Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella"

"The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner" by Stephenie Meyer
First published in 2010
My rating: 3.5 out of 5

Spending a couple hours reading "TSSLOBT" would be worth it for any Twilight Saga fan, even though it's not anywhere close to the four main novels in writing style, plot caliber or character development. But it's a good supplementary piece that gives a newborn vampire's perspective to "Eclipse."

Bree Tanner is one of the army of the newborn vampires created by Riley and Victoria for their attack against the Cullens. She's suspicious of Riley's motives, but there's really no mystery involved because the reader already knows what Riley's up to, the outcome of the battle is, and Bree's ultimate fate. It's nice to have a little backstory on Bree, whom we meet briefly in "Eclipse," but since it's just a novella there's not enough to make us really feel invested in her as a character.

The ideal time to read "TSSLOBT" would be during a re-read of the entire series, directly after reading "Eclipse." Reading it on its own was ok, but the novella would definitely have more of an impact on the reader if picked up at the right time. Happy reading!

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review: "1Q84"

"1Q84" by Haruki Murakami
First published in 2011
My rating: 3 out of 5


Japanese author Haruki Murakami's "1Q84" is one of the most bizzare books I've ever read. It features strange and wondrous things, like the pivotal apperance of not one but two moons hanging in the sky. It's also one of the most meticulously plotted and choreographed books I've ever read. Even the location of the page numbers has been thought out.

The novel takes place in Tokyo in 1984 -- or rather, an alternate Tokyo in "1Q84." The characters gradually realize they've been transported to the year 1Q84, where there are subtle changes from 1984 and where events often defy rational thinking. Why are they there? How did they get there? Who are the mysterious Little People they (and we) keep hearing about?

The novel has two protagonists -- Aomame, a 30-year-old female fitness instructor with a surprising private life, and Tengo, a 30-year old male math teacher and aspiring novelist. They're on separate paths in the 1Q84 world, but those paths are destined to come together in spite of -- or maybe because of -- the trials, heartbreak and illogical happenings they must first endure. Things begin to take a turn for the weird when Tengo's editor asks him to do a ghost re-write of a gripping, fantastical but awkwardly written novel submitted for a literary competition. As soon as the author, a beautiful, ethereal 17-year-old girl named Fuka-Eri, appears in Tengo's life, things begin to sprial out of control.

Murakami has a very distinct writing style. In a nice contrast to the intricacy of the plot, his sentences and word choice are clear, concise and simple. But the writing itself is often slow moving, repetitive and full of so much non-critical information that it becomes hard to read at times. It took about 250 pages for me to become invested enough in the story to read the novel through to the end no matter how much I didn't want to. I did quite a bit of skimming through the sometimes monotonous writing, but that can risky because the big reveals of critical plot points are occasionally buried in long paragraphs of character background information or soul-searching.

I didn't really enjoy "1Q84," but the plot was so unique, so outlandish that I had to keep reading (i.e. skimming) to the end. I nicknamed it "the brick" -- and at over 900 pages it probably weighs just as much or more than a brick! If you don't have endless free time on your hands, I'd recommend passing on "1Q84." Unfortunately, double the moons means double the length, but not necessarily double the pleasure.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Kinda Liking Skinny Jeans

Aloha and happy Wednesday! I'm proud of myself this week -- even though Jarrod's away at his pre-deployment training, I still managed to wear four cute outfits! (Though I have to admit to wearing the same pair of jeans and the same white tank top three times each...) I'm afraid that I won't feel as motivated to put on real clothes while Jarrod's deployed for six months, not to mention that with my husband gone I won't be going quite as many places. But this week, at least, was a success!

On another note, I never ever thought I'd say this but my skinny jeans are actually growing on me. I wore them three times this week, and then when I put on a pair of bootcut jeans Tuesday they actually looked kind of bulky by comparison. I only own one pair of skinny jeans (which I originally bought to wear with boots) but I've been considering shopping for a second pair in a darker wash. Dare I say it? I think might be turning into a skinny jean convert!

As always, I'm linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy to share my outfits and check out everyone else's fabulous fashion choices!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha, Wednesday friends! Sadly, I only have one outfit to share this week and it just happened to be on an unfortuantely bad hair day. Between Saturday at the beach, shipping my husband off for another round of pre-deployment training and working at my new job at the base library, I've hardly worn any normal clothes!

But last Wednesday I posted some of my favorite outfits yet on WIWW; kind of ironic since it was the one time there was no Pleated Poppy link-up! So I'd love it if you checked out my WIWW outfits from last week -- I wore my boots a lot, and I even donned a little black dress for a fancy dinner! As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to share my outfits one pitiful outfit this week.

02-14-12 Waikiki Sunset, WIWW

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Book Review: "Love in a Nutshell"

"Love in a Nutshell" by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly
First published in 2012
My rating: 3.5 out of 5


It's very fitting that I'm finally getting around to reviewing "Love in a Nutshell" on Valentine's Day because it's the perfect book for the holiday of love -- a cutesy romance with a bit of humor and mystery thrown in for good measure. Basically it follows the same format as most of Janet Evanovich's other novels. I found, though, that the writing style in "Nutshell" wasn't quite up to par with Janet's typical firecracker wit, and I can only imagine that it's because she co-wrote the book with another author (Dorien Kelly, whose books I've never read or, to be quite honest, seen. Have you?).

Despite the slightly lackluster writing, the story was still fun, cute, quick and easy. The main character, Kate Appleton, has just moved into her family's dilapidated summer home in a small tourst town on the shores of Lake Michigan. Kate's had bad luck in love and life and hopes to turn things around by transforming the cottage into a B&B. Unfortuantely for Kate, she's behind on her mortgage payments, the house is quickly becoming a money pit, and she's just lost her bartending job because of some faulty beer. Kate does the only thing she can think of and puts on her determined face, marches into the local brewing company whose beer got her fired, and demands a job.

Enter hot-stuff eligible bachelor Matt Culhane, owner of the brewpub, who's having a problem of his own -- someone is out to sabotage the brewery and Matt fears it might be one of his own employees. Equally intrigued and mystified by Kate, Matt hires her to flesh out the sabouteur in exchange for $20,000 -- enough money to pay Kate's debts on the house. As the danger builds, so does the chemistry between Matt and Kate.

Bonus: You'll learn some interesting tidbits about brewing beer!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WIWW: A Week Of Boots

Aloha friends, and thanks for stopping by this wonderful Wednesday! This has been a crazy week for me, between trying to spend as much time as possible with the hubby before he leaves for Afghanistan and starting my new job at the base library. I've only been at the library for a week, but I really get the feeling that I'm going to enjoy it once I get settled in. There's just something about being surrounded by books and book-lovers that feels comfortable.

On to the outfits! This week I decided to wear my boots as much as possible. After I discovered that it was just too darn hot to wear them out during the day, they got shoved toward the back of the closet. Not this week, though! I love all the boots + skinnies looks I see on WIWW every Wednesday and I was more than happy to join the crowd this week. Since Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy is on vacation this week, I'm linking up for the first time with Momma Go Round.

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This aspen leaf necklace is my favorite piece of jewelry.

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We went to a fancy-pants awards dinner on Friday night, at which my wonderful husband was selected as Officer of the Year! I was so proud, and it was fun to see him get dressed up in his Air Force mess dress. (This is the closest I'll ever get to seeing him in a suit.)

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We love Thai food, and one thing that's great about Hawaii is that there are probably just as many Thai places as Starbucks -- literally one on every corner! When we eat at a Thai restaurant, I indulge in a Thai iced tea (that's the orange conocotion I'm drinking in the picture). Soooo good, and a perfect foil to the spicy pad Thai I always order.

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This is my favorite outfit for the week. I love the color of this top! (And yes, I wore the same pair of jeans three times this week.)

Knitting: Recent FOs

I've been busy knitting lately and I'm excited to share some of my recent finished objects with you! If you're a fellow knitter (or crocheter -- a craft I'm determined to learn one of these days), you can find me on Ravelry at knittinglindsay.

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Ravelry pattern: Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet, colorway 27
I'm happy to say I can cross something off my list of New Year's resolutions. Knit my first pair of socks -- check! My knitting and blogging buddy Veronica (visit her blog here) sent me this sock yarn for Christmas and it was the motivation I needed to finally attempt sock knitting. Which, as it happens, was waaay easier than I thought it would be.

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Ravelry pattern: Saroyan by Liz Abinante
Yarn: Malabrigo merino worsted, colorway Stone Blue
My mom's birthday is in early January and I knit her this gorgeous (if I do say so myself) scarf from creamy blue Malabrigo. Incidentally, I'm wearing the shirt and earrings my mom got me for Christmas in this picture.

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Ravelry pattern: Tuesday Night Cowl by Susan Lawrence
Yarn: Malabrigo merino worsted, colorway Dusty
This cowl was a Christmas gift for my best friend Katie. It was the first time I ever knit with Malabrigo and now I'm hooked! Not only was the yarn soooo soft and such a pleasure to knit with, I'm in love with this pretty pink color. I have another skein and plan to knit something for myself with it. (P.S. I wanted to wear some sort of jacket to model this cowl so it didn't look silly with a short-sleeved shirt, and apparently this is the only real jacket I brought to Hawaii with me. And then I rememebered why I only brought one jacket -- about 30 seconds into picture-taking I was sweating like a pig.)
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