Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reading Recap July 2014

We had some amazing sunsets this month!

It's been another awesome reading month! Lots of five star books for me. And books that really have a change of being on the top ten of the year. Cool, eh?

Here's what I read:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: In which we not only follow our previous favorite heroine, Cinder, as she escapes from prison, but also meet a new favorite, Scarlet, as she gets Wolf to help her find her missing grandma.

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen: The story about what happened to Captain Hook, why he is hanging out in Neverland, what's his deal with Peter Pan, and how he tries to get out.

Split Second by Kasie West: The continuing story started in Pivot Point where Addie tries to fix the consequences of her choice made in the first book.

Ezra and Hadassah by Heather Young: A memoir about the author's abusive childhood and how she and her brother find happiness in the end.

The Selection by Kiera Cass: The prince needs to find a wife so 35 girls come to the castle for him to court and choose.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor: The second book about the conflict between the angels and the demons and how Karou and Akiva are right in the middle of it.

Guitar Notes by Mary Amato: A cute story about two music geeks who get together by writing notes to each other and leaving them in the guitar case in the school's practice room.

Favorites of the bunch: Ah, so hard! Probably Days of Blood and Starlight, and Alias Hook and Split Second. But really, I enjoyed them all so much this month!

Plans for August:

  • Utah Book Month! I will be posting a picture list of books I want to read for this celebration tomorrow. There's a huge bunch! I can't wait to jump in!
  • Maybe re-read The World's Strongest Librarian for book club.
  • Sneak in Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
  • Maybe sneak in Attachments which I just bought for my Kindle and won't be able to stay away from.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Speaking Like Our Favorite Books

Have you ever noticed that after you read a certain book, you find the language of that book creeping into your own method of speaking? I've noticed this a lot over the years and some of that language stays with me no matter how long it's been since I've read the book. I find it fascinating.

Some examples:

After reading The Good Earth, I started saying "well and so" all the time, or writing it especially. Have you read this book? Have you noticed how many paragraphs and dialogue bits start with "well and so"? I loved it and it stuck in my head and it's never left!

After reading The Sparrow, I started adding yes after every sentence... well, I mean not every but after many sentences. You may have even noticed this in my writing of blog posts, yes? :) I do it all the time, but I don't remember doing it before that book. There's a character in that book, who sticks a yes after everything he says. Maybe a no sometimes too. It stuck with me!

Remember the "happy-making" and other such "makings" that permeated the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld? I think it drove people all crazy-making after awhile, but it stuck in our speech around here. That one has faded a bit though. But hey, actually, I have proof that my husband was using this term LONG long before the Uglies series! Funny, that. (and where does THAT phrase come from, eh?)

After reading a Victorian era regency type novel I find myself wanting to use terms like... daft and civil and methinks... and "shall we take a turn about the room?" and other such formalities. I love it when this happens and I wish it would stick a bit longer than it does. This one fades after awhile, but always comes back for a moment upon finishing such a book.

I know there's more, many many more, but those are the main examples that come to mind at the moment. What experience have you had were the language or style of a book has crept into your own speaking? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Buying the Books of Certain Authors

A fun prompt over at The Broke and the Bookish today. Which authors do I own the most books of? I hate the wording of that sentence, but I'm not sure how to fix it! Anyway, it was fun to look through my library and count. I'm sure there are some authors that should be on this list that I somehow forgot, but here's what I've come up with for now.

John Grisham: 14 (What? I don't even read or talk about this author!)
Wilkie Collins: 11 (Seriously guys, his books are awesome.)
Laura Ingalls Wilder: 11 (Yes, the whole set makes 11 books!)
Brandon Sanderson: 11 (Wow, I guess he's written a lot I've bought them all... nearly.)
L.M. Montgomery: 11 (The Anne set plus a few stragglers.)
Orson Scott Card: 10 (Books from several different series here.)
Shannon Hale: 10 (I think I've pretty much bought all of hers too.)
James Dashner: 9 (And all of his.)
C.S. Lewis: 9 (Narnia plus a couple other random things.)
J.K. Rowling: 9 (I think I've doubled up on some Harrys!)

Honorable Mention:

Jan Karon: 7 (Remember that At Home in Mitford craze?)
Robert Jordan: 7 (Remember that one time I was going to read all of The Wheel of Time?)
Charles Dickens: 7 (I don't have them all... yet!)
Dan Wells: 6 (I have them all!)

Which authors do you buy the most? You should go count! You'll be shocked like me!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Book: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Fun
From: Bought at Costco awhile back

Short Synopsis: Continuing where the first book left off (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) we have the two sides made of up chimaera (demon monsters) and seraphim (angels) warring against each other. Of course, we love the heroes on both sides! This is SO not what these characters had in mind according to what we learned in book one! And who's a reader to root for? They are each doing terrible things, and yet they both want to figure out how to make it stop so bad and so this story is about how each one of them is trying in their own way to find peace between the two races. And then, what about their relationship? Longing and hate abound.

My Response: Oh! My! Word! This book! So painful, so wonderful and so so good! I pretty much read it with an ache in my heart the whole time. I  mean, you want Karou to be happy and to make amends for what she "thinks" she's done, and yet, you want her to forget it all and just give it up and go to Akiva! And then there's Akiva who has to at least ACT like he is in alliance with all the angels, but still, he's doing stuff that just makes you want to CHEER right out loud. He is so awesome. This book is told from several points of view which really makes you get into the heart of the story and know what's going on all over the place. The writing is amazing and just, I don't know, how can people write so good!? We all have the same words to use, you know? Just... HOW? And speaking of side characters (which I was in a previous review here on the blog if you are paying attention) how about Suze and Mik? I LOVE these guys! I'm so glad they are part of this story and somehow keep themselves all mixed up in these paranormal happenings.

Be warned though, this book is graphic and violent and bad stuff happens. Like, I'm not sure there's anything happy at all in this particular book.  But...

Bottom Line: I loved it! Really really loved it. I knew it would end with a... NO! feeling so I've already got book three in hand have plans to jump right into it because, dang, I have to know! And Karou and Akiva? If they don't figure things out and you know, get together, I may just have to boycott reading! :)

Let's Talk About: Second books in a series. Sometimes they aren't too great. This one is awesome. BUT, still, it always seems like first books are about getting the characters together and second books are always always about ripping them apart again. Right? Am I right? I hate that. What do you think?

Other Reviews: wonderful bright spot throughout the book is the inclusion of Zuzana and Mik, who bring a very contemporary/human feel to this otherworldly fantasy. I think many other authors would have left Karou’s human friends behind once this story relocated across the portal, but Laini Taylor doesn’t and this dark tale feels fresher and younger for it. From The Readventurer

Taylor has created a complex political situation which pits Karou and Akiva, who we all know are still in love, against each other. From My Books My Life

The world building is amazing and one of my favorite parts of this series. From Reflections of a Bookaholic

The Days of Blood and Starlight is DARK! DARK! DARK! and gruesome. From My Little Pocketbooks

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Currently: Still Alive

(written Sunday morning-ish)

Listening: to David Arkenstone Celtic Journeys by way of Spotify. Love this CD!

Watching: got started watching Hell on Wheels thanks to my crazy TV watching sister! :) Love the conflicts and time period this is set in. And there's Indians and I'm into Indians right now. Also watched the 5th season trailer for The Walking Dead intense! "You screwed with the wrong people!"

Reading: Finally finally finally picked up Days of Blood and Starlight! Such an awesome and crazy story! I bought Dreams of Gods and Monsters so I can go right into that one this week I hope.

But at the end of this week I'll be reading from my pile of Utah author books. You'll hear much more about that coming up! I can't wait to read from that list too. Reading is awesome.

Writing: However, reading awesome books can also discourage a person from writing. Oh my word, but the writing in Days of Blood and Starlight is amazing. How can I ever have thought I could write? There's just no way. But still, I try. I'm editing/revising the Nano book still, about half way there with what I've got now anyway. I need to add so much more. I'm making a list of major things to fix upon a second time through the thing. I look forward to November with another shot at Nanoing and starting a whole new story.

Blogging: I'm struggling here people! What's happening to blogging? It makes me sad! I do have a fun little blogging thing to announce later this week though. Stay tuned.

Eating: We had a most crazy party here last night complete with all sorts of wonderful BBQ food. It was the final hurrah for our week long Japanese student experience. It was a fun and crazy and a little bit strange week. But we're glad we did it. And eating has been interesting and never have I scrutinized our eating habits so much before as I have this week when I'm sharing them with a student who eats so differently from us!

Crafting: Nothing! As is the norm lately. Though I have huge plans to at least do some scrapbooking and picture projects. Wish me luck.

  • Wrote and delivered my grandma's life sketch (eulogy) last weekend. All went well though I'll never heard the end of the fact that I said that my grandma killed a "peasant" and not "pheasant" !! Yeah. I know.
  • Enjoyed getting to know a really cute girl from Japan. Sent her off to her home in Tokyo this very morning. We got up at 4:15 to take her. So tired now. But plan on a relaxing afternoon doing nothing. Here's to that.
  • Had my own Bloggiesta day after the actual event happened! Gearing up for BIG Bloggiesta in September!
  • Our garden is looking so sick. It makes me sad.
  • It's hot, that's why.
  • Still to look forward to this summer: the Epic Relay race (I'll be volunteering at the finish line), a small camping trip, another family reunion day, Utah book month and a party for that, Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, and Salt Lake Comic Con!

Well, here's hoping someone reads this post and finds it interesting that I'm still alive... despite the sporadic blogging lately. And the sporadic blog reading that we all seem to be suffering from!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review Discussion: The Selection by Keira Cass

Book: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Genre: YA Dystopian-ish
For: Fun
From: Bought for Kindle

Short Synopsis: So there's this prince, and he wants a wife, and so he (and his family) have devised a lottery of sorts where all young women are eligible, despite their class rank, to be part of The Selection. Thirty five girls are chosen from the applicants to come to the castle and take part in the wooing. America, despite her low class rank, is one of them. She is surprised and worried, especially since she is in love with a boy from home. However, when she starts to get to the know the prince, he isn't at all as bad as she expected. In fact, she kinda likes him. Oh dear. What's a girl to do?

My Response: It's a blatant copying of the TV show The Bachelor. But no matter. It's fun and interesting and quite page turning. But yes, there is the beginnings of a love triangle, so be warned should you hate that sort of thing. I enjoyed the alternate universe (country) stuff here, and the class system which seems so crazy to us. I'm intrigued for sure, and want to know how she figures it all out now that things are getting complicated.

Bottom Line: Fun and fluff for the most part, which was perfect for summer reading and given the heavier stuff I've been reading of late.

Let's Talk About: Does it bug you if something is very much a copy of something else? Are you like, oh, cool! I wish I'd thought of that! Or are you like, um, could the author not have disguised that a bit more? I'm not sure where I stand on this. I'll ponder.

Other Reviews:

Just like watching reality tv, I like seeing the cattiness, who is sincere and who puts on a face. If this were a show on tv, I would probably watch. From Cherie Reads

I could not peel my eyes away from the book. There’s bickering and in-fighting and clandestine meetings and lies and secrets and OH MY GOSH WHO COULD WANT MORE? From Anna Reads

But..I feel like there's this bigger story that's waiting to break out in the books (at least I hope so!) about the rebels that attack the castle and the country. From My Friend Amy

The Selection is an incredibly fast read, not requiring much in the way of philosophical thinking or close attention to details, but one cannot discount the fun and entertainment it provides readers. From That's What She Read

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd Want With Me on a Deserted Island

Yeah, that's a mouthful! So we always answer the question, what books would we want with us should we happen to be stranded on an deserted island. But today over at The Broke and the Bookish we are thinking what characters. In which case the island would not be too deserted! So these characters would probably be with us on the boat, and they'd be part of the whole sinking scenario and we all survive and are now all on the island together. What a party!

 I'm thinking I'd want:

1. Perry from Under the Never Sky... I think his outdoorsy skills would probably come in very handy, yes?

2. Katniss from The Hunger Games... it's the hunting I'm thinking of here. Plus, she'd probably make a pretty cool friend.

3. Jacob from Twilight... if it gets cold on this island, he's going to keep me warm.

4. Robinson Crusoe... because he's got this gig down!

5. Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings... just because I love him.

6. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables... for the cheering up factor and all that positive thinking. I'm okay if she brings Gilbert along too.

7. Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicles... because I think he'd be a great protector. And he's awesome.

8. Edmund Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo... he has this island gig thing down too! So, just in case we all want to escape...

9. Shalan from Words of Radiance... because she's a Soulcaster (I think, right?) and that'll be good for us, I promise.

10. Ron from Harry Potter... more magical goodness (even though he might not get it right) but mostly for the funny factor!

Who would you pick to be stranded with?  Link up your list over at the Broke and the Bookish!

(I picked a lot of redheads! I wonder what's up with that!)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Split Second by Kasie West

Book: Split Second by Kasie West
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Fun
From: Bought it... somewhere...

Short Synopsis: This continues the story which began with Pivot Point where Addie sees the future and makes a decision about which parent to live with. In this book, we see the consequences of that decision and the changes that happen in her life. In the first book she makes a promise that's awfully hard to keep and in this second book, we find out if she manages to keep it. This second book is also a lot about her friend Laila's story. In fact it flips back and forth from the points of view of each of them. We get more familiar with the world of the Paranormals, and also we learn some interesting things going on the Normal world. It's all very complicated! And I'm feeling crazy here because I can't spoil anything!

My Response: I love this story! And I would suggest reading these books really close together, something I don't normally suggest. They are truly like one continuous book. I had to find my Pivot Point and re-read the ending and a bunch of other scenes just so I could know what was going on. We as readers know more than the characters in this second book and that's really quite an interesting place to be. It's one of those instances where you feel like shouting through the book and into the pages so the characters will know what's up! Laila's story is fun and I enjoyed getting to know her unique personality too and having her own funny love story to follow.

Bottom line: This is a great story with lots of twists and turns and not easily predictable. At least for me. I enjoyed the unique plot and fun romance. Read it.. read them both... together!

Let's Talk About: Stories with two points of view! Like or don't like? I think many readers where bugged about this two point of view story, but as I said, I found it interesting and fun. Sometimes one  point of view stands out and that's the one you always want to be reading, but sometimes you are okay getting a two for one, you know? What's your take on this? Do you enjoy reading two or more points of view, or would you rather we stay in just one person's head?

Other Reviews:

Split Second is a one day sort of read with action and an interesting world and answers all the questions you had from Pivot Point. From Good Books and Good Wine

I'm a sucker for funny, and Kasie West does that very well, whether it's Addie/Laila banter, Laila/Connor banter, or watching Laila and Connor try to ignore their attraction to one another while Laila's brother Eli practices his ability at their expense. From YA Romantics

This book was a fast-paced read. I wanted to book to keep going and have something else happen, but sadly it ended. From Books With Bite

We all need Trevor in our lives. I’m totally being serious. From Deadly Darlings

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty by Heather Young

Book: Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty by Heather Young
Genre: Memoir
For: Review
From: Sent to me for free by the author. All opinions are my own.

Short Synopsis: This book follows the story of Ezra and Hadassah (later called Rex and Heather) as they are taken from their biological parents, placed in foster care, and are then adopted by abusive parents. Heather recounts all the feelings she goes through as things beyond their control continue to happen to them. While her own story is heartbreaking, she focuses even more on the story of her brother who, being mentally challenged, suffered even more at the hands of their adoptive parents as she, being too young and too scared, stood by and watched. Later, when she was able to escape the situation, the paths of her and her brother cross again and what follows is an amazing inspirational end to all that went on before.

My Response: I must admit, I was a little nervous to read this book. Reading about abuse is not my favorite thing, you know? And then when I understood that my LDS church played a big role, I was even more nervous. But I was assured that it might not be what I think, so I gave it a chance. Of course, once started, I couldn't put it down. I was completely wrapped up in this story and anxious to find out what happens with Heather and Rex. It's one of those stories that as you are reading it, you can hardly believe it's true and that someone actually lived this stuff. And how can people do these things to kids? And why... why why WHY do they adopt kids when they have no idea how to deal with them? Why? What can their motivation even be? And why adopt special needs kids at that? I so don't get it but I imagine it happens all the time.

It's also one of those stories that while you are reading it, you wonder, how can this ever end happy? How do people survive such things? But that's the reason for the book in the first place... to show and inspire the rest of us that life, no matter how bad it seems or hard it is, can get better and everyone can come to find peace in the end. And the church, instead of actually being the bad guy in all this, ended up truly helping these kids. It took some time, and it bugs me that it took that time, but church members and leaders pulled through there in the end. Yay for that.

And can I just add here, yay also for Heather's husband! What a saint he must be! My hats off to him!

Bottom Line: I totally enjoyed this book, even with its hard subject matter. It was written in such a way that it wasn't overly emotional, or graphic, or "woe is me." It was direct and matter of fact and I think that made it easier for me to read. At the same time, it drew me in made me feel invested from the very first page.

Let's Talk About: How do you feel about reading hard subject like abuse? Do you tend to shy away from it? Or do you expect, like I did, to somehow be inspired by it? Do you feel like it's a fine line there between the hard stuff and the good stuff? Do you usually feel it's worth it in the end?

Other Reviews:

Ezra and Hadassah is a memoir about endurance in tragic circumstances and, above all, about the roles other people play in our lives, from the villains to the unexpected and beloved heroes. From Literary Inklings

Not since The Help has a book struck me with such force. From Goodreads Reviews

She and Rex are my new heroes along with the good people who finally entered their lives, including some good friends and families, a teacher, a Bishop, and her own husband. From Goodreads Reviews

I especially loved reading about Rex as an adult.It is amazing to see that he grew into such a caring,compassionate,wonderful human being who always looked for how he could help others. From Goodreads Reviews

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Book: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Book club fairy tale month
From: The library, sort of

Short Synopsis: After the first book, Cinder, is over, Cinder finds herself and jail with plans to escape. So we follow her story and what happens and how and all that. But we also meet a new character, Scarlet, who runs a vegetable farm with her grandma in France. Only, her grandma has disappeared and she is out to figure out why and whodunnit. She finds help in a very unlikely person... a rough and tough looking street fighter named Wolf. Only, he's shy and quiet for being so rough and tough. It's intriguing. Maybe a little too intriguing. Something is up! Then, things get really interesting when these two stories mesh and collide together.

My Response: Loved it. Totally. Everyone said, READ THIS BOOK! And I just didn't' really rush to follow that command. But I have now,  finally, and it's just really pretty amazing, this creative mash up of fairy tale and science fiction with really cool and unique characters and all sorts of crazy things going on. I especially loved the sidekick "captain" that Cinder hooks on to! What a hoot he is! I hope he's in the next book! Which I hope to get to soon.

Bottom Line: An awesome fun Red Riding Hood re-telling, with spaceships.

Let's Talk About: Side characters! Aren't they the best? Not only was Captain Thorne (I think that's what his name is!) awesome, but so is Iko, the android who has some of the best lines ever. What's your take on side characters? Do you love it when they sort of steal the scenes? Who are some of your favorites?

Other Reviews:

The story buzzes on the page with its energy and excitement. Even the quiet parts have undertones of excitement and impending adventure. From Working for the Mandroid

This is a very entertaining story: full of suspense, romance, humor, and courage From Rhapsody in Books

Perhaps best of all is that you can rely on Meyer to not have men rescue her heroines, in fact they are much more likely to be the ones rescuing the men. From Walking Brain Cells

I was so hooked all the way through the book. It gives you just enough anticipation and info to keep to you intrigued and dying to find out what happens next! From Kami's Library Thoughts

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mini Bloggiesta is Next Weekend!

Hey everyone! It's time to sign up for next weekend's Mini Bloggiesta!

Make a To Do List and go link up over at the main Bloggiesta site here.

Then spread the word!

We'll be having a Twitter chat on Sunday the 20th at 1:00 Eastern. I hope you join in!

Here's my little tiny To Do List:

** update archive lists
** pin reviews
** catch up on reviews
** update Utah author books read list
** get all Utah Book Month events squared away
** write Utah Book Month posts, if I can
** host the Twitter chat

We'll see how that goes. Have fun!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Music and Movies I Loved in High School

Okay, one more high school post. And then the reunion will happen on Saturday. I may report on that just a bit and then, we'll forget about high school again for ten years, yes? I'm guessing not. But we'll try.

So today I spent time I did not have to make a playlist on Spotify of some of my favorite high school memory songs. I wanted to experiment and see if this playlist even shows up here for you to listen to should you desire! Does it? Can you click and listen even if you don't have Spotify?

Anyway, each one of these songs is tied to a memory... of dances, certain people, events, silliness, driving around in the car, etc etc. I loved the music from this time. It's been so fun to listen to them again today. I'm sure I'm missing a ton that need to be remembered, but I can always keep adding to the list, right? (Wow, if only things like Spotify were at our finger tips during high school! I would have gone crazy! I had to go out and buy a record, a RECORD, or a tape, if I wanted to listen to something whenever I wanted. We listened to the radio a lot though. Yeah, we did have radio back then!)

Are any of these songs your favorites too?


As for movies, we went to the theater all the time. But we didn't watch movies at home much because that was just starting. Not very many people had VCRs yet and if they did, let's just say we hung out there a lot! Anyway, some movies I remember seeing in the theater during high school:
The Outsiders

Karate Kid
The Right Stuff
Return of the Jedi
Top Gun
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
Oh my word! I better stop! What a bunch of great movies though, eh? I loved them all. What memories we make going to see them too. So much fun. Ah, the good old days. Sigh.

Alright, here's hoping I survive the big reunion. Wish me luck. It's going to be...interesting!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Those Awesome Books from High School!

More high school memories today! Because remember, there's that high school reunion thing coming up! Ah, I'm getting nervous. Why? There's no reason why this should be, but still, it happens.

Anyway.  Books! In high school I discovered classics. I loved them. I don't remember that thing that lots of people talk about where you were "forced" read classics and ended up hating them. I loved them. I mean, there were some I didn't get, but the journey in the trying to get them was fun. It probably helped that I had awesome teachers. Yeah, I'm sure that helped a lot.

I actually have a list here in front of me of classics I read during all three years. That's because my teachers collaborated and kept a folder for us throughout all three years, which they gave to us upon graduating, which I of course kept all these years. It includes all my essays that I wrote on all these books too. How cool is that.

I may of already mentioned in an earlier post, that when I was a sophomore, I loved The Scarlet Letter. We watched a movie and I thought the Arthur Dimmesdale dude was awesome. I couldn't get over him! And I read Tess and was so moved and shocked and appalled. And I read The Good Earth and cried. And I read Julius Caesar and quoted it the rest of the year..."Beware the ides of March!!!" I read the Hunchback and thought there wasn't a cooler story ever. And wanted to see Notre Dame so bad. (Yay, and now I have!)

When I was a junior, we read lots of plays, and lots of Shakespeare... Macbeth was my favorite and we quoted that all year..."Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble!" We read Hemingway books and I must admit, I wasn't very fond of him. But that was also the year of Wuthering Heights and Grapes of Wrath. I think that probably at
the time of these readings, I didn't get either one, but both have grown greatly in fondness over the years and after many re-readings. Still, even then, I was fascinated with both Heathcliff and the Joad family.

Then senior year! It was all about Crime and Punishment that year! We dissected that book inside and out, up and down, over and yonder! Oh my word. But, I haven't re-read this book and do you think I can remember much today? Sadly, no. We also read The Heart of Darkness, which creeped me out. And The Sound and the Fury, which was hard, but made me fall in love with the stream of conscious writing device.  And the Shakespeare play of the year? Hamlet! "Alas! Poor Yorick!" Oh, we loved that quote! And then, I read more Thomas Hardy. Loved those tragic stories! Oh my word, I was into the tragedy and drama then!

But, you may ask, what did I read for fun in those days? What did I read in the summers? Yes, I wish I knew! Where was my book notebook? Why did I not write these things down? Sad sad day.

If I were to guess, I bet I was reading those lovely Merlin books (The Crystal Cave) by Mary Stewart. Or deep into a romantic suspense thriller by Phyllis A. Whitney, who I absolutely adored. I was probably reading some good old LDS fiction books too, like Charlie. You know the one. Mostly likely I probably read a lot of random books from the library shelf that I've long forgotten. Anyway, so sad that I did not write these books down! Who knew that 30 years later I would have found the list fascinating!

But one thing I do know, there was nothing like the YA stuff we have to read now. Wow, as I high school kid I'm sure I would have gone wild at such a selection as there is now!

And one other thing I know, I loved reading then as much as I do now.  The more things change, the more they stay the same, yes?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

Book: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Genre: Fantasy
For: Review
From: Free for Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Short Synopsis: What if Captain Hook from the Peter Pan stories was STUCK in Neverland? What if the only thing he wants in all the world is to get BACK to the world? And to stop fighting Peter Pan? This is the story of what "really" happened to Captain Hook, how and why he finds himself in Neverland and how he tries to get out once and for all. This will make you look at him, and at Peter Pan, in a whole new way.

My Response: It took me a few chapters to get into this story. It's very descriptive and a little wordy... lots and lots of pretty words! But once I got the feel for it, I loved it. Like, really really loved it! And the language and wordiness ended up being really awesome and I want to talk like that! The story is told from Captain Hook's point of view, both now in Neverland, and in the past when he was a true and wild pirate in "real life." The story really doesn't give him excuses for what he is, he was a true bad boy. But now, not so much. And he's so done. And he just wants to go home. Then one day, someone comes to help him. And suddenly, it turns into a very romantic love story.

The reason I went and found this one to request was because April form The Steadfast Reader tweeted me one day and said she was swooning at this book. . .which was newsworthy because she has admitted that she isn't much of a swooner. So of course I had to see what would make her swoon! And...yep, sure enough. Very swoon worthy! Whew... even steamy in parts!

And course, I pretty much imagined a particular Captain Hook in my head.... only a little older and with longer hair:

So. There you go. Swoony?

Bottom Line: Yes, swoony. But much more than that. Beautifully written and imagined. I loved it loved it loved it.

Let's Talk About: I've been on a re-telling kick lately! So much fun. What do you think? Are you a fan of re-tellings? Which one is your favorite? Because if you think it's the best, I sure don't want to miss it!

Other Reviews:

An excellent read for anybody who enjoys hearing the villain’s side of the story. From Don't Be Afraid of the Dork

I really enjoyed the picture we got of Hook as a sympathetic villain, and all of the flashbacks to his past were really interesting. From There Were Books Involved

This is a familiar world, yet so very different. Like a dream. I enjoyed this book immensely, but then I always routed for Captain Hook. Always. From Antonio Urias

There is no other way to describe Jensen’s writing other than magical. I was “hooked” from the very first page…and yes, that pun was indeed intended :) From Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogger Confessions

The prompt over at The Broke and the Bookish takes a bit of a turn this week. Today, we are all confessing stuff! Oh boy.

Top Ten Blogging Confessions

1. I confess, I don't spend very much time on my reviews. I just want to get my thoughts out there quick-like and then see what you think about the book too.

2. Speaking of reviews, I confess that I don't read many reviews on other blogs. And then I wonder why no one reads mine!

3. I confess, I've never really had the desire to make money blogging.

4. I confess, I pretty much hate, well let's say dislike, the name of my blog. I didn't give it enough thought when starting so many years ago! But, I guess it's grown on me.

5. I confess, after over seven years of blogging, I still get excited about comments and sad when they don't happen (which seems to be a lot lately I must say.)

6. I confess also, that after over seven years of blogging, I still wonder if my blog is "interesting enough."

7. I confess, ever since Google Reader left, I'm REALLY having a hard time keeping up with you all! And I like and enjoy Feedly and everything.

8.  I confess, I have a really hard time passing up a review offer when an author emails me personally. Ah, the pain and agony! But I can't say yes to you all!!

9. I confess that I wish I could be more creative and come up with something to do here on the blog that would be like.... WOW and everyone would love it and the whole world would visit and it would be so awesome. Some day?

10. I confess that I totally can't think of any more confessions to make! Cop out!!

What blogging things do you feel like confessing today? Come on. Spill!

Monday, July 7, 2014

What IS a Fairy Tale Anyway?

This month for book club we are all reading a fairy tale re-telling of our choice. Last month, as we discussed all the possibilities, we ended up wondering:  what is a fairy tale anyway?

So I wondered what you, my readers, thought!

What do you consider a fairy tale?

Does it have to be something from Grimm? Or Mr. Hans Christian Anderson? Or is it something Disney grabbed and reinvented? Or is it any story that has, I don't know, that fairy tale feeling? You know what I mean, right?

So this last week I've read a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland, Red Riding Hood and Peter Pan. Is there only one fairy tale in that mix? Or could they all be considered fairy tales?

In looking the question up on Wikipedia, it says a fairy tale is any story that features European folky/fantasy characters like fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, etc. And it includes magic and happy endings and a moral tale... usually. I think with that definition, we could include Peter Pan and Alice, yes?

What else might be considered a fairy tale, but isn't necessarily something from Grimm?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Life Story: High School Memories

Senior yearbook picture
At the end of this week I'll be attending my 30th high school reunion. Yes, it makes me feel so very old. But remember, I'm still that 17 year old band geek that I was in high school, forever and always.

So this week, in order to mentally prepare myself to go back in time, I thought I'd do a few 80s posts, maybe share some pictures, music, I don't know. We'll see what pops out.

But today, I'll begin with an overall high school memory post. First of all, I must say I don't get it when people look back on high school and moan and groan. I thought it was all a blast. Mostly. I mean, yes, there was drama. Yes, I struggled with self-esteem. Yes, there were hard bits. But mostly, it was really an awesome time.

My friend and I during band.
I hung with two different crowds in high school. First and foremost, I was a band geek. I can't remember if we used that term in those days, but that was definitely what I was! I played the clarinet and loved it. I went to all the games and played in the pep band, both at home and away. If we weren't playing at the away games, I went to cheer the team on anyway... with my band buddies. We did everything together. I had one friend who was NOT in the band and finally, our senior year, she caved and joined the band and played the triangle and bells in the percussion section. She always said it was the best the thing she ever did.

My other crowd (and the two crowds did have a fair amount of cross over) was the honor student group. Back then, we were called the Brainiacs... or some such thing. I never truly felt like a "brain" but I was in the honor classes, and the AP classes, and I did get all A's (mostly!) and I was in the top of the class. However, there were SO MANY more people smarter and better and more brainy than me. They all got the scholarships, and were crowned Sterling Scholars and were recognized by all the school. I was on the sidelines. Which was quite alright by me.

Because I was also very shy, much like I still am today, and rarely talked unless I had to. Except with the band friends who saw me a little more...relaxed... shall we say. At home I was not quiet at all. I was the oldest of huge family (baby number 8 was born at the end of my sophomore year.. and he wasn't the last) and I was as bossy and obnoxious as you might imagine.

My family at Disneyland the summer before I was
a Junior. I'm not in the picture because I'm
taking the picture!

My time in high school can be divided up into the three distinct years. Here's my impression of those years:

Sophomore Year: This was a hard year. I felt like I had no friends, even though I did. I remember crying a lot. I wanted to be noticed and liked. Sound familiar? I think it took most of this year to find myself and feel okay about it. I loved my English class and remember doing a report on Patty Hearst, and learning about Thomas Hardy and falling in love with Arthur Dimsdale from The Scarlet Letter and Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities. But, I but the best teacher I ever had, pretty much in all my high school years, was Mr. Felt for World History that year. He made things come alive. He ACTED out lessons and taught us so much. Tests were even fun to take!

Junior Year: This was the year I finally came out of my shell a little and learned how to flirt. Not by talking much, but smiling a lot. My friend and I took a Physics class FULL of senior boys and we couldn't get over how much fun that was. I went to my first dance at Christmas and pretty much didn't miss a dance after that. Yes, it was fun! What's this about high school being  a drag? Fun, I tell you! We partied with the band geeks almost every weekend (and by  party, I mean watch a movie at someone's house because those VCR machines? Oh my word, they were the cool new thing!) I continued to enjoy my history class with yet another most awesome teacher. We went to the Model UN and represented Libya. Now if you don't think that was interesting! I also took anthropology this year and absolutely loved it.

Graduation Day
With my then boyfriend, now husband!
(Though it would be three years before
we got married!)

 Senior Year: Things started getting drama filled this year. I started dating a certain boy the second half of the year who would end up my husband. Serious stuff falling in love during high school! Serious stuff! I was still very involved in band, but also in a service club, the French Club, and the National Honors Society. I played in the pit for Hello Dolly and supported my fellow band members in a bunch of concerto nights and jazz band concerts and such. There was always something happening. Always. And despite the drama and the sudden serious take on the whole love life... senior year was, yes... fun!

With my friends the summer before senior year.
(I'm in the navy blue if you can't pick me out!)
All (almost anyway) wearing our shrink to fit Levis!
And sporting our permed hair which was looking especially
fine after a weekend at the lake!
More random high school tidbits:

  • we wore shrink to fit Levi Strauss jeans and Izod polo shirts, perfect for my fashion sense!
  • denim jackets were also very cool and I never had one
  • permed hair was in, even for the boys
  • Return of the Jedi came out the end of my Junior year and I don't remember ever being more excited about a movie as I was for that one! Getting Han Solo out of that carbonite? Finally! Oh my word.
  • I watched the last episode of MASH even though I'd never really watched the series, because, wow, that was a thing too.
  • we loved to go get shakes and french fries and pizza. I'm guessing that hasn't changed a whole lot in 30 years.
Well, enough memories for now. I'll post more 80s stuff this week. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Moving Books and Movie Scores

I have a couple of things to share with you today.

First of all, I'm guest posting on Tif Talks Books today, telling you about books that moved me. That's because Tif is in the middle of a move right now. Get it? I know, right? AWESOME idea she had! :) Anyway, go check that out right now. Comment there and I'll reply and we can talk.

Then, my daughter, who I guess didn't get enough video editing in for our recent family reunion movies, made a "name that movie score" video yesterday, so you KNOW you want to go test your music skills out. Well, I won't even make you go any where. Here it is:

Here's a form to fill out if you want to play. It's pretty hard so to make it a little easier, these are the movies you can choose from:

We Bought a Zoo
Man of Steel
The Amazing Spiderman 2
How to Train Your Dragon
The Shining
Napoleon Dynamite
Star Wars Ep V
Star Trek: Into Darkness
World War Z
The Lego Movie
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Spirited Away
Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Finding Nemo
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Books Read June 2014

The "back" of Mt. Timp as seen from Deer Creek Reservoir.

It's been a fun and interesting reading month. Lots of different and unusual books! I love it when that happens.

Here's the list of what I read:

Shucked by Megg Jensen : Strange things happen when you are forced to stay on your grandma's farm for the school year!

Just One Night by Gayle Forman: This is a novella that wraps up the love story of Allyson and Wilem, the story we loved from Just One Day and Just One Year.

On the Fence by Kasie West : Charlie is best buddies with her brothers and their friend Braden. Then she and Braden start talking at the fence and things begin to change.

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal: A princess finds out she is not really the princess, and that changes her life. But before she deals with that, she has to figure out who the real princess is.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson: The continuation of the story of Shallan and Kalidan and how they might be able to stop the imminent war.

Jabberwocky by Daniel Coleman: A re-telling of Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky poem... all nonsense words explained!

Drift by M.K. Hutchins: A world where the people live on the backs of giant turtles.

Favorites of the month: On the Fence, Words of Radiance and Jabberwocky.

Plans for July:

  • finish Alias, Hook
  • read Scarlet for book club
  • make a dent in some of the books on the nightstand
  • try to save Utah authors for August reading!
  • I really want to read some fun and frivolous books. Please.
  • No review books for a few months... maybe?

How did your June go?


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