Thursday, May 31, 2012

Let the Buffy Watching Begin!

I'm ready to watch some BUFFY!

Here's a proposed schedule that I plan to start out following. Maybe it will change as things go along, but at least this will get things started.

Since I was hoping to get at least a bit into season two, I've decided to watch four episodes a week, with Saturday being my "report" day. Since this first Saturday is June 2, I hope to watch the first two episodes by then and get a start at least!

So here's what it would look like:

June 2:  S1 E 1 and 2
June 9: S1 E 3-6
June 16: S1 E 7-10
June 23: S1 E 11, 12 and S2 E 1 and 2
June 30: S2 E 3-6

If you want to go slower and just do season one, you can start next week and watch three episodes each week and be done by the end of June.... since there's only 12 episodes in season one.

Season two, however, has 22 episodes!! So the above schedule only gets us six episodes into that.

Anyway, let's see how it goes, okay?! Are you with me!??

I plan to post my thoughts on Saturdays. Let me know if you'd like to do that too and I'll link up to you on my posts. Even if you post a different day, I'll be sure to link up.

Also, if we end up talking about our Buffy watch along on Twitter I'm suggesting the tag #buffywatch. Perhaps we'll figure out a set time to chat a few times during our watch along, but we'll see how it goes first. Or, you can chat WHILE you are watching live, as they say, and that would be fun too! I'll probably watch these first two episodes tonight if anyone wants to join me.


Ready, set, WATCH!

P.S. Be sure to follow all the Buffy posts going up over at Stella Matutina!

May Reading Recap

Sheesh, I almost don't even want to bother with the recap post today, but then I wouldn't be able to look back years from now and remember just when my reading level started its downward spiral! Even with the 1000 page book, I can do better than this! And I even got a Kindle this month for heavens sake! That means my reading numbers should increase, right? Gah.

I read these four books this month. One was 1000 pages, yes, but the others were wimpy small things, so there's really no excuse for not doing more.

Precious Bane by Mary Webb: Prue Sarn struggles to fit into society and at the same time save her family and farm.

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss: Kvothe continues to learn and grow in his skills and wisdom both at school and off on his many adventures.

Black Heart by Holly Black: Cassel is torn between using his magic to help the government or join in with the underground crime scene.

Destined by Aprilynne Pike: Laurel and her friends fight in the final battle to save Avalon.

The Wise Man's Fear is my favorite from this list, with Precious Bane coming in second.

Plans for June:

  • finish the Robin Hood classic
  • finish Code Name Verity, which I've got a good start on currently
  • read Ready Player One before it's due at the library
  • read About a Boy for book club
  • finish Anna Dressed in Blood
  • at the rate I'm going that'll be all I can handle!
How did your reading month go?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Photo A Day... June!

So many of my bloggy friends have been doing this fun photo meme this past month in May and I've been dying to join in the fun. But May is too crazy and I know June will be.... less crazy... so thankfully there's going to be a continuation of Photo a Day! Find out all the details over at Fat Mum Slim, the creator of this challenge.

In the meantime, here's the list, so do join us, and start thinking and start shooting!

So fair warning,  do be prepared to see lots more original and hopefully creative pictures around here and all my other usual places this coming up month. If it turns out really fun, and the challenge continues in July and beyond, it just might become a regular thing for me. Hopefully that's a good thing for, I know it will be for me. 

Review: Destined by Aprilynne Pike

Book: Destined by Aprilynne Pike
Genre: YA Fantasy
For: Fun
From: Bought from Costco

I was really quite anxious for this book since book number 3 (Illusions) ended with quite the unexpected cliff hanger... unexpected because I thought THAT book would end the series, but no, it's actually this one!

So this one picks up right were the last one left off with our heroes, David, Laurel and Tamani, trying to figure out what's going on with this new girl that has been going to their school and what she has to do with the bad "guy" who has been plaguing them now for several books.

Most of this book then turns into a battle in Avalon, some of it I found sufficiently exciting, but for most of it I just didn't care. So I was disappointed in that. I guess it was just to much battle/fighting descriptions for my liking.

However, there are some cool David bits, and suddenly he has a much bigger role in the whole scheme of things than the previous books, so if you are a David fan, you will enjoy that! There were also some pretty cool King Arthur tie-ins (Avalon after all, yes?) that I didn't see coming which I particularly enjoyed.

Once the battle talk is over and we get down to some more interesting things, I was right there again and involved in the story. The growth and the insights into all the characters at this point is really quite fun and it's a bit bitter sweet to see how everything wraps up. I will say one thing, Laurel does make her love choice and the triangle is over!

The author then has a note at the end of the book, just before an epilogue of sorts, that warns you against reading the epilogue, but I say... read it anyway! Then, come and let me know what you think. :)

Bottom line: All in all, a very fun sweet and unique YA fairy story series that I enjoyed throughout.

Other Reviews:

Starry Sky Books
Books With Bite
Books: A True Story
Melissa's Book Shelf

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Still Be Read in 30 Years

The topic today over at The Broke and the Bookish is a bit of a mouthful.... "books from the last ten years that you hope will still be read 30 years from now." Make sense? There's so many books I could list for this, in fact, so many that my mind is a bit blank, but I'll give it a try anyway.

Books I Hope Will Be Read 50 Years From Now

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (published 2007). Of course you knew I would say this one. After all, as I mentioned here before, this book is already being considered "a classic" and is on such reading lists at school already. How cool is that. I KNOW it will be being read 30 years from now, no doubt.

2. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (published 2002.)

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (published 2011.)

4. The Thief by Megan Whelan Turner (published 2005.)

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows (published 2009.)

6. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (published 2009.)

7. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (published 2007.)

8.The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (published 2004)

9. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (published 2005)

10. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (published 2009)

What books would you put on your list?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Black Heart by Holly Black

Book: Black Heart by Holly Black
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★★☆☆
For: Fun
From: borrowed from Jenny

This is the third book in the Curseworkers series. The Curseworkers are people who can do magic, basically, by just a touch of their hands; however they are outlawed from working their magic by the government so anyone who does is basically considered criminal. Also, everyone has to wear gloves to protect accidental (or on  purpose) magic from happening.

In this, the third book, we have our hero Cassel, still trying to figure out where he fits in, in this bizarre world. Is he good guy or a bad guy? Will he work with the government or the underground criminals? Is he going to get back with Lila, or not? These are the questions to be answered in this installment.

While I find this series enchanting and fun, this third book was not as engaging for me as the others. Very slow to start and nothing really new was happening. It did pick up, however, and I found the climatic ending to be sufficiently page-turning!

Bottom line: It was mostly good. And I still love Cassel no matter what he decides!

Other Reviews:

The Readventurer
Alternate Readality
The Diary of a Bookworm
Girl in the Stacks

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Star Wars Story

It looks like it's been 35 years since Star Wars opened... Memorial Day weekend in 1977. Where was I that weekend?

I was finishing up 5th grade I think it was. My dad went on a business trip to Denver, sometime shortly after that weekend, maybe into the summer, I'm not sure. But while he was there, he went to this movie that everyone was talking about.

When he came home, he was raving about it! My 11 year old self was enthralled by his excitement. Besides, I'd seen the trailers on TV and I just KNEW this was a movie I had to go see.

At some point, we ended up with the soundtrack album and there were some awesome pictures on it. This only proved to intrigue me further.

Finally, FINALLY, my dad took us to see it! I have no idea when it was, but sometime that summer of 1977 I'm sure. It was a the huge old awesome theater in Salt Lake, The Centre, and it was at a time when once you were in the theater, you could stay there until you wanted to leave. So we stayed through two showings of it!

That was the coolest thing ever!

And thus the Star Wars phenomenon began in my life.

The impressions of my nearly 12 year old self:
  • I knew that Luke was the hero of the show, but even at not quite 12, I was especially taken with Hans Solo, yet I knew not why!
  • The garbage shoot scene was my favorite!
  • Except for the double sunset scene which always gives me chills... oh the music.
  • The special effects were astounding.
  • The sound and the music blew me away. This may have been the beginning of my fascination with sound and music in movies.
  • The movie was full of so many emotions that I was overwhelmed. 

I remember later that year I learned a Star Wars dance, learned to play Star Wars on the piano, and ended up with my very own copy of the disco Meco version of the Star Wars song which was a big hit with my 6th grade class. I also started collecting little Stars Wars figures, and also, trading cards which came in bread packages. I remember loving it when Star Wars characters were on the Teen Beat magazine cover and I even remember an article that talked about the whole trilogy (what a concept back then!) and then speculated that there would be a SECOND trilogy that would take place before this one, as a prequel of sorts. Could that really be? I was beyond excited!

I saw the movie in the theater that first run about four or five times, which is pretty amazing for a 12 year old back then, I think. Then a few years later, they brought it back to the theater (this was still pre-video days) and I went to see it another four or five times. It was the movie I had seen the most times up to that point. I was obsessed.

When the next movie came out, I was there. I couldn't BELIEVE how it ended with Hans Solo all carbonite- ed up! No way! And then the next movie (now I'm in high school) I was also there! And I was blown away by the excitement. The long long wait for the next trilogy was.... long. 

Bottom line: I really really love Star Wars (the original.) Always have, always will!

What's YOUR Star Wars story?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pin It and Do It Pinteresting Challenge Update Three: Disappearing Nine Patch Wall Hanging

I actually finished it! Now THIS is what this challenge is all about... forcing motivating a person to actually finish a project! I love it!

So I bought these squares at a quilt party my cousin hosted a few weeks ago. It was just 48 (I think) 5 inch squares... so... what to do with them?  (Hey, if you are interested in the quilt site where I got these from, I'm sure my cousin would LOVE a plug! Check it out.. My Lazy Daisy!)

I have this spot in my house, the stairwell, where I have had great plans to hang a seasonal wall hanging for every change of the seasons. At this point, I only had a Christmas one, a fall/Thanksgiving one, a Valentine one, and a flag one for the summer. I especially wanted a springy one that would work between Valentines and summer. So, that's what I decided to do with these squares.

They suggested at the party to make a disappearing nine patch, and I thought that looked easy and it was something I'd never done, so what the heck, I went for it. And then I found ideas on Pinterest and pinned them. (It's one of those getting to Pinterest through the back door kind of projects, know what I mean?)

(I really like this second one but decided it would be too big, plus it's tons more work!)

Anyway, I'm not going to list this step by detailed step, but just show the most awesome (ha ha) pictures I took along the way.

First, figuring out how to sew up the nine patches...
arranging the squares to what looks cool.

Then I sewed them up into nine patches.

Then I chopped them up! LOVE this part.
Sew them up to chop them up!


Here I am trying to figure out how to lay out the now chopped up
(aka disappearing nine patches) into a pleasing pattern.

I sewed them all up and added a little border,
and a bigger border.

And then I pinned it altogether with a back,
and a batting middle.

Then I quilted it with the machine of course,
just stitching in the ditch, cause I'm not fancy.

Next comes the binding (and the hanging tabs,)
 which I made WAY too small, but oh, well.

After handing sewing the binding to the back,
it was done!

Wow, it looks like I made it to fit perfectly!
But it was all luck!
Fun and easy! Though you should know, I am not a perfectionist and when it comes to quilting, sometimes that can be not so good. I had some issues with this for sure. I unpicked a couple times, and the binding is too small which messed up the corners, but that's okay. The Amish make mistakes on purpose you know! See, now I don't have to worry about that!

Now I have a springy looking wall hanging ready to hang just as we approach summer and it's time for my patriotic flag one! Of course.

How are your Pinterest projects coming along?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Potential Buffy Watch Along

There's a bunch of us (and by a bunch I mean four or five) out there in bloggerland/twitterverse that seem to have never managed to get on the Buffy bandwagon. Are you one of us? If so, we're thinking of fixing this issue!

Here's the thing, Memory over at Stella Matutina keeps talking about doing a Buffy month in June. (Check out her post just today!) I have no idea what she's got planned, but I figure what better time to once and for all see what this Buffy craze is all about!

You know the Buffy craze? How everyone (well lots of people I trust and believe anyway) say that it's one of the best TV shows ever? How when I ask in a post "who's your favorite vampire" people respond with Spike... whom I don't even know because I've never watched this show? How there's some dude named Joss Whedon who made name for himself in TVland because of this show, and how people (lots of people I trust and believe anyway) talk about his stuff non-stop? (And whose other stuff I love on my own!)

You know all that?

And maybe you are like me and have actually TRIED to watch it, but have only managed a few episodes and all you can think is.... seriously? THIS is what everyone is raving about? But it's dumb? (Gasp... I said it!) Is this you?

And yet you still want to give it chance because of all the things people say about this show?

Is this is you? Then you are just like me (and the other bunch of us I mentioned above) and you need to ponder the possibility of a "watch along" in June!! Yes, it's time to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer with us similar minded, curious, potential fans. And at the same time you can learn all about it and participate in Memory's Buffy month. And if we get slogged down with the first few strange and weird episodes, we can help each other push through them!

Well? So? Are you in?

We don't have specifics yet, but I'm thinking at least watch season 1 in June, maybe even get through season 2, so that after that we will be hooked, so they say, and can watch the rest during the remainder of the summer without problems. We'll maybe make up a little schedule and maybe have some days to post thoughts or something... maybe have some Twitter convos or.... I don't know...just basically have fun watching it "together" and cheering each other on.

So I thought I'd throw this idea out there to see if any of my readers are interested in joining us so we can make sure and let you know when we DO have a plan!

Let me know if this sounds like something you want to be a part of.

And let me know if you are a huge Buffy fan and would be willing to cheer us on! That would be fun too. Maybe you can even re-watch with us. Because after all, what else will you be doing in June, right?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Book: The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
Genre: Fantasy
For: Fun
From: bought from Amazon

“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

As most of you know, I've been dying to read this book since finishing the first book in the series, The Name of the Wind, last year. It feels like such an accomplishment to have finally done it! I think we all have to pat ourselves on the back when we manage these thousand page books!

This book starts off right where the last one ended. There's the "present" day time where our hero Kvothe is an obscure innkeeper who has decided to sit down with his student Bast and a dude called Chronicler, to once and for all tell his story. You see, somehow he has become a legend in his own time, and even now no one knows who he is, but the stories, these awesome unbelievable stories, are out there. But the stories, as legends tend to do, are much embellished. He's decided it's time to set things straight, or at least to just tell it like it is.

So while those little parts, called Interludes throughout the book, are in third person... most of the book is told in first person through Kvothe's eyes as he is relating what's happened to him. However, that's not to say that strange goings on are not happening during the interludes too... because something is definitely up there, which makes you, as a reader, feel okay about the jumping back and and forth between the times and stories.

Anyway, this book starts off with Kvothe at the University where he is, as always, struggling with trying to find enough money to pay his tuition and to simply survive. When an opportunity comes along for him to maybe find a patron (someone to sponsor his education) he jumps at the chance and is off to seek out this guy and quite the adventure ensues.

This adventure includes things like helping this important guy (the potential patron) woo a wife, catching bandits who are robbing this guy's tax collectors,  experiencing some time in Fae land (which is unheard of) and then learning the way of the Adem people (who have a fascinating culture,) which is also unheard of, and finally rescuing a couple of girls from some really bad guys!

All at the age of barely 17! (I find it interesting that this book is an adult fantasy when the main guy is a teenager throughout... maybe it's because he is older and looking back on his life? The first book didn't have much by way of "adult" content, but this second definitely does!)

As with the first book, I absolutely LOVE the writing, the story, the characters, everything! It really truly has everything that I love about epic fantasy. This book, however, did drag for a me just a bit during some of the adventures. We really got into detail about certain things and I found myself anxious to "get back to the story already!" Thus the reason for the "only" four star rating.

And as you all know, I love Kvothe to death, but he did start to do some things and make some decisions that bugged me! It's to be expected I suppose! But still.

My other complaint is the romance.... it makes me crazy! I'm becoming not that fond of Deena, the girl that Kvothe is gaga for. She is just not nice enough to him. He deserves better I'm thinking. Yet, he does some pretty rough things too, so there's that. Anyway, this connection they have, if it doesn't go somewhere soon, I might lose it!

Bottom line: I loved it, as expected.

Other Reviews:

Between the Covers
The Book and Biscuit
Only The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy
Adventures in Borkdom

Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Club Report: What We Thought of Precious Bane

Overall, this book was a big hit at book club! Four and five stars all around! We for sure decided it's a classic that needs more love, so please, go out, find it and read it!

My review can be found here, but quickly, this book is about a small English town int he 1800s, more specifically about a particular family in the town. There's a brother and a sister in this family and the brother has some greed issues, and the sister has some physical beauty issues. This is the story of how they both deal with those issues and how the ending is a bit different for each of them.

Here are a few general book club thoughts:
  • We all wondered why this book is not more well known? Especially given the fact that it's really quite good! Is it because it's about poor farmers and not rich gentry? If so.... that is just... dumb.
  • We loved the contrast between the negative and positive reactions of each of the characters and their situations. 
  • Some of us learned a new saying (or two) about the hare-lip affliction.... "a hare has crossed my path" or  "hare shotten." We realized this term "hare lip" is not even really used anymore at all and is now referred to as cleft lip or palate.
  • Everyone agreed, this book is symbolism at it's best. It's there and you actually "get" it. 
  • What is the "precious bane?" We decided his greed and her lip.
  • We were fascinated with the "sin eating" which is an event that begins this story. They believed that when a person dies, another person needs to take on the dead person's sins by eating bread over the casket. We'd never heard of this tradition before.
  • We all agreed that the dialect and language of the book took awhile to get into but once we did, it was fun and interesting. The book is written by how the people talk and you may even have to read parts out loud to actually get it. 
Bottom line: We loved it!

Other books the book club has recently read and discussed:

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt: she says "read it now!"
Divergent by Veronica Roth: enjoyed it a lot because of the characters

Jenny has been reading lots of books she's really enjoyed lately:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: has been listening to this one, loves every word
The Curse Workers series by Holly Black: enjoyed it, but it's gritty
Edenbrooke by Julieanne Donaldson : a very light hearted fluffy Victorian romance that she LOVED!

Finished all the Harry Potter books... again... and is now having a let down from this high
Still reading Pride and Prejudice on her Kindle.... not sure if she likes it, still on the fence, scared to admit that at book club where we are all major fans!

Julie says "I read new books!"
My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison: she agrees this author is very fun
The 13th Tale by Diane Setterfield: still in the middle of this one.... pretty creepy so far!

Tessa and Sam
Trying to catch up with their 5th grader on Eragon by Christopher Paolini!

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons: Loved it.
Supernaturally by Kiersten White: a fun fluffy paranormal
Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson: okay, but not as amazing as expected

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Sunday Salon: The Final Countdown

Outside my window: Sunday afternoon and it's peaceful outside. There're birds, and sunshine, and neighbors talking. It always seems really nice outside my window, have you noticed?

I am listening to: the birds mentioned above. So far, I haven't turned on music, but I just might in order to do the next little prompt....

Song of the week: I've had a lot of new to me songs I've been enjoying this week and it's hard to choose what to share!  Well, anyway, here's a new one from the new Silversun Pickups album called Here We Are:

Sounds very Radiohead, yes?

TV Talk: You know, not much TV going on right now. The Survivor finale was anti-climatic in every sense of the word. It was a boring season all around I must say. I actually watched American Idol (while cleaning) and then made book club watch Adam Lambert when he sang on the results show! Silly me. I liked it though so oh, well. Even though I was expecting him to sing this new song, which I dare you to listen to and NOT dance or at least tap your foot!  I caught up on one Once Upon a Time episode, but have one more to go. That show remained fun for me all season long. Really enjoyed it. If Grim comes to Netflix, maybe I'll go for that one and compare. 


Books Finished: Still no books finished this week. Those 1000 page books KILL me in this department! But I'm so so close to finishing it! Just a hundred and fifty or so pages left! I can do it today, really. Awesome book though. (The Wise Man's Fear)

Books Started: I did start reading my first Kindle book! The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood! Wow, that's quite the book so far. Talk about old English language! I also started Destined by Aprilynne Pike... the fourth in that Wings series. 

Books Up Next: Up next will be Black Heart, and About a Boy, and Ready Player One which I got from the library.... and hopefully some quick easy things that I can finish fast so my month tally won't look so very bad!

I am thinking: that whoever is playing outside right now sounds like they are having a lot of fun. 

I'm grateful for: the fact that my vacuum wasn't broken after all, and just needed to be reset because it thought it was plugged. I'm also grateful that I managed to get the WiFi working again this morning, because you know, we would DIE without that. 

Around the house: I cleaned this week pretty dang good, just so you know. It does happen sometimes. 

Pinterest of the Week: Yesterday I managed to put together the blocks for my little nine patch wall hanging. You'll have to wait for pictures though next week for my wrap up post.... that's assuming I keep working on it and maybe finish it!

Favorite things of the week: Book club was great, lots of book talk as always. (Hopefully a report will show up here soon!) Lots of reading time this week was good so I could polish off a few hundred fantasy pages. Awesome weather this week which includes the crazy rainstorm! Oh, and I got a haircut which makes such a difference. 

Utah Book Bloggers:  One more day to sign up! We need to you help make a fun Utah Book Month! If you are NOT a Utah blogger, you can read a Utah book and review it that month, or interview a Utah author... we'll match you up. If you ARE a Utah blogger, you can do those things AND interview another Utah blogger, so we can get to know each other better. That's not too hard, right? So come sign up now if you are interested! You don't have to commit to a ton, or do a lot, just let us know if you want to play.

Least favorite thing: headaches... lots of headaches, and neck aches and other such random body faultiness. I hate that.

Family Matters: Two more weeks of school for the two youngest kids. It's the final countdown! I can't believe it! Let's hope they make it through. Last week of job training for kid #1.... let's do some hoping for him too! And kid #2 has plans to start rehearsing to dance for the library in the summerfest parade! Wahoo for that!

The coming week: performances like crazy for us! Violin recital, orchestra concert and choir concert. Yippy!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pinterest Challenge Update: Cowgirl Cookies

So I had hopes to do more this week on the Pin It Do It Challenge than just the one project, but there was no time for quilting, which was the other project I've been working on. Maybe this weekend?

Source: via Suey on Pinterest

Anyway, I did the Cowgirl Cookie gift jars for little Mother's Day presents. Here's the link to the original post complete with instructions.

These look easy, do they not? But I had issues. I did two of them and had one wide mouth jar and one regular. Well, I ran out of room! Even though I was packing it as tight as I could as per the instructions! In the wide mouth jar, I managed to squeeze in the last sugar layer... barely! (No room at all for the pecans!) But there was no hope for the other one as you can see here:

Needed to fit in a half cup white sugar,
and all that was left was the brim.

So I dumped it out, found another wide mouth jar, and started over again. What a pain. Anyway, in the end they turned out pretty cute, don't you think? Well, at least I think so. Not sure what the moms thought when they got them. It was sort of a luke warm reaction. Oh, well.

I did make the cookies too... and they were YUMMY! Forgot to take a picture though.

Oh, and P.S..... if you want different colors of M and M's on off season... Zurchers has them! (Is Zurchers a Utah place or country wide? I've no idea!) But they are expensive! Sheesh.

I was going to make something for book club from Pinterest, but ended up going with good old standbys.

I'll be back next week to let you know if and/or what I manage to fit in this week crafty-wise!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's a Kindle!

I'm feeling a little strange this week because I have finally joined the e-reader ranks! Yes, it's true. My husband surprised me with a Kindle Fire for Mother's Day and now I must embrace the change! I could feel it coming, this eminent embracing. I've been dragging my feet, I've been leery, I've even done a little eye rolling. I can remember years ago doing a post about the Kindle when I very first heard of it. It sort of freaked me out then.

And now, here we are, a happy Kindle owner!

After only three days of playing with it, here are my observations:

  • You need a cover. It's too hard to hold without one, and too scary to haul around the house even. I finally got one on Tuesday, and of course, it's purple. (Which totally matches my phone!)
  • I think reading blogs will be very fun on this thing, though commenting is still a bit hard (like on the phone) but maybe I'll get better at that.
  • So far I've only nabbed three books... all free. A Tale of Two Cities, which I'm dying to re-read, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, which I think is pretty much one of the oldest "modern" Robin Hood stories which I'd like to read for Melissa's Classic Double Challenge, and the first volume of Clarissa, which I wanted to join in on the year long buddy read but didn't want to buy the book (and now I'm too late to join anyway!) 
  • That battery does last long! I've yet to watch a movie or TV show on it though, that would be a pretty good battery test.
  • I'm glad to have notebook/apps/etc. on it so I can do all sorts of things besides reading
  • Reading on it, by the way, is very nice. I can get used to this!
  • One of the first things I wanted to do was NetGalley, but that place is SLOW and a little confusing... so I gave it a break and now I've totally forgotten about it!
  • And having a bigger screen for Draw Something is awesome! :)

Questions I have for you experienced Kindle people:
  • Can someone please explain this Cloud thing? Is that a general thing, or just an Amazon thing? How does it work? Where do I find it?
  • Can I listen to podcasts on this thing? How? What's the best way?
  • What are some tricks and hints you've discovered? Let me know your secrets!
  • NetGalley help please!
Anyway, it's going to be fun and I'm happy to be part of the crowd and not be left behind. I figured if I'm to consider myself a real reader, I have to ride this wave of change! I think it will be a fun ride. But I still stand by my position that "real" books are awesome and will hopefully stick around. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Who's Your Author Rock Star?

Yesterday, I was asked this very question while I was working at the library. The guy in charge of programming is making a list of potential author appearances, and he basically said, if money is no matter, who would you want to see come? Yes, who is your author rock star?

Well, of course, if you've been reading here awhile, you know the answer I have to that question, though since he came just awhile back, my guess is he's not coming back anytime soon. :( (Just in case you are new reader, click here to find out who my rock star author is.) Except I know he has plans for Chicago, luckies.

So putting him aside for now, here are some others I suggested:

Suzanne Collins
Patrick Ness
Jeff Kinney
Neal Shusterman
Daniel Handler
Judy Blume
Melina Marchetta
Stephanie Perkins
John Green
Cassandra Clare

You may be surprised by a few on that list, but I was trying to keep in mind who would have a general wide spread rock star appeal, though a few of my personal rock stars did manage crept in. Also, I was not including of any of our local rock star authors such as Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale and Brandon Sanderson.

I'll be sure and let you know if we do manage to snag a real rock star author for a future event!

But it made me wonder how YOU would answer this question. If you could get anyone to come for an author event, who would it be? Who would you absolutely FREAK about, and stand in line hours for, then scream and jump for joy for when they walk into the room?

Who is YOUR author rock star?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: My Author Amazing Race!

Today's Top Ten list provided by The Broke and the Bookish is quite the unique one! The question is, what authors would you like to see in a reality show and which show? Well now. How to answer THAT?

So I've decided to send some of my favorite authors on an Amazing Race. Of course, they are going to have to go to bookish/literary places like:

Bath and London, England,
Concord, Massachusetts
Monterrey, California
Prince Edward Island, Canada
The Congo, Africa
Greece and Rome
Dublin, Ireland
Molokai, Hawaii

...just to name a few! (Let's face it, there's a literary tie to pretty much anywhere, is there not?)

As for the teams themselves?  Here's what I've come up with:

Team 1: John and Hank Green
Team 2: Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier
Team 3: Maureen Johnson and Stephanie Perkins
Team 4: Shannon Hale and Libba Bray
Team 5: Markus Zusak and Melina Marchetta
Team 6: J. Scott Savage and James Dashner
Team 7: Dan and Rob Wells
Team 8: Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss
Team 9: Kiersten White and Aprilynne Pike
Team 10: Bill Bryson and Michael Perry

I was going to think of funny nicknames for them all, as per Amazing Race tradition, but the only one I really liked was the Awesome Aussies. I'm thinking you know which team I'm referring to here! Hopefully it's not too awkward that I matched up Markus and Melina (oh, cool twin names, yes?) but I think they'll handle it!

And now, let's get this race started!

Mark, get set, GO!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Precious Bane by Mary Webb

Book: Precious Bane by Mary Webb
Genre: Classic
Rating: ★★★★☆
For: Book Club
From: Paperback Swap

Here's a book I'd never heard of until it was suggested (by Kim from Good Clean Reads) at book club last year when we were figuring out this year's schedule. She seemed so enthused about it that there was nothing we could do but add it to our line up!

And I must say, I'm so glad we did because it's quite the gem. So why haven't I heard of this book before? This could definitely go into the category of good books that seem to get overlooked.

This is a story set in England around the time of Napoleon. It's about a family living in a very small farming community with little to no contact with outsiders. But most importantly, it's the story of a girl named Prue who was born with a harelip, and how she is the strength of her family even though the defect was considered a curse. Basically, it's the story of how she watches the downfall of her family and yet rises above it to survive.

The thing that stands out especially about the style of this book is that it's written using the dialect of the time and place. It took awhile to get the hang and feel of it, as these things often do, but once that kicks in, it's a blast. I loved it! Many words are totally made up based on what they sound like coming out of your mouth! My favorite is "tuthree" as in "we saw tuthree new lambs born today!"  (two or three, get it?)

Anyway, there were so many like that that I loved and which I had taken the time to write them down to share.

Not only that, but there were so many profound and deep thoughts scattered throughout! Many wonderful life observations! You know, I'm going to have to read this one again sometime if only for the purpose of writing these down.

Despite the sadness and the tragedy that is the most part of this book, it's also a really nice love story. Because of course Prue, even though she has this deformity, finds love! And you just want to cheer for her and say, "You go girl!"

Bottom line: I really enjoyed it!

Other Reviews:

One Librarian's Book Review
Good Clean Reads
Alternate Readality
Book Nut

So tell me, have you heard of or read this book? 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Sunday Salon: Mother's Day

Mother's day today. A happy one to all of you! It's not my most favorite day of the year, but you know, it'll be okay! :)

Outside my window: Beautiful day. Seems like we've been have a lot of beautiful days lately. It's nice.

 I am listening to: The husband is blasting his England Dan Pandora radio station and singing along with every song. He loves that station, and says "I guess this is just my kind of music!" Also I'm hearing some violin practicing going on in the next room. A recital is coming up. Time to get serious!

Song of the week:

TV Talk: Survivor finale today. I'm curious how it will shake down. Too bad I can't watch it. But I will later.  The Vampire Diaries finale was so crazy I didn't even GET what happened! Sheesh. You gotta pat attention with that show or else! The Amazing Race finale was anti-climatic last week. Whatever. I haven't watched much else, but I am really looking forward to some Falling Sky coming up in a few weeks!

READING REPORT: Very very boring this week. So sorry. I've just been reading and reading and reading The Wise Man's Fear, but not as much as I'd hope to. I'm to about page 400 in nearly 1000 page book, so it may be the same story this week. Dang life gets in the way. And maybe the fact that I added crafty stuff to my line up this week. I guess that could be the difference too.

Books Finished: None

Books Started: None

Books Up Next: Who knows? 

I am thinking: that eating something about now would be nice. 

I'm grateful for: my mom. :)

Around the house: Last week I moaned about the broken chair... this week it's the dishwasher.. which technically isn't broken but is really doing it's job lousy. I'm sick of it. Time for a new one. 

Pinterest of the Week: The cute little Mother's Day presents I'm giving today come from Pinterest.... these things. 

Favorite things of the week: Working on the garden yesterday was nice, hard though. I hope it grows. Seeing two musicals, one at the school and one a the community theater was fun. Doing some quilting this week was fun...well technically it was piecing, which is the best part. Texting my sister about Stefan and Damon was fun, she is just now watching the first season. 

Utah Book Bloggers:  We posted the sign up for participating in Utah Book Month this last week, and those will stay open for another week or so. We'd love for tons more Utah bloggers to participate. Doesn't it sound fun? Yes? Come! 

Least favorite thing: unhappy kids.

Family Matters: Everyone seems a little stressed. Here's hoping that eases up soon. I'm tired of stress, you know?

The coming week: Book club! And that's always a good thing. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pinterest Challenge Update: Two Projects Done!

This week I really got in the mood to work on some crafty projects and then it just sort of took over. I've been missing this part of my creative life, and so I've really enjoyed trying to get it back again, using Trish's Pinterest Challenge as an excuse.

The first project we did was the Calendar Journal. I first saw this when Kailana of The Written World posted about it here. You can also find out about it here on the original post. The idea is to take index cards and date them for each day of the year, then use old postcards to divide them into months. Then each day you write something you did that day, labeling it by the year. So after many years, your index cards will be full of stuff you did on that particular day for all those years. Make sense?

Anyway, I thought it would be a good project to do with the girls, and they agreed! But I must say, we took the idea and totally changed it up. Here's what we ended up doing:

We decided we wanted more permanent sturdy containers for the cards, so we went to Hobby Lobby and ended up with these tin boxes with handles, which we then painted and sticker-ed up. Then, we got stacks of both white and colored index cards (which we didn't cut in half as suggested in the original instructions) and divvied them up between us. Then, instead of using postcards, we decided to create our own month dividers. My 13 year old daughter created them using google images and photoshop. I just picked a handful of pictures from our files and got them printed. Then we laminated them. Also, instead of using a date stamp for all the index cards, we just sat and hand wrote the dates on them all while we watched TV one night!

The supplies: white tin box, stickers and stacks of cards.
Cost: Tin boxes: $6.50
Stickers: $3.00
Cards: $3.00
Printing of photo dividers: $2.00

Here's Toto painting her box.

This is how the cards fit into the box... perfect!

Toto's finished box.

Toto creating her monthly dividers on Photoshop.

Here she is writing the dates on the crads.

JJ finally joined us and is putting stickers on hers. She didn't paint it.

Here's my finished box, vintage style.

JJ and Toto show off their boxes.
JJ's finished box.

Here's what our divider cards look like... Toto has the monthly themed ones,
I just have random fun pictures. JJ has yet to make hers.

Here's what it looks like with the dividers and a couple of example cards.

We had a great time doing this together, and I hope we can all keep up with writing our one thing down each day, for years to come!

The second thing I did from my Pinterest board was make this for dinner one night. It's called Black Bean Lasagna, and the family enjoyed it, but they did say, "It tastes very healthy." So you can take that however you'd like! (Here's the original link to the recipe.)

The casserole in progress... bean mixture, canned tomatoes, grated cheese, lasagna noodles and salsa.

What it looked like all put together before cooking....

.... and after cooking.
I currently have projects three and four in progress, so I'll save those to report on when they are done! But one of them has to do with quilting! Wahoo! I can't wait to show you!

How's your crafty projects coming along?


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