Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #25 - From Dead to Worse

Alright so I have now finished book 8 in the Southern Vampire Mystery series by Charlaine Harris. My last review has all the links to the reviews that I have written for the other books in the series if you are interested. All Together Dead was trying my patience with these books, and as youthfulzombie pointed out in the comments of that review, the TV series is better than the books. That is mostly true, overall I believe that the show is better, but there are certain parts that I prefer in the books, mostly parts of dialogue and certain story lines in the show (hotshot for one) that are so much different on the show and not necessarily better.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farewell to Beer

This post is on my other blog You've Gotta Have Goals so I am being a promo whore and posting it here as well.

Something scary has been happening to me lately. I have seen the scale creeping back up there and I think I know why. Let's be brutally honest, I know exactly why. I am not blaming one thing for everything but it is a lot of little things that have come together to make my success fall away.

I have had a couple falls, I had one in May off my bike, then I have fallen a couple times this past week on my rollerblades. I haven't been going to the gym because my hip has been hurting, but it is mostly an excuse and I am making myself accountable for it now. I can still go and work out, even if it is not at the level I was doing before, I can still make the effort. I need to be doing my weight training most of all and also I need my cardio. Also when I work out I am more likely to make good choices when eating.

My other nemesis has been BEER. I have become addicted to Granville Island Raspberry Ale. It is so good!!! Me and beer have had a long term relationship but it has never been this good. I have had beers here and there, mostly in the summer time but there is something about raspberry beer that just speaks to me. The local brew pub gave me my first taste.

Read the rest here

Monday, July 25, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #24 - Girls in White Dresses

I was at the grocery store the other day and a magazine caught my eye, it had these home made ice cream sandwiches on the cover which made me drool but which I currently can't eat since I have been veering too far away from my healthy plan lately and the iron fist has come down. I looked at the magazine a bit further and noticed that it came with a free book. There were also some interesting articles so I bought it.

The book itself was "Girls in White Dresses" by Jennifer Close. After I finished reading it I realized that it was only selected stories from the actual book, but I am counting it because it was over 150 pages and I am really not itching to read more.

This book is a collection of short stories, I am generally not a fan of those because I find as soon as I "get to know" the characters involved and get invested in their story then the story is over and we have to start over again with new people. Unless the stories are a bit longer (for example Stephen King has written story collections that I have enjoyed) or if the writer is extremely talented, then I tend to lose interest.

"Girls in White Dresses" was no exception, although I think that Close tried to counter my opinions about getting invested in characters by having them resurface in different stories. This was a good effort, but I still found the stories to be superficial and lacking in depth. It was an okay enough book to read out in the sunshine on a Sunday afternoon, but had it not been free I would surely be regretting purchasing it.

Alli's CBR-III Review #23 - High Fidelity

“High Fidelity” is the third book that I have read by Nick Hornby and it will not be the last. As mentioned in my reviews for “Juliet Naked” and “About a Boy”, I find his writing style comfortable and easily read. His characters are relatable and although not obviously likeable, I find them to be so.

“High Fidelity” was the author’s first novel, and a rather good one in my opinion. I have seen the movie quite a few times as well and was impressed in how the book held up to my memory of the movie. Wikipedia also tells me that it was a musical in 2006, that would have been disasterrific to see. As in the movie, the book centers around Rob Fleming who owns a fairly unsuccessful London record store. As the book opens, his girlfriend Laura has just left him and he proceeds to tell us his top five heartbreaks and how Laura should have gotten to him sooner if she really wanted to make the list.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #22 - About a Boy

Yet another book that has been made into a movie, but I love movies (or I used to, but most seem crappy lately) so it is only natural that I would read these kinds of books. Another reason I chose "About a Boy" is because I really enjoyed "Juliet Naked" so I requested both this book and "High Fidelity". This one came in first but "High Fidelity" is next on my reading list most likely.

Through most of "About a Boy" I was struck at how similar it is to the movie. I haven't even seen the movie in quite some time, but it all rang very familiar. Will is a loner by choice, he's never had to work and takes pride in having no relationships to hold him down. Marcus is a loner by circumstance and lacks the tools to survive as a young person in society. Through Will's trying to seduce single mothers, the two meet and are able to help themselves through their shortcomings.

The book had a much stronger ending than the film. I also appreciated the era that the book was set in and the references to Nirvana. It was published in the late 90s and is set in the early 90s and rings true to my adolescence. Marcus meets a friend who wears a sweatshirt with a man who looks like Jesus on it, and that turns out to be Kurt Cobain. I thought it was a nice touch.

I would most surely recommend reading this book, it is very sweet and funny and I very much enjoyed it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #21 - Election

First let me say that I did enjoy Tom Perrotta's "Election" however, this is the first case in quite a while where I have found the movie to be superior to the book. Perhaps it is because I am a big fan of the movie, but to me the book almost seemed like a draft version of the movie. The bare bones were there, but the movie took things a step further.

For anyone not familiar with the story, Election follows a campaign for a high school presidency. Right from the start we are told that it does not end well for Mr M, the teacher in charge of the election. We are told the story from the point of view of the candidates, Mr M himself as well as one of the campaign managers.

I was not satisfied with the motivation for Mr M in the novel. In the film version we are made to understand quite well why he does not want Tracey Flick to win, but in the book there is not a lot to go on. Also the character of Flick that I have come to know and love, is so much different in the book. Gone is the brown nosing over achiever that had a secret affair.

It is hard to say how I would feel had I not seen and loved the movie so much. But that is the way I see it and I can't change that. I am looking forward to a re watch of the movie, my boyfriend has never seen it so he is in for a treat!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #20 - Little Children

After reading Clementine Bojangles' review I immediately requested the book from my local library and devoured it in no time at all. I then got right onto Netflix and watched the movie, which was an interesting experience.

Little Children by Tom Perotta follows the lives of suburban parents, mainly Todd and Sarah but also their partners and other associates. There is also Ronnie, a "pervert" recently out of jail for flashing a girl scout but also suspected in the disappearance of another child.

To me this book is seems to be about is the choices that we make and the repercussions that come from them. Sarah made a choice to marry an older man, most likely for the security but then finds herself unsatisfied with her marriage and the other vacuous and vacant mothers on the playground. She then meets Todd, dubbed "Prom King" by the other Moms. Todd himself is a stay at home Dad, unable or unwilling to pass the bar exam. Together they take refuge from their real lives and create a situation for themselves to make things seem better.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Alli's CBR-III Review #19 - Some Girls

I feel like I am doing a lot better this year with getting books read and reviewed, but apparently I am a few books behind on my pace from last year so I had better get on it!

Some girls by Jillian Lauren is her memoir, focusing mainly on her time as a member of the harem of Prince Jefri of Brunai. Lauren pulls no punches in telling of her beginnings as a peep show worker, stripper, call girl and eventually harem girl. Lauren to me was a relatable narrator, which sounds odd since I have not been any of the items on her list. I started off the book wondering how I would relate to a person like Lauren, but something about the way she writes put me on her side. It also doesn’t hurt that she is unapologetic for her choices, they are what they are.

Lauren takes us with her on her mysterious trip to Brunai, not many details are revealed to these girls that are brought over to “entertain” at parties for the prince and his friends. Lauren was asked to surrender her passport to them, which even she admits seems like a bad idea. I anticipated the worst for her, but seeing as she made it back to write the book, she was obviously okay.

The book is not gratuitous in nature, it seems like the biggest pain that Lauren suffered was boredom and lack of attention. It must be difficult to be a beautiful woman in a room full of beautiful women with few men to dote on them. At least they were paid well to be there, but Lauren wanted more, she wanted to make the prince fall in love with her, she wants the fairy tale ending. We all know how that usually works out.

Parts of this book were very interesting, and as mentioned above, I found Lauren’s writing style appealing and I may seek out other works of hers in the future.