Sunday, February 1, 2015

What Am I Reading: February Releases and To Be Read

It seems my first blog of this monthly feature was such a hit that it will continue! Here are the February releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of February.

New Book Releases for the month of February
1: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
Three words -- MY FAVORITE AUTHOR. The title of Neil Gaiman's new short story collection, Trigger Warning, is, according to the book's introduction, a term used online to warn people about content that "could upset them and trigger flashbacks or anxiety or terror." Although I prefer the more delightful Gaiman (like Stardust), his last novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was, in fact, a little terrifying. This latest collection includes some previously published work and a new American Gods story. This title is set to be released on February 3, 2015. Here is the book description: In this new anthology, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath. Trigger Warning includes previously published pieces of short fiction—stories, verse, and a very special Doctor Who story that was written for the fiftieth anniversary of the beloved series in 2013—as well “Black Dog,” a new tale that revisits the world of American Gods, exclusive to this collection. Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In Adventure Story—a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane—Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience A Calendar of Tales are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year—stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale The Case of Death and Honey. And Click-Clack the Rattlebag explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.

2: The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty: A Novel by Amanda Filipachi
When I read the description for this book, my inner fangirl started screaming ITS THE MASKS EPISODE FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE!! You read this description and you tell me if I am right. Very excited about this book. It is set to be released on February 16, 2015. Here is the book description: A magical and comedic take on modern love, the power of friendship, and the allure of disguise. In the heart of New York City, a group of artistic friends struggles with society's standards of beauty. At the center are Barb and Lily, two women at opposite ends of the beauty spectrum, but with the same problem: each fears she will never find a love that can overcome her looks. Barb, a stunningly beautiful costume designer, makes herself ugly in hopes of finding true love. Meanwhile, her friend Lily, a brilliantly talented but plain-looking musician, goes to fantastic lengths to attract the man who has rejected her--with results that are as touching as they are transformative. To complicate matters, Barb and Lily discover they may have a murderer in their midst, that Barb's calm disposition is more dangerously provocative than her beauty ever was, and that Lily's musical talents are more powerful than anyone could have imagined. Part literary whodunit, part surrealist farce, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty serves as a smart, modern-day fairy tale. With biting wit and offbeat charm, Filipacchi illuminates the labyrinthine relationship between beauty, desire, and identity, asking at every turn: what does it truly mean to allow oneself to be seen?

3: Get In Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link
One of my reading goals for this year is to read a short story collection. Granted my favorite author is coming out with another short story collection, but I can not choose him all the time. Plus he has praised this collection so it can not be all that bad? This book is set to release on February 3, 2015. Here is the book description: She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll. Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.

4: My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
There is one thing I can not stand is people who think they are charmed and entitled to everything. So when I read the description, my heart jumped with glee. Plus it is a crime novel -- a genre that my love has gotten me addicted to. This book is set to release on February 10, 2015. Here is the book description: It was the summer everything changed.… My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too. In My Sunshine Away, M.O. Walsh brilliantly juxtaposes the enchantment of a charmed childhood with the gripping story of a violent crime, unraveling families, and consuming adolescent love. Acutely wise and deeply honest, it is an astonishing and page-turning debut about the meaning of family, the power of memory, and our ability to forgive.

What I Am Reading in the month of February
1. Revival by Stephen King
One of the things that the boyfriend and I have in common is our love of Stephen King. He was out shopping for Christmas presents and he asked me what I thought of him, said I liked his writing and that I wanted to read his new book titled Revival. I got the book the next day. :) Here is the book description: A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life. In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town. Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

2. Fuck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C. Parkin
I have had a lot of things happen to me recently that have changed my mindset, most importantly the fact that while I am always there for others and will do anything for them -- the same attitude is not represented back to me. Case in point: the "blizzard" New Jersey was supposed to have -- my school building had a half day. I did not want my father to come out and drive in it so I asked a couple of people in my school building, who I have gone out of my way for in the past, only to be met with a song and a dance and a excuse. I hardly ask anyone for favors or for help. This one time I thought they would reciprocate but alas I was wrong. I was severely disappointed and hurt. Just ask the boyfriend and my family about it. Other things have happened as well that finally led me to just say "fuck it" but I need coaching. This is where this book comes into play. Here is the book description: In this inspiring and humorous book, John C. Parkin suggests that saying F**k It is the perfect Western expression of the Eastern spiritual ideas of letting go, giving up, and finding real freedom by realizing that things don’t matter so much (if at all). It’s a spiritual way that doesn’t require chanting, meditating, or wearing sandals. And it’s the very power of this profanity that makes it perfect for shaking us Westerners out of the stress and anxiety that dominate our daily lives. With the help of this book, people around the world are now saying F**k It to their worries and concerns, to the “shoulds” and the “oughts” that dominate their lives, and finally doing what they want to, no matter what others might think. “Self-help for the time-poor and psycho-babble intolerant.”

3. I did receive the January Releases I wrote about last month so I might read those too this month.



There you have it. These are the February releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of February. All of these books can be found at your local bookseller or conveniently right on Amazon or Book Depository. Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What I Am Reading: January Releases and To Be Read

Everyone knows that I am a bookworm.

A major, major bookworm.

So much so, I decided to start a new monthly feature on this lovely blog, since lighting in my house can be sort of daunting for videos all the time. At the beginning of the month I will do a releases that I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the current month.

So lets get this party started!

Here are the releases that I am most excited about in the month of January:

New Book Releases for the month of January

1: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven.

This particular book is being touted as The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die. Eleanor and Park is one of my favorite books and holds a deep place in my heart so when I heard this, of course I was excited. This book is released. Here is the book description: Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

2: The Girl on the Train: A Novel by Paula Hawkins

My lovely boyfriend has gotten my hooked onto psychological thrillers with a true crime edge. So when I read the description for this, I had to get it. Plus it is called "Hitchcockian". Who can not love something that is compared to Hitchcock? This book will be released on January 13, 2015. Here is the book description: Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

3: Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falloff

Who does not enjoy a good mystery with some love and entitlement? This girl does! This book will be released on January 27, 2015 and here is the book description: Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now. There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam's best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand. To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn't as reliable as he thought. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he'll finally be able to piece together his best friend's story. And maybe have a chance to change his own. Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.

4: The Last Vampire Vampire by Seth Grahame Smith

I am probably the only one who enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith. Combination of history and vampires? Score for me. So when I heard through a website I am part of that a sequel was coming out and that I had the opportunity to receive an advanced readers copy -- I jumped all over it. This book will be released on January 13, 2015. Here is the book description: In Reconstruction-era America, vampire Henry Sturges is searching for renewed purpose in the wake of his friend Abraham Lincoln's shocking death. Henry's will be an expansive journey that first sends him to England for an unexpected encounter with Jack the Ripper, then to New York City for the birth of a new American century, the dawn of the electric era of Tesla and Edison, and the blazing disaster of the 1937 Hindenburg crash. Along the way, Henry goes on the road in a Kerouac-influenced trip as Seth Grahame-Smith ingeniously weaves vampire history through Russia's October Revolution, the First and Second World Wars, and the JFK assassination. Expansive in scope and serious in execution, THE LAST AMERICAN VAMPIRE is sure to appeal to the passionate readers who made Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a runaway success.

What I Am Reading in the month of January

I have decided to set a reading goal for this year. Originally it was to read 100 books, like last year, but it became daunting and I did not see an end in sight so I lowered it back down to a goal of reading 52 books considering there are 52 weeks in a year and I can knock out a book a week. So with that said, here is what I am reading this month.

1: Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block

This book was released in 2002 and yes it is another book recommendation from the lovely boyfriend. The perils of dating another bookworm....but I digress. He reads true crime/mystery/thriller which I will admit I am not that versed in so I am glad for the welcome change. I am currently reading this book. Here is the book description: Nobody knows better than Matthew Scudder how far down a person can sink in this city. A young prostitute named Kim knew it also—and she wanted out. Maybe Kim didn't deserve the life fate had dealt her. She surely didn't deserve her death. The alcoholic ex-cop turned p.i. was supposed to protect her, but someone slashed her to ribbons on a crumbling New York City waterfront pier. Now finding Kim's killer will be Scudder's penance. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the slain hooker's past that are far dirtier than her trade. And there are many ways of dying in this cruel and dangerous town—some quick and brutal ... and some agonizingly slow.

2: Level 26: Dark Revelations by Anthony E Zuiker

Another book series recommended by the boyfriend. This is the third and final book in the Level 26 trilogy created by the visionary of CSI. Yes the television show on CBS. This book was released in December 2011 and here is the book description: The conclusion to the groundbreaking Level 26 trilogy, a series of edgy, unconventional thrillers about an FBI operative tasked with the ultimate search-and-destroy mission: to take down the world's most dangerous serial killers.Anthony E. Zuiker's Level 26 novels have blazed a highly successful interactive trail, with a groundbreaking cross-platform combination of novel, Web site, and hi-def video: There are more than 100,000 registered users on Level26.com, all of them eager to see what happens next. And for the finale to his trilogy, Zuiker has outdone himself. In Dark Revelations, Steve Dark faces the most intricate, intense, and explosive case of his career. The killer calls himself Labyrinth, and the riddles, puzzles, and wordplay with which he announces his new targets have caused a worldwide media sensation. The case has already claimed a number of highprofile individuals as victims-not to mention several government agencies, which have tried and failed to stop a growing global panic. But what point is Labyrinth trying to make? Who will be his next victim? It's up to Dark to assemble a team from among the smoking rubble of the international crimesolving community, find Labyrinth wherever he may be, and put a stop to the mayhem, once and for all. Can Steve Dark solve the biggest riddle of them all? Only time will tell.

3: The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame Smith. See under January Releases about this book.

4: How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larabalestier

I do not remember exactly where I heard about this book but the question remains -- if you have a fairy, why would you want to ditch he or her? That is the question that ran through my head when I saw this title/heard about this book. This book was released in September 2009 and here is the book description: Everyone in New Avalon has a fairy. Though invisible, a personal fairy is vital to success. It might determine whether you pass a math class or find the perfect outfit. But all fourteen-year-old Charlie can do is find parking spaces—and she doesn’t even drive. At first, teaming up with Fiorenza (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy) seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart’s desire, she’ll have to resort to extraordinary measures to ditch her fairy.

There you have it. These are the January releases I am excited about as well as what I am reading in the month of January. All of these books can be found at your local bookseller or conveniently right on Amazon or Book Depository. Happy reading!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Goals and the Mantra of "I am Off Duty"

Some questions I asked myself while I wrote my 2015 goals list which will be posted after I write this were:

1. What am I bored of?
2. What do I want more of?
3. What can I let go of?
4. What would give me peace of mind?
5. What am I devoted to?

Here are my personal answers.
1. I am bored of compulsively checking my Facebook to see if my statuses or what I post is either liked or commented on. I remember back in 2003 when I visited Paris, France -- I was not tethered to my telephone or my computer. I walked around, took in the sights and smells of the city, and just enjoyed my time in the present. While I did miss that instant communication, which was not rampant like it is nowadays, it was freeing. The fact that I was enjoying myself and not giving a care (the fuck it attitude that my nerdy bff Veronica and my boyfriend try to instill in me) was a welcome enjoyment. I need that back in my life.

2. I want more spontaneity in my life. I live my Monday through Friday life as a routine -- wake up, talk to my love as he is going to work, get ready for work, go to work, come home, so on and so forth. I am a creature of habit and if that habit is broken, things go haywire, i.e. me falling in my schools cafeteria causing me to bunk my head on the concrete floor and sustain a mild concussion. Now just because my Monday through Friday life is a routine one does not mean my weekends should be. The only routine thing my weekends should be is my lovely Humira shot and methotrexate pills as well as seeing/talking to my George. Other than that, if something just comes up -- I will learn to say yes.

3. I can let go of the feeling that I always need to be "on duty" and that if one of my friends is mad, he or she will be glad again. (Love that bit of advice that I received from my George). Sometimes I need to learn to say no and that if I am having my own issues; that I can not be there 24/7. It also works both ways -- if I am having my own issues, which I do, I need to know that I can depend upon my friends and believe me I do know who is there for me.

4. I think learning that just because my friends or family do not message or text or call me all the time does not mean that they do not love me. That will give me peace of mind. For some strange unbeknown reasons, I got it into my head that unless my phone is "blowing up", that I am not loved. Things/shit happen to people all the time. As long as I hear from them, I should be fine. The only person I need to hear from every day knows who he is and he makes me feel amazing and loved every day. The only thing I will say is that I am tired of the constant initiation I need to do or the lack of attention I receive. If I took the time out to send you a message say hello, get back to me somehow. Do not leave me hanging. That is a pet peeve of mine.

5. I am devoted to writing more blog posts in the future as well as the possibility of getting back into book reviews. I am not going to put a deadline or a time frame on this but if I feel the need to write/blog, I will do it more.

With that being said, here are my 2015 goals. I do not say "resolutions" as I feel that word already will lead me into failure world.

1. Keep a positivity journal. Write down every time something happens to me that makes me feel good — a friendly comment, a gift I get, unexpected luck, etc. At the end of the year I will have a journal of positivity and happy memories.

2. Read one book a week. (0/52)

3. Start my day with a positive thought at work. Utilize my 2015 Happy Notes calendar for this.

4. Watch 100 movies. (0/100)

5. Unless on the computer with George via Skype, get off the computer at 9pm.

6. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

7. Attempt to go to bed every night at 11pm and wake up at 6am every day.

8. Take a class at Havens Kitchen

9. Starting January 1, 2015 — DO NOT USE THE AMERICAN EXPRESS CREDIT CARD. Learn the power of a budget and necessities.

10. Save $50,000 by December 31, 2015

11. Do not be so “on duty”. People should come to me not just to solve their problems. Start saying no more often.

12. Complete a A-Z Author Reading Challenge.

13. Finally get my drivers license!

14: Create a Positive Quote Album on Facebook and post one every day for 365 days.

15: At end of my workday, write down three positive things/what I am grateful for.

What about you? What are your goals for the new year?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Did I Accomplish My 2014 New Years Goals?

As 2014 winds down, with The Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy Channel playing in the background, I thought I would check back on my 2014 Goals. Here is what I have done, what I have not done, and if not done will be placed on the 2015 Goals list.

Dani’s 2014 (Two Thousand and Clean!) Goals

Starting: January 1, 2014
Ending: December 31, 2014

(If in bold it means that it has started and in progress. If it had a line through it it is complete or something happened and I did not complete it.)

Read 100 books (57/100)
--Black Hole by Charles Burns
--Divergent by Veronica Roth
--Fairest Volume 2: The Hidden Kingdom by Bill Willingham
--The Walking Dead Volume 15: We Find Ourselves by Robert Kirkman
--Locke and Key Volume 2: Head Games by Joe Hill
--Harley Quinn: Preludes and Knock Knock Jokes by Karl Kesel
--Morning Glories Volume 6: Demerits by Nick Spencer
--Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
--To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
--Mind Mgmt Volume 1: The Manager by Matt Kindt
--Stripping and Other Stories by Pagan Kennedy
--All Star Superman by Grant Morrison
--Robyn Hood: Wanted by Pat Shand
--Dominique Leveau Voodoo Child: Requiem by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds
--Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
--Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabios Moon
--The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
--Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman
—X Men: Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont
—Sorcery and Cecilia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
—The Kingdom of Wrenly: The Lost Stone by Jordan Quinn
—The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
—Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
—The Walking Dead Volume 16: A Larger World by Robert Kirkman
—I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly
—Catwoman: Her Sisters Keeper by Mindy Newell
—Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Vampires/Werewolves/Zombies/Demons by Pat Shand
—Harley Quinn: Night and Day by Karl Kesel
—Fun with Kirk and Spock (A Parody) by Robb Pearlman
—Catwoman: Death of the Family by Ann Nocenti
—Suicide Squad Volume 2: Basilisk Rising by Adam Glass
—Wonder Woman: Odyssey by J. Michael Straczynski
—Where’s My Happily Ever After? by Elle Kay
—The Walking Dead Volume 17: Something to Fear by Robert Churchman
—Ame-Comi Girls Vol. 1 by Jimmy Palmiotti
—I, Vampire Volume 1: Tainted Love by Joshua Hale Fialkov
—Sin City: A Dame to Kill For by Frank Miller
—I, Vampire Volume 2: Rise of the Vampires by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andrea
Sorption
—Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
—The Walking Dead Volume 18: What Comes After by Robert Kirkman
—Over Easy by Mimi Pond
—Huntress/Power Girl Worlds Finest Volume 1: The Lost Daughters of Earth 2 by
Paul Levitz and George Perez
— Manga Classics Presents Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
— Catwoman: No Easy Way Down Volume 2 by Ed Brubaker
— The Walking Dead Volume 19: March to War by Robert Kirkman
— Night Passage by Robert B. Parker
— On My Knees by Periel Aschenbrand
— Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
— The Walking Dead Volume 20: All Out War by Robert Kirkman
— Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony E. Zuiker
— The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. Parker
— Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
— Marie Antoinette Serial Killer by Katie Alender
— The Walking Dead Volume 20: All Out War by Robert Kirkman
— Level 26: Dark Prophecy by Anthony E. Zuiker
— A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Watch 50 movies (26/50)
--Her starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johannson
--Ride Along starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube
--Violet and Daisy starring Saorise Riordan and Alexis Bledel
--I, Frankenstein starring Aaron Eckhart
--The Lego Movie starring Will Arnett and Elizabeth Banks
--Mr Peabody and Sherman starring Ty Burrell and Max Charles
--Tiger Eyes starring Willa Holland and Amy Jo Johnson
--Heathers starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater
--Muppets Most Wanted starring Ricky Gervais
—A Haunted House starring Marlon Wayons and Jamie King
—The To Do List starring Aubrey Plaza
—American Mary starring Katherine Isabelle
—Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie
—Thanks for Sharing starring Mark Ruffalo
—That Awkward Moment starring Zac Efron
—About Last Night starring Kevin Hart
—Guardians of the Galaxy starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana
—Grudge Match starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro
—Sin City: A Dame to Kill For starring Mickey Rourke and Jessica Alba
—Under the Skin starring Scarlett Johannson
—Dead Still starring Ben Browder
—Austenland starring Keri Russell
—The Shining starring Jack Nicholson
—Kill The Irishman starring Ray Stevenson and Christopher Walken
—The Other Woman starring Cameron Diaz
—National Lampoons Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase

Attempt to go to bed every night at 11pm and wake up at 6am every day. (Yeah...this sort of happened...not every day though)
Laugh at myself more often. Stop taking everything so seriously. (Another thing I need to work on.)
Save up enough money for either an iPad or a Alexander McQueen scarf for my birthday. Birthday passed. Didn’t get either. Its all good.
Participate in a Photo 365 Project on Facebook. (Granted I would forget and not post on the particular day but I did it.)
Write more in a journal. (Did this too. Not as much as I should have, but again something to work on.)
Try a yoga class. If I like it, will continue. If not, that is okay. (Nope. Didn't even attempt. Will not add to 2015 goals list)
Take a class at Havens Kitchen (Something else I did not attempt as their classes are expensive and I did not want to go by myself.)
Experience one of the Side Tours in NYC. (Same reason as the Havens Kitchen reason)
Ask everyday on Facebook before I go to bed “So what was the best part of your day?” Keep a log of the best responses for a new blog feature. (I did this for a while but it did not catch on. Oh well.)
At end of my workday, write down three positive events/what I am grateful for. (For whatever particular reason, I stopped doing this. I do not know why. I will start this up again.)
Walk across and back over the Brooklyn Bridge. (Again, I always write this and NEVER DO IT because of the fear of doing it alone.)
Read a fact a day from Love, Sex, Death, and Words by John Sutherland (The facts got somewhat boring but I think I will start this up again.)
Continue to study French, even if I am not taking classes at FIAF.


EVENTS IN 2014
--Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl X Experience at Discovery Times Square (2/1/14)
--Jersey Championship Wrestling in Edison, NJ (3/14/14)
--Heathers The Musical in NYC (3/22/14)
--WWE Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans, LA at Mercedes Benz Superdome (4/6/2014)
— Pro Wrestling Syndicate in Rahway, NJ at Center Circle (4/26/2014)
—Jersey Championship Wrestling in Middletown, NJ (5/10/2014)
—Screaming Females at Brooklyn Night Bazaar in Brooklyn, NY (5/16/2014)
—NYC Zombie Crawl in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (5/25/2014)
—Pro Wrestling Syndicate in Rahway, NJ at Rahway Rec Center (6/7/2014)
—Lindsey Stirling in Sayreville, NJ at Starland Ballroom (6/20/2014)
—TNA Impact Wrestling in NYC at Grand Ballroom (6/26/2014)
—Dita Von Teese Strip Strip Hooray at Gramercy Theatre (9/20/2014)
—Robert Kelly at Gotham Comedy Club (10/17/2014)

So, how was your 2014?

2014 Best Pop Culture Favorites As According to Moi

With some inspiration from Stephen King, I asked myself this question -- Did I have a great year pop culturally speaking? I would have to say yes; and this years list includes only things I enjoyed in 2014 and that is fine. Here is a list of 15 things that made me squee with fandom. Please remember -- I am more interested in entertaining myself than in a OMG this is a great moment/statement. So let us get this ride started.

15: The book Red Rising by Pierce Brown. This was the little book that could if you are a dystopian reader. This book was highly underrated. It is a trilogy and this is the first book. Please look beyond the unfortunately inevitable comparison to The Hunger Games. Here is the book description: On desolate Mars, the protagonist, Darrow, is caught in a class system that thrives on oppression and secrecy. He is a Red, the lowest member of society, born to toil in the bowels of the planet in service to the sovereign Golds. When Darrow suffers a devastating loss and betrayal he becomes a revolutionary, taking on a dangerous role in an attempt to bring about social justice. Questions of fate, duality, and loyalty, evolve in a cruel test of war between the sons and daughters of the ruling elite. By turns brutal and heartfelt, Red Rising is nonstop action with surprising twists and unforgettable characters

14: Scarlett Johansson being a bad ass in the movies Lucy and Captain American: The Winter Solider.

13: Guardians of the Galaxy. Do I need to say anything else?

12: The episode "The Sign of Three" of Sherlock.

11: The music service app Spotify. I started using it more instead of Pandora as it has more of a selection and it has helped me find music that I haven't heard in a long time to creating mix CD's for my love and friends. If you haven't used it, give it a shot.

10: The book The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. David Mitchell weaves a story like no other writer today. Bouncing around through time, making the early 80's come to life just as easily as making the not-so-distant future terrifyingly real. The characters are what keep you reading through the endless pages. Lucky us--the ending promises to revisit many of them in the next go-around. Highly recommended to David Mitchell fans, but newbies should start with his earlier work.

9: Getting really into the Funko Pop figures to the point that I actually pre-ordered the Dancing Groot one.

8: Pausing to "look at the flowers". It happened on The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy that just speaks of the allusion from the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men and that made my inner bookworm squee.

7: The Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. This trilogy is considered to be nontraditional science fiction and how could you not enjoy these plots: The first book trails a team of women chosen (sacrificed?) for an exploration of Area X. The second investigates the aftermath of the expedition from the halls of a broken, festering government. And the third? It ties everything together, forming the crux of VanderMeer's deeply unsettling philosophical argument. If you have not read this trilogy yet, get your hands on it in 2015.

6: The complete shock that Jax Teller kills Wayne Unser on Sons of Anarchy in the second to last episode of the series. Now of course I expected Jax (Charlie Hunnam) to kill Gemma (Katey Sagal) due to the fact her lie and deceit about the murder of Tara was perpetuated by her but Jax putting a bullet in Unser (Dayton Callie), who refused to leave the two alone, turned some fans against Jax and made a bunch of us question WTF? It wasn't just the most shocking moment of the final ride, it was the most shocking moment of the entire series, at least for me.

5: I fell into the hype of the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and will say that the movie was better than the book. Maybe I should update that blog piece? I certainly get why some fans of the novel, which I am not, walked out of the theater disappointed. Movie adaptations never mesh with the way we envision characters on the page. But I will admit -- I enjoyed the adaptation put forth by David Fincher better. I loved it as a bleak account of modern love after it's curdled, as a wicked satire of cable-news scandal-mongering, and as just a good old-fashioned dark-as-hell thriller. Fincher's film managed to tease us, play with our loyalties, and sucker punch us with surprise twists most of us already knew that they were coming.

4: Something else from Sons of Anarchy -- the song "Come Join the Murder" by The White Buffalo and Forest Rangers. It was perfect as Jax found peace in death; the same way Hamlet did.

3: This isn't something that I would consider to be the best pop culture favorite but it brought to light that even though you make others laugh and smile and appear to be happy does not necessarily mean that you are and that everyone needs help -- the suicide of Robin Williams. This news came to a complete shock to everyone, including myself. I remember stepping out of my room and telling my family and the look of WHAT across their faces was the look the entire world had. If you know anyone who is suffering from mental illness, please make sure to reach out to them to make sure they are okay.

2: This was the year that staying dry was a challenge. Yes I am talking about the damn ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I did not participate as my body would have hated it due to my disorder but it was nice to see a cause go wildfire. I just hope the money raised for ALS actually got there.

And the best pop culture favorite for 2014 goes to...

1: THE BUTT. Sir Mix-a-Lot should really consider a career as a trend forecaster. The rapper was way ahead of his time when he proclaimed his love for a juicy booty in his one hit wonder "Baby Got Back,'' because 2014 will undoubtedly go down as the Year of the Backside. Jason Derulo's ''Wiggle'' encouraged big butts to shake. Meghan Trainor defied those body-image expectations with ''All About That Bass.', even though you should consider yourself beautiful regardless of your size. Nicki Minaj even sampled ''Baby Got Back'' on ''Anaconda.'', much to my smirk and smacking my head. Then there was Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's duet, ''Booty,'' in which the video was basically the U.N. Summit of Ladies With Well-Endowed Cheeks. Plus, how can we forget Charlie Hunnam revealing his rump on Sons of Anarchy a lot this year and had the Parents Television Council crying and most of the Internet cheering. But why all of this focus on the rear? It's not rocket science — we have been working our way down the body. In the '90s, boobs were huge, both literally and figuratively. We moved on to abs in the 2000s, with Britney Spears displaying her midriff whenever she had the chance. Enjoy your time in the sun, butts. Hollywood can be fickle. Maybe in 2015, legs will get a shot!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Haul 2014

As I have some Food Network playing on my television in the background, I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to write up my 2014 Christmas Haul. It has been a crazy festive time. Donated clothes to The Bowery Mission, wore a reindeer sweater to work, drank copious amounts of peppermint hot chocolate, visited various holiday windows, and wore mistletoe. I think because I work in Kindergarten as well as finding my true love is the reason why this holiday season for me has been magical. I want to wish you all a festive day! For myself, today is all about my wonderful family, the food that my mom has prepared for us, and enjoying each others' company. I also cannot wait to share the joy! My wish for all of you that read my blog is that you are surrounded by loved ones and have a wonderful, relaxing day. Happiest holiday to you. With all of this being said, here is what I received this year. Please do not think I am rubbing it in -- I do know the true meaning of the season.

From Myself (Yes I bought gifts for myself. Do not judge.)
--Anchor knee high socks from Sourpuss Clothing
--Stars and skulls knee high socks from Kreepyville Clothing
--Ouija board knee high socks from Too Fast Clothing
--Black athletic striped tube socks from Amazon.
--Clinique Almost Powder Makeup in Fair
--Maybelline Master Smoky eye pencil in Smoldering Violet
--Farscape IASA t-shirt from Think Geek
--Doctor Who Tardis over the knee argyle socks from Think Geek
--The UK Edition of My True Love Gave To Me book edited by Stephanie Perkins
--A skull open cardigan
--A Weeping Angel Statue of Liberty
--A Doctor Who TARDIS cardigan


From My Family
--A classic peacoat in black
--The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm (that I must share with my brother)
--The Book of Excuses and Lies

From George
--Flowers in a stocking boot.
--His horseshoe ring that fits perfectly on my left hand....hmmm....
--A heart locket necklace
--A Hershey's Kiss pendant (the kiss that last forever)
--A Sons of Anarchy thermal
--Revival by Stephen King
--A black and gold charm bracelet that I can add to if I wish
--A Woodland Walk, Sundried Linen and Mountain View candle
--Four handmade wooden pins
--A teddy bear Christmas ornament
--A skull and crossbones bandana

From Fran in work
--A Hot Apple Cider candle
--A pair of heart earrings
--Nourishing hand cream from Avon

From my students
--A lot of chocolate
--An Alex and Ani four leaf clover bracelet
--A The Body Shop Clementine gift set
--A Pumpkin Spice candle
--Homemade cookies
--A scarf
--A LeSportSac makeup bag

Monday, December 8, 2014

"The Book is Better" Holiday Gift Guide

Today I decided to put together a mini-gift guide of books I have read and loved, because as always the book is better, divided by who in your life who might like them. Most, not all, of the books are fairly recent and have published in the past two years or so.

Enjoy and happy reading!

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For your advice loving friend: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

For your comedy fan friend: Yes Please by Amy Poehler Nine times out of ten, he or she has probably read everything written by George Carlin, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and Bossypants by Tina Fey.

For your crime/thriller friend: Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony E Zuiker

For your writing obsessed friend who just finished NaNoWriMo and wants to continue writing: On Writing by Stephen King

For your healthy tips loving friend: Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath

For your paranormal romance/vaginal fantasy fan friend: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

For your zombie fan friend: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

For your romance fan friend: Written in My Own Hearts Blood by Diana Gabaldon

For your graphic novel fan friend: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

For your comic book fan friend: The Joker: Death of the Family (The New 52) by Scott Snyder

For your dystopia fan friend: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

For your horror fan friend: Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

For your post apocalyptic fan friend: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

For your sci-fi/fantasy fan friend: The Silence of Six by E.C. Myers

For your historical fiction fan friend: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

For your non-fiction fan friend: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty