Saturday Quotes

Happy Saturday!

While you are reading this, I am getting ready for my sister’s bachelorette party. It is going to be fantastic. This week hasn’t been easy – “friends” revealed their true colors, people cancelled last minute, unexpected situations had to be accepted, plans had to be adapted. And guess what? I survived. I am sure I will carry on surviving, because that is what you do. You learn to live with disappointment and stress, and find a way to be happy in spite of it.

Here is a beautiful quote. Enjoy the weekend!

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Five Things Friday (What planning a bachelorettes or wedding taught me)

I am on leave today, and I really am so happy I just have a day off. It feels like I’m getting married, while it is actually my sister tying the knot. I am SO happy for her and her fiancé – they are the ultimate cuteness right now. On keeping tradition with my themed Friday post, here are 5 things planning a wedding/bachelorette taught me.

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One: Someone will want to do everything.

Typical overachiever stuff happens around the wedding. If you don’t have a full time wedding planner, either the bride, her mother, her mother-in-law, or her sister will try to simultaneously organize everything at once. TIP: Calm down, everyone. It will be great, and it will work out fine.

Two: You quickly realize who your real friends are, and who is just there to see you fail.

The amount of people I am annoyed with regarding the wedding amounts daily, but I am starting to realise that they are all insignificant, and that they aren’t true friends. The backstabbing involved can be an entire post, so I won’t elaborate this much, but I am consoling myself that I don’t have to have these people at my wedding someday.

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Three: Have a back-up plan for your back-up plan.

If four things can go wrong, four things will go wrong. Really – the transport I organized for the bachelorettes fell flat about three times before I finally got it to work (for now)

Four: Someone will make it about them.

They will be rude, they will be selfish, they will be demanding. At the end of the day, you should just focus on what you can do to make it easier on the bride and groom, and be the bigger person, even when it is killing you to keep a dignified silence.

Five: If you just have fun with people that love you, you will have the best time ever.

Really self-explanatory.

Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.

Have a lovely weekend!

Book Review: Eclipse (Stephanie Meyer)

I have varying degrees of tolerance towards the Twilight phenomenon. It really depends on my mood. Most of the time it really is just a mediocre book to me – it doesn’t inspire the either the complete outrage or adoration it has divided readers into.

In defense for the series, I have to mention that originality is celebrated in all other genres – why is it so impossible for it to be celebrated in Vampires? It is so much better than the fan-fiction it has caused to erupt – like 50 Shades of Grey (E.L. James). That, my dear readers, is atrocious material.

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What happens? 

Bella finally has Edward back. In New Moon, Edward fled her life in a bid to protect her, but it was disastrous for both of them. He returns to Forks, but has to face the consequences of leaving her alone for so long. Jacob Black, a werewolf, is one of them. In the months Edward was away, Jacob became Bella’s “replacement sun”. She is in no way as in love with him as he is with her, but Edward still has to deal with her lasting attachment to another mystical being. Another problem is Victoria – the mate of the vampire James who Edward killed in Twilight, the first book. Victoria, like any other vampire, needs to avenge the death of her mate, and is hell bent on torturing Bella to death to hurt Edward. The Volturi is keeping a close eye on Bella, intent that she either becomes immortal or be silenced permanently to keep their secret world, well, secret.

When it becomes obvious that there is an army of new-born vampires on the loose, the Cullens know that they will have to intervene, or risk the Volturi arriving and checking in on Bella.

Will Edward and Bella survive this new storm?

Rating: 5/10

Like I mentioned, the book is average. It is a good love story – two people fighting to be together no matter what. Everyone is (supposed) to like that. The book itself is not badly written – in fact I find it quite readable. It is much better than some critically acclaimed books.

Bella’s character gets a lot of bad press. At the end of the day, she is day a teenage girl, which makes it okay for her to worry about boyfriends and be insecure. The character is an empty canvass – she is so devoid of real personality that the series’ main readers, teenage girls, can easily place themselves in her shoes and dream about Edward.

Edward isn’t that bad, really. Sure, he is a bit possessive and jealous, but with Bella’s track record of injuries, she really needs supervision. He is written to portray someone set in stone, and the only real change he has had in the last 100 years was his love for Bella – I would be pretty possessive then too. I applauded when he became more lenient and understanding for her need to see Jacob.

If you haven’t read it yet, and you like love stories, read the series 🙂

Series Review: Sons of Anarchy (Season 2)

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What happened in Season One

Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) and Jax Teller (Charlie Hunham) lead the Sons of Anarchy – an outlaw motorcycle club smuggling guns.

After Jax found his father’s notes on how he wanted SAMCRO, Jax started questioning his stepfather’s decisions for the club. The tension between them escalates when he learns that Clay and Tig, another member, planned the murder of Opie, which resulted in Opie’s wife being killed.

Season Two

*Contains Spoilers

White Separates, led by Ethan Zobelle, arrive in Charming, and after Clay openly taunts them at Bobby Elvis’ reunion, they gang rape Gemma. They tell her to tell the club to leave Charming, but she chooses not to share the information with her son and husband. She only tells Police Chief Wayne Unser and Dr. Tara Knowles. They help her stage a car accident, giving her a plausible tale for her injuries.

Big Otto, a member of the club who is imprisoned, contacts SAMCRO and asks them for help – his wife’s porn business is dangerously close to closing down after a raid from law enforcement and intimidation from a rival pornographer, Georgie Caruso. Jax knows that under the ATF’s beady eyes, SOA can’t use their new warehouse for guns, and convinces the club to rather use it as a location for Luanne’s business. They become business partners, hoping to increase SOA’s revenue streams, and give the club a legitimate income.

Meanwhile, Opie is struggling to deal with Donna’s death. He becomes more involved in the club, even distancing himself from Jax, without knowing that when he supports Clay’s decisions, he is supporting the man responsible for his wife’s death.

Chibs is hurt in a bomb attack from Zobelle’s men, and Clay asks for immediate retribution. They head to where they know Zobelle is, but they are arrested when it turns out that it is a church meeting.

While in prison, most of SOA is once again visited by ATF Agent Joan Stahl. She tries to get them to rat out their IRA friends, but fails. Clay and Jax go at each other after their visit.

The tension between Jax and Clay worsen when Cara-Cara burns down. Jax believes Clay orchestrated the fire, especially since Clay told the club he wants them out of the porn business. Even when he learns from the police that Clay wasn’t behind it, he requests to go Nomad – a biker who belongs to SAMCRO but not to a specific Charter of the club. Most of the club is against him going Nomad, but accepts when they realize it is what he needs. To keep Jax from leaving SAMCRO, Gemma finally reveals her horror to her family. The men reunite, and start searching for ways to finally get to Zobell.

Reunited, the club receives another blow. Tig is so overcome with guilt; he confesses to Opie that he is the man who murdered Donna. He tells Opie that Stahl made Opie look like a rat – and the club had to take him out, and that he switching cars with Donna led to her death.

Chibs makes a deal with the ATF to help capture the IRA and its leader, Jimmy O, a man who Chibs hates with a passion. The ATF successfully captures Edmond Hayes, who is part of the IRA. They use him to track down Edmond’s father, Cameron, and Jimmy O. Opie, now on a path of revenge, witnesses Chibs speaking to Stahl. Opie has Stahl at gunpoint, but leaves her alone after telling her to remember that the outlaws had mercy with her. He tells the club that he saw Chibs, but warns them not to jump the gun as they did with him. It isn’t necessary, as Chibs soon confesses what he did.

The SOA finds out that Zobelle is hiding behind his racial “beliefs”, and that he is only interested in doing business with the Mayans, and their prison heroin trade. The Sons uses this useful information to turn AJ Weston, one of the men who raped Gemma, against Zobelle, as Weston fully believes in his “cause”.

Weston is arrested for the connection with the fire at the porn building. The Sons confront Zobelle and his daughter in his shop, and he confesses to Hale for possession of illegal narcotics to save himself and his daughter. Both are released from custody. Zobelle runs to the Mayans for protection, and he and his daughter head to his shop to clear things out. Ethan’s daughter Polly heads to see Edmond, who she has been seeing secretly. She finds him killed, and Gemma arrives, shooting her. Stahl, who killed Edmond, frames Gemma for both murders. Gemma calls Unser, and she flees Charming to avoid arrest. Zobelle leaves Charming without his daughter, not knowing what happened to her.

Weston heads with his son to a tattoo parlor. The tattoo artists is, like everyone in Charming, on the Sons’ pay list, injures Weston “accidentally” and tells him to go clean up in the bathroom. He finds the Sons there and Jax kills him, avenging his mother’s rape.

Cameron learns that his son is dead, and that Gemma is the main suspect. He heads to Jax’s house, kills Half Sack, and ties up Tara. He steals Abel, and the Sons chase him. They are just too late and witness Abel leaving Charming with Cameron in a boat.

Rating: 7/10

This season was so good. It is vastly superior to Season One. The last episode had me, literally, biting my pillow when I wasn’t screaming.

Sons of Anarchy is just so morally wrong. The show is about everything that could be wrong with the world – Porn, Guns, heavy drinking and swearing. And yet you find yourself rooting for them instead of the ATF. That said, maybe if Stahl wasn’t such a vicious cow, I would find some sympathy for the justice department. I hated her nearly as much as Zobelle and his stupid racist cronie, Weston. I hated Weston A LOT. I am not violent by nature, and I was cheering when Jax shot him. It was just such a profound sense of justice finally being served.

I haven’t started on three yet, but I really hope it is as well done as two. What a show!

Read season One’s review here

Movie Review: The First Time (2012)

The First Time

I went for a movie night with one of my friends, and we decided on this film after watching its preview. I was surprised by the quality of the film – I really thought it would be another vague teen romance.

The film, written and directed by Jon Kasdan, tells the story of two teenagers, and how they fall in love. Dave Hodgman (Dylan O’Brien) meets Aubrey Miller (Britt Robertson) at a party, and they immediately have a connection. Dave is in love with a beautiful girl Jane (Victoria Justice), but sadly he has a case of being severely friend zoned. Aubrey has a much older boyfriend Ronny (James Frecheville). He is focused on his career, and doesn’t really get her.

When the cops arrive at the party, Dave and Aubrey leave, and he walks her home. They have a great conversation, only the type the very young can understand, and he asks her for advice on his sad state of a love life. Aubrey invites Dave inside her house, and they fall asleep together in her room.

The next day, Dave has to escape detection by climbing out of her window. He falls, but luckily isn’t hurt. They see each other at the movies again, but both Ronny and Jane are there. They head off to a party afterwards, and Dave begs Aubrey not to sleep with Ronny when he learns that she is planning to lose her virginity in a van. She calls Dave later, telling him to pick her up, and tells him that she didn’t sleep with Ronny. She reveals she broke up with her boyfriend, and they kiss.

When Aubrey’s parents go out to a function, she realizes the opportunity of an empty house, and invites Dave over. The have sex, and it is traumatic for both of them.

Dave seeks advice from Simon (Craig Roberts) and Big Corporation (LaMarcus Tinker). Big shows that when he speaks he speaks the truth, and tells Dave to be a man, and start acting like one.

1st Time quotes

Dave goes to Aubrey’s house and asks that they still try to be a relationship, even though they messed up their first sexual encounter. He drives Aubrey to class, and she agrees to work on both parts of their relationship. They kiss and make up outside the school, even though Aubrey claimed in the beginning that she hates PDA.

Rating: a solid and unexpected 6.5/10

I was surprised and impressed by this film. It is real and funny, and tells a true tale about love and first encounters. Often movies glosses over awkward situations, but this movie is so awkward you just want to hide your face under the pillow in shame. All the characters were portrayed very well – both leads were exceptionally cast.

This is a really refreshing film to watch, and I would recommend it mostly to girls and young women.

Friday’s five things

Happy Friday!

This week has been extremely slow. I don’t want to wish time away, but man, can weekends go slower and weekdays faster? Yes, I do understand the 2:5 ratio, but still.

My dog is sick. He is 13 years old, so I guess it comes as no surprise, but I am still heartbroken. He is the sweetest animal out there, and friendly to anyone. I hope he makes it 😦

The diet has been going well. I lost a kg, so at least I saw progress. Still peeved from last week though. I just need to stay dedicated and then I will continue seeing results.

So here is my list of 5 thoughts this week (the best thoughts of the week)

I wish cash was a non-issue

Everywhere I go, people are discussing financial problems and management. Everyone’s conclusion – money basically sucks. I just wish I could happily live off the earth right now. Just need nothing.

moola

PS: I made this pic myself

This quote blew my mind so far away that I am still searching for it.

“The unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. You get to take yourself oh so very seriously.” ― Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

You better have a good blog, since I accidentally pressed follow

And now I am too lazy to unfollow.

Yeah

Facebook is just irritating right now

My sister commented that I am always irritated when I am finished browsing through Facebook.

True.

So many irritating people on Facebook.

And yet when I am not able to get onto Facebook, I get so annoyed.

Acceptance

This week, I had to not wear any eye makeup – I suddenly developed this eye condition, making my eyes super sensitive and irritable. My eyes have always been a bit dodgy, swelling up for allergies, dust, and wind. Being barefaced at home is fine, but I felt completely naked while walking around like this. I felt unpolished and lazy. I had to deal with the fact that make-up is just another form of hiding from the world. I am back to wearing a bit, but it was a good lesson to learn that I am me, with or without gunk sticking to my eyes.

Book Review: River’s End (Nora Roberts)

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Hello!

Can you believe that this is my 40th book in my book challenge? I am really happy that I am getting along. Sometimes I want to move faster, but I don’t want to lose track of why I am REALLY doing this – my love for books and a good story.

Book: 40/100

The Story

Julie MacBride and Sam Tanner was the reigning Hollywood couple. Outrageously beautiful and talented, their daughter Olivia only completed their happiness when she came along. That was until Sam got addicted to drugs, which fed on his weak personality and jealous streak. When his wife was brutally murdered with scissors in their living room, he was arrested and imprisoned.

Frank Brady, the cop who investigated the case, never really got over the injustice of seeing such beauty destroyed. He made sure her daughter was safe at her maternal grandparents in a nature reserve in Washington, and made sure Sam never had his parole granted. Frank’s son, Noah, became a journalist, always remembering Julie’s murder, but never having fully committed to writing the book.

Noah’s first adult meeting with Olivia turns disastrous when he falls in love with her when upon first sight. She finds his notes and thinks he is stringing her along for the story. She shoves him out of her life, and he focuses on becoming a successful writer of other crime stories.

Years later, Sam Tanner finally gets his release from prison. He is dying, and only wants his story told before it is too late. He contacts Noah, and together they travel back in time to relive his life, and the tragic love he had for his wife. Noah is immersed in his story, and slowly starts to doubt whether Sam was really capable of killing Julie. Just when he starts to think Sam innocent, he disappears, and Olivia starts receiving phone calls from an unknown caller.

Noah goes to Olivia to try and convince her to cooperate with his book. She finally relents, knowing it is the only way she will ever be able to make sense of the violence that tore her family apart. As their relationship starts functioning, they have to face the danger that became unleashed with her father’s release.

Is Sam guilty of the crime he was locked up for? Will Olivia and Noah be able to move past his mistakes as a young man?

Rating: 8.5/10

This was the first Nora Roberts book I ever read. It seems like fate, as it is one of her best. Other books might not have caused me to become such a loyal follower. Now, I’m addicted. It is such a good book. It is ripe with emotion and detail, and draws you into it so quickly you don’t have a chance to realize what is happening.

Noah Brady seems the type of guy every woman falls for. Smart, attractive, loyal, loves his mom, and when he falls in love, fiercely protective. Olivia is strong and capable, and never the victim. I really have so much respect for Ms. Roberts for penning such characters.

You really want to read this book. Go do it.

Book Review: The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

Book: 41/100

hunger games trilogy bookset

The post-apocalyptic trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockinjay) takes place in Panem. Panem consists of the Capitol and twelve (formerly thirteen) poorer districts. All the districts are under strict supervision and surveillance from the Capitol. The Capitol residents live in extravagance, richly supplied with food, technology and possessions. In comparison, the other Districts suffer from famish, starvation and cruelty from the Peacekeepers.

To keep the citizens of Panem mindful of the control their State has over them, they are forced to selects two teens each year to compete in the Hunger Games – a closed off arena where only one person can exit alive – the one who managed to kill all the other contestants.

The series’ main protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is from District 12. She keeps her family alive by illegally hunting with her best friend Gale in the woods. On the day of the Reaping, Katniss’ little sister Prim is chosen as the female tribute for District 12. Horror-struck, Katniss volunteers to save her sister from certain death. The male tribute from 12 is Peeta Mellark – a boy who saved Katniss from starvation years ago by tossing her burned bread.

The two head off to the Capitol. They are escorted by Haymitch Abernathy, the winner of the 50th Hunger Games, and the ridiculous Effie Trinket.  Haymitch and Effie are responsible for informing the two how to proceed in the Hunger Games. Haymitch is constantly in a drunken stupor, but agrees to help the two when he realises that they could make a strong team.

Katniss is transformed by her stylist Cinna in time for her interviews in front of the entire Panem. The crowd is wowed by her and Peeta, especially after Peeta confesses that he is in love with her.

When the Hunger Games begin, Katniss heads off alone and tries to let the other tributes take each other out before she has to interfere. She survives starvation and burns, and manages to kill some of the Careers – people who train especially to partake in the Hunger Games, by setting Trackerjackers loose on them when they think they have her cornered. She finally finds an ally in little Rue, from District Eleven, but Rue is killed by another Tribute a few days later.

When they receive an announcement that two tributes are allowed to live at the end of the Games if they come from the same District, Katniss starts searching for Peeta. She finds him desperately injured, and tries to heal him. To save him, she needs to head to a battleground where medicine will be waiting. She nearly dies at the hand of a vicious Tribute, but Thresh, the male Tribute from Rue’s District, saves her as thanks for helping Rue. She manages to save Peeta, and together they start hunting together.

Will the devious Capitol keep true to their promises? And will Katniss and Peeta ever make it out alive – and in love?

Rating: 7/10

This world-wide success really deserves its fortunes. It is well written, horrifying, and truly addictive. The book probably became so successful because the story is plausible, and has roots in history. People already are in the “survival-of-the-fittest” mode. A transition like this, where people are addicted to watching teens kill each other in arenas, isn’t that farfetched.

Characters

Katniss Everdeen: Sullen, a forced provider, and bad tempered. If I had to hunt every day to feed my family, I might turn into the same person. However, her blindness towards Peeta’s feelings is the worst. It gets worse in the other two books, where she has to deal with her attraction towards Gale and Peeta, so she is the most tolerable in book one.

Peeta Mellark: I am always a little bit in love with Peeta. He is so selfless and kind. Katniss really doesn’t deserve his unconditional love. He proves himself to be clever and courageous when he hooks up with the Careers to protect Katniss, and stubborn (which isn’t actually a bad quality in a person) when he fights with Katniss for going to the Cornucopia to get the person. I really think he is well written, and has more depth than the other characters.

Gale Hawthrone: Between Peeta and Gale, I find Gale slightly more appealing as he is such a fierce fighter and injustice angers him. He is rough around the edges, and his softer side is only obvious when he is with Katniss, and even then he is a difficult man. Both he and Katniss are edgy, mostly because of the life they live in the poorer part of District 12 – that is where Peeta has the disadvantage of not completely understanding where she coming from.

Conclusion:

I read the series to see what the hype was about, and I am really thankful I did. I would recommend it to everyone – it is shocking and scary and impossible to put down.