Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Top Ten: Coming of Age

One of my favorite book categories is the so called "coming of age," which to me basically means a book about a kid/young person who has to go through some defining experience and comes out of it stronger, wiser, perhaps a little sadder, but definitely more "grown up." Here's some of my favorites:

Coming of Age Books

1. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
4. Great Expectations by Charles Dickesn
5. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
6. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Sallinger
7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Dodie Smith
8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
9. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
10. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

What would you add to this list?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Bookish Websites

Today from The Broke and the Bookish.... my Top Ten Five Favorite Bookish Websites:

1.Goodreads: I remember trying to decide between this one, Library Thing and Shelfari. I must say, I'm glad to have gone with this one. I have a blast with it, keeping lists and making friends and doing my mini reviews. Here's a link to me there if you'd like to drop by.

2. Paperback Swap: I haven't used this one as much lately as I did in the beginning, but I still from time to time order a book from here and have fun seeing it come in the mail. I need to update my posted books to swap and maybe I'll start getting a little more action again and building my points back up.

3. Amazon: I know some of you hate this place, but I find the deals too hard to refuse and I often go here to see what other people are saying about the books. I would like to make better use of the "wish list" feature.

4. Shelf Awareness: a place to see what's up and coming and to request ARCs. It's fun at first, but then can get overwhelming with the amount of requests you can get going and ARCs you feel you must read.

5. Fyrefly's Blogger Directory: the place I go to find my other reviews. Are you on there? If not, click here.

That's all I can think of at the moment, so I'll leave it at five this time around. What are your favorites? I would especially like to know about Android apps that you love!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Extreme Mini Reviews: 2005 Top Ten

Another installment of extreme mini reviews! This one from my Top Ten of 2005:

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale: She came to the library that summer. I'd never heard of her, so I got her book and read it without knowing anything. It blew me away! It had everything! I loved it!

Beauty by Robin McKinley: An awesome retelling of Beauty and the Beast... one, if not the best one, of my favorites.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling: What's there to say about this one? I was part of the craze and read it the day it came out!

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: I loved this "intellectual" look at the whole vampire/Dracula legend. This book felt real to me and creeped me out in the most perfect way. Loved it.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: It must have been a re-read that year, and it appears it made it to my top ten... again. It's probably about time of another re-read, what do you think?

A Fine Balance by Rohintin Mistry: This book about life in India still sticks with me. Really really moving and eye opening.

Inkspell by Cornelia Funke: I really enjoyed this second book of the trilogy (though not as much as the first) and it ended in a major cliff hanging that made me crazy!

Shirley by Charlotte Bronte: I remember this one having a slow start, but by the end, I was loving it. 

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman: A fun essay type book about the love of reading. I really enjoyed it.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis: A book we read for book club way back when about time traveling back to the plague years. I don't remember whole lot more about it except that it was pretty intense and really good.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Popping In

Written Saturday evening from an undisclosed location:

Outside my window: It's been pouring rain and I mean POURING! But it's very hot and very humid and very muggy too.

I am listening to: pure and total silence at the moment.

I am watching: absolutely nothing.

I am thinking: that popping ibuprofen and drinking caffeine must have truly killed this headache of mine! 

I am grateful for: family vacations.

I am reading: hardly anything. You'd think that I'd read while on vacation... NOT. It's very frustrating.

I am photographing: a TON of things and I'll share later I hope.

I am listing: no lists this week.

I am creating: memories to last a lifetime!

On my iPod: a play list 300 songs long that everyone is sick to death of hearing by now!

I am hoping and praying: no one gets sick.

Around the house: I hope all is well.

From the kitchen: Ha! No cooking for me for awhile still!

One of my favorite things: driving around and seeing new places.

The children this week: Have been very well behaved for the most part and not much complaining and I hope are having fun.

Plans for the week: No work and all play.

On this date: My summer last year was really boring compared to my summer so far this year! I guess it's like that sometimes.

Thanks to Ibeeeg of Polishing Mud Balls for the inspiration for this post's layout.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Music Stuck in My Head: Muse

The following post was written over a year ago for a guest post... then I bagged it and did something different, but I saved this post for a rainy day. And that day is today! So here you have my feelings on Muse, written a long long time ago... but with updated comments in brackets.

About three years ago when I was first in my Twilight craze, I noticed that Stephenie Meyer thanked a band called Muse in her books. She even went so far as to say that they totally inspired her and that she wouldn't have been able to write without them. She says in New Moon: " And, finally, thank you to the talented musicians who inspire me, particularly the band Muse - there are emotions, scenes, and plot threads in this novel that were born from Muse songs and would not exist without their genius." And in Eclipse: " I am in your debt, rock gods of Muse, for yet another inspiring album. Thank you for continuing to create my favorite writing music." And also in Breaking Dawn, which was even dedicated to Muse. "And thanks also to my favourite band, the very aptly named Muse, for providing a saga's worth of inspiration."

So of course I had to look up this band that I'd never heard of, to see what all her fuss was about. At first, I thought, ... hmmmm.. they are just plain weird. But the more I listened, the more I loved. Soon, my teenagers were also totally into them, and we found ourselves blasting them constantly. [Though now they are bugged by the whole Stephenie Meyer thing and figure those that came to love Muse because of her are not real fans. Whatever.] Then we found out they were coming in concert just down the street from our house so of coure, I got tickets! Wow, what an experience that was. First we had to suffer through a couple hours of awful opening bands, then lots and lots of waiting, but when Muse finally took the stage and opened with one of the very best songs, Knights of Cydonia, it was all worth it. I felt a little weird being an old mom in the midst of tons of rocking out teenagers, but if you looked closely, there were lots of other moms there too! One of the things people say the most about Muse is their amazing live shows, and somehow I've been lucky enough to experience this.

Here's a video of them opening their concert at Wembely Stadium with Knights of Cydonia:

It was about the time of this concert (Sept. 2007) that I decided my favorite song of theirs was Supermassive Black Hole. Such an intense song. To see them play it live at that concert was amazing! Then when the Twilight movie came out a year later, guess which Muse song was featured during the famous baseball game? Supermassive Black Hole!

Now, just this month,[which was fall of 2009 I think] Muse has finally come out with a new album called Resistance. The single, Uprising, is fast making the rounds. Also, I just found out that one of these new songs called I Belong to You, will be re-worked for the New Moon soundtrack. Turns out again that it's one of my favorites on this new album, though in their words, they think it's the weirdest track of the album.

Muse is a group of three British guys, led by Matt Ballamy who does most (maybe even all?) the song writing. His background is classical piano, which you can hear sprinkled throughout many of their songs. Most of their songs are upbeat, politically charged alternative rock, head banging type stuff. But then they really know how to slow it down to very beautiful ballads and soft piano tunes. They've put out five albums now. Some of my favorite songs, not mentioned above, are Hysteria (with some smokin' hot bass playing!), Time is Running Out (this is the one my son and his band have learned and they do a pretty good job too!) Unintended (slow and beautiful, but weird, weird video), Map of the Problematique (haunting lyrics), and Butterflies and Hurricanes(a taste of Matt's classical piano talent which comes halfway through the song.) Ah, I could go on and on, there's so many good ones.

Thank you to Stephenie Myer for pointing these guys out in her books, and adding to my ever growing list of favorite musicians.

I've since seen them in concert again, and it was just as fun the second time around. They really are awesome.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Extreme Mini Reviews: 2004 Top Ten

Awhile back I had fun looking back in time to books I loved in pre-blogging days. So I did some EXTREME mini reviews of those books listed on my side bar as my top ten favorites. Here's another set! These are my favorites from my 2004 reading year:

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer: A crazy intense story about a kid who is bred for his parts and DNA. It's one of the first dystopian books I read and I was blown away. 

The Princess Bride by William Goldman: After loving the movie so much, I finally decided to read the book, and I loved it!

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand: This book was making a big buzz and even though I'm not really a horse person, I thought I'd give it a try. And I'm so glad I did because I loved this story and recommend it all the time, even for non-horse people!

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett: I was blown away by the craziness that is the book when I read it this first time around. I loved the writing and the story and all the characters.

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly: This is a great historical romance that takes place in both New York and London. Lots of intrigue... murder, romance and adventure. I loved it and need to read more like this again. I miss this time of book!

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke: Ah, what a fun book! The story about what happens when you have the ability to read yourself into a book! You'd think it would be cool, but it causes all sorts of craziness! What a fun first book to a fun trilogy.

Educating Esme by Esme Raji Codell: One of those books that makes you want to go out and fix the world! Very inspirational.

The Killer Angles by Michael Shaara: A fictionalized account of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. If you are visiting there, read this first.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck: This must have been a re-read that year, probably because of Oprah's book club? But I love this book and was fascinated with it just as much this second time around as the first. 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston: So if you don't want to watch that movie 127 hours, read this book instead. The movie was based on this book, which is Aron's account of getting pinned by a rock while hiking and how he got himself out of it. So good!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: I Love to Blog Because.....

... it gives me a place to rave about books/authors/characters that I love and hopefully find a sympathetic audience among other book lovers out there.

... it makes me think of books in a deeper way than "yes I liked it" or "no I didn't."

... it's a perfect place to keep track of all the bookish sort of lists I like to make!

... of all the connections I make with other book fanatics!

... it's fun to feel like there's a world wide book club going and that we are all reading sort of the same books and talking about them.

... then I can keep up (sort of) with what the popular books are and see what the buzz is.

... I can escape real life for a bit and live in book life.

... it's fun to make recommendations here and send people who ask "what book should I read" here to find out the answer.

... I feel like it's a brain stimulating creative sort of hobby.

... it's fun!

This list prompted by the one year anniversary of The Broke and Bookish who are asking everyone today to list their top ten reasons why they love to blog or read or do whatever bookish pursuit they do. Come join us!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Birth Marked by Caragh O'Brien

Book: Birth Marked by Caragh O'Brien
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: A-
For: Fun
From: The library

Wow, I'm going through the dystopian stuff lately it seems! Here's another fun one about a girl who has been trained to be a midwife. In this society, the poor people who live outside the wall have to give up a quota of their babies to the rich people who live inside the wall. It seems completely and totally normal to them. When she first becomes a midwife, she does this willingly without blinking an eye.

But then, her parents are arrested for reasons unknown and taken to prison inside the wall. She is then determined to go in there and find them. What she finds in there makes her change her mind about a lot of things she has taken for granted. She must also decide if she is going to cooperate or resist.

It's a fun book with lots of new ideas. Some a little bit scary too. I enjoyed it a lot. I did, however, want a little more romance stuff! And it wasn't quite as intense as I expected it to be. And of course it's left with everything still up in the air and so you know you'll have to read the next one!

Bottom line: I liked it.

Other Reviews:

There's a Book
One Librarian's Book Reviews
The Allure of Books
The BookBind

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Answers to The Quote Quiz

Thanks to those of you who tried guessing the quotes I posted last Monday. I thought they were way too easy, but you told me that no, that was not necessarily the case. So here are the answers for those of you who are interested:

1. "Oh, my cherished preserver!"  Mr. Rochester says this to Jane after the first fire in Jane Eyre.

2. "I am haunted by humans." The final sentence of The Book Thief.

3. "Is this a kissing book?" From The Princess Bride... yes I remember it most from the movie, but I'm pretty sure it's in the book too.

4. "For you, a thousand times over." What Amir says to his friend Hassan many times, and what Hassan says in turn to Amir's son later on.

5. "My mother is a fish." Benji in As I Lay Dying... my English class got a huge kick out of this quote.

6. "Alas, poor Yorik." Another memory of English class, this one from Hamlet.

7. "It is a far far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..." The last line in A Tale of Two Cities... I cut it short, it goes on for a bit longer. But I love it.

8. "The happiness which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never felt before; and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do." Yes, from Pride and Prejudice. I love this one too... how you just have to assuming there's a kiss. Ah... imagination!

9. "Do you know why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories." From Peter Pan.

10. "I want words at my funeral. But I guess that means you need life in your life."  From I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak... very true words, don't you think? Get out there and live!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Music Stuck in My Head: David Archuleta

So awhile back when I was gushing about the fact that we got to meet David Archuleta, one of my best blogging buddies, Ibeeeg, mentioned in a comment that she knows nothing about him, which, I'm guessing, could be the case for many of you, so of course, a post highlighting him is in order.

David Archuleta is our very famous, very loved, local American Idol celebrity. He was on the show about three years ago (season 7 I think) and made it to the finals, but didn't win, losing out to David Cook. We loved cheering him on (though I must admit that season my favorite was Jason Castro!) and when the top ten went on tour, of course we went to the concert.

When David came on stage that night, we screamed for him forever, to the point that he could hardly sing and in fact broke down in tears. Was this a nice thing for us the audience to do? I'm not sure, but we couldn't help it and it was so much fun to show our love to him by screaming fanatically!

Anyway, he's since  made two albums and a Christmas album, plus the book about his rise to stardom, which includes the story about a major injury to his vocal chord that made everyone think he wouldn't be a singer after all. All this before he was 16 years old. Then he goes on to be on American Idol at age 17. Quite the story. And he's quite the kid, being so cute and humble and sweet through it all.

Here's some footage we took when he did the "hometown visit" thing during his American Idol run. What a blast that was!

Here he is singing on the finale that year:

His current hit:

And just so you can see what I was talking about with the screaming at the concert, here's a little clip of that:

And now you know!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Trip Books

My husband said, "You aren't taking the whole library are you?"

No, just these ones.....

What do yo think? Will they be good books for trip reading? I always think I'll do more reading on a trip than I really end up doing. It's frustrating, but I have to go prepared, just in case. And then there's the issue of you never know what mood you'll be in! (I had to stick Persuasion in there because I feel a need for a re-read... and it's so teeny tiny anyway!) There's lots of hardbacks I'd like to read, but I don't want to haul them. Plus, I have an arc on my phone! Witch Song by Amber Argyle.... and so maybe I'll try that experience for the first time!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Book: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigulupi
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: A
For: Printz Project (Printz Award 2011)
From: Borrowed

I've been hearing so many good things about this one that I knew I couldn't pass up the chance to read it when the opportunity came along.

This one is an interesting take on yet another dystopian world. Our main characters are "ship breakers" and make their living by harvesting the resources they can dead ships leftover from the time before... our time. It's a world where the question is asked.. .what if our land is flooded and buried at sea?

It's a very harsh world, violent and ruthless. Then when the storms come, things really get interesting. After one particular storm, a new ship is wrecked up on their shore and what they discover on it starts a whole new chapter in their lives. Nailer in particular must make basically a life and death decision.

This is quite the ride! Very page turning and crazy! I particularly enjoyed the unique style and the creative take on the dystopian genre. Fascinating characters too.

Bottom line: I really liked it!

Other Reviews:

One Librarian's Book Reviews
Annette's Book Spot
Stainless Steel Droppings
Gripping Books

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Sweet Stuff

The list prompt over at The Broke and the Bookish today is to think of scenes and moments that makes us go awwwww. I have lots of those, but of course, my mind's gone blank and I can't think of them all! But here's what I've come up with:

1. The moment when Jo and Laurie meet at the dance, and Jo is all worried about her dress and Laurie is all funny and they talk and they connect. I love that scene.

2. Okay, so this one I don't have time to run and look up to see if I'm getting it right, but this is how I remember it.... it's when Anne and Gilbert meet at the end of Anne of Green Gables, I think at a bridge perhaps? and he's all "I've loved you from the moment I meet you!" or something. Right? And then there's the kiss! I love it! Is that right? That's how I remember it anyway.

3. When Katniss connects with Ru, someone who is supposed to be her enemy. That is a sweet moment. And heartbreaking.

4. Okay, so did this happen in the book? I can't remember. You The Look that Darcy and Lizzy share across the room when Georgiana is playing the piano? I know it's a key moment in the movie, but I bet it's in the book too. I love that bit!

5. Then there's that three minute dance that Ed Kennedy shares with his best friend Audrey... that is a very big aw. He let's his guard down, she does the same and it's so perfect for those three minutes!

6. The puppies in The Story of Edgar Sawtelle are precious!

There's tons more if only I could get them to come to mind! So tell me which huge sweet moments am I forgetting!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekly Geeks 2011.19: A Quote Quiz

This week for Weekly Geeks we're talking about quotes. I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorites  and see if you can tell me what book they are from, and who said them. I think they will all be too easy for you. Let's see what you think:

A Quote Quiz

1. "Oh, my cherished preserver!"
2. "I am haunted by humans."
3. "Is this a kissing book?"
4. "For you, a thousand times over."
5. "My mother is a fish."
6. "Alas, poor Yorik."
7. "It is a far far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..."
8. "The happiness which this reply produced, was such as he had probably never felt before; and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do."
9. "Do you know why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories."
10. "I want words at my funeral. But I guess that means you need life in your life."

So tell me, do you know these quotes? What are some of your favorites quotes?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Summertime Summertiime

Outside my window: Beautiful. Perfect.

I am listening to: nothing at the moment. All is quiet on the homefront. It's late Saturday night. There's one kid not home yet, and I am waiting.... ever waiting.

I am watching: Hey, so we are re-watching all the Prison Break seasons! Yes. It's crazy, but I think it just might turn into a summer tradition.

I am thinking: that keeping track of everyone this summer, their comings and goings, might make me lose my mind. I wish I didn't have such an urge to do so.

I am grateful for: frozen pizza. It's really yucky, but it sure does solve dinner problems some days.

I am reading: Right now I'm concentrating on Birth Mark by Caragh M. O'Brien... but I got a good start on A Crown of Swords this week too, and it's been fun so far so I have high hopes that this one will be faster to get through than the previous one.

I am photographing: Fireworks, the parade, authors, kids, gigs... lots of stuff lately really.

I am listing: Things I can schedule for pre-posting! Shhhh.... you'll never know the difference!

I am creating: I made a little jacket thing to go over a dress for Toto. That was impressive, don't you think?

On my iPod: nothing new this week... again.

I am hoping and praying: that we have an absolute blast on our trip and that everything goes smoothly!

Around the house: things are a pretty big mess. Welcome to summer.

From the kitchen: Oh boy... major fail this week and the beyond. Cooking is just not happening.

One of my favorite things: Fireworks for sure.

The children this week: made me crazy.

Plans for the week: live one day at a time.

On this date: Last year I was doing Bloggiesta. Fun stuff. And the year before I was going on a cruise. That was fun stuff too.

Well, I guess that's all I've got this go around. I hope you are all having a lovely weekend!

Thanks to Ibeeeg of Polishing Mud Balls for the inspiration for this post's layout.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Review: Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Book: Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA... something... gah I have a hard time classifying Neal Shusterman's books!
Rating: A
For: Fun
From: The library

Can I just say one more time how much I love this guy's books? This one had me smiling and giggling, and pretty much laughing out loud from page one. And then... and then... a few chapters in, I went... "Oh my gosh! No WAY!"

So the story is about a set of twins, a boy and girl named Bronte and Tennyson. Love those names! Bronte starts going out with this guy named Brewster (nicknamed Bruiser) and Tennyson is a little freaked by that because Bruiser doesn't have a very good reputation. Everyone thinks he is just weird, and a bit creepy and even scary. But Bronte sees something in him that makes her want to see what he is all about. In reality, he is just a boy that keeps a bit to himself.

Then Tennyson decides to start finding out more about Bruiser too, in the name of looking out for his sister. He finds out some stuff that is pretty heartbreaking. And that there's a reason he keeps a lot to himself. Ah, and that's about when I said "No way!"

The story alternates between the points of view of Bronte, Tennyson, Bruiser and Bruiser's little brother Cody. It's a perfect way to tell this story and experience all the different perceptions of these characters.

I just love Shusterman's creative unique style and his humor. So much fun to read. Then there's always this underlying deep thing that makes you sit up and take notice and ponder life and think a bit. And it's real life stuff, except for this little element of something other! It's so hard to explain but I love it!

Bottom line: I loved it!

Other Reviews:

I'd So Rather Be Reading
Bookish Blather
Readingjunky's Reading Roost

If you are in the mood, here's a video I just found of Neal himself reading the first chapter, and you can see how I was laughing right from the start:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Character Connection: John Wayne Cleaver

I've decided it's time once again for a Character Connection post (check out Jen at Introverted Reader's link up here!) and after talking to Dan Wells, the author of the serial killer series (does this series have an official name? Anyone?) this past weekend and telling him how much I loved his character, I knew it was time to highlight him here.

Please meet John Wayne Cleaver from I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want to Kill You. Here's a kid who lives in a small town where really weird things keep happening. Much too many murders for one. John and his mom live above the mortuary that they own. The only mortuary in town of course, so all the dead bodies end up there for fixing up. John has some interesting issues, but deep down, he's really a pretty cool kid.

Here's some more about him:

  • he says he doesn't have a heart
  • he's been diagnosed as a sociopath
  • he loves to embalm people, it calms him
  • he sometimes wants to hurt animals
  • he dreams about hurting people
  • he loves setting fires
  • he's quiet and shy-ish
  • he's obsessed with serial killers
  • he's responsible and smart
  • he wants to help people, not hurt them
  • he has a list of crazy rules to help him get through the day
  • he loves the girl next door
  • he's very brave
  • he's funny, in a nerdy sort of way
  • he's crazy! In more ways than one!
I love him because he's so dynamic. And because he's different from most of the 16 year old kids we read about. He appears to be normal, and in fact the town considers him a hero, yet he is struggling with some pretty big and scary issues. The secrets he keeps! His struggle is what makes him so likable too. 

I'm happy to report that though these three books are the end of this particular series, Dan Wells mentioned to me the other day that he has plans/hopes/thoughts about writing more starring this character. I have a feeling I'm not the only one to tell him what a crazy cool character he's created!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Utah Festival of Books

No, I didn't get to go to BEA, but instead, I got to participate in our own little local book celebration last Saturday! What fun it was!

First up was listening a bit to Kristen Chandler talk about her book Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me.... which I recently read and reviewed here. She also talked about what she has coming up which sounds pretty fun too. I only caught the last bit of her presentation, which was probably a good thing, because she had a really scary wolf with her! I'll see more of her next week at our library too, so that should be fun.

After that we listened to a panel talk about writing for just a bit. Brandon Mull was there, along with Rick Walton, Lisa Mangum, Tracy and Laura Hickman, and Kristen Randle. But Toto (12 years old) was bored with that quite fast, so then we went over and listened to James Dashner, who once again showed how well he relates to the younger crowd, getting the kids all involved in his talk with much enthusiasm. Very fun. He was, however, distracted by all the random strange characters walking past the tent during his presentation, which I got a big kick out of and it made me giggle.

We stood in his line for a bit afterwards because, strange thing, we found a book at our house that he hadn't signed yet! So we fixed that and got The Scorch Trials signed.

Then we nabbed some nice seats for the David Archuleta thing, and I made Toto sit there while I went over and listened to Kiersten White for a minute. She is just as funny as I thought she'd be... after reading her book (Paranormalcy) and follow her crazy tweets.

Then we waited for David and he finally came out, but sadly didn't sing for us. Instead they interviewed him about his book, a memoir on his life so far and his American Idol experience. I have yet to read it, but have great plans to do so. Daughter JJ joined us for this part of the day, being a huge fan of his. So afterwards, we stood in a massive line to meet him and get him to sign both his book, and two CDs we have. That was fun, even though they shoved us through as fast as they could and there was no time to really talk to him or have a connection. But we got some pictures and it was fun to see him close up. (A more detailed post on David A. coming in the future, by request of Ibeeeg!)

Toto and JJ pose with David Archuleta

After that we got Illusions signed by Aprilynne Pike, and The Forgotten Locket signed by Lisa Mangum. Then there was the women's author panel, which was a lot of fun and made us laugh. It was moderated by Ann Cannon, with Ann Dee Ellis, Jessica Day George, Kristen Landon, Kiersten White and Aprilynne Pike. They were great and now I need to add Kristen Landon's book, The Limit, to my need to read list.

Ann Cannon, Ann Dee Ellis, Kiersten White, Jessica Day George, Kristen Landon, Aprilynne Pike

Aprilynne Pike

Then we listened to Dan Wells talk for just a bit, followed by Elana Johnson. Then we followed them to their signing spots and got Dan to sign I Don't Want to Kill You (where I told him I loved, really loved, his character John Cleaver) and had Elana sign her brand new book, Possession, for us,  a book making a ton a buzz and one I look forward to reading!

Dan Wells

Elana Johnson

I bought two books there, and hauled the rest with me to get signed.

I took a ton of video so here's some footage of that edited down a bit, if you are interested in more:

All in all, a very fun day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Settings (Real and Not Real)

Interesting question about settings over The Broke and the Bookish today. The task is to list our favorite settings in books (real or not real.) And while I love most settings, when I actually think of my favorites, I tend to veto them all! Most settings are not ideal. Have you noticed? Most worlds and situations are rather depressing, sad, scary and awful! So this list is harder to come up with then you might think.

Top Ten Favorite Settings

1. Any Victorian mansion... you know... Pemberly, Thornfield Hall, etc.

2. That elf city in Lord of the Rings.... Rivendell... yeah that one!

3. The box car in the Box Car Children! I thought that was so freaking cool!

4. Hogwarts... of course!

5. Avonlea, Prince Edward Island. What a lovely place! Well, at least in the books, and I'm sure in real life too. Wait... is there really an Avonlea? Wait what? Is it fictional?!!?

(This looks kinda real....)

6. The Tower of London... a real place (and I KNOW this is a real place, a really cool place!) featured in lots of stories both fiction and non.

7. The world of color created by Brandon Sanderson in Warbreaker.

8. A big western log cabin house.... like perhaps the one featured in Kaki Warner's books.

Maybe it looked something like this?

9. Razo and Rin's place in the forest and/or Finn's place too.

10. King Aurthur's castle in Camelot!

Even better if a Merlin who looks like this is there!

Hmm.... a lot of castles and such. Interesting. What are some of your favorite settings?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

Book: Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler
Genre: YA (not fantasy, as you might think)
Rating: A-
For: Utah Author Month
From: Borders, with a coupon! :)

This one has been on my radar for awhile. I mean, with a title like that, you can't help but take notice! But of course, I assumed it was a werewolf sort of book. But it's not... it's just a wolf sort of book. So if you are like me and think wolves are cool, you should enjoy this one for sure.

It's about a girl who lives near Yellowstone Park. She's an outdoorsy sort. She lives with her dad who takes people on fishing trips. Now and then she gets to go, and sometimes they track down the wolf packs and watch them. She feels a kinship.

Then in school that year, she is assigned to write about the wolf packs for the school's newspaper column. In the process, she suddenly finds herself right in the middle of a major controversy regarding the wolves and should they even be in Yellowstone? Because now that they are, they are killing the livestock of local ranchers. Not a good thing!

Meanwhile, a new boy moves in for the school year, and it just so happens that his mom is quite the wolf expert. And it just so happens that he is an awesome photographer, and so they get assigned to go out and study the wolves together. And then stuff happens.

So I had fun with this story, learning about the wolves and all, trying to decide who was right and wrong in this issue.... the wolf people or the ranchers. You can see both sides, that's for sure. An interesting dilemma. My only complaint is that it did border on being a bit too political for my taste, and once again, I just wanted more character interaction and less talk on the issue. But despite that, I really enjoyed it and it was a fun quick and easy read.

Bottom line: I liked it a lot.

Other Reviews:

Books By Their Cover
Bubble Gum Book Reviews
Book Harbinger

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Random Sunday Thoughts

I wanted to check in here, but I don't have time to do a "real" post, so it's just the random thought thing today!

** Wow, life has been crazy this week! Non-stop I tell you, non-stop! I knew it would be, but the reality was even crazier than how I pictured it! Let me just make a quick list:

  • Rockapella concert on Monday
  • 6th grade graduation on Tuesday
  • Les Mis on Wednesday
  • High school choir concert on Wednesday
  • Elementary school dance festival on Wednesday
  • Shopping on Thursday
  • Final homework projects to help with on most days
  • Book Festival all day on Saturday
  • Dance recital all night on Saturday
  • And what happened on Friday? I can't even remember, but I remember non-normal-ness!
  • And today? After church. Birthday gathering.
** Yesterday at the book festival, I had so much fun! I took pictures! I took video! We met David Archuleta! Yes, you will have to wait for another post for all that excitement, but I will tell you about it all, never fear. But I just had share one picture I took:
Could this kid get any cuter? 

** I read a bit this week, finished Ship Breaker, started A Crown of Swords. I got The Forgotten Locket in the mail and read the prologue. And yesterday I bought two more books, because,  you know, I didn't have quite enough yet. 

** We now have five drivers at the house, and three cars. Should this be a problem? 

** Remember all that rain we were having? It went away this week and we had sun! It was hot! And it was weird!

** This next week should be calmer, but we will be getting ready for a trip. Then there's the trip after that, and then you really won't see me around much for awhile. I hope you are all still here when I come back! I hope to schedule a few posts. I had big plans for that, but I may have to scrap them for sanity's sake. 

** My long haired 16 year old son totally chopped all his hair off yesterday! We have a new kid at this house now and we keep doing a double take. I should have done before and after pictures. Maybe I can still figure that out. It's quite the transformation. He looks so good!

Okay, enough rambles. I need to move on to the next project of the day!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Music Stuck in My Head: Rockapella

We bought season tickets this year to our outdoor theater! This has been a tradition for years at our house, and we've seen some really awesome concerts, but it's been hit and miss for us ticket-wise for the past few years  Anyway, not this year! We have tickets, so you'll have to live it all with me!

Our first concert was this week on Memorial Day and we got to see, once again, Rockapella! They've come several times in past years and even though the members of their group have changed quite a bit, they are still so very cool and so much fun to listen to... and watch dance! Wow, smooth moves!

Here's what it was like:

Here's what made them famous:

And here's their new song, Bang, which I could only find in this Rock Band version (except for this teeny bit on a radio show):

Here's the older bunch singing one of our favorites, which we begged them to do at this most recent concert... and so they did!

So much fun! I loved it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Book Sale Stack!

I thought I'd do another book stack picture. Everyone seems to enjoy those. So remember last week when I said was going to book sale? At least I said it somewhere anyway... here's what I bought... 25 cents per book! What do you think? Anything good? Anything crappy?

Ugh, can you even see it?

The Last of the Mohicans
The Beloved Dearly
Tuesdays with Morrie
Icy Sparks
Things Fall Apart
Son of the Mob
Interpreter of Maladies
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

And yes I already have the Harry Potter book, but is just so happens it's the one that fell apart!

Hopefully I get in a better review mood soon so I can get caught up with those, and then get going on my next stack of books to read.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Book: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating: A
For: Fun
From: The library!

This book pretty much starts where City of Bones left off. The kids need to find the evil Valentine to stop him from killing four different creatures in order to take over the magic sword. We learn all sorts of more things about everyone. But.... who is really telling the truth? And then there's Simon. I KNEW something would happen to him! But this was not what I expected! And I'm kind of sad he didn't get to use his bow much this book. Next time perhaps?

Anyway, I can't really say much about the storyline itself without giving everything away. I felt much foreshadowing about the twist from the first book and is it really true..... and that question hanging there in itself will make me want to keep reading just to see what's going on!

For sure this is a book with non-stop action and many perilous, other-worldly moments. It's a crazy story! On to book three!

Bottom line: I enjoyed it a lot!

Other Reviews:

Love Vampires
That's What She Read
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Sarah's Random Musings


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