June 15, 2012

Friday Favorites: Entertainment Edition

Hurray! We're down to merely hours in our countdown to that magical hour of the week: Friday at 5:00. Word on the street is that tonight is date night around these parts (much needed, it has been a looong time), so I'm pretty excited to get home, get a few miles under my feet, and then straighten my hair for someone other than my coworkers (ha). To celebrate the end of the week, it's time to share a little bit of what I'm loving lately. This time around, I'm highlighting a few of the things that have been keeping my eyes and ears happily entertained:

I've been making an effort to find more time for reading recently -- I forget how much I love getting lost in a great book until it's 2 in the morning and I promise my sleepy self for the fifth time that I'll turn off the light after just one more chapter. Here's what I've been enjoying so far this summer:
I included this book in my Friday Favorites a few weeks ago, but it is so worth a second mention. Written by one of my favorite bloggers, it presents a unique and truly stunning perspective on parenting, love, family, heartache, and acceptance. Each story Kelle tells is imbued with a warmth and passion that makes it riveting, even as it makes you cry. Her journey with Lainey and Nella is beautiful, and her ability to share it so genuinely is really incredible.

It's true. You can go ahead and judge me. I had actually been avoiding this book for months, just as I usually steer very clear of any movie/book/celebrity that makes teenage girls shriek and declare their undying love to someone they've never met (see also: Twilight, Justin Bieber, High School Musical). However, after assurance from my best friend M (an English major in college), this blogger who shared my hesitation, and my mom (of all people) that Hunger Games was different, I begrudgingly agreed to try it. Verdict? I'm glad I read it, but I'm not nearly as head over heels as most people seem to be. The story was good -- I enjoyed the plot line and the few twists that weren't quite so easy to spot from three chapters away. From a "big picture" perspective, it was decent, even pretty good. The thing that drove me crazy, though, were the details: the lack of consistent character development and the moments where I had to pause and shake my head, wondering what motivated a completely incongruous thought or action beyond the author's need to move the story line along. To me, the writing also left something to be desired -- unfortunately, I was continually reminded that I was reading a book for young adults, with the vocabulary and sentence structure to prove it. Overall, I have certainly read much better, but I've also read much, much worse. It was a good summer book: light and fluffy, quick and easy to come back to. I was intrigued enough by the ending that I did buy the second book, which I've just started.
(Go ahead, all of you who would like to blast me for not thinking this is the book of the century. I can take it.)

I ran across this book on amazon quite by accident: it was one of their discounted Kindle books this month, which are typically C+ grade literature at best, but my quick scroll through was interrupted by the beauty of this cover (I know, I know... don't judge a book and whatnot). I was intrigued by the description and at $1.99, it was worth the chance. This turned out to be another quick read (all of 24 hours), not because it was fluffy (although it was, a little) but because I just couldn't get away from it. Part coming-of-age, part psychology-of-a-college-student, with enough early-20's angst to make it interesting, it reminded me a bit of my own years at school. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing, but what sold me was the emotion: these characters were real. I saw myself in all three of them as they struggled with loss, love, and trying to figure out exactly how to steer their lives in a direction that they could accept. Definitely a great summer read, although it left me a bit sad that it is Ryan Quinn's only novel to date.

The hubs and I have really enjoyed watching our way through this Discovery Channel miniseries over dinners this week. The episodes are a great mix of awe-inspiring NASA footage, interviews with such legends as Armstrong, Aldrin, and Lovell, and enough nail-biting suspense that we are thankful to be watching this on Netflix, without actual commercial breaks. This series focuses less on the rockets themselves and more on the astronauts who flew them, as well as the incredible support staff on the ground in Houston. I have learned a lot, although perhaps the most interesting tidbit that has emerged over our viewing is the realization that while my hubby would love to travel into orbit, I think I'm perfectly happy to watch with both feet on the ground.

If my husband was reading this, I guarantee he just rolled his eyes and closed his web browser. As tough as it is to admit, though, this so-awful-it's-wonderful show is my favorite guilty pleasure. It was one of the only TV shows I watched consistently while hubs was deployed, and even though I've missed most of the present season (I fear that turning it on would probably drive him back to Iraq), I did thoroughly enjoy a episode at the gym a few nights ago. The level of crazy on screen during this hour simply can't be rivaled, and I love it just because it puts my not-quite-so-ridiculous life in perspective.

(Sorry for the boring video... it's the best I could find)
This song is currently on repeat in the car, on my runs, and in my head. Casey James has a fantastic voice and the melody is absolutely gorgeous. I am also so in love with the lyrics that I've wondered more than once if it would be worth packing a suitcase and heading to the airport, just for the romantic "don't get on that plane, I love you" moment. So far I've decided against it -- Dan is so laid back and unconcerned that I'm pretty sure he'd just tell me to have a nice flight... besides, if I'm headed anywhere on an airplane, it's going to be with him in the seat next to me!

This movie isn't actually out yet, but I am counting down the days. Dan and I have watched the trailer at least seven times in the past week, and every time I laugh so hard I cry. It is totally irreverent and at times downright inappropriate (what do you expect from Seth MacFarlane?), but still so so funny. Warning: if you're easily offended, it's probably not for you -- the R rating is definitely well earned. I am just powerless not to laugh at such awful things coming out of a cute, fuzzy teddy bear, though.

And on that note... Happy weekend, everyone!



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