Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Games of the XXX Olympiad aka Summer Olympics 2012!

The Olympics start this week, and I couldn’t be more excited!  Ok, maybe I was more excited for the last Olympics, but that is because I was going to see them in person.  The Olympics are when I clear out my DVR so I can watch every single minute of televised coverage.  The last summer Olympics in '08 I also got RoB hooked, we were getting much less sleep every night because we had to stay up so late to get through all the coverage! And now there is the Live Extra app from NBC so you can stream pretty much anything (live events or what is being shown on TV) to your phone or computer (it looks like they finally have it up and working, but I will be suspect to see how it works through some of the high demand events).

Soccer starts TODAY and even though there isn’t a USA men’s team playing I can’t convince you enough to watch and support our US Women’s National Team.  They are phenomenal and women’s soccer has come a long way with many other countries on top of their game as well.  US opens play against France (whom they beat in the semi-finals of the world cup last year) at noon (EST) today, and I hope some of you will be watching it!
I’ve been trying to keep up with qualifiers for other sports too.  Big ones like swimming and gymnastics are always fun, but I like hearing about some of the more obscure sports as well.  For example, Women’s boxing will be premiering at these games and there is a strong USA contender. 
As I said before, I attended the last winter Olympics in Vancouver and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done!  Here are some pics from that adventure, but it was really amazing just being part of such a worldly event.  The first night we got into Vancouver we were just walking around the streets amazed by all the Olympics had to offer and all the fun we were about to have!

The first event we went to was women's aerials and we had to be in line before ti was light outside and got to watch the sun start to light up the mountain behind us

Yup, that is someone flying through the air!

Curling was super fun to watch!
And they even put up with all the obnoxious American fans!

The torch

The flags leading into the Nordic events

Rings at the biathlon range

CRAZY biathlon fans, probably the best event we went to!


This was our view for the Nordic sprints, we were right at the fence and saw them come flying by!

Wouldn't really be in Canada if we didn't go see a hockey game!

Women's hockey semi-finals Canada vs Finland

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review - Divergent by Veronica Roth

How did I come into possession of this book?
This book is part of the Semi Charmed Book Challenge I’m participating in. This fits the category of reading a book in one day. I knew it would have to be some sort of young adult or other page turner of sorts. I had also heard really good things about this book (again, young adult dystopia, it’s my favorite and the hot topic right now). I did have to wait about a week and a half for one of the 35 copies to be available from my local library, but once I got it I put aside a whole afternoon, evening, and next morning to read this 500 page book.

First Lines:
          “There is one mirror in my house. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair” (Roth 1)

What is it about?
In a futuristic world, in the ruins of Chicago, you are divided into 5 different factions and during your 16th year you decide which faction you want to be a part of. Most chose to stay with the faction they were raised in but when Beatrice decides to choose a different faction she surprises everyone, including herself. This starts her on a competitive initiation process and she starts to learn disturbing things about her new and old factions and the world they live in.

What did I think?
I really enjoyed this book, and it was a perfect book to read in one day because it was a page turner that kept me very interested. I love that a lot of these new young adult books have strong female characters (some adult books should take note, cough cough 50 shades cough ) and Tris is a very easy character to relate to. I do have one complaint about it though and I’ll try to keep it as un-spoilery as possible. Towards the end of the book things take a big turn and this happened suddenly in a frustrating way. I wish there had been a bit more buildup to it or maybe just have the events take more time, it was like suddenly everyone was an enemy and I really didn’t enjoy that. I guess the ending as a whole left me a bit disappointed. But, of course, it left with a cliff-hanger and everything is going to change in the next book and I will be excited to read it!

Who would I recommend it to?
If you liked the Hunger Games this would be another good young adult book to read. It’s not quite as well written as the Hunger Games (or even Delirium), the writing is more straight forward and simple, giving it a younger feeling. But the story is great, the world that Roth created is intriguing and makes me want to know what else she has in store for us in the next 2 books!

I’ve included a new section in my reviews, First Lines, in hopes to get some of you hooked enough to read it, too! Also, check out what else I’m planning to read (and what I've read so far!) for the book challenge and let me know if you have suggestions!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Audio Book Review - Delirium by Lauren Oliver

How did I come into possession of this book?
I had heard a lot about this book as a young adult, dystopia book. Of course this is one of the most popular genres right now and of course I was very interested in reading it. When I saw it available in audio form at my local library I didn’t think twice about getting it to listen to!

What is it about?
This book takes place in a future where they have found the “cure” for love. It was determined that all problems in their society could all be traced back to love and so by eliminating it they are a much more orderly, content, and safe society. The story follows a teenager who is set to accept the cure in the next few months. All her life she has awaited this and known the reasons for it, but (of course) she meets someone who turns her whole world upside down and makes her question her society.

What did I think?
I’m a sucker for these books so I read listened to it quickly and couldn't wait to get in the car so I could find out what happened next. But since I have read a lot of very similar books in this genre they all seem to meld together and have a very same feeling. This one felt very similar to Matched, and I feel like they could all be derived from The Giver (one of my favorite books of all time). Even though I eat these books up, I really want to find something new and good in them. This one didn’t seem to offer that, but don’t get me wrong I still thoroughly enjoyed it!

Who would I recommend it to?
If you read and liked Matched or any other YA dystopia with an emphasis on relationships you will like this book. It does feel very young adult, and I know that turns some people off, so avoid it if you don't usually like YA books because they feel juvenile. This one with the lack of love and then suddenly finding it can feel at times like a teenage romance. One thing that everyone can enjoy is the writing, even though the story might feel young it is written beautifully and you really won't be able to put it down once you start!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Disneyworld Vacation Part 1

We just returned from an amazing trip to Disneyworld.  It was my first time there but I have been to Disneyland (in California) at least 12 times.  Everyone had always said how much better Disneyworld was, but most of those people have never been to Disneyland.  I took this as a great opportunity to compare the two!  I will preface this with saying that Disneyland is still my favorite, there are quite a few reasons, but one of the main ones is probably because that was where I discovered how magical Disney is and holds a special place in my heart for remembering all the great trips there with my family.

Disneyworld did have some amazing things that I had never seen before, but there were a lot of rides that were the same as the Disneyland parks.  I’ll split it up into a couple different posts, let’s start with Epcot!

I think one of the best things about Disneyworld was the world showcase at Epcot.  However, this might not be appreciated as much if I were younger so I’m happy that I got to experience now as an adult.  And it’s not just the drinking (although drinking around the world was pretty great!) but see all of the cute setups for the countries and actually learning something about each of them.  We had snacks in many of the countries but had a nice late lunch in Italy at Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar (which apparently just opened!) and it was delicious.

We also explored the futureworld area, which just seemed like another tomorrowland to me, but they did have some rides I hadn’t been on.  The ride inside the big golf ball was pretty cool, even though RoB was adamant that it was terrible and not worth the time, we went anyway and I laughed pretty hard at this video (sadly it didn’t capture my face but RoB’s is classic).  We also enjoyed Mission Space (Orange side) and Living with the Land.  Sadly, the Nemo ride was a disappointment and the really sad thing is I can’t really remember what happened on it, (that was not the drinking around the world, I swear!) it just wasn’t memorable enough for me.

The only thing that was the same in Epcot as Disneyland was Soarin’ Over California.  RoB wasn’t too excited about going on it since we had already done it in California, but we got fast passes (for 6 hours later) and went anyway.  The ride was exactly the same, but the line and building weren’t as cute or fun as it is in Disneyland.

RoB started telling his side of our trip in Animal Kingdom (our points of view will be quite different!)