Catching Up

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Clearly I have not been here in a very long time, and I apologize for that. I have been overtly busy with school and dance starting. So here I am to catch you up.

Books

Some of the recent books I have read and loved but have not posted reviews about. Maybe one day soon I will get around to it. First off, Scars by Cheryl Rainfield. This novel is flat out amazeballs. If you are looking for a very powerful read, I would definitely recommend this one. Following this story, it managed to make me break down and cry at least 3 times. Possibly four. Second, Impulse by Ellen Hopkins and Perfect by Ellen Hopkins. For the record, I love Ellen Hopkins books in general. I love the verse novels and the way she always manages to weave characters live together through heartbreak. Last but not least, Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin. I loved that this novel was set back when racism was a big thing, and I loved how the main character grew after he had kids. Once the tables turned against him, he realized what he had done wrong all those years ago. A few that I am dying to read would be Dear Bully by Megan Kelley Hall, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, and Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King.

Dance

Soooo dilemma. I do not technically have a class. :( I go to the studio on Thursdays from 4:30 until 8:30 to assist in other classes, but when it comes to mine, I don’t have one yet. Basically all the girls in my class quit, so I can either go down a level to my brothers class, or go “up” a level into the ladies class. The ladies class meets on Mondays, the day I have school. Wondering why up is in quotes? I will tell you, yes the ladies have 20 years on me, but yes I have talent on them. So basically whether I decide to go down a level or “up” a level, I will be one of the better ones. :p

Assisting on Thursdays is, well….-sigh- I love dance, don’t get me wrong. I love recital time when 85% of the kids backstage are shouting my name. But the whole teaching them every week drives me bonkers. Sometimes I think their parents give them a pound of chocolate before class every week. Plus on little girl always cries. Every time. I don’t mind teaching kids to read or write, teach the sign language, or even how to read. But teaching them to dance can be hella hectic. It stresses me out to say the least. Also, the main teacher is pregnant at the moment, so I do most of the physical work. I also run tiny errands here and there, especially around recital time.

Life

Life is blah. Don’t ask, just assume it’s all fine.

So, that’s my brief attempt at catching you all up on my life. ♥

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

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Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Received ARC

★★★★★ 5/5 Stars

Expected Publication: January 16th, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads): Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life.

Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go.

But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.

Austin Parker suffers from Leukemia and is on a mission to help out those who seem to have lost their way. Since he is not going to make it past the age of 18 he feels that those who can live on should do it happily, not doing drugs and acting like they have given up on life.

I really liked this book a lot. It got to me more than I thought it would. I cried twice while reading this, and it is definitely an easy read. I love it when a book has so much emotion put into it that you yourself cry. I would definitely recommend this book!

Divergent by Veronica Roth

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  Divergent by Veronica Roth

Own Signed Copy.

★★★★★ 5/5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):  In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Holy wow.

This may be the best dystopian novel I have read since The Hunger Games series. Veronica Roth is an amazing writer. Period.

I felt like I really connected with all of these characters in the sense that I could feel what they felt. Everything about this book was beautifully written. Beatrice is a wonderful heroine who really proved herself over and over throughout the book. She is an entirely new person by the end of the novel.

The characters have to choose whether to stay with their original faction or go into a new faction once they reach a certain age. They then have to go through the factions initiation in order to officially join that faction. Veronica Roth does a wonderful job of showing how not every character is going to make it through the initiation with all of the same effects. She shows how some miss their original factions, how some can’t handle initiation, and how others do really well in initiation.

If you haven’t picked this book up yet, I highly recommend you do soon!! I can’t wait for the next one!

Dance Recital 2011

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Ah the dance recital. I spend weeks stressing over it and then it gets here and I am fine. Getting onstage and performing for 3-4 minutes at a time makes me feel like a totally different person. Standing on the stage you can hear the music and the kids backstage. All you can see is two rows of heads in the audience because the stage lights are so bright. I am always nervous backstage waiting for my turn to go. Always. Yet, once I get out there I am fine. Here’s a brief overview of how the three nights went.

Thursday: (rehearsal) I got to the school at 4 to start setting everything up. We had to tear it all down because the school was going to have their own play during the day so none of our stuff could stay up. We did a run through of how everything was going to work and let me tell you, it was rough.

Friday: (recital) I got to the school at 4 so that we could start setting up the stage (again). We put together all background pieces, hung streamers, put stickers here and there, ect. ect. All the classes have dressing rooms so I had to run back an forth between the rooms and the stage to make sure all the classes were lined up when they were supposed to be. The classes have backstage moms, but they (clearly) don’t pay very good attention. THREE times I ran to the rooms and had to go “You’re going on stage in 30 seconds, you need to run.” We also had two costume changes run rather slow and had to have a brief pause. (not long at all really) So working backstage that night was pretty stressful. I did hip-hop really well, and did tap really well, but I effed up ballet really bad. The other girls in my class were watching me because they didn’t know the dance either and so they also effed up. Improve worked well though. :)

Saturday: I got there at 4 again but this time to practice ballet. Me and Lexie worked on it a few times and had it by the last time we practiced it. Backstage this night was not bad at all. It was a breeze! The kids were all ready to go and got their costumes changed on time! Saturday is always more energetic for some reason that I can’t explain. Onstage though, one of the younger girls began crying onstage so we had to calm her down and send her back out there. She finished her dance really well. :) Another little girl was doing tap and lost a shoe onstage, it was hilarious. At the end of the show, we sang one of the girls happy birthday. She cried and loved it and then gave a speech. I (again) did hip-hop well, tap well, and effed up ballet. I didn’t mess up as bad as Friday though.

When I am onstage I can always hear the little kids classes that I teach backstage cheering for me. I love it. After the recital we always go to Huckleberry Junction for pizza and the kids will always be screaming for me to watch them do this or that. They are so cute. I can’t wait for next year.

Nervous

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For what you are about to read, I may (will) say nervous a zillion times. Bear with me, because I am….nervous.

My dance recital is coming up this weekend. My nerves are not prepared, not that they ever are. This is my 16th year dancing and my 4th or 5th year assisting. (I lost count, but it is somewhere around there) Every year I am still super freaking nervous. I stand backstage shuffling kids around, trying to change outfits, keeping kids quiet, running minor errands, running kids to the restroom, trying to find my shoes in the dark, trying to keep calm before I walk on stage, ect. ect. Yet every year I do just fine. Maybe I will make a mistake here and there but really, who doesn’t? I just have to hope that no one in the audience noticed it. Usually my mom is the only one who does catch it because she goes both nights.

Anyway, I have my hip-hop dance down really well. I am not worried about that one, tap I have down but I am not sure the other girls in my class do. That makes me nervous. Then we come down to ballet. When I say ballet, yes it is ballet on pointe shoes. I do not have the ending of this dance down, which makes me insanely nervous. Plus I have weak ankles or something and fall a lot in practice. Hopefully I don’t fall on stage.

Last years recital went really well, and I loved it. Though I love every recital. :) Here’s some photos from last years recital.

Sitting in the Rain

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Last night it stormed, and I rather like storms. Don’t get me wrong I prefer the warm sunshine but every now and then I need a good storm. So from about 11:45pm to 12:45am I sat in the middle of it. I grabbed a blanket and sweatpants and just sat there. My cousin asked me, “Why?”.

That’s hard to explain, but I decided I would go for it anyway. I tend to over think things, not just big things but everything. It clogs my head and puts a compressed feeling around my chest. The compressed feeling isn’t pain, it’s more like the feeling you get when you want to cry but know that at this point in time, you can’t. (not that I want to cry all the time) Now, music and reading take my mind off of things, but they don’t make them disappear. It is basically just to keep my mind off of whatever was terrorizing it at the moment. (yes, my mind does sometimes terrorize me) There is something in the rhythm of the rain that counts as music. The way that it constantly taps along the area up until it slowly fades out. Since that is not “technically” music it soothes my mind but doesn’t have the full drowning out effect that an actual song would. The lightning in a storm counts as a bright spot in a rather dull moment, making storm watching worthwhile. Something about all of that combined makes sitting in a storm just to think completely worth it. I also seem to sleep better when it is storming, but I can’t even begin to explain why on that. White noise maybe?

That’s about the best way I can explain why I like to sit in a storm just to think. When it is just raining, it doesn’t have the same effect. When it is just raining, I want to plug myself into my iPod and dance.

Dirty Little Secrets

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  Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu

Own Copy.

★★★★ 4/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. Tackling an increasingly discussed topic that is both fascinating and disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy’s desperate attempt to save her family. Readers join Lucy on a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen’s life will have them completely hooked.

My book club and I decided to get this book the other day, and I finished it later that night. Lucy’s mom is a hoarder, and has been since Lucy can remember. Lucy desperately tries to hide her moms disorder from everyone. She never has friends over, not that she has very many, and tries her best to talk about other people and not herself.

I liked this book a lot and didn’t want to put it down. Lucy tries so hard to keep it a secret, and when she knows her cover is about to be blown apart, she has to work diligently to keep it a secret. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for you guys, but Omololu does a wonderful job of keeping your attention through the whole story. I found myself not wanting to put the book down.