Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pushing Daisies is Back in Business!

The fantastically jovial show about dead people is back! After taking too long of a hiatus from the second season, last night was finally a new episode. The show runs on ABC on Saturdays now at 10:00. It was cancelled long ago, and sadly still is, but ABC agreed to run the last three un-aired episodes for us loyal fans.

For those who don't watch the show: GO BUY THE FIRST SEASON. It will make you happier than you've ever felt. Here's a summary I snagged off its home page.

As a young boy Ned discovers that he can return the dead briefly to life with just one touch. But his random gift isn't without deadly consequences& as he soon finds out. He discovers the rules of his gift early: First touch - alive; second touch - dead again, forever; Keep something alive for more than a minute and something else has to die in its place.

Grown up Ned (Lee Pace) puts his talent to good use by touching dead fruit and making it ripe with everlasting flavor. He opens a pie shop. But his life as a pie maker gets more complicated when private investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) discovers Ned's secret. Emerson convinces the cash-strapped Ned to help him solve murder cases (and collect a hefty reward fee) by raising the dead and getting them to name their killers.

Then Ned is handed the case that changes his life forever. His childhood sweetheart, Charlotte "Chuck" Charles (Anna Friel), is murdered on a cruise ship under strange circumstances. Her death brings him back to his hometown of Coeur d' Coeur to bring Chuck back to life, albeit briefly, and to solve the crime. But once reunited with Chuck, Ned can't bring himself to touch her again.

Chuck becomes the third partner in Ned and Emerson's PI enterprise, but she encourages them to use their skills for good, not just for profit. Ned is overjoyed to be reunited with Chuck, the only girl he's ever loved. Life would be perfect, except for one cruel twist: If Ned ever touches her again, she'll go back to being dead, this time for good.

It's a mix of CSI meets Dr. Suess and a Harlequin Romance novel, with a little bit of everything in between. Especially if you're a theatre fan. Kristin Chenoweth and Ellen Greene frequently burst into songs, such as the Sound of Music and Hopelessly Devoted to You.

My friends and I used to have Pie Party Wednesdays (the old run-time) and eat pie while watching the happiest show on Earth.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Off Season

The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Publication Date: June 4, 2007
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: 277
Format Read: library book

Summary: Life is looking up for D.J. Schwenk. She's made it to the eleventh grade, finally. After a rocky summer, she's reconnecting with her best friend, Amber. She's got kind of a thing going with Brian Nelson, who's cute and popular and smart, but seems to like her anyway. Plus there's the fact that she's playing for the Red Bend High School football team as probably the first girl linebacker in northern Wisconsin.

But then, as the season, which began so well, starts to go suddenly, horribly wrong. As autumn progresses, D.J. struggles to understand what's happening with football, Brian, Amber, and most of all her family. And as her life turns completely upside down, she discovers she's a lot stronger than she- or anyone- ever thought.

The book started off wonderfully, with an unlikely yet lovable heroine. Six-foot-and-growing D.J. was such a different person than any other I've read about, I loved her with all my heart, seeing a bit of my old self in her. Unfortunately, she was the only character that was spoken about enough and given an actual personality in the whole story. I was left wondering all about Brian and Amber, along with her near-unmentionable siblings. Characters are vital in developing a good story, and this just didn't have any.

Once again, the general plot was decent in the beginning, but dragged on throughout the book, and I felt myself not really wanting to finish it. It wasn't terrible, but there were definitely unnecessary conversations and events that concerned characters that were hardly there, and made the story seem divergent and distracted.

It wasn't terrible, but deserves no more than a 2.5. Just not that great.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Life As We Knew It

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publication Date: October 1, 2006
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pages: 337
Format read: library book

Summary: When Miranda first hears the warnings that a meteor is headed on a collision path with the moon, they just sound like excuses for extra homework assignments. But her disbelief turns to fear in a split second as the entire world witnesses a lunar impact that knocks the moon closer in orbit, catastrophically altering the earth's climate.
Everything else in Miranda's life fades away as supermarkets run out of food, gas goes up to more than ten dollars a gallon, and school is closed indefinitely. But what Miranda and her family don't realize is that the worst is yet to come...

This book was eerie, with it's scientific explanations of this life-altering event. Definitely similar to a Scott Westerfeld book, it made me wonder if this type of thing could ever happen. As Miranda and her family began to run out of food, and conditions got worse, she learned to love more than she ever thought she would, and also learned the importance of family.

Pfeffer did an outstanding job at keeping this thriller going, but seemed as though she was tired of writing, so she simply stopped. There seems to be no definite ending, which really bothered me. It earns a 4.0, simply because I couldn't get past the fact that nothing really sums up.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Nature of Jade

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti
Publication Date: February 27, 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 288
Keywords: love, animals, romance
Format read: library book

Summary: Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, Jade DeLuna is trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That's why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, which is where she first sees Sebastian.
When she finally meets him, their connection is immediate, and soon Jade is drawn into the cozy life Sebastian has with his son and grandmother on their Seattle houseboat. Even though the situation is complicated, Jade hasn't felt this safe in a long time.
Until she learns that Sebastian is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right...

I immediately fell in love with the complicated mind of Jade. I have Panic Disorder as well, and connecting with the character was unreal to me. Caletti did an excellent job of telling her story through her words, actions, and thoughts. Tying in the zoo was a brilliant move, and I learned a lot about the behavior of elephants. That humans and animals are no different from one another. We have emotions. We have families. And the feeling of betrayal can be felt by animals as well as humans, and lasts just as long.

I was genuinely shocked towards the end of the novel. I honestly became unsure of what to expect next, which rarely happens in teen romance books. This was so much more than that. This was about life, death, and the rebirth of things long forgotten. It touched me deeply.

This comes in at a 4.5, and I will definitely be looking out for more Caletti novels.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Other Half of Me

The Other Half of Me by Emily Franklin
Publication Date: September 11, 2007
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 256
Format Read: library book

Summary: Unlike her three younger siblings, Jeny Fitzgerald knows her biological father only as Donor #142. It's never been a secret, and up until now it hasn't mattered much. But as Jenny's summer draws to a close, it suddenly means everything. With her epic crush, the gorgeous jock Tate Brodeur, by her side, Jenny searches for a genetic relative in the Donor Sibling Registry and discovers that she has a half-sister, Alexa. Jenney hopes their relationship will fill the gaps in her life, but when Alexa shos up on her doorstep for a surprise visit, the changes in Jenny's world are much bigger than she could have ever imagined.

I imagine that if I read this book during the hot month of August, laying out on the porch with a lemonade and my dog at my side, I would have thought it was a work of genius. Sadly, I read this while pseudo-studying for my AP History exam, ergo, did not find it profoundly wondrous.

It had a Meg Cabot-esque feel to it, the simple predictability and the obvious love line. However, I felt I hardly knew any character other than Jenny. Tate was surprisingly dull, and apparently possessed no unusual qualities. The two polar opposites (Jenny, an art freak, Tate, a buff football macho-man) clicked unnaturally in the cycle of "he looked at me, he said a word, we're in love now."

I didn't not like it. The plot line was wonderful and had a feel about it that you knew the story was going to be good, end well, but still could take twisting turns. The characters (oh-so-important bits of the story) were just lackluster, and were not developed enough as one would hope for.
A solid 3.5. The .5 is only added because it helped me through a major migraine I've had this week, and was just fun enough to make you think it was summer.