The Reading And Blogging Slump Funk Has Gotten Me!

The title of this post says it all: I’m in a blogging AND reading slump. And that’s making me really, really sad since I love all of you guys :( But because of all the schoolwork I’ve been having, I just can’t find the time or motivation to blog or read. Seriously, it’s that bad. If one pile of work is done, another one will appear in its place.

About The Blogging Slump:

I have decided to take a little break in blogging. I will still be around commenting on your blogs, but mine will be pretty quiet for a little while. Don’t worry, I’m not going to be quitting blogging anytime soon. I’m just going to take a break so I can come back refreshed and ready.

Blogging should never be a chore and I don’t want it to turn into one, since that would make one of my favorite hobbies go bad, so I welcome this break. Hopefully I will be able to visit all you guys’ blogs and comment so I don’t get wiped from your memories :P

About The Reading Slump:

I’m on the search for a book to get me out of my reading slump! And I would absolutely LOVE IT if you could recommend me some. I’m not looking for a certain kind of book. Long, short, fantasy, mystery, contemporary, anything will do. It just has to have the magical ability TO GET ME OUT OF THIS HORRIBLE SLUMP FUNK!

Thank you for reading that not-so short notification :P

Adorkable by Sarra Manning: review

10890319Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Stand Alone
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: May 24th 2012
Synopsis: Welcome to the dorkside. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Jeane Smith’s a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter.

Michael Lee’s a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie.

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can’t they stop snogging?

My Thoughts:

“We have nothing to declare but our dorkiness.”

Adorkable is a contemporary novel that I found to be undeniably charming. The book is fun, adorable, and has a really good message. Adorkable also had an uncanny ability to make me laugh, which is always a good thing ;) This might not be a contemporary filled with emotion and impact, but it was fun.

I admit that the plot is a little ridiculous and the circumstances in the book can be even more ridiculous. I myself probably wouldn’t have liked this book as much as I had if it wasn’t for one thing: Sarra Manning’s great characters.

First is Jeane Smith, who is now one of my favorite characters. Jeane Smith is the blogger (see? She’s awesome already) behind the famous Adorkable, has half a million followers on Twitter, is the queen of jumble sales, and isn’t at all afraid of being her. She can be really terrible, but even then she is sort of fantastic.

“Never shield your oddness, but wear your oddness like a shield.”  

Jeane is one of those people who, upon hearing that you don’t approve of them, will say, “So? I think I’m freaking amazing” and then walk calmly away as if you didn’t exist. I find that absolutely refreshing since there definitely aren’t many characters out there that are like that.

Michael Lee wasn’t as amazing as Jeane, but he was definitely good. I was actually surprised by how believable and honest he was written. Even though he is a genuinely good person, Michael Lee’s thoughts can be pretty unpleasant at times, especially when Jeane is being a little intolerable. But I’ve always valued honest and imperfect more than unbelievable and perfect, so me and Michael Lee got along just fine.

The chemistry and relationship between Jeane and Michael Lee: Perfectly written. Jeane and Michael Lee’s relationship is an undeniably messy one. The way it progresses is not the norm. But that messy relationship was perfectly written, and to be honest, even when Jeane and Michael Lee were verbally battling out, I wished that I was a character in the book so I could ‘accidentally’ push the two together.

Manning’s writing is great, with dialogue and narrative that really made me smile and laugh, making Adorkable a breeze to read. She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to write and understood how she was going to do it.

Adorkable is a very good contemporary and is one of the more refreshing stories out of the genre. I would recommend this book to lovers of fun, adorable stories with great characters. Oh, and also people who want to take a step into the dorkside. Because the dorkside really needs some members.

In Defense Of My “Reading Too Much”

People often say to me that I “read too much.” They normally say this to me after they notice that I carry a different book every couple of days or catch me reading a book when I come be doing something else. Now, I am actually totally okay with people telling me this. Mostly because it allows me to launch off on a speech about why I love reading and how good the book I am currently reading is.

But, I am starting to feel as if some people are sort of looking down on me, as if they think I have a life that is boring, have no social life, and/or just wasting my time. While I am not really angry or sad about this, I do feel like I need to vent my feelings and defend my fellow bookish people. And since I have a nifty, little blog, I decided to do just that!

First, I must ask how someone can read too much? What is the amount of time that I must spend reading for me to be reading too much? I mean, if you are enjoying it and it isn’t bad for you, then you really can’t have too much of it. If anything, you can really only read more because there are all these books out there in the world.

Reading is a practice that people like me enjoy, just like how other people may enjoy video games, sports, television, and many other sorts of things. And really, reading is thing that should be valued (just like all those other things should be valued).

Oh, and about the stereotype that readers are anti-social… Where did that stereotype come from? I mean, I am a very sociable person and spend lots of time with my friends, even if I “read too much,”, and I am pretty sure other readers do to. Besides, if someone prefers reading instead of socializing, that really shouldn’t be frowned upon.

Another thing I want to say is that I do not consider the time I spend reading wasted time. I love reading and love the bookish that comes with it. I have read so many amazing stories and met so many great people. I don’t regret all the time I spent reading at all.

Also, there is evidence that reading literature makes us smarter and nicer (thanks, Christina, for the link!). There is evidence that reading does affect you as a person and can make you more understanding of other people and more able to perceive the world through their eyes.  Which, in my opinion, is seriously awesome and very true.

So, all I really ask is that people stop automatically judging and assuming things about people who they believe to “read too much.” I don’t judge people who don’t like reading or just don’t read very much. Remember, reading is a hobby that should be valued. And if you are also a bookworm…

Keep reading :)

Goth by Otsuichi:review

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Goth: A Novel of Horror by Otsuichi
Stand Alone
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Mature Young Adult
Genre: Mystery, Horror, Thriller
Publisher: TokyoPop
Release Date: October 7th 2008
Synopsis: Someone had taken apart her body in the forest. Her eyes, tongue, ears, thumbs, organs–each was nailed to a tree.

One tree had, from top to bottom: the left big toe, the upper lip, the nose, and the stomach. Another had other bits of her arranged like Christmas tree decorations.

The murder was soon the talk of the nation…

Otsuichi-san’s GOTH comes at you with a relentless awe and a taste for the twisted. In this truly shocking tale of terror, two high school sociopaths become fixated on a local serial murderer. But rather than trying to prevent and solve the next murder, their obsession grows, taking them on a descent into a maniacal darkness in which the most nightmarish acts occur.

Psychologically twisted and emotionally wrenching, this compelling story takes Japan’s horror tradition to a whole new level of fear.

My Thoughts:

Stories that are twisted and depict the darker side of humans have always simultaneously disturbed and fascinated me. I find it interesting to read about how sociopaths, psychopaths, and the like think. So, when I began reading Goth, I was absolutely captivated.

Otsuichi didn’t flinch at all when he wrote this dark, twisted tale of mystery and murder. The killers he created are dangerous, unstable, and, at times, ruthless. Goth‘s atmosphere is dark and foreboding. The two leads are very interesting characters. And Otsuichi’s mysteries are skillfully crafted with surprising twists. Really, Goth kicks a heck of a lot of butt.

If you don’t already know, Goth is somewhat of an anthology. There are different stories, each featuring a different mystery and killer, but still containing the same two leads, Morino and the narrator, whose name is unknown until the last story in the book. As the stories go by, you will start feeling like you are grasping onto the two leads and how their relationship works.

This way of telling a story might not work for everyone, but boy, did it work for me. Learning more about the two mysterious leads by finding bits and pieces to hold onto throughout each story was fun and the different mysteries that come with the different stories are hard to figure out and will sometimes even pack quite a punch. And when I think about it, Goth really couldn’t be told in any other way…

Morino and the narrator are two of the most intriguing characters I have ever encountered in fiction. These these two characters begin as enigmas and, for me, uncovering more about them was the best part of reading Goth. These two characters, both of them obsessed with death, are characters that, while I couldn’t completely love them because of how cruel they could be, I genuinely loved learning about them.

Otsuichi did a fantastic job at writing from the point of view of a sociopath. I could really fell how detached from the world and how isolated the narrator was. I could feel how merciless and unfeeling he was. There were also times when a story would be told through the eyes of the killer, which were also very well done.

Goth is a story that I was completely taken in by. This book is mysterious, twisted, and unsettling. Otsuichi really did succeed at sending chills down my spine. Goth is a fantastic read. Highly recommended!

Steel Lily by Megan Curd: review

17828413Steel Lily by Megan Curd
Series: The Periodic Series #1
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Starry Sky Publishing
Release Date: August 12th 2013
Synopsis: AVERY PIKE is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.

She’s a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.

Or so she thinks.

That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued. But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn’t any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are just hidden better.

…Which means digging deeper.

When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you can control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything…including the fate of your world.

My Thoughts:

Steel Lily has an interesting plot and world. Earth has become dangerous and barren after the war, causing humans to crowd themselves into domes in order to protect themselves from poisonous air. Avery Pike, a water elementalist, lives her life in Dome Four giving steam in order to power the dome, all awhile feeling like she’s being controlled.

One day, Avery is confronted by a man who tells her he can give her freedom and a life that isn’t controlled by the corrupt government. Avery is reluctant at first, but is later forced into a situation that requires her to leave Dome Four with her best friend Alice and go to a new home. But Avery soon realizes that Dome Seven has its own secrets…

As you can imagine, I picked up Steel Lily I was expecting an adventure in a damaged world, a compelling story that would keep me reading instead of sleeping. And even after a disappointing beginning, I still kept hoping. Unfortunately, Steel Lily, though it had its merits, didn’t have the adventure I seemed.

Instead, Steel Lily isn’t an adventure through a damaged world but takes place in a boarding school. Not that a boarding school is a bad place for a story to take place, but it just doesn’t work for a book like Steel Lily. The wonder of learning about a different world is gone and replaced by shared rooms and classes.

And even the giving of information wasn’t done well. The information about the war that killed the world and caused people to live in domes? Given through a boring video a teacher makes Avery watch. The rest of the information? Told through dialogue but never explained thoroughly. It all felt very lazy, and sometimes I just felt confused.

The main character Avery is also not a part of the book I loved. Avery is certainly a capable girl and knows how to take care of herself, but it really annoyed me that she always seemed to be merely reacting to things. She is constantly being led around by external forces and rarely causes anything herself. It’s Avery’s friends that collect the information and make things happen.

Speaking of Avery’s friends, I have to say that they were amazing and are probably the redeeming quality of Steel Lily. I loved Alice with her cheerfulness, Legs with his funny personality, Sari with her awesome hacking self, and Jackson with his funny, sarcastic comments (and eventual character development!). And the chemistry and relationships they had with each other and Avery was great.

I can’t say much about the villain, but I want to say that the plot twist that involved him was something I found ridiculous. It came absolutely out of the blue with no build-up at all. It just happened and left me rolling my eyes.

Curd’s writing is strong and well in control, for the most part. Her descriptions were often lovely. But I do think that the dialogue felt a little unnatural at times. A little editing bit more editing definitely wouldn’t have hurt.

Steel Lily isn’t a bad book and I was entertained by it, but lots of things fell flat for me, including an out-of-place feeling romance. Curd had thought up a great premise, it’s just that the execution wasn’t up to par. I might recommend this to a person wanting to try out a dystopia with a little bit of steampunk mixed it… Just be prepared for disappointment.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: review

9464733Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Stand Alone”
Rating:
4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Humor, LGBT
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: May 24th 2011
Synopsis: The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program – or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan – or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Your tour guide? None other than Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

My Thoughts:

Here’s an interesting scenario: A plane filled with beauty queens crashes on a desert island. The beauty queens are left with a very small supply of food, little water, no way to contact help, and, most importantly, practically no beauty products. What do you think would happen?

Well, Libba Bray thought that random, ridiculous, and crazy stuff would happen, apparently.* And that thought is what made Beauty Queens, a hilarious and fun book that is filled to the brim with satire. Bray’s beauty queen survivalist story is addictive and really did bring me more than a few laughs.

A warning for readers: Beauty Queens has one of the most random, ridiculous, and crazy plots I have ever read. No matter how crazy and ridiculous you think things already are, it will only get more crazy and ridiculous. I mean it, guys. The explosive hair remover is the least crazy thing to happen in this book. Beauty Queens is an extreme ride and suspension of belief is obviously going to be required.

The beauty queens… Wow, the beauty queens! They are what made this book. The girls were weird and sometimes acted just plain bonkers. They were over the top and many of them were stereotypical (by design), but boy, were they fun! Those beauty queens had me constantly smiling the whole time I was reading the book.

I also loved that Bray really took the time to peel back the layers of many of the girls’ characters. It made it so you could find them to be believable and realistic (well,as realistic as a group of characters like these girls can get). Lots of the girls’ stories were very thought-provoking and I had no problem with investing in them. My favorite girls were Petra, Adina, and Tiara.

The other characters were just as over the top as our main girls and I think Bray did a great job with them. What can I say? I love crazy :)

Bray’s personality really shined through in the way she wrote Beauty Queens. I have never actually met the lady, but from what I have gathered, she always struck me as a fun-loving, hilarious person. And with all the cute and fun footnotes generously sprinkled everywhere and the commercial breaks, I definitely felt that a fun-loving and hilarious person wrote the book.

A couple of flaws I found while reading this book is that, while Bray presented great commentary and ideas on many different important issues, I think that Bray could have woven the ideas and commentary more tightly into the story and did more “showing” than presenting. I’m also pretty sure there was a name mix-up in one instance…

But as a whole, Beauty Queens is a book that I adored. I loved the humor and satire. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and characters. And the explosive hair remover was pretty darn awesome, if I do say so myself.

*Okay, Bray might have not exactly fully believed that crazy and ridiculous stuff would happen. But she probably hoped that crazy and ridiculous stuff would happen.

Recap Of My Time In Florida!

Finally! I get to reflect on how much fun I had in Florida! *happy dance* When my family and I were driving to Florida in that cramped, uncomfortable car, I constantly daydreamed about all the fun and amazing stuff I will be able to do there. And when we arrived at the hotel (after driving through a bad neighborhood, making the mistake of going into a gas station where dangerous-looking men were hanging out, and sleeping in a parking lot that I swear was haunted), I was so excited for the future days filled with rides and amusement park food.

And I definitely wasn’t disappointed with the parks! I had a blast and took plenty of pictures with my (crappy but useable) camera! So now I can share the pictures with you :) Not that my pictures are anything to write home about, but still! Oh, and my hotel was really neat, too. There were a lot of birds walking around. I even saw some turkeys!

Disney World

Disney World was all I thought it would be and then some. There was excitement, happiness, and maybe even a little magic in the air. I am also pretty sure I witnessed a proposal as I walked by the buildings along Main Street in the morning. I wasn’t able to take any pictures since my camera literally died three seconds after I turned it on (grrr), but I have a very good memory so it’s okay!

We first went to Tomorrowland and rode Space Mountain (my favorite ride). We were going to ride it a second time, but apparently Space Mountain had broke down right after we got off, so we checked out Monster, Inc. Laugh Floor, which was actually pretty fun. The monsters really weren’t afraid to pick on the people in the audience. (The guy who was behind me with the really long beard was teased the most.) We also went to Stitch’s Great Escape. That one wasn’t very good, but it was still a little fun seeing Stitch spit on the audience.

Adventureland was the next on our list. My mom wanted to go to The Enchanted Tiki Room so we went there. And I loved the whole! Who knew that singing birds could be so darn entertaining? “Let’s all sing like the birdies sing, tweet, tweet tweet, tweet tweet.” That song is still stuck in my head. Oh, and we also rode the Jungle Cruise and The Pirates of the Caribbean rides. I have always loved boat rides so I really liked those two rides.

Adventureland also happened to have this Dole pineapple frozen yogurt stuff. AND IT WAS SOO DELICIOUS! After I pigged out on the tasty pineapple-y stuff, we went to Frontierland and rode Splash Mountain and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Right after Thunder Mountain, I dragged my parents back to Main Street and spent some more of my money on chocolate ice cream. By then, we had rode most of the rides we desired to ride at least ounce so we started to just visit them over and over again.

At some point, it started raining. Which would have been fine, but somehow my mom and I got separated from my Dad and my brother so we got a little soaked trying to look for each other. We did eventually find each other and after the rain stopped, I realized that we haven’t went to the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square and proceeded to drag my family into the line. After going into the Haunted Mansion and dancing with the ghost, we resumed our activities of going to the same rides over and over (luckily, Space Mountain got up and running again). And also watched the Electrical Parade during that time.

Time flew by and it didn’t seem to take long for the park’s closing time to come near. So we hurried to The Hall of Presidents (robot presidents. Woot woot!) and watched that show. It was pretty interesting but I couldn’t help but inwardly laugh at the President Obama robot, because they accidentally made him look like a white guy. When the show was over, we ran to find a good place to stand and watched the fireworks.

When the fireworks stopped, my mom revealed to my brother and I that apparently we were able to stay two hours after closing time. We rode a couple more rides and then left at 1:00 am. The end!

Hollywood Studios

hollywood studios 1

Me when I first stepped foot into Hollywood Studios: THIS PLACE IS SO PRETTY! Guys, Hollywood Studios is an absolutely lovely place. The buildings, signs and billboards, and all the little touches here and there were so well placed and made. And since I remembered to bring my camera that day, I crazily took pictures until the camera ran out of charge. Everything was so fun to look at. And, uh, sorry to the people who might have gotten caught up in my photo-taking frenzy. But don’t worry, you all look dazzling.

hollywood studios 2

Admittedly, we didn’t get to do as much as we wanted to at Hollywood Studios, because my brother wanted to go back to the hotel early (darn you, brother), but we were able to go watch a couple of shows and ride a couple of rides! We first went to the Hollywood Tower of Terror. You know, this frightening thing:

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You can actually hear people’s screams from all the way across the park

It was an amazing ride. I had butterflies in my stomach and screamed plenty. Oh, and my mom also almost lost her sunglasses on it. They actually floated away from her awhile the elevator was crashing down a few stories :P We then went to The Great Big Movie Ride, which was fantastic. When the tour guide says that you will be a part of the action, they really mean it. Your ride vehicle will even be hijacked by some lady who is a thief (or gangster?) and wants to get out of her movie. It was amazing experience and the building itself it beautiful, too.

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We also got to see the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, a show where many scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark are re-enacted and the stunts that happened in those scenes are explained. The hosts were really good-humored, which made everything more entertaining than it already was. After that ride, we rode Star Tours. Star Tours was really fun. And sort of amusing since C-P30’s reactions to being mistakenly put in charge of a spaceship and being attacked by Darth Vader were hilarious.

Because of my little brother’s complaining, we went back to the hotel, relaxed, and the because of my mom’s insistence, we went back to the park (yay) and watched Fantasmic. I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the show, since I was so dazzled by the water and flashing lights, but trust me when I say it was beautiful. Oh, and before the Fantasmic show actually started, there were these two hosts who managed to get the crowd of people to sing “Call Me Maybe.” I was singing and laughing at the same time when that happened.

After the show, we went home. The end!

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is a really lively place, which is to be expected when there are lots of animals in one place. I fell in love with this park. I loved everything about it, really. The birds that were flying everywhere, the animals, and the rides… It was amazing. It was fun to just walk around and look at the scenery and animals. And I took lots of pictures :D

animal kingdom 1

We rushed to the Kilimanjaro Safaris, where we were able to see some fascinating animals. There were lions, rhinos, hippos, zebras, and much more! I actually found the whole ride to be funny since the animals had a habit of turning around and showing their butts right when I tried to snap a picture. The rhinos were most guilty of this:

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Luckily, I was able to get some non-butt pictures, too:

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I also got to see my favorite animal, the giraffe:

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After that, we went to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Long story short, we got to see a few more animals!

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Favorite part of Pangini? The lounging gorilla:

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My parents wanted to go see It’s Tough to be a Bug so we checked that out and had a fun time at the show. When the show ended, we ran over to catch the Wildlife Express Train, which took us to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. I didn’t take any pictures there, but I remember everything vividly. I first spent some time with a parrot named Red and learned about how messy parrots were (they don’t even eat all their food), then we went to a show that featured cute little animals like ferrets and pigs and porcupines, then I went to the petting zoo, which housed goats that would not react to you AT ALL. They were all like, “so you’re petting me? That doesn’t mean you exist.”

Anyways, after taking the train back to where we were, we hurried over to the Wonders of Flight show, a show that had lots of interesting birds flying about.

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I also checked out the Maharajah Jungle Trek. It was awesome. The fruit bats, tigers, and other animals were so fun to see! And because the pictures I snapped are full-size worthy (pffft) here they are:

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After that, we went to the Kali River Rapids (that ride disappointed me a little since we didn’t get soaked at all) and the Expedition Everest Ride (the first ride I have gone on that goes backwards and I loved it). We then watched a parade (that I didn’t get to take pictures of). Oh, and we also got to see Nemo: The Musical, which was absolutely adorable. And then we went home exhausted. The end!

Universal Studios

Universal Studios was my favorite park. And I only got to explore half of it! Really, the  whole half of the park is so fun and exciting. I might have only checked out a few things, but those few things were all very fantastic :D

universal studios 1

First, we rode the Minion Mayhem ride, and it was so cute and hilarious. The ride practically turns you into a minion and lets you run among other minion :P I love minions so I adored this ride. We then rode the Rock It ride, which was a ride that I was sort of panicking about. I mean, just look at this:

Not my own picture. Just found it on Google.

Though, about halfway through, I fell in love with the ride. Shrek 4D was next on our list, and while I did enjoy it, I don’t think it was the best >_< But I got some Donkey and I love Donkey, sooo. After that, we went to Revenge of the Mummy, which was a pretty jerky ride, but still really, really fun. The ride also decided to fake us out: it made us tourist think the ride was over and then unexpectedly shoot us off into a room of (fake) fire.

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Everyone was a little hungry, so we went to eat at a Mel’s Drive In. The food was kind of tasteless, but the decor was really nice to look at. Plus, our table had this music player thingy that I enjoyed tinkering with. The place also had some really cool old cars parked in front of it (you can see one of them in the row of pictures above).

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After eating, we went to the Horror Make Up Show. AND IT WAS SOOO GOOD! The two hosts were hilarious right from the very beginning when one of the two ran into the room screaming with a (obviously fake) knife in her chest and then making a big show out of lying down and dying… and then telling the dude in the front row that he has permission to look at her butt. Anyways, the girls were hilarious to watch and I actually started crying from laughing to hard at them.

When the show ended, we walked a little bit and then had the idea that we should ride Transformers: The Ride. It was a real action-y simulation. I’ve never been a fan of Transformers but the fight scenes were so cool in this ride, and it really felt like you were a part of them. We went on another couple of rides (MIB: Alien Attack and Terminator 2 3D) that weren’t really anything to holler about, then found E.T. Adventure, which was really good. (E.T. still freaks me out, though.)

My dad spotted another cool-looking thing called Disaster, so we got in line and then found out that Disaster is apparently an experience that allows you to be in a disaster movie called Mutha Nature. We were stuck in the back and weren’t chosen, but the host was able to find a hot, hunky guy (her words not mind), a group of guys with glasses, a cute eight year-old, an old lady, and a pretty young woman. We then proceeded to watch these guys make a really, really terrible movie that was so bad it was hilarious.

We also went to Twister and got to see a set get destroyed by a “twister.” It was actually really interesting. After that, my family and I started to just go on the same rides over and over again, just having a blast. Some noteoworthy things that happened during that time: I found a dancing minion that wouldn’t stop dancing and being stupid so nobody could take pictures with it. Let’s just say I fell in love with it immediately. I also stumbled across a squirrel (I get so distracted by squirrels it’s not even funny).

At the end of the day, I bought a stuffed minion and named it Marty, and we went home. But not before seeing this beauty all lit up:

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The end!

Epcot

Sadly, we didn’t do very much at Epcot. BUT! We were able to go on Mission: SPACE, and it was quite possibly one of the greatest things ever. Uh… The end!

Additional Note:

I think it should be noted that while all this happened, my dad was determined to find the perfect Disney World hat. Seriously, he checked out every store. And after spending days looking for the perfect hat, he found it. Applaud him please.

As you can see, I had a very, very good time at Florida and I would go there again if I could :) I miss it already! But I still have the good memories and will always happily look back on them. I will end this really long post with a thank you to my parents (hi mom and dad!) for giving me the chance to go to Florida. Love you!

Over The Rainbow by Brian Rowe: review

17792829Over the Rainbow by Brian Rowe
Stand Alone
My Rating: 
3 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: LGBT, Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: August 6th 2013
Synopsis: A modern re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz!

Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.

When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion, a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world’s population have mysteriously disappeared. But that’s only the beginning…

All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.

My Thoughts:

Looks like Dorothy is going to be walking down the yellow brick road with her well-loved companions again. Oh, wait, it’s actually Zippy who is going to be walking down the yellow brick road with her companions in a world that had just experienced the “rapture”. And, uh, the yellow brick road she’s walking down is cluttered with abandoned cars and… dinosaurs? DUN DUN DUN!

Over the Rainbow has a heck of an oddball story. It’s weird, trippy, and really unbelievable. But hey, Over the Rainbow is a super-fun romp that I enjoyed reading. Oh, and Jurassic Park fans: you just might get a kick out of this book. All those dinosaurs stomping about were awesome and totally appealed me, a lover of the movie. Over the Rainbow actually brought back a lot of memories of when I was a little kid going to my grandparents’ house and watching that dino-tastic (I did just say that) movie over and over.

Besides the dinosaurs, I also liked Zippy, our tiny, fun-sized, protagonist too, and not just because she shares my love of  Jurassic Park. She’s brave, strong-willed, comfortable in her own skin, and fit the role she played quite well. And to be honest, it’s really hard to not be impressed by the girl when she faced and killed a dinosaur with only an ax in hand. Her doing that was one of my favorite scenes in the book, actually.

Zippy’s companions, while they weren’t exactly memorable, were fun. Frankie, Mr. Balm, and Elle complimented each other and had good chemistry. I think that these characters could have had a little bit more work done on them, but they satisfied the roles they were meant to be in. Zippy’s father, however, was a pretty well-made character. In the beginning, he is only portrayed as a bigot who cares more about his job than Zippy, but over the course of the story, you learn that he does care for his daughter but his prejudiced opinions keep him from showing that.

What really gets in the way of Over the Rainbow‘s being a great book is that it was published too soon. I think that some more editing could have been done. The characters seemed to underreact to their situation at times. Sometimes the dialogue was choppy. The emotional scenes could have been polished up some more. And the new, post-rapture world could have been painted more vividly. I honestly believe that Over the Rainbow could have been an amazing book, but the lack of editing got in the way of being that amazing book.

But even though this book has its fair share of flaws, I did enjoy reading it. Over the Rainbow is a weird, fun romp that I didn’t mind spending the evening reading at all. AND THE DINOSAURS! I LOVED THEM SO MUCH!