Silly Sunday – Game of Thrones parodies

In honor of tonight’s Season 3 premiere, here are two of my favorite Game of Thrones parodies. 

It was either that or people doing weird things in Easter Bunny costumes. You’re welcome.

First up, the SNL clip skewering the show’s use of nudity:

And this one is just all kinds of right.

If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, there are 14 more videos available here.

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Return of the Weekly Recap

 
Way back, long ago, in the dark ages of this blog, I used to do a weekly recap as part of my TGIF or Follow Friday meme posts. When GReads! retired TGIF, I tried out a few other memes (like Clock Rewinders and It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?) to try and scratch the itch I had to share what I was reading, posting, and thinking about during the week.

During Bloggiesta, I spent some time working through some ideas for the kind of post I really wanted to write. Why was I trying to fit what I wanted to say into someone else’s mold? So starting today, every Friday I’m going to post a recap of books I’ve read, am reading, and plan to read, as well as any other tidbits I feel like sharing. The format was inspired by Small Review’s Recap posts and On a Book Bender and 25 Hour Books’ Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge posts.

Blogging

This week on the blog:

Reading

Finished: 

  • Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore
    • Solid start, but lost me in the endless mountain climbing.
  • City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare 
    • Though I mocked myself for reading this silliness, I tore through it like it was a bag of cinnamon bears.

Started: 

  • Darkfever (Darkfever #1) by Karen Marie Moning 
    • Mac is the opposite type of character I expected from this type of series. Like a non-annoying Sookie Stackhouse.

Acquiring

Bought:

  • Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger 
  • Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
  • Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
    • I had an Amazon gift card burning a hole in my account, so I finally caved and bought 3 books from my wishlist. I initially read Cinder from the library, and definitely needed to own a copy, as well as the sequel.

Borrowed:

  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson
    • Erik Larson truly impressed me with The Devil in the White City (which if you haven’t read, is a must, and is getting a movie version starring Leonardo DiCaprio) and I have been meaning to give this one a try.

Placed on hold:

  • Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls #2) by Ally Carter
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller
  • The Twelve (The Passage #2) by Justin Cronin

Donated to Books for Africa: 

  • Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon
  • Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • The Dark Glamour (666 Park Avenue #2) by Gabriella Pierce

Recycled:

  • 25 old ARCs and freebies that I will never read. It felt so good to get them out of the house!

Watching

  • Downton Abbey, Season 1
    • I realize I’m the last person alive who doesn’t watch this show religiously, but I finally got on board. LOVE. Except for O’Brien. HATE.
  • College basketball
    • I am typically anti-basketball (So many points! Only the last 3 minutes really count! Fouls are considered offensive strategy! It is a game that frustrates me.) but I am a sucker for bracketology and become very pro-basketball during March Madness. (My brackets suck.)
  • Awkward, On Demand
    • Season 3 premieres April 16th!
  • Game of Thrones and Doctor Who premieres this weekend
    • AAAUAUAUAUAAUUAAUGGGGHGGHHHHHHHHH *breath* *breath* AAAAUUUUAAUAUAUUGGHGGHHHHHHH!!!!

Listening

  • Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience
    • Duh.

Exercising

  • With the Soldier Field 10 Mile race looming in 8 short weeks, I purchased the Hal Higdon 10 Mile plan through Training Peaks to hopefully help me get my training act together.

Time Wasting

Review: The Passage by Justin Cronin

Book: The Passage
Author: Justin Cronin
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release date: June 8, 2010
Source: Borrowed from local library
Series: The Passage #1
  
Summary from Goodreads: It happened fast. Thirty-two minutes for one world to die, another to be born. 

First, the unthinkable: a security breach at a secret U.S. government facility unleashes the monstrous product of a chilling military experiment. Then, the unspeakable: a night of chaos and carnage gives way to sunrise on a nation, and ultimately a world, forever altered. All that remains for the stunned survivors is the long fight ahead and a future ruled by fear of darkness, of death, of a fate far worse.

As civilization swiftly crumbles into a primal landscape of predators and prey, two people flee in search of sanctuary. FBI agent Brad Wolgast is a good man haunted by what he’s done in the line of duty. Six-year-old orphan Amy Harper Bellafonte is a refugee from the doomed scientific project that has triggered apocalypse. He is determined to protect her from the horror set loose by her captors. But for Amy, escaping the bloody fallout is only the beginning of a much longer odyssey spanning miles and decades towards the time and place where she must finish what should never have begun.

With The Passage, award-winning author Justin Cronin has written both a relentlessly suspenseful adventure and an epic chronicle of human endurance in the face of unprecedented catastrophe and unimaginable danger. Its inventive storytelling, masterful prose, and depth of human insight mark it as a crucial and transcendent work of modern fiction.

It took me two tries to get through this book. The first 200 pages or so were terrific. The middle section draaaaaaaagged. After 540 pages, with a looming library due date in front of me, I gave up. I decided the last 200 pages couldn’t possibly be worth the effort it was taking me to slog through and returned the book.

Fate wasn’t letting me off the hook so easy. Two days after I returned the book I received an email from the library that my ebook hold for this title (which I’d forgotten I had reserved) was available. I took it as a sign to push on and see if I could finish, so I downloaded the ebook and jumped back in, with a bit of trepidation. 

And I finished! Even more surprising, I actually liked the ending, and I’m curious about the sequel now. I think taking a break to read something quick and fun was a good idea, because I came back to it without the boredom slowly beating me to death as before.

Final verdict: great beginning, good end, horrible middle. 

In the beginning, I didn’t mind the slow pace because the characters were interesting and the story was intriguing. We get a nice setup to this world and how it’s about to change. We get a sense of the players involved and a hint of how they’re going to intersect later. At this point, I was still trusting Cronin to see us through to a satisfying conclusion and was willing to relax and go for the ride.

After the beginning sections end with the release of the virus, we fast forward nearly 100 years to post-apocalyptic life on one of the last human strongholds, the Colony. Here is where things ground to a halt for me. New, bland, barely distinguishable characters live boring and uneventful lives. Each character talks us through their excruciatingly detailed backstories as we learn who’s who in this entirely new setting. It was like starting a whole new book, but it paled in comparison to the one you’d just finished.

When exciting events do occur (which is oddly rare for a world populated by terrifyingly lethal vampires), Cronin delivers the action in narrative shifts that completely remove any trace of tension. One minute the characters are facing down a vampire horde, and the next minute you’re reading one of the character’s journal entries describing the attack. Why take us out of the action and have the character, who obviously lived since they wrote a journal entry about it, tell us how it happened? Why not just let the action happen? Most of these events could easily have unfolded as part of the regular narrative, and the distance created from these shifts made me care even less about the story. 

The characters’ behavior was often inconsistent. Where was the fear in these people? They’ve lived for almost a hundred years in a compound to keep out the vampires, and yet they never seem scared. It was mind numbingly boring to wait for something even mildly tense to happen. After 500 pages, when they finally have an objective, they set off on a quest across the Southwest without hesitation or fear. You can practically see them standing around, shrugging, and then loading up their backpacks.

I also didn’t buy the cultural and linguistic changes that Cronin created for the future-set Colony, either. After only 92 years, we’ve forgotten the concept of the ocean or basic geography? We’re calling kids “Littles” because the word “children” wasn’t working anymore? We’ve invented a new curse word and abandoned all others? We still know how to use stethoscopes and provide medical care, but we’ve stopped telling time? If Cronin had bothered to explain (perhaps in one of the lengthy backstory recaps) some of these influences or how they evolved, I’d have bought in to the world a little better.

Though I liked the mystery around the Amy character and the virus, the boring and tension-free writing made me throw in the towel. I’m glad I finished it, though, because things picked up again in the last hundred pages. The plot moves, big changes occur, and past characters from the beginning sections return. I liked the ending enough that I’m probably going to at least start the sequel, just to see where it’s headed. I find the story really interesting, and I do think it’ll make a great movie, but the hefty length of this one sure made it a chore to get through.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Recommend

I love lists, so I’m excited to dip my toes in the listy fun that is Top Ten Tuesday. This meme is run by The Broke and the Bookish and each week they post a new list for us to complete and share.

Just post your own list, link back to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your link to the linky tool to participate!

Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most:

These books are made of SQUEEEEE!

1. Waterfall 

 

2. Outlander 

 

3. The Night Circus

 

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone

 

5. Elephantmen

 

6. Leviathan

 

7. The Hunger Games

 

8. Map of Bones

 

9. Outliers

 

10. Child 44

What books do you recommend?

Bloggiesta – March 2013

It’s time for the spring Bloggiesta! Founded by Maw Books Blog, Bloggiestas are scheduled weekends where you catch up on long-ignored blog tasks. Now it’s being run by It’s All About Books and There’s a Book.

Bloggiesta is running this weekend, March 22-24. There will be 7 mini-challenges, focused on some exciting ways to get our blogging butts in gear. You can check in and offer advice for other bloggers and join discussions on Twitter during three scheduled chats. (Be sure to follow @Bloggiesta, and come find me @loganturner!)

If you’d like to join up, click on the button for more information.

Here’s my to-do list:

  • Participate in at least 3 mini-challenges
  • Join at least one Twitter chat
  • Write 6-8 reviews and schedule posts
  • Check style sheets and update or create heading tags
  • Backup blog
  • Delete duplicate images from media library Knocked out a bunch, will need to revisit
  • Save bloglovin footer button to draft templates
  • Update widgets
  • Write 2 Writing Wednesday posts
  • Buy and read Language Management’s Blog Smarter toolkit
  • Schedule meme posts through April
  • Create blog organization notebook
  • Update review links on pages
  • Update cheat sheet
  • Change password
  • Clean up categories and/or create links page

Moving to Bloglovin’

With the news that Google Reader is on the outs, I (along with everyone else in the blogosphere) began looking into alternatives. I’m going to give Bloglovin’ a try, especially after I learned that you can comment directly from the interface, AND they grant pageview stats to my fellow bloggers when I read their posts. Score!

I created an account today and imported my Google Reader list in under a minute. Easy peasy. And now, I’m going to make this blog available through there as well.

UPDATE:

It was my good luck that during Bloggiesta this weekend, The Picky Girl ran a mini-challenge around picking a new feed reader. Since originally posting this announcement, I have had the pleasure of using both Feedly and Bloglovin’ and so far I think Bloglovin’ is winning.

The first big drawback to Feedly is that I have to install it on each computer I use, which annoys me. Right now, for instance, I’m housesitting and don’t want to clutter my friend’s computer with my junk. The second drawback is the interface it uses. No matter how I play with the settings, I can’t get Feedly to display in a way that I find aesthetically pleasing or useful. 

Bloglovin’s layout is much more similar to Google Reader’s, and that makes it more intuitive for me to use. Yes, it’s slightly annoying that you can only see a sentence or two of the previews, but once you click to read a post, the navigation bar that stays up top makes it simple to browse through the rest of my subscriptions, with the added benefit of seeing the posts on their actual sites. It not only grants a pageview, but it lets me see the post the way it was meant to be seen. We don’t spend all of that time formatting our posts for nothing, amirite? 

Both sites have iPhone apps, and I have downloaded both. They work much the same, but I find Bloglovin’s app to have a smoother feel. The Feedly app doesn’t scroll so much as it jumps around and it is taking me some time to get used to it. 

I haven’t totally given up on Feedly, and I’ll still play around with both for at least a few more weeks. I have a feeling this dilemma will sort itself out in time and I’ll find myself gravitating to one over the other, at which point I’ll delete the other app and go on about my business.  

For those of you who do use Bloglovin’ please click below (or in my sidebar) to follow me!

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