Thursday, June 30, 2011

Just Read...

So  eager to reach the end and now that I have, sad that it's over. Loved the characters and reluctant to see that their story has ended.

Devour this series. If you can, have them all handy so you don't have to wait between books. :)


Break it down now!

Guest Judges: Lil’ C & Kristin Chenoweth

Announcements: Lil’ C is doing a rap album? Say what? Ummm…he can’t talk without using 10 syllable words, how the heck is he going to rap?

Group Dance: Tyce Diorio Broadway with Clarice, Sasha, Ryan, Miranda, Tado, Marko, Chris & Mitchell
This was a really fun dance with generic costumes and low lights, designed for everyone to somewhat look the same. Yet, despite the set up, Tado shone like a star. I think he’s quickly becoming one of the powerhouses for the boys. Ryan and Clarice stood out to me, too, but not for being the best. I can always count on Tyce for giving us a fun number. Favorite routine.

Sasha & Alexander: Loved, loved, loved this contemporary routine by Dee Caspary. The premise was the memory of a long lost love awoken. When Sasha came out of the prop piano, here opening movements and their lift was beautiful. Everything in the dance was fluid and emotional and oh so powerful. I really like these two dancers together – they know how to make the best of what their choreographer gives them. The ending with the hands on the piano keys was perfect. We haven’t seen much of Dee on the show, but he’s wonderful. Favorite routine.

Mitchell & Caitlynn: They got a Samba by Jean-Marc. I’m gonna be honest. Jean-Marc’s routines are hard and amazingly awesome (by the way, where’s his wife? Usually they choreograph together, but I haven’t seen her once this year). His dancers have to work extra hard when dancing one of his dances. And Mitchell & Caitlynn pulled it off. They got the hips down (I guess the lawnmower worked) and the lifts were strong. The only thing I didn’t like was Caitlynn’s dress. It was very distracting. While they were good, I have seen better. They looked like they were being too careful in some parts; trying too hard to get the moves down perfectly instead of just dancing.

Miranda & Robert: Danced a Tyce Broadway routine where Miranda was a sultry, high-class woman of the night. Robert really surprises me each time he dances with what he gives us. Every time I think, “Oh no. He’s going to go down on this one” he shows me he can do it, and that he can do it well. With Miranda, I feel like the choreographers never giver her enough to make her really shine. She does good with what she’s given—rocks it, really—but I which they would play to her strengths more.

Melanie & Marko: This was a super fun NapyTabs hip-hop routine about a man stood up at the altar, and finding that his friend that’s there for him, is his true love. NapyTabs never give anything but awesome routines for their dancers. They were together (for the most part) and really hit all the points with perfection and feeling (they even kissed towards the end which made Nigel kiss Mary, which made Kristin kiss Lil’ C which made Nigel kiss him, too!). The only critique I have for these two, is that they need to make their movements the same size. Favorite routine.

Ashley & Chris: A Sonya jazz routine! Yay! But wait, oh how sad. Neither of her routines tonight were true “Sonya” routines. They felt constrained and diluted. It disappointed me because she’s one of my favorite choreographers. This routine had to do with our darker halves (Beetlejuice was her inspiration). The costumes and make up were distracting, and neither Ashley or Chris danced it as it should have been danced. They weren’t hard and sharp and awkward like they should’ve been. I still liked it, because it was a Sonya routine, even when they did the dying bug at the end.

Clarice & Jess: Oh my gosh. This one took my breath away. It was a foxtrot by Jean-Marc. Wanna know why I loved it so much? I love Frank Sinatra. I love the song they danced to. I love the era they were dancing in. And I loved this number. Jean-Marc had Clarice & Jess in mind when he mapped out this dance. Showy enough for Jess’ Broadway skills and elegant enough for Clarice’s technical beauty, they both shown independently, and when they came together, it was magic. It was so much fun to watch. Favorite routine.

Ryan & Ricky: they had a contemporary Sonya routine, and as I said before, It wasn’t up to par. The costumes were distracting and made the dancers look a little awkward. Ricky made the lifts look so easy, and they packed a lot of emotion into the number.

Jordan & Tado: NapyTabs hip-hop number about waking up in bed with someone who shouldn’t be there. This number was soo much fun! Jordan and Tad hit it well, danced it well, and were awesome together. She admitted earlier in practice that she was a little uncomfortable with this number, and that somewhat showed through in her dancing, but they both still did a superb job. (oh, btw, Cat, “sensible” doesn’t start with a “C”. ) Favorite routine.

Group Number by Dee for Ashley, Jordan, Melanie, Caitlynn, Jess, Robert, Alexander, & Ricky. Set in the medieval times, and has the women trying to poison the men. This was a GREAT number. That’s all there is to it. I loved the costumes and the way the women dominated the men and the song they danced to (The Civil Wars are totally awesome. They were in town recently for a concert). Favorite routine.

My bottom three couples? Based on the dances, I think it will be Ashley & Chris, Ryan & Ricky, and Sasha & Alexander (even though I don't think they should be there).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Very Own Kryptonite Part 1 (Showing vs. Telling)

Remember those ridiculous SAT questions that went something like this:

Cat is to mouse as dog is to
A. Bone
B. Doghouse
C. Owner
D. Cat

Well, I’ve got a new and improved—and actually useful—one for you. Here it goes:

Superman is to Kryptonite as I am to
A. Backstory
B. Telling vs. showing
C. Adjectives
D. Random POV shifts

Uh….what about E. All of the above?

What I’m getting at is we all have things that bring us to our knees and make us ask how we're ever going to survive? Superman’s in the same boat. Which is why I’m going to share some of my many writing weakness with all of you over the next few weeks (A – D above).

Joy, bliss, and rapture all mixed into one. It’s your lucky day

Today I’m talking about B, telling vs. showing. This (right after backstory) is a new writer’s biggest pitfall. Why? Because it’s easy. Because we don’t know any better. But mostly because someone hasn’t pointed out to us that we’re telling them something instead of showing it to them. Once that someone has hit us upside the head, we promptly smack our foreheads and scream into the night, “Why didn’t I see that?!?!”


All is forgiven. Just try to keep from doing it again.

If, as a new writer, you try to start showing everything straight out of the gate, you’re going to get a headache, declare this whole writing thing is ridiculous and too hard and then give up. The most important thing you can do is WRITE. Get your story down on paper. Then you go back and make it better. Sometimes you’ll naturally show us; you won’t even realizing your doing it. Sometimes you’ll flat out tell us, and sometimes you’ll go halvsies.

Worry not, my friend! We can fix the them all. I’ve found some tips though my writing adventure on how to find out where I can show something and how to show it. I will divulge this knowledge with you free of charge. Come and partake.

Signs you’re telling me something

These buggers are deadly, and a STRONG sign that you’re telling me something. It’s a lazy way of getting a point across. Not only is it lazy, it’s weak. WEAK I tell you! That is why I cringe as I say this next part: sometimes they might be necessary. But only if the world is ending and hell has frozen over. There, I feel better. Chances are, if you’re using one of those pesky little –ly words, you could be saying it better. You could be showing me something.

“I love you,” she said shakily.

Yuck! Blek! Get that sour taste out of my mouth! Try this on instead.

She closed her eyes and took a shaky breath. She could feel her heart rattling inside her chest, begging her not to say it. To never say it. “I love you.” The words rushed out with the exhale of her breath, riding their way between her lips and out of her heart.

We still get that she was nervous and hesitant about saying expressing her feelings. But we get so much more. The reluctance, the fear of saying those three vulnerable words. The courage it took for her to say them. And from there we want to know what happened in her past that made her steal herself against something as grand as love? Who is this person that coaxed her away from her fear, making her feel strong enough to admit her feelings to them and herself, even though it exposed her vulnerability? This character, is a rockin’ character. And all because you showed me she was.

There is no tantalization of the senses going on. Anywhere.
What good is love without romance? It’s boring and dull. Both sides are going to wander, and infidelity isn’t welcome anywhere. So why not do everything in your power to keep your reader interested and loyal? Not that Joe-Schmo a little further down the book shelf. That one on the end cap with the glittery cover. Hold me with substance, but catch me with flare. You must court me, show me why I’m with you and not with Glitters.

No holds barred! Read through a scene. Now. Hurry, do you flirt with any of your reader’s senses? Do you? Maybe, maybe not. If you haven’t, fix it. If you have, you can probably make it better, stronger. And there’s no shame in that. Pop quiz from preschool. What are the senses? Sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and feel (emotional). Now use them unabashedly.

Make me feel how soft the fur is on my skin. The beating down of the dry heat on my skin or the heavy humidity of a room that’s tightly packed with bodies. What is the texture of that strange and exotic fruit in my mouth? Is it so cold outside that the air freezes in my lungs and makes them burn, so much so that I can’t stand to take a full breath? How about the voice of someone that was thought to be lost? Is it like cool water on the throat of a parched man stranded in the middle of an arid desert? Remember the time you saw your supposed best friend kissing the boy you’ve been in love with since the third grade? Remember how it tore and clawed at your heart until there was nothing left inside your chest but shreds of the thing that still beat? Remember how your knees weakened as adrenaline pumped through your body, and how you wanted to run and hide and beat the living hell out of both of them at the same time?

I think you get the idea of where I’m going with this. But be careful. Once you get started appealing to the senses, it’s easy to do. Which is good. What’s not good is the ease in which you slip into just appealing to one of the six senses. Make sure to keep it even and natural. And remember, we don’t need to feel the minute things that a normal human wouldn’t even notice in a typical situation.

Statements of Fact (SOFs)
They’re a good strong clue that you could probably expand on what you’re saying and make it more flavorful. But don’t do away with all your SOFs. If you do, your writing will be overkill. Sometimes you need the ever so simple, “Tony ran.” But, if too much of your writing reads like a newspaper article, you’re might be in trouble. Stop narrating and let your characters take charge. After all, that’s what they’re there for, isn’t it?

Suzy isn’t pissed. She’s beyond pissed.

Her spindly arms are folded tightly across her chest—not even a dust mote could get through there. Her molars are grinding down on each other as she holds back all the things she wants to say. It’s looking like she’s forgetting to breathe, her face is so red. And don’t forget the eyes. They tell a person everything. Her pupils are dilated so far, it looks like black pools of obsidian. Obsidian that’s so hard, it could slice through your heart. And they just might. Especially now that you’ve told her how you’ve kissed Jesse. Her boyfriend.

How to show me

Look at the scene/setting.
I do this a lot and it’s an easy way to make your reader feel like they’re standing where ever it is you put them. Grab a picture (in a book, one of your own, or pulled from the Internet) that’s similar to what you’re trying to describe. Then, describe it. In as much detail as you can.

For example. In one of my books, there’s an intense yacht race (and no, that’s not an oxymoron). Problem was, I knew nothing about yachts or racing. Not what the boats looked like and not what a yacht race looked like. But let me tell you, after I finished my research, I wanted to start. The first thing I did was hop onto the Internet and Google yachts, and yacht racing. I found the most typically raced yacht (pictures, descriptions, pricing, layout, how it worked, how many sales it had, which sales did what when, etc, what kinds of flags they flew, etc). Great! Now I could physically describe the yacht and when Owen fishes out some gear from Sedra, it’s completely feasible that he had it stored in the ________.

Next, I had to research the races. What happened in them? What did the courses look like? How many men were on the crew? YouTube was a godsend for this (and when I was looking for a good fight scene for another book). I even ended up downloading the song that played in a particular video so that every time I listened to it, I would relive the yacht race, able to recreate the scene in a believable and intense manner.

Bottom line is, no matter what someone tells you, recreating a real life, already existing picture, location, scene, etc is not cheating. Make it your own. Take what you like, toss what you don’t. Add a few different pictures of girls you like to make a montage of your perfect MC. It’s a great exercise.

Put yourself in the middle of the party.
Reflect back on a high school party, or the other night when you were out at the bar with friends or the last time you were in a busy place. Now, describe to me what’s going on. This will put me in the scene with you and make it more real. And don’t forget to…

Appeal to all of my senses
See above. Practice going somewhere (a busy coffee shop is always good) and just sitting and soaking it all in. Then write. What did you first notice? What stands out now that you’ve been there a while? What’s become white noise? What kind of people are there? What does it sound like? Smell like? Feel like? Is it natural, sterile, comfortable, out of place? How does it make you feel?

Not only show me what they look like physically but what they look like as a person. On the inside. Don’t tell me that Seth is loyal to his sister to the end. Show me with his actions throughout the book or in a really strong scene that he would die for her. Don’t tell me that Lexi’s past is filled with a father’s abandonment that has left her bitter and with little trust or warmth. Show me the same thing. Put her in a situation that makes her face what she fears most. Showing with characters is more important than showing a scene or a setting. Showing me your characters lets me relate and connect to them. It makes me realize that they’re real people.

How about some fun? I’m a little nervous, not sure who will play along, but…..I have an extra copy of Veronica Roth’s debut (awesome) novel, Divergant (Don’t judge. When you have 190 unread books, it’s easy to buy multiple copies of the same on and not remember doing it). Put me in this below picture using all 6 senses and do it in 100 words of less in the comments section. The winner will get Divergant!! So show me something good! (OOH I’m so excited I could just SQUEEL!)


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

break it down now

Lo siento for the tardiness of this.

Ah, Thursdays. Bittersweet as they are, I was content with last night’s results.

Cat’s dress was amazing, there was a performance by Rage Crew (the little ‘uns are still my favorite) and LMFAO performed. Where do I start with them? How about here, did anyone else get the feeling they were lip-syncing? And what’s with the 80’s gear? Please boys, shop in your own section for pants. And someone needs to tell the guy with the box on his head, dancing around doing the running man that that’s just plain creepy. But I’m not a hater, I have this song on my iPod. I learned something new last night, the dancers get $250k for winning! I had no idea. Cat brought up a very valid point – that’s A LOT of shoes! Their group number was a lot of fun choreographed by the wonderful David Scott.

On to business!

The first group brought on stage consisted of Missy & Wadi, Sasha & Alexander, and Caitlynn & Mitchell. My vote went to Missy & Wadi and I was right. Mitchell started crying when they showed clips of his routine the night before. Why, I have no idea.

Second up was Miranda & Robert, Jordan & Tado, Melanie & Marko, and Iveta & Nick. Iveta and Nick were voted in the bottom three. Again, no surprise there.

Last, were Ryan & Ricky, Clarice & Jesse, and Ashley & Chris. I was caught off guard with this one. I thought for sure Clarice & Jesse would be in the bottom, but it turned out it was Ricky & Ryan.

There is no doubt that Wadi is a great B-Boy. But I don’t think he brought what was needed to his solo and his audition was far more impressive. Missy kicked herself in the face at the beginning, literally. I’m pretty sure of it. I didn’t feel that her solo was a solo, either. It seemed like it was a series of tricks to some really crappy music. Nick, nick, nick. You’re a talented tapper…so why didn’t you bring it to your solo???? There was hardly anything there that was impressive, and there was very little tapping. I was happy that Iveta was in the bottom 3 because I love to watch her dance, and she didn’t disappoint. But let it be said, it is hard to do a ballroom solo without a partner. Ricky was the only one, I felt, that danced for his life. His solo was powerful, strong, and so masculine. It was amazing. Ryan didn’t bring anything in her solo. Bottom line. But out of the three girls, I know the judges will keep her.

So, who stayed and who went home? Two couples were cut to make up for last week. And they were Nick & Iveta and Missy & Wadi. Really no surprise for me. I think next week it Jesse & Clarice will come close. But, we’ll have to wait it out and see.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

break it down now!

Alright now! I have the day off, and instead of writing up my blog for today, I’ve been surfing the net and watching Good Morning America. But my countdown for starting the day is getting closer to 0, so I decided to start typing!

I’m glad the judges didn’t kick anyone off last week. Just as I suspected, everyone improved drastically in a week. It’s going to be so hard to send four of them home tonight.

Guest Judge: Debbie Reynolds! I had to Google her to find out who she was. That doesn’t make me a bad person, does it?

So, tonight, each dancer had to share an embarrassing secret about their partner. Some of them were pretty funny. Let’s get started, shall we?

Ryan & Ricky
She has fast-growing leg hair and his full name is Roderick. Last night they had a sexy jazz routine by Mandy Moore. The judges LOVED this dance, but to be honest with you all, it was my least favorite of the night. I can’t really say why, other than I didn’t think it was as good as they thought it was. It looked stilted, forced and counted out. It didn’t seem as natural as I thought it should have been. I saw several times where they were setting up for jumps and lifts (a viewer should never be able to point those out), and Ryan’s smile seemed out of place in that dance. It was supposed to be an intense dance and her bubblegum smile pushed me out. Mandy is such a good choreographer and I don’t think they did it justice. And, what is this?! Wardrobe malfunction Janet Jackson style.

Caitlynn & Mitchell
She has boots that turn her feet blue and he has a zebra-print Snuggy he calls a Snoogy. These guys have jumped up to being one of my favorite couples. They danced a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine about being in a wrong relationship. The costumes and props were brilliant. For the first half of the routine, Caitlynn was dancing in her chair and it was awesome. These two are talented beyond words, both as individual dancers, and as partners. I really felt their emotion in this number. Their lifts, partnering and trust between each other were all spectacular. LOVED IT! Blood! There was blood! Mitchell clocked Caitlynn in the nose during the dance. Favorite Routine.

Missy & Wadi
He uses Nair to get the hair off his chest and she has a funny laugh. They got to dance a Cha Cha by the A-MA-ZING Jean-Marc Genereux (where was his wife?) Great choreography, fast and sassy, spicy and suicidal. Missy was absolutely brilliant for this number. There were a few little things I was able to point out she needed to make better (that hippy walk that’s always done in the Cha Cha), but her attitude and sex appeal was spot on. Wadi, not so much. Don’t get me wrong; he’s did a great job for being a B-Boy (but I’ve seen others do better), but his shoulders were too loose and his hips were too tight. I thought they did well together, but the judges couldn’t seem to find one nice thing to say about Wadi’s performance. What happened to the sandwich method of giving feedback/constructive criticism?? I kept yelling at the TV, “Where are the buns??? Give me the buns!!!”

Iveta & Nick
She talks to herself in the mirror and he has chicken legs. Nick! Please, oh please, oh please! TAN! He’s so white, it’s shocking. I think I might buy some self tanner and ship it off to him. Anyway, back on topic. They danced a Bollywood routine by Nakul Dev Mahajan. Now, no one could ever do the amazing job that Katee and Joshua did the first time around, but everyone can try.  And that’s the fun part. When Nick found out they were doing Bollywood, he looked like he was going to cry. It was priceless. But they both committed and actually pulled it off. They gave Iveta long hair, which looked really good, but they kept her in gold spandex. Somebody please take away her gold spandex.

Miranda & Robert
She has a crush on Tado and he thinks he’s a pro-wrestler. They had a NapyTabs routine! Yay! And it was about woodpeckers? I have to admit, when I heard about it, I lost faith in the NapyTabs. But! Never again. This was an amazing routine, and they did it sooo well. I was surprised at how awesome Miranda was. They both hit it so hard and were right on and in sync. I have to admit, Miranda outshined Robert in this one. In the end, it didn’t really surprise me that NapyTabs could make a routine about a woodpecker so stinkin’ amazing. Favorite routine. 

Clarice & Jesse
She sleeps with her eyes open and he draws stick figure orchestras (don’t ask). They got a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine about a prince and a princess. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t really like this routine, and I can’t put my finger on why that was. Nigel said that they danced wonderfully apart, but their partnering wasn’t as good. Maybe that’s what was it.

Jordan & Tado
She’s not the “brightest crayon in the box” and he is OCD. I’m wondering how much time it will take for her to kill him for that remark. They got a Jean-Marc Viennese Waltz. I love Jean-Marc’s Waltzs. He is so talented and they are all so beautiful. Jordan and Tado were amazing in this one. Tado looked so dapper in his vest and slacks and Jordan was beautiful in her flowing dress. They carried it off so well, nailing the rise and fall and the lifts, and the rise and fall with the lifts. Loved it. Favorite routine.

Melanie & Marko
She hates to have her ears touched and he reads romance novels. They danced a Jazz routine by Mandy Moore. Lil’C’s word of “musicality” came out like no other. But I agree, it was a fun routine and well suited for both of them. The costumes bugged me, probably because they didn’t seem to match or go together very well. Maybe if she had a red hat to match his red jacket instead of her purple hat. *shrugs* Melanie is such a great dancer and Marko really shone, too.

Sasha & Alexander
She sweats like a dude and he likes looking at himself in the mirror. They got a hip-hop NapyTabs routine (did you know Napoleon was in the military?!?! I had no idea). The dance was about a soldier coming home. With everything that’s going on in the world right now, I know that this dance touched the hearts of many, many people out there. So that’s all I’m going to say.

Ashley & Chris
She thinks she has swag and he has a creepy, nervous smile. This routine was awesome! I don’t know who the choreographer, Spencer Liff, is, but he’s awesome! It was a 50’s jailbird Broadway routine, and it rocked!!! Ashley really is a talented dancer, and they worked so well together. That number got them on Mary’s Hot Tamale Train. First couple of the season! Favorite Routine.Ugh. video!

It’s going to be hard to pick the four going home tonight. I don’t want to admit it. If I had to pick two couples, right now it would be Iveta & Nick and Ryan & Ricky. What about you? Who do you think it’s going to be?


Monday, June 20, 2011

Bloodfever and Faefever by Karen marie morning

So I devoured the next two books in Karen Marie Morning’s Fever series. And I’m not ashamed. On any level. #2 (Bloodfever) I read Thursday night and Friday afternoon (approximately 6 hours total) and Faefever (#3), I took a little more time with (it’s not as much of a “surface” book as the first two were, there’s A LOT more going on in the story arc and with the characters). I started it Saturday and finished the last page Sunday night before bed.

At 10pm, I fb’d my friend and BEGGED her to bring the next one in the series (Dreamfever) to work on Monday so I wouldn’t have to suffer and I would know what happened next (cliffhanger ending on #3). I’m glad I didn’t read these when Morning was writing them, because I wouldn’t have survived the wait. (Thanks, Pam!)

I’ve been tossing around what to say in my BR about Blood and Fae. The problem is, I consumed them so quickly, that I can’t remember where 2 ends and 3 begins. Scratch that, I can remember where 3 starts: With Mac in a puddle of urine and beer behind a bar in an alley.  But other than that, the details are a bit hazy. Also, so much happens, and there is so much character development, that I couldn’t talk about it without spoiling a lot, and I didn’t want to do that to you. I want you to experience this series the way I did: in a crack addicts haze to consume more and never be able to get enough.

Wow, that sounded intense. Good! I want you to get the point. But just in case you didn’t, here’s my OFFICIAL BR:


They’re that good.
And that’s my book report, everybody. Thank you and goodnight.
It will probably be much of the same when I finish #4 & #5.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Just Read...

by Karen Marie Morning

Omygosh these books are so good! I finished this one in about 6 hours. I need to tell my friend to bring me the rest on Monday! Book Report!


Break it down now!

I both love and hate Thursday nights. On one hand, there’s always a killer group routine on SYTYCD and the next day is FRIDAY! But two dancers go home. With Season 8, it's hard to imagine who that would be. Hopefully you did your part to keep the ones you loved. Okay, okay. Time to aknowldge the truth. I told you yesterday who my top and bottom 3 boys and girls were. But was I right?

Announcements: July 31st is National Dance day, and should you choose to participate this year, SYTYCD will have three levels of routines that you can choose from to learn. Also, Lady GaGa is going to be a guest judge on the show sometime this year!

The group number was a fierce Sonya Tayeh routine with canes. One minor suggestion. Please tan. That goes for both the ladies and the guys.

Alright, down to business.

The first three couples took the stage: Melanie & Marko, Missy & Wadi, and Iveta & Nick. Cat says the first two are safe. The crowd lets out a disappointed “ohh” as Nick and Iveta hug each other. But what’s this?!?! Cat’s trying out her sneaky shoes, and they are good ones! Nick and Iveta are safe, too!

Next up, Ashley & Chris and Jordan & Tado. I was not supportive of this one. Jordan and Tado were in the bottom 3.

Next, Caitlynn & Mitchell (who is automatically in the bottom because of his injury) and Clarice & Jess. Yup, just as I predicted, Jess and Clarice are in the bottom, too.

Finally it comes down to Ryan & Ricky, Sasha & Alexander, and Miranda & Robert. Miranda & Robert it is.

So, 4 guys and 3 girls. All dance for their lives.

The judges go away to deliberate and come back from a commercial break. What’s this?!?! They want Robert and Mitchell to dance their solos AGAIN!! Unheard of and unprecedented (as Nigel put it). When all the solos are done, they gather on stage. Then the judges make their decision.

No one is going home!!

The crowd goes wild. The dancers even wilder. Nigel is trying to get their attention, but it’s too late. They’re already rushing the stage in a crazy mob, crying, hugging and cheering. What was it that Nigel was trying to say? Two, count ‘em TWO couples will be going home next week.

So sad, my friends. So sad.


Freebee Friday!!!!!

Enjoy my friends! And happy Friday!!!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Darkfever by Karen Marie Morning


By Karen Marie Morning
Rating: a strong PG-13
Spoiler Alert: a little, but no details
Coffee Bean Rating: 4.5/5 (I really want to give it a 5!)

Finished a fun, fast, and exciting book. Darkfever by Karen Marie Morning. A friend of mine gave it to me (along with the 2nd and 3rd in the series) a LONG time ago, but I never got around to reading it until now.

I picked it up and finished it in a few days (which is impressive for me right now since it’s 350 pages and I really had to look under couch cushions and behind doors to find time to read it). I read the last page today, halfway through my lunch and was very upset to find that the remaining 10 or so pages were just flyleafs (or is it like the leaves on a tree and is ‘flyleaves’?) and other “non-Mac related” writings! I plan on zipping home and promptly grabbing the next one off my shelf and starting that one. I have a strong feeling that I’ll be starting the third one by Monday. Some books just do that to me (City of Bones series, Sookie Stackhouse, Hunger Games, and Fever series just to name a few).

Enough babbling! Onto the review!

MacKayla (Mac for short) Lane just found out that her sister, while studying abroad in Ireland, has been murdered in a cruel and horrible way. Against her parents’ pleas, Mac quits college (she’s 22) and goes to Ireland and demand that the police reopen her sister’s case and solve the murder. And if they don’t, then by golly, she’s gonna do it for them (and without breaking one of her perfectly pink nails).

She ends up getting a disturbing and cryptic message from her sister via voicemail just hours before she was killed. Trying to seek answers to the clues she was given, she asks the wrong man for help about a book, Jericho Barrons. Turns out, he’s looking for it too, and thinks she's a liability.

Well, that just causes Mac to dig in her heels and try harder (like she says, ‘pride is her special little problem’). Things happen and cause Mac and Barrons to partner up, although reluctantly. There’s so much tension and unacknowledged attraction between them that neither of them sees, or at least will admit to. But I saw it!! And I was soooo hoping that something would happen between them. I knew they were destined for each other the moment they met (but I’m not going to tell you what happens. But I will say this, I am both pleased and very, very not-pleased with how Morning grants my wish).

While trying to track down her sister’s killer and find the book that will help her do it, Mac is plunged into a world she had no idea existed complete with fae, and vampires and all manner of creepers in the shadows. All with a man she knows nothing about or what his true intentions are. With her or with the book.

Morning tells the story from Mac’s pov and does it with sass and humor that made me instantly connect and fall in love with our heroine. Morning is witty and funny, created multiple forms and types of tension with masterful skill that had me turning the page under my desk at work (just kidding, of course. Or am I? Mwahaha).

A warning in advance: I looked on the spine of the book to find out what genre it was and read, Romance. Hmmm…while there are scenes not intended for the faint at heart (which may or may not include me) this was by no means a typical “romance/bodice ripper” type book. But, I’ll admit here and now, I was rooting the entire way through the book for Barrons and Mac to kiss. :)


Just Read...

by Karen Marie Morning

omygosh this book was GREAT!

Break it down now!

Did you all watch the show last night?!?! Did you all vote????? I hope so. Let’s recap what happened!

Cat’s hair was a sassy mess and her dress even sassier! The judges included Nigel, Mary and Megan Mullaly! (No idea she had a dance background).

Announcement: Mitchell had an elbow injury and had to sit the performance out, per doc’s orders. (That spells bottom three to me). Before the dancers performed their first dance as partners, they each had 8 seconds to shout out things about themselves. Which turned out to be very entertaining. Also, the source of my videos for these posts only had two available when I posted this, so I will keep checking back to see if there are more, later. At least he had the two Travis Wall ones that I loved.

Jordan & Tado:
She howls like a dog. He was a dancing taco in a commercial.

Afro-Jazz by Sean Cheesman. Sean said lava was his inspiration, I didn’t see it, but practice offered a camera-kicking good time! Wicked costumes—or lack of—nice spiked pink hair. They danced to Afro Celt (which is interesting). They had lots of tricks, flips and lifts which they executed really well. The steps were technically executed, but I did see parts where they were off from each other (which is to be expected this early on). Sean looked happy with what they did but I couldn’t help wondering what Sasha would’ve brought to the table had she had the opportunity to get that number.

Sasha & Alexander:
Her favorite color is purple and he, apparently, can’t talk.

A “haunting conscience” contemporary routine by Travis Wall. Man! Sasha abuses Alexander left and right during practice! Hits, kicks, and punches. But he keeps coming back. Travis has won an Emmy or two for his choreographed dances on this show, so it’s no surprise to get excellence from him, which is what we got, yet again last night. Travis always has depth and emotion and a vision for the dance and the costumes to tell the story. It was a great routine for a great couple. I like them—they’re strong and going to go far and have my vote—plus a good song (Sarah McLachlan, Stupid [Mark Bell Mix]). Alex really can move and has beautiful extension. Both were on time perfectly with all the down beats which was sooo stinkin’ important in this dance. If they hadn’t hit it, this number wouldn’t have had the same emotional impact it did. The judges loved the dance and complimented Travis. They loved Sasha and had a bit of comments for Alexander that I didn’t quite agree with. Like being emotionally detached from the dance and the audience. Favorite routine.

Clarice & Jesse:
Her eye color changes and he fit a lot into 8 seconds! Plus he’s been on Broadway 3 times!

They had a Broadway number by Tyce Diorio. Holy cow! I was speechless with their leaps! Very talented dancers and I think, well paired. Jesse tends to come off as a little arrogant, so it was nice to see a more humble, laidback side to him in practice. Tyce thought they nailed it, giving them a standing O and huge smiles at the end. When Clarice and Jesse came to get their critique from the judges, Cat towered something like 2 feet over them! I’m not kidding. I got a flash of Gandalf and the hobbits standing side by side. (Picture). Cat even called them “pocket-sized”. The judges loved Jess, saying he’s a natural performer—which he is. They told Clarice she had great legs and danced well, but it was going to take effort for her to keep up with Jesse.

Ryan & Ricky (R2)
She loves L&O: SVU (holla!) and he was a cheerleader (with all that energy, I’m not that surprised).

They had a Chris Scott lyrical hip hop routine based on lost love. Chris Scott is quickly becoming my favorite choreographers (but he’d better not replace my NapyTabs!). R2 was good—strong—didn’t hit things as hard as I thought they could (but again, it’s early). Ricky really outshined, in my opinion, Ryan in this one. Ricky reminded me of a young Michael Jackson, whom I loved to watch dance, and was very pleased about it. I really liked their routine. What the heck is a telly-play, Nigel? The judges kept commenting on Ryan’s happy face throughout the number ,and I agree with them. It shouldn’t have been there. I wasn’t under the impression that it was supposed to be happy, more reluctant or sad maybe. After they kept commenting on that, she interrupted them to tell them why she was smiling. Ugh, groan, and an eye-roll for good measure (for some reason, don’t ask me why, she’s not one of my favorites). But the judges did comment that she was one of the most talented girls on the show.

Caitlynn & Mitchell
Her favorite color is green (so is mine!) and he is just downright goofy!.

They got a Sonya Tayeh jazz routine! Yay!! Mitchell needs to wear a shirt during practice. And that’s all I’m going to say about it. He injured his elbow and couldn’t dance, so Caitlynn performed with Robert from S5 (Oh, so happy to see him back. Mary hinted that he might be back for the All Star portion later in the season). One thing that makes me love Sonya’s routines so much, are the little nuances that make her routines stand out, I dare say they’re almost like her signature. And they’re her little quirky movements. Anyone who’s seen her routines knows what I’m talking about. The little hand twitches, the awkward walks, etc. I didn’t think that Caitlynn felt them and delivered them the way they needed to be done. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a superb dancer, but Sonya needs 150% when delivering her routines, and I don’t think she did that. Their timing was a little off from each other. Robert was amazing. Favorite routine.

Miranda & Robert (woo-hoo!)
She sleeps with a nightlight and him…woo-hoo!

They got a jive routine from Jason Gilkison (oh my, her outfit. Didn’t really flatter her very much. I think it was the makeup). Steve did a great Steve Urkel impersonation! And he was A-MA-ZING! She lost an earring at the beginning of the routine. I was surprised at how fun and how much I like this one and how much Robert actually rocked this number! His steps were a little clunky and his toes were far from pointed, but his hips were a-swiveling and she was great as well. They partner pretty darn good together. Her legs were awesome on all the kicks Jason gave her. He looked very happy with how the dancers performed his number and they got a standing O from everyone in the house. My favorite thing on SYTYCD is when the judges are giving constructive criticism and the audience boos (Heaven forbid that their favorite dancer has something to improve on. Give me a break), and the dancer stands there and says, “no, they’re right, I do need to work on that”. Huzzah!

Missy & Wadi
She wants to marry an Australian (Jason?) and he was born in Jamaica.

They got a jazz routine by Sean Cheesman about Pandora’s Box. I’m going to get this out of the way. I’m not a fan of Missy. She’s too conceited. There, I feel better now. Their timing was off in the beginning on a very important part on Wadi’s part (from what I could tell). Missy is a strong dancer, very powerful and commanding, good technique. Wadi has a lot of physical strength, but I didn’t feel that Cheesman gave him much of a challenge outside of his box to work on in this number. I felt it was too safe for him. But, I did like the routine. It was fun. Sean liked their performance. The judges thought this and the afro-jazz routine was the best from Cheesman. They said Missy had it all (I don’t agree), and that Wadi learned different styles quickly. Nigel wants him to stick around and called him “brilliant”.

Melanie & Marko
She wants to be on Ellen (me, too!) and he eats a lot (and fell over in his chair).

They got a contemporary Travis Wall routine about statues that come to life during the night. Wow, wow, WOW! These two are going to be REMARKABLE together. Just insane. They are a perfect combination. She is completely trusting of him on everything, and he is always there for her. Great partnering between them. Just amazing. The only thing about this dance I didn’t like, was the fact that they were painted white. It was a bit distracting. But the dancing was beautiful. The routine, moves, technique, level of trust, POWER, strength—they gave a great display of everything awesome in dance, Travis and these two, together, complement each other better than anything I’ve seen on the show so far. Favorite routine. It was a standing O in the house, and Mary was moved to tears.

Ashley & Chris
She loves waffles and he has 6 siblings.

They got a Chris Scott hip hop routine about cheaters. Cee Lo! Rockin’ Flowers, and bras, and anger. Their sync was a little off, but they were good. But, with following the M’s routine, it was hard for me to get into this one, so I don’t have much to say about it. Sorry!

Iveta & Nick
She’s 30 (and I’m sorry to say looks much older) and Nick is a s-l-o-w talker. .

They got a quick step (aka dance of death) routine from Jason (which Iveta is a world champion in). Poor, poor, POOR Nick! But he found his fast feet with the help of his partner. They had good timing considering he hasn’t danced this before. I loved her dress. His carriage/frame needs work, but he had a fun jump at the end I enjoyed. They got a standing O (what, are they handing those out like candy now a days???) and the judges were really impressed with how well Nick did, being a tapper and all.

My top 3 girls: Melanie, Jordan, Iveta
My top 3 boys: Robert, Nick, Wadi
My bottom 3 girls: Missy, Ashley, Miranda
My bottom 3 boys: Mitchell, Chris, Marko

Happy Thursday, my friends!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ARC Alert!

You've probably noticed that I haven't had too many of these posts lately. And it's not because I'm bein' lazy. I've decided to be morally responsible and not ask for any more ARCs until I can get through what I have now. And there's a lot. But this one did seem to slip through. I don't even really remember asking for it. But I'm happy I did.'s signed by the author!!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

by Jean Thompson
Release Date: Already out

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tomorrow Girls: Behind the Gates by Eva Gray

Tomorrow Girls: Behind the Gates
by Eva Gray
MG Distopian
Content Rating: G
Spoiler Alert: A little
Coffee Bean Rating: 2.5/5

I know, I know. This book is for a way younger crowd than me, but that doesn't mean that I can't find it Interesting. 

Tomorrow Girls is a dystopian/post-big disaster (I don't want to call it post-apocalyptic, because I don't think it is). Families with money send their children away to a special school to take them away from all the horribleness that is their world.

The MC, Louisa and her best friend, Maddie (who everyone is pretending is her twin) get shipped off to Country Manor School for survival training. They meet a couple different characters on the bus ride up, Evelyn (the conspiracy nut) and Rosie (the jock/queen B.). The four of them end up getting grouped together as roommates which ads for the necessary chemistry and tension to get the story moving along. It's not that long of a book, and not that much really happens (but it is aimed for the younger crowd).

Evelyn thinks the school is really an undercover rebel forces training camp to take down the government, Louisa loves it there, Maddie hates it there (their friendship succumbs to their strain, but in the end they overcome), and Rosie learns to let others in and not be so mean.

The group of four go on a wilderness overnight trip, meet the school of boys across the lake, find out that the faculty has been lying to them and that they're not as safe as they thought. That's it. The end. If you wanna know more, you're going to have to read book 2. Which I'm not planning on doing.

It was a fun enough book to read (it was an ARC, so there's obligation on my part), but I'm not hooked enough to find out what happens next. And it's not just because it's a book aimed at middle-graders. But, you're more than welcome to make that decision for yourself. :)


The Wild Soccer Bunch: Diego the Tornado by Joachim Masannek

Diego the Tornado
by Joachim Masannek
Elementary Fiction
Content Rating: G
Spoilers: Yes
Coffee Beans: 3/5

This is such a fun book for youngsters! I found it entertaining and fast-paced and passed it on to my nephew who is a huge soccer fan. The concept dealt with is very relatable to children in this age market, and everything in the book (reactions, emotions, situations, etc) is magnified by ten so that it's easy for the young reader to pick up on what's going on.

I liked how the author snuck in bigger words to encourage and motivate the reader to broaden their minds and add to their vocaublary when they go to look them up. I also liked how the kids didn't win their game in the end. The only downside I saw to this was the lack of respect the children had for their parents at times.


The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey

The Two Deaths of Marcus Sakey
by Daniel Hayes
Content Rating: PG-13 (mild sex)
Spoiler Alert: Are you kidding me??? Heck no!
Coffee Bean Rating: A strong 4/5
Release Date: June 9, 2011

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey is quite simply, a brilliant book. And while I’m at it, Sakey is a brilliant author. I’m not much into crime/who-done-it books, but this has made me a believer; there’s something to them! At least there is to Sakey’s.

Daniel Hays wakes up naked and near death on a Maine beach. He has no idea who he is or how he got where he is, but he’s determined to find out. He finds a car with clothes his size, an insurance card with a California address, and a gun inside the glove box, but other than that, Daniel has nothing to go on. Sakey takes us though Daniels journey of retracing his steps back to California, towards the magnetic pull of a female star on a fictional TV drama. What I love most, is that Daniel knows nothing of what’s happening, and as a result, neither does the reader; and it feels very authentic and refreshing that way.

The story is told from three different points of view. Largely from Daniel’s, but there are two other’s whose take on what’s going on is both valuable and widely entertaining. Sakey’s way of writing is unique (quick, intense descriptions, short choppy sentences) and it’s quickly addictive. It adds so much to the novel and almost immediately, I was drawn into Daniel’s character.

Here’s a description that particularly caught my attention:

And finally, Malibu, nestled like a jewel in the warm bosom of the other coast. More beautiful than any place had a right to be. Golden sunlight, salt tang in the air, bungalows in faded shades of mint and turquoise next to multimillion-dollar wonders of glass and stone, waves rolling surfers to shore in long, slow breaks. Twenty-seven miles of beach and canyon, of palm trees and skies that promised never to cloud—except from wildfire smoke or mudslide rain. Celebrities huddled behind security gates while homeless philosophers dispensed wisdom outside organic cafés.

There are several flashbacks in the book, as Daniel is hit with bits and pieces of his memory, and I LOVE the say Sakey shows them to us. Since Daniel is a screenwriter, it only makes sense that his memories come back to him, and thus to us, in screenplay form. The impact these scenes have is wonderful. The story and plot is expertly woven together with great “didn’t see that comin’” twists.

As I don’t read this genre very much, I knew nothing about Sakey, other than Lee Child (a name I am familiar with because my mom loves him) made a connection between Sakey and Harlan Coben (another familiar name thanks to my mom) in a blurb for the book. So I was tickled pink when I saw that Sakey has 4 other books (all best sellers) and three of those four books are in development as films.

Why the PG-13 rating, if it was such a GREAT book? There are some vulgar subjects sporadically throughout the book—granted it’s through the unsavory character we get this info, so it has to be done—and a brief, non-detailed sex scene.

With action, twists and turns like the PCH, and SUPERB storytelling, The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes is a book you will not regret buying. Now go read it!

Happy Monday, my friends!


Just Read...

Finished a GREAT book yesterday. It went on sale June 9th, so pick it up!

by Marcus Sakey

Review to come soon! Review HERE!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Break it down now!

Thursday's Results Show

We have our Top 20!!!! And I’m happy with who made it through. They had an interesting format this year. Cat announced (in a beautiful white lace dress) groups of four or five who made it, then had them come out and dance live. After all 20 were announced they did an all girls number, all guys and then a group number. I really liked it.

Nigel revealed that when the dancers get down to 10, they’ll be bringing back the All Stars aspect from last season, which I am glad about. Also announced, online voting!!! Go to and you can vote up to 50 times.

Now let’s get down to business:

1. Ricky
2. Miranda
3. Melanie (yay!)
4. Sasha

Natalia didn’t make it through, which I was disappointed about, but was okay with. The sisters were supportive of each other, and I think that Natalia didn’t make it because of her solo. It wasn’t as strong as her partner dancing was. The first four danced to a Stacey Tookey contemporary routine. They all made it look so effortless and easy.


5. Chris
6. Wadi
7. Tado
8. Robert (I just call him Woo-Hoo)

The Professor and Lil’O didn’t make it though, and that broke my heart. Both were confident they would be in the T20 and looked positively heartbroken when they didn’t make it through. Since all four boys were hip-hoppers by heart, they got an A-MA-ZING hip-hop routine by Dave “Master Chef” Scott. It was so much fun, with high energy and mad tricks. Hubby popped by at this point to watch a bit. As soon as he saw Robin, he made a gagging noise.

“What the heck is wrong with her??? She looks like an alien.”
“One too many face lifts and a few extra Botox injections.”
“I think James Cameron woke up one night, saw her face and said, ‘I’ve got the perfect idea for a movie!’ And thus, Aliens was born.”


Ballroom had to be decided between the German beauty, Iveta, and the French boy, Lenny. You know who my vote was for. Hubby saw Lenny and added his two cents, with a cheesy French accent. “I have an accent and my hair goes poof (insert hand gestures here) so I know I’m gonna make it.”

The judges agreed with me, so…

9. Iveta

She did an A-MA-ZING Pasa Doble with Season 5 winner, Pasha choreographed by the Australian (His name is Jason).


10. Clarice
11. Marko (gunshot victim)
12. Jordan (my favorite girl)
13. Missy

These four did a Sonya jazz routine, which was all kinds of wicked fierceness. I can always count on Sonya to give me something I’m gonna love.


14. Jess (Broadway)
15. Nick (Tapper)

Nick and Jess did a pretty fun tap routine by Christopher Scott. Apparently four girls can tap, too, so there might be a tap number in our future with the six of them.


16. Caitlynn (Nigel’s favorite)
17. Ashley
18. Mitchell
19. Alexander
20. Ryan

The choice for the last boy was between Alexander and Jeramiah. The judges brought them down together, and chose Alex, who promptly gave Jeramiah a large hug. Watch out boy, Jeramiah has a temper issue. The girls came down between Ryan and Alexa (they looked like twins!). Of course the girls were crying when they told the judges how much they each wanted it. In the end, it was Ryan.

These five did a contemporary routine by Travis Wall. I love Travis’ routines, and I know it was good, but I don’t remember a lot about it. Except there were leaves all over the stage and the dancers kept tossing them about. The judges, though, remembered more of it than I did and gave a standing O (But they did that for Sonya, too).


The all boy’s was my favorite of the night, choreographed by Chris Scott. It was a combo between hip-hop and contemporary and was all kinds of awesome. It was very Matrix-y with red doors and dark suits. Their timing was off a bit as a group, but individually, they are all very good. There’s just something about a group of men dancers that’s so captivating. The power and energy just sucks you in.


The all girl routine was a Sonya number about Geishas, which was to die for. Lil’C even made up a poem for her about how awesome she is using the letters of her name. Nigel gave him a hug for his efforts. The girls were more together with the guys and were fierce. Nigel warned the guys that they were going to have some real competition with the opposite sex. With their Geisha outfits, you could see the strength in their legs, and I swear, ALL of them had chiseled tools of death instead of legs.


The last group number was choreographed by Tyce Diorio and was a Broadway number. It was awesome (I need to find a different word). Choreographers are geniuses and so talented. Not only for creating (overall) an aesthetically pleasing number with great music, moves and costumes as a whole, but also for breaking it down to the individuals and seeing where each will be at every second and what moves they’ll be doing. I’m always in awe of them.


Okay! These talented dancers are our T20! I know who I’m rooting for (Jordan, Melanie, Nick, and Woo-hoo), though it may change. Who are you wanting?

PS – did you know the British call a bowtie a dickey bow? Happy Friday, everyone!!