Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book Review: Dream Boy by Mary Crockett & Madelyn Rosenburg

I rated it 2 out of 5 stars.

Overview: Annabelle Manning feels like she’s doing time at her high school in Chilton, Virginia. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies. What she doesn’t have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming. Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just that—a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class.

One of friends suspects he’s an alien. Another is pretty sure it’s all one big case of deja vu. While Annabelle doesn’t know what to think, she’s willing to believe that the charming Martin Zirkle may just be her dream come true. But as Annabelle discovers the truth behind dreams—where they come from and what they mean—she is forced to face a dark reality she had not expected. More than just Martin has arrived in Chilton. As Annabelle learns, if dreams can come true, so can nightmares.

Review: Oh man, I really wanted to like this one, but I didn't. I think this is the first two-star rating I have given on my blog (one stars are reserved from books I can't even finish because I don't want to waste my time). So why a two-star? PREDICTABLE. Everything that happened was so predictable. The characters were so obvious, I mean cleary you can see who's into who. Everything is spelled out for you which takes some fun out of the reading. You would think with two writers on this book that they could have seen how predictable and obvious it all is.

Alright, I know what you're thinking, Michelle, give the book some slack, it is a young adult book for christ's sake not an American literary masterpiece. And though I do understand that this is directed for young adults, I think they should be challenged in what they read. They should think for themselves and come to their own conclusions. This was a 'fun' little plot book, but it was too obvious for my sake. I only read half and skimmed the rest. The more I buy books that I don't really end up liking, the more it makes me want to go to the library and just borrow books. However, I know buying books is a way to support the author, which is why I continue to buy them, but man, I keep getting disappointed as of late.

One book I wasn't disappointed in this week? Made For You by Melissa Marr. A review of that one will be posted sometime this week!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Random List: trips, traffic tickets, Blaire, and other randomness

This week has been so turbulent and out of control. It's just one of those weeks where you step back and think, What the hell happened? To which I have no answer. So instead of coherent blog post, today's will be a jumbled mess because that's kind of how my mind feels. Though I will make it into a list to make it seem sort of organized.

1. The last Bandol rose of the summer that Michael and I drank last weekend at his mom's. Luckily, we're heading into another 80 degree weekend which is a complete shock to me! I remembered last September was just rainstorm after rainstorm.

2. The hot and coldness of Blaire. Don't let that cute face fool you. Blaire's had a pretty turbulent week as well. Going from super affectionate, even sitting on my lap (which is a super rarity), to biting, scratching, and messing with the blinds. All I can say is, wow Blaire, like your life is so hard with the eating, sleeping, and sun bathing. *rolls eyes at his cuteness*

3. 'Junk food makes people depressed.' This was something I read in the elevator at work on a bad day. It was like someone up there knew I cheated on my diet. I'm such a stress eater. If anyone knows how to remedy this, please send thoughts my way. I'm not going to lie though, that spaghetti looks good.

4. On a healthier note, I did have a yellow watermelon for the first time! A coworker brought it into work, and as you can see I absolutely devoured it.

5. So remember that mentioned bad day I was having? Well to make matters worse I ended the day with a traffic ticket. I haven't had one since I was 16 years old. Now I don't know if I should just pay for it or fight it.

6. Da Nang, Vietnam is a GO! By the end of today Michael and I will be booking tickets to my homeland. That's right, my whole family is going back to Vietnam for the lunar new year. On a sad note, my grandparents are old and sick, which is the reason why my family has decided to go.

7. Today is Palaemon's 3rd Birthday! Congrats on another successful year in business!

*ends random list rant*

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail (Haas) McDonald

I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

Overview: Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?
Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

Review: I read this a few weeks back and forgot to write a review, so here it goes. Once again Abigail Haas has delivered another psychological thriller that seriously messes with your head. Normally I'm not into thrillers, but if it's written by Haas, then count me in. Haas has such a way of getting into a character's mind that as a reader you understand where they are coming from, even if they are dark and dangerous beneath the beautiful face.

This is one of those books that you completely devour in one read because you just have to know the ending. When I was reading this I was lounging in my bed during the weekend and Michael and I had dinner plans that night, but I was too engrossed to let go. And when I was finally able to wrench myself free I only had fifteen minutes to get dressed. It was that good.

If you want your mind messed around a bit. Read this book. I thought it was even better than Dangerous Girls.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Top Ten Influential Books

Thanks to the lovely Michelle at the The Sunflower's Scribbles for nominating me on this cool blog chain. Now I have to list the top ten books that influenced me (which is a toughy for a book nerd like me). Though I would just like to note that this list is 'as of now,' meaning I'm sure my list will constantly change and shift as I grow older, so please have mercy on my choices!
10. The Norton Anthology of English Literature
I know, I know. Dweebie move, but this Anthology is reminiscent of my undergrad days when I finally switched my major from Animal Biology to English Literature. I lugged this big giant book around for a year and I learned so much from it.

9. Stolen
This book seriously gave me stockholm syndrome and made me cry. Not to mention I am completely envious of Christopher's writing. Normally I'm not into thriller/capture books, but the first few pages hooked me and didn't let me go until I finished. For my full review on this book, click here.

8. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
This book really intrigued me as a teenager and continues to be a reread for me as an adult. Because the main character has amnesia, it was interesting to learn about her character alongside her, making you feel like you're in her shoes. I also really enjoyed the complexity of her love interest and the complications of him falling for the mc when she wasn't herself. It's a dynamic I don't see too often. Click here for my full review.

7. Just Listen
I love Sarah Dessen. I practically read all of her books in high school, but this one continues to be my favorite book of hers. Here's one of my favorite quotes:
“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you'd better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you'll never understand what it's saying.” 

6. Pride and Prejudice
Umm. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Enough said, right? I just love, love, love this book!

5. The Sun Also Rises and 4. The Great Gatsby
I lump these two together because they are the complete opposite in writing and style, but I love them both for those reasons. These were also two books I read in my junior honors english class that made me want to study the subject and be a writer. Then fast forward to college where I reread/studied these two books again and got even more insight and depth of these books despite their small size. Still blows me away. I am in awe of the writing still. Reread the first page of each side by side and you'll understand what I mean.

3. Twilight
Okay, okay. I know what you're thinking. How could I possibly go from American classics to Vampires? Let me just say I loved Twilight as a STANDALONE, not a series. I don't know what it is about Twilight, but I can still reread it and fall in love with Edward all over again. This was the first book that seriously made me swoon and I am not ashamed of that. Teenage me gobbled this book in a night. It also brings a lot of memories for me seeing as this was released when I was in High School and my friends and I just loved talking about it and sharing it with as many people as we could. I have yet to meet a fictional character to make me swoon as much as Edward. Perhaps it's because I'm older now, but nonetheless, I miss being so crazy and in love with a fictional character.
2. Harry Potter Series
Okay I cheated. This isn't one book, it's seven, but oh my gosh the power these books had on me. Never have I ever wanted a magical world to exist as much as the world Rowling created. I am so thrilled that I was a part of the generation that grew up with these books. It just goes to show how much books can affect us as the whole world was swept in its story. I'm not sure if a series like this will ever come again, thankfully words are enternal and as long as these books are around, this story will live on forever.

1. Flipped
This book will always have a special place in my heart. This was the book that made me fall in love with reading. It made me feel what words could do to the heart, soul, and mind. I read this book when I was really young and it made me cry within 40 pages. It blew my mind that words made into sentences, stacked in paragraphs across pages, could evoke emotion. I remember surfacing from the book and realizing my perception of the world had changed. That my friend, is magic.
To continue this blog chain, I'm going to pass it on to Lisa at Planning for Sun and Eva at In the Garden of Eva, both are fellow writers I met at Hugo House and admire greatly!

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Wedding Weekend Photos

Below are more photos taken from Michael's phone :] Since I love pictures on my blog, I decided to post them!

Friday, September 12, 2014

I jumped off a cliff.

Dear Readers,

I jumped off a cliff for the first time. Don't worry, I'm still alive. My ear just hurts.

Yours truly,


Alright, maybe I am a tad bit exaggerating, but hey, it was a big moment for me.

Last Saturday after Kristen and Noah's wedding, a group of us went whitewater rafting in the River Columbia Gorge, nesteled right in between Oregon and Washington. Never before that day had I rafted. Sure I had a little interest in doing it someday, but to be honest, I am a very poor swimmer. Like if you tossed me into an eight foot deep pool, I'd probably drown. Nonetheless everyone was super encouraging and I tightened my life jacket so tight I could hardly breathe. As long as I stayed in the raft, I would be fine. Right?

Josh, Me, and Michael in our wet suits.
After a few minutes in the river getting splashed with icy cold water, I thought, this isn't so bad. Then they made us get out of the raft and onto this high bank. They said we were taking a 'nature walk,' but let me tell you, if you fell off the side of the cliff during the nature walk, it wouldn't be pretty. It was completely understandable of course, seeing as the fall was a high category 5 and dangerous for us to ride. So one of the guides tied the rafts together and went down it himself.

Now we had to get back to the raft but we were on a sixteen foot cliff and he was below in the water. The guide with us on our nature walk told us we could either jump off the cliff and swim to the raft, or take the long windy 'nature walk' down (which was basically holding onto a rope and lowering yourself. It was equally scary). Being the water wuss that I was, I wanted to take the walk down, but everyone else was jumping off the cliff and being so supportive that I caved in to peer pressure. But I am glad I did because I am so PROUD of myself. I took the huge leap and jumped into the water. It wasn't very graceful and was super loud sounding because it hurt, but I did it.

The only bad thing? After the raft trip my ears were painfully water logged. Because I'm not a swimmer, I didn't understand the pain. It just felt so painful I wanted to cry. I spent the whole night blow drying my ears, hoping on one foot trying to get the water out, and laying on my sides hoping gravity would take it out. My hearing was a bit dulled the next few days, but I think it has finally passed.

Also, I didn't take any photos, but the next day we ate at Pok Pok in Portland at Josh's suggestion. It was the most amazing and authentic thai food I've eaver eaten. So do yourself a favor and go eat there the next time you're in Portland.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kristen & Noah

The long awaited wedding weekend had arrived! Last Thursday Michael, his friend Josh, and I made the drive to Hood River, Oregon. We came just in the knick of time to the rehearsal and was treated to a sneak peek of the venue.

Gorge Crest Vineyards

Noah and Kristen's wedding was the epitome of a perfect day. The love and happiness apparent on everyone's faces, the amazing weather, and the beautiful landscape was just the icing on the cake. I could go on about the wedding, but I think the few snapshots below speaks volumes.

There's always something magical about weddings. It brings people together to celebrate love, family, friends, and the promise of a lifelong commitment. It was such an honor to be a guest and I wish the happy couple infinite love & happiness.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Two-year Meet-aversary!

What a weekend! Michael and I got back yesterday night from a great weekend in Hood River, Oregon for a friend's wedding. You bet I'll post more about that later. This post however is a recap of Michael and I's meet-aversary!

As most of you know, Michael and I met in Paris on September 3, 2012. So every time September 3rd comes around we like to celebrate our chance meeting by going to a French restaurant. Last year we went to Le Pichet, but this year we went to Cafe Campagne right near Pike Place Market.

If you haven't been, I recommend it. It was my first time there and I was impressed. It made me so nostalgic of Paris.

 We started with a bottle of wine, escargot, and a salad (not pictured).

For the main I had mussels and fries. Fries were amazing because they were double fried just like I had them in Paris! They were also great to dip into the broth.

 Michael had the duck confit which turned out excellent as well.

To end the meal we had creme brulee.

Another great date night to be remembered for sure :)