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Friday, December 31, 2010

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (55)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

Hey! Happy New Year's Eve. I would post a, er, New Year's Eve-y song, but it's not so much a big holiday for me. I don't drink, I don't go out or anything... it's not really my favourite holiday. So normal song today!

This is one of my favourite songs, ever, and the video is gorgeous.

Good to You by Marianas Trench ft. Jessica Lee.

*sigh* Good song.

Peace and cookies and happy New Year,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (67)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The books-I've-found-stalking-people on Twitter edition!

First up:

Possession by Elana Johnson - To be released June 7th, 2011

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: It sounds incredible and the cover is GORGEOUS. I swear I heard about this one on Twitter, but I wasn't following the author. (Remedied now.)

And my other choice is:

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari - To be released June 1st, 2011

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: I talk to the author pretty often on Twitter. She's Canadian and she talks to me! She's totally awesome and I can't wait to read her book. (And though I feel like I'm repeating myself, her cover is stunning.)

Okay, so what are you guys waiting on today?

Peace and cookies,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (54)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

Okay, so since it's Christmas Eve, here's one of my favourite Christmas songs.

Petit Garcon by Graeme Allwright.

So Merry Christmas/Happy Kwanza/Winter Solstice/whatever you celebrate.

Peace and sugar cookies,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (66)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Should we call this the gorgeous cover edition? :P

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair - To be released April 18th, 2010

In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door.

Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: I've quite enjoyed a few books about the Salem Witch trials, and I think this one sounds really good. Plus I love Scotland. :P And, of course, the cover is beautiful. It reminds me of Impossible by Nancy Werlin.

And next:

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky - To be released May 23rd, 2010

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Um, because it sounds awesome? And the cover is beautiful. I love the effects they did to the stock image.

What are you guys waiting on this week?

Peace and cookies,

Oh! Also!! Early Merry Christmas/Happy Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice/New Year/whatever the heck you celebrate!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Things I Talk About on Twitter (4)


(The date stamp is wrong on this one, too.)

Lefty is a one-antlered reindeer I got for a quarter because he had a hole in his back and, well, he only has one antler.

Here's Lefty with Twilight:

(Amazingly, the datestamp is right.)

And just recently I got two little stuffed moose. My mom bought two of them so I'd have two "meeses".

Peace and cookies,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (53)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

This Friday's song is Desert Dressed in Lights by Porcelain (no and the Tramps. Different band).

What do you think?

Peace and cookies,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (65)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The Door in the Forest by Roderick Townley - To be released March 22nd, 2010

At the mid point of three towns, in the center of three streams, in the heart of a forest, lies a mysterious island. Encircled by quicksand and sewn shut by vines, it is impenetrable to all but the poisonous snakes patrolling its waters. But Daniel is determined to get there, along with his friend Emily.

Emily is a bit mysterious herself. A girl who seems to know more than she can say, whose mother was taken away by government troops, and whose eccentric grandmother reads the future in her bubble bath.

Enter the soldiers. Their menacing commander is terribly interested in sleepy little Everwood. Is he searching for something? A treasure map? The island? The girl?

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: I like that it sounds different from a lot of what's popular right now, and it sounds really good.

Okay, you're all going to know this one, but it's my birthday week and I want to talk about it.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano - To be released March 22nd, 2010

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Same reasons as everyone else. :P

Hey, weird, both these books come out on March 22nd, 2011, and both last week's books came out on February 22nd, 2011. Weird!!!

Anyways, that's everything for this week.

Peace and cookies,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

CSN Product Review

This is kinda delayed... blame it on my being sick. I kept meaning to do it...

Anyways, when CSN offered me a chance to review another of their products, I jumped at the chance to get some new cookware. You cannot do everything in two cast iron pans, no matter what anyone says. (Yes, cast iron is awesome. But it's also heavy and I'm not the strongest person in the world.)

So what I ended up getting was a stockpot, three frying pans and a bench scrape. This is what it came as:

(Technically they came all sealed up and everything, but I got so excited to get into them that I didn't think to take a picture until I was halfway through the boxes. Give me a break here, shipping was a pain. Not CSN's fault, but if it's going to be sent through Purolator, make SURE your address is EXACTLY right.)

If you can't see as well in the last picture, this is some of the stuff they're packaged with, along with what is basically giant bubble wrap. It was all recyclable and you could just pop them and let the air out for easy clean up. I really like that the packing material could be recycled because we all know those packing peanuts are horrible for the earth. And staticky.

This is the box the stockpot came in. On CSN's site, it was $29.95, which is a darned good price. (And I buy most of my cookware at bargain stores.) On Amazon*, it's $38.90, so that's really quite a nice difference if you're buying it.

These are the pans I got. The pans were $59.95 for all three, so that boils down to about 19 dollars each. Again, a good price for cookware. On the Rachael Ray website, there isn't a three-pack like I got, but if you add up the three pans I got, it's about $67, but I think they're having Christmas sales, so the normal difference might be more.

And this is how the bench scraper looked in the box. You can't really see it... but there it is. The bench scraper was $7.95. On the Rachael Ray site, it's the same, but I think it might normally be higher. (Don't quote me.)

Last: Everything laid out to show it all off. Isn't it pretty?

Now, onto the more review...y part of this review. I haven't used the stockpot yet, so I can't review it, but I'll do the frying pans and bench scraper, okay?

Rachael Ray Porcelain Enamel Skillets

First of all, I love the colour. I'm a blue freak and blue makes me happy. :) They're non-stick, which is nice and oven safe to 400*. As someone who has used both cheap (bad) pans and cast iron, I love that I can lift them with one hand, even the biggest one. Yet they have a nice weight to them that suggests to me that they'll last a good long time. I also like the silicone handles. Not only do they make it look nice, they're easier on your hands than plain bare steel handles.

I did have a bit of an adjusting period with them because I wasn't used to having to cook things on slightly lower temperatures (but pancakes might not have been the best first thing to make).

One thing to note... these are handwash only. Not a big deal for me since I don't have a dishwasher anyways, but it might be for some.

All in all, I really like these and I'd probably recommend them.

Rachael Ray Bench Scrape Shovel in Blue

I LOVE this. It's good for scooping things up, yes. The scooping edge curves down a little, so it really slides underneath and the handle keeps things from falling off the other side and protects your hand from what would be a rather hard edge otherwise. My knives are all very sharp so I don't much use them to scoop because I worry about cutting myself, but this takes care of that.

The thing I love it most, though, is for when I make bread. More specifically rolls. I use it to cut up the dough. I find it easier than using a knife. Maybe because the edge isn't as sharp, but it seems to go through the dough easier, and I find I can put more pressure on it than I perhaps would one of my knives. It might also work well for lifting and transfering cut-out cookies, but I haven't tried that yet.

All in all, if I had bought this, I'd be very satisfied. I like CSN's products and the shipping would have been very good had it not been for a mix-up with my address, but that's not the company's fault.

I haven't used the stockpot, so it wouldn't be fair to review it, but I will soon. :)

Peace and cookies,

*All prices mentioned in this review are in US currency and subject to change.

Monday, December 13, 2010

YA Review: The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman

(Note to the reader: Laina is writing this on February 15th, 2010, so if review format changes or it seems dated, that is why. The reason she's writing this now? She didn't get it done in time for last Christmas because she procrastinated too much. And now she's creeped out from all the referring to herself in the third person, so read on!)

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer

Published: October 6th, 2005 by Laurel Leaf
Genre: YA Contemporary fiction / Romantic comedy / Christmas themed. That works!
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 183 pages in my copy.
Part of a series? Standalone.
Amazon link.

Summary (from the back of the book 'cause I don't like the goodreads one): I'm Kate Bjorkman. I don't like romance novels. They're full of three-paragraph kisses describing people's tongues and spittle. But what do you do if you've lived a real romance with a great-looking guy (Richard) and he loves you as much as you love him? I know what I did. I wrote this romance novel about myself, using The Romance Writer's Phrase Book. I also used stuff my English teacher taught me about writing. He said a story must have conflict. No problem there. My life was one big conflict last Christmas. I didn't make anything up. This is the honest truth and I want truth even in romance. I'm betting you'll want the same.

My review: The Unlikely Romance, as it shall forever be called by me from now on since the title is just so long, was cute and funny and a fun Christmas read. I liked Kate's voice, it was very unique. She often broke the fourth wall, and it was neat.

Plot: The Unlikely Romance stretches over the span of a couple days before Christmas to a few days after New Year's. Kate's brother comes home for Christmas and brings home his wife, best friend Richard and their friend Trish. And chaos ensues! (Read that as I suck at writing about book plots and that's the the best I have.)

Characters: Kate was a really neat character. She loved linguistics, she couldn't see without her thick glasses, she was tall (which you know I hated her for). All in all, she was pretty unique and fun to read about. One thing I loved was how she didn't change who she was to attract a boy.

The other characters in the books were cute and quirky for the most part. Her older brother's name was Bjorn Bjorkman and that is hard to type! I liked Richard, but it would have been nice to see more of his personality, to really see why Kate liked him.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: The Unlikely Romance was pretty short and sometimes that's a good thing, but with this one it almost seemed unfinished in a way. The ending was resolved pretty well, but it just seemed like some parts of the book could have been built on and explored more. The reading was very smooth, though. I started reading and then looked up an hour later to see some random soap opera on. (Helen and Mason are getting married.)

PG-13 stuff: There was a bit of swearing, but nothing really bad and nothing graphic, and the subject matter was light and funny.

Cover comments: The picture here is really inaccurate. My copy is much less green and not as bright. It's more like this one but the picture is so tiny and I couldn't find a larger one. The cover is cute. I don't love it or anything, but it's a cute cover. I think I like the hardcover more. It's got an old fashioned vibe to it that I like.

Conclusion: The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman was a cute book, and a fun Christmas read, the voice reminisce of Meg Cabot's narration. I just wish certain things had been better explored. Three and a half roses out of five.

Other notes: She says "Last Christmas" a lot and now I have the Glee song stuck in my head!! And yes, it's February and I'm listening to a Christmas song. But it's Glee! (Also, if Glee has been cancelled or something in the next ten months, I'm going to hurt people.)

Okay, I'll see you all in December when I post this!
Peace and cookies,

(Future - er, present Laina talking!! It's my birthday today!!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (32)

In My Mailbox is brought to us by The Story Siren and was inspired by Alea.

My mom's store got a box of books their last stockday (this only happens a couple times a year) and I got into them before they even got out of the storeroom. :P So this is what I bought:

Heaven by Virginia Andrews (V. C. Andrews) - Paperback

Heaven's mother Angel had died in childbirth, and from that moment her father turned against her. Her only allies, it seemed, were her four half-brothers and sisters.

When their father, pour and desperate, sold them to strangers, Heaven was left alone and friendless. Her only hope was to reunite her family. But how?

(Summary from the back of the book.)

Yeah, I already own this. Yeah, these books are trainwrecks. But it's got such a pretty cover and... yeah, I can't really justify it, either.

Maybe the next book I got will redeem me somewhat:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - Paperback

Swept away from her home in Kansas by a tornado, Dorothy and her dog Tot find themselves stranded in the fantastical Land of Oz. As instructed by the Good Witch of the North and the Munchkins, Dorothy sets off on the yellow brick road to try and find her way to the Emerald City and the Wizard of Oz. With her companions the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion, she experences an adventure full of friendship, magic and danger. A much-loved children's class, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz continues to delight readers young and old with its enchanting tale of witches, flying monkeys and silver shoes.

(Summary from the back of the book as well.)

I honestly hate this movie. It's just... no. I do not like it. But never judge a book by its movie, right? I have read this before and enjoyed it... and the cover is adorable.

Last (received as a gift - more about this in a minute):

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - Hardcover

Do I even need to post a summary about this?

So here's the story about this one. I don't have a bookstore nearby where I could buy this, I can't buy books online, and the library was taking FOREVER to get it here. Since I didn't have it, I didn't read the first two. (Still haven't. Been sick. Post spoilers and die.) So I whined about it on twitter (I do this a lot...) and Lindsay offered to send it to me. How awesome is she?? Seriously, go tell her that she's awesome.

Um... I think that might be everything...

Oh, wait, no, it's not. I also won some swag from Mavie's blog.

The Harmonic Feedback magnet now lives on my fridge with my Fairy Tale magnets.

Okay, that's everything for me.

Peace and cookies,
(P.S. Tomorrow's my birthday, tomorrow's my birthday!!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! (52)

Fun Friday: Give Me Something to Sing About! is where you guys get to see a song or two I like or that I want to talk about each week. Thanks as always goes to J.J. at Random Musings for help with the title.

This week is a special edition of Fun Friday. I'm giving you a playlist instead of just one song.

Presenting - drumroll please - Laina's Christmas Songs That Won't Melt Your Brain

I don't know about you guys, but I get soooo sick of hearing the same old Christmas carols over and over and over again. So this is my attempt at staying cheerful and seasonal without losing my mind.

(All songs link to YouTube videos.)

Deck the Halls - Debby Ryan
Last Christmas - Glee Cast
Wish List - Neon Trees
Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas - Eels
Last Christmas - Taylor Swift (I don't love Taylor's version as much as the Glee one... but it's a close second.)
Mittens - Carly Rae Jepsen
Why Doesn't Santa Like Me - Skye Sweetnam
Christmas Lights - Coldplay
Oh Star - Paramore (Okay, this one isn't technically a Christmas song, but it always seem Christmas-y to me.)
Santa Claus Lane - Hilary Duff
Baby Please Come Home - Josh Ramsay
Frostbite Kisses - Jakalope
Sing in Celebration - Faber Drive
Hello December Sun - Frederick

I haven't heard the Glee Christmas CD songs yet (I'm typing this up before the episode airs and I haven't looked any of them up on YouTube) but once I have, they'll probably end up on here, too.

What are your favourite not-so-traditional Christmas songs? Original or covers, anything that isn't the norm.

Peace and cookies,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

CSN Teaser Post

Well, CSN has offered me another great opportunity to review one of their awesome products. Now the only question is... what to review?!? They have so many things from sling backpacks, shoes, furniture... they'd be great for Christmas presents!

I'm thinking I might need another bookshelf to help organize things around here... but I'll let you guys know!

Peace and cookies,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (64)

Waiting on Wednesday is, of course, brought to us by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus - To be released February 22nd, 2010

In the dim light of the darkroom, I'm alone, but not for long.
As white turns to gray, Kate is with me.
The background of the dance studio blurred, so the focus is all on her
legs extended in a perfect soaring split.
The straight line to my squiggle,
my forever-best friend.

Sixteen-year-old Liz Grayson is photogirl—sharp, focused and ready to take the world by storm with her camera. But Liz's entire life is called into question when her brother is accused of a crime—and the accuser is Liz's own best friend. As the aftershocks from that accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself, shifts out of focus. And for the first time in her life, Liz finds herself unable to trust her own point of view.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: I love books with characters who love photography, and this one sounds awesome. Plus, it's told in verse. One question though: what's with her nose? Click the picture to see it bigger and tell me, is something not totally wrong with her nose?

Next up, we have:

Deadly by Julie Chibbaro - To be released February 22nd, 2010

A mysterious outbreak of typhoid fever is sweeping New York.

Could the city’s future rest with its most unlikely scientist?

If Prudence Galewski is ever going to get out of Mrs. Browning’s esteemed School for Girls, she must demonstrate her refinement and charm by securing a job appropriate for a young lady. But Prudence isn’t like the other girls. She is fascinated by how the human body works and why it fails.

With a stroke of luck, she lands a position in a laboratory, where she is swept into an investigation of the fever bound to change medical history. Prudence quickly learns that an inquiry of this proportion is not confined to the lab. From ritzy mansions to shady bars and rundown tenements, she explores every potential cause of the disease. But there’s no answer in sight—until the volatile Mary Mallon emerges. Dubbed “Typhoid Mary” by the press, Mary is an Irish immigrant who has worked as a cook in every home the fever has ravaged. Strangely, though, she hasn’t been sick a day in her life. Is the accusation against her an act of discrimination? Or is she the first clue in a new scientific discovery?

Prudence is determined to find out. In a time when science is for men, she’ll have to prove to the city, and to herself, that she can help solve one of the greatest medical mysteries of the twentieth century.

(Summary from goodreads.)

Why I want this: Two words. Typhoid. Mary.

Okay, that's it for this Wednesday! Sorry for missing last week, but I wasn't feeling up to blogging yet after being sick.

Peace and cookies,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Things I Talk About on Twitter (3)

My rotary phone.

(Ignore the date stamp. This from, like, late 2008, early 2009, but I hadn't learned how to fix the stamp on the camera yet.)

I got this at a thrift sale for $5. It still works, but the ring is so loud that it scares me half to death and wakes me up if it rings while I'm sleeping, so I can't keep it plugged in. But it does work.

Peace and cookies,