Monday, April 30, 2012

A-Z Mini Challenge #5 - Mother May I?

How is everyone doing on the challenge so far? I'm starting to realize that I need to start purposely choosing my books to fill in the blanks I have left. It seems like every book I have starts with S. I have so many books, I know I must have one for every letter of the alphabet. Let me know in the comments which letters you are having trouble with. :)

So since Mother's Day is May 13th, for this month's challenge, read a book with a mother in it. There's tons of books about families and familial relationships, so this should be easy. She doesn't have to be a main character, but should play some sort of role in the story.

So Lianne from The Towering Pile cleverly asked if "The Mummy" would count and my reply is... hellz yes. If there is a mummy in the book, you can use it. I want this challenge to be fun and easy. :)

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Picture Book Review & Giveaway - Literature for Babies

I love great literature, and I can't wait to share my favorites with my children. BabyLit is a new way to introduce the classics to your child even earlier.

Each book is written like an old-fashioned primer. Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre, and Pride and Prejudice are all counting primers. Alice in Wonderland is a colors primer. They are so freaking cute. It is a great way to introduce easy concepts in a different sort of way. Don't worry, the violence and sad things aren't in there. For example, Romeo and Juliet has only the sweet things like two lovers, eight love letters, and ten kisses. The Jane Eyre primer does allude to candles being left lit at night being very dangerous... I think my favorite in Pride and Prejudice is the "ten thousand pounds a year" and the "two gentlemen". We know how very important those are. Also, Elizabeth is wearing a shirt that says "I <3 Darcy" which is pretty awesome. The illustrations by Alison Oliver are absolutely adorable. Very simple and pretty. CJ's favorite is Alice in Wonderland because it has a cat, a frog, a rabbit, and a caterpillar. He's slightly obsessed with cats. I can't wait to use these next year as he learns his colors and numbers. They're super cute and will please both your babies and the book nerd in you. They are also available on your iPod and iTunes as apps.

Each book is available at Amazon for $9.99. I just found that they also have Dracula and A Christmas Carol, so I'm going to have to get those for him too. Click the images below for more information. Enjoy!

I will be giving away one of the books to two winners. You'll get to choose from Romeo and Juliet and Pride and Prejudice. Just use the rafflecoptor form below! 

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Friday, April 27, 2012

UPrinting Business Card Giveaway

Have you heard of UPrinting? They are a fabulous online company that helps you to make your own personalized Uprinting business cards, canvas prints, flyers, banners, etc. Pretty much anything you need for your small (or large) business, blog, or celebrations. Once I run out of my old boring business cards, I plan on using their services to get some more personalized business cards. You can get regular rectangular business cards or they come on different sizes and shapes as well. I love the ones below, especially with the rounded corners. I don't know why but rounded corners make me happy. You can use their postcards to make custom birthday invitations. I'll definitely be doing that once CJ's birthday party comes around.

Would you like to win your own set of 250 business cards? You get to choose from either 2x3.5 rounded corners, 2x2 rounded corners, 1.75x3.5 rounded corners, 2x3.5 leaf, 2x5 rounded one corner, 2x3.5 half circle, 2x3.5 oval, or 2.5 circle. Tons of awesome choices. To win, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!! a Rafflecopter giveaway  

"You should assume that I will receive free print products in exchange for the post. Any and all reviews posted are based solely on my own experience and may be atypical. Please practice due diligence in making any related purchase decisions.”
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie VS Book

So this weekend, I finally managed to get out to see The Hunger Games. And it was awesome y'all. LOVED IT. I even tried to do my hair in a Katniss braid. It worked for about 20 minutes. Also, I'm pretty sure that by crying less than 15 minutes into it, I broke my record of how soon I cried into a movie. What made me cry? When Effie told everyone to clap for Katniss and instead they gave the three finger salute. I died. DIED. As much as I loved the movies, there were some things that were either missing or changed. I thought I'd comment on what I thought of these differences.

Cato - I don't remember Cato being so talkative in the books. From talking sh*t to the other tributes to his little statement at the end about finally realizing he was never going to win, he was a talkative little fellow. And what was up with the relationship between Glimmer and him? What was she hoping? That by snuggling up to the big guy, he would spare her life? Kill himself so she'd win? I'm surprised he didn't just snap her neck while she slept. I also didn't expect to feel bad for him, but by the end, I did. His death was also slightly different. In the book, the mutts torture him for hours INSIDE the cornucopia before Katniss can shoot him, whereas in the movie he falls right outside the cornucopia and she is able to kill him quickly.

Katniss calling out for Peeta - One of my favorite scenes from the book is after the announcer says that two people may win if they are from the same district. Katniss automatically yells out "PEETA!" then covers her mouth, realizing she just gave away her location. I thought that this was when she first started to realize how she'd felt about Peeta all along. I was sad that all she did was whisper Peeta to herself. 

Katniss poisoning Peeta - In the book, when the announcer says that there is going to be a feast and there will be something there that everyone needs, Peeta makes Katniss promise not to go. Haymitch then sends some sleeping medicine so that she can go and get the medicine from the feast. Peeta's feeling of betrayal I thought was an important part of their relationship. 

Avox(es) - I don't know what the plural of avox is, but there weren't any. Yea they were there in the background, looking all weird. But we didn't learn what they were or how they became that way. I forget the name of the avox that Katniss knew, but she wasn't there. They skipped that part entirely. I guess it didn't really add anything to the plot, but I think it showed the savagery of the Capitol.

No Madge - They didn't show the Mayor of District 12 as having a child at all. Although I guess she could have been in the audience and not up on stage with her dad. In the book, she is the one who gives Katniss her pin, possibly knowing full well what it means. Instead it was just a pin that Katniss picked up at The Hob, gave to her sister, received from her sister, and then received again from Cinna. Again I guess it doesn't really drive the plot, but I think it would've been nice to see. 

The Control Room - Since the book is completely from Katniss' point of view, we have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. We only know what Katniss suspects is going on. I personally, loved the addition of the control room. It was cool to see Seneca sweating, trying to figure out what was going to do. I loved how they showed it all futuristic and touch screen-y. I just thought it was an interesting juxtaposition of them in that sterile room making these life or death decisions while children are out there being the ones fighting to the death.

District 11's Reaction to Rue's Death - This might be mentioned in the book, but I think it isn't until book 2 or 3 that they mention this. Or possibly on the train ride home as they go through district 11. I honestly don't remember. Again, I loved this added scene. When District 11 gave the three finger salute, I lost it. I'm talking Severus Snape dying tears. (Those are the big tears.) The man who I am assuming to be Rue's father freaking out was beautifully done. Who wouldn't react that way after seeing their 12 year old daughter be viciously murdered? It just showed how absolutely human these people are and how they are having their humanity repressed. Loved it. Oh another thing, they never showed District 11 sending Katniss some much-needed bread. It might have been hard to explain, but they could've added notes like they did to Haymitch's gifts.

Is Katniss pretending? - In the books, Katniss is pretty much pretending to love Peeta for the sponsors, to keep the two of them alive. I don't think it was quite as obvious in the movie. I honestly don't know how I feel about this change. On the one hand, I love Peeta and Katniss together. But on the other hand, it doesn't set up the ending properly. The book ended with Peeta asking Katniss whether it was real or not and then he tells her to let him know when she figures it out. I really liked that ending and thought it set up her confusion and the next book much better. I'm interested to see where their relationship is at the beginning of the next movie. 

Katniss Pulling Her Bow on Peeta - When the gamemakers decide that only one person can be victor after all, Katniss pulls her bow on Peeta and he tells her to kill him. In the movie, she doesn't pull the bow on him but he still tells her to kill him anyway. I think this was kind of important in the book because in the book she isn't yet in love with him and still has major trust issues. In the movie, it didn't seem like they were going for the same relationship. Instead they were focusing more on them falling in love so I guess it just wouldn't have fit in the story. I still missed it though.

The Mutts! - This is one of the things I was most sad about. In the book, the mutts (the dog like beasts) have the tributes face and possibly a touch of their personalities. Imagine Katniss trying to kill a beast with Rue's face. In the movie they were just monstrous and scary. Damn near gave me a heart attack when one of them jumped out of the darkness at Peeta. 

Peeta's Family - I missed this one too. In the movie, Peeta mentions his mother once when he says that she thought that Katniss could win the games. In the book, his family is much more important. We learn that Peeta's father was supposed to marry Katniss' mother, that Peeta fell in love with her the second he saw her, that she used to sing her father's songs, etc. There's just a lot more family dynamic between the Mellarks and the Everdeens. 

All in all, even with all these differences, the movie was still amazing. I loved the book and the movie and I can't wait to see the next one!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Playdates

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Characters of All Time

This is a tough one. I've read thousands of books in my life, and loved a great many of them. But let me see if I can narrow it down to just ten. Sheesh.
 Top Ten Favorite Book Characters of All Time

Sherlock Holmes - From The Complete Sherlock Holmes. I love Sherlock, in every single incarnation. He's like the Doctor, he just keeps changing his face and coming back just as awesome. I love all his weird little idiosyncrasies. My favorite moment is in one of the stories, when he tells Watson that he didn't know that the Earth revolved around the sun because it had no bearing on his everyday life. To him, until the day that the Earth stops revolving around the sun, there's no reason for it to take up space in his mind. I think it would be awesome to just delete information in our brains to make room for other information. “Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

 Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind and less importantly, Rhett Butler's People. The picture to the left is from my favorite scene and it depicts exactly why I love Scarlett. She seems like a silly, self-centered wench when in reality she is a strong and resilient woman. Are her methods a little crazy? Yes. Is she dumb to be in love with a man who is so obviously not good enough for her? Yes. But she works hard for herself and those she loves. She puts others before herself even when it seems like she is being selfish. She takes in and helps to care for the bride of the man she loves. "As God is my witness, as God is my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!"

Gemma Doyle from A Great and Terrible BeautyRebel Angels, and  The Sweet Far Thing. Gemma is everything I love in a heroine. She's kind, smart, a little out of the ordinary, doesn't really fit in but is very likeable. When faced with danger, even though she is a Victorian lady, she doesn't shy away from fear. Instead she confronts the problem head on, even when it is something as personal as her father's opium addiction. I've been wanting to re-read this one for a while. I think it might be time. I've written on my blog a couple of times about how much I love Gemma and the relationship that develops between her and Kartik. I can't really blame him for falling in love with her. She's pretty much perfect. “And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.”

Tyrion Lannister from A Game of ThronesA Clash of KingsA Storm of SwordsA Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons. George George George. Thou art the bane of my existence. I could write this entire post on the my top ten favorite characters from Game of Thrones alone. For those who haven't read the books, they are from multiple character points of view. One of those is Tyrion Lannister, the youngest Lannister, brother to the Queen, and oh yea, he's a dwarf. He is also the most awesomely bad-ass character in the history of characters. He doesn't take shit from anyone, including his wench of a sister and jerk of a father. He fully accepts what he is and what he is capable of. “My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer and I have my mind...and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That's why I read so much Jon Snow." Sheesh, I need to make room for Jon Snow on this list somewhere too. So much awesome. I still hate you George.

Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray. I love Oscar Wilde. He was waaaay ahead of his time. He was sarcastic and witty and had an amazing view on people. Dorian Gray is probably his darkest work, but it is my favorite. The story of a innocent young man who is corrupted by culture and inscrutable people, all while he doesn't age a bit and his portrait does. Oscar's writing will creep you out and have you laughing all one the same page. The story itself is actually rather sad, since Dorian starts off as an innocent and becomes a monster by the end. “You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.”

The Fellowship of the Ring from The Lord of the Rings. I couldn't choose just one character from Lord of the Rings, so I choose the entire fellowship. I love Gimli, Legolas, Boromir, Pippin, Gandalf, Merry, Samwise, Aragorn, and of course, Frodo. They each are brave and amazing in their own way. Tolkien's ability to create well-rounded characters and fully-fleshed out worlds is unsurpassed. “I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Phillip Pirrip (aka Pip) from Great Expectations. Pip has been my favorite character since I was a kid. He was always the literary character I felt the most like. No one has any expectations that he'll become anything, so he has to have expectations for himself in order to become something. And he does, all on his own terms (eventually). “There either is or is not, that’s the way things are. The colour of the day. The way it felt to be a child. The saltwater on your sunburnt legs. Sometimes the water is yellow, sometimes it’s red. But what colour it may be in memory, depends on the day. I’m not going to tell you the story the way it happened. I’m going to tell it the way I remember it.”

Captain Hook from Peter Pan, Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious YouthPeter and the Starcatchers, etc. I might be obsessed with Captain Hook. He's the absolute perfect villain. My dream is to someday write a book about him. I've got the start of it down, but haven't gotten too far. I love everything about him, except I hate the Disney version of him. Way too goofy. The way I imagine him was best portrayed by Jason Isaacs. Suave, debonair, and supremely evil. "After all, what would the world be like without Captain Hook?"

 Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby. In my opinion, The Great Gatsby is the perfect novel and Nick Carraway is the perfect narrator. He is the perfect everyman. He observes everything all while being a part of it and apart from it. He's watching a train wreck in Jay and Daisy and is powerless to do anything to stop it. “I wasn't actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity.”

Jon Snow from A Game of ThronesA Clash of KingsA Storm of SwordsA Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons.Wahoo! I was able to fit him in. I thought for sure I already had ten and he was going to be an extra, but he managed to sneak his curly-haired bastard self in there. I've already talked about my love of these books and my disdain for George RR Martin (because he is an evil, evil little man). Jon Snow is the underdog that you just have to root for. I hope that at the end it is just him and Daenarys as king and queen and they all live happily ever after. Do NOT ruin this for me George!!

So who is your favorite character of all time?

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