Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Top Ten Books for Reads Who Like YA With Minimal Angst

Hosted by my other blog, The Broke and the Bookish





Atlantia 
by Ally Condie








Crown Duel 
by Sherwood Smith






Homecoming 
by Cynthia Voigt






Mistborn 
by Brandon Sanderson






Poison Study
by Maria V. Snyder






Princess Academy 
by Shannon Hale






Sabriel
 by Garth Nix






So You Want to Be a Wizard
by Diane Duane





Stardust
by Neil Gaiman





Waterfall
by Lisa T. Bergren

Monday, March 2, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday-- All Time Favorite Books from the Last Three Years

 Hosted by my other blog, The Broke and The Bookish


(In alphabetical order, because I couldn't possibly rank them)






Across a Star-Swept Sea   
   by Diana Peterfreund



After I Do
by Taylor Jenkins Reid







Code Name Verity
   by Elizabeth Wein





Eyes Like Stars
by Lisa Mantchev







The Girl of Fire and Thorns
   by Rae Carson





On The Jellicoe Road
by Melina Marchetta





Maybe One Day
   by Melissa Kantor





The Demon King
by Cinda Williams Chima





Throne of Glass
   by Sarah J. Maas





Wanderlove
by Kristen Hubbard









What books are on your list?? Share in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Heroines

1-   Elisa from the Fire and Thorns Series- Elisa is such an amazing character. I liked her even when we first meet her in the first chapter of Girl of Fire and Thorns, and she grows SO MUCH. She goes from being likable, to being incredible. Her determination, her loyalty, her faith. I adore her. 

2-    Hermione from Harry Potter- Because. Duh. Brave, a bookworm, loyal, and funny. I grew up with her, and I have so much love for her. I never felt bad about loving books, but she made it cool. Made me want to not just read more, but LEARN more.

3-     Raisa ana'Marianna from the Seven Realms series- Raisa is AWESOME. She defies stereotypes and works against incredible odds to accomplish her goals and do what she knows is right. She fights for her people, her family, and everything she cares about.

4-     Gabi and Lia from the River of Time series- I’m putting them together because they’re sisters, and they are so cool. They are thrown out of their own time and into a completely strange world. That doesn’t stop them from always fighting for what they love. They help anyone in need, and don’t listen to anyone that tries to tell them differently. They also possess a wonderful sense of humor and sarcasm.  Serious stuff happens, but it never gets too depressing because their optimism and sarcastic commentary.

5-     Ismae,Sybella and Annith from His Fair Assassin series- These girls! I adore them. I just finished Mortal Heart, which tells Annith’s story and concludes the series. I was sad to close the book and say goodbye to them. Each of the girls are very different from one another, and each are absolutely fantastic in their own way. Ismae is stubborn and loving, Sybella is darkly cynical and loyal, Annith is steadfast and kind. These girls are wonderful!

6-     Nita and Dairine from the Young Wizard Series- Another pair of awesome sisters. Bookish, and proud geeks. They love learning, they are dedicated to each other. They’re sisters, and they will always have each other’s backs and they are fiercely protect of those they love.

7-     Vin from the Mistborn series- This girl rocks! She starts off a skinny kid on the streets, then she meets a rather usual group of people. She learns just how much potential she has, and pretty much explodes into awesomeness.

8-     Sabriel and Lirael from the Abhorsen series-  These girls are tough. They don’t have the easiest lives. But when something goes wrong, they rise to the occasion, kick butt, save lives and make friends.

9-     Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series- I love her because she is smart and tough. And it’s not really all that important, but she’s blond.  How often do you come across a blond heroine? Usually they’re petite with dark hair and eyes. She pulls Percy, and their friends, out of trouble on multiple occasions.

10-  Yelena from the Study Trilogy- She’s one of my absolute favorite heroines ever. She starts out pretty low, a dungeon to be exact. She’s given the chance to live, as long as she is clever enough not to get herself killed. She goes from dirty, almost starving to death, to strong and clever. She’s witty and finds friends in unusual places, never judging anyone too quickly.  



Tell me! Who are YOUR favorites?? Share in the comments below!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"I Belong With You, You Belong With Me, You're My Sweetheart!"






Obviously it has been a while since I've done much blogging. There are REASONS. Really. I'm here to tell you a story.







About 6-7ish years ago, a boy from Wyoming moved to Utah. He was living in his brother's basement while he searched for a job. He finally found a good job, then bought his brother's home from him when they moved. He settled in to live where he “would never ever live”, good Ol' Utah.












Around this same time, the boy met a girl while at a park with a group of friends. He's immediately attracted to this absolutely amazing girl. He was also, strangely, doing the repair work on the girl's aunt's basement.









Sounds like a destined meeting, right? The meet cute. They meet, date, fall in love and get married. (And if you do it in Utah *cough Provo Valley cough* fashion, you do it all in less than six months.




Not quite.



Girl secretly likes him. Boy secretly likes her.



Nothing happens.



Fast forward five years.



The girl's best friend is dating the boy's best friend. Same group of friends, multiple interactions. Multiple (failed) hints from the girl.



Nothing.



Girl's best friend attempts to set her up with the boy's younger brother.



Movement begins.



Then, one fateful movie night in July of 2013 the girls best friend takes cold medicine. It quickly becomes apparent that it's a good thing she doesn't drink, as she proves to be a lightweight. After literally carrying her friend to bed, the girl comes back upstairs and the boy is waiting for the girl so he can walk her out to her car.



Finally.



He asks for her number, which the girl gives to him in a completely calm manner. She then gets into her car and drives away, once she turns the corner, she begins giggling like a maniac.



From there on things work out well, he proceeds to sweep the girl off her feet by coming and helping out with the show she's stage managing. They discover their mutual love of sushi, animated movies (Miyazaki) and geeky BBC shows. She introduces the boy to the world of theatre, he helps her keep her sanity during her final semester of her undergrad.



Finally, the girl gets that long awaited degree and the boy is there in the audience cheering and clapping for her alongside her family.



The two continued to spend time teasing, making each other laugh, going on hikes, meeting each other's families and falling in love.





November 2013, the boy's best friend marries the girl's best friend. He's a groomsman, she's a bridesmaid.



December 24th, 2013 The first “I Love You”.




January-June (family of both the boy and girl wait and plot)






Fast forward to July 5th 2014. The girl goes camping with her entire family up near Mirror Lake, the boy, like always, comes with. This time joined by the two best friends, and kayaks.





Before heading out on the kayaks, the group takes a walk around the beautiful Mirror Lake. At one point, the boy stops to take pictures then hands his phone to his friend and asks him to take a picture. The girl does the same. After a few pictures, the boy stops, and turns around to get something from his pack. When the boy turns back around he has a small box. Inside is a ring. THE ring.




He goes down on one knee and, in his nervous state skips the fancy words and gets to the important part. “Will you marry me?” He asks?



The girl laughs, “Yes, of course I will!”



Lots of hugs and giggles follow, all recorded by sneaky best friends. (Who KNEW the whole time!)




The boy and girl return to the family camp where sight of the ring provokes a range of emotions and reactions from her relatives.



From a hysterically excited aunt who can't stop crying and hugging the girl, to the uncles who were “definitely NOT teary-eyed”, the delighted cousin who responds with “SHUT UP!” and the ever so classic response of “It's about time!” from her grandfather.



Four and a half months later, laughing and smiling as always, the boy and girl are married with their friends and family surrounding them. Smiles and sniffles all around. Smiles from the moms, and sniffles from the father of the bride.

 

The name of this post are some of the lyrics from The Lumineers "Ho Hey". It was our "First Dance" song. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When it Comes to Romances in Books

Hosted by my other blog, The Broke and The Bookish


I'm such a sucker for a good romance. However it HAS to have the right ingredients, and not have too many of those tropes that annoy me. Here is my list of Dislikes and Likes!

 
Dislike

1- Instalove. I know this will be on a lot of lists, but seriously, can we just get rid of this? It's not even entertaining. He or she walks in the door and BAM. It's love. No. Let's find out who they are first. Maybe start with a name?



2- Physical Attraction Only. I get so tired of reading about how hot someone is. Yes, you are falling for them, but give me a break! It's not just about looks. To steal a favorite quote... (It's from a character describing her husband)

"You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful -- and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they're dull as a brick; but then there's other people. And you meet them and you think, "No bad, they're okay." and when you get to know them... their face just, sort of, becomes them, like their personality's written all over it, and they just -- they turn into something so beautiful. He's the most beautiful man I've ever met."




THAT is what I'm looking for. Because honestly, that's one of the most romantic and heartwarming descriptions of love I've ever heard.




3- Too Stupid to Live Heroines. I want the two to be equal partners, not always having to save or cover for one or the other because their love interest isn't capable of taking care of themselves. I get that guys love to rescue a damsel in distress. Go for it. But if it's because she's just too dumb, maybe you should let natural selection do it's job.



4- ANGST! Angst/Lack of Communication. Oh how you wear me out and make me hate characters, angst. If you're worried all the time about what he/she thinks of you. Or question where you stand with them. Or have ANY issues that could be solved by maybe, I dunno, TALKING TO THEM? Do it. Communicate. It's only THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of a relationship. But go ahead. Loose sleep over a text message that didn't include a smiley. (“Oh no! Is he mad? Did I do something wrong?? Omigosh!)




5- Dominate/Stalking/Manipulative Relationships. There is NOTHING attractive about someone who follows you/watches you all the time. (My husband teases he watches me while I sleep. He doesn't, because he knows I'd strangle him in his sleep if he did that.) Also, what about personal space? And as for being manipulated in a relationship? Where is the romance in THAT?



Now for the stuff I love!

Likes

6-Friends Falling in Love. Growing up together and falling in love? Yes please! (Lola and the Boy Next Door, anyone?) I love that shared history, and how much it adds to the relationship. Especially when they've seen each other through the awkward years and remember the best moments, as well as the most embarrassing parts. It keeps them humble. :)



7- Playful Teasing/Banter. I love the back and forth teasing. I find it adorable. A couple that makes each other laugh is about 100 times more interesting to me than the ones who are always sickly sweet to each other. It's not all just roses and perfectly chosen words. It's laughter and teasing and inside jokes.





8- Slow Burn Romance. They dance around each other. They tease here and there. They start to notice little things. A fun laugh. Shared love of books/music/movies. They dance a bit more... Until I'm practically yelling at them to finally kiss, or at least hold hands! Anything! But it is oh so compelling to watch them slowly fall for each other. And the moment when they finally realize they're supposed to be together? Don't you dare interrupt me while I'm reading. ;)




9- Foreign Locations. A romance with a backdrop of a completely new place? YES! (I'm looking at you, Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman!) Not only is the atmostphere of the setting seductive as a reader, watching the two characters discover together the wonders of where they are, or one of them showing the other around and helping them to discover all the hidden delights, is so fun!




10- Beyond Boy Meets Girl. It's rare, especially since so much of what I read is YA, but I LOVE when we see the relationship continue beyond them meeting and falling in love. I want the ever after. What is their “after”? I was beyond delighted when I read something recently (not going to say what, because, spoilers sweetie) and we got to see the PROPOSAL. Not only did the characters meet, fall in love and overcome a lot together, but they LASTED. They made it. I know many think that the romance ends after “I do”. But it so doesn't. At least I certainly hope not, because that would make marriage rather boring.


So! What are some of your likes/dislikes? Share your list in the comments!


(I just noticed that the last time I posted was two days before I got engaged! It's been WAY too long since I've blogged!)



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Theatre Camp

So this year I'm am teaching a summer theatre camp for a nearby city. I am the teacher, the director, the temporary parent, the judge, the... well, you name it, it's my job.

It has been one heck of a roller coaster.

I LOVE theatre, any aspect of it is exciting to me. Acting, working tech, stage manager, directing. Or even just an audience member.

I also love teaching, and I've worked with elementary aged kids on multiple occasions. I really enjoy it, they're great to work with. I try very hard to be a nice teacher, I'm strict when I need to be, but I'd much rather get the kids to recognize mistakes in positive ways, I tease (very light teasing). I never call a student out in front of the other kids, the only time I have EVER been extremely stern is when two of them paired up and started mocking the other students. All I said was "Hey. None of that. We are here to have fun, and we WILL have fun. So stay focused and show me that awesome positive attitude I saw at auditions. And it WORKED! They were great after that.

Not everything is all bright and shiny however. My students are aged 6-12. I have a few that are already in that annoying, stereotypical teenage stage. Before we begin rehearsal every day we do warm ups. Warm ups are designed to get performers up on their feet, using their voices, get them moving, energize and focus them so they are ready for rehearsal. I've been doing warm ups like these for half my life.

Last week my most difficult student simply folded his arms and stood there, refusing to participate and, even worse, making fun of the other kids. My other problem child took a que from him and stopped. She raised her hand (no idea why, she just talked anyway) and said "Hey you (she was referring to me. Never mind calling me Kimberly, or Miss Kimberly as they have been instructed to do) what does this whole... thing have to do with like, the whole, like theatre thing?" In other words, she things I'm stupid and don't know anything. She was eager to call me out. (Most likely due to her mother, but that's a whole different story. Ugh!)

Now. You'll all be proud of me. I did NOT say what I wanted to say, which was "Listen. I have been doing theatre longer than you've been ALIVE. I also spent lots of money and time and got a DEGREE in theatre. So shut up and participate because I know what I'm doing."

Instead I managed something teacherly and explained the same thing I said above, preparing them for rehearsal.

It's not all bad though. Except for sassy students, parents who like sending angry emails, kids/parents skipping rehearsals, and lack of focus from the other kids, it's been great.

I cast a six year old girl in the lead role. SIX. She was far above the other students, she talented, focused and has an irresistibly bright personality. Her older brother also has a significant role.  Their mom has been awesome, she so so incredibly supportive of her kids and work with them constantly. The little girl in the lead has about 70% of her extensive lines memorized. There are several students who have maybe 8 lines that can read, have a script, but still haven't even attempted to memorize. My younger students are really the ones who impress me.

They are dedicated, kind to each other, respectful and sweet towards me, and a delight to work with. They are so creative! So much of how they say their lines, or react to each other, is stuff they come up with.

It warms my heart every time we sit down, and half of them race to get the spot next to me. Or they come over just talk to me. They don't have anything to really say, they just want to talk to me. Or they'll thank me at the end of rehearsal.


This is why I enjoy teaching so much.

A couple more weeks to go! I'll keep you all updated with the crazy stories. I'll probably do an entire post dedicated to "Things Overheard At Theatre Camp". Trust me, it's hilarious.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Books I've Read This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at my other blog, The Broke and the Bookish.

This year I decided that I was going to be more stingy with my five star ratings. Which I have been, however, looking at my goodreads list you wouldn't believe that. I managed to stumble across several amazing books this year! 

1. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: I was hooked from the very beginning. It was just so odd, and I liked it! The characters are fantastic, funny, sarcastic, real. The friendships are heartwarming and the romantic tension is alluring. 

2. Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor: Picture this. Me, 3 am, sitting my bed, book in hand, tears streaming. Okay. Maybe DON'T picture that. Ha. But this book. This was one of those that doesn't connect with everyone. No book does. But this book slammed into me. It pulled me in, broke my heart and warmed it all at once. 

3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas: Loved the first book. This one was just as wonderful, maybe even better? I CANNOT wait for the next book! 

4. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein: This was a tough read, but like the first book, the writing is wonderful. Letters on a page transformed into fully realized people. The harsh landscape of their world was detailed and gritty. Their friendships were beautifully, and painfully, real. I was invested in all of them. 

5. Cress by Marissa Meyer: Okay, I really liked Cinder and Scarlett. But Cinder? My absolute favorite out of the three. Cress is positively adorable. The other characters remain amazing, and I loved their interactions with each other. As each character is discovered and added to the group, the more I love the story. 

6. New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd: Now, if you've read my blog or follow me on twitter, you know how much I love New York. I'm also a total history geek. I house-sat for a relative. What was I most excited about? They have the history channel. Anyway, this book tells the story of New York, from it's earliest days of Dutch settlers, all the way up to the events of 9/11. I grew to love the families I was introduced to. I learned SO MUCH from this about the history of the city. I was googling stuff every few pages. 

7. Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund: I love the Scarlet Pimpernel, I love retellings. This book was fantastic! I love the characters she created, and the world that she built! It was real, colorful to the point it felt tangible. Such a fantastic read. 

8. Pivot Point by Kasie West: I was so intrigued by the premise, and drawn in by the writing style. I swear, Kasie West has been eavesdropping in on conversations between me and my friends, because so much of what they say and do, remind me of my own friends. 

9. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini: Again with the history geek part of me, I also love mythology. I loved those elements in the story, along with characters that were fun and interesting. 

10. Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg: Friendship portrayed in a realistic way is always so refreshing. I loved this characters, and I loved their interactions. It was a fun, cute read that left me smiling.

SO! What made your list? I'd love to hear what YOU loved. The best way to get recommendations! :)