Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Blog!

Hello faithful reader(s?).

My fellow tart, Jen, and myself have started a new blog. It is The Pop Tarts ( It is a broader blog about all things pop culture. And full of snark. And usually some swearing. And has a catchier slogan. And at the moment, thoughts about The Bachelorette (named the Trashelorette by us). If you read this blog and enjoy it, you will love The Pop Tarts. If you read this blog and hate it, you will still love The Pop Tarts. If you are following us here, please switch that follow to The Pop Tarts. More consistent blogging is to come. On deck are: More Trashelorette reacps, thoughts on So You Think You Can Dance, thoughts on a new genre of books that I am compiling in my head, etc. Pretty much, we will blog about anything interesting. And we will do so in a snarky manner.

In conclusion, ignore this blog from now on and follow us to The Pop Tarts ( [Eventually we will archive this blog into The Pop Tarts...we just haven't gotten there yet.]

Saturday, May 14, 2011

New Format

My co-book tart and myself are considering changing this blog from a book focused blog into a pop culture centered blog. we have a couple reasons as to why. First of all, we are both highly obsessed with pop culture. Secondly, we both definitely watch more tv than read books. Mostly because it takes less time and watching tv allows for multitasking! Also, you've probably noticed that I have been blogging about not books lately. And Jenny hasn't been blogging much as all.

So, in honor of a change to pop culture, I am going to blog about why I hate this season of American Idol!

I was going to watch Idol this season. I stop watching a few weeks into voting last season because all my favorite people were gone. And the best singer of the season was gone. There seemed no point. I was going to watch this season, but I just couldn't do it. I legit recorded the first few episodes, but I just couldn't get over how boring most of the singers were. And how pointless the judges were. However, I always read recaps of the episodes and watched Idoloonies on (Michael Slezak and Jason Averett are amazing!). So I kept up on the season.

I watched the most recent episode because Jenny said I should and my friend Sarah was over and we both enjoy watching reality crap. So I watched the top 4. And the only thing I can say is that of the four singers left, I only really liked Haley. She was the only singer that was at all interesting and exciting. And she was also the only singer who got any negative feedback. I don't understand the judges at all. They love everyone. They have loved everyone all season. Except Haley, who has the best voice and makes the only interesting choices. They have given her negative comments all season, including last week when her vocal was amazing and they didn't like her song choice. The judges are so inconsistent! And if they tell everyone that they are amazing, it starts to mean nothing! Nothing! So frustrating. But now I have to watch Idol this week because I have become invested in Haley! Damn!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hunger Games Comprehensive Casting Review

I have been putting off commenting on the cast of The Hunger Games because new announcements are being made pretty much every day. But now Haymitch has been cast and it seems an appropriate time to review the entire cast so far.

First, we all know by now that Gale is being played by Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson is Peeta, and the lead role of Katniss went to Jennifer Lawrence. I have still never seen Hemsworth or Lawrence in anything so I am not commenting on that casting, but I watched Cirque du Freak, which Hutcherson is in and I cannot wait to see what he does with Peeta. He has a very sweet look, but can also play dark really well.

Second, we have the other primary characters:
Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane
Amandla Stenberg as Rue
Paula Malcomson as Mrs. Everdeen
Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman
Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket

Seneca Crane is the Head Gamemaker and really didn't make too much of an impact on me in the book as I had to look up who he was. Likewise, Bentley didn't stick out to me. Rue is a 12 year old tribute for the games and reminds Katniss of her own sister. Rue is a very important character and Stenberg is pretty much a complete unknown. I assume she will be excellent. Mrs. Everdeen is Katniss' mother and seems like a hard role to play due to the fact that in the book, she is both likable and unlikable at the same time. Malcomson has been in a lot of tv dramas, most recently Sons of Anarchy and Caprica, though I haven't seen her in much. Based on her CV, I think she will do well in the part. Primrose is Katniss' sister and though she isn't in the books much, she is a very important character. Shields is pretty much unknown, but has the right look.

Haymitch is the mentor of Katniss and Peeta for the games, being a previous winner. He is also drunk all of the time. And he's a bit of a dick most of the time. He does not seem to really like Katniss, but the feeling is mostly reciprocal. In my opinion, Haymitch is one of the most important and interesting characters in the book. And I am so excited about Woody Harrelson playing him. He has been in both comedy and drama, which I think is kind of the balance that Haymitch needs to strike. He might seem like an odd choice if you've only seen him in Cheers or Will & Grace, but I'd say his characters in Zombieland and No Country for Old Men show the range and balance between tough and silly. Though I never imagined him in the part, I think he will be excellent!

Caesar Flickerman is a reporter in the Capital who does the interviews for the Hunger Games. I definitely did not see Stanley Tucci in that role, but I am super excited about it. He is easy going and likable as far as people in the Capital go. I always saw Flickerman as super charming yet quirky; a bit humorous but with the ability to make both sides of any warring groups like him. I think Tucci will be able to play that really well.

Effie Trinket is the wrangler for Katniss and Peeta. She is a bit of an odd character. She and Katniss do not really get along, but they seem to have some respect for each other. I always saw Effie as outwardly bubbly and light, but with something brewing under the surface. I always feel like she is the slightest bit insane, but also well intentioned and possibly knows more than she lets on. I think Elizabeth Banks will be perfect for the role and is actually who I sort of pictured when I was reading. She has been in mostly silly comedies like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but I think her character in Slither shows what potential she has for the craziness of the Hunger Games. I really think that she is the most perfectly cast character in the movie so far.

Other tributes: Jeremy Marinas (Justin Starr in The LXD), Dakota Hood, Imanol Vepez-Frias, Annie Thurman, Samuel Tan, Mackenzie Lintz, Sam Ly, Leigha Hancock, Ashton Moio, Kara Petersen, Jacqueline Emerson, Chris Mark, Ethan Jamieson, Tara Macken (Luisa in Sons of Anarchy), Ian Nelson, Kalia Prescott, Jack Quaid, Leven Rambin (Riley in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Lily in All My Children, Sloan in Grey's Anatomy), Dayo Okeniyi.

As you can see, except for a couple people, everyone is an unknown or a newcomer. And most of the tributes also have some stunt background, which is awesome! The tributes mostly run around and fight with each other so it is important that the actors can look good fighting. The most castings that get announced, the most excited I get about the movie. I think they are being smart going with mostly unknowns for the kids parts and going with some well seasoned actors in the adult roles. I look forward to seeing who gets cast as Cinna, Katniss' stylist (I am still pulling for Cillian Murphy), and President Snow, who has to be the creepiest and most sadistic person around (honestly, no idea who should be cast there).

Overall, though I still am unsure how the movie can possibly be anywhere close to as good as the books and concerned with how much they can't show to make it a PG-13 rating, I am getting excited. I look forward to seeing how it all pans out and who the round out the cast with. I will do another post on further castings. In the mean time, let me know what you think about who has been cast. Was it who you pictured? Are you upset over anyone? Who do you see as some of the other characters?

ETA: Last tributes cast...I should have waited a few more hours before writing this!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Favorite Songs

Since my top list of favorite bands/artists went over so well I thought I would continue on the music trend and give a list of favorite songs. These are going to be in no particular order as I really don't have a "favorite" song.

As you can tell from my favorite bands list, I have an eclectic taste in music. A lot of the time, what I like to listen to is dictated by my mood, the weather, and what I'm doing at the time. My favorite songs list is going to be songs that I like to listen to at any time regardless. You should also assume that any song I mentioned in the favorite bands list is also a favorite song.

*I Like It by Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull--I fell in love with this song last summer, cemented my love when they performed on SYTYCD, and have listened to it more times than I can count and learned part of the dance from the SYTYCD performance. If I were to have a #1 song, this would probably be it.

*Party Girl by McFly--Besides being an amazingly catchy song, the music video is wicked awesome. And they made it into a 30 minute movie. I have also listened to this song more times than I can count.

*Little Lion Man by Mumford & Songs--Such a chill vocal sound, but super peppy beat. It is one of the most fun songs to listen to while out driving.

*Fuck You by Cee Lo Green--Besides being one of the catchiest songs ever, it is always fun to get to yell out swear words!

*Rock and Roll by Eric Hutchinson--I really dig a beachy, summer, singer-songwriter vibe and Hutchinson gives it in abundance.

* Rhythm of Love by Plain White T's--I like all of their stuff, but Rhythm of Love just really grooves in a nice way.

*Can't Speak French by Girls Aloud--Sometimes you just have to groove to a dancey girl group and Girls Aloud is exactly that.

*Live Like We're Dying by The Script/Kris Allen--I had heard the song before Kris Allen did it because I listen to UK music and I like both versions. I really like Breakeven and For The First Time by the Script, but since I love both version of Live Like We're Dying, it goes on the list.

*If I Had You by Adam Lambert--I have memorized all of the words. I had them all memorized before it was released as a single.

*Cinnamon Lips by OK Go--I like most of their songs, but something about Cinnamon Lips just makes it a song I can listen to over and over again.

*Scotty Doesn't Know by Lustra--If you've seen Eurotrip, you know the song. I can sing each and every lyric and do so often.

*The Monkees--Ok, so they should have gone on the band list. I forgot. But now I am trying to pick out my favorite Monkees song and can't because I love so many of them.

*Dog Days by Florence & the Machine--I love the original version and I love the Glee version. It is just a great song with a great groove to it.

*River Deep-Mountain High by Santana & Mercedes from Glee--Holy cow I cannot tell you how much I love this duet. It just works. Everything about it is good.

*When I Get You Alone by Darren Criss--The original is really kind of bad, but the Glee version is bangin'.

*Ain't No Rest For the Wicked by Cage the Elephant--What can I say? I like a good beat, a quirky vocalist, and anything I can dance to.

*Big Spender from Sweet Charity--I've never seen Sweet Charity, but I've seen this number. Anytime I can dance around like Fosse, I am happy.

*She's So Lovely by Scouting for Girls--Super poppy fun UK stuff. I love it so much. No explanation needed.

*I Predict a Riot by the Kaiser Chiefs--Indie Rock band from UK who is not nearly famous enough. This song is just a fun party song.

*Right 'Round by Flo Rida--I freaking love this song always, though especially when covered by the Beezlebubs on The Sing-Off.

*I Believe in a Thing Called Love by the Darkness--A 70s glam rock throw back. If on, I will sing it loudly and in falsetto. Nothing makes me happier than singing this song.

Ok...enough songs for now. I know that I have missed a bunch and I know that you are now thinking about your favorite songs, so definitely share those. I love listening to new music! Or old music! Or music that I have forgotten that I love! Please share!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Top *Number* List

I am going to write a blog about all the Hunger Games casting eventually, but am just really unmotivated to write about anything related to books right now. So instead, I am going to do a list of my favorite musicians!

I have extremely random music tastes. I really will listen to just about anything and everything depending on my mood. I really enjoy music from the UK and as a result, end up listening to a lot of stuff on YouTube and BBC Radio 1. The UK charts just fit with my style more, though I still listen to a lot of Top 40. Anywho...on with the list! In descending order.

1) Hanson--Oh, you've heard of them? Back in the 90s? You think they only sing Mmmbop? You are wrong. Well, not wrong about Mmmbop, they do sing that and often, but they are so much more. I have seen Hanson in concert three times and each time was better than the last. They give great concerts. They play a wide variety of old and new stuff. They structure the set list to have a journey. They always play Mmmbop, often acoustic. And they always always always look like they are having fun. And they do great charity work. If you are not listening to Hanson, you should be.
Songs to listen to: "Thinking 'Bout Something" off their new album or "Penny & Me"/"If Only" for some old school

2) McFly--Oh, you've never heard of them? Not surprising! I'm not sure how I became obsessed with McFly. I think I just kept hearing them on UPop when I had satellite radio. They also were in a Lindsay Lohan/Chris Pine (Captain Kirk!) movie called Just My Luck. You should watch it! It is trashy fun. But yeah...I love McFly a whole lot. Their sound has progressed since they started. From rock/pop to more rock/dance now. They get lumped in with boybands in the UK even though they write all their own music and play their own instruments and are a rock band.
Songs to listen to: "Party Girl" if you like Lady Gaga or "Shine a Light" if you like Taio Cruz or "Transylvania" for old school

3) Adele--I am overly obsessed with Adele at the moment. Her voice is amazing. A. Ma. Zing. She had more passion in her voice than anyone else ever. Also, I love her as a person. She is so charming and funny in interviews. And is a really great role model for how comfortable she is with being and looking like herself. She seems like a genuinely awesome human being and I want to be best friends with her.
Songs to listen to: "Someone Like You" preferably a live version or "Rumour has it" or really anything by Adele

4) Bruno Mars--I have been harboring a hardcore crush on all Bruno Mars music for a while now. His songs are amazingly catchy and breezy. They make me think of summer and laying out in the sun and chilling. And besides all the stuff he sings himself, he has also been involved in writing "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B, "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy, "Right Round" by Flo Rida and "Fuck You!" by Cee Lo Green. What? Awesomesauce! Also, his performance at the Grammys with B.o.B. and Janelle Monae was beyond amazing.
Songs to listen to: "Marry You" or "Grenade" Grammy performance
**Special note...if you don't know who Janelle Monae is, get on that asap!

5) Enrique Iglesias--I have to admit that back in the day when Enrique Iglesias was first popular, I knew his songs, but didn't particularly care about him. But now I love him big time. I am particularly found of his new stuff because it is soooo dancey, but I also have been listening to his older stuff and I like that too. I just think his voice is pleasent and he is fun. And he doesn't take himself seriously at all in interviews.
Songs to listen to: "I Like It" or "Tonight" (NSFW if you listen to the uncensored version. The radio version is SFW)

6) Pitbull--I have to admit that most of Pitbull's songs are highly inappropriate, shouldn't not be listened to at work or around kids, and are probably semi-offensive. But dude, are they catchy! He has a ton of songs from his albums, but he is probably more famous/popular for being featured on other artists songs notably "I Like It" (Enrique) and "DJ Got Us Falling In Love" (Usher) and "Hey Baby" (T-Pain). I like that even though he is a rapper, he definitely has an authentic latin flair to his music.
Songs to listen to: "Fuego" or "I Know You Want Me"

7) 3Oh!3/Ke$ha--I am putting these two together because I started listening to both around the same time and they are fairly similar styles. They are both rather inappropriate, but fun and good to dance around to. Also, my favorite songs of both artists are ones that have both. Just seems easier. I don't have much explanation for why I love either so much, but if I am stressed and need to dance around my house, I am putting 3Oh!3 and Ke$ha on.
Songs to listen to: "My First Kiss" or "Blah Blah Blah" both have both artists; Ke$ha: "Kiss N' Tell"; 3Oh!3: "Holler Till You Pass Out"

8) Gaelic Storm--Back to more appropriate music! I love Gaelic Storm. Yes, you've heard them even if you don't know it. They were the third class band in Titanic. The one that Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet dance to. See, you do know them! I love all sorts of Irish/Celtic music, but Gaelic Storm is my favorite at the moment. Nothing makes a day better than some fun Celtic music!
Songs to listen to: "Johnny Jump Up" or "The One" or "Nancy Whiskey" or "The Beggarman" or go watch them in Titanic again

9) Darren Criss--Really, if you aren't in love with Darren Criss than you obviously don't watch Glee. If you are not a fan of Glee, you should still listen to Darren Criss sing.
Songs to listen to: Anything he has recorded

ETA: Honorable Mentions (aka people I totally forgot about while writing the list): Mika, Blake Lewis, Jesse McCartney

Yes, my music taste is random. Sometimes inappropriate. Yet all fun!
What music do you love?

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Problem of a Good Book

I have noticed that sometimes I don't like when I finish a really great book. That sounds kind of crazy at face value, and in some ways it is, but hear me out. I love reading books that completely consume me. I like feeling like I am in the book, part of the plot, the main character, watching it unfold. I love that feeling of reading just a solidly great book.

And then I finish the book.

I have such issue picking out the next book because nothing will be as great as the book I just read. Obviously, that is not true. But I get that feeling. I finish a great book and all I want to read is more of the same book. It works out well sometimes to have a series of books, but that is almost worse. After reading a ton of books in a series, I am solidly in the world and have it all fleshed out in my head and really then have more trouble picking the next thing to read.

I have a couple tricks that I use to get into the next book. One is that I sometimes read a book that I've read before because I already know that I like it. Or even reading an author I know that I like. Anything Meg Cabot usually is a good choice. But also, I love Meg Cabot so I find picking a book after any of her books is difficult. Even if it is a book I've read before. Another strategy is to pick a book that I'm not sure I'll get totally into. Going into it expecting to not be fully engrossed can help with the panic of "Oh no! How will anything live up?" Since I am not planning on it living up, there is no pressure on that book. Another strategy that I've found is just to not read for a bit. This is rather hard since I always read before bed. But I have found that if I read a magazine or short story instead of a book for a while, it helps cleanse the palette for the next book to come along. And lastly, sometimes I just force myself to read another book and tell myself to stop being so weird about it.

I finished To Tame a Highland Warrior last night (it was so good, even though the main guy kind drove me crazy with his concern that the main chick wouldn't like him if she knew his "true nature", but she was totally fine with it because she was awesome. Give the girl some credit, dude!) and now am at a loss at what to read. I grabbed a book on my way out of the house this morning, but am not sure I want to read it. So now on to the various strategies to find the next book.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend Reading/Watching

For such a blah week, I was terribly productive in my reading of books and watching of tv/movies this weekend.

First, what I read: I finished The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham and OMG was it good. It was absolutely nothing like I thought it was going to be. The story went in a completely different direction from what I was expecting and I loved it. All of the characters were complex and had motivation for their actions. There were a ton of overlapping story lines and they all worked. Usually in a book with this many story lines you start with separate characters and stories and they all come together by the end, but The Wedding Girl started with one main character and all of the story lines went out from there. It was cool and the book had a whole lot of heart.

I started reading To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning. Have you not read Karen Marie Moning? You should. Well, if you like romance novels and/or fun vaguely sci-fi/fantasy novels and/or Scottish Highlands and are not offended by fairly frank descriptions of sex you should read Moning. I was in the mood to read some light trash and was lucky enough to be at my friend Sarah's house and was able to borrow Highland Warrior from her. It is the second in a series, though it isn't really a sequel. I definitely stayed up far later than planned reading. And now I only have about a third of the book left. It is so good.

What I watched: I watched many things this weekend, beginning with a week's worth of Jeopardy! I DVR Jeopardy every night and watch it all at once over the weekend. Yes, I realize that is incredibly nerdy, but it makes me happy and for how much people mock me for it, everyone always wants to watch it with me. So there!

I also watched the last three episodes of Being Human (the SyFy channel version, not the BBC version). OOoooo it was so good! If you don't know, Being Human is about a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf who live together in Boston. And both the werewolf and the vampire work at a hospital as a nurse and an orderly respectively. There is definitely some soap opera type stuff about how hard it is to be supernatural, blah blah blah. But it is also just really fun. There is a ton of violence, lots of killing, not a lot of blood really and a ton of light and funny moments. I seriously enjoyed the entire series, but the last three episodes really rocked. I now want to watch the original BBC version.

Also watched, John Tucker Must Die. I've seen it before but really enjoyed the repeat viewing. First of all, I think it is a really underrated teen romantic comedy. It is really funny but also ends up having some sort of message. And even the jerk character is really likable. Also, it has Penn Badgley in it. With longish curly hair! Fun. And it has the most amazing soundtrack. Seriously good music in that movie.

I also satisfied my craving for all things British by watching many episodes of Little Britain. It says something about how funny a show is when it is set in a country I have never been and I still find it super funny. It is a sketch show about really strange people in Britain and mocks pretty much everything. The best thing though is that Anthony Head, aka Giles from Buffy, is the Prime Minister. And really, the scenes that he is in are the funniest of the show. The whole show is like if you took the weirdest Monty Python sketches and made them slightly more inappropriate. Very weird and very funny.

And last, neither a book nor a movie nor a tv show...I played Just Dance on Wii. It was awesome. I got super sweaty because what is the fun if you aren't going to get into the moves? I am much better at Just Dance than I am at DDR. Most fun part of my weekend!