Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wreck This Journal–Pages 58-61: Ugly Drawing, Sticky

00 Progress
Wreck This Journal

Pages 58-59
Do a really ugly drawing. (Use ugly subject matter. Gum, poo, dead things, a badly drawn bird, mold, bard, crud).

Well, at first I was going to draw dead things like zombies. Which got me thinking about White Walkers. Which got me thinking about death and dying. Which led me to start randomly writing things and then I realized it’s not really that ugly, but it’s about death, so I guess it works?

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, also known as the Game of Thrones books =)
Valar Morghulis is ancient Valyrian used in Braavos and means All men must die. The response is Valar dohaeris, which means All men must serve. You would be serving the Many Faced God, also known as The Stranger in some religions where there are 7 gods. Also known as the Black Goat. The men who serve him are Faceless men and are assassins. One of the main characters serves him at the House of Black and White in Braavos. So this page just literally incorporates all of those words and phrases. I drew a faceless man and I poured some paint mixture that looks like blood.

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Pages 60-61
Place Sticky Things Here. (honey, gum, syrup. glue, sucker, marshmallow)

So, I’ll let you all know that this page looks different now. Apparently, maple syrup doesn’t dry very quickly at all. Thanks for the warning, Journal! lol

It’s a bad idea to seal it with mod podge because it doesn’t work, but it also smears washable marker all over the page and turns it pink. So.. the right page is now painted, the quote redone, and the pancakes that I drew so well and tried so hard to get right are gone. Things got really messy and it’s been almost a week and the stuff STILL isn’t dry.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

“I hate people who are not serious about meals. It’s so shallow of them.” Oscar Wilde

“PANCAKES. Who wants a pancake, Sweet and piping hot? Good little Grace looks up and says, ‘I’ll take the one on top.’ Who else wants a pancake, Fresh off the griddle? Terrible Theresa smiles and says, ‘I’ll take the one in the middle.’” Shel Silverstein

“‘When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,’ said Piglet at last, ‘What’s the first thing you say to yourself?’ ‘What’s for breakfast?’ said Pooh. ‘What do you say, Piglet?’ ‘I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?’ said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. ‘It’s the same thing.’ he said.” A.A. Milne

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In fact, here's kind of what it looks like after I redid it and the syrup STILL didn't dry. It's awful. I don't have the patience to wait for it to dry because I want to go on to the next pages!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review–Uninvited (Uninvited #1) by Sophie Jordan


Uninvited (Uninvited #1)

by Sophie Jordan

Summary: The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.
When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.
Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.
The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.

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I picked up Uninvited without knowing what to expect. As it began, I figured it would be a light, but adventurous YA book where the main character might have some crisis and then fall in love. I suppose maybe I was kind of right, but I was not expecting to be so enthralled by the book or feel real fear, horror, and disgust at the society in the book. Uninvited was not light by any means. I could feel my pulse pounding and the goose bumps forming on my arms when I realized that what was happening to Davy could happen to any one of us one day.

Uninvited was terrifying to read. It wasn’t horror, creepy, or supernatural. It was the kind of every day horror as you watch something slowly happen. If our government or any society could ever isolate the “killer” gene and somehow mark people, everything would and could change exactly how it did in the book. Wouldn’t you want the carriers of the gene separated from the normal population? Are you looking at a carrier because you feel real fear or is that what you think you should feel? By separating the carriers and stripping their opportunities from them, are you creating more of a killer when you’re trying to stop one? When normal people lash out in anger or defense, is that somehow more rational than when a carrier does it? What makes some violence okay? Davy’s life was completely flipped upside down and I felt so terrified for her.

Uninvited had me asking all sorts of questions and I loved how many questions it raised that are relevant to society. Is who we are genetic or part of the environment we are raised in? What makes some violence okay and other acts not okay? Do we behave in the way that is expected of us and would we behave differently if people expected something else?

I am incredibly impressed with Uninvited. It was so horrifying to read in some parts because I could imagine being Davy and it was agonizing to watch everything just get worse and worse for her because of one DNA test. It was awful, but definitely worth reading. I loved that she stayed optimistic and she didn’t let her fear take over in some of the worst situations. I felt protective of her like Sean because she was a girl and she wasn’t brought up in the tough world that a lot of other carriers were and she didn’t know how to tread in certain situations. With so many of the carriers of the gene being male, the fact that Davy was a female was also terrifying and I think nearly all women would be able to grasp and feel that terror for Davy.

Still, the book was YA and I think I actually loved that it kept some familiar tropes because it balanced the book out. There was a little bad decision making and romantic areas and Davy definitely clung to Sean, but I absolutely loved it. I love it when a book makes my spine tingle in fear or anticipation and Uninvited definitely gave me a glimpse of quite the horrific scenario that is so incredibly plausible, you can’t help but think.. what if? I highly recommend it. It would be a wonderful book club book because of all the questions it raises and discussions you could have about the subject matter.

I do hate this cover, though. I think it makes it look like a ghost story. I don’t know why.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Review–The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson


The Devil in the White City

by Erik Larson

Summary: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that 'The Devil in the White City' is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.
Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.
The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

Source: I purchased a paperback from a used book store.

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I typically do not read much nonfiction unless it is about a subject I care deeply about. I typically avoid crime nonfiction because True Crime always reads like a lifetime movie to me, but I do make exceptions for some books, like Helter Skelter. I was intrigued by this book, especially after discovering that Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing the infamous H.H. Holmes in the upcoming movie. I had been eyeing it the past few times I’ve been book shopping, but I think that’s what led me to finally pick it up. I kept putting it down after realizing it wasn’t just based on a true story, it was completely nonfiction.

The Devil in the White City takes place in Chicago during the creation of the World’s Fair at the end of the 1800s. H.H. Holmes took up residence and even had a hotel during that time period and was thought to have killed a lot of people, but he also murdered other people in other cities he visited or stayed for any length of time.

The Devil in the White City is almost two separate stories. The first would be about Daniel Burnham, the World’s Fair, the architecture and history of how that fair came about what sort of conflicts stood in the way. It is about Chicago’s fight to be included and to stand out after the U.S. realized it needed to make it’s mark on the world and not be outdone by the building of the Eiffel tower. The world’s fair changed the course of history in ways I had not thought about, such as the type of the electricity chosen (mostly due to the fact that Telsa wasn’t charging near as much as Edison), that ended up being the type we continue to use in our homes to date.

The second story was about the serial killer, H.H. Holmes. From his beginnings to his time in Chicago, the book explored his character and the personality he had that charmed the pants off of just about everybody and led to him being able to get away with murder. Because of the pressure of the World’s Fair, Chicago was more distracted than ever, with tons of visitors coming in and out, during a time when the world didn’t keep track of it’s citizens the way it does today. Those things also made it easier for Holmes to get away with murdering dozens, if not hundreds of people.

Because of that connection, I can see why the author chose to lay out his book the way he did and to include both stories. However, they fail to really come together in a nice way. I felt like I was reading two books about two very different types of things. The disappointing part is that the good stuff, the stuff about Holmes, takes up the end of the book almost entirely, but it seems as if a lot of readers who were more interested in Holmes couldn’t make it that far. I feel like the author made us wait to really give us the dirt and the violence and kind of glossed over the small disappearances at the beginning and spent more time on things like steel, trees, and what the next big thing to be built would be.

If you can make it to the end, it’s worth it. I feel much more satisfied after finishing than I did through the entire first half of the book. The author does not forget about Holmes and does end up giving up real closure and spends time on his character, it just takes him quite some time. And even though some parts of the architecture battle bored me, I feel like it was pretty interesting now that it’s all over.

The Devil in the White City will make a really good movie because seeing the fair come together will be awesome. It was just a little tedious to read about. And I think Holmes will seem even more sinister if the movie does the same back and forth from him being charming and then killing someone and then going back to the building of the fair. I think the fast paced nature of the movie will turn out much better than it ended up being in the book.

I do recommend reading this. I knew nothing about Holmes or the World’s Fair, so I feel like I learned a lot about how that time period impacted our country and how easy it was for a charming person to get away with just about anything. He was certainly a psychopath in a society not used to dealing with one or knowing to be cautious. It was all pretty fascinating.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Review–11/22/63 by Stephen King



by Stephen King

Summary: Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy because Stephen King hardcovers hurt my wrists! lol

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If I’m being honest, I did not want to read 11/22/63 at first. I’m not a huge fan of politics or political history and I’m a bit too young to care that much about JFK or to be able to relate, sympathize, or really understand what an act like that did to the nation. Because I’m not a huge fan of the huge subject matter, I thought that this book would not be up my alley at all. However, friends and family have all raved about the book and recommended it to me multiple times. I found a good deal at one point for Kindle and snatched it up for under 5 bucks.

I really enjoyed 11/22/63 and it was a million times better than I thought it would be. I loved the Jake Epping of 2011 and how the story of Harry Dunning hit him in the gut and made him cry. I liked that he still went to the diner that people made fun of for being so cheap. I liked his small world. I liked the way the time travel opportunity presented itself because it was done in a typical Stephen King fashion. I enjoyed his trips into 1958 after Al revealed the location and how he was selling his burgers so cheap. He was getting the meat from the past!

My absolute favorite thing about the book was that it featured Derry, Maine, which is the town from the novel It. I’m a huge fan of It. It scared me so bad and one of the things that really did it for me was that eerie, something-is-wrong feeling that enveloped the town. A lot of people associate It with Pennywise the clown if they’ve never read the book, and while he’s a huge character, the novel isn’t titled Pennywise for a reason. It’s really about the creepiness, the fear, the not-quite-right-ness of the town and how it fed on the townspeople. So when Jake Epping, or George Amberson in 1958, drove into Derry and felt that same wrongness, I knew I was reading a book that wasn’t going to be dull.
Stephen King created a wonderful story that was complex and hard to put down. It has mystery, fantasy, horror, suspense, romance, drama, and action. I could feel that nostalgia of the times and I liked being able to feel like Mr. Amberson/Epping was really in the past and I could understand his reluctance to leave. Things were much simpler then. I was engrossed in the story of Stephen King’s Lee Harvey Oswald. From his overbearing mother to his spats with his Russian wife, I watched it all through George Amberson’s binoculars. I loved the town of Jodie, Texas, where Amberson/Epping tried to grow some roots. I loved the people, Sadie, and the feeling of the small town.

My only real issue was how quickly Jake Epping jumped into the rabbit hole to kill Lee Harvey Oswald. I don’t fault the story at all for having the plot, I just wish that he’d thought a little harder about the ripple effect. He saw the events that happened after his first trip after he took care of Harry Dunning’s father. He saw that his actions, while they fixed some things, Harry Dunning’s story didn’t have the ending he would have hoped for after altering one of the most horrific moments of the poor man’s life. I just would have thought that, as an English teacher, he’d know a little something about how life shapes us into who we are. How events that happen and how tragedies turn us into something different, make us make different choices, and all have consequences. Good comes from bad, just like bad comes from good. He touched on this a little bit, but he still went into 1958 and decided to take on Al’s task because supposedly killing JFK would fix a lot that was wrong with the present. That was such a na├»ve thing to think and Jake should have known better, but he spent more time trying to make sure that Oswald was acting alone and finding out if he would be truly guilty instead of thinking about whether it even mattered at all. The past didn’t want to be changed, but maybe Mr. Epping should have considered why that was.

But the story really made me think about those things, which was kind of awesome. I definitely recommend reading this one, even if you have some reservations about it, like I did. It’s a great book and it’s a well thought out story. 11/22/63 was an awesome book and I sped through it despite the fact that it was so large.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

MegaNerderie Creeptober Read-A-Thon Starts Today

MegaNerderie Creeptober Read-A-Thon
October Readathon

Today is Day 1 of the MegaNerderie Creeptober Read-a-Thon hosted by myself and Booknerderie.

How to Participate:
  • Pick out some creepy reads for the month of October.
  • Post about your experiences.
  • Most importantly, have fun.
  • Link back to our blogs if you’d like and share share share!
  • Share our hash tag!
  • Feel free to follow us on our blogs, Twitter, or Instagram.
Follow Links:

Booknerderie:  Blog   .  Twitter @booknerderie   .  Instagram @booknerderie
Megan (Love, Literature, Art, and Reason): Twitter @meganm922   .   Instagram @meganm922
My first book for the Read-A-Thon is American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.


What will you be reading this month?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wreck this Journal–Pages 54-57: Climb, Compost

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Wreck this Journal

Page 54-55
Climb up high. Drop the Journal.

“I’m going to climb.”

“Fear doesn’t shut you down. It wakes you up.”

“I don’t think. I just bend my knees and jump.”

“I drop into darkness.”

“…the height makes me feel alive with energy, every organ and vessel and muscle in my body singing at the same pitch.”

“I see straight to the ground. I can’t breathe. I imagine my body plummeting, smacking into the bars as it falls down…”

“I hurtle toward the ground. I feel like I am without substance, without weight…I am pure adrenaline… I crow with joy… sail parallel to the ground, like a bird.”

Clip from Entertainment Magazine about the movie: “… about 80 feet in the air, perched on the rungs of the ladder than runs up one of the wheel’s support beams.”
Divergent by Veronica Roth has a TON of quotes about climbing, being up high, heights, dropping, falling, fear, and jumping. It was the perfect book to pull quotes from.
As you can see, I had more quotes than I knew what to do with. I had more stills from the movie that suited the prompt than I had space to glue them.
I chose the jumping scene when Tris jumped first. I pulled a picture of her falling into the abyss. I got a clip of her and Four in the landscape when he was training her to act Dauntless to counteract his fear of heights. I have them climbing up the Ferris wheel.
And I drew her bird tattoos next to the bird quote.

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Page 56-57
Compost this page. Watch it deteriorate.

No. I was NOT doing that. But I chose some paints and had a blast smearing them onto the page to simulate rotting and it was fun.
It was hard to choose quotes about compost, but I was able to find some that deal with compost, farming, soil, and other similar themes.
“The fields are black and ploughed and they lie like a great fan before us with their furrows gathered in some hand beyond the sky, spreading forth from that hand, opening wide apart as they come toward us like black pleats that sparkle with thin, green spangles.” Anthem, Ayn Rand

“Nothing in lost. Everything is transformed.” Antoine Lavoisier

“A Rind is a terrible thing to waste.” Pun

“There is magic in decay. A dance to be done. For the rotting..” Dan Chelotti

“What you see depends on how you view the world. To most people, this is just dirt. To a farmer, it’s potential.” Dan Zantamata

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Have you been inspired by Wreck This Journal?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Review–Hold On You by M.S. Brannon


Hold On You

by M.S. Brannon

Summary: “My heart lurches, and the agony throbbing in my side is soon masked by the feeling of uncertainty this moment has brought.” ~ Madison Stone
Life has a way of always keeping you tethered to someone or something in your past. It grabs you, threatening to never let go, and when you eventually attempt to release it completely, you are forced to face it, instead. For Madison and Nate, that is certainly true.
Finishing their senior year, life couldn’t have been better for them. They were young, reckless, spontaneous, and most importantly, they were best friends. However, for Madison, when the future’s path was presented to her, she only understood one notion—escape.
Ten years later, Madison believed she had all she ever wanted. She was convinced she had done everything right by pursuing a life on her own. Then it all began to rapidly fall apart. Nothing was certain anymore. In her mind, everything was lost, leading her back to the very place she had abandoned a decade ago.
For Nate, since the night Madison ran off, life had been the opposite slowly and painfully continuing to unravel around him. Over those ten years, he lost everything he held dear. As he had done time and time before, Nate found himself at the very spot where his pain had all begun, teetering on the edge of moving on or fading away.
Now, as they see all they tried to escape lying before them, Nate and Madison are forced to face the past and finally understand what it is about the other that keeps this unrelenting Hold on You.

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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Hold On You was a short, but sweet and kind of raw second chance romance. Nate and Madison didn’t do so well the first time around, but 10 years later, Madison ended up back in her hometown and back into Nate’s life.

Like all of M.S. Brannon’s books, it was darker than you’d initially expect a second chance contemporary romance to be. Nothing about her books are wholesome because there is always an underlying issue, emotion, or darkness threatening to break apart the lives of her characters. Nate had a major issue with fighting, drinking, and wanting to drink himself into oblivion.

I enjoyed the book and I liked the way things turned out for Madison and Nate. My only issue was that everything happened so fast and seemed a little over the top. I wish I would have gotten a lot more backstory of who they were before and who they were now before just jumping headfirst into crazy town with both of them. I wish that Madison was more.. introspective so I could have gotten the chance to learn about her motivations and feelings before she finally admitted them to Nate. I wish there was more of a lead up to Nate’s fighting. Basically, I just wanted a longer and deeper story than what I got. It just kind of felt like the tip of the iceberg.

However, I did enjoy it and I do recommend it for fans of contemporary romance with a bit of rawness and reality to it.