Friday, February 12, 2016

Bookish Events These Past Couple Months

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but the book signings and book events are coming at us in droves. The thing is, I want to go to ALL of them. But alas, other stuff happens in live too besides book things and it's pretty much impossible!

But I thought it would be fun to share through pictures some of the events of the past little while. In few months, I'll do another one, because there are many coming up too!
Just the other night we visited with Lindsey Leavitt,
whose books I enjoy so much I pretty much bought them all!
And look at that fun crowd we pulled together to hang with!

Just last week the friends went to see Marissa Meyer.
I couldn't go since I had tickets for the The Producers the same night.
And I was so sad to miss it especially since
  it was the first time friend Jayne (on the right) got to come!
And she won the ARC of Heartless!
She was the star of the night!

This is Bil Lepp.
He's on of the best storytellers that comes every year to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.
Here's an example of what he's like.
A couple weeks ago he came and did a special telling just for us library employees.
He was awesome as expected and had us in stitches.

The regular crowd seeing Ally Carter for the second book
in her Embassy Row series, See How they Run.
I need to try some of her books! 

Ally Carter.
Ally Carter... she was very funny.
Lots of lovely stories.

Here's Toto with Lindsey Stirling and her sister who helped her
write this book: The Only Pirate at the Party.
Don't know Lindsey Stirling?
Check out her amazing talent here.

We waited in a 2 1/2 hour line to see her.
It was crazy and they shoved us through,
so that was maddening, but all in all, still lots of fun.

During the Christmas break we had a family girls night
and brought the crowd to the launch party for
Endure by Sara B. Larson.

Sara Larson signing books!

Sara Larson,
She always has fun stuff to say and wins the award for cutest author I think.

Here we are waiting! much fun going to author events! In a month or so, I'll have another bunch to post!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Little Women Read Along Part One: Chapters 1 to 17 Summary and Questions

We are ten days into our read along and hopefully those of you participating have been able to read up through chapter 17. Here's a little summary of what's happened so far in the lives of our little women:
  • We've met the four girls and have quickly learned their characters and personalities. 
  • We've met the neighbor boy, Laurie, and his grandfather, and his tutor, Mr. Brooke.
  • We've learned that Mr. March is off fighting in the war. Toward the end of our reading, he gets sick and Mrs. March leaves to tend him.
  • We've learned that Mrs. March appears to have never ending patience with the four girls and teaches them wonderful life lessons as they experience different things.
  • We've gone on a vacation with Meg, hobnobbing with friends that aren't really that great of friends, we've gone to a New Year's Eve party with Meg, Jo and Laurie wherein Jo dances with Laurie in the hallway and Meg sprains her ankle, we've gone on a picnic and croquet adventure with Laurie and his friends from England, we've experienced the imagination of the girls as they make up plays, write newspapers and conduct a private club, we've rejoiced with Beth when she gets a piano from Mr. Laurence, we've moaned with Jo when she discovers Amy has burned her story, and we've laughed with everyone when Jo tried to have a dinner party that was very unsuccessful.
  • We are noticing, along with Laurie and Jo, that there seems to be something up with Meg and Mr. Brooke.
  • We are also wondering ourselves if there is something up with Laurie and Jo, but if there is, Jo is in extreme denial still.
  • The segment ends just when we begin to feel anxiety over Beth, who appears to have contracted scarlet fever from the family they've been looking after. Drat.
I hope you are all enjoying your first visit with this family or your repeat visit, as the case may be. I know I am!  Here are a few questions I've thought up:

  1. What's your opinions so far about each of the girls? Do you identify more with one or the other of them? Do you like them, or do they get on your nerves in a way? Which one do you think would be your friend?
  2. What do you think of Mrs. March aka. Marmee? What's one of your favorite pieces of advice or lessons she's taught the girls so far?
  3. Do you think that the characterization of these girls and this family is realistic? Explain.
  4. What's your favorite scene or incident so far? And why?
  5. If this is your second (or third etc.) time reading this story, what stands out to you this time?
  6. If this is your first time reading this story, is it meeting your expectations? Or is it different than expected? Explain.
  7. How do you feel about Jo cutting off her hair? Was this incident surprising to you? Do you think it's symbolic of anything?
  8. What's your feeling about the inclusion of poems, letters, stories, plays and etc. into the story? 
  9. Any thoughts in particular on the male characters in this story?
  10. Are you liking this reading experience? If yes, why? If not, why?

Feel free to add any other random thoughts of course! Here are my answers:
  1. I thought I would identify with Meg the most, but I didn't remember how obnoxious and annoying she is... not to say that I'm not those those, but I don't THINK I am! I've always thought of her like Jane in Pride and Prejudice,but no. She is not. And perhaps I'm a little like Jo in some aspects, but in others not at all. I'm nothing like Beth or Amy, I don't think anyway. And yes, I do find them annoying often... they are too sweet, too agreeable, too nice, too accommodating... even with their faults. Even in the day,  I don't think kids were this perfect. 
  2. I like Mrs. March, though I also find her to be a little too nice and sweet and unruffled by anything at all. By far, my favorite lesson she's given them was the week of no work. And then when she went away for the day too. How often do we as moms threaten to do just such a thing? 
  3. I sort of answered this already. I think the picture this paints of a family is a bit on the rosy side, you know? I mean, I'm sure they were happy and imaginative, but still...
  4. Um so many! But you know what I really love, is the whole post office idea and how they find so  many fun things to exchange, even though they are all together. I think it's the first form of social media! :)
  5. I'm surprised at how obnoxious Meg is... I'm surprised that Laurie is dark with curly hair, I'm surprised at how accommodating these girls are.
  6. I remember not really liking this book when I read it the first, confession.
  7. I'd forgotten that part and it bums me out! She is crazy! 
  8. I like the letters.. the poems are okay, the stories are a little long and the plays I'm not a big fan of.
  9. I love Laurie and his grandpa. I wish we could get to know Mr. Brooke better. 
  10. Yes!
That's about all I have to say. And I think it's enough. Now... your turn! Write your thoughts, answer the questions and etc. and link up your post here:

And don't forget... we'll chat today on Twitter at 5 pm Mountain time! #LittleWomenRAL! See you there!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Lovey Dovey Edition

It's a Valentine Freebie over at The Broke and the Bookish today. I wanted to do something, because hello... love and romance. But I've done favorite love stories, and literary crushes, and couples, what makes me swoon, and favorite kisses. Quotes would be fun, but I don't have time to look up quotes right now. . . and so what to do, what to do?

The only thing I can come up with is more recent literary crushes... not the old favorite standbys, but characters from books read in the past couple of years. Ready? Go.

Top Ten Recent Literary Crushes

1. Tarver from These Broken Stars... I have talked about him a lot, because he stands out in the recent crush scene. He's just so, so, perfect.

2. Max from The Start of Me and You.... because of his nerdiness. Nerds for the win!

3. Paul from A Thousand Pieces of Pieces of You, also because of his nerdiness and shyness and tallness.

4. Jake from Not in the Script, because of his non-nerdiness!

5. Arin from The Winner's Curse, because... oh my. I don't even know how to articulate. I have no words for this boy.

6. Adam from the Raven Boys, I like Gansey too, but I like Adam especially because he's quiet and unassuming. And tall and gangly, which for some reason I find cute in my literary boys.

7. Warner from Unravel Me, because he's the one you hate at first and then love. It's such a complete unexpected turnaround that it gives your whip lash and it's awesome.

8. Akiva from The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and have I never mentioned him before? Because DANG. Smokin'.

9. Captain Thorne from Cress and Scarlet, because... swagger! There's just something about sincere swaggering. Am I right, or am I right?

10. Graham from This Is What Happy Looks Like, because how cute is he? An all humble celebrity. There's something about humble celebrities too I'm thinking.

And those are some recent loves. Have you read these books? Do you agree? Who's on your literary Valentine list this week?

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Korean Invasion: In Which I Become Obsessed... Again.

Often my sister Megs will say to me... "Hey, I like this thing. I bet you'll like it too!" And many times it turns out that the thing becomes a life changing event.

For instance... blogging. She said... "Here you should join this thing and blog with me." And , since I'd been pondering blogging for oh probably two years by then, but had not been brave enough to actually start, I jumped in when she pushed without a second thought. And you know what's happened since.

Another example, Josh Groban. I'd heard of him. I thought, he sounds interesting, but eh, I don't know. She said, "Hey you should listen to this guy." So I did and, you know what's happened since.

And so well.. .she's done it again.

This time she said, "Hey, so my friend said Korean dramas are cool. I watched some. And guess what, they are cool! You should watch one!" And then one day she drug me (pretty much literally) to the computer where we watched the first episode of one called Lie to Me.

I kept watching. She was right. It was cool. I liked it. She said, "now watch this one called She Was Pretty. It has Siwon in it." I said, okay cool.

Meet... Siwon

And I loved that one, like, a lot.

Meanwhile, her infatuation with Siwon grew, and she discovered that he sings in a Korean boy band. And she sent me a couple songs through Spotify. I listened. I liked. I listened again. I loved.

That was a month ago and nothing has been the same since!

Together, we have immersed ourselves into discovering all there is about this particular group. We've learned that Kpop is a pretty big thing, especially around the world. And that there are several similar groups like this.

But this one, this group, will forever be the best because it's the one we discovered first. And besides... it has Siwon.

They are called SUPER JUNIOR, which, I agree, is a stupid name for a Korean boy band. But it grows on you. They have about 13 members, but the number changes all the time because the boys in Korea are required to serve two years in the army before they are 35 or something. So often, there are members missing. It started out ten years ago... TEN YEARS, with the idea that every year they'd switch it up and get new guys, but the first group was so awesome they didn't do that, and they've been going strong ever since. This means that now, ten years later, these guys aren't your normal young teenage band, they are late 20's early 30's which some may find weird, but others may find less weird. (When it comes to swooning over them for instance. That being said, they still LOOK like they are 18 years old!)

The list for why it's easy to fall in love with these guys is long. I'll try to sum up:

1. They are gorgeous. Beautiful. Adorable.
2. They have the most beautiful voices.
3. They dance, oh boy can they dance!
4. They play instruments too, sometimes.
5. They are funny, and cute, and silly, and humble.
6. They put on the most incredible shows, called Super Shows, which look like a roaring blast.
7. Their music ranges from rock, to hip hop, to rap, to pop, to ballads.
8. They throw in enough English that you forget that they are actually singing in Korean, a language that, alas, you don't know. But it doesn't matter because it sounds so freaking cool.
9. Did I mention the dancing? Because that's worth two points.
10. Did I mention they are gorgeous? Also worth two.

Here are the three favorites:

Donghae, Siwon, Eunhyuk

And of course, I made a collage of the whole crowd. (Minus a couple were in the group, but are not any longer.)

The two on the left in a together picture aren't in the main group, but are part of a sub group. Which is too confusing to explain. But I love their stuff just as much! Also, the group picture in the middle is missing one or two, but I'm using it anyway!

Across the top; Siwon, Heechul, Shindong, Yesung
Second row: Kyuhyun, Leeteuk
Third row: Henry and Zhoumi (together,) Ryeowook
Across the bottom: Kangkin, Donghae, Eunhyuk, Sungmin

Of course, you won't really care who they are, or what I like most about each of them, you'll just have to go and discover for yourself!

Which is the whole point of doing this post, to see if I can convince one or two people to give it a try and see if you, too, aren't sucked in. Or, to find out if there are some other closet Kpop, Kdrama fanatics out there and then you can come out, and we can bond.

So...some links;

If you especially like dancing: Mr. Simple or Sorry Sorry
If you want to see what their concerts are like: Superman
If you are blown away by beautiful ballads: Concert Ballad Medley
If you find the playing of instruments and singing and dancing all at the same time cool: Fantastic
If you enjoy a big production number with costumes and acting: Mamacita
If you want to see boys all emotional about their 100th concert accomplishment: 100th concert
If you like just plain old cuteness: Oppa Oppa (This one is just Donghae and Eunhyuk)
If you like a rocking dancing mix: Motorcycle (Also just Donghae and Eunhyuk)
The song and concert clip that sealed the deal for me: Walkin' which I'll embed here:

And it's not even a dancing one! It was the last song of this concert after they were all recovering from crying and being all emotional and they just walked around the stage, singing and mingling with the fans. I love it.

Click here for a link to my favorite Super Junior songs on Spotify

And there you go. My latest obsession revealed. Do I have any takers? Will you listen to a few? Watch some dances? Do you think I'm crazy? Do you understand the tendency to find a thing and then go crazy loving it? Do you find it fun to do that? Or painful and annoying? What sort of things have you obsessed over? Do you hide it or share it?

Anyway, let me know if you watch and/or listen and what you think!

(P.S. Want to know what Megs thinks about all this? Here's her post on Kdrama, and here's her post on Super Junior.)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Movie: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Genre: Horror/Drama
Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Matt Smith
Rating: PG 13
My Rating: Two thumbs up

Yeah, so I refused to read the zombie distortion of this, one of my favorite books, but I guess when it comes to the movie, my qualms are lessened! When I saw this movie trailer I giggled and thought... that looks kinda fun. Maybe I'll go. So we were bored Friday, its opening night, and we went.

And we giggled, lauged, smiled and jumped out of our skin through the whole thing!

Actually, upon reazlizing that Matt Smith (aka the 11th Doctor Who) would be paying the part of Mr. Collins, I knew I'd go just for him. And yes, he was definitely worth it and lived up to expectations. So funny! What a great take on the character! And in fact, I pretty much thought Elizabeth should have accepted his offer this time around! Yes!

As for the movie itself, I'm guessing it follows the zombie version of this book pretty good. We have all the familiar characters living in an alternate Victorian world, one where the plauge has caused zombies. And so, many people, our girls and Mr. Darcy included, have been trained to fight them. Which is awesome.
Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley

The story follows the familiar bits until it comes to Mr. Wickham and then things change up quite a bit to have a dramatic zombie crazy ending.

The Mr. Darcy in this movie wasn't my favorite...but he grew on me. I loved Lily James (aka Rose from Downton Abbey) as Elizabeth. And of course... Matt Smith!

Mr. Collins

My favorite part by far (besides the Mr. Collins scenes) was Darcy's first proposal and Elizabeth confronts him and they get into knock down drag out sword fight. It. Was. Awesome.  And first he pins her, and then she pins him and the sparks are flying. So funny!

Mr. Wickham

Many many parts made us all giggle like crazy in fact. Especially some fabulous nods to the Colin Firth movie. You may guess the scene!

All in all I really don't know how to describe this movie. It was much more fun than I expected and I'm so glad I decided to swallow my P and P snobbishness and just go and enjoy the romp. The zombie bits are not at all gory, the girls fight them without getting a drop on their dresses. I'm used to The Walking Dead, so this was literally nothing compared to that. There were some moments that made us all in the audience jump and squeal, which we loved.

Bottom Line: Way too much fun!

P.S. Stay until after the first bit of credits because then there's one more scene and, you guessed it, IT'S AWESOME! :)

Here's the trailer:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Book: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA Fantasy/Distopian
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Once again, we have the dystopian world setting. People are divided into two groups: those with red blood and those with silver. The Silvers have superpowers, all sorts of types. And course, they have taken control and rule over the red blooded "normal" people. And there's a war on. And of course, the Reds have to go and fight in this war when they become a certain age. The book opens just as our heroine, Mare, is reaching this age (18 I think it is.)

But she plans to run away instead. And take her "friend that's a guy" with her.

But things go wrong and she gets caught because of a Red rebellion that happens right at the wrong time.

And bam, things change SO FAST from there! Like so fast that it made my head spin. I was definitely into the story, but I was like, can all this really happen this fast?

The story is filled with lots of edge-of-your-seat type action and really cool in-your-head special effects. The Silvers like to fight each other with their powers and it's crazy! And in the middle of all that, there's a sort of selection going on between the girls for who gets to marry the prince, though the prince doesn't really get to select. Because there's an evil queen and all. Sigh. Evil queens always ruin everything!

I really enjoyed the story even though I felt it is much of the same thing that we've seen a lot of lately. People are really into these sorts of stories right  now!

Bottom Line: And you'll love it too if you are one of those people! So far, I am!

Other Reviews:

One of the best things about Red Queen is that even though the storyline is fairly predictable and extremely familiar to fans of the genre, readers will not care about that. From That's What She Read

It has the oppressive society, the downtrodden young woman who finds herself a pivotal member of society, and of course romance – lots and lots of romance. From Fantasy Book Critic

This book is phenomenal! It completely sucks you in. From Mindful Musings

It's cliche YA fantasy, but debut author Victoria Aveyard does it well. From In Bed With Books

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review Thoughts: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Book: Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Graphic Memoir
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

In an effort to read more widely, the book club has been adding graphic books to our lineup recently. This particular book is our February choice. It's one I've seen floating around for years, I remember it way back from my book fair days, which was a long time ago! It's fun to finally read it!

Basically, the author who is an amazing artist, has illustrated and documented her middle school years, which are defined by the fact that she has to get major orthodontic work because of an incident where she fell and knocked out her front teeth. It does sound quite traumatic and had I been her, I wouldn't have suffered through it quite as well as she did I'm afraid.

And her friends! Sheesh, what terrible friends! I was happy to see that even as a kid, she realized this pretty quickly and made changes. I think most kids would have just been devasted and wallowed in self pity.

It was fun to see the historical and cultural references she made to stuff going on in the world. This was during my "lost years" where I wasn't paying attention to much of anything since I had just entered my life as a mommy with little babies. So while I can't say totally that I related, I did enjoy experiencing it with her.

Bottom Line: I found it to be very fun and a fabulous way to preserve a bit of one's life story!

P.S. I was so happy to see they included a real life picture of the author as she looks today... smiling! So we could see how her smile turned out all these years later!

Other Reviews:

Something I love the most about this book - well, maybe it's just Raina Telgemeier - is the power of storytelling through comics, even stories from your own life. From The Blue Bookcase

What I really love about this book is how well Telgemeier captures tween angst. The accurately portrays many of the struggles tween girls are faced with, from fake friends to body image issues. From The Reading Zone

I really liked the artwork; it’s pretty straightforward panel-based narrative, but I like Telgemeier’s style of drawing, and the book is really bright and colorful throughout. From Fyrefly's Book Blog

I really enjoyed the nostalgia I felt while reading. From Jenni Elyse


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