Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just Read...

Firelight by Kristen Callihan. Check out the review done by my friend, Pam, here.

Now it's off to NetGalley to beg for a copy of book two, Moonglow....Wish me luck. :)


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Break it Down Now!

(Disclaimer: Sometimes I really HATE Blogger and SERIOUSLY think about moving to Wordpress. I don't understand why the movie option here can't find the video clips on YouTube that I KNOW are there! As a result, some videos will be a link instead of embedded.)

It's time to reveal our T20! Are you just so excvited? (Cat's dress was horrible, btw). Zoe Deschanel! I LOVE her, and Coworker Jusin has a secret crush (don't tell him I told you that, though, Anna Paquin might get jealous). Two winners this season! Top girl AND top guy! I think I like this spin. Okay, time for the results!

Alexa Anderson (not a big fan)
George Lawrence II

Will Thomas

Amber Jackson

Contemporary routine by Tyce Diorio. Good movement and staying in sync, still need to work on tweaking things. It was an okay dance—I like getting the story behind it so I can connect more. I think George will go far and Amber Jackson stood out to me the best. But Alexa held her own for me in this one. Finally someone taller than Cat, in Will!

Nick Bloxsom-Carter

Lindsay Arnold & Whitney Carson Who will win? Whitney made it. Poor Lindsey. :( I hate it when they do this! 
Lindsey made it, too!

Jason Gilgasun ballroomI knew they were going to do this for ballroom. My coworkers and I called it. It's so mean. But brings good ratings. Who's Nick? I don't remember him. Ugh, the tears. Now I remember him. Ugh. I'm cringing and closing my eyes at his theatrics.I love watching the ballroom routines, there's so much sass and personality. And Nick@@ Holy cow is he an eye catching male ballroom dancer@ Most of the time I never watch the guy, but I found myself equally watching both the birls and him. I think he could have added a little more snap but, this was a REALLY entertaining and good routine. Effotrtless. I agree with Mary about Nick, needing a little more from him.

Australian ballerina Daniel Baker

Pole Dancer Ballerina Eliana Girard – She looks pained. YES! She made it!!

Swiss Ballerina Chehon Wespi-Tschopp

Seriously? The tension here is KILLING me! Good decision! Daniel made it! Good choice judges. Oh, Chehon's crying. Wait, what?!?! Chehon made it, too! I HATE THE JUDGES! When they do this, it's horrible! I'm on an emotional roller coaster here!

Desmond Richardson and Dwight Wodin routine. Oh, it's like our own personal ballet show. How beautiful, but I didn't like the harshness and utiliartarianism of the costumes (and yes, I did just make that word up). But the last half of the music fits. Very creative. Eliana's legs are just amazing. I would have liked to see more from the guys, more of Chehon's leaps and Daneel's acrobatics. I wasn't as impressed with this routine as I hoped I would be. May I point out that those are not flattering costumes, boys? I agree with Mary, so excited that Ballet is going to have a huge voice this season.

Tiffany Maher (don't remember her)

Audrey Case the neck farter

Janelle Issis (I see her going all the way to the end) Bahaha! That entrance was classic!

Sonya teya Jazz Routine. What! Janelle isn't dancing tonight? LAME. I LOVE this song. But those outfits? A little boyish on the bottoms. Mistakes can be forgiven this first time around, which is good, because these two girls needed a lot of work together, they weren't in sync for a lot of the time, and there were stumbling. But I liked the routine. 

Joshua Alexander Why is he crying in the waiting room? He doesn't' even know what's going on! Wow, Adam, don't waste any time telling him he didn't make it!
Matthew Kazmierczak aka Ryan Gosling Jr. - haha. That whole thing Mary made him do was funny.

Dareian Kajawa (lousy feet)

Janaya French – who is she?

Amelia Lowe 1920's star. They didn't play around with that decision.

Contemporary Stacey Tookey. Stacey's just an amazing chotrographer. I thought Amelia did pretty well, and Darian's fee were better. But They need to…haha! Did you all see his feet? They were flexed and then he pointed them when he thought about them! C'mon, buddy, they're an extention of your legs, point them at least a little. Beautiful routine.

Cole Horibe

Brandon Mitchell

Cyrus Spencer and the 50 Cent lookalike, Feliciano Turk. Cyrus just seems like an incredible human being. This is the most agonizing decision I think tonight. I actually threw my hands in the air and screamed when they chose Cyrus! Feleciano looked shocked.

Christopher Scott hip hop. I loved how they just put all their styles into the dance. Oh, wow, this is a great routine from the very beginning. The music selection and the choreography. These boys rocked it! So. Much. I could watch this over and over again. In fact, I think I'm going to. Smiling so big right now. Great choice in picking Cyrus! 

T10 Girls dancing Travis Wall – Gateway to the afterlife. The counts are challenging in this routine. The poses look like greek statues. Very artistic and beautiful, especially with the dresses. Amelia does stand out the most with all those girls, so she really needs to work on being perfect. They all did so brilliantly they danced so brilliantly. Really did. And their syncopation was spot on. Beautiful routine. Oh! That last shot there with Aleza in the doorway, I think I she just found her way into my heart. 

T10 boys dancing Sonya Taye. Fight to maintain. I love how demanding she is. It's perfect for the boys. Tis is going to be fierce. Did you see how strong that little asian boy is?!?! Holy crap. Interesting costumes, Japanese theme. I love her movements so much. I would have liked some louder more hitting music, though. It was too quiet. But, it worked. The girl routine was better, but it was such a different beast than this number. 

T20 dancing Mia Michaels. Finally! Reminds me a bit of Kpax. Pretty good timing for 20 people. Loved how they all started dancing together started dancing together one by one. Wow, so glad Mia is back,but is that a wig? I wonder if she had a bout with cancer (I only guess that because of her passion towards breast cancer survivors, her mom died of cancer—I think—and she was out for a season or two. 

I'm pretty happy with the selection of Season 9's T20, are you?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Break it Down Now!

Vegas, baby!!
(I couldn't find clips for everything, sorry)

Solos, Hip hop, Broadway, Jazz, Groups, Ballroom, Contemproary, Final solos. That’s what in store for us before we find our T20. I don’tknow If Ican survive all that; I don't know how the dancers can.
Judges: Lil C, Debbie Allen, Adam Shankman, Tyce Diorio, Mary Murphy, Nigel Lythgo. 

ROUND 1 - SOLOS AND CUTS: Holy. Cow. That's intense. The Exorcist did his solo and Adam (he's such a cryer) and Tyce shed some tears. I hope The Exorcist does well in everything else.  That’s the same song as his original audition. I was hoping for something new. But man, does he have talent. All the judges who didn’t see him the first time are just wow’d. Yeah! Go Excorcist. Love the glitter shoes, remind me of Dorothy. I like how they let everyone do their solos and then they make decisions. Belly dancer I love watching her dance. She owns that stage when ever she’s on it. I hope he can do so other styles, too. I think she can. Hey! That ballroom girl's braces are off. 51 dancers gone! I can’t believe that! And the guy with the Selena Gomez back pack was sent home.

ROUND 2 - HIP HOP WITH TWITCH & COMFORT: I like Twitch, but have never been too impressed  Comfort. "If you’re not sweating doing this routine, you’re not doing it right."  The Dragon House Crew! I have such high hopes for them! Hampton!! What are you doing?!?! Don’t give up!! Please!!!  He’s giving up! I really wanted to see him give it a shot. Andre from Dragon House looks like he’s going to give up. I hope not. He’s just going to leave. Gone. I understand where he’s coing from, but I’m so sad he quit. The dragon guy’s doing pretty good. I’d like to see better, so I think send on to (Borus) another style. Sent home. Only Cyrus remains. Praying mantis is gone! And mother of two! So sad. Lets see how Cyrus does, too bad they’re in front. He seems to be holding his own, seeing his little popping coming through. He’s doing pretty dang good.

ROUND 3 - BROADWAY WITH TYCE: This style really makes or breaks people, I think. There’s so much more than dancing to Broadway. Whitney and Lindsey, the ballroom girls. Whitney for sure has the sexy thing going, wow, she commands the spunk and sass that’s needed! I didn’t think we’d get that from her.  But needs to find other shorts, her bums hanging out. They all made it. The judges are going to have to start cutting people sometime. Alexa, oh, Alexa. I never really did care for you. She’s dancing it, but she’s not feeling it. Not when you compare her to Whitney. NOW the judges are cutting people. Wow, harsh and severe.

ROUND 4 - JAZZ WITH SONYA: I heart Sonya. For realz. Only 82 dancers left. Okay, hiphopper, you’re just looking for excuses as to why you're struggling. Own your junk, Shafeek.  His partner, Bacon Girl looks like she’s going to kill him.  Rachel, burlesque dancer needs to go, she just sucks. Bacon Girl is good, but I think she really being held back by her partner. What is this? Is Rachel trying to fight to stay? I didn’t know they could do that. Please shut her down. Say no Adam. Good boy. Tyce, that yes sounded lame. Argh! I don’t want to see her strip for her life. Oh well. Lots of dancers getting cut from Sonya’s routine. Doesn’t pay to be nice, Bacon Girl! I've seen the previews about what happens to you! She was kicked in the head and she got up to keep dancing. Wow, that’s insanity and dedication all rolled into one. The judges let her partner go because he kicked her in the face? I didn’t think he was that bad. Oh! Amelia, I love her. Dragon House guy, good for you for sticking with it. That’s what I like to see. Amelia is killing it. Lindsey needs to get a better top because her straps keep falling down. Pleas keep Amelia!! Cyrus, I really hope he makes it to the T20, I really think he’ll make it. What’s up with Danielle? I thought she was okay? 

DANCING FOR THEIR LIVES: What’s with all this jerking of your neck with the tie, Rachel? Lil C looks pained (as my mom just said) and I agree. How is this true to burlesque? I thought it was horrible. Debbie Allen is spot on. I hope Rachel comes back next season but better and with different dance styles under her belt. What about Amelia? I think she’ll do great. Look at those feet! Her legs are great, and her flow and extention and the way she uses her arms is just beautiful. That solo was exquisite! Nigel says smart things, and I love Tyces happy yes face. Adam’s a cry baby.
ROUND 5 - GROUP ROUTINES: What! Picking they’re own group? This will be good. "I’m done! D-O-N Done!" Bahahahaha! What’s with all these tears? And where’s bacon girl? Still in the hospital? The Australian ballerina is back and here’s the Bacon Girl. This will be interesting to see how their group routine turns out since she came in two hours late.  There’s no cohesiveness in their group, just dancing around. Argh. Don’t send them home! Dang! Bacon Girl gets the boot. Give her another chance. She had a head injury for goodness sake. Borus stayed! That’s good.

The Highschoolers. Huh. Let’s see. It’s a cute idea. I’m cringing,  Like bigtime. But not so sure. Ah, now it's getting better. I thought it was good, in the end. They were pretty together. Okay, not cringing as much anymore.  I was thinking exactly what Nigel said. Lots of good people I’m seeing go through. 

I really don’t want to say Alexa go forward and I can’t put my finger on exactly why. They all look exhausted. She’s showing a little more emotion in this number. I’m proud of her. Man! Tyce is just zeroing in on Alexa and taking her by the throat and shaking her ruthlessly. I think Tyce is being a tad bit harsh in his words. I thought she did a lot better. She’s just very reserved, but I guess she’s going to have to break out of this box.

ROUND 6 - BALLROOM WITH JASON: It's the test of the cha-cha and chemistry.  It’s so crazy that these girls have muscles on their ribs. I love how persistent Cyrus is and how he’s giving it his all and really pouring himself into the routine. And I also like how he puts some of his hip hop to the moves. That foot drag was so funny! So stiff and painful. But he made me smile so much. I have a soft spot in my heart for this boy. I really do. I’m glad they’re letting him dance for his life, because there’s no way they’ll tell him no after his solo.

I’m kinda really liking the pink haired girl, but I think she’s lost her shirt cuz all she’s wearing is her bra. Aw, she’s going home.  Wow. Those are big tears. And shaking hands. Wow. I feel like I’ve just stepped in on a very akward moment and am backing away slowly. My pole dancing ballerina made it through.  So, It’s up to Alexa. Bring it, girl. She’s concentrating so much on her face and showing the emotion – there it is!!!!! Now she’s in the groove!

Cyrus’ solo! I can’t wait to see it again! I think he’s really proven himself in other genres to earn a spot in Vegas still. I want to see him do more. I think they’re really--Look. At. That. This is pure talent. He’s such a special dancer. I hope they just keep letting him dance. He looks like he’s battery operated my mom says. I love the look on Nigel’s face after he dances, he’s always moved. YAY! He’s staying! I LOVE his devotion and determination to winning. 52 people left.

ROUND 7 - CONTEMPORARY WITH TRAVIS: "Technically I’m looking for perfection." I love Travis’ routines because he really brings the emotions out in each dancer and really lets the them connect with their partner as a result. I’ve only seen a couple other choreographers do that. Wait! What are all these dancers doing on stage? 18 dancers asked to do the choreography again. Lots of tears. Krumper!!!! I think she’s doing so well! Who knew! It was sad to see her go.

ROUND 8 - FINAL SOLOS: Now it’s the final solos and finding out who the…..what the heck!!!!  I like that the camera man called for a medic then whent back to filming. (I don’t think I like that Cat as the host for that cheap dating show, by the way. Just saw a commercial for it.) I like how thyey’re doing the solos and interviews. Maybe we’ll find the T20 in this episode. Wow! That last solo was awesome! People who think boy ballerinas are lame are uneducated. LOL.

Trey, Dres, Adrian, & Brandon cut!!! Wow! It’s like a slap in the face for Adrain. So sad. 35 dancers at the end.

Next week, we find out who our T20 are!!!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Break it down now!

We're in Salt Lake City for the last location for auditions!

SLC really is a beautiful place. Minus the snow, of course. :) Nigel, Mary & Adam Shankman (finally!! Where were you all last season?)

Whitney Looks familiar. The cha cha tango. She looks really young and bubbly. Wow! She's sharp. Missed the hand grab but I think it was okay. They guy? He looks like a fish trying to breathe out of water with all the mouth opening and closing. I don't like all the mouth moving they're both doing. But she's really getting into it. She' good but there were a couple places I noticed she could've been sharper, but that might've been her partner. Oh no, I'm really hoping the (whoa! Show was that creeper in the crowd?!?!). Straight to Vegas. Hubby called it.

Alien space dance? Lynn….wow. I don't even know what to say. I just….wow….wow. Davine da Flame & Rainbow Light Bright. She's freaking crazy. Oh wow. Now we have tears. Notice how she didn't answer Cat's question about hallucinogenic drugs? And she left that to dance for the spirits? Okay. She's not.…that…bad....At least not as bad as I thought she'd be. Very entertaining. Hubby: "Seriously? WTF? I have resentment."

Deanna the Italian is an only girl! That's horrible. If I were a guy, I wouldn't want to be her boyfriend. My body would disappear. Nigl needs a girlfriend. Dirty old man. I want to be in an Italian family. Maybe Hubby and I will calim be Italian from now on. Look at her quads! Did you see them? They're huge!! So far, I'm not seeing much dancing. Good backbends, but I want more. Here we go. Very flowy. Knows how to use her arms and legs. Very sweet personality and pretty. Good combo there. Powerful and expressive. Good Dancer, I really like her. Nigel looks happy. I think she's going to make it to the T20.

There's someone out there weirder than the Alien Space Dance?? Holy crap. I think he's crazier than Lynn. The life cycle of the praying mantis? For realz? Very entertaining. Wouldn't that be funny if he was really good. Okay. Yeah, That's not funny. He actually is an amazing dancer with good technique. Usually people like this bomb. My apologies for stereotyping him. Sonia would LOVE him. I would love to see what else he could do. If he even could do anything else. Choreography? I'm really surprised with how good he was. "You're really sort of brilliant!" I agree with Adam 100% (There's that creepy kid in the audience again). VEGAS!!! Wow.

Lindsey Arnold. Parading on stage like a parade pony. So sassy. I like her take on ballroom, she does bring a little something different to it. Her legs are nice and long and strong. But when I think about her and compare her to the first girl. She just has so much more to do to compete. But she can still hold her own. Jullian Huff. Wow, strong compliments from Mary.

Ballroom. Ballroom. Ballroom. Ballroo--Krump?. Queue Adam Shankman choking on his water.

I hope this is good. Lets see some Krumping. Wow. "Holy, beep! She's krumping. She's really good!" Adam loves this. I think I'd be scared of her if I was a boy. I want oto see if she can do a waltz. Haha. Seriously though, I want to see her in choreography. Why didn't the audience clap? I didn't even hear one clap or cheer. I think she deserves it. Hubby commented on the same thing as Mary, there needs ot be more vocabulary in her moves.

Murphy Yang. Family moved to California without them?!?! What the crap? Hey! Blue streak just like mine! I hope he goes far. Let's see. Strong setup. He's good. I want to see other types from him. Very entertaining. I agree with Nigel that there wasn't enough dancing for me either. I also agree with Adam, lots there's a lot of untapped dancer potential in in him. I hope he does well. Oh, dang, not strong enough. So sad. But the Krumper made it!!

Dareian. Nigel is getting so bad. Each season he's more and more liberal and racy with his comments! Get off the floor buddy. Wow. He really is a very powerful dancer and there is so much skill and technique. I think he has what it takes to be in the T20. Adam looks proud. So very proud. He had such good sequences, but I agree with Nigel, LOUSY feet. Hubby says this phrase is losing it's power, "You are what this show is all about".

Johnny. Oh, wow. He's crazy. I like how he's trying all his moves on Cat. Not working. Poor dance partner Whitney. Double Your Dating. Boys, don't buy into this. I don't care about the dating. Let's see the dancing and hope that little conversation doesn't ruin their audition. They're actually pretty good. I don't like his faces all over the place, the judges don't look impressed. And after Mary's comment, I notice only that. They're never looking at each other, just the audience. Especially him. I thought the couple got really good critiques. I bet they go through to choreography.

Familiar faces. I'm so glad about the little blond. I really liked her!!!!!! And Adrian, poor guy, so nervous can't even get his rods out. Good dancer just like he was two seasons ago. I think he's going to make it to Vegas, hands down, and he'll have good news to tell them. I remember I really liked him back in Season 7.

Leroy. He seems very unassuming. Good cause. Mary's already crying. Is he good> Yes. He is. I never would have thought that was from him. LOL!!! Oh, his personality! He's great. And a good dancer, did I say that already> What about other choreography. Wow! He can do tricks! Adam's in love. I can tell. Standing O from the audience. Can he do anything else, though? I have faith that he can. Why are you drawing this out, judges! Give your decision already! You can go, but I don't think you can do it. Rude! I hope he proves them wrong. So sad, he didn't. I'd love to see him come back next year and really blos them out of the water.

Next week looks INSANE. Can't wait.

Predictions: Deanna the Italian will get to the T20. I really feel strongly about the Mantis boy, and I think that the krumper will go far but not quite make it. What about you al?
Happy Thrusday, my friends!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown: Promises Much, Delivers Little

Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy (?)
Pub Date: June 12, 2012
Rating: PG
Coffee Beans: 2.5/5
Spoilers: Not really
Favorite Line: I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that. (pg 10, ebook), Maris chose her words like a surgeon chose a scalpel (pg 18, ebook), The sky darkened like ink spreading through a shirt pocket… (Pg 86, ebook)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review

Publisher’s Summary:
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.

My Review:
Okay – First, I felt this book had a lot of promise. The cover is suh-weet (although I was confused as to why the put a mermaid on the cover when it’s told from the point of view of Calder , a merman). The summary is dark and awesome. The first few chapters were more than I could have hoped for.

Which is why I was so confused by all the two and three star reviews on GoodReads (I didn’t read any of them, just looked at the ratings). I thought to myself, “Pft! These weirdoes don’t know a good book when they read one!” and proceeded on my merry reading way. I mean, a book with an opening line like this, had to be good, right? RIGHT?!?! I hadn’t killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that.


What I liked:
I liked Brown’s take on the traditional mermaid myth where mermaids were bad and killed people (anyone else notice that YA books are turning more dark when it comes to fairy tales? I like it). The fact that they fed on the happiness of humans because they couldn’t produce their own. The fact that deep down, they were primal and instinctual beings.

The author does a great job of dropping tidbits of information relevant to the mythology behind the story as well as the mermaids’ motivation for what they’re doing. It flows so well and feels so natural. But at some points, I was thoroughly confused and wished she’d dropped a little more clues. Like the revenge they felt for their mother. Were they just really pissed, or was their drive more paranormal and instinctual? I’m leaning towards the latter of the two, but we’re never really given a good picture.

The writing, for the most part, was really great. Good descriptions and flow (…my stomach twisted like a snake in a jar, pg 30, ebook). Dialogue was natural and engaging. I liked Lily’s tattoo: No coward soul is mine but that’s beside the point. The story had so much potential to be a really good book.

What I didn’t like:
The book opens with Calder telling us he’s abstaining from taking human lives. But why? All we’re given is the reason of  “because he wanted to see if he could.”

*Shrugs shoulders*

Yeah, okay. I guess that’s good. Enough. But I would’ve liked to be given a better reason than that.

Something that actually had more significance to him, so that way when he’s tempted to kill Lily we know the battle he’s fighting and the strength it takes to resist. (But now that I think of it, there really wasn’t that much of a struggle for him. C’mon, dude. You haven’t eaten ANYTHING in over NINE MONTHS. It’s okay to be thinking your girlfriend looks a little tasty).

There also seemed to be a couple of scenes that weren’t important because they didn’t add to the plot what-so-ever and then were never mentioned again. And WEIRD things happened in them, and in the “real” world, the events would have been brought up and shunned. (I put “real” in quotes because in a REAL world, Calder’s fishtail of a rear end would’ve been kicked to the curb and would’ve been served with a restraining order by the biggest, baddest, meanest looking delivery person I could find).

For the most part, I got a really good, 3D sense of the characters, especially Maris. Calder, though, was a little ambiguous. I couldn’t help but get a generic feel for him. And therefore, generic, non-committed feelings for him. Good-looking guy. Strong. Smart. Funny. Possessive. Protective. (Anyone else seeing the clichéd cookie cutout “main guy” image so prevalent in today’s YA books?) I want something, SOMEONE real! I really thought I’d get it with Calder, but no dice.

And Lily…flat. And a 100% WEAK character. No, let me take that back. She’s far from weak. Loves her family, would sacrifice herself for him, thinks Calder’s muy estraño from the beginning. So she’s not weak, I guess. But the fact that Calder’s pretty much STALKING her, and she KNOWS IT, and she doesn’t follow her first impression that he CREEPS HER OUT, is pretty aggravating. So maybe she’s just a DUMB character?

I would have liked it so much more if she was put in a situation to be forced to partner with him against her better judgment in order to save the greater good instead of falling for him after he keeps pestering her. To me, it would’ve been a much more plausible evolution of a relationship.

I also think that part of the story being told from Lily’s POV would have been VERY beneficial for me as a reader. Then, at least, I’d have had some sense of reasoning behind her decision to go out with this complete creep that is Calder.

Girls (or anyone, really): If a boy is stalking you (showing up at your house in the middle of the night with lame reasons, ends up getting a job where you applied, is following you around), and you already have a bad feeling about him, please don’t perceive that as flattering. I’m so fed up with books that portray this kind of behavior as right or acceptable. There are real people out there who do these kinds of thing and are dangerous. The fact that authors are portraying this as something to be attracted to or desired is horrible.

*Steps off soap box. Dusts hands off*

There, I feel better.

I hate delivering BRs like this one. It hurts me to give my honest opinion because I know how much love, blood, tears, and pieces of ourselves an author puts into their books. They love it. Their agent and publisher love it. But it’s my job to give my honest opinion about what I read. And I DON’T love this book. I don’t even really LIKE it. I feel meh about it. I know there will always be people like me out there, but it doesn’t make this any easier. Ever.

Anyway, you may like it. Pick it up and read it, deciding for yourself. Me? I won’t be recommending it to anyone.

Happy reading, my friends!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Glimpse by Claire Merle

The GlimpseThe Glimpse by Claire Merle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Glimpse
By: Claire Merle
Genre: YA Dystopian
Pub Date: June 7, 2012
Rating: PG-13 for some disturbing and slightly mature scenes at a loony dump.
Coffee Beans: 3.5/5
Spoilers: Nope
Favorite Line(s): “It was like a curse. He was her antidote. She was his poison.” (ebook, pg 35), “She stared at him fiercely, but her eyes snagged on his blue irises and her heart back-flipped, landing askew in her chest.” (ebook, pg 175), “Ana baulked like a horse reaching a ten-foot-high jump.” (ebook, pg 177, “Her mind felt like sludge the whole world had walked their dirty boots through.” (ebook, pg 256)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review

Publisher’s Summary:

Throughout England people are now divided into Pures and Crazies according to the results of a DNA test, with the Pures living in small Communities cut off from the madness of society, and the Crazies living outside the walls in the squalor and mayhem of the City. Until the age of fifteen, Ana has lived a privileged existence amongst the Pures, but her whole world crumbles when she finds out that there was a mistake with her Pure test. She is actually one of the Crazies, and one day in the near or distant future she will become sick. But Ana has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana's defects, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a conditional reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana's joining ceremony looms closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a 'normal' life. But then Jasper disappears. Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not interfere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

My Review:

What?!?! The surmounting cases of mental disease as the main plot in a dystopian tale? A pharmaceutical company ruling the world through the creation of a one-pill-fix-all? GENIUS! I don’t know why this hasn’t been done before.

In a time when dystopians are all the rage, it’s easy to see the same ol’, same ol’ on the bookshelves of your local bookstore. Run down world, society crumbling, a controlling force running rampant. But The Glimpse offers us something new and fresh, and it’s welcomed.
The beginning drops you at the set-up of the conflict. Ana is in Home Ec class learning how to test water temperature for a baby’s bath (this future society focuses on the traditional values of homemaking and chastity and dresses for the girls. It’s unique.) She gets called into the principal’s office where her father and The Board is waiting for her. Apparently, they did some digging and her Pure test yielded wrong results. Her father is accused of tampering with the test and Ana’s life is forever changed. She is now labeled as a Sleeper, a person with mental disease genetic markers who isn’t exhibiting symptoms now, but will one day.

What I liked:

The premise is brilliant and original. Society is divided by a person’s mental status—the Pures (no genetic markers for mental instability) and the Crazies (individuals with any genetic marker of mental instability). The Pure Test’s validity—designed by Ana’s dad—is in question.
(And…..cue story conflict.) The world that Merle created is so real and possible is at times, unsettling.

While the feeding in of the back-story and political make up was there, it was cleverly hidden. I didn’t feel it was a “maid and butler conversation” which is good, but in the end I still knew I was being told instead of showed. Merle had a beautiful opportunity to really show the reader everything, and I don’t feel that was fully reached.

There was some great imagery: “The men and women who came to question her were always different, but they managed to create an unnervingly unified presence, like they were the close-up parts of a larger animal, whose singular striations and skin texture were always recognizable as part of a distinct whole.” Pg 57, ebook. And the way she described how horrible the loony dumps were, was perfection. It was all so unsettling and disturbing and vivid.

Reading a UK author, it’s always entertaining to see curb spelled kerb and those extra u’s all over the place and s’s instead of z’s or c’s as well as the foreign words for everyday items (i.e. fags for cigarettes). The Glimpse is a long book, but it reads pretty easily and is entertaining and engaging.

What I didn’t like:

The potential to really dig down into Ana’s world and build up layers is begging to be done. That’s why I was a little disappointed. I saw the possibilities. I hoped and was excited for the complexity and layers of what could be. But the story didn’t go deep enough. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading it, but I couldn’t help but feel disappointed at what could have been.

I was a little confused in parts of the book as to what was going on and what the setting was at the beginning. But that was in part, my own problem. I’m used to the typical dystopian setting so Ana’s world was a little hard for me to imagine (even though it was set in existing towns). I know it takes place in London, but I’m talking about the feel f the setting, the technology, etc. I started to get a better image as the story progressed, I would have liked to have a stronger sense from the first page (think Cinder by Marissa Meyer), and there were still pockets of confusion as the story went along its merry little way. Even though that was my own handicap while reading, I did feel the world was a little one layered. As I mentioned earlier, I felt this story and setting had the opportunity to do so much more than it did, and I was a little let down.

I had a slight problem with the reasoning behind some of Ana’s actions and decisions. For example: Very early on in the story, Ana tells us that she hates her father because of this one action we’re shown (and I’m assuming from some vaguely hinted at feelings from earlier in her life). Anyway, with what the reader’s given in the story up to that point, I don’t feel her feelings or actions are appropriately motivated. Now, had we been given her feelings and reactions later on in the story, after some other things happen, then yes. Completely justified. I’d hate the man, too. The last thing that somewhat bothered me was that whenever Ana comes to a conclusion or a realization, it comes across a little stiff, almost like the author doesn’t know how best to get the idea across.

The Cover:

And now the cover, because I always make a comment on the cover. I didn’t like it. Not for this book. It didn’t make sense at all. It made me think that this story was going to be a literary or contemporary piece. Not dystopian. It’s a little too clean. (Maybe that’s because it looks SO MUCH like the cover of another lit/cont story I love so much). But, this is the UK cover (from my understanding, so hopefully the US cover will be a little more dark and brooding to fit the story.) Oh, and a side note, I don’t know if the title is the best for this book. But, what do I know?

Anyway, pick it up and decide for yourself. It’s definitely worth a read. Happy reading, my friends!


Friday, June 8, 2012

Freebee Friday!

My goal is to be like these guys. And yes, this is them really Irish dancing. No special cinematography. Just fancy, fast feet.

Plus, it's a pretty amazing song.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lovesick by JA Campion

Author: J.A. Campion
Rating: R – Violence and Gore
Coffee Beans: 3.5/5
Favorite Line:"Blanche's made-up mouth puckered like a pug's bottom." (Pg 15, ebook)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for this honest review.
The introduction and takeoff of ebooks (in case you haven't been convinced yet) is a wonderful thing. Yes, there are some minor, negative points, but we aren't discussing those here. Here, we're talking about the doors ebooks have opened. They've made reading cheaper for the consumer, more cost effective for the distributor, and easier—distribution wise—for the producer. They've also made it possible for an author wanting to get their work out there into the hands of us readers. And for some, they've been picked up by publishers because of their success. The success that they maybe never would have seen if they'd continued to try the traditional route. Dreams are coming true, people. For example: Amanda Hocking (The Trylle Series), Susan Ee (Angel Fall), E.L. James (Fifty Shades Series), E. Lynn Harris (Invisible Life), etc.

The bottom line is, good books can be found anywhere. People who assume that a book is "crap" or "unworthy" because it isn't traditionally published, or alternately think that just because it's been picked up by one of the Big 6 it's automatically worth reading or of quality, are ignorant. I've read some pretty hyped up Big 6 books that made me want to chuck it across the room.

Okay, rant over. *Takes deep breath*

The fact that good books (heck, GREAT books) can and are being self-published, is one of the main reasons I started reading and reviewing indie and self-published books. If it's good, it's good. And I'll scream it to the world from the highest mountain top my broken little foot can climb!

Lovesick by J.A. Campion is one such book.

Official Summary:


Handsome cab driver Steven Finn is looking for a room. Blanche Hunt offers him one in her run-down mansion. Seduced by its faded grandeur Steven moves in believing his luck has finally taken a turn for the better. But that's before he meets Ellen, Blanche's lonely, delusional daughter. Before long Steven's casual kindness ignites a dangerous obsession in Ellen and everyone in his life becomes a target for her deadly campaign of terror.

My Review:

First off, look at that cover. I mean, seriously. That's the way to do a self-published cover, folks. It looks professional. Which probably means the author put some money into it. Which will ALWAYS be worth the investment (especially with visual people like myself).

I'll admit, psychological thrillers aren't usually my cup of tea for reading. Movies yes, reading no. And if I weren't so gosh darn excited to get review requests when I first started, I probably would have said no to this book. But I'm so glad I said yes.

Campion did a brilliant job of showing us a revolting and psychotic Ellen. This woman made my skin crawl. So much so, that I would have liked to spend a little more time in her head to fully realize how crazy she actually was. Steven's POV was well told and strong. Although you might think that the story would be told from only their POV's YOU'D BE WRONG. There were several (I'd say close to 10) POV's throughout the book. I could picture this book as a Lifetime movie. Although Ellen is deranged from the beginning but I like how the author developed her actions and thinking into full psychosis. And poor, poor Steven, oblivious until the end.

It's a long 381 pages, but that's because there's so much going on. At times, almost a little too much. There were some POV's that were brought in that never really went anywhere, and although they did give me a glimpse of a little something extra going on in the story, the story would have moved along just fine without them. And I think it would have left just the right amount of blindness on our part, put us more in Steven's shoes to experience his terror better.

So, why the 3.5? Part of the rating is fueled by the amount of POVs and the confusion of all the characters. The other part of it is head hopping within the scene. Sometimes we'd go to three different people's heads in one scene. Overall, good book and worth the read. Pick it up on Amazon. It's only $2.30 right now. I think you'll be glad you did.

Happy reading, my friends!

Break it Down Now!

Third city for tryouts is A-T-L!!

Debbie Allen, Mary, & Nigel are in the hot seats.

First up: Audrey Case with a little girl voice. She doesn't seem very mature in this impression. Oh. Wow. Farting with her neck? Got Sass the Machine's attention. I hope the judge's comments don't ruin her audition. Good dancer. Woah. That backwards one armed flip thing was awesome. And her legs are good. She reminds me of Jordan from last year with all the standing splits. Nigel is such a dirty old man. Debbie Allen really liked her. Standing O from the audience. Hubby wasn't all that impressed, though. He thought she did nice splits, but didn't notice much of else. I knew what he was getting at, but I think she was a good dancer. Straight To Vegas. Nice job, Audrey, but try and mature a bit more between now and T20 (if you make it that far).

Blue horn hip hop dancers. Oh, Dragon House. Yup. Blue horns hair. Mr. T with his hair and earrings. One girl and twelve boys in that house? That sucks. Oh, maybe a 2nd girl. Borus (blue hair). Hip hopping to piano music and he's never done it before, never a good thing to hear. But wow, even the way he set up was impressive. I think it's going to be like Dr. Soul Exorcist boy. Mad skills people. M.A.D. Sooo good. That control and there's so many little moves in this kind of dancing, and when you do it well, the dancer has so much talent and skill. It's just …wow. In awe. I love the juxtaposition of the hip hop with the piano music. Hubby was impressed by it, too. GOOD JOB. Another Standing O. So . Well. Done. Great personality coming through, too. Debbie seems to see something in him, I can see it n her eyes. And he's so reverent almost when he was thanking the judges.

Joshua Alexander is next. Hmmmm….Not sure what I think about his first impression….I hope he's a good dancer. Very theatrical. Wow. First impressions are blown out of the water. He's a lot better than I thought he was going to be. Good toes. Almost fell there on that slide back. WOW. FLYING LEAP LEG THING VERY IMPRESIVE. Wow!!!! ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE LEG FLIP LIFT THING (man, I need to learn this fancy terminology). ATL is starting off gereat! And all 3 judges are sending him to Vegas! Debbie told him he was special "It's like you're testifying".  

I liked how they did the montage of stories followed by clips of stories. Good approach. What? Who's this goofball? Tim Conkel? Ooohh…a martial artist. But not as good as that other guy from last week. So fuynny,. Started dancing to get girls. America's favorite Person. LOL. Oh, he's funny. Great personality. He'd be a fun addition, but I don't know how long he could be tolerated. Seems like a little goes a long way with him. He's a little creepy, taking the Selena thing a little too far. Very personale. Look at that! Oh, snap. But get rid of the skinny girl jeans and the purple shoes. I be he goes through to Choreography. I hope he makes it to Vegans from there. Did you all see that little slip up? He almost face planted. Fun, fun audition. I agree with Nigel. Not sure where the dancing was. Lots of tricks. "Naughty Boy" sounds weird coming from Debbie Allen. For a minute I thought Tyce was there commenting. Haha. Let's see what 7 days of ballet gets you. Pleas, twirls and arms. And a leap with spins. The Wolf Man. Good and the swan at the end. Joshy was cracking up so much. I LOVE THIS GUY!!!

Lots of impressive dancers. The hip hop guy all in black was talented. Loved that shoulder thing when he walked. Jackson. The wobble? What the heck kind of dance is that? Wow, who knew how popular the wobble was! Wow Debbie and Nigel. This is wrong on soooo many levels! On to choretography. 

Belly dancer!!!! Janelle. I would love to learn. We have a really good belly dancing crew here in town. Performing belly dancing at nursing homes? Oh, wow, dead people. Belly dancing is just impressive all around. The skill to move those little indivit=dual muscles and nothing else is impressive. And the control. Can you imagine an entire harem. Debbie is getting more into it than Nigel. Wow! That back bend. So flexible!! Such a good performance face she has. Star quality up the wazoo. Amen, Debbie, that's what I was thinking. Belly Dancing coming from Alabama. Vegas or choreography? Choreography.

Danielle Dominguez. I wonder how they pick the people to interviews. What a fun mother daughter team. And she has a great smile. Loves bacon? That is just gross how much she eats bacon! And Nigel's comment. I'd kill him. I'd kill him. Shut. Up. Nigel. Just shut up. I can't believe mom's doing a cheer. Wow. She's pretty dang good! LOL. I'd do that for my daughter. Wow, mom looks so nervous. Great lines and looks for Danielle. She's almost like a doll, a LOVE the song. Wow. I LOVE her! WEeird to the hilt, but beautiful. I like her. She'll be one of my favorites in the T20. I can tell, she's going that far. I see her very much with Tyce, Sonia, and Travis. Yup, I agree with Mary. Sonya choreographing and paring with Marc. That would be awesome to see. Maybe he'll come back as one of the All Stars in the T10.

The rest of the Dragon House Crew!!! Cyrus and Andre. Andre up first. Ha! He looks so laid back and lack of energy. Loved how he 100% lined up his moves to the music! He was the music. And the rest of his crew was so impressed, too. Wow. He's good at what he does. They all Are! NappyTabs would have so much fun with him. Crapness. So much fun to watch. That was good. And he knew it. Just look at his smile. Great smile. Even the cowboy in the back was getting excited. I don't know about mystical, Debbie, but craptastically awesome? Yes, I do know about that.  

Cyrus is next, following up his buddies. Lets see if he can keep the flow up. Shoulodn't have worn pink. Sweating. But it's all good. Look at his little twitches and his face expressions are aweomse. HOLY CRAP. He's amazing! I'd love to see all three of them dance something they've choreographed. Wouldn't that be so amazing??? I like how the judges are more willing to put bboys and hip hop dancers through to Vegas than in prior years. I think past dancers like legacy and tyo have really proved themselves to show that they aren't boxed in any way and they truly have skills as dancers and they are strong enough and skilled tenough to do ANYTHING. WOW. Vegas, please. I love how the judges just let him keep going to the very end. I'm going to look for them on the web. There's got to be some videos of them dancing together somewhere out there. Oh, no, lol. Nigel doing the robot. He's actually pretty dang good. LOL. Who made it through choreography? Danielle! And the Wobbly dancer.

Day two! Bring on the crazies!! Courtney Kirby with her grandma. Evierdeen. Pretty name. "It wasn't all tis flip[ping and floppin'" Fun grandma. Spry old lady with a fur coat. "Even when they do hip hop I'm crying". Nigel certainly knows how to charm the ladies, that's for sure! Grandma's gonna make me cry! Wow, just the way she moves her body to the music with the power, she's amazing. She really is. It was a little more gymnasticy for me, thgouh. I want to see more jumps. Oh, there's one. I think , though, with this music, it's a little harder for her to show me what I want to see, because it's so powerful and punchy, ut she really is a great dancer. I'm not sure about that ending, though, with the rolling. It' didn't really fit for me. I really liked her. It's exciting to see that at this young age she's so good and the fact that she's only going to get better. Boo Nigel! But they set it up that way. I think they were always going to send her to Vegas.  Look at Grandma!!! So excited! "Are you sure you don't want to change your mind so you don't look ridiculous?" LOL Grandma is awesome!

(PS – Hubby's left me to watch the rest of the show myself). Asher! It's like Ken! Small town and the only dancer in the community. I argue with you, Asher, it is about being the best dancer and having a good personality. Back up dancer for Beiber? LOL. At least he's honest! I think he'll be okay. Wow. Just comparing him to the Dragon House Crew, he's just okay. But on his own, he's pretty stinking good, very spunky and good. Better than I thought he would be, but I don't really picture him doing the waltz or the…haha…can you picute him doing the pasa doble? I say that with love, guys, but he's kind of a small guy with a funky personality. He reminds me a lot of Kent. But, he'd be a good addition to the show.

George Lawrence II. Ah, a sports guy with a dancer heart. "When I'm dancing….I am me." Beautiful. I don't like that little ghost of a mustache, but that's besides the point  great sont do dance to because it gives him the room to really perform and show off all this skill. He has so much of it. The joh and almost, sadness, or just I dunno…sorrow? Ojust comes out of him, But in a good way, you know? I don't know if that makes snese you you all, but it makes sense to me.  Standing O. The way Debbie Allen says things, "you were born to dance", she has such authority. I love it!

Abigail is saucy. Calvin was extrodinalry. I LOVED what little bit I saw of him. But minus the hot shorts. . Aubrey. Love the bink hair.

A HA! The crazies are here! Is it just me, or does it seem like they're showing less than previous years? Brittany Hortner, aka Chicken Girl. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop? I liked that chicken with the feather legs. Cool chicken!! WOW, she has a fun personality. A Chicken Sheriff. A good dancer, but it seems so far that she's just doing a bunch of moves and not a dance. She's cute, though and good technique. . Nice face But I think they'd be dumb not to pass her through. I agree with Mary, such room to go. Choreography!

Damon and Deon. I don't remember them from a prior season, but oh snap. Ripping off a routine from YouTube? You really thought you wouldn't get cought?? Really?? This was last year?!?! Oh!!! I remember those guys. . Wow! THEY were the ones that copied?? Not cool. Wow. That was very impressive. And they did say it! That's harsh. They have great personalities. "Twits?" Mary?  "Tweets". They are fun and good dancers. But can they dance with other partners? At some points they were a little off. Loved that change into dub step (which is awesome). OMG> That guy with the bandana has such a fun personality. Standing O from the audience. I think they should go to choreography. How'd they do?? Wow, your toes are a sin, boyw. But they did pretty good on everything else. Not bad at all. LOL. Deon didn't make it. Poor guy. Damon? Vegas. But his toes!!!!! Agh!!!!  It's all good. And Chicken girl!!

Predictions: Loved Borus and I think he has a good chance of going far in Vegas is not all the way to the T20. Wolf Man, I hope he can pick up the choreography and other dance styles in Vegas because I need him ther ein the T20. Danielle – T20 fo sho. Dragon House Crew I HOPE beyond anything else that they make it into the T20, but I have a feeling that for drama purposes, they'll split them up. I hate it when they do that. Asher, they might put him through just for the "cute boy" aspect. George has what it takes to make it in and Brittany, I think there's something there, too. 

What about you all? What do you think? 

Happy Thursday!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Just Read...

Lovesick by JA Campion

Very engaging and suspenseful thriller. BR to come...


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I have fancy feet

Actually I just call them fancy so I don't hurt their feelings. I have ugly feet. I blame genetics. Size nine, wide, high-arched, complete with bunions and the ever so adorable, bunionettes. (Yes, that is a real word, my doctor told me so). I used to be embarrassed by them. Never wore any sandals. No flip-flops. Nothing.

Then I got over it. Who cares? Not me, anymore.

My feet may look funny, but they're functional. When my doctor asked me if I thought they'd last me through the next 60 years, I didn't have a doubt. Heck yes. They may look frail, but I've never had any problems with them.

Until recently.

In Irish dance, we do this pretty awesome move called a rock. (Speed up the video below and watch 7:05 – 7:46 to see the AMAZING Jean Butler from the original Riverdance tell you how to do them). The video shows a slower version of a typical rock.

Anyway, I can do them in my sleep. And I'm pretty good at them. That's why when I did a routine rock in class and heard that sickening tear-pop in my foot, my heart dropped into my stomach. My foot instantly seized up and hurt like nothing else. I couldn't walk. Couldn't wear my dance shoes.

That was four weeks ago. I still can't wear my heels. Do you know how difficult that is? It's like Calder trying to abstain (from the YA book, Lies Beneath. Book Report to come soon). It's killing me.

So I finally went to the doc. He couldn't really decide from the x-ray if my toe was fractured or not (where the big toe connects with the foot), so he went with probably a bruised bone. :(

So, until it's better (I can't even go running, people), I'll be not dancing. Which is hard to do.

But, I always love looking at x-rays of me. You find out so many interesting things. For example: I have arthritis in my neck from years and years of horseback riding. And no, I will never give that up.

I also have two floating rips. At the TOP of my ribcage. Very uncommon and painful at times.

This x-ray showed arthritis in my toes and heel (I refuse to believe it's a direct result of my shoes as Hubby claims, supported by some flimsy news article he found online one day).

And I learned something rather interesting. 

Did you know, that a kneecap is your body's way of providing additional support to a part of your body that is under more stress/used more than other parts of your body? It's true. Some people have little kneecaps on their big toes. My doctor's seen it before. But you know what makes me better than those people?

I have two.

Yup. TWO kneecap thingies on my big toe.

I'm that special.

Happy Tuesday, my friends!