Thursday, April 23, 2015

Readathon Prep

The biannual Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is coming up in just two days! I have every intention of participating and reading from 6 am to midnight at least! (However, there's lots of stuff happening in life at the moment so I will have to be flexible as usual!)

My daughter (now 16) has participated with me since she was,  I don't know, probably 10 at least. And she can't wait to do it again! She's even inviting all her friends! If we end with a teenager readathon crowd at this house, you know I'll be taking pictures and sharing!

Anyway, here's the stack of my potentials. I forgot to include our current read along book, Dune, but yes, I will knock of some pages in that during the readathon too! Also, I may dab into some Kindle books, but I have no idea what at this point. So, they are not listed.

Mostly this is some fun fluffy library books that I grabbed the other day, plus a couple that have been kicking around here dying to be read. I'll probably jump into the Jenny Han books (those are the ones on the bottom that are hard to see), just because I know they'll be fun and easy. I wanted so bad to try Saga for the readathon, but when I went to get it from the library, it was already checked out. So it will have to wait.

It's fun to look at the stack and think about reading all of them! But I can pretty much guarantee that I'll make it through only one! Sigh.

As for snacks. All I know is that we need to make caramel popcorn. And I should probably do that today since tomorrow might be already booked. I have no idea what else we'll munch on. Maybe I should buy a frozen pizza. That'll probably do it. M and M's maybe and we'll be good! Keep it simple I say!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Authors... EVER?

The prompt at The Broke and Bookish is to list our favorite authors. Our ALL TIME favorite authors! List them by genre! List 20 of them! Just list them!

Yeah. Right.

Well I'll attempt. But I'm thinking you can guess a few of mine.

Did you guess them?

Top row: Charles Dickens, Kasie West, Neal Shusterman, Laini Taylor
Two center rows: John Green, Brandon Sanderson, Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen
Bottom row: Laura Hillenbrand, Patrick Rothfuss, Elizabeth Gaskell, Melina Marchetta
Center Square: Markus Zusak! :)

All lovely lovely authors. And just SOME of my favorites.

Who are your favorite authors? Do we share some of the same?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Remake by Ilima Todd

Book: Remake by Ilima Todd
Genre: YA Dystopian
For: Fun, Supporting Local Authors
From: I bought this one at Costco

Short Synopsis: The main character, Nine, is trying to figure out if she wants to be a boy or a girl. In this future world, when kids turn 17 they can decide to become whoever they want, including changing their gender and their physical looks. Nine and her friend Theron are about to become remade but she is really stressing about this decision. However,  on the way to the facility, there is an accident, and she is washed ashore to a whole new world. One where people embrace who they are when they are born (and that whole being born thing is fascinating too!) and live in families with parents and siblings. All this is new to Nine and she's not sure she really likes it.

My Response: I really liked this one! Very interesting premise, especially given the hot topics of families and gender in this day and age. And while the author's viewpoints on this topics are pretty obvious, I never felt banged over the head with them. In fact, it's actually quite thought provoking on many levels. What makes a family a family? What makes a person who they are? What are all the different kinds of love? Anyway, I was totally engaged and read the book in only a couple of sittings. Also, it ended well enough that I figured it's a stand alone but I've just found out that it's actually a trilogy. Which makes me quite happy!

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed this fun book and interesting take on yet another dystopian society.

Let's Talk About: your feelings on books that tackle hot topics. Do you like it? Are you interested in what an author has to say about such things through their stories? Or would you rather not think about these sorts of things when you're reading? Do you worry about that fine line between preaching and interesting?  As for me, I think it's really interesting if it's done well.  I enjoyed how this one was done.

Other Reviews:

Like I said, I loved Remake! The world building, the characters, the plot twists, everything. The only thing I disliked was that the book ended. From Minding Spot

A post-overpopulation dystopia, Remake is in many ways quite typical of the genre: our young heroine grows up in relative isolation, unaware of any alternatives to her controlled community, until circumstances force her to consider her place in the world. From Rachel Cotterill Book Reviews

If you like dystopian novels with romance, pick this one up. It's different enough and will immerse you in its story. From Library of Clean Reads

I fully believe this book should beat Hunger Games in every shape and form; no obvious plot holes, better heroine and love story then any dystopian book on the market, and overall a universe that keeps you wanting more. From SweetEnd Book Reviews

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dune Read Along Starts Now!

Welcome to the Dune Read Along!

It's time to start reading!

Schedule of Events:

Section 1: April 19 - 27 Discussion post by Jenni Elyse on April 27, Twitter chat that same evening at 9 pm MDT.

Section 2: April 28 - May 6 Discussion post here at It's All About Books on May 6, Twitter chat the next evening on May 7 at 9 p.m. MDT

Section 3: May 7 - 16 Discussion post by Kami's Library Thoughts on May 16, Twitter chat the same evening at 9 p.m.

Be sure to follow the #DuneRAL hashtag all throughout the read along. Post your thoughts. Let us know what's going on with your reading experience in real time.

As mentioned on our sign up post, this read along is in conjunction with our IRL book club book for May. We are inviting you to virtually join our book club discussion on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 7:30 pm MDT as Jenni live tweets! 

As with our last read along, we plan to have a movie party to watch the Dune mini-series. The date for that as of this moment is set for May 30 at 6 pm. MDT. Join us IRL if you live nearby, or join us on Twitter if you don't!

Mark, get set, READ!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Movie Review: The Theory of Everything

Movie: The Theory of Everything
Genre: Biography
Staring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones
Rating: PG 13
My Rating: Two thumbs up

We are meant to think this movie is about Stephen Hawking, the brilliant scientist with theories about space who ended up in a wheelchair. And it is, but it's really even more about his wife, Jane.

They meet at college. They fall in love. He is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and told he has about two years. She says, I don't care and they get married.
Falling in love.

From there, it's story of how she takes care of him, has his three babies and gives her whole self to his work. Many many years go by.

And I thought this would be the whole story. But that's not how it ends. Things start to become too much for her. They get help. She falls in love with the help. But does nothing. Then, after things become even worse for him (after he loses his voice for instance) they get more help. Now he falls in love with the help! And he does something.
The help.
(Aka. her church choir director!)

Which makes him look bad on the surface, but I think, really, he was setting her free.

Fascinating story, truly.
Eddie as Stephen

And yes, the acting job deserved an Oscar. He made you think he was truly and genuinely losing his ability to move. Amazing.

I've been wanting to see this movie forever! So glad it finally happened!

Eddie and Stephen together.

Here's the trailer:

Speaking of movies and trailers... here's one you should see if you haven't already:


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Shadow Prince Giveaway

I have two copies of The Shadow Prince to giveaway. Who wants one!??

When I read this book last year, I gave it a five stars. Which means, of course, that I loved it! (Here's my review if you want a reminder.) But if you don't want to click over here's what I said:

I loved this book. The plot was awesome and fun and a wonderful take on the Hades/Persephone myth with lots of other myths also alluded to. It was great. The characters are fun, especially Haden who has this strange upbringing and is introduced to a world where this upbringing is completely wacko. He changes so much! Anyway, I just thought it was really fun and page turning and one of those books that I couldn't stop thinking about when I wasn't reading.

This book just came out this week in paperback and I have two copies... two SIGNED copies I should say. If you would like one, fill out the form with your info and I'll pick two random winners on Monday April 27. At that time, I'll have another giveaway for the sequel to this book, The Eternity Key!

Good luck!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writing For Charity Experience 2015 Part Two: In Which I Ponder Diversity

Last week I talked about one aspect of my experience at Writing for Charity from a few weeks ago. Be sure to check it out if you missed it!

Today I wanted to talk about something else that happened there and something I've been thinking a lot about lately. Like, a lot. And that's the We Need Diverse Books movement that's really big in the readerly/writerly worlds these days.  Here's hoping I can make my thoughts make sense!

So during the conference, we went to a class about diverse books and characters. I'm always interested in this mostly because I have characters in my story that fit into this category and I'm so worried about doing it right.

But first, before this class even got started, I talked for a moment with the writer sitting next to me. When I found out where she's from, I was like, "Seriously? That's kind of where I'm setting this story of mine! Because I want to tie in this Native American legend/myth/tradition that I first learned about when I was passing through your town."

Her eyes got big and she said, "Oh, you want to be careful if you're writing about them. And about that aspect of their stories. Oh, yeah. Be careful."

So we talked and I said, yeah, I've tried to do a lot of research. (though I know I should do WAY more.) And I said, yeah, I know it's a pretty touchy subject and yeah, I know they don't talk about it and they take it pretty seriously and all. And yeah, it's just plain scary.

Then the class started and they talked about the need for diverse books. And while I totally agree I think that what we REALLY need is diverse authors! Because I feel like and the people on the panel went on to pretty much say too, that if you don't know anything about that culture or race or way of living, then how can you get it right? How can you write about them without it sounding cliche and stereotyped and all? And how it's not enough to just turn your character into a POC just to say you've got diversity, if you can't write that character without stereotyping. And how only people who know what it's like could really get it right.

I love this picture of a Navajo guy.

So, when we call for diverse books, what we really need is the diverse authors to write them, don't you think? So as I'm starting out in this writing thing, how can I ever expect to do it right with POCs if I have no experience? My life has been very un-diverse, sadly. With the exception of several family members who have been adopted, but raised very un-diversely just like me, and now my daughter-in-law who is giving us some taste of diversity, but still, just barely. Know what I mean?

Then they go on to say that if you do have a diverse character in your story, be sure to do the research and even have someone from that culture read it and "approve" it basically. At which point I wanted to hold my head and moan, "where will I find Native American readers?!" That's when the girl next to me handed me her email and said, let me know if you want readers from the Navajo Nation.

And then I really got scared!

I mean how cool would that be. But still. How scary!

So I left that class quite frustrated and wondering why I thought up this story in the first place!

Bottom line is, I feel that we do need books with diverse characters but it has to be organic, meaning, we can't just throw them in there and say, Hey look! I have a diverse character! I especially hate the token gay character. Make it make sense for the story, please! And yes, here's hoping that the call for diverse characters doesn't just perpetuate the perception some have of certain people and that it instead helps break those down. We need diverse authors!

Meanwhile, since I'm so very un-diverse myself... what does that mean for me? Can I truly write diverse characters? Do I keep on with my Native American story even though I really have no idea what I'm doing?

I'd love to know what you think on all this. Am I making sense at all? Do you see what I'm trying to get at? Am I justified in this frustration? Or do I suck it up and get over it!!! :)


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