Saturday, September 28, 2013

Art Prize: Grand Rapids

Art Prize: Grand Rapids.

Don't know what Art Prize is? CLICK THIS FOR INFORMATION.

I like going to Art Prize and I just thought I'd share some of the art I came across when I went to visit and some thoughts I had about it.

Sadly, I don't know the names of most of the pieces, but they're pretty awesome.

This was one of the first pieces I saw. I was up on a bridge, glanced over, and there was this fish that seemed
to be shouting, "HELLO!"

This piece is actually from 2011 Art Prize but it's made out of crayons. CRAYONS. The faucet might be there to remind me of how HUGE it was.

I don't know what it is, but it looks pretty wicked.

I like this one. I'm not entirely sure what the intention was behind it, but it made me stop and look at it for a while.

This is made out of wood. The artist was standing next to it and knocked on it. Like a door.

A fun floating piece in the fountain by the Ford museum. I'm pretty sure it's made out of metal.

Another floating metal piece!

I just loved the face on this because it seemed to be the perfect confused, "What," face.

Those are just a handful of pieces I saw, but they were definitely some of my favorites.

Happy art hunting!

**Note: this was supposed to be posted on 9/28/13, but I accidentally scheduled it for 10/28/13, so this is a retroactive post I suppose.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Banned Book Week

Banned Book Week-This is the short version of my thoughts & feelings on banned books with a small story from my childhood.

Books are banned for many reasons, many silly reasons.

Before I get any further, I'm completely against the banning of any sort of book.

It doesn't matter what topic it covers, how it is written, or anything.

A book is a book plain and simple.

There should be no one who tries to dictate or stop the publishing of any book.

It is up to the readers what they take away, gain, or ignore in a book. What they fall in love with, what opens their perspectives, what they outright hate, or how they react in general.

To me, it's not right to dictate someone else's reading experience.

So I'll share a story of a parent mentor who was 'looking out' for me when I was a child.

Once upon a time I was part of a girl scout's troop when I was very young. There were several parent volunteers who helped out with the group. Even at a young age, I read frequently and was notorious to have a book in hand wherever I went.

Now, usually during girl scout meetings, there was a snack time and a down time of sorts when we waited for our parents to pick us up. During that time I usually opted to read my book because I loved to read. Sometimes I went out on the playground, but mostly I preferred to read.

There was a parent mentor who was upset about my reading, during down time, and proceeded to hide my books from me until I was picked up by my parents. I treated it like a game because if I found my book, I would happily read it, but if I did not find my book, I was able to hunt around for it because it was 'lost' (although all of the parents probably knew what was going on).

Inevitably, the concerned parent mentor was concerned with a book I was reading. At the end of that meeting, the book was not returned to me.

I was pretty upset, but managed to shrug it off in the hopes that I would get it back next meeting.

I had plenty of books to read, although I wanted to finish that story, I had others I could read.

The next meeting, my book was not returned to me.

Upset, I confronted the concerned parent mentor who told me 'gently' but mostly sternly that the book I had been attempting to read was 'way too old for me'.

The book in question was Little Women by Louisa Alcott.

When I first started to read my parents had sat me down and had a talk with me of sorts on the difference between the realities of books and the real world. If I had questions, I could ask them.

They never told me what I could read or what I couldn't; I was a very accelerated reader and if I couldn't handle a book, I just stopped reading it. I had a perception of my own limits; usually if I didn't understand what the book was talking about, I gave up. Plus I had plenty of help from librarians to pick out books (I suspect they usually steered me away from the 'older' material).

I also had a bit of a temper as a kid so if someone told me I could not or should not read a book, I was going to read the whole thing to find out WHY they would tell me that. Curiosity is a good motivator.

It got a little nasty when I proceeded to refuse to participate in girl scouts until my book was returned to me.

I don't quite recall exactly how the mess ended besides my book was returned to me after the concerned parent mentor had some words with my mother when she came to pick me up. I also believe that I tried to hide when I read my books after that so no one would take them.

The irony for me is that after she returned it, I got incredibly bored with the language of the writing and stopped reading it.

What I want to say about the whole ordeal is that people should be able to read whatever they like to read. They should be allowed to experience things that might be 'scary' or 'uncomfortable' through the safe medium of a book.

I've always suspected that if someone doesn't want me to read a book, there's probably something within the book that they don't want me to find out.

OR they would be absurdly uncomfortable discussing whatever the book in question is with me.

If you're uncomfortable with the material presented in a book, fine, just don't read it.

Don't ban the book.

Don't ruin other's reading experiences.

Just don't read it if you don't want to.


Make choices for yourself, not for others.

Happy reading!

**Note, this was supposed to be posted on 9/25/13, but I accidentally scheduled it for 10/25/13, so this is a retroactive post I suppose.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Doll Bones

Doll Bones by Holly Black

I'm a little ashamed. I could have sworn I've blogged about Holly Black before, but apparently not.

I've read quite a few of her books such as Tithe, Valiant, Ironside, The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories, as well as the first book in her curse workers series, White Cat. I'm a relative fan since I've never picked up a Spiderwick Chronicles book.

But I love every book of hers that I've read before.

So world, you should get some Holly Black reading on.

TO DOLL BONES WITH AN AMAZON SUMMARY! "A doll that may be haunted leads three friends on a thrilling adventure in this delightfully creepy novel from the New York Times bestselling cocreator of the Spiderwick Chronicles.

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her.

But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.

Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?" AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

I think the main reason this book appeals so deeply to me, is that I spent much of my childhood creating stories of the different ways my toys interacted with each other. I also liked to reenact my favorite parts of books but make them end differently or what have you.

Truly solid childhood moments.

When I came across Doll Bones, it had been highly recommended to me by Cindy of Bookends on booklist. Basically she told me the premise, that she loved it, and I had to read it.

So she handed it over and here we are. Funny how AWESOME that is. :D


It begins with Zach, Poppy, and Alice having an epic their driveway. They've brought their toys out and have embarked on an epic adventure with their favorite characters.

The book balances a fine line of telling the story of Zach, Poppy, and Alice while also telling the story of children beginning to define what their adult life might look like. It's pretty sweet.


So Zach gets home, puts his stuff away, goes to school, everything is the normal awkward middle school life, but when he gets home he can't find his toys. He panics, rips his room apart, and his Father admits he threw them out in an effort to get Zach to grow up.

Zach is a complete mess. The toys weren't just pretend, they were an escape to another, exciting world. Something that his Father seems to have misunderstood.

Zach, instead of telling Poppy and Alice what happened, he tells them that he doesn't want to play anymore. He's very evasive about it and both of them are quite upset.

Poppy approaches both Alice and Zach with a quest to free the Queen. Their stories always had an old doll of Poppy's mother be a driving force in their world as she was trapped in the castle (a cabinet) and favors could be earned for pleasing the Queen or to undo the Queen's displeasure.

Zach kind of brushes it off at first, but agrees after he sees the ashes and flecks of bone within the Queen.

Plus Poppy is being a bit spooky.

The three friends set off on an adventure, possibly the last adventure of their childhood.

It was a supremely excellent coming of age story of sorts; what is childish? What is growing up? Do they have to cancel each other out, or can they exist in harmony?

It was a wonderful story geared towards younger readers (the main characters were twelve (middle school)) but anyone who struggled with 'growing up' would appreciate.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dance of the Red Death

Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

This is a sequel to Masque of the Red Death which I reviewed HERE.

An amazon summary, "Bethany Griffin continues the journey of Araby Worth in Dance of the Red Death—the sequel to her teen novel Masque of the Red Death.
 In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city. Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero. With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget." AMAZON LINK OF WHATEVER

...I kind of like how this book summary says next to nothing about the second book, because the second book was kind of awful.

I read all 327 pages of it, which means I'll roughly be talking about the first 98 pages of it. That lands in the middle of a chapter, so I'm bumping it back a few pages to page 94 where a chapter ends. I managed to push through the book with the foolish belief that it would redeem itself, or a good ending was coming, but I definitely fooled myself.

First, I recall kind of loving the first book.

I'm not entirely sure how similar they are since it's been some time between the two and many books, but the second one was pretty awful.

There was a lack of reasonable emotional reaction from Araby, a lot of disconnect between logic and actions, as well as action being a primary plot pushing activity. Half of it didn't quite make sense; let me make an analogy to just help myself talk about this travesty.

I've often heard books compared to paved roads; where there is a plot hole, it becomes the metaphorical plot hole. This book has a different road. It's still a paved road, it just has random piles of interesting bits that you can touch down on between giant craters of unexplained events. It's kind of a leap frog effect. By the way, the car you're riding in? It's fueled by emotions and screeching it's way across all 327 pages.

Screeching. (Araby.)


So in the first book there was this great five way war over the love of Araby (who symbolically became the city, so the five way war was really how all the different characters treated the society of the city etc (look at me analyzing things, WHEEE)) and the various forms of love that takes on.

There is Araby's Father, the Scientist, who loves her as his daughter and wishes to create a world where she could be happy. There is Elliot who wishes to save the inhabitants of the city from the weeping sickness and his uncle, Prospero. There is Prospero who seems to just be a villain and tortures people. The Reverend Malcontent just doesn't really seem to matter in this novel except as a pressing force to make the city paranoid; he was the catalyst that tipped the city into madness but doesn't play a large role in this book (besides with Elliot, that drama llama). There is Will, who just seems to LOVE Araby and that's all he does (besides some clever things with no clear motivations).

There's the book.

Everyone kind of goes after Araby in different ways since she seems to motivate the whole city to do something (except for Reverend Malcontent who is primarily shown in the ways he has already affected people; see last book).

Araby has also turned into a person who's kind of too dumb to live. Seriously.

There are seriously moments where the language of the novel doesn't lend itself to capture the gravity of the situation. There are spots where a chapter simply ending would have had a far greater emotional impact on the reader than Araby's reaction.

I'm sorry, but I'm finding it really hard not to launch into a tirade about the portrayal of young women in books. ARGH.


Okay, so the second book seems to pick up where the last book left off with Araby fleeing with her crazy brained band of folks. There is a belief that Araby's father has a cure for the weeping sickness and the red death, he must simply be found to obtain the cure. Araby is determined to get back into the city to help in some way, shape, or form but doesn't seem to have a set path. Her brain seems to have functioned in the train of thought of, 'First get to the city, help???, PROFIT'. Then it spins into different directions as she kind of has a love affair with Elliot and harbors the betrayal of Will close to her heart.

That is a good third of the book. Seriously. There are some minor things going on with Kent, April, Henry, Elise, and basically everyone else in the story. It seems to be a common trend to just have love triangles happen even though the lady in the midst of it will claim to have no interest in either party only to inevitably fall in love with one of them. This kind of reinforces the notion of, 'IF I JUST TRY HARD ENOUGH, THEY WILL EVENTUALLY LOVE ME' which is messed up.

I'm going to go angrily mutter about this book and try to think of a new label which would accurately sum of the completion of a book while having so many misgivings about it.


Happy reading.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut Butter Balls

So this is my third attempt at making these, and I have to say it's the tastiest.

However, I did leave the chocolate shell off of them because I haven't figured that bit out yet. So here's the recipe without the chocolate because that was just a mess. I also like to think of these as a tasty bite size peanut butter pie, just sans the chocolate on these.


I'm not slightly annoyed for not being able to figure out the chocolate part at all.




  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened (not melted, just squishy)
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  1. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine powdered sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add cream cheese, blend well.
  4. Add vanilla extract and peanut butter to the mix. Stir well. It should be about the consistency of cookie dough.
  5. Roll into bite sized pieces, and place onto prepared cookie sheet. They don't have to be spread too far apart on the cookie sheet because they won't expand it all. They'll stay exactly as you rolled them.
  6. If you are in a rush for delicious, you can put them in the freezer for twenty minutes. OR, you can put them in the refrigerator for an hour. They should be stored in the fridge when not being consumed.
  7. ENJOY.
It's a very easy recipe and goes over very well with everyone I've come across. Plus there's no baking. YES.

Happy culinary adventures!

Friday, September 13, 2013


Unwind by Neal Shusterman

This is a book that was lent to me by a friend that I had already heard mixed recommendations about.

After reading it, I can understand why, however, I did find the book to be very enjoyable in the sense that events in the earlier portions of the novel were explained through other events later in the novel.

Some parts of it were just plain creepy.

After checking out his Amazon page, I realized that I had quite a few of his books while I was growing up. Some of them I recall enjoying were: THE SCHWA WAS HEREDREAD LOCKSRED RIDER'S HOODDUCKLING UGLYTHE SHADOW CLUB, and THE SHADOW CLUB RISING. I guess I was an unknowing Neal Shusterman fan.

I'm glad that even though I've gotten a bit older, I can still have a mixed sense of like for his novels.

An amazon summary to get me more back on track, "In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called "unwinding." Unwinding ensures that the child's life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child's body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breathtaking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents' tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines serious moral issues in a way that will keep readers turning the pages to see if Connor, Risa, and Lev avoid meeting their untimely ends." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

The formatting of this book was very interesting for me both as a reader and as a writer. The chapters were marked more by who had the narration currently, but the book was also broken into seven different parts. I think I was most thrilled by the story telling and how the book set out with the three main characters, but didn't hesitate to jump to perspectives that were still important by other characters within the book. I think it gave more of a complete picture of the world of the novel while still accomplishing so much of the three main characters story.

I acknowledge that this is a book series, and there is plenty more to be read about this world, but I rather like how this one ends, so I don't think this will be a series I pursue. I am content to know what I do about the story. This is also rare for me, and at some point my curiosity might get the better of me, but for now I remain content.

The premise starts with the USA having a second civil war and ending the war by enacting the bill of life. The bill of life introduces the process of unwinding, where after a human has reached the age of thirteen, they are allowed to be retroactively 'aborted'. Unwinding consists of using 99.44% of the human as an organ donor of sorts; however they have to use nearly everything on the body. Entire arms can be grafted onto another person, organs of any sort can be transplanted, and the possibilities are almost limitless.

Our three main characters are all sent to be unwound for different reasons. Connor is an unruly, disobedient child that his parents have just had enough of. Risa is a ward of the state who is not a good enough investment to further her education or skills to warrant her expenses. Lev is a tithe who for religious reasons, will be unwound.

The book truly begins it's chaotic travel through the world when Connor unleashes some chaos on a highway while he attempts to escape his unwinding sentence.

What was more interesting for me was the different political and social dynamics that took place.

The writing lent itself to teach lessons or to show what happens rather than deliver a long lecture. It opens up to the impossible to discover what could be possible, and offers glimmers of hope.

There can be change where there should be change, and hopefully it will happen for the better (that kind of deal).

I'm a little at odds what else to say about the book for as much excitement and adventure it had, it was also an in depth analysis of human nature at the same time.

It was just fascinating.

I'm not sure that I would recommend it to just anyone, but I would recommend it to anyone who has a remote interest in how science can shape humanity, perhaps for those who have read Starters by Lissa Price?

Happy reading!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Alone Together

Alright, so this month is going to be chaotic for me because my personal life has just gotten a bit more awesome.

What that means for this blog is, I will most likely have burst of blog posts and then some time without. I might try to cram a bunch of blog writing in one day and then schedule them to be released through out the month. HELLO? POTENTIAL WEEKEND SPAM OF BLOG POSTS?

I don't know. As with everything with this blog, I'm just playing it by ear.

I've got a few recipes I'd like to post this month because they're DELICIOUS. I'm just tinkering with the process on some so it doesn't turn out weird.

I will be posting a blog post about The Fault in Our Stars by John Green as the movie is being filmed right now and the book is AMAZING so I think it's about time I made a blog post about it. I'm also going to be rereading the book to ensure I talk about everything well. YAY.

When that blog post will happen is hard to say. I've got a couple of books that need to be read before then, so we'll see what happens.

I'm also going to be rereading Divergent and Insurgent as Allegiance is going to be released this October. I did post about both books before, but it's always nice to reread things. Maybe I could do a new segment, REREAD: IS IT STILL GOOD? Hehehe. Again, I don't know when that will happen, but hopefully SOON. Ish. Let's put a soonish on that.



Today's blog post title is brought to you by ALONE TOGETHER by Fall Out Boy. It's what I've been rocking out to in my car lately.


I went back and edited this post because I got a couple emails pointing out some mistakes I made. WHOOPS. It is now fixed. Enjoy!

Happy reading!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Another Faust

Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

Once upon a time, I borrowed some books from a friend of mine and have been diligently making my way through them. I started with this book, and I have to say, I haven't felt such irrational hatred for a book in a while.

Sorry Drew, but this is an unreadable.

An amazon summary, "A devilish debut by a brother-sister team invites us into the world of the elite Marlowe School, where some gifted students are having a hell of a year.

One night, in cities all across Europe, five children vanish — only to appear, years later, at an exclusive New York party with a strange and elegant governess. Rumor and mystery follow the Faust teenagers to the city’s most prestigious high school, where they soar to suspicious heights with the help of their benefactor’s extraordinary "gifts." But as the students claw their way up — reading minds, erasing scenes, stopping time, stealing power, seducing with artificial beauty — they start to suffer the sideeffects of their own addictions. And as they make further deals with the devil, they uncover secrets more shocking than their most unforgivable sins. At once chilling and wickedly satirical, this contemporary reimagining of the Faustian bargain is a compelling tale of ambition, consequences, and ultimate redemption." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

To be fair, this is the first book I've attempted to read after the glorious The Lord of Opium which you can find my review HERE.

So there's probably a part of me that's just rebelling after encountering something of less quality.

Nevertheless, I managed to push through until page 132, and than I just had to rage quit it. I fell asleep on it too many times, I couldn't care about any of the characters since none of them seemed to have any redeeming qualities.

However, based on the back of the book and the description, I was expecting to at least get to a school scene already. But I hadn't.

I had only seen parts where each child exhibited their powers, and some monkeying with the normal humans.

Let me break it down a little better for you.

Each of the children come from a situation where they are always craving more; they have a desperate desire to have a good situation in life and will sink to lower and lower means to get it.

These take on different forms and abilities that were bestowed upon them by the Governess.

First, there are a set of girl twins. Bice and Belle. Belle is obsessed with being beautiful, of being so attractive that she can obtain anyone. Bice on the other hand doesn't seem to have an extra power, but maybe she did and I missed it. I did sleep on this book a lot.

Then there is Victoria who 'cheats' at everything. From what I can tell this is mostly a mind-reading ability and she fancies herself to be very clever while also being after award there is.

Christian doesn't seem to particularly want to be there as he started homeless, had his memories oppressed, but he has to 'steal' to become stronger, more athletic. He aspires to be a star athlete and to never have to worry about where his next meal will come from or whether he'll have a roof over his head.

Valentin has the ability to stop time and go back in time. I didn't see any abilities to go forward in time but that could happen later in the book. He's obsessed with getting everything right and being able to 'woo' almost anyone. He also writes spectacular poetry and has much fun being able to torment Christian with his abilities (Christian wishes to write poetry). He also enjoys pulling pranks and what not as he is always able to turn back time and make it so it never happened. He claims to be the only one that remembers what happens in both realities, but Victoria can read his mind and find out what he knows as well.

So there's that.

Then there's the governess herself who is probably the devil of some sort and has an odd eye. She constantly makes bargains about giving them new abilities and helping them out, but it always comes at a price. She needs them to succeed at whatever they desire for some unknown reason and agenda.


I've just had enough of it.

There is so much of the story that involves each character manipulating the other without focusing on any clear direction of where they are headed or what they wish to accomplish.

We see their goals and desires, yet I didn't even get to see them in a school setting dealing with the rest of the populace.

Also, I found it annoying that I couldn't quite place what time period there were in or if they were in an alternate Earth. There were moments where I'd be like, "oh, they're in the 1800's" and suddenly a microwave would appear and it'd be, "Oh...they're in the 1900's? 2000's? Eh?" but then it would jump back to a throwback to the 1800's as far as dress would go or something.

I don't freaking know.

I suppose I don't have the patience at the moment to deal with cut-throat conspiracies, lies, and manipulation for seemingly just the pleasure of trying to control someone else.

Onward to the next book!

Happy reading!

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's been a year!


I've been blogging for a year! really doesn't seem that long. Whoa.

Honestly, if I didn't have the dates labeled on my posts, I probably would have had no idea.

A year! Yay!

I'm going to continue to read, find and fiddle with recipes to share, and spend more time updating that Comic Book Chronicle page (because I also read a lot of comics in graphic novel form (I'm not trying to hold out, I just forget to periodically update it!)).

That sounds nice.

It's been a good year of rambling about books, and while sometimes I wonder if I should work within some form of format (such as interviewing myself about the book), I tend to like the rambling for now.

Thanks for reading my enthusiasm about books!

I might enjoy books a lot. So much that I forget to
 look at the camera and eye that book on the other side of
the room that I've been reading.SOON.
It's wonderful. :)

So whoo! Stick around! There will always be more to read, ramble, and write about. :)

 If you have any suggestions about things you would like to see (more recipes, certain books, more labels on posts, etc) feel free to leave a comment below!

If you have a recipe you'd like me to try (and potentially fail at), or a book that you'd like me to review (for better or worse) leave me a comment below!

In case you're wondering, my shirt says 'The book was better.' I got it from HERE.

Happy reading!

Skeptical reading face. Although I love The Fault In Our Stars.