Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Little Meme

Many variations of this meme have been going around. This time, I actually got tagged (by Julie) ... so I'm playing:

4 things I was doing 10 years ago...1998

1. Had a miscarriage
2. Three months later got pregnant with our last baby
3. Started doing online reading groups which changed my reading habits in a big way
4. Saw Donny Osmond in "Joseph". He winked at and thumbs upped us even!

4 things I was doing 5 years ago...2003

1. Went on a dream trip to England and Denmark... can I go again please???
2. Cub Scouts
3. Started keeping a detailed book journal of books read. Wish I would have done that forever ago.
4. Took kids to Arches National Park for Fall Break

4 things I did yesterday

1. tended a sick kid
2. made spaghetti
3. folded clothes
4. watched American Idol and voted to try and keep Jason in there, I don't care what those judges say!

4 shows I like (Julie changed this to movies-from-novels since she doesn't watch TV, but me? Instead, I'd say "only 4?")

1. Heroes (if it ever comes on again)
2. Moonlight
3. Survivor
4. American Idol... or Amazing Race... or Lost... or

4 joys of the moment

1. having fun with the writing bug that seems to have bitten me!
2. YA novels
3. spring
4. my new car stereo

So, if you want to play and haven't yet then TAG you're it!

Very Small Reviews on Some Books I've Lately Read

I'm behind on reviewing again, so I'm going to make these short and hopefully sweet (as usual, well, the short part, not necessarily the sweet part!):

Book: Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot

Genre: YA Romance
Rating: B+

I had a goal to read all Meg Cabot's books, but there's too many and I'm getting sick of them. This one was fine, okay, alright. It's about a girl who doesn't necessarily lie to everyone yet just says things they she thinks they want her to say or do or like. She learns to be true to herself and stand up for her own person, which, is good thing. Meanwhile, she needs to pick which boy she's going to like once and for all!

Book: Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot

Genre: YA Romance
Rating: A-

Surprise! Something a little different by Meg Cabot. Though predictable and fluffy, I liked it anyway. It was like a Jane Austen-y type story for teens, set in 1810 where the girl THINKS she should get married to a particular guy, but there's something not quite right with him.

Book: Maximum Ride: The Final Warning by James Patterson
Genre: YA SF/Fantasy
Rating: B+

For some reason, I'm completely invested in this gang of bird/kids. I have to know what happens to them. I have to know if Fang and Max figure things out. I have to know what the next adventure is! BUT... this one left me quite disappointed. Instead of another great adventure for the kids, I felt like it was just a platform for the author to preach to us about environmental issues. That's just not what I wanted, you know? Oh, well. Still, I enjoyed it for the most part, and I skipped the lessons.

Book: Quentins by Maeve Binchy
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: A-

Finally! It took me awhile on this one. I left it on the treadmill for weeks, and so yeah, I haven't been doing so well at getting my treadmilling in! But I love Binchy's books and her style and the way she can take a community and give everyone that lives there their own story and make you love them all. This one revolves around the restaurant, Quentins, and we learn about several different cool things that happens there as Ella researches to make a film about the place. Meanwhile, Ella is having a bit of her own drama that must all be worked out!

This book has several companion books. I've read Evening Class and have Scarlet Feather awaiting it's turn. I think I've read Tara Road, but it was back long enough that I can't remember for sure.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekly Geeks #1: Discover New Blogs Week

Okay. So, I'm doing the Weekly Geeks thing over at Dewey's. Many of you have already heard about it, or doing it, so I won't go into ALL the details. But basically, it's all about making new blog friends, participating in a different theme every week... and lots of fun bookish stuff. HERE's the details. Go do it!

The first assignment we had is to visit five "new to me" blogs from the list of participants. There were lots on there that I'm familiar with, but lots of "new" ones too. Here's my five new ones that I discovered that look like lots of fun to me:

Reader Rabbit: A site by two teen sisters, reviewing teen/YA books. And as we all know, I seem to be way into those kind of books these days! Cool.

Page After Page: I can see that Kim is very much into challenges, which makes my head spin. And we have lots in common: quilting, kids, Michael Buble, and.... books of course!

This Readhead Reads: Misa is brand new to blogging, but still, she's listed some of my favorites (The Giver, and A Wrinkle in Time) as some of her favorites, so my guess is we can become quick book bloggin' buddies.

A High and Hidden Place: Heather seems like a lot of fun. One thing I know for sure, she takes amazingly cute pictures of her kids! Oh, and she appears to be excited about the upcoming Twilight movie, just like me!

Passion for the Page: Looks like Kristi's been blogging for awhile and has a gazillion challenges going and lots and lots of stuff happening at her blog. Looks like fun!

Going to add them all to the Google Reader, even though I can't keep up as it is.....

Favorite Authors: An Alphabet List

Here's a fun list idea I've seen going around, but I saw it first at An Adventure in Reading (Raidergirl). So here's my take on it:

An Alphabet List of Favorite Authors

(My criteria: Authors that I would run out and buy their new book without blinking an eye at a hard cover price, same thing if they are dead and they suddenly somehow wrote a new book. Or authors that I've pretty much read everything they've written.... or authors that I'm trying to read everything they've written. There's a couple of hard letters where I stuck a name of an author that I'm simply intrigued by.)

A: Jane Austen

B: The Bronte sisters

C: Wilkie Collins (tons of runner ups)

D: Charles Dickens (more tons of runner ups)

E: George Elliot

F: Cornelia Funke

G: John Galsworthy and Elizabeth Gaskell (sorry couldn't pick)

H: Shannon Hale

I: John Irving? (maybe)

J: Maureen Johnson (new to me favorite)

K: M.M. Kaye

L: Lowis Lowry

M: Stephenie Meyer and Robin McKinley (another tie)


O: George Orwell? (maybe?)

P: Christopher Paolini

Q: Anna Quindlen? (maybe?)

R: J.K. Rowling

S: Anya Seton

T: J.R.R. Tolkein


V: Kurt Vonnegut (one I NEED to read, but haven't yet)

W: Scott Westerfeld



Z: Hmmmm... let me think.... oh, yeah... Markus Zusak!!! :)

So... a few blanks. Any suggestions? You'd think I could come up with one for N though.

So, who're your favorites? Let me know if you do a list too!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gotta Problem With That?

When my 18 year old son came home from school today and caught me vacuuming, he said:

"Let me guess... book club tonight?"

"Yeah... so... gotta problem with that?" I said.

So what if he's right.

Clean house or not, I think I better strike up a fire 'cause it's snowing like crazy outside! Did someone say it was spring today?

Booking Through Thursday: Springing

Well, here where I live, Spring is sprung–weeks early, even. Our lilac bush looks like it will have flowers by this time next week instead of in the middle of May as usual. The dogwood trees, the magnolia trees–all the flowering trees are flowering. The daffodils and crocuses are, if anything, starting to fade. It may only be April 24th but it is very definitely Spring and, allergies notwithstanding, I’m happy to welcome the change of season. What I want to know, is:

Do your reading habits change in the Spring? Do you read gardening books? Even if you don’t have a garden? More light fiction than during the Winter? Less? Travel books? Light paperbacks you can stick in a knapsack?

Or do you pretty much read the same kinds of things in the Spring as you do the rest of the year?
This spring I've really a noticed that I only want to read light, easy, fun, frivolous things. That's why my War and Peace project is suffering. That's why I couldn't manage one of my book club reads this month (1776). That's why Quentin's, my current "treadmill" book is STILL down there on the treadmill and for some reason isn't calling me to go work out. That's why I keep getting distracted by all the YA books that are begging to be read!
Yeah.. that's why! Of course! It's spring!

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Couple of Twilight Previews

Wow! I so can't wait!

And look at Jacob Black... whoa! I think the movie will totally be turning me into a Jacob fan! :)

Where I've Been and What I've Read

Where I've Been:

What I've Read:
Book: Looking For Alaska by John Green
Rating: B+
Genre: YA

I had to read this one when I saw it there at the library, just to see what all the controversy was about. I've fallen love with this author and his brother through their video blogs, and so I had to see what I thought about this book. And yes, I would have to agree that there is some very controversial stuff discussed in this book, and some pretty harsh language used. I think I won't be recommending it to my daughter. Yet... at the same time, it is very touching and poignant (don't you love that word!) and I loved the main character and wanted all the best for him.

Quick story summary: it's about this kid who is new at a pretty posh boarding school. He makes some interesting friends, one of them being a girl named Alaska. They pride themselves on being very smart, both in school work, and in tricking the headmaster guy with their sneaking in of banned substances, and in seeing who can pull off the best pranks every year. But this year, something goes wrong!

Book: Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Rating: A
Genre: YA Fantasy

I've wanted to read this book ever since I saw the movie and loved it. Interestingly enough, the movie adds some details that the book doesn't have... usually it's the other way around isn't it? Anyway, I loved the book too. It's a wonderful fantasty that uses all elements of the genre: cool magic, creepy villians, lovable hero, spunky heroine, etc. It has it all!

Book: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Rating: A
Genre: YA Romance

I've heard of Sarah Dessen forever, but never read one of her books. So, finally, I got to one! This story reminded me a lot of Speak by Laurie Halse Andersen if you've read that. There's a lot about the love of music in here, which I enjoyed. There's an unlikely hero and quite the awful ex-friend of our main character. It's one of your typical high school drama books that I just for some reason really enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random Book Ramblings and So Long Farewell

It's been a weird week for me regarding books and reading. I finished what I had been reading, and I didn't feel like starting some big new thing because tomorrow we leave on vacation. So, I just want to take light reading with me, and I didn't want to start the light reading, because then I'd probably finish before the vacation started, which would defeat the purpose. So that meant I just stared at all my book piles wondering why I couldn't just pick something up and read already!

I am still reading Quentin's, but that's my treadmill book you see... so it stays with the treadmill. And I did okay with both endeavers for most of this week, but it fell apart the last couple of days. So there Quentin's still sits, waiting, waiting. And it will wait for a whole other week, 'cause I'm for sure not taking THAT big huge hardback with me on vacation.

And I really should have been starting, and finishing my one of my book club books, 1776, which we'll be talking about the week after vacation. But I'm so not in the mood for that right now. I read one chapter, and it wasn't too bad. But still, I just don't feel like it.

Which means I probably don't feel like reading the ongoing War and Peace saga either. So it sits, extremely neglected, poor thing.

I tried to start The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, but it just didn't grab me fast enough. Besides, it's kind big to haul around with me next week too.

So what AM I going to take on vacation? It's always a stress isn't it? And I have a hard time narrowing it down. I'll take at least three of the following:

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Looking for Alaska by John Green (I started this one yesterday... it could be out of the running since I might finish it today!)
Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld

Those last three I went and checked out from the library yesterday. What was I thinking! Someone stop me! Anyway, I look forward to all of them!

Okay, so, I'm off for awhile. We'll be away from the computer all next week, no internet access or nothing. I'll tell you ALL about it when I'm back!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Writing Challenge

Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
Turn to page 123.
What is the first sentence on the page?
The last sentence on the page?
Now . . . connect them together….(And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)

First... a pathetic search for a book:
The nearest book? A Spanish dictionary, hmmmm, not using that one. Other books here on the computer desk? A regular dictionary, an HTML reference book, quote books, a French dictionary... sheesh. Looking further into the room: a huge book full of animal pictures, a pile of magazines and newspapers, a stack of end table books.... nope... not using those either. No books on the counter today.... strange. Next room: WAIT... a WHOLE shelf full of books! Hmmmm.... I randomly pick one:

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. (YES! I think this is it!)
page 123 which happens to be the start of Chapter 14

Hundreds of times since Dustfinger first told her about him, Meggie had tried to picture Capricorn's face.

Would it be an oldish face? A rugged face? Or maybe even a young man's face? Would she be able to read his eyes and see the meaness lurking there, or would he be hiding all that behind a mask? Over and over, Meggie thought of all the different kinds of faces he might have.

But Capricorn looked quite different.

Ah, I LOVE this book!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Reviews: 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Devilish

I have a new author to love! One book I read last weekend, and the other the weekend before. They're both great!

Book: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA
Rating: A

I loved this book about a girl who gets a bunch (13 of course!) of letters from her dead aunt. The letters have instructions that send her on a wild adventure through Europe. She learns lots about herself, and her aunt in the process. I loved all the different locations (some I've been to so it was really fun to picture) and the different characters. It was all a fun wonderful ride!

Book: Devilish by Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA Fantasy-ish
Rating: A-

When I got the other book, I just grabbed this one of the shelf too. This one adds a bit of a fantasy element to what appears to be a normal teenage high school story. It's about a girl and her friend who is struggling with various things. Then a new girl arrives on the scene who appears to be helping the friend, yet, things aren't quite what they seem and she ends up having to rescued from the rescuer. Hmmmmm.

I'll for sure be reading more by this YA author. Add her to my list!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Come Join the Farworld Blog Tour

Hey everyone! I'm so excited to be participating in my very first blogtour this summer (and getting my very first ARC as part of the process! Cool.)

The book: Farworld (Vol. 1: Water)

The author: J. Scott Savage

This is the first of new YA fantasy that sounds wonderful. I really look forward to reading this and having my kids read it and then we'll be hooked to yet another series. Ah... the trials and tribulations we suffer!! So be sure to check back here in a few months to see what we think of it.

The great news is, he's still looking for bloggers to participate, so click
HERE for more information on what you need to do it get your copy and join in the fun.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Favorite Poem Contest

In celebration of National Poetry Month, my long-time blogging friend, Serena over at Savvy Verse and Wit is having a contest and giving away poetry books, of course! She wants to know what's your favorite poem. Go HERE for details and join in!

As for my favorite poem, I've always loved Robert Frost and especially this simple poem:


The way a crow

Shook down on me

The dust of snow

From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart

A change of mood

And saved some part

Of a day I had rued.

Probably I like it because I always need reminders that life's pretty great, even on bad days. There's always something small, but wonderful, that happens to make you realize that.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Lit-Ra-Chur

Booking Through Thursday
  • When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
  • Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

Well, yes, I guess I do automatically think of the classics when someone says "literature." But I don't really think that literature is only the classics. I think it's everything really, everything good and worth reading I suppose. Which, of course, is a matter of personal taste, right?

So, if I go with my second definition of literature, then the second question above is obvious, I read literature for pleasure. But all reading is for pleasure. At least at this stage in my life it is. And if we're calling literature the classics, than THAT'S for pleasure too, 'cause I love the classics!

I don't know about you, but that answer made me dizzy. dizzy

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's All About Josh Today... Not Books

I can't think about books today.

That's because it's been officially announced when this DVD of "my" concert will be out.

Last year about this time, I bought tickets for Josh Groban. I was so excited and counted down the weeks all summer long. The evening finally arrived... August 28, 2007. Just as the concert was starting, they told us that they'd be making the DVD for this tour that very night, at "our" concert! We, the screaming audience, were thrilled! But it was hard to believe that it was really true, that out of all the many many shows he did that he was filming the DVD at our city.

But it IS true! They weren't kidding us after all! And that DVD will be out next month and I can relive that amazing, amazing wonderfully fun incredible night over and over again!
Today I discovered this teaser video about it...

Can you feel the excitment? Does that not look like the best concert ever?
Okay, so now you know, if you didn't know before, now you do. I'm a little Josh Groban obsessed. Yeah, so sometimes, it's not all about books, sometimes, it's all about Josh!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

March Recap with Blurbs

Here's what I read this month. But I wanted to try a new thing with these recap posts. I want to try blurbing them .... or in other words..... writing a very small description or reaction to them. Here goes.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson: A shy-ish girl is sent on an adventure of a lifetime thanks to her dead aunt

The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner: Nerdy, but lovable, Tick gets some letters full of riddles and learns there's more to the world than he thought

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards: A family deals with a split second life-changing decision

Jinx by Meg Cabot: Jean comes to NY to live with her cousins and gets more than she bargained for

Dairy of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules by Jeff Kinney: Our friend Gregory deals with more junior high mishaps, but especially, his not-so-nice older brother

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer: How one family deals with the chaos of a major world disaster

Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier: Our heroine, Reason, learns more about her magical family in this 2nd book of a trilogy

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: An excellent pep talk for writers!

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: After Susie dies, she watches how her family deals with their grief

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: Life gets pretty "other worldly" when Gemma gets sent to boarding school in England

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert: A moving story about life in the infamous leper colony of Hawaii

Favorites: Moloka'i, The Lovely Bones and 13 Little Blue Envelopes

(Okay, so that blurbing thing may take some practice!)

War and Peace update: Now on page 337. Moving right along! ..... NOT :)


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