Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Random Thursday: Worst Travel Experience...

Lin, Katrin and I have a slightly different topic for you this week. It doesn't require you to clean your house, bare your soul or make a long list of favourite things, but it does require you to weave a good yarn. Cos we expect to be entertained!

I've been to a few places, but I wouldn't exactly qualify as a world traveller. My stories are generally pretty run of the mill - you know, walked around, saw the sights, bought some useless crap emblazoned with a city skyline.

But there is one trip that stands out as being more dramatic than the others - and it's one that happened close to home when I was about 6 years old. \

I live on the west coast of Canada. We've got a rail system that connects us to Calgary, Alberta through the Rocky Mountains. My mom had a friend who lived there, so one summer we hopped the train and headed towards the interior.

The ride there was breathtaking. I remember there was a cabin on top of the train with huge windows so you could go up there and just watch the trees, fields and mountains rolling by. I wish we'd had instagram back then, because man that would have been a wonderful set of pics!

Anyway, the trip was... well, I don't remember much except going to the dinosaur museum. I think. Or maybe it was a petting zoo. I can't remember, but the point is, the trip was pretty uneventful. That is, until we hopped on the train to come back home. We must have been on the train for a few hours before we pulled into a station in a small town. It was evening, just starting to get dark, and we hadn't had any dinner yet.

We unloaded passengers, but we didn't leave the station. After a little while, staff and police started crowding around on the platform. Before long they told us all to gather our belongings and leave the train. We had no idea what was going on, but we did as we were told. Things are a bit fuzzy, but I think we waited at the station for a little while before being herded to a community centre.

We must have been there for awhile, and eventually word came down that there had been a bomb threat called in and the train had to be thoroughly searched before we could get back on. Pretty scary, right? Yeah. But you know what I really remember? I remember seeing dogs on the platform with the police when we got off the train and asking my mom why they had dogs. She explained to me that they were trained to sniff out bombs so that the people wouldn't get hurt.

Now, if you know anything about me (and I'm sure you'll get this, Katrin), you'll know I'm a big animal person. Seriously, I like them better than people about 99.9% of the time (no offense). So I freaked out and was so scared for the dogs that I couldn't contain myself until we heard that there wasn't a bomb on the train and the dogs were safe. But I remember that moment, the horrible realization that those dogs could die, and I don't think I'll ever have a more horrifying experience.

So that's my big, epic travel story. What's yours?

*Sniff Sniff* The Cutest Superbowl Ad Ever

So last year Budweiser came up with an ad that made me cry. A lot. Repeatedly. And this year, they've done it again. Get some Kleenex before watching this!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Random Thursday: My Favourite Snack Food...

You know what? Yummy snacks are an important part of any day. So Lin, Katrin and I  want you to tell us what snacks you like to eat! This week's topic is:

I like my snacks. Sometimes they're healthy, sometimes not so much. So, full disclosure:

1. Starbucks Banana chocolate Chip Muffins

So unhealthy. So delicious.

2. Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Dark Chocolate Nut Bars

Not the healthiest of snacks, but they're portable and don't taste like cardboard like most of the snack bars out there I've tried.

3. Apple and Aged Cheddar Cheese

Yeah, totally weird. But something about the salty cheese and sweet apple - yum.

4. Pita and Pesto Hummus

If you guys haven't tried pesto hummus, you're totally missing out! 

5. Chips

I love salty snacks. Chips... well, I rarely buy them because once they're open, I'm not gonna be able to stop eating them.

6. Beer

Oh, come on. Like you're surprised.

Now it's your turn - what delicious treats do you crave?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Random Thursday: 5 Things You Didn't Know About Me...

I'm sorry guys, I had a bit of a situation that took up my entire evening and I didn't have a chance to work on my RT post. But check out Lin & Katrin's blogs, and I'll include the linky below! This week's topic is:

 I'll try to update with an actual post tomorrow. Sorry, guys!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Random Thursday: Books to Read in 2014...

The topic Lin & Katrin and I have for you guys is possibly my favourite of the year:

You guys have no idea what you're in for. I am all about the books. (I'm guessing you'll be getting a long post from Katrin, too!) For those of you who don't know, I have another entire blog devoted to the topic called Backlist Books, so if you want EVEN MORE bookish ramblings, go check it out. For the rest of you, here's the short list:

2014 Releases:

1. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I am in love with Rowell's writing. Eleanor & Park and Fangirl were two of my favourite books of 2013, so I cannot wait to read this new one!

2.  The Veronica Mars Book

Not only are we getting a Veronica Mars movie in 2014, but we're getting the first of two Veronica Mars books. It's going to be awesome!

3. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

I read the first two books in the Shades of London series this year (The Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath) and even though I didn't dig the second book as much, I still can't wait to find out what happens in book 3!

4. The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
Like Rainbow Rowell, I am a huge fan of Quick's writing style. So far I've only read The Silver Linings Playbook, but I can't wait to read more!

5. Unremembered by Jessica Brody

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories
period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world. - Goodreads

6. The Naturals #2 by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

 This is like a YA cross between The Mentalist and Criminal Minds. I read the first book (The Naturals) this year and I'm intrigued to find out where she takes the series.

7. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

This book could go either way, but if it works, it'll be awesome. It's about a girl who starts writing letters to dead musicians for a school writing assignment. But once she gets going, she keeps going. She tells them all about her life. Hopefully this'll be a unique format for telling a story.

8. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

I've heard lots about this book from other bloggers, and after checking it out, I get why. First line of the synopsis: "What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? " (from Goodreads). Definitely one to watch for 2014!

9. Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch. - Goodreads
10. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.
- Goodreads

Does that not sound AWESOME??

TBR Pile:

1. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I have been hearing so much about this series lately. I just HAVE TO KNOW.

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The wonderful Martha sent me this book for Christmas and I'm so looking forward to it! Everyone I know who has read it has loved it. And there's a movie version coming out soon!

3. Outpost & Horde by Ann Aguirre

I read the first book in this series (Enclave) at the end of my Xmas vacation. It was kind of like a cross between The Hunger Games, that movie 12 Monkeys and The Walking Dead. Quite well-conceived for a post-plague anti-society book. A bit more believable than some of the dystpian books I've read (*ahem* Divergent *ahem*) and with more likeable characters.

4. The Calling & The Rising by Kelley Armstrong

The Gathering, the first book in the Darkness Rising trilogy, I devoured in a day. Super easy read, but actually very well written and with an engaging, suspenseful story. Also it's set like an hour's drive from one of the towns I went to high school in, so it's cool to revisit in my head. Great if you like YA supernatural adventure.

5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I started this one over Christmas and stopped because, though it's beautifully written, it was just a bit too heavy for the holidays. I fully intend to get back to it this year though.

6. The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Katrin recommended this series to me, and I've read about the first 100 pages of this book - excellent so far. It's a scandanavian crime thriller about a detective who's shunted off into a new department called Department Q - mostly because no one wants to deal with him. But I believe he ends up solving some pretty big cases, much to everyone's suprise. Kind of reminds me of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and The Harry Bosch books by Michael Connelly.

7. The Night Circus by Erin Mogenstern

Another Christmas gift - this one and Submarine were sent to me by the lovely Katrin, who, among her other many, many virtues, has amazing taste in books. I love, love, love the way this book is written. It creates such amazingly beautiful mental images, and the story is intriguing!

8. Submarine by Joe Dunthorne

Katrin told me that this is a lot like the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend, which I read as a kid. So far it does bear striking resemblance, so if you were a fan... this might be your next great read! Also, recommended by Katrin. So, you know.

9. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski

Another one I've started but not finished. If you liked The Night Circus, this'll probably be up your alley - they both have a magical realism feel to the writing and story elements. This one is about a boy who doesn't speak, but can hear everything happening around him - even the voices of the dead. I like the writing style particularly.

10. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack

I know, I know, I have to read this. Immediately.

Okay, that's my very, very long list! What's on yours? Link up and share!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Random Thursday: This Year I'm Looking Forward To.... & Anti-Resolutions

Sorry for missing last week, guys. Totally my bad. What with Xmas and all, I totally forgot I hadn't scheduled a post! Hopefully Lin & Katrin were more on the ball than I was! Anyway, I'm back, and this week's topic is:

Last year, this one would have been a breeze for me. I had all sorts of big plans. This year? Honestly, I'm pretty much just looking forward to Saturdays. But there are a couple of things I'm excited about.

1. The new season of Sherlock.

Seriously. BEST. SHOW. EVER.

2. The possibility of seeing Lin.

I'm really hoping I'll get to visit sunny cali (possibly foggy San Fran) again next summer. Which would be awesome because I loved it there, but also because I might get to see Lin again, and that's pretty much the high point of any year. 

Last year I went to San Fran but Lin couldn't make it, so I had to make to with very-badly-hand-drawn Lin that I made myself. I took way too many pics like these to send her:

Yeah, I know, I'm completely ridiculous. Suffice it to say, San Fran will be WAY better with real live Lin. If for no other reason than she's a lot easier to take pictures of when it's windy out. Paper Lin kept trying to fly away.

That's all I can really think of, at least for right now. And because I'm a total lame blogger and missed last week's post, here's some bonus material:

You know, the new year doesn't mean a whole lot to me. I feel like positive change shouldn't be something we do once a year. It should be something we do whenever we see something that needs changing. So with that in mind, we're doing anti-resolutions. Like these:

1. I will not turn into a woo-girl.

2. I will not become a fan of Valentine's Day.

3. I will not watch The Notebook (this year or ever).

4. I will not start watching reality TV

5. I will not kill anyone on public transit

No matter how tempting it is.

Okay, that's me for this (and last) week! If you can forgive us for being BAD BLOGGERS, link up bellow with your post on either of these two topics!

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