Friday, May 30, 2014

Armchair BEA: Thoughts on YA

Do you see all the discussion all the time on Twitter and elsewhere between authors and the stuffy know-it-alls in publishing? It's happening all the time! It seems like we have to defend our love of YA over and over and over again. And I'm happy to do it here as well!

Here are the questions of the day from Armchair BEA:

 Our final genre of discussion is one that we know is a popular one these days: books for the younger crowd, from middle grade to young adult. If you do not normally talk about this genre on your site, maybe you want to feature books that you remember impacting you during this stage in your life. If this is where you tend to gravitate, maybe you want to list your favorites, make recommendations based on genres, or feature some titles that you are excited to read coming later this year.

So, it goes without saying that I love YA books. Middle grade books too, though I tend to not read as many of them. Last week, there was a Twitter campaign about YA (#IReadYA) that I found fun and I wanted to respond to it all day long, except I didn't. So I'll pretend I did and write my list here:

I Read YA... because I will always be 17 in my head.
I Read YA... because these books tend to be faster and easier to read.
I Read YA... because there are so many awesome characters!
I Read YA... because I love to experiences all the firsts all over again.
I Read YA... because the coolest authors write this stuff!
I Read YA... because the stories are intense and exciting.
I Read YA... because sometimes the stories are simply fluffy and fun!
I Read YA... because we can all (no matter our age) learn something from all sorts of books and stories no matter the intended audience.

Yeah, I always laugh when I see someone say.. "I'm GASP, like 25 (or 27 or 30 or even 35) and even I read YA!" Well, gasp, even nearly 50 year olds read YA! And can totally relate to it all. (Like I said, still 17 in my head, always and forever.)

Some of my favorite YA books:

  • the Legend series by Marie Lu
  • the Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi
  • the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
  • the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvatter
  • the Partials series by Dan Wells
  • the Finnikin of the Rock series by Melina Marchetta
  • The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
  • anything and everything by Markus Zusak! (even his first books about the Wolfe brothers!)
Okay. I'm stopping now. I pretty much love them all. So, if you're "scared" of YA... it's time to suck it up and read 'em!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Armchair BEA: Beyond the Borders

Day Four of Armchair BEA! What a week, eh? So fun. Today we are talking about Beyond the Borders. Some questions to get us thinking:

It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going!

One of my favorite things about reading is experiencing other cultures. In fact many of my all time favorite books would fall into this category. So I thought I'd just highlight a few of them.

The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye: The first book that I remember reading that takes place in India. I was fascinated. The book is huge and I was so so sad when it ended. Man, I really need to re-read this one sometime to see if it holds up to that initial coolness!

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry: Later, I read this one also taking place in India. This one is even more real than the first one. (That one you see how the royalty lives, this one, not so much!) Again, I was blown away.

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende: This one shows the cultures of both South America (I forget which exact country now) and Chinese, and how those two cultures come together in San Francisco during the gold rush. Awesome story.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck: An intense look into Chinese culture. It haunts me, the decisions made in this book!
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park: A YA (maybe even middle grade?) book about a Korean boy. I loved it. So very moving.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Taking place in Afghanistan, and I learned so much about this country that we hear so much about but have a hard time relating to.

Fiesta of Smoke by Suzan Still: A book I read last year about the Mexican revolution.. and so many more things. Mostly an amazing love story.
The Rent Collector by Camron Wright: A book I just finished and mentioned in a post already this week. A great insight into the lives of extremely poor Cambodians.... in our current day. Based on real people that the author and his son met and befriended

Ah... there's so much more! I need to put these sorts of books on my list more often because I truly do love them. And they make me want to travel and see the world. But even if I don't get the chance, I can through the books. Which is the best thing ever.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Armchair BEA: Expanding and Growing

Today's Armchair BEA topic is about expanding our blogging horizons, something I'm always interested in, doing the next cool thing, right?

Here are the specific questions:

What do you think about when you think about going beyond blogging or expanding your horizons? Is it a redesign of your blog? Have you branched out into freelance writing or even published a novel of your very own? Or, have you moved into a different venue like podcasts or vlogging? This is the day to tell us about how you have expanded on blogging in your own unique way.

I think for me, expanding just simply means staying involved. That's why I'm trying to keep Bloggiesta going, and why I've been helping Armchair BEA this year and why I sometimes (depending on timing and such) cheer-lead for different things, and why I'm figuring out Google+ lately and such. I think it just means that it's good to try (I know it's hard and overwhelming) to stay current and keep up!

I've always found the idea of podcast fascinating, but haven't figured out how to make that happen. Besides, I'm not a good talker, so why would I even think about a podcast? Kinda funny I'd say. But still, it seems like it would be really fun especially if you were talking to a buddy and could just ham it up or something.

As for vlogging, I'm also intrigued, but watching me talking sounds even worse than listening to me talk! So, why would I even think about it? Because it's a challenge and something different and it's fun! I don't know. I think if I were to do something like this, I'd have to think of a whole new spin on what everyone else is doing because I wouldn't want to be boring or anything! :)

Of course you all know (if you've been reading here lately) that I've been bitten by the writing bug. Well, I was bitten a long time ago, but have only recently acknowledged it. I think that sometimes morphing from a crazy reader to a wanna be writer is inevitable. And not a very unusual thing, but still, it's fun to try and to see what writing a book is like. I'm having fun, and I think that's all that matters right now!

Anyway, for me, and I've said this a gazillion times, this blogging thing will always be a hobby and if it seems to be moving from that category, I'll know I've crossed a line I didn't want. So as long as expanding keeps it in the hobby realm, I'm all for it!

How about you all? What are you doing to make sure you blog is growing?

Blog Tour and Review: The Hitler Dilemma by Carolyn Twede Frank

Book: The Hitler Dilemma by Carolyn Twede Frank
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review (and supporting local authors)
From (and FTC Disclosure:) Received for free from the author. All opinions are my own. 

Short Synopsis: This is the story of Max, a German who is 14 about the time Hitler is coming to power in Germany. Like all other youth, he has to attend the Hitler Youth groups and school has changed to include much Nazi propaganda. Hitler is promising to make a better Germany, but the things Max sees happening around him makes him think otherwise. He begins to worry about when the time comes for him to be drafted into the Germany army. And of course, it comes. He is torn with anxiety over it because his beliefs do not allow him to fight for this man. But he is able to understand that if he just does his duty, he will survive. His faith helps him through the experience.

This is told from the point of view of an older Max as he is travelling to live in Utah and his looking back and remembering these experiences. I think for young people reading this book, this method helps them to know that Max truly does make it through some of the harrowing things he faces, because there are some pretty hard things to read.

My Response: I found it to be a very real and touching story, one that I'm sure so many kids went through during this time, no matter the faith they belonged to. I mean, look at The Book Thief! Yes, this is a story sort of like that one where we see the events of World War II from the perspective of the German people and how they simply had to deal with it and to do things they didn't want in order to save their own lives, or the lives of their families. It's heartbreaking. But the story is uplifting and inspirational, all told based on the real life experiences of a man the author knew.

Bottom Line: Great book for kids to learn what it would have really been like as a German teenager during this period in history.

Let's Talk About: Books like this make me want to ponder what I would have done had I lived during this time. Could I have just calmly let my kids join the army? Or see my brothers be sent away? Or send my kids to Hitler Youth?  Even, "heil Hitlered" without thinking? Watch my Jewish friends be hauled away? You know, it's a hard hard thing to think about but I would imagine that most of us would have done much like this family did, or like Leisel's and Rudy's family... just try to stay inconspicuous and get through it the best you can.

Here's the book trailer if you're interested:

Be sure to check reviews on the other blogs participating in the tour:

The Hitler Dilemma Book Blog Tour Stops
May 24th.
May 25th:
May 26th
May 27th:
May 28th:
May 29th:
May 30th:
May 31sth:
June 1st:
June 2nd:
June 3rd:
June 4th:
June 5th:
June 6th:
June 7th:

About the author: 

Carolyn grew up in Utah and went to school at USU. She always wanted to write, but dropped it when a teacher tore her down to the point that she gave it up. She instead majored in Biology and started her own company. Now that she has raised her family and has been successful in her business, she has rediscovered her love for writing and writes YA/Middle grade historical fiction and speculative fiction. Be sure to visit her at her website.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Armchair BEA: Author Interaction

One of my favorite things about book blogging is the author interaction that has come with it. Back in the day we had a blogger party and invited authors. Newbie author James Dashner showed up! And look at him now! Also back in the day, sort of newbie author Ally Condie came to the library and then  joined my book club as we discussed her book in a back room. And look at her now! Yes, this author interaction thing is so fun!

But before I go on, here are the Armchair BEA questions of the day on this subject:

Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger.

Before I started blogging I'd rarely gone to an author signing. Now, seven years later, the amount I've gone to is too many to count. The signed books and connections made and money spent on brand new books are endless! This author stalking I've done has been so much fun!

As for my favorite author fan moment? Hmmm... really? Are you sure you want to ask this question? I'm sure my regular readers are SICK to death of my recounting these fan moments, but assuming there are some new readers this Armchair BEA week who haven't heard about my fangirling, here goes...

Remember that one time I wrote a letter to Markus Zusak? He tweeted me back:

And while I never have received a letter from him, I did get this postcard:

And I've had several other tweets from him too. When I first fell in love with this author, he was no where to be found. No online anything! And now he tweets back to everyone, he does Ted talks, he Facebooks and Tumblrs pictures of his dogs and his scribbled notes, and not only that, he's had a movie made! It's so awesome! But the best thing ever was when  he came to my city and made fun of me for having so many of his books that I wanted him to sign.

The coolest thing about author interaction these days is Twitter. So  many authors use it to connect to fans and it's awesome when they respond. Or even if they just pay attention to you when you tweet about them. And then you go to a signing and say, "Hi, I'm Suey." And they say, "Oh, Suey from Twitter?" Yeah. I love it when that happens. (This is where having a weird nickname comes in really handy. People remember it!)

That being said, sometimes I feel there's an exclusive author club that only the cool bloggers can infiltrate. Or the bloggers turned authors. I get frustrated with this sometimes as I'll never be one of the cool ones, and as for turning an author, I can't imagine that day either. Or sometimes authors are all nice and cozy when they are newbies and just starting out, but when they get published a few times, they have joined the exclusive club and forget about the little people. Sigh. Am I taking a sudden negative turn here? I just have felt this a bit lately and thought I'd throw it out there for you to chew on and see what you think.

But mostly, it's all good and fun and games and I love the connection!

My most recent author interaction, Dan Wells signing Ruins.

I don't have many, but the few tips I came up with for author interaction are as follows:

* be yourself and hopefully they will be themselves back
* don't expect interaction.
* don't be overly fan girly, that's just scary!
* do be brave and not shy
* do make time to go to signings
* do put your money where your mouth is and buy their books and support them

Seriously. It's one of the best things about book blogging and I'm jealous of all the bloggers at BEA this week who are doing this very thing! Give 'em hugs for us all!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Armchair BEA: Introductions

Hello everyone! It's time to start the festivities we like to call Armchair BEA! That's where those of us left behind and unable to attend the "real" BEA book celebrations in New York come together to have our own celebration. Find out all you want to know over at the main Armchair BEA site.

All week I'll be posting on the topics suggested by the Armchair BEA peeps and here's hoping a few of you my readers will want to discuss and play along!

But first, today we start out with introducing ourselves. I've introduced myself so many times on this blog over the years that I feel I'm repeating myself a bit! Okay, a lot. But in the hopes that some new readers find me, here's the five questions (see the whole list here) I've chosen to answer today.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 

Hi! I'm Suey from Utah and I've been blogging about books for a little over seven years. I got into it because I was participating in online book groups and suddenly everyone started talking about their blogs. I was doing lots of reading challenges and I thought I better start one so I could have a place to keep track of my lists and progress and see what others were doing. But more than that, I started one because I needed, NEEDED I tell you, a place to talk freely about books and let all the fanaticism out!

I'm also a mom of four kids... two of which just got married this year, and two more teenagers still at home. I also love TV and movies and music and will be often found blogging about that stuff too. Lately, I've also been having my own adventure in writing and it's been a blast so far!

What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ . 

When I do my number crunching at the end of the year half of the books I read are YA and while that's not technically a genre, I will say that I really truly enjoy YA contemporary. Also, I love all things fantasy! And I love to read because: I love stories... stories in any and every form! 

What is your favorite blogging resource? 

Can I plug Bloggiesta here? Take a look at these links from our past mini challenges... now is that not a great resource or what???? (By the way, the next Bloggiesta will be in July. But I'm not thinking about it yet, in case you wondered.)

Share your favorite book or reading related quote. 

Gah! I have so many! But one that I have always loved: "She is too fond of books and it has addled her brain."

(P.S. Is it turned or addled? I've always thought addled, but I sure see turned a lot. Hmmm.)

What book would you love to see as a movie?

The Through the Ever Night series, if they can do it well, you know? I already have a Roar picked out.

One more thing about me! Please be sure to check out my guest post today over at the main Armchair BEA site! I've written up my thoughts on literature and I'd love to know your thoughts too! I'll be checking comments over there to see if you're talking!

Happy Armchair BEA everyone. I hope to meet you all! :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

British Isles Friday: British Actors!

Time for more British-ness! I love thinking up things to post for Joy's British Isles Friday. Most everyone there, I've noticed, has been posting reviews, which I'll do probably eventually, but first, other things!

And those other things for today are... British Actors! There's something special about 'em don't you think? I did a Celebrity Crushes post awhile back and nearly everyone on my list was a British dude, did you notice?

But, I didn't want to simply repeat that post and so instead, I decided to practice my collage making skills instead and so... voila! I give you.... my British Actors Collage!

Isn't it awesome? I think I'm onto something here! Can you name them all? Gold star for anyone who can!


(Don't tell me who I forgot! Or, wait, sure... tell me who I forgot... and if I come up with 16 more, I'll just make another one!!)

Updated to add: There's been some confusion (both here and elsewhere)! I'm using the term "British" to mean anyone from the whole of Great Britain and the United Kingdom which includes not only England but also Scotland, Ireland and Wales! Yes! I can still have Colin Farrell, and Ewan and David T and... and... Cillian! And I don't remember who else comes from where else. But yes. Let's include them ALL when we say British! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Discussing Fantasy

I thought since I'm in the middle of a huge epic Sanderson fantasy right now I'd revisit this post from nearly four years ago when he (Sanderson) came to our library and talked about fantasy. I loved what he had to say then and I still love it now. And I'm wondering what you, my newer-ish readers who missed this post the first time around, think about it. I'd love your response to the questions!

Here's my original post:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why Fantasy?

Yesterday our library kicked off a couple of months of celebrating fantasy with a Brandon Sanderson appearance in which he talked about his feelings for the fantasy genre.  People always ask him why he writes fantasy and he said he wishes he could say, "Obviously because everything else is boring!"

He listed some great points about why he thinks fantasy is legit, and it made me think about why I enjoy it so much too.

Brandon's reasons for writing/reading fantasy:

  • to explore other worlds, while at the same time learning about our own
  • to warn and to teach, to ponder the "what ifs" both  negative and positive
  • to focus on humanity. It's like an experiment where you change up all the variables in life, but the human characters remain the same, and are the control group. Thus, we come to understand ourselves better.
  • to simply enjoy the story itself. It's like mythology for our time. He told about when people were trying to figure out what Tolkien meant to say with Lord of the Rings. Was it about WWII? Was it symbolic for the atomic bomb? Tolkien always responded with a  resounding NO. It's JUST A STORY!
  • to inspire and to imagine. Reading fantasy is like doing crunches for the imagination! He reminded us of an Einstein quote (one of my favorites), "Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the whole world, and all we will ever know and understand." It doesn't have to be real for us to learn and gain something from it.

Great reasons, yes?

My reasons for reading (and loving) fantasy:

  • sweeping involved detailed and imaginative stories
  • extremely well defined characters
  • new worlds (language, races, cultures, religions, politics) to explore 
  • it's just plain fun! Of course it is!
Okay, so my reasons aren't quite as meaty, but still.  As Brandon Sanderson also said, there's those that get it and those that don't. I'm happy to be on the "get it" side. And oh man, there's so much of it I haven't read. It's overwhelming!

Where do you fall in this debate? Do you get the fantasy thing? Perhaps you are still not sure about it? Or maybe you won't even go near it? I'd love to know your feelings on fantasy!

And my thoughts today? Like I said, still the same. One of my biggest issues with reading in general is actually finding the time to read the huge epic fantasies and still fit in everything else there is to read. It's a frustrating thing sometimes! I mean, if I had nothing else to do maybe it could happen, but as is it is, when I'm reading a huge fantasy, it seems all other reading gets put on hold. It's hard. But I love it and I wish I could fit more in.

So anyway, what are your feelings on fantasy? Do you agree with the above points? Or would you rather spend your reading time on more real life situations?

For more Throwback Thursday posts and to link up your own post, head on over to Mom's Small Victories.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Random Ramblings

Lots of stuff's been going on here so I thought I'd do one of those fun random posts, you know? Here goes.

First, how about some wedding pictures? Just a couple...

Here's wedding number one from back in March. My son and his new wife:

And here's part of the crowd (my and my husband's families that were there):

And then just a week and half ago my daughter got married. Here's our family as it stands now with two new kids!

When I look at this picture, I see that I have some pretty cute kids... but I also see that I need to get busy doing some Zumba and some boxing and QUICK! Ugh. I hate pictures of myself.

Anyway. So that happened. It was fun and exciting and I'm glad it's all over!

Let's see. What else?

** We've planted a garden... most of one. We have a bunch of seeds left to plant still. The above brand new couple might come and help with that. I think they'd get into it.

** We celebrated ten years of book club! But I wrote about that already!

** I haven't written anything on my story at all and so we are trying to get the writing group going again. I would love to have it all edited and stamped DONE by the end of the summer! And then I can start thinking of another story!

** I'm moving stuff all around our house. Two kids moved out, which left the other one able to move downstairs, which now leaves his room upstairs vacant. And now I want to decorate it up and put a big desk in there... and write like crazy! Blog posts! Journal posts! Novels! Letters! Write write write!!!

** I am SO into The Walking Dead! I finished season three on Netflix and then found season four online and have watched through episode seven I think. And I'm SO SO nervous!  Oh my word this show you guys!!!

** And speaking TV.. my boys Dave and Connor and the Amazing Race? AMAZING!! :) They are the best. As I told you before, he (Dave) lived next door to us when he was about 17 and my mom absolutely LOVED him. Had I been older, I'm sure I would have been crushing on him too. But I was only 7 or 8 and hadn't quite refined my swooning thing yet! :)

** And I'm looking forward to Survivor tomorrow. I can't believe how much we get into that one still after all these years.

** We are planning a getaway. That's the next big thing. I'll be Instagraming pictures, so follow and stay tuned!

** Reading has been pretty slow. Even with my attempt at Bout of Books and the Readathon. Seriously. Maybe I can read a lot during the little trip...

** So OneRepublic has this song that somehow is NOT on my Native album but it says it's from that album so I'm really confused... but no wonder I hadn't heard it before but now I'm loving it! Have you heard it yet?

** Speaking of music, did you know there are a ton of YouTube mixes for "epic music" and I love it! It's perfect for writing background music.

** Armchair BEA is next week!!! Be there or be square!

Okay. I think that's it for now. What's up with you all?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Friendship

Wow! I haven't done a Top Ten for a few weeks now. I guess I needed a little break, but with this prompt, I'm back! It's about friendship books and maybe you'll be surprised when you see what I've chosen. What do you think? I'm a right? Or am I not?

But first, I've shown it before and I'll show it again:

Top Ten Books About Friendship

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien ( Sam and Frodo, best friends forever.)
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Seriously. I feel like this book goes on every list!)
3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (For you a thousand times over.)
4. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (No way they would have survived otherwise!)
5. The Raven Boys by  Maggie Stiefvater (Love these guys!)
6. The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman (Antsy is such a friend to the Schwa!)
7. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (Friends and cousins and crazies.)
8. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (All about friends for sure.)
9. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (Four of the most famous friends ever!)
10. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (Ah, I'm glad I remembered this one!)

I know there are so many more! Especially in the middle grade category. But those are the ones I came up with today!

What books would you list as friendship books? Link up over at The Broke and the Bookish!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney
Genre: MG Graphic
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
For: Fun (and the readathon)
From: Bought at Costco probably

Short Synopsis: Gregory details his life during Christmas break including flash backs to few incidents in the past and many crazy endeavors he and his friend get up to in the present.

My Response:  I have loved the Wimpy Kid books! And I'm so so behind! So during the readathon a while back I decided to try and catch up. Well, I only read one. But it's a start to catching up, right? But I must say... these books aren't as funny to me as they used to be. I don't know if it was just this book, or the fact that maybe they are trying to hard to keep up something that got started with the first few? Or maybe the jokes are old now? But I just remember laughing out loud at some stuff in the book 2 or 3 and this time it just wasn't laugh out loud worthy. That being said, I still want to catch up and read them all. Because they really are fun books!

Bottom line: Fun!

Let's Talk About: One of my favorite things about these books is they, in this silly funny way, manage to portray real life. Crazy stuff that really happens! I'm wondering if you agree with my assessment on this. Do they portray real life things that you actually remember from school days? Or is it too sillified and dumbed up?

Other Reviews:

I’m way past the intended age group for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but I just love it and I suspect younger readers will love it even more. From BerumudaOnion

This book is hilarious - I found myself laughing out loud, making embarrassing snorting noises, and demanding to read-aloud random portions to anyone who would listen. From Madigan Reads

It's just like the other ones but I like the style. (guest post from a teenager) From No Vampires Allowed

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ten Years of Book Club!

This week we celebrated our book club's ten year anniversary! We had a BBQ and lots of desserts and treats and just talked and talked about our book club books and memories.

As part of the evening, I set up as many books as I could find in my house that we read for book club and displayed them. I forgot to take a picture, but here in this over all shot you can see the piles.

I stacked them by the different years we read them. Everyone that came looked through the stacks and were able to instantly pin point when they joined, because everyone remembers the first book they read with the group. I love that!

We asked (and answered) a few questions, such as:

  • Longest book we read: The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged ) at 1276 pages... or if you read the abridged... Middlemarch at 904
  • Shortest book: 84 Charring Cross Road at 94 pages
  • How many books read? 109
  • Most read author? Megan Whelan Turner since we did her whole series one summer. After that it's a tie between Jane Austen, Shannon Hale, Neal Shusterman, Elizabeth Gaskill, J.K. Rowling, etc.
  • First book read: The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Most recent book read: Wintergirlsl (which we discussed a little bit and decided it was too depressing)
  • Book we all hated: The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All... many also hated 1984.
  • Best discussion: The Actor and the Housewife and The Kite Runner
  • Some books people wouldn't have read without book club: The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, These is My Words, The Forgotten Garden.... etc. (This list goes on and on!)
  • Movies we watched together: The Book Thief, Middlemarch and Pride and Prejudice 
  • Book we've read twice: The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Book that we want to read again: North and South
Anyway, it was fun!

And the wonderful Jessica from The Bluestocking Society crafted this wonderful memory book for me complete with a list of the books we've read and their covers and then she had everyone write a memory to be included in the back. Some of the funny memories are:
  • Fighting about The Actor and the Housewife
  • A certain someone reading aloud her favorite kissing scene which had us gasping with laughter!
  • Watching Pride and Prejudice together... the whole thing
  • Reading new genres
  • Have husbands join in
  • Throwing Twilight books on the floor!

Ah, it's been fun. Here are some more pictures from the night:

And the GIF that I promised everyone my phone would do automatically!

LOL! Can you see Sam just appear in the picture?
And Jenni throws her phone so my son can take a picture for her?
And I'm telling my husband HOW to take the picture?
And how some people don't move at all?
It's awesome.

Here's who's who:

Kathy, Tessa (with Sam behind her), Trina, Kim, Jessica, Jenny, Suey, Michelle, Bethany
Jenni Elyse, Jessica, Kami and Julie
missing were another Jen, and Jayne... and I think that's pretty much everyone that usually comes!

Here's to ten more years! And at least a hundred more books!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Words of Radiance: Halfway Check In

Well, I just thought I'd do a halfway mark check in. I AM reading this book, though not necessarily with the group! I can't seem to catch up to do an official Q and A post with them! But I am reading, slowly yet surely.

See? Proof that I'm half way!

What I find the most interesting about this book so far is that nothing has really happened yet! Six hundred pages in and I'm still waiting for the crazy stuff to happen. And yet... AND YET... I'm still captured and interested. How is this possible?

Well, so there was a sinking boat and that was crazy. And there was duel that was unexpected. And Kaladin is always fun to read about no matter what he's doing. And we have most of characters all together in one place now, which makes me happy. And there's some flirtatious bantering going on which brings on a whole new element. And anytime the Assassin in White shows up, crazy stuff happens, which has been once so far. That was a bit nail biting for sure!

And there's the storms and visions and the Spren and Bridge Four and sword play and horse riding and masters of disguise and a flirty prince and a shy prince and chasms galore and talking patterns... and... oh so much to keep my attention!

It's been slow going, what with life getting in the way and such, but still, I'm totally enjoying the ride that is this huge epic fantasy. Again. I'll be back to let you know what I think upon finishing it!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-man 2

Movie: The Amazing Spider-man 2
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Rated: PG-13
My Rating: Two thumbs up

Yeah, so you may be sick of Spider-man. Even so, these movies make such good stories! Especially when you love the actors telling the stories! Sigh.

This movie picks up shortly after the first one left off. Peter is trying to stay away from Gwen since that's what he promised her dying father. But he... just can't! And then he can. And they break up. But then they can't. And then they are together and then, bad stuff happens. And it all goes terribly wrong!

And there's this one dude who at first likes Spider-man because he was saved by him and and Spider-man told him... "you be my eyes" and he's feeling good about that, the dude. But then there's an accident and he gets massively electrocuted but of course he doesn't die but turns into ELECTRO! And now, he suddenly HATES Spider-man. But I forget why. But Spider-man can't fight him because he's so powerful, but with Gwen's help they figure it out! And yay! The day is saved.

But no. There's Harry Osborne and he's upset too because he needs Spider-man's blood and Peter (aka Spider-man you know) won't give it too him. He gets very very mad and then he finds out how to be a super-powered villain himself! (I seriously didn't quite get this transition....) And then things get even worse.

Whew. It's so fast paced and mind spinning. And there's so many wonderful rides flying through the city that when you get to see it at the Imax 3D ( and of course I highly recommend  this) it's like you are on a ride. It literally tickled my stomach! Cool cool cool!

The best thing about this movie is that it has heart, in between all the special effects and crazy things. You see the villains back story and you GET why they are so upset and mad and sad. You GET them. It makes it all the better.

Bottom line: Seriously, who cares if you are sick of comic book super hero movies. You should totally go see this one. At the Imax. In 3D.

Oh, and by the way, the music. Yes. I loved it. And Andrew Garfield? Loved him too.

Here's the trailer:

And here's the one of the cool crazy songs from the movie:
(You may want to blast it. Just sayin')

Let me know if you've seen it and what you think.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Signed, Skye Harper by Carol Lynch Williams

Book: Signed, Skye Harper by Carol Lynch Williams
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review, and Supporting Local Authors
From:  Received for free from the publisher through Edelweiss. All opinions are my own.

Short Synopsis: Winston's mom left her with her grandma when she was just four. This story gets started when she (the mom) writes home and begs them to come get her in Las Vegas. They don't have a car that works well, and so they sort of steal a motor home from their rich friends and go off on an road trip adventure to retrieve their mom/daughter. All sorts of craziness occurs and Winston does some major growing up.

My Response: What a sweet and "real" coming of age story. This girl has some issues and has lived quite the hard life. The stuff that happens in this story doesn't make things any easier either. But maybe a little. She comes to terms with some of the things she is dealing with. And there's a boy. And that helps a little too! What I mostly loved is the old fashioned southern feel it has. Loved that! (It takes place in the 70s so it's "sort of" old fashioned, right?)

Let's Talk About: What does "coming of age" really mean anyway? I'm thinking it means where a character learns something about him or herself or the world they live in that changes their view on life. It makes them think a bit more outside themselves and see things in a bigger way. It means they do some growing up and realize it's not all about just them, but other people too. It also sometimes means they have to face the hard reality of the real world. What do you think it means?

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed this one! A fast quick read both fun and thought provoking at the same time.

Other Reviews:

I can't find any other reviews at this point! If you've done one let me know!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Book Review Discussion: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Book: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review
From: (and FTC Disclosure):  Received for free from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Short Synopsis: There's this rich family that owns several vacation homes on their private island. Every summer the three sisters and their families all get together and have a wonderful time. The cousins (there's three plus one friend that joins them every summer) become best buddies. They call themselves The Liars. One summer, the summer they were fifteen, something strange happens. It is understood that our main character has an accident of some kind but she does not remember the details. We then follow her on her quest to figure out what really happened. 

My Response: This book has gotten TONS of buzz! Pretty much because when you learn what really happened, it's not what you expect at all. It's crazy. It's good. It's sad. The writing is amazing and poetical. The beginning was a little confusing to me. It's one of those books where once it ends and you know what's going on, you want to re-read the beginning to see that, oh yes, I get it now! 

Bottom Line: I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I don't feel the need to OVERLY gush like so many are doing, but yeah, it's a good one!

Let's Talk About: How do you feel about books with buzz? How do you feel about books with crazy endings? Does this make you want to read the book more? Less? The same? As for me, I don't mind buzzy books and I'll usually end up reading them. And I love crazy endings! :)

Other Reviews:

Let's say you want to study subtext. Read this book. Gawk at the twist you probably didn't see coming, and recover from the sucker punch right to your heart. Then read this book again. From Presenting Lenore

Definitely a book that (as you can see) will make you want to find a friend and discuss! From Anna Reads

Anyone who picks We Were Liars up without knowing anything about it is in for a treat. From Annette's Book Spot

You know when sometimes you discover that amazing book that is ALL THE THINGS? Mystery? Check. Romance? Check. Family DRA-mah? Check. Unexpectedly awesome, never-saw-it-coming ending? Check, check! From Reading Rants


Related Posts with Thumbnails