Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Awkward and Awesome: December

Well, I thought of putting this in with my 2014 wrap up post tomorrow, but so much happened this month that it needs it's own post! Annnd this one is kinda short because I didn't feel like GIF hunting/pic editing a lot... #SorryNotSorry

AWKWARD
Getting sick the day you are supposed to play for the Christmas program... (Don't worry, I got better :D)

When you stop listening to a podcast at night, but accidentally start it again in your sleep, causing you to wake up to 5 played podcasts that you didn't listen to...

When knives are given as presents at your youth group Christmas party (cuz that's how we roll)

No snow when you've traveled back East expressly for that purpose (sorta)

AWESOME
Riding roller coasters at night

Friends who win lots of tickets at Dave and Busters!!!

Dollywood!!

Southern gospel pianists who play and sing

#AmericaInFiveWords (Can you deepfry a gun?) Look it up, you will not be disappointed!

My Captain America shirt!

Running through Dollywood (cuz it's faster)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Reading Wrap Up

Well, through different channels, I found this Reading Year in Review at The Perpetual Page Turner! This was fun to fill out! I can't wait to fill this out next year when I've hopefully read more books!

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read:
Should be 35 by the end of the year!


Number of Re-Reads:
Around 5?

Genre You Read The Most From:

Classics and Historical Fictionbest-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
Okay, I'll cheat in my own way :D
 Rilla of Ingleside, A Tale of Two Cities, Vienna Prelude

2. Book You Were Excited About And Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Swallows and Amazons and The Blue Castle, sorry :(

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - much better than expected!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

None, people don't listen to me :D (Just kidding! I probably recommended most of the books I read.)

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Best series started - Zion Covenant series
Best sequel - Glamour in Glass
Best ender - Rilla of Ingleside

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Lynn Austin and the Thoenes

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

A Series of Unfortunate Events from Modern Children's Fiction

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Vienna Prelude (I'm gonna be using this one A LOT!!!)

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

A Christmas Carol for my new Christmas tradition!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

The cover I didn't have for Vienna Prelude and the cover I borrowed for A Tale of Two Cities

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Rilla of Ingleside

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

A Tale of Two Cities

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

Do Hard Things

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (Because I've wanted to read it since I was in around fourth grade!!)

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

This is one of my favorites from Rilla of Ingleside:
“And two years ago this morning I woke wondering what delightful gift the new day would give me. These are the two years I thought would be filled with fun."
"Would you exchange them - now - for two years filled with fun "
"No " said Rilla slowly. "I wouldn't. It's strange - isn't it - They have been two terrible years - and yet I have a queer feeling of thankfulness for them - as if they had brought me something very precious in all their pain. I wouldn't want to go back and be the girl I was two years ago not even if I could. Not that I think I've made any wonderful progress - but I'm not quite the selfish frivolous little doll I was then. I suppose I had a soul then Miss Oliver - but I didn't know it. I know it now - and that is worth a great deal - worth all the suffering of the past few years.” 

16. Shortest And Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest- Doctor Dolittle's Return
Longest- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
A Tale of Two Cites stunned me for about a week

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

I'm just gonna take this as my favorite couple: John and Elise from Vienna Prelude

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Walter and Rilla Blythe (brother-sister)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Wonderland Creek (thanks Naomi and Emma Jane!)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Okay, I don't really have a fictional crush, but I do admire the older Gilbert Blythe and John Whats-his-face from Vienna Prelude (It's Murphy, John Murphy, but I may like Whats-his-face better...)

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

I didn't read any novels released in 2014 (I don't think...)

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

A Tale of Two Cities - Paris
Vienna Prelude - Prague

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Rainbow Valley because of all the kid episodes

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Rilla of Ingleside (nearly)

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Vienna Prelude

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

A Tale of Two Cities

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Animal Farm (It was great though!!)

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Vienna Prelude (at Hitler) and Animal Farm (at Communists)

book-blogging


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? 

Well, I discovered all the blogs I follow in 2014 soooo.... all of them!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I liked a lot of my tags! The Extremely Ridiculous one was fun!!

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

The Classics Club tag because it exposed me to so many other bloggers and the Hound of the Baskervilles Read-Along (my first!)

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

Starting my blog!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Page views - Classics Club: Anne's House of Dreams
Comments - Epic Book Tag and Anne's House of Dreams

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

A Tale of Two Cities

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I started using Goodreads extensively for the first time, and the Classics Club of course!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

No :( I did not read 50 books, I read 36. Next year though!

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

Well, my number one priority is the first book in the Little House series that I'll be reading throughout next year!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

Hmmmm, The Importance of Being Earnest, Little Dorrit, and Jeeves and Wooster!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Well a series ender from Mary Robinette Kowal comes out in 2015; I haven't read that whole series yet.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

The next books in the Zion Covenant series!!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Read 50 books and review them all (all on Goodreads and some on my blog)

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read and Recommend To Everyone:

Well, I haven't completely read any 2015 releases yet...

This was really fun!! Stay tuned for my 2015 reading plans later this week!!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!!!

via


Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.

The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes.

I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.

Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven, to live with Thee there.

Have a merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

White Christmas

Cuz it's Christmas Adam, I decided to review my favoritest (most favorite you Grammar Nazis) Christmas movie ever!! WHITE CHRISTMAS!!! Yes, the dancing and singing and Christmasy cheer!! Starring Bing Crosby (I mix up his name with Bill Cosby sometimes...), Danny Kaye (awesomeness!), Vera Ellen (dancing phenom), and Rosemary Clooney (she has a great alto). Yes people, this movie is amazing!! And if you haven't seen it, you're missing out!!


The plot of this movie is as follows:

Kaye saves Crosby from certain death during World War II. They become partners in the music industry. Kaye wants Crosby to settle down, and when they meet two girls, Betty and Judy, it seems his chance has come. They all go to Vermont, where there is no snow. And lo and behold, the owner of their hotel is Kaye and Crosby's old general! Except he's having financial problems with the hotel now because there is no snow. Kaye and Crosby try to save the hotel for the general, and in the mean time, well, they sing songs, dance, and get to know the sisters. *hint, hint*

Kaye and Crosby star as Wallace and Davis, but I can never remember who's who, so I refer to them by their acting name. {Side funny story: I had heard Bing Crosby sing, but I had never seen what he looked like until I saw this movie. Let's just say his voice doesn't match up with his body...}

I loooove this movie, but mostly I love the songs, so let's go through them now, shall we?

White Christmas~This is sung by Bing Crosby as only he can sing it! It's wonderful!!

The Old Man~This song is a tribute to General Waverly.

Miscellaneous Irving Berlin songs~This is kind of a montage of all the different things that Wallace and Davis do together. I like Blue Skies the best!

Sisters~I love this song!! I sing it with my sister all the time! And when the guys do it!! It's hilarious!!

The Best Things Happen While Your Dancing~This is a lovely song, with a lovely dance!  It has tap dance, swinging around poles, and a zip line (sort of)!! 


Snow~This song is just all-around nice :)

Minstrel Show~This is the first song that Wallace and Davis rehearse for their show, and boy, is it big!! I love how Vera Ellen flips when she dances! She is so flexible!!

Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep~Such a sweet song! Sadly, I don't get to watch it that often because younger siblings and I tend to like the more exciting dance scenes...

Choreography~This song is interesting, not the best one in the movie. I do like when Vera Ellen does her tap reallllly fast! We sit there mesmerized, and promptly try and fail...
Yay! I accidentally found a GIF!!

"Abraham"~I've already put this on my blog, but I love it! It's a short dance, but very bouncy and energetic! And I love the color of Judy's dress!

"Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" ~Another slow song that we skip most of the time

"What Can You Do with a General?~This is the song that Crosby sings to ask all the men to come to Vermont for the holidays to surprise the general. It's a great tribute!

"Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army~This song is funny and, as most of these songs are catchy!


"White Christmas (finale)"~The finale, when it starts snowing!! (That's not a spoiler because you've probably already guessed how this ends)

So, as I already said, this is my favorite Christmas movie of all time!! And one of my favorite musicals! And if you haven't seen it, well, first, where have you been living, and second, what are you waiting for!!!

What did you think about this movie? (You have seen it, right?)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Are Chestnuts Roasting O'er an Open Fire Any Good?

Sorry for the title of this post Christmas is the time when memories are made, lots of memories! My dad asks us every Christmas, "What is your best Christmas ever?" I can never think of one, so here are lots =D

~Disneyland
From paulabrown.net
It was seeing these two in a parade that started raising questions in my young mind about their relationship
Are they married? Dating? How old are they?
One Christmas (2007) we went to San Diego to visit my cousins and go to Disneyland!! It was lots of fun, and I still remember some of it! But by the end of the day I was exhausted, sooo I had a breakdown. There were no fireworks because it was so windy. Instead of that, they floated fake snow down. I think it was bubbles? Well to my exhausted 9 year old mind, that was the last straw. First no fireworks and then no real snow. Yeah, I broke down. I must have been realllly tired =)

~Grandparents
Last Christmas, my grandparents flew in. It was special for them to see us open our presents, and we had lots of fun!!

~Nook
I got the first generation because I didn't want an ipad.
I wanted a nook to read on!

A few years ago, I asked for a Nook for Christmas. I had been asking around to see if I would get one, and by some channel I found out that no, I wasn't. On Christmas, I opened a box and there was a Nook cover in it!! That was exciting!!

~Blender box
My mom likes to package gifts in different packages so we won't guess what they are. We aren't even allowed to touch our own gifts until we open them!! One year I got a blender box. I was confused and though that my mom had really bought me a blender and was trying to teach me how to cook... I almost set it aside when I heard something banging  around in there. I opened the box and it was filled with books!!

~Balance beam
It resides in our garage now :D
Yes, that's a snowboard.
Yes, we live in Phoenix.
No, I don't know why we have it.
Another Christmas I was on a gymnastics kick. I had got some mats and a leotard already. My dad, brother, and sister went outside, and my mom told me to close my eyes. She warned me "You might not like this..." My family came back in and they were carrying a balance beam!! It was a ground one, and it kind of bent sometimes, but it was sooo cool!! It's still in the garage!

~This Christmas

This Christmas we are going back East to visit family!! I might even have a White Christmas!!! AHHHHHHH!! People, that's exciting for this Phoenix girl. The closest thing to snow on Christmas in cotton here! BTW, if any of you live in Atlanta, Nashville, Knoxville, Louisville, or a place close to those cities, let me know!! Maybe we can meet up!! Yay :D (Cuz I'm not home, blogging might be a little slack ;)

What are some of your favorite Christmas memories?

Friday, December 12, 2014

My Favorite Christmas Songs

Ahh Christmas songs!! Nothing like them to make you happy (unless it's Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas in Meet Me in St. Louis!!) Here are some of my favorites :D (Not in order!!)

1. Jingle Bells ~ Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters!!!



2. It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas ~ Another Bing Crosby, why not?


3. Go Tell it on the Mountain ~ I like this song because of it's potential for me to make it a fun song, like this :D



4. White Christmas ~ Bing Crosby is Christmas people!! #NoShame

5. Winter Wonderland ~ Bing Crosby again...

6. Sleigh Ride ~ Everybody at my school loves this song, but I like the instrumental version best probably! (Cuz this guy at my school sings "Come on it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with MOO!!" And we all uncontrollably for some reason...)

7. FELIZ NAVIDAD ~ Cuz I live in Phoenix!!!

8. Twelve Days of Christmas ~ This song is hilarious!!

9. Celine Dion "O Holy Night" ~ I had to put this in here!!! #SorryNotSorry


Well those are some of my favorite Christmas songs!! What are some of yours?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Peter Pan: LIVE

BE WARNED This is a kinda long post. If you don't care about Peter Pan or anything, just scroll down and watch "I Won't Grow Up". Then leave a happier person :D (When are you ever forced to read stuff on here anyway??)

DISCLAIMER: Before I start this, I know that there are parts of this that had to be muted or skipped in my family. Therefore when I say I loved it, I am talking about the parts that did not have to be skipped/muted. Mkay?

Oh yeah, and this musical thing was a live musical on television for those of you out of the country :D

Anyway, when I learned that NBC was doing Peter Pan LIVE, I was thrilled!! Peter Pan is one of my favorite "childhood" classics!!! The Sound of Music last year was really good!! (You can hate on it all you want, but for the first time they did something like that, it was good!) So, the excitement hit in my house this week! My whole family could literally not wait for Thursday (well my siblings and I...). In fact, I was counting down the hours Thursday! Hey, sometimes anticipation is half the fun! Anyway, this musical only disappointed slightly... But, over all!! It was amazing!!!

BTW, I know you can be all sarcastic and stuff, but this review is positive (unless there is something for real negative) I plan on sarcastically live tweeting a re-watch, so don't worry!

So yeah, because my first draft of this post was incoherent what-so-ever, I've outlined this post to make it understandable.
The publicity photos weren't all that great...

First off the actors/tresses and their respective characters!
My second favorite Broadway actress
Audra McDonald being #1
Julie Andrews obviously being queen :D
Kelli O'Hara as Mrs. Darling was wonderful!! I knew she was good because we watch her on a Capital Fourth a lot of years. (America's independence day show :D) She sang good and was basically all around awesome! Mrs. Darling was a wonderful mom who really cared about her kids.
I'm pretty sure the guy in front didn't have purple hair.
Also, Wendy's eyes creep me out!!
Allison Williams as Peter Pan was also wonderful. It was a little hard to picture her as a boy, but as one article said, about halfway through I Won't Grow Up, everyone forgot! Plus, Peter Pan is almost always played by a woman (look it up, it's interesting!) Well, Allison can sing great! And she was awesome in her role. Peter Pan was of course that lovable, cocky, mischievous guy :D
Look at my coat! It's almost too small!!
It wasn't :)
Christian Borle played Uncle Max in last year's Sound of Music LIVE, so I was familiar with him. But he climbed way up on my actor awareness totem pole this year!! He was hilarious as both Smee and Mr. Darling (a little creepy as Smee, but still awesome :D) Mr. Darling was funny "A little less noise there, a little less noise!"
Yes, that's a rose in Smee's mouth...
Notice the guy playing the fiddle...
Christopher Walken, who apparently is famous..., played Hook. Hook was creepy, but he danced. Or almost danced. At first I wasn't very impressed, but then I learned that Walken is 71!! I hope I can dance at 71!! Hook was creepy, but a different version than I've seen :D
Cookie is the African-American one in the purple shirt!
The pirates were creepy, cuz pirates... I did have a few favorites though! The shorter haired one who painted the X's and Cookie. Cookie was awesome!!!
Guy-on-the-slide's name is Slightly Soiled...

The Lost Boys were played by Newsies, or so I heard. I've never seen the Broadway musical, but newsies have a special place in my heart. The Lost Boys were also a little weird because they were all grown up, but they were still cool (and they did acrobatic stuff)!

The Indians, umm, I didn't like them at all. Actually we mostly skipped the parts featuring them...
I love that nightgown!!

Wendy was wonderful!!! She sang good and was the best Wendy I've seen. That's not really saying much because the only other one I've seen is the Disney one... But Taylor Louderman will always be Wendy to me now!
I constantly confuse their names!!
John and Michael were good. The guy who plays John knows Russian!!! Yeah, he was cool :D

Moving on to the plot. This is the plot of the musical, which is close to the plot of the book, which is not close to the plot of the Disney movie...
Mr. and Mrs. Darling go to a party, basically only leaving their "dead" maid at home...  (She's supposed to be sleeping..) Then Peter comes, they go to Neverland, dance some, fight some pirates who dance, and come back home! With 12 random boys!!! To which Mr. Darling says "What's 12 more?" Really??? Anyway, I said I would be nice.
Because Peter...

{Oh yeah, and this musical (at least the beginning) quotes almost exactly from the book!!!!!!!! Yeah, that was amazing (and was a perfectly good reason to use an excessive amount of exclamation points)!!! }

The ending was sweet, probably worth crying over if you're that kind of person...
This isn't the ending, just a nice pic!

Also, Peter Pan said there was no winter in Neverland!! What!! My Neverland has snow!!!

Now, my favorite songs :D Umm yeah, most of them were my favorite... I can't wait till the soundtrack comes out!!


Tender Shepherd was a sweet song with KELLI O'HARA and the Darling children singing rounds! It's really a nice little song :D

I Gotta Crow is a rather pride-filled song sung by Peter Pan. It's catchy though. I may or may not crow at random times now...
Obviously designed by Derek McLane

Neverland is sung by Peter as he describes Neverland. My sister and I have been singing this all the time!!!
She's flying!!
I'm Flying is not as catchy as "You Can Fly" but I still like its Broadway feel!
Look for Cookie!!

Vengeance is a tap-dancing song sung by the pirates! The tap-dancing is actually pretty good (not up to Gene Kelly/Fred Astaire by any means...). Especially if you consider that Christopher Walken (HOOK) is actually 71!!!
Wendy all grown up...
Wendy is also a nice "musical" song. It just has that musical feel!
He doesn't play the tambourine very well...
Hook's Tarentella is kind of weird but cool! Tra la la la Tra la la la

I Won't Grow Up is MY FAVORITE!!! I've listened to it at least three times a day in the past few days. Not to mention my piano arrangements of it :D It's so catchy and loud and fun and musical!! And there's acrobatics!!!

Only Pretend is a sweet song by Wendy. I don't listen to it much, but I remember that it was really nice :D

The Duel is not really a song, per se (?), but kinda a rhyming back-and-forth that sounds really cool?

To the random technical stuff about the movie I liked :D
Slightly is falling off the slide :D
The Lost Boys hideout was amazing!!!! It had a slide!!! The beds were a little too small (aka Michael almost fell out of the bed...). There was also a random bathtub in there?? Also, the swordfight wasn't that great, but Peter's spin moves when he flew were awesome!!! And the flying was amazing!! Sure, you could see the wires at times, but as another article said, "Use your imagination!"

The guy who played the creepy gator!!

All in all, I think my siblings and I liked this musical better than last year's Sound of Music. New cool songs, dancing, and lots of action! I can't wait until next year!!!

"Who art thou, Pan?" "I am youth, and joy, and FREEDOM!!!" (No, I'm not going around yelling that, why do you ask?)
I couldn't leave you without a gator pic!!

Did you watch this? What were your thoughts? Do you have a favorite version of Peter Pan?
Oh yeah, and these pics are obviously not mine. Most of them belong to NBC. Other belong to random news sites.