Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Nerd List: October 2013

This is my list of things I’ve been obsessing over for the month of October!

Oh, and happy Halloween to everyone. Here’s to hoping you all get fat from the sweets you eat if you’re going trick or treating while I’m sitting here studying for exams. Or avoiding studying. Depending on what you view blogging as…


Books I’ve read this month:    

Book of the month

This is tough. I loved The Falconer, Madame Tussaud and The Ocean at the End of the Lane all so much, and gave each of them five stars. They were all so different, and I highly recommend all of them, but I’ll have to say that The Falconer was probably my favourite. Everything about it was excellent; I highly recommend it to everybody who loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and/or Poison Study by Maria Snyder.

Book Quote of the month

"A story only matters, I suspect, to the extent that the people in the story change."
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman

Book Boy of the month

I’ve got to say that I have a lot of respect for Henry from Madame Tussaud. He was so sweet and kind, and when he finally fell in love with Marie he was understanding and patient. Then, **spoiler alert** when he decided to move to England, and Marie wouldn't come with him because of her work, he accepted it, and told her that he would wait for her. And he did. He waited like fifteen years for her, and was still in love with her, and still prepared to go to the ends of the earth to make her happy. He was so cute.


Fangirl moment of the month

This month has been a bit of a non-event. I haven't really freaked out about much, except when Avril Lavigne's new song featuring Chad Kroeger came out. And then I had a pretty big fangirl session when Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth came out… But then my Kindle crashed, so I couldn’t read it. Which brings me onto my next point:

Facepalm moment of the month

My Kindle crashed. Like, it legitimately won’t even turn on. I cried. And then I tried to fix it. And failed. So I can’t read on my own Kindle - only my dad’s, which is the ghetto old version that’s about twice the size of mine and feels weird. Plus he’s about as pedantic about his Kindle as I am, so I probably won’t be able to borrow it. Hmph.


Song of the month

Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger did a collaboration on one of the new songs for her album. It’s called Let Me Go, and I nearly died when I heard it. I think I broke the replay button on YouTube because I listened to it so much.

Let me just add that they are two of my favourite artists ever. And when they have angelic-looking badass children who produce the most amazing music on the face of this earth, I will die in peace.

Song Lyric of the Month

"And since your history of silence won't do you any good, did you think it would? Let your words be anything but empty. Why don't you tell them the truth?"
- Brave, Sarah Bareilles


Movie of the month

I just watched The Big Wedding, and it was hilarious. I love it when a whole bunch of famous actors and actresses get together to do a really light-hearted, feel-good movie that leaves you feeling happy and fuzzy after it's over.

Tweet of the month

"I'm like 90% sure I saw a werewolf tonight...or maybe it was just Professor Lupin out for a late-night stroll in the woods?"

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Tempest by Julie Cross

Date Finished: 25 October 2013

Rating: 1*

View on Goodreads.

Get ready, everyone, because I did not like this book. At all. Please, put down your pitchforks for a moment so I can explain myself, and then you are free to stalk me and make me read it again as a form of torture.

I’m going to be completely honest here. When I picked up this book in April, it was only because I needed something to read in the car while I drove for seven hours to go on holiday. I didn’t end up reading it then – I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower instead – but when I did pick it up on holiday, I couldn’t even stomach ten pages. And that’s saying something. When I’m on holiday, I read anything and everything. I read the entire Twilight series, the entire Fallen series, and Forgotten while I was at the beach, which shows that my tolerance level for bad writing and soppy storylines is quite high when there’s sand and sea around me. But I couldn’t even get through TEN PAGES of Tempest.

I picked it up again on Thursday, because I physically cannot stand the sight of unfinished books on my bedside table. Unfortunately, because I read the first ten pages on holiday in April, I had to put my brain through the emotional trauma of reading them again. I nearly killed myself.

Let me just explain why I hated it, seeing as me telling you why I read it is only making me realize how much I need mental help.

1. The writing style.
It was awful. I felt so detached from the storyline, and I HATE it when authors do that. That’s the reason we read, isn’t it? To be dragged into someone else’s world and forget what it’s like to live on this planet for a little while. Well, Tempest didn’t do that for me. I mean, come on. The first line is: “Okay, so it’s true. I can time travel.” That is seriously lame. That first line is what makes you want to read the novel! It is supposed to grip you, turn you inside out, make you question the meaning of life! Not just, “Yeah, bro… So, like, I’m a time traveller…” No. Just… No.

2. The characters.
I could not stand them. They were so two-dimensional and boring. Jackson was useless at best. Holly was just pathetic. They had no strong emotions – and this could be attributed to the writing, which completely restricted them to the emotional level of a Barbie doll. Jackson was just so… dreary. I don’t understand. He finds out his dad is a member of the C.I.A., and he’s just like, “I think my dad’s a member of the C.I.A.!” No kidding, genius. And then Holly dies, and he’s just like, “I think I’ll just go back in time, now, and leave my girlfriend DYING instead of, I don’t know, CALLING AN AMBULANCE. OH WAIT she's breathing. Well, it's too late now BYE HOLLY.”

3. Insta-love
Insta-love has got to be my absolute worst aspect of teenage romance novels. It’s literary suicide. If you ever need a reason to set your hair on fire, insta-love is enough. It’s soppy and clichéd and ridiculous and completely ruins the romance. You do not need any writing technique or talent to write a novel with insta-love in it, and unfortunately, all we see is a tacky, irritating re-telling of Romeo and Juliet. We get it. We’ve all read Romeo and Juliet, we’ve seen insta-love at it’s finest, and it was beautiful and sweet the first time. Now it just feels like you’re recycling everybody else’s garbage and feeding it to us on a dirty plastic spork.

4. The ending.
Honestly, Jackson, you are absolutely pathetic. You didn’t even fight for your insta-love. You could’ve just left her for dead on page 28 and it would’ve been better than spending the WHOLE FREAKING BOOK FIGHTING FOR HER, AND THEN GOING BACK IN TIME TO PREVENT YOURSELF FROM EVER MEETING HER. Really? No, I am just so angry right now. I struggled through 334 pages of your stupid love story just for you to be an idiot. I’m so done. SO. DONE.

Never again. Never, never again.

I hate giving one star to books. I really do. But try as I might, I could not find a single thing in Tempest that could possibly give it a boost up to two stars. I think the one star was only because I managed to finish it without scratching out my eyeballs.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran

Date Finished: 21 October 2013

Rating: 5*

Before I begin, I just want to point out that it took me over a month to finish this book. Literally. I was reading it on the bus on the way home from camp. I have witnesses, who had to remind me of this fact when I brought it to school on Monday, still only having read a hundred pages.

I’m losing my touch.

Okay. Now we’re all just going to ignore that I ever said that and disguise our gasps of horror so that I can carry on with this review. If it doesn’t take me a month to write it *sob*.

Anyway… I'll keep it short and sweet for once.

Michele Moran wrote a stunningly realistic re-telling of the French Revolution. Told from the perspective of Marie, a young woman practicing as a wax modeler under the influence of her uncle, it artfully draws the reader into a web of nail-biting suspense and excitement. Moran’s writing style is incredibly effective in the way that it tugged me so far into Marie’s world that I had to take a deep breath every time I re-entered reality to remind myself that I didn’t belong inside the novel. When Marie got employed as the king’s sister’s wax modeling tutor, I shared her honor, and when her friends got involved in the revolution, I shared her mixture of anxiety and horror. When the novel finished, I felt both satisfied and empty, as though I had lost a part of myself to Marie’s world, but I am not complaining.

Overall incredibly moving, and yet without soppiness and awful clichés, Madame Tussaud’s was empowering and inspirational, and has definitely made my list of highly recommended historical fiction novels.

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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Can I get an Amen?

I was thinking the other day about what I should do a blog on, seeing as I’ve been pretty much M.I.A. for the past few weeks (I’m sorry for the lack of blogs and reviews… The only excuse I have is school, which is a lousy one anyway) and I realised that I don’t share much about my personal life on here. Which could be considered a good thing what with those internet rapists and cyber-traffickers my parents are always lecturing me about.

But to those of you out there who are thinking of potentially kidnapping me – for whatever reason I cannot fathom: I would complain about the lack of literature in my cell until you felt the need to “release me into my natural habitat” (the library, of course) out of boredom and utter annoyance – I’m so sorry, but I will NOT be sharing any of my personal details, such as where I live, on the internet. You can thank me later.

So anyway, I thought I’d do a long-ish blog to make up for the lack of them in the past couple of weeks (I’m sorry – again) about… Wait for it…

Being a pastor’s daughter.

Yes, you did read that right. To those of you who were blissfully unaware of the fact, I am the daughter of a pastor/minister/priest/whatever you want to call it (but apparently the politically correct term in my father’s case is pastor… I only just found that out a while ago but anyway…)

When people (usually my age) find out that I’m a pastor’s daughter, they usually ask, “Wow… That’s so cool! So you, like, go to church every week and, like, read your Bible every day and stuff?”

To which I respond with, “Well, have you ever seen Footloose?”

To answer a couple of FAQs:

  • Yes, I do go to church every week (most of the time).
  • Yes, I do read the Bible.
  • No, I was not serious about the Footloose comment.
  • Yes, I do listen to gospel music – but not hymns from the 1800s. Yes, there are modern “gospel groups” (we call them “bands” – you know, like One Direction? Except… Christian.)
  • Yes, I am allowed to listen to rock bands. Are YOU allowed to listen to rock bands?

And my absolute favourite question to answer:

Q: “Oh my god that’s so weird that you’re… like… you know… Oh my god… Oh my god, does me saying, ‘oh my god’ offend you? Oh my god I’m so sorry… Oh my god I did it again! Oh god…”

A: “Yes, peasant. I am severely offended by the use of colloquial garbage that tips from your mouth, and I wish no longer for my ears to be soiled with this blasphemy. Be gone, and may our Father God in Heaven forgive you for your treacherous sins.” *makes the sign of the cross and backs away*

And this is why people think I’m weird. Anyway…

Being a pastor’s daughter is actually much more fun than you’d think it would be. It’s my favourite excuse. Ever. “Why didn’t you do your homework?” “Well my dad – you know he’s a priest – had to do this impromptu service in Guatemala yesterday…” “Oh… I see…” but they really don’t see because most of my teachers have NO idea what goes on inside a normal church, or that my dad’s actually a pastor, not like, the Pope. And then also sometimes I shout to my friends, “Can I get an AMEN?” and they just laugh and shout, “AMEN!” and then everyone watching us laughs because they think we’re just being funny, but actually we’re genuinely saying Amen, because… Amen.

Oh the delicious irony… I also wear those super-“in” cross-print shirts, and people think I’m just following the trend, but if only they knew…

And one of these days I’ll start a Christian group at my school and freak people out by being like Amanda Bynes in Easy A:

Well… Not the mean part where she tries to expel everyone. Just the part where she and her “Christian Team” have, like, worship in random places and a secret handshake thingy and walk around telling people that they’ll pray for them.

Disadvantages… There aren’t many, really. Just the usual having to get up at 6:45 on a Sunday morning to get to church an hour before everyone else does to set up (or read in the car while my parents set up as a sign of utter rebellion… why am I so badass…). Or having to play at least one instrument in the Christmas and Easter services to show that my father has raised me to be “an independent young woman who is musically gifted and intelligent”. Or – and this was my favourite moment of this year – getting your name announced in the service when you get a kidney stone, and then having your father completely exaggerate certain situations that took place in hospital, and just having to sit there quietly and death-stare him from your seat in the congregation while he totally embarrasses you. Not cool, Dad.

But that’s basically it. For now. You can probably expect a lot more stories related to this blog now that I’ve come clean about my… pastor’s-daughter-ness. I hope you enjoyed reading it! Feel free to leave your comments below! I know it’s a really complicated system to publish comments, but I’m trying to fix it…


Sunday, 6 October 2013

The 9 Stages of Early-Morning Tennis Syndrome

At my school, we have two tennis practices – one on a Monday and one on a Wednesday. According to the sports coaches, there is no other time in the extra-curricular schedule to have our first practice of the week other than on a Monday at 6 a.m. Let me repeat that so that it sinks in. MONDAY. 6 a.m. As if Mondays aren’t terrible enough already.

For those of you who have never had to be to an early morning sports practice, this is literally what we tennis players at my school – and most other sports players as well, because our school seems to love making us wake up an hour earlier than we should – go through every single Sunday through Monday morning.

Stage 1: Denial
This usually occurs when you wake up on Sunday morning and realize that it’s going to be your last chance to sleep in. And then it hits that you: tomorrow you’ll have to wake up at five. So you roll over and go back to sleep. This stage can overlap with all of the stages, and often lasts right up to stage 8.

Stage 2: “Mom, can I -?” “No.”
Late afternoon on Sunday, it hits you that, yes, you will have to go to early-morning tennis tomorrow. At six. In the morning. This stage starts with begging your mother to let you skip tennis, and trying to come up with many, many excuses explaining why you cannot possibly wake up and do exercise the next morning. It results in a simple, yet firm, “No,” from mom. Every time.

Stage 3: Packing and sulking
Late evening on Sunday, you realize that mom was serious. So you pack your school clothes and some extra jeans and T-shirts, and threaten to run away until everybody ends up ignoring you.

Stage 4: Prayer
Lying in bed late on Sunday night, you begin to pray for something – anything – to cancel early-morning tennis tomorrow. Anything except rain of course. Rain means fitness in the gym for an hour, which is 100 times worse than tennis. At this point you realize that the only things that could possibly cancel tennis are a global fire, and your own death, which makes you even more depressed.

Stage 5: Hope
“Maybe the coach will forget…” Haha lol this stage lasts for about thirty seconds, and then you cry, because the coach will never forget. Ever.

Stage 6: Dread
You fell asleep for a couple of hours, and now your alarm is buzzing in your ear. It’s still dark, but you know that you have to get up. At this point, I usually feel physically sick, and only partly because of Monday Morning Syndrome.

Stage 7: More Hope
In the car on the way to school, your exhausted mind begins to imagine scenarios that could possibly cancel early morning tennis. At this point, you have passed the point of caring who has to die for tennis to be cancelled, and are pretty much wishing that the world could just implode. I know, it's selfish, but you would rather do ANYTHING than get on that tennis court.

Stage 8: Reality
You’re running laps now, and it’s finally sunk in. So you suck it up, and keep running until it’s seven o’clock on the dot and you force the coaches to let you leave.

Stage 9: Depression and exhaustion
This usually lasts until the end of the week. Monday morning tennis literally leaves me so tired that, by the time I’ve recovered, I have to repeat the cycle all over again.

And I still have two more years of this to endure. At least now if I die tomorrow, you’ll know what I went through, and what you have to file a lawsuit against. (If that wasn’t clear, all sport before 7 a.m. should be banned. It’s bad for our education if we can’t concentrate for the whole week because of one stupid tennis practice.)

I’m just kidding, by the way. It’s not that bad. (Don’t listen to me. I’m presently stuck in between stages 2 and 3. And the denial still hasn't worn off yet.)

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