Friday, October 28, 2011

The Best in Blogging

I first started reading blogs because people in my family started writing them. Now I'm still reading those blogs, but also so many others. Oh, the world that opened up for me. 

I don't really remember the first non-familial blogs I started reading. I used to just bookmark blogs a lot. I hit the "next blog" button and just surfed random sites. Eventually, I found Google Reader, the perfect way to get the updates on the various blogs I followed. 

(There's been some news that Google Reader is changing, and losing some features. Google better be careful with this one. This is one of the most useful things I've ever found. Don't mess with my Reader!)

One of the best parts of blogging is finding and sharing new things. I thought I'd do that today. I know I'm always on the look out for new blogs, so if anybody has any recommendations, please hit the comment section. I went through my Reader subscriptions and sorted the blogs I follow so you guys could check them out. Enjoy! 

Review Blogs

A nice book blog. Though I read the posts in Google Reader now, I originally warmed to this blog because of it's simple yet elegant layout. Anyways, the posts aren't all that regular, but they're great nonetheless. 

A good book blog. From a Canadian! And a librarian, a profession I always respect. Michelle runs a great blog, and has become a great blogger friend of mine. Check it out! 

There are a lot of websites that cover tv and feature tv blogging. But there are so few actual bloggers who do it! This is only of the only good tv blogs I've ever found. Shows that are covered include: Parks & Recreation, Community, Big Bang Theory, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, and Glee. Oh, and some dramas, but I don't watch any of those, so I'm not really sure which ones. 

A good book review blog. April's reviews are fairly informal, and very honest. She has many reviews across many genres. She also participates in a few meme things that can be interesting. She has a particular interest in audiobooks. Personally, they're not my thing, but if they're yours, you should read this blog. 

An awesome book blog. Steph's reviews are among the best I've found. She's honest. She features interesting books. Now, she's moved to China, and she shares many stories and pictures about that. All together a quality blog. 

A good book review blog. The reviews are short and usually make me aware of lots of different kinds of books. 

Writing Blogs

Steph Bowe's blog. Now, admittedly, I haven't read her book; in my defense, that's only because it's Australian and not available in any Canadian bookstores. Steph Bowe is a teenager author, who offers a really fascinating perspective on writing and publishing. Her posts are always thoughtful and though provoking. 

Jennifer Weiner's blog. She is the author of many books I've enjoyed, including Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Little Earthquakes. She doesn't update very often, but that's fine in a Google Reader subscription. She's smart and funny, and I love getting updates on her books. Also, over the summer, she was writing for the ABC Family show State of Georgia. She described a lot of the experience on her blog, and it was fascinating. It was particularly interesting to see how she compared novel writing to writing for tv. I think the show's over now, but she always has cool things going on. 

A really great blog from soon-to-be published author Kat Zhang. There are a lot of posts on writing and the process of getting published, and also some just about reading and life. One of the best blogs I read.

A great group writing blog. Posts are fairly regular, on topics ranging from book reviews to discussions of the currents issues in YA writing. Always interesting, always intelligent.

A nice little blog chronicling the life of a girl who's just starting university and just getting into the world of writing and publishing. There are also a lot of personal posts, which I enjoy. A very thoughtful and interesting blog. 

A really good writing/pop culture blog. The author is young and interesting. Just my kind of thing. 

The best blog I've come across. It features many posts on issues in YA lit, as well as book reviews and writing tips. My favourite posts are Field Trip Fridays, which always has a million great book-related links. Everyone should follow this blog. It's amazing. 

Personal Blogs

There are a million and one parenting blogs out there. But for some reason I like this one. And I don't even have kids! Katie, the blogger behind it, is also a teacher, which I enjoy reading about. 

A dad blog. It's smart and funny and clever. A really great spin on the parenting blog. 

A blog describing the life of a young woman and her husband. There are a lot of pop culture things, and just generally interesting posts. 

The blog of college student in California majoring in drama. I'm currently doing a drama minor, so I find it kind of interesting. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door

I am currently writing this from Toronto's Billy Bishop airport. My flight back to school got delayed by half an hour and I thought it'd be the perfect time to share my thoughts on Lola and the Boy Next Door.

I couldn't wait to come home this weekend. I missed my parents so much. I wanted to sleep in my bed. I needed to talk to my friends. And, of course, I had to pick up a copy of Lola.

Anna and the French Kiss was The Book last year. Everyone read it, everyone loved it. In my original review, I had a relatively lukewarm response, but as time went on it grew on me more and more. I reread so many parts, fell in love with Anna and Etienne so many times. When I heard about Lola, I was EXCITED. September could not come fast enough!

Now, having read it, I can't say it was worth quite all that excitement, but it was certainly an enjoyable read. Here's why:

-It functioned very well as a companion novel. 

The first author I ever read who did anything companion-like was Sarah Dessen. Her characters would all pop up in each others books. Sometimes they'd be introduced with full, speaking lines. Sometimes they'd just be described in a restaurant. Either way, we got to see what was up with them, make sure our favourite couples were still together. It was nice, a little bonus. Nothing to get all that excited about, but enjoyable for paragraph or two.

The only other companion-like series I've read is Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry. In those books, the previous characters came back as supporting players, with full plot arcs. That was fun too. Not only did I get to see what happened to the characters, I got to experience another part of their relationship.

With Lola, I wasn't sure what type of "companion" I would get. Would it be more Dessen or Elkeles? I'm glad to say it was much more Elkeles. Anna and Etienne were Lola's friends. They appeared in numerous scenes. They had cute romantic moments. They didn't really have any conflict or development, which was a little disappointing, but still fine. It was nice to read about them again. I really wish there was another book about them. I love them so much!

-It wasn't as good as Anna

The set up of Lola is basically the opposite of Anna. In the latter, the girl protagonist was in love with the mysterious boy with a girlfriend, Etienne. In the former, the girl, Lola, has the boyfriend, and the boy, Cricket, is openly in love with her anyways.

It was a strange reversal. Usually, a lot of a novel's mystery revolves around the fact that the boy may or may not like the girl. Here, we knew almost immediately that the boy loves her. There was no mystery. This put a lot more emphasis on Lola's internal struggle as she tried to choose between her boyfriend and the boy she really loved.

I didn't buy it all that much. I really wish that the boyfriend, Max, had been developed better. As it was, Lola looked rather dumb for staying with him. Cricket was the obvious choice, the right for her. Anyone could see that. It got annoying after a while, when Lola wouldn't admit it.

-I didn't love Cricket all that much

He's cute. Adorable even. Geeky, in the perfect way. Unique. Interesting. But also, kind of perfect. Etienne had faults. He made mistakes! But Cricket wasn't that well rounded. It made him less real. It made me love him less.

Who would I choose--Etienne or Cricket? It's hard to say. I think Cricket fits my personality better, but I think Etienne is the sexier choice. I'm not sure. What do you guys think?

-San Francisco is no Paris

Anna and the French Kiss made me love Paris. It made me want go there, just to visit Point Zero. It made the city seem amazing, so exciting.

Lola didn't really do the same service to San Francisco. It sounded like an interesting city, but it was not nearly as central to the Lola as Paris was to Anna.

-Lola was a good protagonist

I really did like Lola. I loved her costumes, and I liked the journey she went through as she explored what the costumes meant to her, what they said about her. I liked her relationship with her fathers, and I liked how she explained their gayness. I liked her relationship with Cricket. I liked her.

To me, enjoyable is the perfect word to describe this novel. It's not life changing, genre defining, career inspiring in the way Anna was. But it makes me want to read the next novel, Isla and the Happily Ever After. And who knows, Anna grew on me over time. I could easily see Lola doing that too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekend Update

I haven't been blogging, and I'm sorry for that. I really do love it and I really want to keep it up. But, at the same time, this whole university transition thing is eating up a lot of my time. There's a lot of work to finish. There are a lot of classes to go to. There are a lot of people to see, people to catch up with back home. It's a lot, all going on at once and I'm just racing to keep on top of it. So the blog has fallen off a little. But today I'm back. For a little bit, at least.

I thought I'd do a general update on my life, everything I've been watching and reading and doing and all the people I've been spending time with.


I haven't been watching that much tv actually (yay me!!). There's only one tv for the residence, and its hard to coordinate everything so I have the tv when I want it. As a result, I've missed many of my shows.

Of course, I couldn't miss Parks and Recreation. So far, the season is off to an above average start. I haven't found either of the first two episodes all that funny, but I'm just happy to watch these characters I love so much. I found Tammy 1 to be an interesting contrast to Tammy 2, but not AMAZING or ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS like it maybe could have been. And, of course, I was sad when Ben and Leslie broke up. But, for once, I actually think a break up was good. I mean, it was right for the story and right for the characters. And it left the door open for them to get back together in the future, which is enough for me. For now.

I've also been watching Grey's Anatomy. I find all the drama oddly relaxing. It's so soapy. I'm finding it a great show to relax in front of after a long day. So far, I think this season is very solid. I like how the Christina/Owen storyline ended. I think the Derek/Mer stuff is going well. If they don't get that baby I will be so mad. She is just so cute.

Also, on a sort of different (but still tv related) note, I signed up to write for the arts and culture section of my school newspaper. And guess what my first articles going to be on. TV reviews!!! I am so excited. It's only a four hundred word piece, nothing huge, but still. I'm going to review four shows: Modern Family, Two and A Half Men, Glee, and one I haven't decided on yet. I'm kind of nervous to write the article, but kind of excited too. And, hey, I figure I've reviewed tv enough times on this blog that I should be okay at it.


Since I haven't been watching too much tv, I've been reading like crazy. Here's my list:

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Paper Towns by John Green
The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart
Love Off Limits by Whitney Lyles
Bumped by Megan McCafferty

I didn't LOVE any of these books, but I liked them all. I'll Be There was a different type of read for me, a book I'm really glad I read. It wasn't quite as good as some people may have hyped it out there in the blogosphere, but still, solid. Paper Towns was very, very well written, which shouldn't surprise me, given that it is a John Green novel. I was annoyed by first sixty or seventy pages because I didn't like Margo, but after she was gone, I really, really enjoyed reading the interactions between Miles and his friends.

I finally finished the Ruby Oliver series, and I was satisfied. I really liked Real Live Boyfriends. And I really fell in love with Noel. I'm sad this series is over. I really like Ruby and I enjoy the untraditional format of the books. And I want more Ruby and Noel! They are so adorable.

Of course, the real news in reading this week is new releases: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and Lola and the French Kiss. I'm living in a very small, very french town in Quebec right now, so I can't buy them here. Thank god I'm going home next weekend. I promise to post a Lola review ASAP.


It's been a pretty good friend week. I have one very good friend that I get along with well. I have another friend who's really nice and always good to share a meal with. I have a few other friends from my classes. Overall, I feel very good about where I am on this front. I would like to make some more friends in my residence and in the english program, but that's just a bonus.

I know, I can't believe it. I actually have friends! Who would have thought!

In terms of friends back home, things are divided. This last week, a lot of the people I've been emailing have become unresponsive. Except for F, thank god. We actually used video chat and talked to each other for hours. It was so nice to see her and hear her voice. It was so nice to talk to some who knows me so well, to someone I know so well. We have so many inside jokes and so much history. It's really just lovely, talking to her. I can't wait to see her next weekend.


I never thought I'd have a category like this. But, suddenly, it seems I need one. Because I kinda-sorta-maybe have a boyfriend-ish person. This I really can't believe.

I don't think I'm quite ready to talk about it. But you can imagine I'm excited by it.

So, that's my life right now. What's going on with you guys? 
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