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Archive for October, 2012

The Age of MiraclesThe Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A haunting, coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of a dystopian future.

There are everyday ups and downs in middle school: bullying, peer pressure, discovering your first love and suffering through the awkward changes your body is going through. It is a difficult enough age without having to think about the end of the world as well. But that is exactly what Julia has to deal with, as she and the rest of humanity discovers that the world has start to spin slower. Days and nights become longer and longer. Chaos and panic fill the streets.

Amongst all of this, Julia still has to learn about first kisses and what it feels like to lose your best friend to another. Ms. Walker’s illustrious writing style perfectly captures the feelings and longings of an almost-teenager, and her descriptions of the world’s end were at times almost *too* real. Heartbreaking and bittersweet, this story won’t leave your mind for a long time.

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Sandstorm

SandstormSandstorm by James Rollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sandstorm was just what I was in the mood for – a fast-paced action/adventure with a little “Indiana Jones” type mysticism and humor thrown in. I’d never read Rollins before, but I’m glad I decided to try him. I loved the characters (Painter was my favorite – OMG), appreciated the settings and enjoyed the storyline. The only thing that kind of made me go, “Huh?” was the Queen of Sheba bit. I won’t ruin it for others, but I had a hard time grasping that part of the story. It just seemed…well, weird.

All in all, it was a fun read, though. I’ll keep reading the series.

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Boy, does it really rock it!

Yeah, kinda crappy quality, I know. I only had my phone and it’s not the best at indoor lighting, sadly.

It had been years since I’d been to a real, honest-to-goodness, hard rock concert, and I’d really missed it. The last few rockin’ concerts I’d been to were even smaller than this, and no one really did anything but stand there. And they were comprised of mostly teenagers, too. Seriously, people? IT’S A ROCK CONCERT. Your parents probably rocked it harder back in the seventies than you are right now.

But thankfully, none of those people showed up last night. Everyone that attended was there to just have fun and enjoy the bands. I know it was a much smaller venue than Nightwish would normally do, but they really did put on one of the best concerts I’ve yet seen. I was ever so slightly disappointed that they didn’t stick around longer, but I know they have multiple other places to go to. I’m sure they had another show in another town the very next day, but still. I hope they come back, because I would gladly go again.

We started the night off with Kamelot, who I always enjoy.

Stood a little further away for these guys. I don’t have a fangirl crush on any of them, sorry.

I didn’t care for their casual tossing around of the f-bomb, but that’s just my personal opinion. Honestly, I knew that if that was the worst it got, it was probably considered a mild rock concert, ha! 😉 Kamelot did several good songs, including my all-time favorite of theirs, “March of Mephisto.” They also did “Ghost Opera,” which was pretty sweet.

Then it was time for the good stuff. I had read a press release prior to the concert that Anette would not be finishing the tour due to conflicts that they couldn’t resolve. I enjoyed her voice and felt that she did well enough considering the shoes she had to fill, but I wasn’t necessarily heartbroken that she wasn’t there. (No one can really replace Tarja, so why bother trying?) They ended pulling in another gal named Floor Jansen, who apparently used to sing in After Forever and ReVamp. Actually, I’d never heard of either of those bands, but I felt she did a really great job, especially since she’d probably only been practicing the songs for a few days.

I seriously wanted her shirt. It was amazing. Of course you can’t see it here, but you can trust me that it was gorgeous.

I was especially glad that they put together a variety of songs, including some older ones. They played two of my absolute favorites from when Tarja was with them, “Dark Chest of Wonders” and “Nemo.” Plus they did “Amaranth” and several of my favorites from their new album.

Yay for being on the side of the stage closest to Tuomas! The man’s talent is seemingly endless. Three different keyboards, and he bounced back and forth between them all with little to no effort.

OMG look at his hat! Love, love, love!

I think what surprised me the most was the band’s humility despite their enormous success. Their bassist, Marco, had a great personality and was so much fun. And every time Tuomas happened to look up and see a camera phone pointed in his direction, he just smiled and shook his head, nodding over to one of the other bandmates or the lead singer. Like, “Nah, you don’t really want to take a picture of me.” (Dude, why do you think I really came here??)

Bro and I eventually managed to get about two or three rows back, so I got an awesome view of all the band. (Of course that was only after staring at a guy’s shoulder blades for the first part. Stupid tall people. The upside of being only 5’2″ and fairly small is that I can usually squeeze into the front and no one minds because they can still totally see over me. The downside is that I’m at armpit height. Not so bad unless you’re in a crowd of teenagers. We’re lucky I survived the night.)

But, all in all, it was an awesome concert and I hope they come back to Oregon again in the near future.

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