Friday, June 28, 2013

A French Song!

Here's Josh helping me celebrate my arrival in Paris:

Parfait, n'est pas?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Extreme Mini Reviews: Top Ten 2006

Before I blogged, I kept track of the books I'd read in a notebook and then made a top ten list at the end of the year. For those lists, I've since written up an "extreme mini reviews" post... all except the year 2006... the year before I started blogging.

So today I give you extreme mini reviews for my Top Tens from 2006!

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz: This book blew me away with its dark Gothic intrigue, its complicated literary plot and its crazy characters. Loved it totally!

These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner: I have since revisited this book for book club and remembered that I loved the diary style of this book and how that shows the character's progression. So awesome. And besides, this is one of my all time favorite love stories.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: I've also since re-read this one for book club and raved about it in its own post. The story is so moving and so powerful and so sad. At the point of reading this book, I had never before read anything at all like it. 

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: This book was a re-read for me back in 2006 for book club. It was fun to remember how awesome Col. Brandon is and how crazy in love dear sensible Elinor is. Love this story, and I'm thinking it's about time for yet another re-read.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld: Wow, this book took the book world by storm! I loved this first installment and but the follow ups weren't quite was wonderful. Anyway, this book started a whole new vocabulary that I even still use today and has a love triangle that made me crazy.

Eragon and Eldest by Christopher Paolini: Another popular book set that year. I really enjoyed Eragon, but Eldest was totally amazing with its twists and turns and stuff.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley: I can't remember if I read this one before or after know... I'm think it was before, because it was summer I remember and Twilight was in the fall. Anyway, one of the best vampire books I've read... still... even after the deluge! 

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz: This was an Oprah book club book which I was still getting into a bit back in 2006. However, I can't remember anything about it now! It must have been good though!

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue: Oh...yeah...this one was creepy stuff! I think I read with an online book club so it's one of those books I would not have picked up otherwise. I get chilly just think about it, but yet once again, I can't quite remember the details! Ugh, I hate how that happens!

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende: Loved this historical romance about a girl from South America who comes to San Francisco during the gold rush and ends up falling in love with a Chinese guy. 

Twilight and New Moon by Stephenie Meyer: Yeah, so I don't think I need to say much here! I read these books that fall, after I'd seen a newspaper article about New Moon and so I put them both on hold at the library. Strange concept. And read them both during that month when they finally came to me. Then I went out and bought them for Christmas. And read them again. 

Extreme Mini Reviews from other pre-blogging years:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: Paris, An Inspiring Tour of the City's Creative Heart by Janelle McCulloch

Book: Paris, An Inspiring Tour of the City's Creative Heart by Janelle McCulloch
Genre: NF Travel
For: Travel research
From: The library

To prepare for our epic adventure trip, I've of course been reading some travel books. I decided I should share this one that I stumbled upon at the library with you because it was just so cool.

It's a physically beautiful book, just the way it's made and put together. I was so impressed. Even a ribbon bookmark included! Heavy sturdy pages, vibrant color and it smelled so so so bookish!

But the thing that makes it most beautiful is the photographs, because for the most part, this is a photo journal of Paris. I loved them all.

Then the author takes us on a tour of some of her favorite Paris neighborhoods. The city is divided into 20 or so of them, each with a distinct personality. She talked about that personality and then walked us through the actual neighborhood describing specific things we would see, out the way places, and popular places both.

At the end of the book all the places she mentioned are listed by category, with addresses and phone numbers. Some of the categories are: bookstores, stationary stores, fabric stores, tea houses, patisseries, museums, boutiques, etc. I wanted to write them ALL down, but in the end I decided that it would stress me out trying to find some of these places, because I know we will barely have time to see all the big things!

Oh well. It was really fun to read and maybe I'll see all these quaint spots next time!

Bottom line: It truly is a beautiful and inspiring book.

Other Reviews:

Visually rich and totally inspiring, Paris is a treasure for lovers of art, style, design, food, and, of course, Paris! From The Greatest Books of All Time

This beautiful book is organized by arrondissement, and reveals little gems at every turn. From Inspired Design

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books So Far This Year!

At the time of this writing, these are the best books I've read so far this year:

1. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
2. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
3. The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne
4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
5. Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
6. Fragments by Dan Wells
7. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
8. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
9. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
10. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

What a diverse list, eh? That's what I love about reading guys! Right there!

What's on your list? Link up over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Beehive Award Nominees 2013

Every year when the summer program at the library starts, they kick it off with talking up the books that have been nominated for Utah's Beehive Award. Actually, there are many categories, but they talk up the YA ones to the teens.

Here's what made the list this year:

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Welcome Caller This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Ungifted by Gordon Korman
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Legend by Marie Lu
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Pretty awesome list, eh? Which one would you vote for as your favorite? I don't think I could do it! And also, I've only read five of these! I need to get busy I'm thinking!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bloggiesta Monthly Chat Tonight!

Just a reminder that we'll be having an hour long Twitter chat tonight for all those who love participating in Bloggiesta events! It'll be an informal chat to talk about what blogging goals everyone's been working on this month and to answer any questions you have about blogging projects. 

Come join us!

Tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern (7 pm Mountain!)

The next Bloggiesta event will be our Mini Bloggiesta July 20 and 21.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Music Stuck in My Head: The Four Seasons

So, it's been awhile since I've done a true music post! And since the other day we saw Jersey Boys in the theater, I thought I'd share with you the fact that now the music of The Four Seasons are pretty much stuck in my head.

This musical is all about the rise...and fall (as these stories tend to be) of the group The Four Seasons, with lead singer Frankie Valli. They had a pretty crazy story! At first it seemed like they were going to just flounder, but then they got a guy named Bob Gaudio to join with them and write for them and he pumped out some pretty simple, but oh so very popular songs like Sherry, and Big Girls Don't Cry. Mix that with the strange unique voice of Frankie and they hit the big time.

But one thing I didn't know was that they also sang one of my all time favorite songs, Oh, What a Night. Granted, it was ten years (or more) after their famous stint, but still. I love that song.

Anyway, the music from the musical was most awesome. They guys sounded just like the real boys. But wow, the language was most definitely rated R. Yeah, not my favorite. Oh, well, I guess that's how some of these musicals think they need to be. I don't' get it but there you go.

So now some songs.

Here's the real guys seeing a medley:

And a montage from the musical:


 And my favorite song of all, Oh, What a Night! I totally remember when this one was on the radio, and I never paid attention to who sang it of course.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Book: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Genre: Paranormal-ish?
For: Review
From: The publisher

It was very exciting when this showed up in the mail the other day. I can't remember, did I request it? Maybe I did, but still, it was cool. I picked it up right away because the size of this one, which is very very small, was just what I needed this past week.

But.. to describe this book? I'm at a loss! I mean, I can tell you that it's about a guy who comes back to his childhood neighborhood and finds himself walking to the house at the end of the lane. He sits down by the "ocean" (pond) and proceeds to remember a very strange occurrence that happened to him when he was seven years old.

That's when he meets the ladies who lived there at the end of the lane.. a girl, a mom and a grandma. They were very strange and wonderful and special. This particular day, the girl took him for a walk and then a strange thing happened and they accidentally ( I think anyway) set lose a bad bad creature. The rest of the book is how they deal with this and solve it.

What a weird story! Now, I'm sure that there is some deep... very very deep... meaning to the whole thing, but I'm just not getting it. Maybe it's because my concentration level is very low right now, and then again, maybe I just don't get the deep things. But I guess you are going to have to go to other reviews to find out what it all means.

For me, it was a cute, quaint little story about this boy and his encounter with these women who appear to be some sort of witches, and the weird things that happened to him that scared him to almost literal death. Yes, it's a bit of a creepy book, and deals with very dark things... not a kid book that's for sure.

But I enjoyed the writing and the style and the story... but mostly, I just didn't' get it.

Bottom line: An interesting strange tale that was just plain weird for me!

Other Reviews:

Interpreting any successful narrative is a bit like seeing light through a prism: a story will reveal new themes and layers depending on the eyes of the individual reader through which it’s being filtered. From Things Mean A Lot

The magic that exists in The Ocean at the End of the Lane is so rich and complex. From The Allure of Books

The perfection of the tale is how Gaiman brings it all together, holding the reader's hand through nostalgia, comfort, sadness, fear and forgetfulness. From We Be Reading

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR List

Or, as I'm also calling this list... the top ten books in my Kindle that I really want to read during my upcoming vacation! And those books are:

1. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
2. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
3. Beautiful Darkness by Margaret Sthol and Kami Garcia
4. Feed by M.T. Anderson
5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
6. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
7. Arson by Estevan Vega
8. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
9. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
10. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

There's a few more:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Descendant by Nichole Giles
Nightingale by David Farland
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
11/22/63 by Stephen King

Just to name a few more!

So... these are the books I plan to read this summer, while on vacation, with my Kindle, which I hope to be able to charge with no problems!! And my guess is, I'll probably get to, oh maybe, three of them?

However, in August, I plan to read more books by Utah Authors for Utah Book Month, of course!

What books will you be reading this summer? Link up over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Movie Review: Warm Bodies

Movie: Warm Bodies
Genre: Science Fiction
Staring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer
Rating: PG-13
My Rating: One thumb up

When I first saw the trailer for this I thought... funny but dumb. Then I when I heard people going to see it and really quite enjoying it I though.. okay maybe a Redbox rental for me! So, it came out to Redbox this past week and I actually found a night where the TV was free (sort of... someone still wanted it after I'd claimed it!) and so Warm Bodies it was!

The plot is very simple and is basically about a zombie apocalypse where the zombies begin to reverse their curse when one particular zombie dude makes a connection to a girl... who happens to be the the daughter of the leader of the humans. This reversal spreads and soon all zombies are turning human again and fighting against the really bad zombies, those that have turned way too far to be able to be reversed. Or something.

I don't get the whole zombie thing, but these zombies were kind cute, even if they still did eat some brains here and there. And Nicholas Hoult does make an especially cute zombie, but I tend to like him better as his human self and was kinda sad we didn't get to see more of that.

Anyway, so yeah. Not much else to say about this one! I thought it would actually be funnier than it was. It's just a little funny, a lot cheesy, somewhat cute, a bit violent in parts, and never at all scary.

Bottom line: For a zombie flick, it was okay.

And the trailer:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Random Report for Two Weeks of Summer

Wow, has it been a couple of crazy weeks or what? I think the longest first two weeks of summer... EVER!

Here's what I'm thinking:

** one thing about it, I don't have to do much cooking any more!
** working at fast food places is HARD! So hard, that if you get a job there, it's possible you might quit after just a week of working!
** but, buying a laptop for the recent graduate was surprisingly easy... except... did you know... new laptops don't have a CD/DVD drive these days? I did NOT know.
** being the youngest kid in the family is BORING...and I would not know since I was the oldest all my life, but there is someone who has been telling me this quite a bit lately.
** preparing for a trip, a trip of epic proportions, is very much anxiety inducing. But I have learned that anxiety is truly a good way to lose weight! Yes, there are some good things you get from it! So I will embrace my anxiety from now on!
** I hate how there's not much TV in the summer, BUT Falling Skies did start up again. I like that show.
** I got up on all the big blockbuster movies, except Man of Steel, which I hear is pretty awesome. I'll see it sometime.
** Wow, there sure is a lot of stuff to do before going on a huge trip. I wonder if I remembered it all?
** I haven't read much lately, but I did get The Ocean at the End of the Lane in the mail like a ton of you also did, and started reading it right away. That is one weird book.
** We survived the latest Summerfest. The parade was boring, we only got four pieces of candy, but I did take an awesome picture of the fireworks, which you've probably already seen if you follow my Instagram!

** Speaking of the Summerfest and candy, I was the one that did all the buying for it for the library's parade entry, and more. They told me to buy 7500 pieces of candy. Do you realize how much that is? And after I bagged up 25 bags of candy at Winco (4 to 5 lbs each) I THEN realized that they don't take credit cards, which is all the city/library has to buy with. Now that was a fun fun moment.
** It's Father's Day today! Yay for dads!
** Bottom line, I just wanted to say BYE for now. We head off on our crazy adventure this week, and we are so excited (and anxious!) I've scheduled posts... some will be okay, some will be really awfully boring! But anyway, I'll see you on the other end with lots of stories and pictures to share. ( I may Instagram some of the adventure, if I can and we thought once about vlogging on my Youtube channel, so we'll see how that goes too. ... in case you want to follow along with us!)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Book: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
For: Fun
From: the library

Ah, I was so excited to see this one on the shelf at the library. I've been wanting to read it forever. So, I nabbed and started it right away. (Remember my June reading goal?)

But, I must say I was a little disappointed. It wasn't as grabbing and gripping as I expected given all the rave reviews I've seen. I enjoyed the characters quite a bit, and the time period was awesome... and the writing blew me away. LOVED that! But the story? It was just okay.

It's about this girl who, after a really rough start in life, finds herself at a nunnery where they train girls to be assassins... but only for people who are marked by Death as traitors, or otherwise bad guys. It takes place during a harsh period on France's history (early 1400's I think) where there is much bargaining, and betraying and vying for power going on.

Our heroine ends up being assigned to the court of the very young duchess with the goal to find out who are the good loyal guys and who are the betrayers and the spies. And actually, here's where I got confused and my eyes glazed over a bit. There is much political talk and many names mentioned and I had a hard time following it all. Or I didn't care enough to try maybe. So, I can't even really give you a good synopsis of what our girl was hoping to do at this court!

But she is assigned to be with this guy who she really doesn't like, at first, and to pose as his mistress, and you can all guess where that leads. So it was interesting to see how that progressed and how she dealt with all the stuff she came across.

And as I mentioned, I loved the writing, which was old fashioned, old English, even older than Jane Austen style. Great job with that! Very fun for me to read.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it for the most part, but was a little bored by the political story which was a big part of the book.

Other Reviews:

Ultimately, the problem with Grave Mercy was that in spite of the intriguing possibilities presented by the concept, the book itself was just bland. From Dear Author

I was captivated from the moment I picked the book up and I couldn't put it down until I had turned the last page. From Backwards Story

If the best historical fiction book, the best fantasy book, a great mystery book, and a great paranormal book mushed together and procreated, Grave Mercy would be the result. From Fiction Folio

In spite of the Bad Things, I think the Good Things outweigh them, and I enjoyed this. Kind of. From Rhapsody in Books

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Book Review: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Book: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Genre: Literary Fiction/Historical Fiction
For: Fun
From: ebook from the library

Wow! I read an ebook from the library! Did you see that? Impressive!

It seems like I've heard a ton about this book in the past while. And that everyone seemed to rave about it, but I didn't know a thing about it. I even thought it was YA book, but no, it's far far from that! And to try and explain this book is going to be very very tricky, so let's see how I do.

This is one of those books that each chapter you never really know where you'll be, in what time you'll be, or what device is being used to tell you the story. It's about several different people and how, in the past they came together for a moment in time, a moment that changed all their lives, and how now in the present, they've come together again to finally resolve things....and all the moments in between that got them there.

So, we start out in 1962 at a remote village in Italy where the first moment I mentioned above begins. This is when an American movie star comes to this young man's hotel to rest up a bit because she is sick. And she expects to meet someone here. The young hotel guy is stricken with her right from the start and upon further investigation, he begins to discover that there is much much more to her story.

Then we flash to the present where a girl is working for this old sort of has been movie producer and how she is sick of it and sick of her live and sick of her boyfriend.

Then we meet another dude who wants to pitch his idea for a movie about the Donner party to this old producer....which eventually leads us to a flashback to the Donner party story itself.

Then we go back and forth between those two times, but then we meet several other characters, and bounce to their stories one in Scotland, and one who wrote a book about his WWII experiences, which is included and we then get to read.

Whew. At first it's a bit head spinning, but then you get very much used to all the moving around and it's not hard to make the connections. The characters are awesome.. especially the Italian hotel guy who I totally loved and was rooting for.

The story is beautifully written and so moving and powerful. I loved it. There were some crass and harsh moments, depending on which character you were following at the time, but not enough to bother me much.

There are so many moments in history touched upon here! I sometimes thought the author just put in every little passion he had about anything in this stars, WWII, Donner party, Italy, play writing, cabins in Idaho, etc. etc. It pretty much has it all!

The ending is sweet and I loved how there was a little blurb about all the different people and stories you come in touch with during the course of the book so we knew how everyone did in the end. That was great.

Bottom line: I really really liked this one. It was fun to read something different from what I'm normally reading.

Other Reviews:

It is the very best type of an ensemble of characters who can only exist because of the others. From That's What She Read

Bottom line, it is just a great story, well told, with a message that will sneak up on you, right up until it hit you in the face. From A Lovely Shore Breeze

It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it masterpiece of many intricate stories, and the setting made me feel like I could step in and share a glass of wine with the motley Italian crew. From Write Meg!

If you are wondering what any of this has to do with Mother's Day, we'll tell you this:Beautiful Ruins is, on one level, the heart-achingly honest story of the sacrifices a mother makes for her children. There is no second-guessing, no hesitation. A mother is everything. From A Reader's Respite

Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson

Book: Insomnia by J.R. Johansson
Genre: YA Science Fiction-ish
For: Review (and supporting local authors!)
From: NetGalley

Wow, this book started out fairly normal and ended up CRAZY!

So there's this kid who can't seem to sleep because when he closes his eyes to sleep, he is thrust into the dream of whoever he made eye contact with last that particular day. And when he is in their dream, he experiences it with them, and doesn't sleep himself. He begins to worry that he's going to go crazy and lose his mind, and even die.

Then one day he happens to look at a new girl at school and that night, he is part of her very peaceful dream and he is able to curl up and sleep for himself! He feels saved!

Of course he becomes obsessed with this girl and it freaks her out. She is dealing with a mass of her own issues. And things just get worse and worse. Suddenly, this kid (his name is Parker) is being accused of some pretty terrible things. And suddenly the dreams of this girl change, and he's in them, as the bad guy.

Now he's freaked out too!

It becomes his mission to track down who this bad guy really is. And could it even truly be him?

Oh. My. Word. This one messes with your mind! It really does get pretty crazy and intense there at the end with all the uncertainty and the discoveries and the strange goings on.

It may even give you your own case of insomnia! It did me! So beware!

This book is the first of a series and while this particular story had a conclusion, it ended with that feeling of "oh my, seriously?" with lots more story to tell. I look forward to more.

Bottom line: I totally enjoyed this one. Fun crazy stuff here. It's awesome.

Other Reviews:

Insomnia is definitely creepy, but I loved it. From City of Books

It was entertaining and had me on the edge of my seat quite a few times. From Owl Tell You About It

The plot really kept me guessing and had good twists throughout. From Dark Faerie Tales

Shivers, you guys, shivers. I haven't been this tense over a book in a long time. From Bookshelvers Anonymous

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Concert Review: All 4 One

On Memorial Day evening we went to our first outdoor concert of the year. There's quite a few to look forward to this year, but this first one was All 4 One. Remember them? "This I Swear"? Yeah, those guys!

They were awesome and very fun and much more upbeat than I expected. I thought it would be all ballad after ballad, and I love ballads, but I was worried the whole concert would be that.

But no, they had lots of other things going on too! And the stuff from their newest, latest album (No Regrets) was really good! (Sometimes you are all like.... stick to the old familiar things!)

Anyway, we have a new point and shoot camera that I had fun trying out and playing with at this concert, so I have many pictures and videos to share.


I tried out a panoramic shot. Not too bad, eh?

 And here's a little video montage. One of the members of The Jets was in the audience and they made her sing. The Wolgramm family grew up around here. My husband knew one of them in school back in the day.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Movie Review: Iron Man 3

Movie: Iron Man 3
Genre: Science Fiction
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley
Rating: PG 13
My Rating: Two thumbs up

I loved the first movie, but the second one was BORING. So I was a bit leery about this third movie. And then, everyone that went come out raving about it like crazy. So, I had to give it chance. It took awhile, but we finally saw it this last weekend!

I totally enjoyed it though I still have to say that first one, the creation of Iron Man himself, is still the best. Don't you think?

Anyway, the villains in this movie were awesome. And the little boy. And of course all the snarky (starky? Ha!) comments Mr. Stark makes all the time. Wow, you have to be paying attention or they will go right over your head! But I love that. Pay attention!

Did I say the villains were awesome? And a bit scary. The whole time I thought it was Val Kilmer and not Guy Pearce. Anyone else? Why do I get them so mixed up! I was so excited to see Val Kilmer again! But nope, not him.
Val Kilmer

Guy Pearce
Anyone? No?

So, wow, this movie was crazy! That Ben Kingsley character? Crazy! Funny to see him with such a role. That twist with Pepper and all? Wow! And then, it looks like this is it, it's all over....but wait, is it really? I won't be holding my breath or anything.

But of course, the best thing, the very very best thing about this movie is and will always be:

Bottom line: Totally enjoyable romping adventure movie!

And the trailer for those who would like it:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

June Classics Club Meme: Best First Line

The June Classics Club Question is this:

What is your favourite opening sentence from a classic novel (and why)?

And the line that comes to my mind right off is of course this one:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Did you notice? We actually get a twofer with this one! The best first line AND paragraph! 

I don't know why I love this one so much, probably because there's so much that it's saying here. It paints the picture of this troubled time so well, right from the start. The opposites of life opposing each other, the frustration, the edge of something big happening yet something terrible had to happen first. I don't know, it just hits you hard, this first line.

By the way, this book has the best last line too:

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."

Yes, that.

Oh, wait! You'd like to know the book? A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens of course!

What would be your favorite first line from a classic?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Author Events: YA Panel and Brandon Sanderson

Another little report on some more author events!
Mette Ivie Harrison
Donna Weaver
Kristen Chandler
J. Scott Savage
A few weeks ago we had a YA panel at the Orem Library. Some of my favorites were there, including the very sweet and knowledgeable J. Scott Savage. They talked mostly about the business and the writing and the secrets they have with all of it. Much of this I've now heard from some of these authors over and over again! But still I go to support them and say hi.

Although I had to rush home this night and didn't stop to say hi or get anything signed (all the recent books I had for these authors were on my Kindle and I forgot to bring my new Kindle signing journal!)

Then just the other day Brandon Sanderson came to the Provo Library. Wow, there were a LOT of people that came out for that one! It seems like just a few years ago I was at a signing where he sat there with no one at his table. Things change!

He talked about his new YA book, The Rithmatist and how that got started. Then  he read a bit from it and then he answered lots and lots of questions. He aslo read a bit from the new Way of Kings book (I forgot what he's calling it) stuff that he had just written that very day. It was pretty cool.

Here's some pictures, and even a little video clip!

Always there's cool things and decorations on the wall!

This is Gene! He's the library director and he says
we bloggers are there so often he needs to get us a room!

Brandon Sanderson

Wait? Is that my cousin Erika?
Yep! She is the new program director for the library!
She has some big shoes to fill, but she can do it!

My buddy Kami from Kami's Library Thoughts was brave enough to ask a question!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Monthly Reading Wrap Up May 2013

This month was like a little mini Utah Book Month for me since most of the books I read were new books released this month (or coming up next week) by Utah authors. In fact, now that I look at the list, only one book was not a new Utah author book. How crazy is that? Wow.

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr: A piano prodigy is thinking about starting up again after a devastating even where she up and quit.

 Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta: Can the birth of Quintana's baby bring peace to the two enemy kingdoms?

 Transparent by Natalie Whipple: Being born invisible has its advantages, but mostly it's not fun when your crime boss dad either wants to use you or kill you.

 The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison: Two opposite kingdoms try to unite with a couple of arranged marriages.

 A Change of Plans by Donna K. Weaver: Lyn doesn't expect to fall in love on her cruise and she also doesn't expect to get hijacked by pirates!

 Everbound by Brodi Ashton: Nikki is trying to save Jack from the Everneath and it looks like Cole might even help her.

 Insomnia by J.R. Johannson: When you see other people's dreams, it makes it hard to do your own sleeping, and then, you might go crazy, and then you might start doing stuff that you don't even remember! (full review to come next week)

Favorites of the month were of course Quintana. As you know, I love this series. I think after that I'd say Transparent, and then perhaps A Change of Plans.

Plans for June:
  • Finish Beautiful Ruins
  • Read lots of ebooks during vacation 
  • Maybe finish Hood
  • Probably not finish Paris
  • But finish the cute artsy Paris travel book
  • Read the cute pocket tour guide books and learn them thoroughly
  • Read no review books 
  • Read no book club books
  • Only read what I want when I want however I want!
This is my vacation attitude which will carry over a little bit into July also. When it's all over, I'll report how this all went down!

I have a bunch of books on my Kindle that I've been wanting to get to forever. This is what I'll be reading from during my vacation. I'll be listing these books in an upcoming Top Ten Tuesday. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, since that's a few weeks off, I may pick and choose from my stacks on the shelf, but at the moment, I have no idea what it will be! I love that! June's reading is going to be a big surprise!

Top Ten Tuesday: Travel Themed Books

I had fun with this prompt! I think I could have listed a ton more! But see what you think of these books with/about/including travel.

Top Ten Travel Themed Books

1. The Long Walk by Sławomir Rawicz (walking through Siberia/Mongolia/China to escape prison camp)
2. Follow the River by Alexander Thom (following the Ohio River to get back home after being kidnapped)
4. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (hiking the Appalachian Trail)
5. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (floating down the Mississippi)
6. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (going on a cattle drive)
7. Paper Towns by John Green (a road trip to find your friend)
6. Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo (exploring the Louisiana Purchase with Lewis and Clark)
8. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (on a quest to get rid of the One Ring)
9. Ordeal by Hunger by George R. Stewart (a pioneer company gets stuck in Nevada)
10. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (space travel to other planets)

Some awesome books in this list! And finally a few that I've not mentioned before! (Sometimes I feel like I'm listing the same books over and over and over again.)

What fun travel books should I be reading? I think I love them actually. Be sure to come and link up over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Authors Pick Five: Donna K. Weaver

As part of the blog tour I'm participating in today, I've asked the author of A Change of Plans, Donna K. Weaver, to answer this question:

What five books are most important or influential to you?

Here's her list:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
I discovered this book when I was in fifth grade. My teacher commented at the end of the school year about how many times I’d read it. That was the year the library became one of my greatest resources.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The summer before I turned fifteen, my mother died from complications following a brain tumor surgery. We’d just moved to San Francisco, school was out, and I knew NO one. I picked up my list of books recommended for college-bound students and headed to the base library. Enjoyed so many books that summer (except Wuthering Heights), but it was Jane Eyre that really stuck with me. Perhaps it was because I was a stubborn little thing, too. Maybe it was because she and I were both lonely. But I still love that story and read it every few years.

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
I first discovered this gifted author in an anthology of Hugo winners with her novella, “Weyr Search”. I fell in in love with the planet and the characters. I wanted so badly to read more; the short story wasn't enough. One day a few years later, I decided to check and see if she had written more. I found three books—the first three books of the Dragonriders of Pern series—which became one of my favorites. I love Anne’s vocabulary. She was a prolific writer, and created some fun worlds. Anne died a couple of years ago.

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
One of my sons discovered this series before the fourth book came out, and I had to read it to see what all the excited was about. Got totally sucked in. I enjoyed the first three books so much that I told my husband he would like them, too, so I went back to the beginning and started reading them out loud to him--and discovered what a hidden treasure was in those books. By the time Half Blood Prince came out I had to talk about it to someone and found The Leaky Cauldron online. I was hooked when I saw the "Dumbledore Isn't Dead" thread. I got so involved in the book discussions that I was asked to be a moderator which I did for six years. Through my own reading of this series and discussion with others, I found what a treat it is to “hide things in plain sight” and to use foreshadowing. Jo spoiled me for many other authors because I keep expecting them to be as clever as she was.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Set in London and the island of Guernsey right after the end of WWII, it is filled with delightful characters--richly portrayed through letters and telegrams.  While it touches on some of the terrible things people did in the war, it manages to be hopeful and encouraging. Like Prince Edward Island, someday I would love to visit the island of Guernsey.

Thanks so much for participating Donna! I think we are reading soul mates! :)

More about the author:  Donna K. Weaver has always loved reading and creating stories, thus she’s been ever entertained. A Navy brat and U.S. Army veteran, she’s lived in many U.S. states as well as South Korea, the Philippines, and Germany. An avid cruiser, she’s sailed the Pacific four times. When she retired from Shorei Kempo Karate with a black belt, she decided it was time to put her imaginary friends and places on paper. She lives in Utah with her husband. They have six children and eight grandchildren.

Visit her:

Website    Facebook    Twitter    Goodreads

Book Review and Blog Tour: A Change of Plans by Donna K. Weaver

Book: A Change of Plans by Donna K. Weaver
Genre: Romance and adventure
Rating: ★★★★☆
For: Review and Support Local Authors
From: ARC from the publisher (Rhemalda)

Welcome to the blog tour for A Change of Plans! I was so excited to read this book by a brand new local Utah author and fellow city employee!

And boy, what an adventure it was!

I don't usually do the copy and paste synopsises, but I decided to go ahead with this one this time:

What the book's about:  When Lyn sets off on her supposedly uncomplicated and unromantic cruise, she never dreams it will include pirates. All the 25-year-old, Colorado high school teacher wants to do is forget that her dead fiancé was a cheating scumbag. Lyn plans a vacation diversion; fate provides Braedon, an intriguing surgeon. She finds herself drawn to him: his gentle humor, his love of music, and even his willingness to let her take him down during morning karate practices. Against the backdrop of the ship's make-believe world and temporary friendships, her emotions come alive. However, fear is an emotion, too. Unaware of the sensitive waters he's navigating, Braedon moves to take their relationship beyond friendship--on the very anniversary Lyn is on the cruise to forget. Lyn's painful memories are too powerful, and she runs from Braedon and what he has to offer. Their confusing relationship is bad enough, but when the pair finds themselves on one of the cruise's snorkeling excursions in American Samoa things get worse. Paradise turns to piracy when their party is kidnapped and Lyn's fear of a fairytale turns grim. Now she must fight alongside the man she rejected, first for their freedom and then against storms, sharks, and shipwreck.

My Thoughts:

First of all,  I loved that this story (at least the first bit!) is set on a cruise boat. Having been on several cruises myself, I could totally picture these scenes and settings. It's an awesome place for a romance to bloom. I've often wondered why there aren't more cruise ship romance settings.

The romance felt believable and real, and all the emotion felt especially by Lyn was pretty intense. And I really enjoyed Braedon's character too. He seemed all awesome-ness!

So this story is all happy and romance-y and even a bit funny at times. But then it takes a sudden turn, and  things become very very bad. It's almost like we have two different books here. The romance, which then turns into a survival/adventure story. And since I enjoy survival stories, I felt this was not a bad thing at all, in fact the surprising turn was quite fun.

And just when we think things are going to be solved, more stuff happens and another unexpected section of the book begins. It's quite the emotional roller coaster, this book!

Bottom line: I totally enjoyed the ride.

For other reviews be sure to check out the blog tour link list here.

Here's the book trailer:

And there's a giveaway connected with this blog tour! Do enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Armchair BEA: Wrap Up

I had a great time participating in Armchair BEA this year... for the first couple of days. And then I had to
participate in life instead and dropped the Armchair BEA thing. I had a feeling this would happen. I hoped maybe I could do both life AND Armchair, but life won out and Armchair fell to the side. But at least I got in about a half a week of blogging fun!

Anyway, here's my wrap up.

On Tuesday
I listed, or at least tried to list, my favorite classics.
Also, you can learn more about me here, only if you want to.
I did a great job with commenting duties.

On Wednesday
If pressed, I'd have to say that fantasy is my favorite genre of fiction, but only if pressed.
As for development, my blog sort of did its own thing.
I did an okay job with my commenting duties.
I caught the Twitter chat pretty much just as it was ending, since I totally forgot about it. (Or was this Thursday morning. I have no idea.)
I posted an instagram picture of my chair.

On Thursday
I really do love literary fiction!
I did a lousy job with my commenting duties.

On Friday
I should really read more  non fiction books!
A bit of my philosophy on ethics which turned out to be basically, be nice and link to people!
Also, on Friday, I went to my son's high school graduation in the afternoon, entertained and feed the grandparents that came for the event, and then we all went to my daughter's three hour dance recital!
I did NOT do my commenting duties.
I did not participate in the chat because I was entertaining grandparents as mentioned above.

On Saturday
I slept in while my husband got up to run a race and my son got up to work.
Then I got up and took my daughter to a bake sale/car wash fundraising event.
Then I got my car washed, and bought brownies.
Then we went to a violin recital,.
And then we came home and went back to sleep at noon.
And I did not write a "keeping it real post" because to keep it real you just, you know, have fun. And try some different things now and then.
And I did not write a children's lit post because I wouldn't even know where to start.
But mostly I didn't write a post because I was too tired and was just not feeling it.
And, I did not do my commenting duties... again.
BUT, I did Twitter chat, sort of.

Hopefully I'll still have a chance to go back and comment on few of the posts!

Anyway, it's been a fun and crazy week!


Related Posts with Thumbnails