatus.

My mom: “Oh, by the way, the forecast is calling for rain every day we’re in Disney. We can deal with it!”

ME: “Of course! We’ve done Disney in the rain before, many times. No problem.

And then, upon arrival:

Mom: “I just checked the weather. SO… it isn’t just rain, it’s Tropical Storm Debby.”

Me: “WHAT?!”

Oh yes, folks. I was at Disney World. During a Tropical Storm.

OK, so I wasn’t actually IN Disney on the days it rained. It was storming so hard, we skipped those days. We amused ourselves by going to Downtown DIsney, shopping outlets, and that adorable little town called Celebration.

No matter how amusing those things were, we still longed for Disney. As a family who loves it so much, it is impossibly frustrating to drive 10 hours and be just 5 minutes away from the place, just to have it denied by some storm. We decided that we wanted to go after all, if only for a day, on one of those lucky ones toward the end of our stay that was sunny. Not as simple as you think. Our tickets were for 4 days, we only wanted to go for one, and tickets expire 14 days after you first use them. Just buy tickets for 1 day only, right? Well, that only works if you can get to the park, which was hard because our car chose that moment to be stupid and mess up. Don’t ask me what was wrong with it, all I know is that we sat in a car dealership for HOURS. And then we went to Magic Kingdom.

This whole ordeal lasted almost a week.

AS crazy as it sounds, I actually enjoyed the trip. You see, my parents have been blessed with many things. One of them is a talent to see the silver lining in every situation. Something I, sadly, lack. I’m just too… sarcastic, I guess? But their ability to turn everything into something good really saved this almost Disney trip.

The good thing is, we didn’t use our 4 day tickets. We are probably going back during Christmas (which, by the way, is way more fun than any other time of year and DOESN’T have hurricanes). Everything turned out OK. Our car was fine. We were safe. We actually ended up having fun. We didn’t get sunburned. 🙂

There isn’t always a moral to what I post. In fact, most of the time there isn’t one. But this is another Pearl in the Dirt oppurtunity. This is something I am working on too, for myself. Instead of thinking about how a situation could be better, think about how it could be worse. You will feel much, much better.

I am very glad to be back, everyone! I missed posting and reading. I’m happy to finally be settling into a normal* summer routine.

Have a great weekend!

Olivia

*normal implying a teen who doesn’t read like mad, therefore being used in a relative sense in this case. 😀

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Hurrah for Audiobooks!

As most of you know, I am going to Disney World tomorrow! I am very excited, but here’s the catch. We are driving, and Disney is about 10 hours of driving from where I live. In the past years, I have read books almost the entire way (crazy, I know). But lately, my motion sickness/seasickness has gotten worse. Not to mention my vision (I have to wear reading glasses). I decided that it was high time I check out an audiobook.

I started listening to this while packing this afternoon! Surprisingly, it is only 4 hours long. I am enjoying it so far! The narration helps with the otherwise slightly boring (sorry, Jane) book.

I haven’t started this one yet, because it is something like 14 hours long and I want to use that on the drive! I’ve heard great and terrible things about this book. I can’t wait to read…. err listen for myself and decide!

How did I miss the hype for this? I’m pretty sure it came out a while ago, but still! I’ll be listening to this one on the way back, I believe!

I will be reviewing the two modern ones (Jane Eyre too, maybe). I am also wondering about how an audiobook affects your ability to review a book. So far, I have noticed that I am more interested and am paying attention to details I would have missed before. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic though …

I really wish I didn’t have to take such a huge break from posting, guys!! I miss being on a regular schedule, what with the roof and all that mess. I will hopefully be back and posting on next Friday. If something changes, it may be later.

I have also been told that there is a developing tropical storm in the Gulf that very well could hit us while we are in Florida. If so, I will probably buy the hotel’s wi-fi and post (because frankly, hotel for 2 days straight=claustrophobia and boredom). The chance of an actual hurricane is pretty slim, but the chance I will get super bored and read all bajillion books I’m bringing is high! That means more reviews!

Lastly, I will be tweeting LIVE from Disney World! If you don’t already follow me, I highly suggest doing so, because that is the only way I can update about books I’m reading, hurricanes, and FUN! If you don’t have a twitter, just look in my blog sidebar. It shows my latest tweet! (I’m @OliviasOpinions)

Miss you bunches!

Olivia

P.S. I CAN respond to @ messages from my phone (even without wi-fi) so if you have a question, ask! 😉

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Book Review- I Am The Messenger

All I can do is apologize profusely, guys! The last few days have been… crazy, to say the least! I finished this book Sunday night and have been literally FIGHTING to review it ever since. Monday, the roofers came at 7 AM and didn’t leave until dark, so I was out for the whole. entire. day. Today I had library volunteering until 12, then lunch, and when I got back home the Internet for our whole neighborhood had gone out! It just started working again….

Hopefully you see what I mean! Crazy…. and I’m leaving for vacation for a week on Saturday. I’m still trying to find a way to post while I’m there, but it looks extremely unlikely. So I’ll be taking a week-long hiatus, no matter how it pains me. HOWEVER I will be tweeting live from The Happiest Place on Earth, if you’re interested! (if you can’t figure that out,it’s Disney World ;))

Now the review. This book was awesome! I am a pretty big Markus Zusak fan, ever since I read The Book Thief (highly recommend!). I haven’t read anything else by him, but this book just reinforced his genius in my head.

This book is about a very simple guy named Ed. He is average. He drives cabs. His friend Marv has a big mouth and he loves his friend Audrey. Everything is mediocre for Ed until the day he stops a bank robbery. A few weeks late, he receives a playing card in the mail with 3 addresses written on it. At each of the addresses is something that needs to be fixed, that only he can fix. The clues range from simple to ridiculously complex, and the cards don’t stop coming. Sometimes the card has an address. Sometimes a book or movie title. Ed has become the messenger through the cards, and he is finally discovering who he is. But he has to discover the biggest question first: who is sending the cards?

This story is so intricately woven, it is hard to believe. Every little piece fits in the puzzle so perfectly, but it is still totally realistic. It actually reminds me a lot of the TV show Touch. If you have seen it, you’ll know what I mean. But if you haven’t, then well, you should watch it! It is great, but a lot less believable than this book. Ed is totally hilarious (His dog’s name is Doorman ). The ending is very… I’m not sure. Weird, I guess. It makes me want a sequel. But the rest of the book entirely makes up for it! I’m definitely looking for more Zusak books after this!

I recommend this to everyone!!! It should not be missed. High schoolers and up do to a little sex and rape.

Happy Reading, my darlings!

Olivia

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Book Review- The Fault in Our Stars

As you all know, I was extremely excited to read this book. I guess I judged it based on all of the hype surrounding this book. EVERYONE loves this book. Most of the time there is a reason for such a strong response, and no doubt this hype is not entirely unwarranted. But after reading this book (and liking it, for the most part) I have decided that while it is good, it is most certainly not the best book ever that fell from the sky streaming glitter and rainbows.

This book is about a boy and a girl who meet at a cancer support group. The girl, Hazel Grace, had lung cancer and breathes through a cannula (one of those oxygen-puff things that goes through your nose). She survived thanks to a ‘tumor shrinking miracle’ that has bought her a few years. When she meets Augustus Waters, everything changes. Augustus had bone cancer (I think.. sorry) and has a prosthetic leg. Even though Hazel has very poor health and Augustus is mostly healed, they fall in love. Hazel resists Augustus at first, trying to ‘minimize the damage’ that she will cause when she dies. But she can’t resist forever.

I actually didn’t cry at this book! The end was very sad, but since I didn’t connect very much with the characters, it didn’t affect me as much as it did some other people. Before I start naming all of the things I disliked about this book, let me just say that I really did like it! No matter how many bad things I have to say, it was good! I can’t see myself reading it over and over, or even adding it to my Favorites! But it was an interesting and engaging book!

Now for the negatives. This book is notorious for being quotable, and that it is. There are some very fabulous quotes in this book! The thing is, I find it hard to believe that the people in this book actually SAID these things. Just like in the Weird Sisters, how it was a little unbelievable that their father spoke in iambic pentameter. I just find it very hard to get past the unrealistic-ness of these characters, as far as the dialogue goes anyway. It was also very short, which was a little annoying. I also wish I could say that this book made cancer less depressing, but it didn’t! It was harshly real, with nothing to cushion the sadness. It was pretty rough to read. The Weird Sisters was easier to get through.

Do I recommend this? Yes. I think everyone should read this. It seems to be more enjoyable for some people than others (aren’t all books like that?) and in this case my slight cynicism got in the way of liking this too much.

Have a great weekend, guys! 🙂

Olivia

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Book Review- The Weird Sisters

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I started it after I ate dinner last night… and then finished it at almost midnight. This is not a short book, either! But the sweet language and charismatic characters hooked me, and I couldn’t help myself!

This book is about 3 sisters; Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia (Rose, Bean, and Cordy), named for the three Weird Sisters mentioned somewhere in Shakespeare’s works (I’m not that familiar, sorry). From the description fin the inside of the book, I figured this book was just about the 3 sisters, returning from the far corners of the world to their hometown. It failed to mention, however, that this reason was because their mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The author does a remarkable job at keeping this book from becoming depressing, because with the whole cancer thing that easily could have happened. Secrets also play a large part in this book as well, because each of them (the sisters) has a secret they are keeping. Even though you find their secrets out in the first few scenes of the book, I don’t want to give them away!

This is not a teen/ YA book. I enjoy that genre very much, but it was also a little nice to take a break from the sordid love triangles and look at more pressing troubles like jobs, life, moving, children, and cancer. It is brutally honest in the way the cancer is described, vicious and unmerciful. It spoke to me in a special way because my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 2010. She had a similar experience with the cancer, minus the chemo and radiation. We got lucky, it could have been much worse. But it was still terrible, one of the worst periods of my life, so I understand intimately what the sisters were going through. I love my mom and I am so grateful to still have her with me today and every day. By the way, Happy Birthday Mom! 😉

Now that I have gotten WAY off topic, back to the book. I highly recommend this one! That being said, it is not everyone’s book. I would go so far as to say that this is a ‘girl’s book’ (I usually try to stay away from gender-book stereotyping, because anyone can like any genre they choose. But what with all of the sisterly love, and quite frankly all of the estrogen in this book, I dub this ‘woman’s territory’) This strikes me as a good book club book. I wish I hadn’t devoured it as quickly as I had, it would have been nice to discuss certain elements of the book over a cup of hot tea. My excuse: “it was just too good!”

A few turnoffs about this book:

1. a lot of ‘remembering’. Often one of the sisters is doing something absolutely average like wiping off a counter with a rag, and they suddenly get a full on flashback reminiscing a time they played tag with a rag with the sisters, blah blah, insert overly corny family love here.

2. a wee bit slow paced

3. a totally strange and unknown narrator (since it refers to the sisters as ‘we’ I kept thinking of it as the sister’s combined conscious, and they were remembering that period. Weird, I know.) I knew going into this book that the narrator would be different (thank you, Goodreads ;)) and that helped. As much as I read, sometimes a little challenge is nice.

Overall, a really nice book, and well worth spending the time to read!

Happy Reading everyone!

Olivia

P.S. I forgot to mention the whole Shakespeare deal. So, their father is a professor of Shakespeare. They were raised with it, so when they are home together, sometimes they talk in lines of Shakespeare. This can be perceived as awesome, strange, or totally unlikely. I think it is all three. Oh and they are a TOTAL book family. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it until now. But reading about a family that is so integrated into reading and books, as a book blogger, is pretty awesome. Bye now. 😉

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Triple Book Review!

OK, so I was originally planning to make each of these reviews separate! Or, at least one single and one double review.  To summarize what happened: I was lazy, now I regret it, and am trying to get it all done in one big swoop so I can move on to the shiny new books I got from the library on Saturday!! 😀

Oh wow, I need to get on the ball with these reviews! I can hardly remember these. But I can do it! So, in case you didn’t know, Prized is the sequel to Birthmarked (WHICH WAS FANTASTIC). I have to say, I was a little disappointed. I liked the first one so much that the second one let me down. It continues Gaia’s journey, just like we knew it would, but Gaia ends up in a very strange colony called Sylum. Sylum is run by women, who have made unjust laws concerning the rights of men, which are drastically limited in their ‘country’. It is a very screwed up society, that is all I can tell you. Gaia decides to be stupid and start a love quadrangle (WHY GAIA, WHY) which I consider to be an overused author trick. And then Leon shows up and makes things even more complicated. People get arrested. People have more babies. People get all hormonal and stab other people in the back. Multiple times.

As much as these things irritated me, the end of the story is satisfying to me. Everything ends up ‘right’ again (right being a relative term) and things are changing. Gaia’s taking charge of her destiny, blah blah blah.For the most part, I enjoyed this book as a sequel to the first. Could it have been better? Yes,because it is one of those books that stresses you out reading it because it is so twisted, and the people who should be together refuse to make life simple. All in all, I am eagerly awaiting the 3rd and final book, and hoping it wraps up this series in a good way!

This book was the opposite of what I expected. I really, really wish I could tell you why. Seriously, it pains me. But this book is so much more than an American girl who goes to school in London, around the same time someone is killing people, Jack the Ripper style. I just want you to think about all of the different things a ‘Shade’ of London could be. I don’t want to be the one to say it. Google if you have to, it’s more obvious than you think. This book gets a little grisly in parts. It is Jack the Ripper, after all. Many times I had to close the book and get some fresh air… but I have a weak stomach. I had my nose glued in this for HOURS! And then, sadly, it was over. 😦

This book is a mystery, primarily, like no other I’ve ever read. There is just a wee bit of romance, very tolerable for anyone who doesn’t love it. I enjoyed this book, and the mystery, and the suspense very much!! I very badly want to read the next in the series (like Prized, I think I’ll pre-order this!) and if you enjoy English people (check), ‘Shades’ (check), and mystery (check) you will enjoy this book just as much as I did!!

I didn’t like this book. It was so disappointing, because I wanted to like it! When I finished it, I was so unsure of what I had just read!! Is is fiction? YA? modern fiction? romance? paranormal? dystopian?  I’m pretty sure even the actual book doesn’t know. The main character is practically going insane! She does all of these crazy things and sees crazy things and freaks out quite often. She takes and anti-psychotic prescribed by her therapist. And of course she meets this perfect rich, super hot, troubled, BRITISH guy who is also slightly insane. And they fall in love. I am all for cliche, but this is ridiculous.

The ending confused me so much! I was hooked when I got through a little, I’ll admit it. But towards the end, it just got freakier and freakier. I guess I’ll be reading the sequel, because I want to understand what the heck that ending was. But I will not be happy about it. 🙂

So, overall: HATE: 1 LOVE: 1 MEH: 1 😀

Hope you guys enjoyed this almost-monster of a triple review!!!

Olivia

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Coming Soon!

I had to change the name of these lovely hauls…. at Library Awesomeness Haul no. 7, I am getting a little worn out of that name. I figure if I am getting tired of typing it, you’re probably getting tired of reading it, too. (if this isn’t true, please comment!) I happened to be at the library today for a volunteering orientation- my first day is this Tuesday! It was really cool to meet some fellow bookish teens and discuss books during a few spare minutes! I got into a really long conversation with the librarian about Divergent, and convinced several other teens to check it out. YAY! 😉 ANYWAY, I was wandering the teen section before it began (a very dangerous thing for me to do) and ended up choosing 1… or 2… or a lot. In this haul, I’m also including books not from this library trip and books I’ve recently purchased.

I bought this for my Kindle when I saw that it was on sale for 1.99! That is so inexpensive, and I’ve wanted to read it ever since Gaby started glowing about it on her blog!

I got this at my last library trip, and I am forcing myself to read it first, no matter HOW MUCH I want to read a specific other book in this group!!! Pride and Prejudice is taking me so long to read that I haven’t gotten to this one yet!

This is on my summer reading list. I’m slowly plugging through, but I’m putting it down until I finish all of these.

I was innocently perusing the classic section when I realized I should get more Jane Austen! Pride and Prejudice is the first thing of her’s I’ve read, and I’m LOVING it! When I was searching for the book cover I noticed pictures of Alan Rickman in the movie! I did a double take! I said: “Wait, Snape? In Sense and Sensibility? What?!” 😀

I know absolutely nothing about this, except that it is dystopian and Chew Your Lipstick raves about it. Why not?

I loved Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, so when I randomly spotted this I snatched it up. It’s been a to-read for a long time!!

I know little about this one as well! But it is Goodreads recommended for me, and Shannon reviewed it positively a few days ago!

Now for the two I’m SUPER excited about!

I’ve been waiting and waiting for this to come in for me! I love the idea around this book…. and the fact that the author could take a plot so overused like this and make it a hit!

All I have to say is, it is about time! I’ve been anxiously waiting for months, and it is finally here! I am scared, a little. Scared of sobbing (because I love hate can’t make up my mind about sad books. But I love a good love story, and this sure seems to fit! You can definitely count on a review of this one!!

Hope you guys enjoyed this! I can’t wait to read these and review! 🙂

Olivia

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