Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer Reading

I am really excited to be back online (seriously, I keep jumping around my house saying, "I'm so excited! I'm so excited!" so everyone here knows I'm happy). So excited that I'm going to do some major postage.

I'm going to do an awesome update on my summer reading, and then everyone can see how downhill my life has gone.

Books I have Read during the Summer of 'Oh Nine

1. Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
2. Getting in Tune by Roger L. Trott
3. Being Nikki by Meg Cabot
4. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
5. Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
6. Willow by Julia Hoban
7. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Shroeder
8. Simply Irresistible by Jennifer Banash

Books I Have Bought/Acquired during the Summer of 'Oh Nine

1. DupliKate by Cherry Cheva
2. Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis
3. The Lost Sister by Megan Kelley Hall
4. The Lost Summer by Kathryn Williams
5. I Can't Keep My Own Secrets
6. The !!Complete Works!! of Jane Austen (now one of my most prized posessions)
7. Crash Into Me by Albert Borris
8. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
9. Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkes
10. Bookends by Jane Green
11. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
12. Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
13. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
14-16. Dakota Born/ Dakota Home/ Always Dakota by Debbie Macomber
17. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
18. Atonement by Ian McEwan
19-21. Vampire Academy/ Frostbite/ Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
22. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
23. Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
24. Love You, Hate You, Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
25-27. Romeo and Juliet/ The Tempest/ Macbeth by William Shakespeare
28. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
29. In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
30. Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

Needless to say, I have not been doing my part to keep up with my expensive book-shopping habit.

So, my only problem is... what to read first?!

<3 Chelsie

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Sad day that this isn't going too well at the moment. But here I am, sick at home so I figured I'd come on over. Due to my incapacitated state I'm not certain how intelligent these reviews will be. Nonetheless, here they are. Enjoy! :)

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
This is definitely an amazing book. I loved it so much.
This is a story about a girl in India during WW2 and around the time of Gandhi and the freedom fights. In the highest caste, rather liberal uprising. Her father is a freedom fighter and she dreams of going to college. One fateful day; however, her father gets hurt and the family is required to move in with his father. This new conservative household threatens to change who these people are. With marriage, college, war, and social status creating conflicts throughout, this novel is amazing.

Evermore by Alyson Noel

 Okay. So I feel kind of late getting on board with this book. But now that I have read it, I can definitely see what makes people like it so much. This novel is a nice quick read and although it is the beginning of a series, it really does do well on its own. Be warned, this book is one of those scifi - not in the stars wars-y way, but rather different worlds and dimensions and people who are immortal (and no vampires!). I really enjoyed this, and I can't wait till the next book comes out!

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
      This book is so freaking wonderful. I can't even begin to explain. This novel is very dense, therefore making it a very long read, and there are parts where it just gets so very boring. But oh my goodness, this book is amazing. I love love love it. There are so many deep and wonderful passages. Ah! sigh! ok. So. This novel is about a boy who lives in South Africa during WW2 and when the apartheid was implemented. He was English and as a young kid he went to a Boar boarding school. Culture conflict! And so the book continues adding in born again Christians (controversy!), exploration, racism, and all that is fun and good. And sad and mean. There is death and abuse and alcoholism. :)
*If going to buy this, make sure you get the real novel (two covers that I have seen, pictured above) rather than the children's condensed version :)

Maus I & II by Art Spiegelman
 and . Umm, okay. I don't normally not finish books. But these two were definitely two that I could not get through. They are graphic novels about the Holocaust. I personally think graphic novels are fine, and I love reading/learning about the Holocaust. So, the fact that I could not finish these books surprises and saddens me. First and foremost, I believe that the actual artwork was sometimes distracting me from the story line (although the cool mouse and pig and cat imagery was kind of cool). Also, I felt like the narration was too annoying. HOWEVER, there are so many people I have talked to who have loved these books so I really think reading them is at least worth a try.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
 This is yet another graphic novel. I really really enjoyed reading this. The book has three stories in it. Each story takes turns in telling itself, alternating chapters. This is funny, offensive (you'll see why. But for those concerned, there is a Chinese character who is horribly stereotyped), and the ending is amazing. Even if you're not a graphic novel sort of person, I would definitely go and pick this up. So good!

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Okay. So this was really cool to read. This graphic novel is Marjane Satrapi's memoir of life during the Islamic Revolution. 1) How cool is that? I barely any idea what the Islamic Revolution was, but this book really brought so many things to light. It was so eye opening to read about this culture that is so vastly different from my own. 2) The voice of this novel is so easy going and truthful. She is able to mix humor with absolute sorrow, not only in her words but also in the pictures.  Wow. 

Paper Towns by John Green
Books I've Read That  You Might Like part 5Okeydokey. So, I don't even know how to describe the plot of this book. Not because it is nonexistent; but rather, there are so many different ideas that the simple 'girl runs away to a place that doesn't exist(not this isn't not fantasy), boy goes to find her, and in the end they go their separate ways' doesn't seem to suffice. Point is, it's good.

Now I am going to go. Have a wonderful day everyone! 

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Well, hey there, everyone. :) Hope here. :)

Since I really don't want to see this newsletter die, I am posting. :)

But the thing is I don't really have too much to say...

So what is everyone reading right now? Anything good?

hope. :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Nick and Norah's

Many critics of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist claim that it was a complete failure; that the writers were aiming for a Juno look-a-like, and ruined it miserably. Now, those who have read the book hopefully understand that Nick and Norah are very different characters than those portrayed in the movie Juno. Could it be that it was the same male lead (Michael Cera), but just because Kira Knightley is in Pirates and Pride and Prejudice you are not going to compare the two movies, are you? 
On the other hand, there are raving reviews declaring how phenomenal this movie was. With is quirky funny drama, and closer to real teenagers (compared to the average bubbly, fairytale living or druggies we often see in movies) it is easy to follow and enjoy without reading the book. The main plot line is changed, but it does keep some of the book’s originality and dialogue. This of course is always a plus. 
Personally, I would most definitely recommend this movie for anyone (unless you can’t stand teen drama and comedy). It’s very cute and the music is catchy. I’m not saying it is the best movie in the whole wide world but if it were to ever be on T.V. on a Saturday afternoon you should better believe that I would sit on my couch and watch it. Just make sure you go into it with an open mind and ready to laugh. = )


City of Ember

This movie did very well with keeping to the book. The plot was the more or less the same, but of course it being a movie there were slight changes here and there, none really messing up the movie. In some respect, the movie had a very little climax, although how much of that is the movie’s fault vs. the book’s, I really don’t know. 
One part that really did disappoint me was the lack of information on how they got down to the city in the first place. Having read all of the books, I know how and why they did what they did, but in the movie it left people unhappily hanging. In fact those of my family who went to see it with me had to ask why they were there and what happened to everyone else, because the movie never said. 
Overall, I think it was a good movie to see once, maybe twice. It was cute, but the characters seemed slightly shallow and monotone. There was little character development between Lina and Doon. It was defiantly an interesting movie. Go and see it, give it a chance. And who knows, you may just love it!



Where to start? I don't even know. 

Hmmm, ok. Let's begin with the hype. Movies like these always have huge amounts of pressure to get everything right with comparison to the book. Fans were, watching and re-watching any little interview or clip that they could get their hands on, becoming vacuums of information. People debated the worthiness of Robert Pattinson to play their dear Edward. They fought over their opinions of the skill of the director, screenwriter, and in multiple cases the cast. We really were a hard crowd to please. As time went on, new Twilighters appeared, and so did new expectations. By that fateful 12:01 a.m. November 21st, no one really knew what to expect.

Yes, I was one of those crazy people who went opening night. Yes, I did get in line quarter after nine (which, by the way was way too early). And yes, I did make t-shirts with my friends to wear to school that day. But no, I did not get what I expected. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it was definitely different. The Edward in the movie was much more real that I had ever imagined him to be. He was innocent, and vulnerable, and against all my previous oppositions he made me smile. He was human. It was nice. At the same time that I was discovering these wonderful surprises I was unable to not find downfalls. There were parts that felt horribly scripted (and I am not completely sure if this is a fail on the side of the actors or the writers, or that others even felt that way: as I am more inclined to see a script behind the acting because I am in theater) and the chemistry between Bella and Edward was off. They dumped the blood typing scene from the movie to add minutes of them staring into each others eyes and climbing trees. This leads me to my final thought, I thought it was funny. The only problem is, I'm not sure that it was meant to be comical. I mean seriously, Jasper's face? And quirky remarks from Edward like "it’s the fluorescent lighting" when asked about his eye color changing. 

My best advise to you? Go see this for yourself. Because there are so many ways that these movie screwed up, and so many ways it rocks. It really just depends on what really matters to you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Jars

Hey everyone!
Keeping with the holiday season I have just finished rereading one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time. Granted it is a sappy -all most too perfect- story, Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright never fails to take my breath away. It is a story of a family who collects change during the year to spend on Christmas. This idea suddenly becomes focused on giving to others rather than getting things for themselves. Yes, the typical Christmas moral. Nonetheless, it really is remarkable and it’s such a great picker-upper. Unfortunately, with its short story layout it is lacking in very dynamic and developed characters. :D (go here -->

On that note, I (and the rest of the LOTR newsletter staff...even though I really don't know if they want to spread good cheer to you or not...) want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a great New Year! Keep reading!

<3 Brenna

Saturday, December 20, 2008

LOTR Book of the Month Review: House of Dance by Beth Kephart

Title: House of Dance

Author: Beth Kephart


Rosie and her mother coexist in the same house as near strangers. Since Rosie's father abandoned them years ago, her mother has accomplished her own disappearing act, spending more time with her boss than with Rosie. Now faced with losing her grandfather too, Rosie begins to visit him every day, traveling across town to his house, where she helps him place the things that matter most to him "In Trust." As Rosie learns her grandfather's story, she discovers the role music and motion have played in it. But like colors, memories fade. When Rosie stumbles into the House of Dance, she finally finds a way to restore the source of her grandfather's greatest joy.

Eloquently told, National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart's House of Dance is a powerful celebration of life and the people we love who make it worthwhile.

Rating: 4.5/5


For starters, this was a very very quick and easy book. So the fact that I finished it in less than a day automatically made it a good pick for me.

Other than that, I have many many thoughts on this book. It'd be too hard for me to write a full review, because most of my thoughts contain spoilers, but I'll do my best not to ruin the book for anyone.

If anyone has read my reviews lately (at you will know that I have been focusing a lot on the main characters... and for some reason, they are just never right. I am not someone who cares a whole lot on the main character's personality, but recently I've been getting annoyed. House of Dance had an absolutely perfect main character; she is a strong and generally good person-- she is almost TOO good. I almost wish that she would have snuck out and done something naughty, just to make her at least a little bad. However, I loved Rosie so much... she was such a sweet person, she is someone I'd strive to become, and so she made the book really enjoyable.

And it WAS really enjoyable. Depsite depressing subject matter, I still enjoyed reading the descriptions and stories thrown in here and there... it all added up to a great story with an amazing concept.

However, I did have one tiny problem: character development. There were descriptions of things that happened, and in general who everyone was, but I find myself wanting MORE! Especially more about Rosie's father and Nick, and also Marissa and Max and everyone else from the House of Dance. All of these characters intrigue me; they are all part of this grand masterpiece and I wish I could learn more about them and how they came to be.

So overall, it was a fairly enjoyable book. And it's going to make a great Christmas present for one of my best friends :)

<3 Chelsie

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blogging End of the Year Countdown

Since it is almost the end of 2008, I am going to propose something...

Anyone who reads my blog should remember the Back to School Countdown I posted back in August? Well, I am going to do an End of the Year Countdown. It will consist of the top five favorite books from 2008... released in 2008, and read in 2008.

This time, though, I'd like other bloggers to participate... I would LOVE to see what everyone's favorites are...

So, basically, this is what I'm doing... I am going to invite everyone to post their own End of the Year Countdown on your blog, if you're interested. The only thing I ask is that, in your first post, you either mention my blog and say that's where you got it from, or link, or something. Give credit where credit is due =D But other than that, you can post it however you want, or you can follow how I am posting, which I will explain below.

If you're feeling up to a countdown, let me know and I'll be sure to go check it out. If not, that's fine too, I just figured I'd let everyone else know to expect another countdown =D


First Post on 12/28/08 at 12:00 AM: Fifth Favorite book of '08
Second Post on 12/29/08 at 12:00 AM: Fourth Favorite book of '08
Third Post on 12/30/08 at 12:00 AM: Third Favorite book of '08
Fourth Post on 12/31/08 at 12:00 AM: Second Favorite book of '08
Last Post on 01/01/09 at 12:00 AM: Absolute Favorite book of '08.

Hope to see at least some of you counting down with me!

<3 Chelsie

-also posted on