Saturday, December 30, 2017

Rainy Thoughts: Year in Review 2017



This post is more of an archive for me, but if you're interested in people's years, then keep on reading!



So 2017. This was a rollercoaster of emotion type of year for me. My year started off emotionally unstable. My grandmother passed, my dog passed, and my car died...3 times! On top of two jobs, full-time classes and my senior project, it was like the world was coming down around me and I couldn't stop it. I just watched as the embers of the evening sun slide behind the wall and the darkness came up and over my dreams.

Halloween 


The year also brought good memories though. Memories with family and friends. I ended up purchasing my new car, was nominated for the top senior project, printed a book, wrote another book, graduated college, got my first real paying job, moved to a bigger apartment, got my wedding dress and went to Lousiana where I gambled and won some money.

When I brought Civi home in February

I had a really crazy, busy, and all together, awesome year. I am somehow surviving juggling three jobs (not because I need to, but because I want to. I know, it's weird. Millenial thing?) I have some news coming up and new plans that I'm sure will make the 2018 year just as crazy. But in everything, I am always grateful for my family and friends and hope you all have a new year filled with lots of joy, tons of laughs, plenty of shoulders to cry on, and all your family and friends. Cheers to a New Year!

Cousins on Christmas Eve


Graduated in August


Hanging with friends after my grandmother's funeral 

Capstone celebration in April






         




Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Review: The Heart of the Night by Judith Lennox

Sorry about taking forever to do another review. I participated in my first NaNoWriMo, which was a very challenging expereince but I did it! And I plan on publishing my book in February so stayed tuned! Anyways, the book I'm about to review is another gem I found at the Dollar Tree. It might actually be my favorite book that I've gotten from there so far. It's been a while, so lets get on to my  review of The Heart of the Night by Judith Lennox! (SPOILER ALERT!)


A Little Bit of Background

Let's talk about the author a bit. So Judith Lennox is a German native romance novelist who has been writing for the past 30 something years now. Her sixth book, The Winter House, was her breakthrough novel for both in Germany and around the world. Three of her novels have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. 

Judith published The Heart of the Night in 2009. As a short overview of the book, it basically follows the lives of five unforgetable, individuals through pre, during, and post WWII. The two main people that you first meet and what the book revolves around are Miranda and Kay. Miranda lives a high and wealthy life with her father and one day her father dcides to hire Kay, a girl who always had just enough, to chauffer and watch over Miranda. The two spark a friendship and travel all of Europe until afrightful day arrives...and now you have to read the rest to find out!

What was most enjoyable

I really want to point out the fact that there were a handful of charcaters in this one book, but you never feel overwhelmed. The characters do not come out all at once, they have their time and moments when they come out. Having a ton of charcters can be hard to execute at times, but Judith does a great job at not letting the reader get confused and feel overwhelmed.

Another thig about this book is that even though it was a pretty long book, I still wanted to know more. The reader becomes entranced with these people's lives and event after event happens and it keeps you glued in and not wondering off into lalaland.

The last thing is that I really enjoyed the historical context. Being from the states, the only history I really know about the other countries, ecspecially the axis countries, is what I read in history class and what I watch on History channel. So it was a real eye opener to find out what the Prussians and the English and everyoe else went thorugh during this time.


What was least enjoyable

There wasn't anything I didn't enjoy about this book. The only thing I would say is that I was a bit confused when we meet the other charcaters, since we are only reading about two for 85 or so pages and then we get the point of view from another character, I was like, "who is this." But it was detrimental, it just might throw off some readers for a bit, but this book wasn't necesarilly not enjoyable because of it. Other than that, all was good!

Overall

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. I completely was imersed in it and I never felt overwhelmed with characters. I never forgot a chacrters name and I think the historical context was spot on. Love the visuals and I was glad for the happy ending. I recommend The Heart of the Night if you are looking for a great romance/adventure/historical book. Until next time, Happy Reading! 


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Rainy Thoughts: Nostalgia

So, I've been thinking about this blog topic for a while. I feel like it really resonates with me now more than really any other time in my life...at least for now. I keep seeing more and more nostalgic things come into play. Some of these things are MTV's 90's House, where a group of people have to live and dress like they are in the 1990's. We have comebacks of 90's shows, such as Rocko's Modern Life and the conclusion movie of Hey Arnold! We also have fashion trends finding their back, platform shoes and the acceptability of overalls. It's an interesting concept, but the fact is, there's so much nostalgia around us. I find this interesting and sometimes weird. But I have a theory to why there's so much of this nostalgia going on. At least of a couple of them.


Theory: Everything Moved too Fast


What I mean by this is, during the late 1980's to1990's, things were more tech-free, which in return makes people feel like it was a simpler time. Our parents weren't shoving pictures down people's throats on social media or texting and driving. We called when we did and we played games with each other in person. Then technology started moving at a very fast pace. We started getting iPods, AOL chats, Friendster. Then phones started becoming more affordable, then cars started getting smaller, and iPods started to hold more music. VHS tapes turned into DVD's that then turned into Blue-Rays and are now turning into 4K. When you think about it, our world has vastly changed in the past 20 something years. Shows are different, our food is different and our lifestyle has completely changed. 

When you think about it, Nostalgia comes from when we long for something or we miss something. Sometimes I think we miss too many things because so many things changed so fast. Right when we started enjoying one thing, it changed on us in sometimes a dramatic way. 



Now People are Making Money off Nostalgia


If people can make a buck, they will. Why do you think there's 80's and 90's show merchandise at your local Hot Topic, Box Lunch, Target, etc. Why are there so many shows making a comeback, such as  The Power Puff Girls, or continuations of old shows like Fuller House? Because it sells and makes money! People like finding out what happened to their beloved characters and how they would react in today's world. So people are selling it and they are making money so they will continue to feed us nostalgia. and we will continue to indulge in it.


In Conclusion


In conclusion, is nostalgia a bad thing? Not necessarily, it's something we feel tied too and that is perfectly acceptible. Everyone feels nostalgia from time to time. Do I think this generation likes nostalgia a little too much? I do, I think we are living too much in the past, and trying to make it current again, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Are people collecting money from nostalgia? Yes, they are and I'm one of their customers. Will nostalgia ever stop? Not as long as we have memories of the past and the internet. 

Well, I hope you liked this post and remember, there was a time when Hello Kitty had a mouth.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Book Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Hello everyone! Yes, I have finally gotten around to doing a new book review! I wanted to ask you all a question first, do you think I should switch to wordpress or even Wix? I've been thinking of doing this for a while now, but I can't make up my mind. I'm fine with a really simple blog, but sometimes I don't feel like I can be as creative with my blog. I also don't want to lose all my content. Let me know your thoughts or suggestions! Anyways, onto the review! (SPOILER ALERT)

A Little Bit of Background

Charlaine Harris is a New York Times bestselling author who has been wriitng for the the past 30 years. She published her firstbookin 1981 entitled Sweet and Deadly. She published Dead until Dark in may of 2001,which started the Sookie Steakhouse series that spanned from 2001 to 2013. The book went on that year to receive the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery. The series was then picked up by HBO and transformed the Sookie Steakhouse series into the popular show True Blood, which spanned 30 seasons.

The Dead unti Dark book starts off the Sookie Steakhouse Series by introducing the main characters, Sookie and vampire Bill.  Sookie is a small town waitress in Louisiana who has a peculiar ability. All turns upside down when the new vampire in-town shows up, along with a pecuiar string of murders.

What was enjoyable

There were tons of things to like about this book. One being that this was not a corny vampire book. It was like reading a murder mystery novel, but with vampires. It wasn't all Twilight, but it wasn't all Blood Ties, it was somewhere in the middle. 

Something else I enjoyed was that the auhtor does a great job at making a whole civilization out of the vampires and integrating them into the human world. Being a vampire normalish, though people still find it wierd. They drink blood at the cafes, they have thierown clubs ad they also have statuses, etc. It can definitly be hard to create world like this, but Harris does wonders with it.


What was least enjoyable

If you guys have read my other reviews, then you know that I am picky when it comes to dialogue. I feel that dialouge is key in creating a great book. Now, I didn't have a problem with the dialogue in this book, but when it came to the sex parts, one might say it felt awkard. "...turning his attention to my breasts. He toed off his sandals at some point."
(Side Note: I just don't find men in sandals attractive.)

The other least enjoyable thing was that there is a part where Sookie finds a stray dog. The whole stray dog part felt a little drawn out.


Overall

Overall, I liked this book. It was ike a littler roller coaster. I was really captivated at some point and a couple other points brought me down, but the good outweighed the bad for this one. I have actually been wanting to read these books, because I've always wanted to watch True Blood. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series, so more reviews to come in this series later on! If you are into vampire books, put this on your list of books to read and check out your local bookstore or library. Until next review, Happy Reading!




Friday, October 6, 2017

Rainy Thoughts: Community College

Hello everyone! It's raining once again here in Dallas and I'm loving it because my car gets a wash! I also love it, because rain really puts me in the mood to write (and to sleep). I'm still reading the book I started at the beginning of September, but should be done next week. I've been busy because I got a job! (eeep!) So between three jobs, I've been pretty busy, but I really want to keep up with my blog. Next week, I will have a new book review done, but this week it's another Rainy thoughts! Topic of the day: Community College.


"Oh, you went to community college, no shame in that"


This is one of the sayings I get when I tell people I went to community college. Why do community colleges have this weird rep? I personally loved my community college. Palo Alto alumni! (not the one in Silicon Valley). I learned so much and had a ton of opportunities from my professors. One of my professors had us all register to vote, had local politicians come in to talk to us and had us walk in the Cesar Chavez march as a grade. One of my other professors had us create a big event for the college, brought in professionals to talk to our class and we even got to attend a state conference. Going to community college didn't hurt me, it made me realize all of the opportunities I have in life.

"I just wanted to fy by my community college time"


Believe it or not, I wish community college lasted longer! I didn't just go to college and then leave, I made some good friends that I am connected with all over social media. The college also felt, just like the title suggest, a community. When I went to my 4 year college, it was larger and even though I ejoyed my time their, it just wasn't the same. Palo Alto was so close knit and everyone knew one another. 

"I just took my basics and went straight to a four year college"


Not too many people actually get their Associates degree, but I did. I know in this day and age, people think Associates are useless, but they do add some value. I also get to say I have three different degrees and that's pretty cool. I also walked the stage for my degree, along with the rest of my colleagues. I didn't think it would feel special, but walking that stage with my blueish greenish cap and gown, I felt pretty proud of myself. I was half way there. I wasn't able to walk the stage for my four year college, unfortunately because I graduated in the summer and I don't feel like going back after 4 months of being gone. So I'm glad I was able to walk for my associates.

Conclusion


No, going to a community college wasn't in my plan, but I'm glad I ended up their. Sure,  it's probably not for everyone, and if you get the chance to have your college paid for, then go to a four year college! But if you want to save some money, then try a commuity college. It's better than how some people percieve it to be. Who knows, you might just end up on a hall of fame wall!


Palo Alto Communication Majors Hall of Fame
(I'm 2nd row from the bottom, 3rd from the right)



Friday, September 1, 2017

Rainy Thoughts: Texas Strong


No, it's not raining this time while I write this. Though, it did rain pretty bad a couple of weeks ago south from where I live. Hurricane Harvey struck down the southern region of Texas, from Rockport to Houston, Texas. It's a pretty bad incident, one we weren't too prepared for. Luckily, Texas is known for it's hospitality.

Photo Courtesy of Time Magazine


When danger strikes us cold, it's a very tragic, yet realizational moment. During and post days of the hurricane, neighbors were and are still helping each other. There were strangers helping other strangers. People sharing their boats, their coats, directions and anything else they could. The cities that weren't affect have been collecting donations, starting fundraisers, volunteering at shelter and doing what they can.

Photo Courtesy of CNN


It's really times like these, unfortunately, that bring people together. Here in Texas, people and businesses have been supporting the victims of Hurricane Harvey for days now. Local grocery chain, HEB has been sending trucks of hot meals to people down to the coast and over to the Houston area everyday. Country stars and basketball players who live in Texas have been donating. There have been huge lines down at donation destinations and cities all over are opening their doors to bring people shelter.




It's time's like these that it makes me happy to live in Texas. Though, I'm sure most states are like this. Most of the country is probably like this. Why now though? It's because we are most vulnerable. We aren't democrats or republicans, we aren't black or white, we aren't anything labeled anymore. We are people trying to get out of bad situation together. We are families trying to take our babies to shelters. We are animal lovers, trying to get our pets out of the house. We are a community. When things like this happen, we realize we are all human, and we all want the same basic needs as everyone else.

Photo Courtesy of ABC News
Photo Courtesy of CNN
Photo Courtesy of CNN

I want to also thank the people outside of Texas who have helped out during this circumstance. As a quote I once heard from one of my favorite movies, "You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us." #TexasStrong


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Book Review: The Heist by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

Hi everyone! Hope all is going well! I mean to do this book review earlier, but as all things in life goes, nothing went according to plan. I just graduated and I've been crazy busy with work! I actually just got back from a small get-away (will be writing about it next week...at least that's what I'm planning!), so I have a day to actually relax and write some this book review. Now, this book is co-written by one of my favorite author's, Janet Evanovich, so when my fiance spotted it at the Dollar Tree, I knew it was a gem. Now onto the review! (SPOILER ALERT!)


A little Bit of Background

As for the authors, I've talked a little bit about Janet Evanovich from my last reviews on her Stephanie Plum series. If you would like to look at those, here is the link to one and two. A little bit about Janet, she has been publishing books since the early 90's. Her most famous series, and my favorite, is the Stephanie Plum series that is still in continuation. She lives in Florida and continues to do what she loves, writing. As for Lee Goldberg, he is not just an author, but a screenwriter, publisher and producer. He has produced and screenwrote many shows over the years, Monk being one of his most famous. 

As for the book, the premise is around FBI Special Agent, Kate O'Hare, who is constantly chasing down criminal mastermind, Nick Fox. Through some circumstances (don't want to spoil the whole thing), Kate and Nick must work together to take down a corrupt investment banker who is hiding away somewhere. Kate and Nick have to figure out how to work together, along with a cast of misfits who come along for the ride. 


What Was Most Enjoyable

  1. Reading the Stephanie Plum Series, I kinda was expecting something like that, but was hoping for something a little different. Luckily that is what we got. The story had a female lead who wasn't afraid, for lack of better words, kick ass. It's nice to see the female lead, in any type of story, not needing a hero for a change. Though it's romantic when that happens, it's nice to stir up the pot a bit.
  2. The characters were like-able. They each had their own personality that really stood out for the reader. There are a diverse set of characters that are detailed nicely and each stick out in their own unique way. Each character is easy to trace a portfolio in your mind. 
  3. The chapters were straight to the point. There are not long chapters, which I appreciated being busy and all. Even though the chapters are short, that doesn't mean this book lacks any detail. 

What Was Least Enjoyable


I really enjoyed this read, but there was one thing that I have to say that I did not completely enjoy. 
  1. The first chapter was not too catchy, but just catchy enough for the reader to keep on going after. I think it was the pace, but after chapter one, the story goes uphill and the rest is very enjoyable.

Overall


Overall, I was happy with this book! The duo kind of reminded me of Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps from Zootopia, but I'll let you decide on that. The Heist is the first of several books from the series. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the series soon. Happy Reading! 






Saturday, July 22, 2017

Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell

Let me start by saying, it's not raining today, but I feel it in my bones that it will soon.. hopefully because it's crazy hot here in Texas! So, this is my first time reading this book. I know a lot of people have read it by now, but it's my first time. In school, we read Animal Farm, an equally eye opening book. I was so happy to finally read this book and I immersed myself in it. So now, let me tell you a little about it (SPOILER ALERT!)



A Little Bit of Background

George Orwell is a very renowned writer for a number of his books, including 1984. Now 1984 was actually written in 1949. Orwell wrote this book because of what was going on with the world at that time (WWII, communism, etc). He wrote this book as a warning to all that man can easily become manipulated if the right people know how to do it. It's a scary thought, and after reading it, it's something that could and has happened before. 

The main story follows a man named Winston who knows that the world is not right, but is not sure hot to go about that. Everywhere he turns, there is a monitor or people watching him, waiting for the slightest move to send you to the "thought police." Those who go to the thought police are almost never seen again.

What Was Enjoyable

What made this book enjoyable in a scary kind of way, was how real it gets. There is a part where Winston begs the thought police to take his girlfriend instead of him, even though he thought he would never hurt her in any way. When you get down to it, if your scared enough and get pushed around enough, you too can will defend your life with another's.

The whole world in which this book takes place, in a dystonpian country of Oceania in 1984, is really interesting to have come up with. Though, probably wasn't that hard, considering the time period this was written in. There is a lot of details and things explained that tie together that make this book intriguing.

One last thing I had to point out that was more interesting and intriguing than enjoyable, was howthe government changes history. They change history, so that the present can be explained and no one understands the past. They change words too, so that people cannot understand the feeling of wanting to overthrow the government, because they won't know how to express it. It's clever in a bad way, but very thought provoking.

"If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say of this of that event, it never happened-that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death (Orwell 34)."

What Was Least Enjoyable

The only thing I would have to say, is that the beginning was a little slow, at least for me. The other thing was that there are characters that are at the beginning then come out at towards the end and you kind of forget their name and have to go back to remind yourself who this person is. Other than that, I can't think of anything else that I did not like about this novel.

Overall

Overall, I would have to say this is a pretty good book. There is a reason teachers might make your read this in school and there's a reason it's still really popular. The ending, I have to say, is pretty sad from a psychological stand point, but if you have not read it, then I won't spoil it for you that much. Definitely pick this book up if you have not already done so. Or maybe see the it on Broadway (haven't seen it so can't say if it's good or not). Happy reading!

Photo from The Daily Beat


"Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows (Orwell 81)."

Friday, July 14, 2017

Rainy Thoughts: Ramen and People an Analogy

Hey everyone! It's been sunshine and rainbows in Texas during the day, but at night, thunder storms have been going off like crazy! Anyways, I'm half way done with school and I couldn't be more excited and terrrified (job wise) at the same time. Also, found my wedding dress (squeal). I have been in college for four years now and never have I once felt like a typical college kid in regards to food. I love to cook and frozen dinners just don't cut it for me (except pizza, mmm Totinos!).  For lunch, it's a different story, I eat what is there. So I decided to make ramen, stove top.



When I was younger, my mom use to cook ramen for me when I was sick or just as a lunch. When she would make it for me, she would break up the ramen into little pieces before putting it into the hot water on the stove. I use to think everyone ate ramen like this, until I went to my bestfriend's house. Her name is Shelby and when she made ramen noodles, I was surprised to see she didn't break the noodles at all! She just plopped it in there all at once.

Another incident about ramen was when I went to my fiance's house for the first time. His niece was eating ramen without the soup part!Just noodles! It then hit me, while I was cooking the ramen, that ramen can be a analogy for people.

Different people like to eat the same things but in different ways. Some people like having their ice cream in a cone, some like them in cup. Some people like folding their pizza in a taco, some people like using a knife and a fork. And some people like using the stove top to cook there ramen, while others like the microwave. Some people even choose shrimp flavored ramen over chicken!

As people, we may look different, sound different, have different background, hairstyles and skin color. But mostly all of us like to eat chicken, some put soy sauce in it, some cumin and garlic, and some with basil and oregano. No matter how we cook it, we all like the main ingredient, chicken. Thus, we are people that like the same things, but maybe just a tad different, and that's okay, because that is what makes us unique. We should be embacing and trying out how amazing these different recipes are, rather than shewing them away because they are different.

Ramen, it's more than just cheap food, it related to life. Enjoi!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Book Review: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jan Gilman

Another book review is here! Can you believe it? It's about the middle of summer already! Kind of crazy. Seems like the older I get, the more time just likes to fly by. Hopefully it slows down, just for a while. Anyways, if I'm not working three job, or at school/doing school work, I'm at the book store picking out a new read. Here in Dallas, we have a huge flagship Half Price Books! If you ever visit Dallas, and you love reading books, you need to visit this place! I originally found this book at Target as a Target Club Pick, but wanted to save money, so headed over to Half Price. As usual, (especially at this Half Price), I found what I wanted. Onto the review! (SPOILER ALERT)!


A Little Bit of Background

 The Ice Cream Cream of Orchard Street was written by New York Times bestselling author, Susan Jane Gilman. This book was Gilman's debut novel in 2014 and has been praised by various publications, including Publishers Weekly and USA Today. Her book contains a story about a Russian immigrant girl during the early 1910's, whose family ends up in America, rather than Africa where they originally planned. Things get out of hand and she ends up becoming crippled on one leg due to an accdient. A Italian Ice man decided to take her in as his own and the rest is history.


What Was Enjoyable

First off, this book was hard to put down. I brought it with me to my summer classes and almost evrywhere I went, because a little downtown meant a little more reading. Gilman creates this portal, where you don't want to come out of. The writing style and story are to blame. You just want to know what happens next to this little Russian girl turned Italian. 

"His attention, it felt like liquid love, like apples and honey pouring down on me (Gilman 19)."

Second, you watch the character grow. The story starts off with Malka, the main little girl, and you follow her immigrant story until about 80 years old. Her story is incredible and her growth is fascinating to watch. You read how she starts to change and her attitude towards people and dreams grows and she grows, it's beautiful really.

Third,  this is an immigrant story you probably have not heard of. This is an ice cream industry story. I learned about things that I never knew, like how ice cream men, to save money, would serve there ice cream the whole day using one cup! That's crazy! Also, the way the Russians in the stroy talked about America, how the streets were made of gold and they give out honey and bread to everyone, it kind of made me sad, because I knew that once they went to America, they would feel so disappointed. 

What Was Least Enjoyable 

There was nothing not to really like about this book. The only thing was how sad it got in different parts of the book. How children girls were viewed only as assest, how parents only wanted their kids as meal money  and how we take for grantide chocolate now-a-days. I think a big things that made me sad was realizing, once again, that kids were not kids back then:

 "We set out together, my father and I: he in his black coat and the dark saucer of his hat, I tiny beside him, a small child dressed the way all children dressed in those days-like miniature adults-in a long frayed skirt, a little hand-crocheted shawl, my horrid gray coat (Gilman 14)."
But just because there were sad parts, doesn't mean they were bad. The sad parts were also very intriguing to read.

Overall

 Overall, this was an incredible book to read. It will make you laugh and it will make you sad, might even make you cry. It's an incredible immigrant story that takes you through a different time that we take for granite. If you would like a copy of the book, you can try your local Half Price Books, or pick a new copy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, or a local bookstore. Have a fun summer reading!

 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rainy Thoughts: Los Spurs

I happen to write these blogs when it rains or when it looks like it's going to rain. It's nice and kind of suspicious. Anyways, if you're into basketball, then you know that the Spurs lost last night to the Golden State Warriors. At the end of the game, everyone cheered and shouted for Manu Ginobli. He has played with the Spurs since he was drafted in 1999. Even though the Golden State was ahead, everyone appreciated Manu for all the years he contributed to his team. It's being speculated that this will be his last season, but it's still not been confirmed. Either way, those people in the arena, and those people posting about Manu and how they're still spurs fans, those are real fans. If you don't know Spurs fans, then you don't know real dedication, as you can see in the pictures below.

Spurs wedding. Courtesy of Spurs Twitter account.


Spurs quinceanera. Photo from My San Antonio Express News.

Photo from Instagram account @c_always_wright.
This made me think about how much I miss being part of my home team. If you've read my earlier posts, then you know that I recently moved from San Antonio to Dallas about a year ago. If you haven't, well now you know! There is a big difference in Mavs fans (Dallas) and Spurs fans. When I was in San Antonio, everyone, with the exception of a few, are Spurs fans and they aren't afraid to show it. There's Spurs merchandise in restaurants, spurs commercials from H-E-B (supermarket), and I always saw at least one person a day with a spurs shirt or jersey on.

Having  been in Dallas the last year and a half, I've noticed one big thing. Dallas is a beautiful and very cultured city, and its super big. With a city as big as Dallas, it's a little hard to feel apart of a smaller community. I can go days without seeing a Mavs shirt. This makes me miss my Spurs family. Yes, spurs family, it's a hashtag.

Spurs fans are the best, in my opinion, because no matter what color we are, how much money we have, whether we're democrat, republican, green party, independent, whether we are on the south, east, west or north side, at the end of the day, we ALL go honking when our team wins. We're a family. We all have spurs shirts, coyote stuffed animals and have painted our nails black and silver. And whether or not we're winning, we all shout GO SPURS GO!


(As a side note, Curry really needs to stop chewing on his mouth guard.)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review: Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich

My second review on the Stephanie Plum series by author Janet Evanovich. I know it's a week past my usual monthly deadline, but I had so much stuff to do this month school wise! I was nominated for top 5 best capstone (senior project) so I had to do a whole presentation in front of a bunch of people! It was scary, but I made it through. I'm actually turning my senior project into a book (stay tuned for that!). Anyways, enough with my update! Let's get on to the review! (SPOILER ALERT)



A Little Bit of Background

Janet Evanovich is a New York Times Best Selling author for plenty of her works. Her Stephanie Plum series started back in 1994. This book is her eighth installment out of 24 (I know, I'm a little behind). This book came out in 2002 and follows directly after the 7th book.

As for Stephanie, she is on another round about chase to find a missing mother and child. She ends up finding out that the person she is after and the mother and daughter she is try to find are connected. In Stephanie Plum fashion of course. 

What Was Enjoyable

Janet has done it again! This installment was another fun and laughable read. I kept wanting to read it and was sad when the day would end and I'd be too tired to read.The eighth book makes for another great sequel that still has all the laughs coming at you.A new character, Kloughn, was introduced who was kind of annoying, yet funny at the same time. He also fits in well with Stephanie's unique sense of friends.

"'.,.Maybe we can get fried chicken this time. Unless you don't want fried chicken. If you don't want fried chicken, we could get a burrito, or we could get a burger, or we could-'
I made crackling sounds into the phone. 'Can't hear you,' I yelled. 'You're breaking up. See you at twelve.' And I disconnected (Evanovich 93)."

Something the reader can enjoy from this book is that it feels a little bit different from the other Stephanie Plum books. It's not a bad feel either. There is a lot more Ranger, which is not a bad thing. I feel that Ranger is a more mysterious character, which he is, but it was nice to have him more involved and present with Stephanie.

Another notable aspect were the bad guys. The Stephanie Plum villains are usually very brutal, but these guys had masks on. They were dressed as presidents and in bunny suits. That aspect made these bad guys stand out a little bit. Lots of people are scared of people in mask (at least I know I am).

The reader will also enjoy the fact that her mother kicked a little ass in this book. Towards the end, she ends up hitting the guy in the bunny suit and keeps on driving. Like a lady.

What Was Least Enjoyable

Just like my previous review on Seven Up, this book has almost nothing to complain about. I think that only thing that I have to say is that I kind of missed Morelli being Stephanie's knight in shining cop car. Even though her relationship with Ranger was super hot, I missed Morelli. I was pleasantly happy at the end of the book.

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. Though I had a busy schedule, I really tried to find time to read this one. It was a happy, crazy, page-turner, and extremely funny book for an extremely hilarious series. I can't wait to read the next one and read more into this fictional, yet very relate-able character.

"Life is complicated," I said to Morelli.
"No shit, cupcake."
(Evanovich 101)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Book Review: Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast

 So this is the book I have been reading for class. I'm so happy to be reviewing this book for you. This is definitely a different type of book, one that I have never read. I bought this book at half price and I was pleasantly surprised when I found a note on the inside. This was originally a gift from a son to a mother. This book does deal with children and parents, so I'm kinda curious if I could actually trace the original owner of this book. Anyways, on to the review!


A Little Bit of Background
Roz Chast came out with this book in 2013. Before his book, she illustrated many other books and has had her cartoons appear in the New Yorker since 1978. She continues to write and illustrate to this day. This whole book centers around Roz and her parents before there death, the passing of one and then the other. Throughout this book, there is writing, but it creatively drawn as if her own handwriting, which may be the case. There are also comic strips that go along with the writing and give it more depth and more of a relateable feeling. 

What was pleasant

The whole story is kind of sad, because you know what is going to happen. That's the whole topic of the story though, death is inevitable and no one likes to talk or think about them or their loved ones dying. Chast has a great way of telling her parents story of death and it makes the reader feel, which is what all good writers want there audience to feel. I laughed, I got sad and I thought about my own parents and grandparents. 

Another thing that is pleasant about this unpleasant topic book is that it's real and it's relate able. Chast doesn't cover up her feelings with these false feeling, they're true. She says what she is feeling at the time and a lot of people can really appreciate that. 

Chast makes the reader feel like she is reading a piece of history. She uses poems that her mother wrote, along with pictures of objects that her dad had lying around and black and white pictures of her and her parents. This aspect also makes the story feel more real than it already is.

"He and I sometimes walked to the local candy store for a malted or a grilled cheese. Even though I knew he couldn't really defend me against my mother's rages, I sensed that at least he felt some sympathy, and that he liked me as a person, not just becuase I was his daughter" (Chast 32). 

What wasn't pleasant

Other than the  unpleasant topic, the whole book was pretty much very pleasant to read. One might wish, though, that Chast would update us on whether she's come to peace with her mom and if she's moved her parents ashes from the closet. She might to keep that private though, which is completely understandable.

Overall

This was a pretty good book overall. This is not a hard read, but it does revolve around a hard topic. The reader will be able to feel different emotions throughout the story and will not want to put it down. There is heart, heartache and a flow of emotions that you can relate to in your own way.



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rainy Thoughts: Homesick

Hello everyone! I have been so busy recently. I am a senior in college and I've been working on senior projects and what not. I feel like it's been a while since I wrote, but I know it's only been a little less than a month. I have been reading a book, but I have been reading it slowly, because it's for class. Once I finish that, I will write a proper review. Since I don't think I'm going to be able to finish and put up a good review on the book until the end of the month/next month, I thought of maybe introducing a new every now and then series called Rainy Thoughts, so here it is!


Homesick


So if you don't know me, I moved to a different city about a year and a half ago, partly for school, mainly for my now fiance (we get married next year!). Leaving home didn't seem like it was going to be a hard decision, but when it got closer, it became so hard. Now, I just started spring break, and besides going to work and school, I don't really have friends here who want to hang out with me outside of school and work. When I first got here, the first job I had, I made some nice friends who I hung out with. Now, I'm in a manager position at a different job, so I don't really hang out with my coworkers, and my friends from my old job don't communicate with me much. Maybe I should call them up...anyways, I find myself homesick often. At my second job, I freelance, so I don't communicate with people often, unless I'm asking them questions, which is all just business. 

Being homesick sucks. You constantly find things to distract yourself with so that you don't feel it. I know I read, write this blog, do word finds, scrapbook and DIY stuff, which I never really did until I got here, now I'm all over making my own random cards for people back home. I watch Judge Judy, and I go to stores to help me take my mind off stuff like that. But here I am, writing about being homesick. 

Hopefully we can move in a couple of years. I thought about it, even if I got my dream job here, I would still want to move back home. I miss my friends, I miss my family, I miss spending time with my grandma and grandpa because who knows when they'll pass, I miss watching my nephews and cousins grow up. I don't miss the humidity. I miss the people in the home in my heart.

Not going to lie, there are times that I'm glad that I'm away from everyone. That I'm away from family drama, drama in general, and I'm out finding new adventures and being able to experience a different way of life. Being away from home has made me more independent and has made me feel like I need to work harder. I have also become a great cook! I like my chill days with my fiance and our cat. I enjoy being, in what feels like a small world with my fiance. Being able to be away from our family has strengthened us and helped us grow a kind of bond that only people that live away there families might know. He likes being away from home too, though, I think he misses his home too every now and then, even if he denies it. It's nice to be away for a while, but it's always nice to come home. 


(If you haven't heard of Jack Johnson, he will definitely mellow you out and he's a pretty cool guy)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Book Review: The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood

Found another interesting book for .99 cents at a Goodwill! Just goes to show that you can find great books almost anywhere! Anyways, this took me a little longer to read, because school, work, winter break, family emergencies, blah, blah, blah, but I finished it! I am happy to be writing again. I find that writing can either take your mind off things, or help you cope with life changes. Either way, here is my review on The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood. WARNING: Spoiler Alert!

A Little Bit of Background

 Benjamin Wood is an author and a Lecturer at Kings College. He grew up in Northwest England. This was his first publication, which won him a series of awards, including Costa First Novel Award. The novel is a British book, and has different spellings and narratives, such as using (' ') when someone is talking rather than (" "). The book is set in Britain with references to different scholarly figures.

This book is about a young adult named Oscar, who works at a nursing home and is best friends with the patients. Oscar finds himself acquainted with a young, well off girl with her brother and friends. After a while, you find out that her brother, Eden, really enjoy music, a little too much music. This book integrates the idea of music therapy with psychoanalysis and the whole story is set from there.


What was enjoyable

I have to say, I thought this book was going to be about experimental treatments at an enclosed facility, due to the back of the book. I must have read it wrong, but I kept waiting for one thing, but then it turned out to be a different kind of psychological thriller, which was rather pleasing and new to read.

The book has a little bit of everything fir everyone to enjoy, such as funny moments, sad moments, historical references and love scenes. There are times when you can relate to the character or the situation. Even if you can't relate, you can feel, such as when the two doctors of the book are silent lovers, yet they are both dying and won't confess a thing. There is also a big friendship theme to this book that can make the reader think of there own friends.
"The afternoons were for group photographs, posed on the rectory porch, all smiles and bunny-ears and arms around each other's shoulders; as well as quickly taken snapshots for which nobody was prepared, shut-eyed and funny faced. The afternoons were for sitting in silence around the big  wide patio table, reading books they found in the house; other times they were for contagious laughter, the sharing of jokes, silly ideas, idle thoughts; to speculate, to ruminate, to reminisce. Most of all, the afternoons were for the simple enjoyment of being together" (Wood 245).

I did not see the ending coming, and I loved it. The ending is a little bit gruesome, and one I didn't take into consideration. I felt that the book was going one way, but the ending was on point!


What was least enjoyable 

Well, this book does not get that interesting until chapter 3. The two chapters before that are introducing the characters, but it still seems a little bland. Everything starts picking up from the third chapter and it becomes a book you just don't want to put down!

Other than that, I don't really have much to say that was enjoyable. If the first two chapter don't grab you in,  don't worry, it get so much better!


Overall 

I feel like most will enjoy this book. This definitely has to deal with psychology and the psychological suspense that comes with that. It can be a little confusing at first with all the names, but there aren't that many, so you will get them all right after a couple of chapters. If you have the stomach to discover something out of your element, try reading The Bellwether Revivals, it will not disappoint.

"She made his life worth writing about. So he wrote it down the only way he could" (Wood 145).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Manga Review: Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma

I was on winter break from school and rather than starting a new book, I felt like reading through a manga series that I have been reading since I was in the 5th grade (so about 11 years). The Yotsuba&! series is known for coming out super slow, and after a 3 year hiatus, came back this past past year with another volume set. I was completely excited and went to different stores, until I found a Barnes and Noble who had two copies sitting on a cart that an associate was stocking the shelves with. I thought it would be a cool idea to do a manga review on one of my favorite series, so here it is!

A Little Bit of Background

Kiyohiko Azuma has been writing the Yotsuba&! series since 2003. He is known for his manga turned anime series Azumanga Daioh. Yotsuba has not been turned into an anime, but Azuma doesn't think it would really work for an anime, since the chapters are short. Yotsuba&! revolves around a 5-year-old, green-haired girl named Yotsuba. She can be seen with four green pig-tails, which is how she got her name (her name means four leaf clover). She was adopted by Yousuke Koiwai when he was overseas and the manga starts off with them moving back to Japan, making Yotsuba somewhat of a foreigner. The series is called Yotsuba&!, because she is always interacting with something or someone. It's her reactions that really make each chapter different, which is probably a reason why it takes a while to write a Yotsuba volume. Yotsuba is best known for it's character Danbo, the box character that is on top of this paragraph. Danbo can be see in various travel and toy photography. He even got his own little spin-off anime called Nyanbo!


What is enjoyable so far

 One thing almost any Yotsuba fan will tell you is that you can read an reread this series over and over again and it still makes you happy. Azuma has written this series to be something that can never get old. All the jokes are original and it's so interesting to see how Yotsuba acts in her surroundings, even if you already know. It's a nice manga to come home and read after a long day of school and work.

The next enjoyable accept is that it's enjoyable! Azuma captures the innocence of a child and it's so amusing. There are no really unhappy parts to this series, because much like the slogan says (Enjoy Everything!) Yotsuba finds the happiness in everything. There's not much drama or action or love interest in this manga, it's just fun!

Another thing about this manga that people can and ill appreciate are it's characters. Each character is unique in there own way, with there own personality. No two people are alike and trust me, there's quite a few people you'll run into with Yotsuba. Once you meet a character, you will eventually meet them again in another volume of another chapter. The more characters, the more different stories the manga portrays, which keeps the anime interesting.

What is least enjoyable so far

One thing that I have to say is that I would like an origin story. We find out in the very first volume that Yotsuba was found across the sea. What we don't know is the state she was in, how old she was, why she was left there, what Koiwai was doing overseas, normal questions any reader wants to find out. Having a background story might not be in the traditional Yotsuba way, but it would be nice to find out how everything came to be. This may not be something necessarily I don't like, but more of its a mystery kind of thing and I'm sure readers want to know.

The only other thing would be that sometimes Yotsuba can act like a brat and as I get older, those moments make me mad. Not sure if that bothers anyone else, but I know that all kids throw temper tantrums every once in a while, so I get why Azuma makes her like that sometimes.

Favorite Stories

Every manga, or really any pro long story, goes through phases of which character gets more screen time, or in this case, which characters Yotsuba interacts with. I have to say that the moments with her dad are just too heart warming to not pass up. Readers can be glad that Koiwai does not have a love interest, which is the way Azuma wants it to be, or else it would make it more complicated.

Overall

Yotsuba is a wonderful anime that any age or type of reader can get into. It is a manga you won't ever get enough of. Readers can be excited to find that Azuma is currently working on more chapters for Yotsuba&! and we can only hope it comes out soon! Overall, Yotsuba is a simple plot with a simple story and simple message: Enjoy Everything!