Latest NetGalley Reads

Who loves NetGalley as much as I do? If you aren't on it yet, just sign up for an account, search through titles, request books to read on your favorite e-reader, submit feedback, and share your review on your blog. Simple! Here are the books I've read lately.


I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People by Jenny Mollen I love Jenny on Twitter and thought her book would be just as hilarious. There were many funny moments and I enjoy her no-nonsense shocking ways and self-depreciating humor, but I couldn't relate with a lot of her stories because she is borderline crazy. I wouldn't say I loved this book, but I definitely liked the majority of it. 


One Plus One: A Novel by Jojo Moyes The story revolves around a struggling mother, Jess, her math whiz daughter, and her misunderstood step-son. When her daughter is invited to attend an elite school, Jess does everything she can to afford to pay for it. After a series of unfortunate events, an unlikely hero sweeps in and takes them on a cross country road trip so the daughter can participate in a Math Olympiad to earn money for her tuition. I admit, that plot sounds a little far-fetched, but it was a cute story with funny and heartbreaking situations and likable characters. In some ways, it reminded me of Little Miss Sunshine.


Ghosting by Edith Pattou I had no idea this book was written in verses like a poem or that it shared the perspective of nine different people, which I usually hate, but the plot sounded good enough to stick with it. I'm glad I did because I really liked it! The story is based on one summer night in a Midwestern town (involving alcohol, guns, a house party, and a haunted house) and how it all goes wrong in a matter of minutes, changing the lives of these high school students forever. It was a quick read and the free verse/stream of consciousness was easier to follow than I anticipated. I loved the different points of view and background of each character. I recommend it!


South Park FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Who, What, Where, When and #%$* of Americas Favorite Mountain Town by Dave Thompson I don't know how popular South Park is anymore, but Jacob and I still watch every single episode. Matt Stone and Trey Parker are geniuses and I'll forever watching anything they create. This book is a very, very detailed look into the history of the show. While the background went into far more detail than I ever cared to know, I'm sure hardcore fans will appreciate it and it was presented well. My favorite parts include the list of celebrity storylines, character biographies, the A-Z breakdown of topics discussed throughout the series, the list of crimes each character has committed, and the chapter dedicated to Kenny's deaths. 


I received these books from NetGalley for review purposes.

Philadelphia

When Leeann and I arrived in Philly, it was too early to check into the hotel so we grabbed to-go drinks in Reading Terminal and jumped on another double decker bus tour. We saw so many famous sights like the "Rocky Steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Oldenburg Clothespin, the Betsy Ross House, and hung out in JFK Plaza with the Love sculpture for a while.


By then it was time for lunch and another blogger meetup!
We ate (and drank) at El Vez with Steph and Jules. I could have stayed there talking with them all day long!


After lunch Leeann and I went up to the observation deck of the City Hall Tower.
It was a very creepy elevator ride and a janky little platform, but the view was worth it.

 



Finally it was time for the main attraction: ONE DIRECTION!



We continued sightseeing the next morning, starting with Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
It was so cool to see the very place the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted and signed.





We walked along Elfreth's Alley, the oldest residential street in the country,
and visited Christ Church Burial Ground and Benjamin Franklin's grave.




Leeann and I were exhausted after lunch. We could have filled our remaining hour with another destination, but we were happy to just go back to the hotel and wait for our cab to the airport. We went nonstop for four and a half days with only five hours of sleep each night. I love maximizing my time that way, but by the end, I was dead.

Let's talk about food. We got a soft pretzel, which was nothing special except that it was fifty cents and not five bucks like they are here in Seattle. We got Philly cheese steaks at Sonny's. Mine was a little dry, but that could be because I declined the Cheez Whiz. Tastykake was a definite win. I'm a sucker for a plastic wrapped wannabe pastry or pie. Yum. Leeann said you can sometimes find them at Walmart. I'm gonna have to check into this.


Thankfully my poor foot held up pretty well. I had to take it easy and hopefully didn't slow the girls down too much, but it wasn't as bad as I feared. I also didn't have any anxiety issues. I'm sure that's because I knew the boys were home, safe with Jacob. I also got really lucky and scored exit row seats on the plane both ways. That little bit of extra leg room makes a HUGE difference when you're six feet tall!

It really was a fun vacation! Leeann and I are pretty similar vacationers and had a blast together. I'll be seeing her again in November when we take a family vacation to California, but we need to plan another trip soon. I also loved getting to see so many blog pals! I wish I could move you all into my neighborhood and hang out with you every day!! 

Emmys

The Emmys are on tonight! It's the first time in 38 years that they're airing on a Monday. I guess they didn't want to compete with Sunday Night Football, True Blood and the VMAs. The Emmys are my absolute favorite, probably because I watch too much TV, and I can't wait to see Seth Meyers as host! Here's who I'd like to see win.

DRAMA
Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, Mad Men, True Detective

Breaking Bad. It has to go out with a bang, right?


BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Bryan Cranston, Jeff Daniels, Jon Hamm, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey

I'm going with Matthew McConaughey, but Bryan is a close second.


BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Lizzy Caplan, Claire Danes, Michelle Dockery, Julianna Margulies, Kerry Washington, Robin Wright

My vote goes to Robin Wright, but I have a feeling Julianna will win.
I still need to start watching The Good Wife! Get on that, Netflix.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Aaron Paul, Peter Dinklage, Jon Voight, Jim Carter, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Charles

Aaron Paul. Hands down.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Christine Baranski, Joanne Froggatt, Anna Gunn, Lena Headey, Christina Hendricks, Maggie Smith

I have a feeling Anna Gunn will win and I'm not mad about it.


COMEDY
The Big Bang Theory, Louie, Modern Family, Orange Is the New Black, Silicon Valley, Veep

Veep! Or Orange Is The New Black! Or Louie! Or Silicon Valley!
Anything but The Big Bang Theory, really.
And enough with Modern Family. They win every year and it's not that funny.


BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Louis CK, Don Cheadle, Ricky Gervais, Matt LeBlanc, William H. Macy, Jim Parsons

Louis CK all the way.


BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Lena Dunham, Edie Falco, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler, Taylor Schilling

 Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a genius! 


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Fred Armisen, Andre Braugher, Ty Burrell, Adam Driver, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Tony Hale

I think Adam Driver is a long shot, but I loved him this season.
Tony Hale is my second choice.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Julie Bowen, Kate Mulgrew, Mayim Bialik, Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon, Anna Chlumsky

Kate McKinnon! She's my favorite right now. Anna Chlumsky is amazing too.


Which actors and shows are you rooting for?

A Few Of My Favorite Things

I try to stay light and positive on my blog and it's not because I don't care about more serious issues. It's been a rough few weeks in this country and everyone has opinions about all the bad news. I started to share my feelings on Twitter but got so irritated by the way people react to it and all the ignorant statements, I just stopped. I'm appalled by the negativity! So now I'm paying attention to the headlines, but keeping quiet, which people will probably still judge me for. It's just not worth my mental stability to engage. So here's a little fluff for your Saturday morning - a few of my favorite things from the Internet this week.



The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story airs on September 1. The actor playing Zack looks ridiculous, but I can't wait to see it! A week later The Brittany Murphy Story will premiere. Lifetime is on point...if you're in your 30s.

Broadway's Aladdin tribute to Robin Williams made me cry. 

Taylor Swift's Ew! sketch on Jimmy Fallon was pretty funny and I love that she pulled inspiration from her childhood for her character.

Kate Plus 8 is coming back to TLC. Did you see those two specials they aired earlier this summer? I loved that show so much and could't believe how big the kids are. I'll definitely be watching.

Britney Spears started another round of Piece of Me performances at Planet Hollywood and looks incredible! We gotta start planning our trip, Misty!

I love Running Drawing. I'm basically a 14-year old boy. But seriously, why not make exercise fun? Plus her captions are hilarious.

Here is seven minutes of Frank Underwood quotes. I love that man.

Movies From My Childhood

As a kid of the '80s and early '90s, I grew up watching some amazing movies. We were one of the first people I knew to have a VCR and VHS rewinder machine thing. Did those have an official name? They were a modern marvel, that's all I know. We lived two blocks away from video rental store and visited it a few times a week and almost daily in the summer months. We also loved to record movies from TV onto VHS to watch whenever we wanted. These are the movies that defined my childhood.

My little bother's favorites were anything involving an adventure, so we rented them a lot. Space Camp was the best and put the idea in my head that I could be an astronaut. Thanks a lot, stupid movie. We also loved Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, The Goonies, Flight of the Navigator, Labyrinth, and Back to the Future. 


We also really loved monster movies. Beetlejuice is still so amazing! That's what started my love affair with Tim Burton. Little Monsters was probably too young for me, but I still liked watching it with my little siblings. The Monster Squad was pretty good. I remember having a big crush on badass Rudy, played by Ryan Lambert, who was also on Kids, Incorporated



We watched a ton of Christmas movies throughout the year. Home Alone is the best, hands down. We still quote it constantly with some of the most obscure lines. A Christmas Story was one of my dad's favorites. I liked it as a kid, but I think it's obnoxious now. I know that's not a popular opinion, don't hate me. Most people have never heard of Babes in Toyland. Annette Funicello and Tom Sands star in this musical about an emending wedding, stolen sheep, a murder plot, and a broke-down toy maker. It's a very, very strange movie based on a 1903 operetta. We recorded it from TV, memorized the songs, and watched it all the time. 


For some reason, we liked a lot of movies about babysitters. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's DeadUncle Buck, and Adventures in Babysitting are all great movies! I wanted to be Sue Ellen Crandell (Christina Applegate) and also wanted Uncle Buck to come live with us. I miss John Candy.


As the oldest child with a little sister who did whatever I said, I unfairly got to choose the majority of the movies. Our favorite tween movies were She's Out of Control (ugly-duckling-transforms-to-swan story), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (no need to explain this plot, right? I couldn't wait for high school after I watched it), Cry-Baby (Johnny Depp plays a teen rebel and starts dating a square which causes an uproar in 1950s Baltimore), Like Father Like Son (classic trading places film. I loved it because Kirk Cameron was my number one childhood crush), Mannequin (which was probably too mature for us, but we loved it, and inspired us to make up a Mannequin game to play in the front yard), and Girls Just Want To Have Fun (the first dance movie we ever saw. It's on Netflix. You should check it out for the sweet '80s moves alone).


We watched a ton coming-of-age movies with our neighborhood friends. My Girl made me cry every single time. (By the way, Anna Chlumsky as Amy on Veep is awesome!) The Sandlot was one of my brother's favorites. We loved that misfit group of kids playing baseball all summer. The girls in the neighborhood really loved Now and Then and we always wished our adventures (but not our home lives) were as cool as theirs. We listened to the soundtrack all the time, which got us hooked on oldies. It also started my girl crush on Christina Ricci.


We watched a few teen movies too. Wayne's World was THE BEST. I saw it in the movie theater with my brother about a week after I discovered Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and thought that scene was the best thing ever. We were pretty big Pauly Shore fans back then. I know, but I was like thirteen, give me a break. We loved Encino Man and Son In Law. I still watch the latter every Thanksgiving.


We even liked some movies meant for older audiences. Steel Magnolias was my dad's absolute favorite. He grew up in the south and I think it reminded him of home. We had the soundtrack, which is mostly instrumental, and he forced us to listen to in silence in the car. We moaned and groaned every time my dad re-rented Some Kind of Wonderful, but watched it every time and it's still one of my favorite John Hughes movies. Pure Country was a movie we watched in the early '90s just as we were starting to listen to country music. It was my introduction to George Strait.


My dad was really into horror movies. I'm sure we were too young for some of them, but we'd rent them in the middle of a sunny day and watch with him in the room. Poltergeist, The People Under The Stairs and When A Stranger Calls Back were our favorites. Not When A Stranger Calls, I'm talking about the made-for-TV sequel with the super scary ending that haunted us for years! I still think about that one when I'm home alone at night.


I would still watch any of those movies, but these next five movies were the ones I loved the most and are still my favorites to this day. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was perfection. I still talk about it like it came out a year ago. Footloose will always be my favorite '80s movie. Nothing beats Kevin Bacon dancing out all his aggression in that old warehouse. We all know how awesome Jurassic Park is. I explained the plot to Nolan the other day and he was definitely interested. I can't wait until he's a little older so we can watch it together. A League of Their Own was a movie we watched on repeat. It held a special place in our hearts because my grandma was a Rockford Peach. Not until a few years later when the league died down, but still pretty cool! My sister and I knew every single word to Speed. I'm pretty sure she could still recite it from beginning to end. 


Have you seen all these movies?
What were your favorites as a kid?