The Quest for the Sony Reader Touch


If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I've been all about The Quest for the Sony Reader Touch. Well, I finally found it on Saturday in Aventura Mall. And it was on sale. And I bought it. And I may or may not have squeed. (Loudly.)

My boyf encouraged me not to open it until Cyber Monday, in case it was discounted even further. I was distraught at first at the thought of not being able to open my precious, but he made good sense, so I agreed. Cyber Monday came and went, there was no additional discount, and so the Reader was opened with much fanfare and joy. Oh, and more squeeing, too.

So why did I choose the Sony Reader Touch? What made me choose the Sony Reader over the Kindle and the Nook was the fact that the device and the Reader Store are not restricted, and you can even check out e-books from libraries that offer the service. I already have a library nearby where I can check out the e-books online FOR FREE for as many as 21 days. Which is amazing. In addition, the Sony Reader lets you download any Google ebook, most of which are FREE. Good stuff. (Note: They are free because many of them contain copyrights whose licenses have expired. For example, I was able to download The Awakening by Kate Chopin for free.)

My first purchased ebooks were Girl at Sea and Scarlett Fever by Mauren Johnson. (I'm on a Maureen Johnson kick lately, what can I say). And now I want to hear from you -- which ebooks should I download? Give me your recs in the comments!


Lolcat of the Week

Happy Monday! Actually, today is more like Stressful Monday -- I was visited by district personnel today in my classroom THREE SEPARATE TIMES. The last group even stayed watching me teach for thirty minutes. I was a sweaty bundle of nerves by the time they left. I just wanted to collapse. (I'm surprised I didn't collapse!)

Here's hoping the visit went well for my school. *fingers crossed* At least the cat above is adorable. I chose him because it was an instant cheer-me-up. Hope it cheers up your day, too! :)


These are a few of my (current) favorite things...

harry potter & the deathly hallows, part 1.
If you read my recent review of this film, then you know how much I loved it. Expectations were high for this film adaptation -- it's such an important book, but such a sprawling, momentous book as well. It seemed inevitable that they'd mess it up. At least, that's what I kept telling myself up to the very moment I took my seat in the theater on its opening day. But lo and behold, it not only met my expectations, it surpassed them.

This is the first movie that doesn't take place in the comfort of Hogwarts. There is no Dumbledore to guide Harry, Hermione, and Ron. This time around, they are on their own out in the "real" world." The film is great because it handles this with the right balance of gravitas and levity. Despite what you might think, it's not all gloom and doom -- there are some lovely moments of lightness that carry the movie through some of its darker patches.

But here I am, giving you yet another review when you can just read the original.

cut the rope.
To be honest, the iPhone has lost some of its sparkly appeal for me. In the first few months when I owned it, it was like a shiny new toy. Much to my boyf's grief, it barely even left my hands. And woe betide anyone who tried to pry it from my death-grip. There was no app I wouldn't download, no game I wouldn't try. I had it bad.

But in the last few months, I kind of gave it a rest. New apps came and went. I didn't care. I stopped obsessively playing Words with Friends (which if you know me at all, is a real feat). But then a friend casually mentioned this new iPhone game she's been playing, something called Cut the Rope. She warned it was quite addictive. This was enough to prick my ears.

Curious, I decided to give it a try. And it is quite addictive! My iPhone is my shiny new toy again, thanks to this brand new game. Like most addictive apps on the iPhone, Cut the Rope is incredibly silly, but also incredibly fun. Best of all, it's incredibly cheap -- only .99 on iTunes.

caramel brulée latte.
I first tried the wonder that is Starbuck's caramel brulée latte last year. I was despondent when they stopped carrying it after Christmas. The months passed and I forgot about it, but then I pulled into Starbucks last week and saw it listed in their menu. And I swear to you it was like a chorus of angels began singing Hallelujah. This, my friends, is heaven in a cup. Get it today -- you won't be sorry.

tousle me softly haircare line.
I have naturally wavy hair that I can coax into curls or tame straight. It has the tendency to frizz in high humidity, which is what led me to do the Brazilian straightening treatment, otherwise known as keratin, two years ago. While it removed the frizz and made my hair easier to straighten, it wasn't without its negative side effects -- I did the treatment a few times but then stopped when I noticed my scalp and face had gotten much greasier, leading to bad breakouts in both areas. In addition, I began losing a lot of hair.

It's now been almost two years since I last did a keratin treatment and my hair still hasn't regained its curl completely. But then I tried some new products last week and it was like greeting an old friend -- the curls are back! And it's all thanks to Herbal Essences "tousle me softly" haircare line. I have used expensive products like Ouidad in the hopes of bringing the curls back, but nothing has worked except for this. I apply both the mousse and the spray gel on towel dried hair then dry on low heat, "scrunching" the curls between my fingers all the while. I'm left with bouncy, defined curls that are both shiny and soft.

I probably won't ever stop straightening my hair, especially on the weekend and for events, but it's nice to know I have another styling option now.

the national.
I have my boyf Ricky to thank for introducing me to this band, as is the case with most of the amazing music I love today. (The boy's got taste, he does. ;D)

The National is an indie rock band from Brooklyn. The lead singer has a voice like molasses -- it's that deep and sweet. They have the tendency to layer their songs with multiple instruments, everything from guitar to violins. It gives their music an otherworldly feel, something I appreciate in other bands like Grizzly Bear and Wolf Parade.

Here is the video for my favorite song from The National, "Anyone's Ghost" from their album High Violet. Also-also, has their album High Violet on sale today for $1.99. Which is a steal.

I first met Tricia Heighway, author of the book Paddytum, on the collaborative writing site Protagonize. It thrills me to no end that I know an actual, published author! Well, I know her over the Internet, which I suppose isn't the same... but still. I think it's cool. :)

One of her first pieces I remember reading on Protagonize was Paddytum. It's the story of an unemployed middle-aged man still living at home with his mother. One day while he is in his bedroom doing nothing productive (as usual), he hears a voice coming from his teddy bear, Paddytum. And that is just the beginning of the strange and wonderful things that you can expect from this book.

Intrigued? Here is a brief synopsis:
At one thirty-three in the afternoon, on the second Wednesday in May, something happened which was to change Robert Handle's life forever. At the time, he did not realise it would be a change for the better. Rob is man who has reached his forties without achieving anything at all. To his mother's dismay, he has dug himself into a rut so deep it will take more than a shovel to dig him out. It will take someone...or something, very special. Paddytum is the funny, poignant and heartwarming story of one man and his bear.
Tricia's writing reminds me of both Neil Gaiman and Roald Dahl, in its blithe acceptance of the fantastical. But her sense of humor is entirely her own -- it's both tongue-in-cheek and bittersweet, and utterly captivating. This is one of the best books I've read in the last year and I highly recommend it.

You can learn more about Paddytum and also purchase it directly from Hirst Publishing.

What are your favorites this month?

P.S.) I'm just 3 itty bitty people away from 100 "Likes" on my bloggy Facebook page. When the "Likes" reach 100, I will do a giveaway. So what's not to "Like"? ;)

{all pictures credit of Google images}


O Christmas Tree...

Hello bloggy readers!

How was your Thanksgiving? I spent mine with Ricky and his family. There was turkey and ham and apple pie, and a spectacular green bean casserole that I'm still dreaming about today.

Did you take part in any Black Friday sales? I sure did... from the comfort of my home. Ricky is far braver than me -- he went to Walmart at midnight and stayed up late scouring different sales from Walmart to Target and even the (shudder) mall. He got some pretty good deals, but there was no way I could've done that. I'm a bit of an oddball for a girl in that I prefer online shopping to Real Life shopping. *shrug*

Now that the Thanksgiving leftovers have been eaten and the sales bins have been emptied, what's next? I'll tell you what's next: CHRISTMAS! (Can you tell I'm a wee bit excited about this?) I can't wait to set up my Christmas tree in my classroom (I can't put up a tree at home, alas -- unless I want my cats to serve as decorations) and start mailing out Christmas cards. I've even been playing Christmas music all day. Yes, I know -- I'm cheesy like that.

Speaking of Christmas cards, if you would like to receive one from little ole me, just send me your mailing address:



Happy Thanksgiving!

In case I don't get the chance to go online tomorrow, I wanted to wish you a very happy and restful Thanksgiving holiday with your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving! :-)


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 {my thoughts}

So last Friday Ricky and I went to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1." I've been wanting to see this movie for seemingly forever. I was so, so scared I wouldn't be able to see it last week since I was still getting over the flu from hell, but thankfully, I was much better by Friday. So we went to our favorite local theater and saw it.

And.... it was amazing. I truly think it is the best movie in the series thus far. I say thus far because Part 2 is coming out in the summer, and I have a feeling that one might top this one.

But back to Part 1. For the sake of organizing my scatter-brained self, I am going to separate this quasi review into two parts: LIKE and DO NOT LIKE. Because I'm cool like that. (It goes without saying that you should stop reading this post now if you haven't seen the film. Because there will be spoilers and stuff.)

  • I liked the unexpected bits of humor throughout the film, like the scene early on when George catches Harry kissing Ginny in the kitchen. "Morning..." Priceless.
  • I really liked the addition of Hermione casting Obliviate on her parents. It's not something that was addressed with such detail in the novel, but it added a lot of depth to the film. And also tears, lots of tears!
  • I liked loved the scene where Dobby says, "Dobby never meant to kill. Dobby only meant to maim. Or seriously injure." Aw, Dobby... You annoyed the living hell out of me in the second film/book, but you have more than redeemed yourself. Rest in peace, my adorable little creature.
  • Speaking of creature, I thought Kreacher was better animated (along with Dobby) in this film. And whoever did his voice is amazing.
  • I really liked the scene where the Order of the Phoenix members disguise themselves as Harry. Especially Fleur saying in her uber French accent, "Don't look at me, Bill -- I'm hideous."
  • I thought Hedwig's death was better handled in this film, much more heroic. (Am I the only one who gets incredibly sad in this scene, especially in the book?!)
  • Snape in every scene in this film is pretty much perfect. Even though he says all of like five words in the movie, he is amazing. His face does all the talking. (Particularly in the scene early on when Voldemort is torturing one of his fellow teachers.)
  • Lucius Malfoy's downtrodden appearance in this film is grrrrreat. Whoever is in charge of costume gets a big thumbs up.
  • Luna, like Snape, is amazing in every scene. Love her.
  • Ron. is. awesome. Enough said.
  • The scene where the trio infiltrates the Ministry of Magic is so, so, so great. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Loved it.
  • I'm going to be a rebel and say I loved the awkward dance scene between Harry and Hermione. It fit their characters perfectly and was completely realistic.
  • The famous (infamous?) horcrux scene where Ron is tormented by horcrux-Voldemort was amazing. I thought the spiders and of course the image of Harry and Hermione passionately kissing was very well done. For all the nay-sayers, this was in the book! No, the book didn't describe them as being naked per se, but wouldn't Ron's tormented and jealous psyche make him picture them that way? Of course it would.
  • The animation scene featuring the three brothers was breathtaking. So, so creative.
  • The scene with Bathilda/Nagini in Godric's Hollow was so chilling. I may have screamed. Just a little.
  • Finally, I really liked the score for this movie. It's funny, because right after I left the theater I told Ricky I was disappointed by the music, but the more I thought about the film and let it settle in my mind, the more I realized I did like the music. So much so I bought the score on Amazon (for under five bucks, no less!) that same day.
  • In any book-to-screen adaptation, it goes without saying that there will be some scenes cut out, but did they really have to cut out Dudley's scene at the beginning? The one where he redeems himself by actually showing some humanity and asking why Harry isn't going with them? I was really bummed that they cut that. :(
  • I wish they would've done a better job explaining the shard of mirror Harry is randomly carrying along with him. If you've read the books, you know that this is an important part of Book 5 and helps develop Harry's relationship with Sirius. I am very curious to see how they explain it in the last film!
  • I also wish they hadn't cut the scene where Harry wins Kreacher's heart by giving him the fake locket. It was disappointing that it was removed.
  • This film did not have enough Ginny. Not. Cool.
As you can see from my LIKE and DO NOT LIKE lists, I evidently liked the film a lot more than I disliked it! Very few dislikes from me. I want to see it again and hope to drag Ricky to the theaters once more soon, because the film is still percolating in my mind and I want to see it once more to make sure I let it soak in properly. With that being said, I just might have to come back to this post and add more to it in the future! In the LIKE column, of course.

If you're like me and can't get enough of "Deathly Hallows, Part 1" there are some great behind the scenes videos here. If you have no idea who Harry Potter is or what a horcrux is (for shame), click here.

So now I want to know: what did you think of the film? 
Give me your "likes" and "do not likes" in the comments!


Lolcat of the Week

This week's Lolcat has no caption. He's in honor of the latest Harry Potter film, "The Deathly Hallows Part 1." (Which was amazing. My review/rave will be forthcoming today or tomorrow).

Do this kitty a favor and give him a caption! What should he say?

Change is good.

Just a quick post to say I've updated my blog layout! I was kind of sick of the purple and wanted some calming blue. How do you like it? :)

I know I've been dismal in the blogging department as of late. You can blame it on the flu from hell as well as a general lack of inspiration. I even put NaNoWriMo on the back burner, which is sad. But oh wells. At least I felt inspired enough to create a new blog layout!

Stay tuned for a new blog button, which is in the works.  In the meantime, let me know how YOU have been doing. What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

So long, farewell... [THE DANGER MAGNET]

Today I put my old Twilight site, The Danger Magnet, to rest. This was not an easy decision to make, believe me -- I have been the site owner since July of 2008. Which is insane. But I felt it was time to pack my bags, so to speak, and move on to something new.

What does this mean for The Danger Magnet? Well, I have decided to discontinue payments on the domain, so this site should be deactivated very soon. I will still be active on my own blog,, however. So please stay in touch, fellow danger magnets!

Special thanks go to Lauren from Busy Bee Lauren, who first inspired me to begin Twi-blogging in the first place with her old site, Lauren's Bite. Thanks also to cutie and kg from Super Secret Twilight Blog, for always being there, to Danny from Let's ride the Vanquish for being such a wonderful reader and bloggy friend, to One Pushy Fox from for being an awesome contributor and buddy, and to Betti from Betti. Music. Twilight. for giving me that amazingly amazing blinking blog button. More thanks go to to the following sites for being great affiliates and all-around great friends:

Extra special thanks go to my wonderful TDM staff: Christy, Rory, Sarah, and Gracie. I couldn't have done it without you! :D

It has been a pleasure being part of this fandom. Twilight will always be a happy memory for me, and you are a part of that. Best wishes always.
Annie Cristina

Thanks for reading!



Sick Sick Sick

When I woke up this past Thursday with a throat ache, I didn't think much of it. I attributed it to the Wolf Parade concert I'd been to the night before -- maybe all my singing along in combination with breathing in the noxious cigarette fumes had given me a sore throat.

But then on Friday I woke up with a throat ache AND body aches. And I knew this wasn't good. Cigarette smoke had not caused this. And as the day progressed, I only felt worse. I came home from work with a fever of 101 and I've been in bed ever since. The fever and body aches went away by Saturday, but now I have an awful throat ache and congestion.

I knew I should've gotten that flu shot! I chickened out because of the side effects. As soon as I get better, I'm looking into getting that shot.

But for now it's bed rest, chicken soup, and lots and lots of Gatorade. Oh, and Harry Potter, too -- they've been showing all the films on ABC Family this weekend, which has helped distract me from feeling so sick.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

I ♥ concerts.

I'm going to see Wolf Parade in concert tonight for the very first time. I am oh so very excited about this!!! I haven't been to a concert in forever.

So I want to know -- what was your favorite concert experience? Let me know in the comments. :)

Here is one of my fave Wolf Parade songs, "I'll Believe in Anything." I really, really hope they perform this tonight!


You asked...

Before I continue with this post, I wanted to say thank you so very much for your recent blog comments. Every time you comment on this blog, I receive an e-mail notification, and it's just so great reading them throughout my day. They really do make me smile!

Speaking about comments, Claire posted this comment yesterday for this post:

Well, if you really want to read it... ;)

I'm currently writing the first draft of my novel, which is tentatively called Catching Fireflies. What is it about? Well, I like to think of it as an anti-love story. It's more like a mystery story meets a ghost story meets a love story. Or something like that.

I am writing this story for NaNoWriMo, which means I want to have 50,000 words completed by November 30th. Yikes! I hope to meet that goal, but I'm also being realistic with myself. If I don't reach it, it won't be a great tragedy. If I get to finish the novel at all, it will be a great success, however, because I've never been able to finish a novel before. I tend to write only short stories and poems since I have such a short attention span.

I am currently writing Catching Fireflies on the collaborative writing site Protagonize, and you can follow my updates (and leave ratings and comments) here. In addition, I created a blog just for my story, which you can access here:

I welcome your comments & critique for my story! I've included the prologue to my novel below for you to read. Please let me know what you think. :)


I run faster, even though the stitch in my side is now a throbbing mass of pain, even though there is now the taste of blood in my mouth, the metal tang of it heavy on my tongue. I fall twice, tearing my jeans open at the knees and skinning them, but I don’t stop. My legs are propelled forward by something stronger than urgency, harder than fear.

What if it isn’t her? What if I'm just chasing a stranger? Or worse – an illusion? Have I finally cracked? I’ve been mourning her for almost a year. Surely, that is enough time to come to terms with her loss. I should be better by now, fully functional and all that. I know this. Or at least, the rational side of me does. But I haven’t been able to sleep a full night in months and my stomach still turns at the thought of food. Even though I force myself to eat at least one full meal a day, I’ve dropped a few pant sizes. My sister Angie has been threatening to force-feed me, which is something she normally threatens to do, us being Italian and all that, but there is an undertone of menace to her threats now.
“You can’t keep doing this to yourself, Jack. It’s not your fault she died.”
“Who says she’s dead? The authorities still list her as missing. And I’m not doing anything to myself.”
“Have you seen yourself in a mirror lately, hon? You’re practically a skeleton. You’ve got to take care of yourself.”
“I’m fine. You and Mom need to get off my case already. I’m fine.”
“I think Mom’s right. Maybe you should see a shrink.”
That conversation took place about a month ago, and it was the last time we’d spoken. I’d stormed out of her house, slamming the door so hard the windows shook. Her pleading voice cut short. I won’t pretend I don’t miss my sister, but I will be honest and admit I miss her more. Her absence feels like a vital part of me has been amputated, leaving a gaping hole in its place. Nothing can fill it – not food, not another girl (though my friends have tried to convince me this is the antidote I need), nothing.
Speaking of nothing, my wild goose chase hasn’t gotten me anywhere. I’ve been chasing her phantom for countless blocks now, all for nothing. I come to a stop at a corner, forced to a standstill by the oncoming traffic. And that is when I see her again. She's standing on the opposite corner, facing the horizon. The setting sun making her golden hair catch fire. There is a look on her face I couldn’t read. Is it sadness or peace? I can’t tell. I can’t breathe. I just stare at her, drinking her in like a drowning man, feeling her presence fill my lungs, my heart.
Then she turns towards me suddenly and smiles her special smile, the smile she reserves especially for me, the one that makes her eyes crinkle at the corners and a dimple appear in her chin. She looks exactly the same. Exactly. Her green eyes sparkling at me. Her lips curving in a mischievous grin. Her name bubbles up to my lips, and I feel myself step off the curb, preparing to run toward her. But then the light changes and the cars spring forward, angry honks startling me back onto the curb. The traffic blocks the opposite corner, and I try in vain to peer over it, to catch her eyes again.
When the light changes back, she's gone.
Read more here:


A Lolcat and a Question.

Apologies for the lack of blogging -- you can blame NaNoWriMo.

Not that I've been doing much writing lately! I had an upsurge early last week and then Thursday I just... I don't know. I just crashed. There's writer's block and then there's WRITER'S BLOCK. When the characters stop speaking to each other and your muse decides to stop speaking to YOU. It's pretty bad. And I had it pretty bad these past few days.

Instead of getting frustrated at my lack of productivity, I decided to take some time off and scare up some inspiration. I finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire on Saturday. I relaxed at Ricky's house on Sunday. And then I came to work today only to find out my co-worker really, really likes my story. I gave her the first few pages last week and she had it all annotated and stuff today (we're such English teachers). She had the nicest things to say about my story! So that inspired me to continue writing.

I won't promise I'll produce anything fantabulous today as far as my story goes, but I will say I'm feeling inspired again. And it feels damn good.

Here's my Lolcat of the Week, which I think you'll agree is very apropos:

And here's my question: What do you do for inspiration when you really need it? Whether you're a wanna-be writer like me, a budding chef, or whatever. What do you do to light the proverbial fire under the proverbial hiney? Let me know in the comments! :)


Are you doing NaNoWriMo, too?

This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo. Sorry, if that sounds dirty -- I just realized you may not know what NaNoWriMo is (you can come out from beneath your rock now). It stands for National Novel Reading Month, and it's held every November. You can go here to learn more:

I haven't been able to participate in it in previous years due to work or school or sheer fear. But this year, I decided to give it a go. I was riding high on a wave of optimism after successfully completing my master's thesis, plus I've had an idea for an Actual Novel simmering in my brain for a while. I've never written a novel before, just lots of short stories, and I know my dream of getting published has a better chance of coming true if I can write a novel.

So basically I'm writing a novel. Of at least 50,000 words. In 30 days. (eeeeeep!)

I am posting my story on as I go along because the site owner, Nick B, has kindly opened a word count feature PLUS he's holding a contest. I am a sucker for contests, so of course I had to enter. After I finished writing for the day last night, I realized my story had been chosen as Protagonize's featured story of the day. This made my day! Which is saying a lot if you know anything about the poll results in Florida. :-(

But I guess I should focus on the positive and soldier on. 50,000 words, here I come!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo, too? Give me your link in the comments so we can be writing buddies! Click on the button above to be taken to my NaNo page. And if you want to read my story, Catching Fireflies, go here.

What I'm reading now...

What I just finished reading...

I really, really liked this book. I bought it in the summer in the midst of my thesis writing and put it away on the shelf, knowing I'd come back to it eventually. I finally picked it back up last week and read it in two days. I was so into this book, I even lost almost a whole night's worth of sleep. On a school night. So you know it's got to be good. What that being said, I felt the ending was a bit humdrum. It just didn't have that oomph I was expecting. But overall it's a great book -- fast-paced, thrilling, and basically everything you want of a murder mystery. I'm eager to see the film adaptation now.

What I'm reading now...

I just started this book. I knew I wanted to read it because I loved the first book, Hush, Hush. I can't say much about what I think of it or anything like that, since it's still early on, but I will say this -- it's not unraveling how I expected it to AT ALL. So I think it should prove an interesting read.

What I want to read next...

I first heard about this book thanks to Daniel Radcliffe (yes, Harry Potter). It's the book he's holding in the new READ poster sold by ALA. I was curious because I'd never heard of it before, and so I did some research and found out it's a allegorical fantasy. The synopsis on Amazon sounded interesting, so I decided to order it on a whim. It's on its way and I can't wait to read it...

What are you reading now?


Lolcat of the Week

I know that Halloween is now over, but I couldn't resist posting this cute video. 
Happy Monday! :)