Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Bookworm- The YA Challenge!

If you are a "faithful" reader of this blog (it's probably not that hard!), then you know how much I love to read. 

I have parlayed that love into a NEW blog venture. My friend Ashley and I have challenged each other (and ourselves) to read all of Time.com's 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time. 

Head on over to https://yabookchallenge.wordpress.com/  and check out the fun! Go ahead and subscribe by email or follow the blog, and you'll never miss a new post. 

Please share with anyone you think would be interested... we would love to have lots of you reading along with us and sharing your thoughts!

Can't wait to see you over there!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bookworm 2014

So apparently the only post that is guaranteed around here is a book review post.

Although, I was worried when June rolled around and I had yet to pick up a book for pleasure. Thankfully, summertime is for reading and most of these were read during a four month time period. Without further ado...


Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, Four by Veronica Roth

I finally got to read the entire Divergent series and the best part is that I didn't have to wait for anything new to come out. I loved the trilogy (ending aside) and especially the relationship between Tris and Four. I thought it was really authentic and heartwrenching. The added short story collection of Four was excellent as well. Getting more backstory on a character seems to be somewhat of a trend in YA these days, and I love it! I highly recommend these books, especially if you like The Hunger Games trilogy (although those were better.)


Reached by Ally Condie

This is the third book of the Matched trilogy, which I have previously reviewed HERE. Unlike the first two, I was not very enthralled with this particular book. By the end, I was just waiting for it to be over. Part of my disdain I think was that I didn't like who the main character ended up with. That is always a dealbreaker for me! Try them for yourself and see what you think.


Austenland by Shannon Hale

After the intensity of Divergent, this was a great story to just sit back and relax with. It's about a woman who is obsessed with Mr. Darcy and goes to an amusement park/dinner theater dedicated to Jane Austen to get over her obsession. It's a super fun read-- good for the beach! Apparently there is also a movie, which I must watch.


Pitch Perfect by Mickey Rapkin

This is what the movie was based on, but it's actually non-fiction. It follows three groups on their journey to the ICCA, which is essentially the a cappella equivalent of the NCAA tournament. The most fascinating thing about this book to me, is the fact that I have met some of the people in the book and didn't realize they were in it! I don't know if everyone would like this book without having all of the background that I do. It's a really simple read though, so it wouldn't hurt to try!


I Want my MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Rob Tannenbaum
If you haven't figured it out by now, I LOVE reading about pop culture! This book was completely awesome and exactly what I expected. I kind of wish they would do a part two on the more recent history of MTV, but I digress. It's an oral history of sorts, and as such, there are tons of contributors within each chapter. Sometimes that made it a little hard to follow, but it was so entertaining. It reminded me of Top of the Rock, which I enjoyed as well.


Did I Do That? The Best (and Worst) of the 90's by Amber Humphrey

Complete coffee table book, so easily consumable. Exactly what you would expect from the title. There were 2-4 pages per item, dedicated to everything from Captain Planet to Beanie Babies to boy bands. If you grew up in the 90's, you can't go wrong with this book!


And there you have it. Not quite as lengthy as some years, but I packed a lot into a short amount of time! I'm currently reading The Giver quartet and have already finished the titular book, but will wait and review those next year.

Hope you found something new to try... what did YOU read this year?



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Girl Meets World- Live Blog


This is filmed like every other single show on the Disney Channel. *sigh*

I literally just teared up at the sight of Cory and Topanga. What is wrong with me?

I like the nudge-nudge *wink wink* of "when is it going to be my world dad?" 
Good shout out to the audience.

So Cory's daughter is still going to be the "Cory" of the relationship, clearly.

Digging the theme song!

Dad as teacher? Don't they live in New York City? How is their school that small?!

Minkus spawn?

What a coincidence... subway boy is the new kid!

Is Maya a Shawn clone?

Oh my gosh their son is so cute!!! Give him more screen time.

Who still has lunch tables that only fit three people?

Typical shenanigans...

Okay, the Maya/Shawn similarities are going a bit too far for my taste.

Feeny's a ghost?

Not enough Topanga in this show!


FINAL THOUGHTS: This show wants to be Boy Meets World so bad, that it's actually kind of painful. Every single character is a version of a character in the original show, which is good and bad. There are two audiences for this show: the typical Disney Channel watcher and those who watched Boy Meets World and want to see what happened to those characters. Unfortunately for the latter, I feel that the producers are trying to mold it into the original show, just with girls. Based on the preview of the upcoming episodes, it's going to be very "afterschool special" like. I want it to be a continuation, not a rehash. I'm more interested in the original characters from the show, which is why it's disappointing that so far they're not fleshing out Topanaga's character AT ALL. I will probably give it a few more episodes, just for the chance to see some old characters. 

Anybody else watch? What did y'all think?


Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Voice Top 5

PERFORMANCES

1. Kristen "Foolish Games" - When I heard the teaser that she was singing Jewel, I was really hoping it was this song. She did not disappoint. What a gorgeous performance. 
 
2. Josh "All of Me" - First of all, I love this song. I am totally a sucker for songs that were written for weddings (see Dave Barnes' "I Have and I Always Will"). Secondly, he FINALLY sang a current song! It is a miracle! This is my favorite performance of his since the live shows started. It was heartfelt and emotional.

3. Christina "Some Nights" - She hasn't really done an "anthem" so far, so I was happy to see this from her. She still looks like the most seasoned performer up there. 

4. Josh "Love Runs Out" - Another "finally" for Josh. He FINALLY did an upbeat song! And it is current too! Vocally, I didn't enjoy it as much as his first one, but it was definitely his most entertaining performance to date, and much needed at this point in the competition. I could actually see him as a One Republic-ish artist.

5. Jake "Heaven" - This is the ONLY performance that I won't totally hate on Jake for. He actually sounded decent, but his voice is still not close to the caliber of the other people left on this show. 
 
6. Kristen "Gunpowder and Lead" - This was a good performance, but as a friend and I discussed, something was weird about the rhythm of this version, which was slightly distracting. She still sounded great though. 

7. Kat "Let It Go" - This is actually the most I've ever heard of this song. All my kids ever sing is the title line over and over. and over. While her voice on this song is less annoying than Idina Menzel, my suggestion for her is to stick with the rock thing.

8. Christina "Hide and Seek" - I'm still unsure what I think of this performance. It was difficult to hear her for most of the first half of the song, which doesn't matter in the original recording, because ALL of the voices are of Imogene Heap and it works. When I could hear her, she was yelly, which didn't really work with the tone of the song. I'm torn.

9. Kat "Chandelier" - I just did not like this. The song is quite strange and pretty much required her to screlt (scream + belt) the whole thing... and the tone of her voice does not make for a pretty operatic tone. Sorry I'm not sorry.

10. Jake "Good Ol Boys" - Another straight-up redneck performance from Blake's golden boy. Worst of the night.


LAST CHANCE

What was with all the Carrie Underwood songs? Especially from one artist who hadn't sung a country song the whole competition? Obviously I don't really care that Kat went home (she clearly hasn't been a favorite to be in the bottom so many times!). However, I am so devastated for Kristen. I really thought the final was going to be her, Christina and Josh. If she had been on Blake's team, I can pretty much guarantee she would have been in the final. That's really crappy that the coaches have that much sway. It should be all about the artist. They shouldn't be allowed to talk after Last Chance performances either. Those should stand on their own.

Final Thoughts & Predictions

Jake is the first one to the final?! Are you freaking kidding me? Mark my words, the only reason he is in the final is because Blake is his coach. Blake's fans will literally vote for anyone, as long as they are on his team. I have no problem with Jake as a person; he seems like a nice guy. However, this show is called "THE VOICE" and he does not have a great voice. He also hasn't grown as a singer or performer, unlike Kristen, who has grown leaps and bounds since the beginning of this competition.



Who Will Win: Josh Kaufman- He has clearly been the most consistent, and several of his songs are still in the top 100 ITunes chart, which will count for the final. He has also never been in the bottom. 

Who Should Win: Christina Grimmie- She is the chance for this show to finally be a viable option for winners to be successful after the show. I bet most of you can't even name one other winner of this show... and that's because none of them have done much with their win. Christina could change all of that.

Who I Want to Win: Josh or Christina- I am completely fine with either of them winning, because they've been in my top 3 basically the whole time. If Jake wins, I don't think I will be able to watch this show anymore. Seriously.
 


Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Voice Top 8

So. Many. Feelings!

PERFORMANCES

Delvin "I Believe I Can Fly" - First reaction: nooooooooo! This is one of the most overdone songs in singing competition history. And it's never that great. However, Delvin sang the heck out of this song. He finally got to take those gospel chops and put them to the best use possible. The season 2 WINNER of "The Voice" did this song, and didn't come anywhere close to being as good as Delvin was.

Christina "How to Love" - Adam went on and on about how there's no other version with a girl singing, and blah blah blah. However, Delilah performed this when they were on The Sing Off a few years ago and I preferred their version. This was not bad by any means though. I just don't want her to get pigeonholed into this rap song turned slow jam thing she's had going on the past two weeks. I preferred last week's performance.

Kat "Get Lucky" - I thought I would hate this. I wanted to hate this. But I didn't. I was pleasantly surprised. I think to do a song in a different way and be good, it has to be SO different that you barely recognize it. This version definitely had that going for it. 

Josh "I Can't Make You Love Me" - Full disclosure: I have a very deep love of and connection to this song and am very critical of performances of it. It actually is my favorite performance of Josh's during the live rounds, but that's not saying much. I still am waiting for him to pull off something else as joyous as his Battle Round performance of "Happy," but that is just not happening. Apparently that doesn't matter though because people, myself included, seem to like him anyway :-)

Audra "Forgive" - It's really weird, but it sounds like the tone of Audra's voice has changed throughout the course of the competition. I'm not sure how that happens, but as someone mentioned on another blog, she now sounds like Carrie Underwood, which I never would have thought at the beginning of the season. 

Kristen "I Drive Your Truck" For me, this whole performance was kind of a mess. There was too much going on and I thought the vocals suffered.

Jake "Hillbilly Deluxe" - Not terrible, but I'm ready for this guy to go home. 

Sisaundra "River Deep, Mountain High" - As Simon Cowell would say, this could be seen on any cruise ship in the world. I was not impressed. Tina and Celine can both sing circles around her with this song!


LAST CHANCE

If Sisaundra had sung this well on Monday, maybe she wouldn't have been in the bottom half. I wish Audra had been performing songs like this the whole time. I didn't like Kat's performance, and I thought Delvin did well. I am officially ticked off at Adam. To me, he is solely to blame for Delvin going home. He essentially told anyone who was voting for his team to vote for Kat. I think that is completely wrong. Next season they should do away with judges' comments after the Last Chance performances. Let America think for themselves! Ugh, so sad and disappointed with the decision, especially since I can almost guarantee Kat will go home this week.


RANKINGS

1. Christina Grimmie
2. Josh Kaufmann
3. Kristen Merlin
4. Kat Perkins
5. Jake Worthington







Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Voice Top 10

PERFORMANCES

1. Delvin "Bright Lights" - WOW. He killed it. There is nothing more to say. 

2. Christina "Hold On (We're Going Home)" - Drake? For real? This girl can sing anything. As I said last week, she is a true artist already. I have no idea what the actual version of this song sounds like, but it certainly can't be as good as this!

3. Tess "Ain't It Fun"- I was fairly skeptical when I saw she was singing this, since we've heard her only do ballads for the most part. However, I think she did it justice! This is one of my absolute favorite songs out right now, so I dug it. 

4. Sisaundra "Oh Sherie" - Y'all know how I feel about her, but there is no denying this performance.

5. Audra "You Lie" -  Reba saved this girl in my eyes. This was definitely my favorite performance of hers thus far. She had great dynamics and her falsetto was really pretty. 

6. Josh "This is It" - Josh has been one of my favorites for a while, but I don't understand these song choices. If he wants to be a current artist, I want to hear more current songs!

7. Kristen "Let Her Go" -This was another performance I was on the fence with. It was nice, but she didn't do much that varied from the original.

8. Kat "Landslide" - I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. Full disclosure: I don't like Stevie Nicks and Kat sounded too similar to her for my taste. (I really appreciate the Dixie Chicks version) However, I thought it was a good choice for her to do a slower song, one where she wasn't screaming like a banshee :-)


9. Bria "I'm with You" - Once again, not a good song choice for her. Her voice was not suited for the clarity this song required. With that said, I think the judges were exceptionally hard on her. She did all she could with the song that was given to her. I felt awful, because I would have totally been up there crying too.

10. Jake "Run" - Fan of country or not, this just was not good for the most part. He sounded super nervous at the beginning, and I didn't think it got much better from there. 

LAST CHANCE

Based solely on the Last Chance performances, Kat deserved to stay. It was the first performance I really enjoyed from her. However, Bria finally did the kind of song she should have been doing the past two weeks, but too little too late. It is TOTALLY the coaches' fault that she was in the bottom three. Tess completely copped out on "Who Knew" and didn't sing hardly any of the high parts. She deserved to go home.


RANKINGS

1. Delvin Choice
2. Christina Grimmie
3. Josh Kaufman
4. Kristen Merlin
5. Audra McLaughlin
6. Kat Perkins
7. Sisaundra Lewis
8. Jake Worthington


I think Team Adam is the team to beat!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Voice- Top 12

As most of you know, I am obsessed with pop culture, television and singing. I always have a lot to say about each, but don't really have a lot of people to talk about it with. So, I decided to start doing some blogging about it, and am going to start with The Voice, one of my favorite TV shows. The live shows started this week, so each week I'm going to rank my favorite performances, the last chance performances, and the singers. Feel free to chime in on the comments section about what you like, don't like, or anything else you want to talk about!



PERFORMANCES

1. Christina "Dark Horse" -- I don't even like this song, which says a lot about the performance! I agreed with most of what the coaches said about it and the way she made it her own.

2. Kristen "Stay" -- Such an authentic performance and much better than I anticipated

3. Delvin "Unchained Melody" -- Great performance of a timeless song

4. TJ "Waiting on the World to Change" -- I actually really liked his take on this song, with the slight Caribbean feel. TJ's voice is so smooth!

5. Josh "Stay with Me" -- I don't know this song, but it was a likeable performance. I wasn't blown away though.

6. Dani "Just Give Me a Reason" -- While this was a good performance, I expected more from her after her playoffs performance.

7. Tess "I'll Be There for You" -- Boring song choice, but she sounded pretty good

8. Bria "Rolling in the Deep" -- This is one of my favorite songs, and I like Bria, but I really wasn't feeling this rock version.

9. Jake "Anymore" -- Boring, but I'm sure the country crowd loved it

10. Audra "Angel in the Morning" -- See above :-)

11. Sisaundra "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" -- She's definitely a good singer, but didn't bring anything new to this completely overdone song.

12. Kat "Magic Man" -- Didn't like the song choice. At all.


LAST CHANCE:
I'm not surprised that Tess was the one saved, but I thought she had the worst "Last Chance" performance. Hopefully she'll step it up next week! I was sad to see TJ and Dani go, as they were definitely not on the bottom of my list.


RANKINGS

1. Delvin Choice -- There's no denying he's my favorite simply because he's from Greenville! With that said, he is superbly talented and I hope he goes really far!

2. Josh Kaufman -- This guy's voice is simply amazing. He continues to make me smile, week after week. 

3. Christina Grimmie -- Future pop star. Period.

4. Bria Kelly -- This week's performance was the first one I didn't really like. Hopefully she'll have a better song choice next week.

5. Kristen Merlin -- She was not even on my radar in the early rounds, but she has gotten better and better each week. I look forward to seeing what she does in the coming weeks. 

6. Tess Boyer -- Her cover of "Human" the other week was amazing and I look forward to seeing her go back to that. (No more Bon Jovi!)

7. Jake Worthington -- I'm sure Jake will do really well after the show is over and I know country fans love him. Not a huge fan.

8. Audra McLaughlin -- Great voice, but I want to see her do some more uptempo stuff to move up my chart.

9. Cat Perkins -- Cat's not a bad singer, but I liked her much better when her name was Kat Robichaud on Team Ceelo last season. (Surely I'm not the only one who thinks that?!)

10. Sisaundra Lewis -- She is so full of herself I can't stand it. And boring. And unoriginal. Okay I'm done :-)


My general thoughts about this group are that there's not a ton of originality going on, and I already miss last season. There are several niche artists though, and I think they'll go far. I was really baffled by many of the song choices this week, as there were so many songs that weren't well known. They need to step it up for Top 10 if they're going to keep my interest!!

What did you think of the Top 12?