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20 December, 2010

Cholle's Bookshelf: A book review of Gossip Girl, book #1 in the Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Zeigesar

Evening, people! I've been completely lazy lately! But I am back. And what's more, in my laziness, I have been reading. Yay me!


Now, if you haven't heard of the Gossip Girl show on the CW network, you must be living in a hole. It's everywhere. The show stars Chance Crawford as Nate, Ed Westwick as Chuck, Penn Badgley as Dan, Taylor Momsen as Jenny, and of course Blake Lively and Leighton Meester as Serena and Blair.


Now, I completely admit.... When I saw the commercials, I thought it looked shallow, drama filled, and kind of boring. I ended up watching it recently (right before the beginning of season 4), and let's just say I watched the first three seasons in about two weeks. And... Well. I was right. It is kinda shallow and drama filled, but in oh the best way.


So like I usually do, when I was paying attention to something OTHER than the show (and that took a while) and I finally noticed that little note at the bottom of the screen that said "Based on the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar", I immediately rushed to my library website and put in a reserve, and picked it up not long afterwards.


Okay, I picked up the first five.


Now, onto the book. I was totally and completely.... kind of... DISAPPOINTED. You know, it wasn't a BAD story necessarily. But.... Ahhh. Okay. Here's the problems I had with it. The first book is basically the first episode of the show. BUT there are some major differences. First and foremost, the characters have no, well... character.
In the show, Serena had a lot of awful things in her past, but she was trying to improve her life and herself. In the book she's just a dirty whore who shows no remorse for anything she does. 
TV Blair is sneaky and catty, but she had definite charm, You can't help but like her. Book Blair is boring and pathetic, just hunting for everyone's approval and only thinking about sealing the deal for the first time, the only reason being a failing relationship. Yeah, sure, that's 'waiting for the right time' BOO.. 
Chuck is disgusting, with an amazing soul underneath... though the soul is shown later, so I'm not too terrible with his book character. 
Vanessa... Vanessa. If you've seen the show, you know the very pretty Jessica Szohr who plays her, with her tan skin, stunning blue eyes, quirky style, etc. Though, you know... pretty annoying. You just want her out of the story. Now in the book, she's trying so hard to be indie, she just comes across as pathetic. A girl who shaves her head because she's going to a private school, and pouts when she can't wear plain black, all the time? Really, how cliche poser is that? Down with fake indie, up with the real stuff!
And Jenny. oooooooh Jenny. They turned Taylor Momsen's cute and fiery little blond character who finds some edge into a boring little brunette with Shirley Temple girls and a size DD chest, and what she gains in chest size, she looses in charm. HATE. 
Even Dan looses his likability when he's portrayed as the sex-crazed pompous jerk. 
It's like the only one that is the same is Nate, the self conscious hot guy who's afraid of making decisions and is in love with someone other than his main squeeze. How fitting they picked the gorgeous Chance Crawford to play the part. Loooove.


Yes, I know that von Zegesar wrote the characters first, but I'm telling ya Cecily: THE CW DID THEM BETTER. I don't know if I would like the characters at ALL if I had never seen the show.


So to say the least, I was disappointed with the characters in general. But the book itself was kind of just... boring. Nothing really happened. Nothing that you wouldn't expect from a group like this.


BUT. like I mentioned, I got the first five. So I'm reserving judgement until I get a little further in the series. I guess miracles do happen, right?


Parental Guide: 
Language: There is a lot of language including... well. everything. And it's all through the book. 
Social Behaviors: Constant drinking and smoking, skipping school (skipping the country to be groped by old Frenchmen). The majority is done by minors.It also includes some parental almost-abandonment, as the parents are pretty distant from their children as they take on the assumption that if they let their kids to anything they want, they wont go out of control and crazy. WRONG. There is also talk of homosexuality, as it's revealed that Blair's father left her mother to be with another man. Also through Blair's story, there is talk of Bulimia. 
Sex and Nudity: An almost-sexual part that gets somewhat explicit, explaining her nudity, and his well... urge to get to the actual sex part. There is also some rather explicit dialog throughout, and some very loose mindsets when it comes to sex. Families that encourage families to think of sex as a marriage-only practice, or at least as special, etc (as I think it should be), would probably not find it appropriate. To finish up, there is a near rape. 
Violence and gore: None, really. Most of the damage is done through poor choices, and most of it is emotional.


Never knew all that would fit into a book that's only about 200 pages long, didja?


For those that would like to read it, it's very simple. I read it in a few hours, only half paying attention.


I would say only appropriate for (tentatively) ages 17+ (yeah, it's kind of overkill, but I think that just because so many teens know so much about sex doesn't mean it's good to be immersed in it. I still believe in innocence!!)


Do I recommend it?: Withholding judgement until I've made it through a few more books.


"You know you love me, XOXO"


~Cholle <3


Live, let live, be happy.

07 October, 2010

Quick, boring random...ings.

Alright, kitty cats, I know... I've been slacking. But with all the Halloween parties in full swing and my little baby costume makeup business keeping me pretty busy... Well. Yeah, I've been busy. Then on top of that, my birthday is tomorrow. I think I have the right to slack off a little, don't you? :D Muwahaha. Anywho, just a little update. I've been totally boring lately.


Seriously.


Boring.


My days have been filled with extremely boring errands during the day, makeup appointments in the afternoons, and random, pretty darn lame fiestas in the evenings. Oh, and attempts at sleep at night.


I know, I know, you all wish you had my life. I get it.


But seriously, though. I haven't watched movies. I haven't read any books. I haven't drawn. I haven't made any clothes. I haven't used my blog on a personal soapbox (Politics are stupid. We're all going to rot if we don't get some decent candidates in here sometimes. And Obama use-to-be supporters. Toldja so. Political rock-stars that get to the top by talking are going to think they can fake it all the way through by talking. WRONG.) Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture??


I DO!!!!


So... it's gonna change :D


Starting with... reading. Because (ta-da!) I have a surefire way to break the don't-have-time-for-readin' blues.


I have a list of all of my absolute favorite books. Books that I can't put down and read again and again.


DUH. Read the can't-put-downers and you'll FIND time to read. I know. Brilliant, right? I thought so.


Anyway. I promised I would keep doing book reviews. Just be warned. These are going to be glowing :] (mostly, anyway).


stay tuned. We'll be back... well... after my birthday! 21 babay!!!

Live, let live, be happy.

19 September, 2010

Cholle's Bookshelf: A book review of: Just Ella - Margaret Peterson Haddix

Just Ella - Cover

Every once in a while, when my library stack drops below, oh, 20 books or so, I'll just roam a random section of the library and grab books that jump out at me. I'm a judge-a-book-by-it's-cover-until-I-read-the-actual-book type, so sue me. When nothing specific jumps out at me, I'll go to a familiar author and find books by that author that I haven't read yet. And that is how I ended up with Just Ella on my reading list.

Go figure - I mixed up 'Margaret Peterson Haddix', author of 'Among the Hidden' which was okay, with 'Mary Downing Hahn' author of "Wait 'Til Helen Comes" and "The Doll in the Garden", whom I LOVE. Mary Downing Hahn writes teen and young adult ghost stories. Not too scary, but slightly creepy, and creative, well written, and extremely interesting. Not to mention easy, quick reads for those nights that I can't sleep and want a book I can ready with my flashlight in the dark and not have to continue in the bright cheery morning. I would definitely recommend her books, and I'll definitely be grabbing a few on my next trip to the library!

But, since I made such an egregious (;]) error, I thought I should read it anyway. The story seemed enticing enough: It's the story of what happens to Cinderella AFTER she agrees to marry Prince Charming and is swept away to 'happily ever after'. Needless to say, that's not what she finds at the castle with her gossiping, daft ladies-maids, quietly tittering about the new princess's mistakes, her strict and foolish tutors, who are unyielding in the ridiculous rules of royal protocol, and of course, Prince UNCharming, who is brainless, personality-less, and really only interested in marrying a gorgeous girl who can pop out some gorgeous kids to follow in the gorgeous tradition set forth by his gorgeous ancestors.

The first half of the book is Ella complaining about the above mentioned hinderences in her happily ever after, plus being forced to stitch tapestries instead of taking care of her own fire or, may all her tutors properly faint, talking about something un-dainty. With all these boring things being forced on her, no wonder she starts to see the creep of a prince isn't who she thought he was (REALLY?? Somebody you danced with, said two words to, then agreed to marry???? REALLY??? I'm shocked.) and that she's not sure she's actually in love with.

Enter Jed, stage right. Cute, motivated, and passionate son of a tutor who lets her use her wit and ask forbidden questions. A little stupid, stubborn, and unwilling to act, but overall, I really like him. He's the only character I cared for at all. He had some kind of spunk to him. Jed's dream is to run a camp for refugees stripped of their homes by the war between two neighboring kingdoms, yet he's supposed to be following in Daddy's footsteps. Be some royal something or another. But when Ella goes drastic and stirs up the story, he realizes his dream(s).

So let's put it this way. I hated the beginning of the story. It was boring, it dragged, and all the characters were lame shells of people. Ella is whiny and I really didn't want her to have a happy ending. I was sitting there going 'YEAH, SUCKER!! MARRY YOUR STUPID PRINCE LAME-O. THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR BEING STUPID!! MUWAHAHA!!' But the second half, once Jed came into the picture, I really liked it. I knew what was going to happen, but I didn't know how. I was surprised (which is crazy for me!), and a little grossed out, to be honest. But the writing was exponentially better, but that could be because the story was more interesting. then... the ending. Grrr. I wanted to scream. The ending is not friendly. In the least. If you like cliff-hangers that NEVER get answers, then a must read. HA.

Parental guide: not much to be terribly worried about. The biggest thing is in the second half the prince and his advisors bring in a nasty guy to persuade the princess to fall into line. Later on it's revealed that he was sentenced to death for a string of rapes. Not exactly the kind of thing kids need to know about. There was also some violence and cruelty. The prince himself kills the rapist in front of Ella. Plus on the refuge there are a lot of wounded victims that are described in minimum. The actions of Ella's step family, along with the majority of  the palace's inhabitants are very cruel and emotionally to mildly physical abuse.Language, nothing, really. Just a lot of whines.

Overall rating - 2.8 out of 5. May someday grace my bookshelf.

~Cholle

"Fudge, Pshaw, and Other Salty Expressions." -Bullwinkle, from the Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Show


Live, let live, be happy.

Cholle's Bookshelf: A book review of: Dark Blue - Color Me Lonely, A novel - Melody Carlson

Alrighty. This is a book series I got by request, and quite honestly, one I've never heard of. But, alas, my almost-local library had it, so here I am. I just finished the first book in the series - Dark Blue, Color Me Lonely. My overall impression: Let's save that til the end.

The story is about shy, almost non existent, teen-aged Kara, who - oh dearest me!- loses her one and only friend Jordan, who's been her voice since kindergarten. And by voice, I mean she completely ran Kara's life for her. Kara makes it pretty clear that she has never had an identity. And without her security blanket of a best friend, she goes into a major depression as bubbly and outgoing Jordan lands a spot of the oh-so-fabulous school cheerleading team, and along with that a whole slew of the proverbial snot-nosed, snide, bratty cheerleader friends who belittle and degrade everyone not cool enough to sit at their IN-lunch table. So, very predictably, Jordan and Kara are pulled further apart, with Kara crying about it, and Jordan saying she's trying to 'make Kara fit in'... In other words, inviting her to lunch once, totally ignoring her, and then coming up later and saying "well why didn't you do this and this and this?" Oh yeah, great friend.

Anyways, after bemoaning her dire situation for a while, Kara, who decided to take the very uncool class of art (seriously? Who in their right mind decided that art is uncool??), lands in a group of art freaks who admire her work: The crazy rebel girl, the devoted geeky Christian boy, and the middle of the road personality-less preppy girl. let's be honest, I don't really remember their names, and I already gave the book back. Oh well. Which leads into the second half of the story.

The art freaks have a lunch-time art study group that they invite Kara into, and in doing so invite her into their lives. Crazy rebel girl, I think her name was Amy??, turns out to not only be a cool gothic chick, but also turns out to have a talent for makeovers, finding treasures in thrift stores, being confident, and **SHOCKER** she has a soul hidden under all the black (OH NO!) makeup and sarcastic attitude. She uses all of these to transform first geeky Christian boy (Eugene maybe? That definitely sounds geeky) and makes him into a hot 60's DUDE (I'm sorry, but 60's? Not the hottest fashion trend there, honey), and then Kara for a (OF COURSE) date to a school dance between the two. Shocker. Shy lead character dates geeky-turned-hot secondary character. Anyways, this leads devoted still-mostly-geeky Christian boy to sharing his religious pursuits with her. Preppy girl really doesn't have anything to do with the story, other than fighting with Rebel chick.

So the second half of the story is pretty heavy-duty CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY AND YOUR LIFE WILL GET BETTER... BUT ONLY IF YOU DO THIS AND THIS AND TALK LIKE RELIGION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE AND PUSH YOUR NEWFOUND BELIEFS ON ALL THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. NO ONE CAN BE HAPPY UNTIL YOU CONVERT THEM.

Ahh, good ol' Christian values. Now, don't get me wrong, I am very religious, and I appreciate God and blessings and good religious stories. But I'm not too into the whole everyone-has-to-believe-what-I-believe. And I'm really not into the whole "I AM CHRISTIAN, HEAR ME ROAR". I prefer people to think I believe in God and Jesus because of my actions, and not because every time someone asks me who my best friend is, I reply "Jesus" and am constantly talking about how I'm letting Him into my heart. That is MY business. If someone wants to know more, and asks ME, that's fine. But it has to be THEIR choice. So the whole preachy holier than thou thing really got to me. I prefer a little more understated approach.

Worse still, the whole tale was supposed to be about Kara growing away from her old friend and finding herself. I didn't get that at ALL. What I got was sad-girl found new friends to follow, and did so whole-heartedly. She always devoted herself to being the perfect best friend for Jordan, having the same hobbies, liking the same things. She did the exact same thing with her new friends. What kind of message is that?

So to finish up with the technicalities, I'm going to point out a few more negatives. Go figure. The writing was poorly executed. I wrote something of a similar caliber when I was ten. Seriously. It was very straight forward. Like no sentence was more than 6 words. Whew. Think you can manage that? Likewise, the character development..: There was none. Everything was very predictable and cliche. The closest it got to crossing the line was literally borderline words like 'crap' and 'lesbian' at the beginning. Kind of like a trap to make you think you're getting into something just a touch racy. But alas, you get a Sunday Sermon (and I mean SERMON) instead.

One thing I did appreciate was the author pointed out that religious doesn't make everything peachy-keen-jelly-bean. You're going to have hard times no matter what. The idea is that religion can help you THROUGH things. And this was shown (again, in a predictable, cliche, way) when Kara and her friends helped each other through a tragedy.

But overall, I was kind of disappointed. It is a very simple read due to the simplicity of the writing. I read it in about an hour. It was definitely too preachy for my taste, but for people that have grown up with the 'You have to let Jesus into your heart" or you're looking for a religious awakening, and you want something that smacks you in the face, this might just be your kind of book. It wasn't AWFUL. It had enough to justify me grabbing the second book in the series. So sooner or later I'll let you know about Deep Green: Color Me Jealous. Hopefully it's a little more interesting. We'll see :]

So: Now for my overall rating. 1.5-2 out of 5. Not one that I'll be buying for my bookcase.

So that's it for this book review. Hopefully I've helped some people find a read they'll really enjoy or saved someone from a tragically disappointing tale. Check back for more, or send me in requests!

~Cholle

"Fudge, Pshaw, and Other Salty Expressions" - Bullwinkle, from the Adventures of Bullwinkle and Rocky Show





Live, let live, be happy.

07 September, 2010

So... It's September... You know what that means... :D

Good evening, bloggers! I... officially can't sleep! So I took it as a personal reminder that I was going to post!
I'm sure you've noticed roaming around stores that the Halloween stuff is out already, and has been for about a month. Since when did Halloween prep start in August?? Although, I'm not one to complain. Being that makeup is one of my absolute favorite things to do, Halloween is one big play-day. What could be better? A day that you're allowed to go all out and crazy. The day you can be anything in the world that you want. I'm in!


So... It seems silly, but the ghoulish merchandise is actually getting me excited. I gotta admit, I'm the "ohmigosh-I-can't-believe-they're-putting-stuff-out-already"-and-put-off-thinking-about-it-until-the-last-minute-type. This year, however... I'm ready. The sitting-in-a-chair-and-bouncing-up-and-down-like-a-little-kid-waiting-for-birthday-presents-excited. The problem, I have about 10 things I think would be amazing to be for Halloween. Anyone care to start a petition to make Halloween a week instead of one night? 


What makes it seem even MORE anxious is I have people calling to make appointments for make-up... already. I have the feeling I'm going to be booked this year. So much for freelance. HAHA. and then in addition to that I have a bunch of friends and followers writing and saying 'I'm stuck. This is what I wanna do, how do I do it??"  I am having way too much fun shopping for crazy makeup (Okay, okay, glitter make up. Everything else I keep year around. But glitter...I'm always disgusted by it by the end of the season), and I have officially purchased about 30 different false lashes. and not simple, nice, modest ones. Crazy, full, edgy, and some just downright cheesy. 'Tis the season!!


It's been amazingly fun. My family keeps looking at me like I'm insane cause I've been walking around the house with fantastic looking bloody gashes, as multitudes of dead characters, and glam-izons galore.




This is my first practice cut. I was pretty darn proud of this. But I'm getting a lot better now. The best part: it was all make up, and ridiculously cheap makeup at that. I didn't waste ONE CENT on any awful costume make up that tends to only last about half an hour, and looks fake anyway. I had this stuff on for hours. It's super easy to control the look of. And ACUTELY more comfortable.  It would have looked a lot better if I wasn't so pale, but considering I showed my mom and she freaked out with the "WHAT THE HECK DID YOU DO???", I'm not going to complain. ;) Sadly, I'm having more fun doing the blood, guts, and gore than I am with with all the pretty stuff. Probably cause I get my fill at prom and homecoming, but you'd think I'd be estatic to get into the big gaudy hair, jewelry, and makeup. Maybe when we get a little bit closer to the holiday...


I guess what I'm saying is... I'm ready, and I'm eager. If you have any ideas, LET ME HELP.  I'm officially in the Halloween zone. Ready for all the vampires, animals (CATS make up turned out AWESOME), dead rockstars, gothics, angels, fairies, zombies, witches, ogres, and anything that takes major amounts of creativity. Last year I ended up doing stuff as random as a housewife. I gotta say, that is the first, and hopefully the last, time I've ever TRIED to make myself look like I had zits all over my face. ICK!!


So go on... Challenge me.


Happy Haunting


-Cholle


Live, let live, be happy.

23 August, 2010

Busy, Busy, and... oh yeah, busy!

Greetings, friends!!

So, I decided to go old school and try a... well... old hobby :] I've started learning how to sew. And may I say, I have a WHOLE new respect for seamstresses and anyone who can sew well. It's going to definitely take a lot of work to make my projects come out well. Lots and lots of practice! Fortunately I have a friend that goes to church with me who's keeping me grounded and making sure I stay within my ability level! Haha. And fyi, that is extremely LOW.

Though I'm getting there, I think.

Now, I should mention that I'm doing small scale. I thought it would be fun to make a bunch of Barbie dresses to put in my hope chest. Someone who is a talented sewer can let me know if I made the right decision thinking that small scale would be easier :]

BUT. since I know there are a lot of AMAZING sewers out there, I thought I would share an amazing artist I found in one of my random google-ing sessions. These are definitely a little advanced for me, but they have ultimately become my goal! I want to make almost all of them!

Here are a few of my favorites, and the first ones I'm going to attempt!!
CLICK HERE TO GO TO MOLENDRIX's WEBSITE!!

If you couldn't tell, this is Katrina from Sleepy Hollow, and beautifully done!! The details on this dress are gorgeous. All the floral is stitched. I can't imagine having this kind of patience!
A personal love of mine is the Princess Bride. And I have always wanted Princess Buttercup's riding dress for my own! Maybe my Barbie will have to have the honor instead.

Or I can figure out how to sew it and make one for myself :]

This Tudor dress is beautiful! One thing I love about this website is that she explains what she's done to all her creations. It was interesting learning about the transition of this one! I would recommend reading her story!

I am in LOVE with this Regency dress.  If only I could get away with walking around in today's world like a character straight out of a Jane Austen book!

These are especially perfect for anyone who likes LOTR, Star Wars, Victorian era clothing, Renascence era clothing, cultural clothing, and even a few Lolita types! PERFECT for me :] And hopefully some other people will enjoy these wonderful designs as well. Please let me know if you try any of them out, and how they worked! Plus, any tips that you can give me that'll help when I get there!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO MOLENDRIX's WEBSITE!!

-Cholle

Live, let live, be happy.

05 August, 2010

Hi's, Hello's, and all that Jazz

Welcome! I'm a newcomer to Blogger, though I've been blogging for a few years now. My old blog wasn't the easiest in the world to post to, so consequently, I didn't post as often as I meant to. Oops.

Anyways, my name is Cholle. I recently graduated with a degree in business management and accounting... Next stop, graphic arts. Ultimate goal: Interior Design. And as a little side project, I'm in the middle of writing a book. I currently live in the middle of nowhere and I have... way too many hobbies. Gotta have something to do in small towns, right? I've tried to, well, downsize, for lack of a better word, but didn't work out too well. In fact, I ended up with more hobbies than ever. So this post is just to say hello, introduce myself, and what I'm going to be doing with this blog.

And that is... Whatever I darn well please. :]

But to be a little more specific... 
I have a group that I help to read. I made a deal with them about three years ago. I pick out books for them, and I read them first. If it's boring, they don't have to read it. I've found this encourages kids and adults alike to find time to read. If they aren't being forced to read books they won't enjoy, they look forward to reading more. This has developed beyond my small group, however, and I have people now that I only know via the internet

I've started doing book reviews because of this. I'm also often around children, so I've had a lot of requests from parents, wanting me to check books before their children read them. After I do my synopsis, I do a rating, much like movie ratings do, but I tell you exactly what's in them. So...By all means, send me requests. I love reading books I've never heard of. I also do accept donations for this, but do not require any payment. I think reading is important, and it's a hobby I love to share. I do also do reviews for movies. Just a hobby.

Sometimes, I will also post writing excerpts, or pictures. Please, I love feedback. 

Other than that... Don't be surprised to see quite a lot of plain old ramblings. I happen to quite enjoy having a soapbox. Or just being able to write whatever I want when I'm bored.

I think that's about it, for now anyway. My last blog, I had fantastic relationships with my readers. I hope to have that again. So please, ask questions, post responses, send post ideas or requests. I promise I'll always answer.

 ~ Cholle <3

Live, let live, be happy.