Friday, November 19, 2010

books 98 - 110

98.  "Forever in Blue the Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares 384 pages

99.  "The Andromeda Strain" by Michael Crichton 228 pages
I thought this book was very much "much ado about nothing" in the sense that nothing really happened.  First of all I skimmed the science-y explanations and drawings because I found them boring.  And then nothing ever happened.  I kept waiting for a big plot twist or a big explanation and never got one.  Here's the whole story in three sentences instead of 228 pages:  A satellite crashes to the earth killing everyone in that town.  A bunch of pre-selected scientists are sent to a secret lab to discover what the satellite brought that killed everyone.  It turns out to be a new extraterrestrial organism (like a virus or something) but it has mutated into a non lethal state so everything is fine.  I was expecting some crazy biological warfare / outbreak thing and instead got much ado about nothing.  I have heard people say that "Jurassic Park" is one of Crichton's better books, but I really didn't like the plot of the movie, so I don't think I'll read the book.

100.  "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling 320 pages
I was looking for something fun to read while taking a bath.  I had already read all of my library books, so I was looking through my books.  And I settled on this one.  I didn't start reading this one with the intention of reading all the books again before the movie came out, but that is what happened.  It gave a bit more depth to all the story lines to read the books one after another.  Suffice it to say, I love the Harry Potter books.  They are so fun and such a quick read.  My favorite is the "Goblet of Fire," but that's like saying a mother has a favorite child.  Okay, maybe not quite like that...  Also, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" is the only book I've re-read so far this year.  We're going to see the movie tomorrow! Yay!

101.  "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling 341 pages
102.  "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling 448 pages
103.  "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J.K. Rowling 752 pages
104.  "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" by J.K. Rowling 870 pages
105.  "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" by  J.K. Rowling 652 pages
106.  "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J.K. Rowling 759 pages

107.  "All's Fair in Love, War, and High School" by Janette Rallison 183 pages
The plot was so predictable, but it was still an enjoyable fluff book.

108.  "Splendor" by Anna Godbersen 391 pages
This is the last book in a set and I was a bit disappointed in how the story lines were tied up.  Okay, I was mostly okay with how the story lines ended except for one.  I really don't think Diana would leave Henry like that.  Maybe for a short while, but not forever.  But then again, she was really young and flighty and it wasn't really contrary to her character, just contrary to her character in terms of Henry.  But I did like the endings for everyone else.

109.  "The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks" by E Lockhart 342 pages
I had heard good things about this book but I think my expectations were a bit too high. It was good, but not amazing.  I think the biggest problem for me is that I didn't like Frankie, the main character.

110.  "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett 451 pages
I really liked this one. It is set in during the civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi.  "The Help" is about upper class whites and the black women,  "the help," who work for them.  It's not preachy and it is told from three different perspectives: a black nanny, a black cook, and a white girl who just graduated from college and wants to write their stories.  You might think that a book with this subject might be depressing or bitter, but it was actually optimistic and uplifting.  I appreciated that when the southern accent was written in, it was not in a way that made it difficult to discern what was being said (I'm looking at YOU Mark Twain with "Huckleberry Finn!"). The author includes her personal experience with "the help" at the back of the book, which I found very interesting.  I really recommend this book.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

It's my Grandma P's birthday.  She is a wonderful lady. 

Grandma and Grandpa's wedding portrait.

I was supposed to be born on her birthday, but I missed it.  I did get her name, though, so I think it worked out wonderfully.  I hope I can live up to and honor her good name.

I love Aunt E and my Grandparents, but it doesn't look like it in this photo!

Grandma and Grandpa and all the kids in my family.  That's me next to Grandma.  I heart that lady.

I remember visiting the P Paradise of the Plains and playing croquet, watching the trains and counting the cars from the front window, seeing antelope in the morning, feeding the kittens, playing pool, watching the Triplets movies (cousins, you know what I'm talking about), drinking Tang (warm and cold depending on the season), playing dress up, lying on that giant pillow, eating Grandma's delicious caramels, sleeping in the matching white beds,  turning that blue and white sand thing, riding horses, sitting at the little table, measuring ourselves on the wall, eating Grandma's good food, drinking from jam jars, playing Pit, and generally just being loved.  Basically, visiting Grandma's was always the BEST!

As I recall, this was Grandma's idea...

I'm scared of dogs.  One time at P.P.P. I was with my mom, Grandma, and the dog Kool in the corral.  Kool was getting excited and running and barking and acting crazy.  I was terrified.  Kool snapped at me so I ran out of the corral and latched the gate, locking my mom and grandma inside with Kool.  I was young and may have panicked.  But that's what I do around dogs.  Even now.  Sorry, Grandma and Mom.  I didn't realize I was locking you in with a crazy dog, I was just trying to save myself.

Playing dress up at Grandma's was THE BEST.  There were so many fun dresses and accessories to choose from.  Grandma never got tired of our fashion shows and clapped every time we came out.

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Rochester, New York.

When we visited Grandma and Grandpa in New York we saw The Hill Cumorah Pageant.  It was pretty impressive, but my favorite part was when they took us to the Sacred Grove.  It was very powerful, even for a 7th grader who was (and still is) young in the gospel.

    This is everyone gathered for Grandma and Grandpa's 50th wedding anniversary.  We were a pretty big family then and there's quite a few more of us now...

    One time at the PPP we were watching "Walker, Texas Ranger."  Grandma wanted to start doing the dishes, but didn't want to miss any of the program.  She said, "Call me when they start fighting."  Who would have ever though Grandma liked to watch Chuck Norris beat up bad guys?!  It was the best!

    Grandma is still stylish and beautiful! I hope I have those genes...

    One week before my freshman year at college.

    Grandma is beautiful inside and out.  She is just so classy.  Her manners are lovely.  I don't think I've ever heard her say one bad thing about anybody or be rude to a single person.  She is so generous and never imposes but is always willing to help.  Grandma gives great advice, but not in a bossy sort of way. 

     At Cousin J's wedding!  LOVE this picture of us!

     I really was sad when I discovered that I didn't have a picture from my wedding with my grandparents.  But this is how fabulous they looked.  (Love that Utah background!)

    In the photobooth at our wedding.

    My mom is becoming more and more like my grandma, and I am becoming more and more like my mom so I think this is going to end very well for me.  I hope I can someday be like my grandma.  She's one of the best people I know.  I love you, Grandma!

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Tourist things you can skip in Southern California

    T and I ventured out to Olvera Street and Union Station last week because we had heard good things. 

    Olvera Street is "the birthplace of Los Angeles."  This is probably true.  It is also described as "a colorful village featuring 27 historic buildings with a traditional Mexican style plaza."  This is so not true.  There are probably historic buildings, but you can't see any of them because of the souvenir shops crowded in front of them.  The plaza was abandoned except for vagrants.

    People had told us to buy taquitos from a street cart, but we didn't because they looked SO unsanitary.

    Olvera Street is like New York's Chinatown except Olvera Street is only one block and the stuff being sold isn't as good.  It is kitschy and full of interesting (ie: gross) smells just like New York's Chinatown, though.  We even (unknowingly) went on the Day of the Dead and the only thing that appeared to be different was that some people had their faces painted. 

    Union Station is just across the way from Olvera Street. 

     The architecture inside and out is pretty cool, but they had the part I wanted to explore permanently blocked off.  The gardens and outdoor fountain were pretty nice, but not exceptional.  It is pretty much just a regular train (subway / bus) station.   Union Station is nice, but I wouldn't make it a destination - unless there was a fantastic cocktail party in that blocked off section!

    The regular section:

    The blocked off section:

    We left the car, saw everything in both places, picked up the original french dipped sandwich at Philippe's (also over rated), and got back in the car all in 50 minutes.  And we didn't park close.  I'm glad we went to all three places, and I'm glad we don't have to go back.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Baby's first Halloween!

    So remember I sent a baby Halloween outfit to my brother's brand new baby?  Well, they dressed him in it!

    It's a tad too big because Baby M is a newborn and the onsie is 0 to 3 months, but I LOVE this picture!


    It turns out that autumn leaves DO exist in Southern California.  And of course all pictures are of the girls and by the girls.


    Yay for fall!

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Just now...

    T to S:  You're the best.
    S:  Prove it!

    Laughter ensues.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Books 89 - 97

    Wow!  I am SO behind on updating the books I've read.  These are from September...

    89.  "Spartacus" by Howard Fast  363 pages
    I haven't seen the movie lately, but I am pretty sure I like the movie better.  The book is mostly about the Romans and several characters had similar names so it was hard for me to keep everyone straight.

    90.  "Fairest" by Gail Carson Levine 326 pages

    91.  "The Second Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares  373 pages
    92.  "Where the Red Fern Grows" Wilson Rawls 212 pages
    I remember thinking this book wasn't that great in elementary.  And I kinda agree now.  It's pretty good, but also kinda slow on the action.

    93.  "The Testament" by John Grisham 435 pages
    I like this one, though I did skim the parts where it talks about the storms in South America.  I think it was very true to life about how some people think they are entitled to certain lifestyles.  It was fun to hate some of the characters.  Some aspects of the character development surprised me (in a good way).

    94.  "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell 733 pages
    This is one loooooong book.  The words are so tiny on the page, it's ridiculous.  I've never seen the movie and only vaguely knew that it was about the Civil War and Scarlett has two loves, Ashley and Rhett.  So, pretty much it was all new to me.  I really enjoyed reading it.  

    I think Scarlett is such a great character because sometimes you are just so proud of her for keeping her family from starving and sometimes you just want to kick her in the head for the way she acts towards Melanie / Rhett / Ashely / her own children.  I had an inkling early on how the story would end and I was right, though I was sad to be right.  It's SO frustrating when a Scarlett is so close to having what she wants but is too proud to do something about it!  But at the same time you kinda feel like Scarlett got what she deserved.  Anyway, I liked the book even though I didn't like the realistic ending.  I'll have to watch the movie sometime and see if I like it better than the book.

    95.  "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins 390 pages
    LOVE it!  Just as good as "Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire."  I thought it had a great (and realistic) ending.  I'm not going to say anything else, though, because I really think you should read all three books.

    96.  "The Princess Diaries" by Meg Cabot 238 pages
     My friend A suggested this one.  I liked it more than I thought I would.  I usually am not a fan of books in diary form (thanks, Anne Frank) but I think it totally worked for this book.  The movie is different from the book and I liked them both.  I think I'll read the next one in the series.

    97.  "Girls in Pants: the Third Summer of the Sisterhood" by Ann Brashares 338 pages

    I've read about 15 more books, so I'll try to post about those later this week.

    I'll leave you with my new favorite song:  Hollywood by Michael Buble.

    This song gets stuck in my head all the time :)  Also, if you're thinking that the lyrics don't really make sense I think he just means that happiness doesn't come from being rich / famous but that you can find happiness inside yourself.  Or maybe the lyrics just don't make sense.