Sunday, August 31, 2014

Utah Book Month Wrap Up Including First Line Winner and Party Pics!

Wow, it's been a month!

Last night we ended Utah Book Month with a fun Utah blogger/author party at the park. Thanks to those of you that came! We need to get more of you to be brave and join us next time! It's such a low key casual affair, I'd love for more of you to join us!

We had food, and talked a lot, and swapped some books. We came up with some fun bookish questions to ask each other in order to get to know each other's bookish business. So fun!

Let the book swap begin!

(from left to right)
Jenni Elyse from Jenni Elyse
Kami from Kami's Library Thoughts
Karena from Discovery Writer
Jessica from Books a True Story
Jessica from The Bluestocking Society

(from left to right)
John, Megan's husband (with baby)
Megan Hutchins 
Toto (my daughter)
Heather Ostler (with baby)
Shannen Camp
Kathy from Read This Instead
Fun times!


Next, I need to give a shout out to Kristen from The Book Monsters who won my First Line's Quiz mini challenge! She got every one right! Here are the answers:

1. They say a witch lives in the old house under the interstate bridge. From House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

2. The crackle and hiss of the flames devouring our house couldn't block out the screaming and wailing of those who were still alive. From Defy by Sara B. Larson

3. The warehouse was coffin dark. From Dangerous by Shannon Hale

4. I did the unforgivable the day my mother died, and for that I've been punished every moment of my life. From The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

5. The kidnapper looking down at Naomi held a book of poetry to his chest. From The Breakaway by Michelle Argyle

6. A woodlark sings of heartache. From Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

7. Eighteen years had passed since Kate Macauley killed her sister. From Longing for Home by Sarah Eden

8. Mrs. Anderson was dead. From I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

9. I was lying on the long grass, only distantly aware of my surroundings. From Seers by Heather Frost

10. I once believed that heroes existed only in old men's fables, that evil in the world had triumphed over good, and that love--- a true, unselfish and abiding love--- could only be found in a little girl's imagination. From The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

Congratulations Kristen! I'll be sending you an email!


And finally,  here's what I posted that had something to do with Utah Book Month during August,  just in case you missed it!

James Dashner Launch Party for Rule of Thoughts
Spotlighting the Orem Library
The Maze Runner Movie
Authors Pick Five: Michelle Argyle
Utah Books I Read This Past Year
Utah Books First Lines Quiz
The World's Strongest Librarian Comes to Book Club
Book Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Book Review: Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore
Book Review: Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson
Book Review: Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden

Wow! What fun it's been! Now, on to the next project!

Friday, August 29, 2014

British Isles Friday: Favorite King Arthur Books

I haven't done a British Isles Friday post in quite some time, but today I thought I'd tell you about some of my favorite Arthur books. For, as you know, I love anything to do with this wonderful British tradition. The story of a boy who pulled a sword out of a stone and became a king, a leader and a legend. I don't know what it is about this story, but it has it all and I never get tired of it.

When you look at the list of Arthur books, I've barely made a dent. Some of the ones I've read and loved are:

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley: an epic saga of a story!

The Once and Future King by T.H. White: a classic tale, what I envision the Disney version based from

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart: the beginning of a series where Merlin plays a strong role

Quenevere, Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles: the queen's story.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell: told in verse, from the point of view of the Lady of the Lake

The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy: a modern day time travelling twist

A couple ones on the classic end that I'd love to read some day are:

Le Morte d'Arthur by Thomas Mallory
King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

And then, if I could, I'd catch up on a ton more from the massive list. What are some of your favorites? Which ones must I add to my read immediately list?

As a side note, one of the coolest places we visited when we were in England ten years ago was Arthur's supposed burial place... Glastonbury. This place is said to have once been surrounded by water, and was in fact an island, and it was called Avalon. The legends and stories told about this place are fascinating (and not just about Arthur.) I wish we would have had time to go more south and west to see where Camelot may have been along the Cornish coast, and to explore other Arthurian sites. Maybe next time!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Utah Book Month: Launch Party with James Dashner

Many events have been happening with authors and signings all during this Utah Book month, but the one I ended up at was Tuesday night's launch party with James Dashner for his new book, Rule of Thoughts, the sequel to The Eye of Minds. (Sadly, not my most favorite book, but, BUT, the ending was awesome enough I need to read this next book!)

We got there kind of late which put us at the back of the line when the signing time came, but we got there in time to hear the people, mostly kids, ask him some fun questions.

What writing piece are you the most proud of? A book of 100 limericks written for a high school project.

Who's your favorite character in The Maze Runner? Minho

Who's your least favorite character in The Maze Runner? I love them all, but Galley maybe? I love them even if I don't like them!

What thing would you do first in a zombie apocalypse? Watch the new to find out what to do!

What writing advice would you give to aspirings? go to conferences, network, and find an agent.

What are your favorite books? (not your own.) Anything by Stephen King, especially The Stand

What big name authors have you met? Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, Jeff Kinney... and I can't remember who else he listed, though I'm sure the list is actually pretty huge. He has not met Stephen King, though he has corresponded with his son.

Will Eye of Minds be a movie too? I don't know! I hope so!

Did you have all of the Maze Runner planned out before you started writing it? Sort of, mostly. A loose outline, yes, but stuff happened during the writing too.

When it was finally our turn to talk to him, I asked him about the movie, and what's up with the Imax thing, and told him how cool I thought Dylan was going to be as Thomas. He told me that it will be in Imax at least a week...not in 3D, in case you wondered. He told me that Dylan was sweet and shy in person, but then he changes when he acts and has all the confidence in the world. He said that a certain sad scene is going to be awesome... that Dylan NAILED it! He'd already told us about the soundtrack for the movie, how excited he is and how you can listen to some of it here already. I'm very excited to hear the whole thing soon.

Oh, and it's been a long time since I've stalked him at a signing, but yay, he remembered me! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Authors Pick Five: Michelle Argyle

As part of Utah Book Month, today I'm featuring Utah author Michelle Argyle. She is the author of several books, including The Breakaway and Pieces. (Links to my reviews.) 

I asked Michelle to respond to this one question:

What five books are most important
or influential to you?

Here's what she had to say:

THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin

I'm not sure why, but this book above all others taught me the importance of underlying meaning, metaphors, and themes in literature. The rich, layered ways that Chopin weaves together colors into the plot and overarching theme is incredible, and has forever changed the way I write. THE GREAT GATSBY also did this, but Chopin's story of a woman breaking down walls in the only way possible for the time period has forever affected my view of fiction and its power.


This book, while nonfiction, actually inspired me to write my first literary short story. That short story later on earned an award and made me change my major from technical writing to creative writing while I was in college. Dillard's use of details and infusing them with spirit, power, and depth, is incomparable. She is both poetic and extremely grounded. I wanted to do this in my own fiction, and used her writing as a great example to follow.

THE CLIENT by John Grisham

I've always had a soft spot for thrillers, and this is the first one that inspired me to start exploring thriller elements into my own stories. Grisham is truly a master storyteller. I first read THE CLIENT when I was in my tween years. I'll never forget how it got my blood pumping and my imagination reeling.


This is the book that really got me to pick up a pen and start writing in my younger years. I became obsessed with kidnapping stories, and decided to write my own. THE BREAKAWAY was that book. 


This book has forever changed the way I view other people and how I interact with them. I understand myself better, and discovered that my daughter is an extrovert through and through, but is also extremely sensitive like me. That makes for a challenge, and I'm sure Cain's book and research will help me with my parenting far more than anything else I've ever read. This is a book I wish everyone would read. 

Thanks so much Michelle for taking the time to answer this question! I love your choices!

Here is Michelle's official bio:

Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She adores cheese, chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in the time she grabs between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life. Michelle writes contemporary Young Adult and New Adult fiction (and other genres when she feels up to it).

You can learn more about her over on her blog, onTwitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review Discussion: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

Book: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Utah Book Month
From: Bought it at a signing last month

Short Synopsis: Haden is a prince of the underworld and in order to prove his worth to his crazy father, he needs to be the Champion and go to the Overworld and bring back the girl has been deemed the Cypher, who is the Key to solve all their problems with the Skylords. So.. Haden goes. There he meets Daphne and they clash, but they also are strangely attracted to each other. Daphne has problems of her own, including a crazy dad like Haden, and a new friend who is obsessed with finding his sister who disappeared years ago. In fact, he's been investigating and lots of girls have been disappearing over the years. He thinks Haden has something to do with it. Oh boy, and then things escalate from there and get crazy wild!

My Response: I loved this book. The plot was awesome and fun and a wonderful take on the Hades/Persephone myth with lots of other myths also alluded too. It was great. The characters are fun especially Haden who has this strange upbringing and is introduced to a world where this upbringing is completely wacko. He changes so much! Anyway, I just thought it was really fun and page turning and one of those books that I couldn't stop thinking about when I wasn't reading.

Bottom Line: Loved it! Can't wait for more of this story.

Let's Talk About: Books based on mythology. Are you a fan? We've talked about books based on fairy tales and I think most people love these. But what about mythology? I, for one, love them. But strangely enough, the ever so popular Percy Jackson books aren't my favorite. Maybe because they are geared toward middle grade age and I find them not as compelling because of that? I don't know. But mostly, I love myth retellings and I found this one to be particularly fun.

Other Reviews:

Daphne and Haden play to each other’s’ strengths, making it one of the few young adult relationships that does not require one holding power – literal or figurative – over another. From That's What She Read

Greek Mythology lovers hold onto your hearts!! This is the Hades and Persephone myth redone in a fresh, very unique way that will have you questioning what team you are on and which side of the mythology to believe. From Buried in Books

DeSpain is really good at painting characters that are individual and realistic. From This is Not a Cliffhanger

I can see this series going places, interesting and exciting places. So I recommend it, and I will be picking up the second in the series because I am sure that it will be worth my time, not to mention money ;) From Bloody Bookaholic

Sunday, August 24, 2014

As Seen on the Salt Lake Comic Con Blog!

Here's some of the fun articles written by my fellow "official Salt Lake Comic Con bloggers" that have appeared on the Salt Lake Comic Con blog these past few weeks. One of mine finally went live this week too! And I totally missed it until this very moment! Click on over and immerse yourselves in the geekdom.

How to Make Your Own Nerdy Comic Con T-shirts by Marissa from Rae Gun Ramblings

Ten Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Marvel Universe by Tim Drake

Summer 2014 Reading Picks by Suey

Geeky Activities to do in Utah by Miss Nessa

Cosplay Etiquette 101 by Marissa from Rae Gun Ramblings

Friday, August 22, 2014

Movie Review: If I Stay

Movie: If I Stay
Genre: Drama
Starring:  ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley
Rating: PG13
My Rating: Two thumbs

It seems like there hasn't been many great movies this summer. Some in the beginning during May and then a long long wait and now it seems like there's a ton I want to see. And so many books to movies! And books I've read and loved and am actually quite familiar with! It's awesome. And it' scary too because you don't' want that book memory ruined. So scary.

So last night I felt the need and urge to go see a movie. We ended up going to the very first showing of If I Stay! And I loved it!

It's very true to the book, from what I remember anyway. The feel of it was just right. Adam, the character we all fell in love with, is awesome. (Though he does have a bit of a cursing problem, but no F words that I remember anyway!) The girl for Mia was really good too. They both did an excellent job with the music aspect of the acting. I looked it up afterward and the actor for Adam did in fact do all the singing and playing of the guitar. SWEET! See for yourself:

The accident scene wasn't too graphic, which I was happy about. My daughter who has read the book more recently said it was pretty graphic in the book.

And can I just say, there's LOTS of kissing in this movie! So if you ever go to a movie and wish for more kissing, I think you'll be happy with this one!

But the music is the best. So much fun. Both classical and rock.

Oh, and I loved the Mia's friend character. She was the comic relief and is so funny!

And the end? Let me just say that the audience gasped and moaned! It was awesome! :)

Bottom line: Don't be worried about this one ruining the book. They did a great job. And yes, you'll cry. Especially when the Grandpa shows up at Mia's bedside. Be prepared!

Summary: Oh, wait. I didn't even say what it's about, just assuming you've all read it. So, it's about two musical geniuses, one a classical cellist and one a rock star, and they fall in love. But they have issues because Mia wants to go to Julliard to study the cello. Adam's not so into that. But then one day, there's an accident that changes everything. Now, Mia is in a coma. She has to make the decision, should she stay and live, or should she go and die?

Here's the trailer:

Have you seen it yet? What did you think?

Other movies I'm anxious to see: Into the Storm, The Giver, Guardians of the Galaxy and... I'm really looking forward to The Maze Runner in a month! Woot!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Utah Book Month: Spotlighting the Orem Library

Orem Library
This is the "new" wing...the old wing is to the left.

Once upon a time when I was first married (we just had our 27th anniversary, so there you go) we discovered the Orem Library. I'd been there before when I was kid and visited a friend that lived in Orem. Since I didn't grow up in Orem, this had been my only exposure up until then.

But shortly after I was married, we found out that this library had quite the collection of CDs. Now remember, 27 years ago, CDs were just becoming the thing. We were blown away by how cool this new technology was and how awesome that this library had some we could check out! It was the best! We went often and pored over the several drawers full and took home a good handful each time. So much fun.

Then we discovered they had movies too. Oh, and lots of books of course! Back then there was only one wing, three stories. Fiction was upstairs and I went through my Orson Scott Card phase, and Anya Seton and M.M. Kaye phase. I can still remember where those authors could be found at the time. I would head there the minute we walked in the door.

I remember back then looking at the closed door to the offices and the behind-the-scenes of the library and wondering what these people did for their jobs and how lucky they were to be working there. Yep.

And then, I had kids. And now I came to this library every week without fail for story time. We'd go down stairs where the pictures books were housed (the CDs were still there in the basement too, but  a lot more now) and listened to animated enthusiastic librarians tell stories. The kids loved it. I loved it. However, sometimes I wished I could just leave them there while I browsed for my own books! But we'd take the stroller and ride up the glass elevator to that top story and check out my books after story time was over. (The glass elevator is no longer there and in fact the closed stack books are locked up in its shaft. Also the printer supplies which I get to inventory now and then!)

Half of the famous window.

When my third kid was a baby (he's now nearly 20 years old) they added on a whole huge wing to the library. We went to the ribbon cutting and grand opening. So exciting! Now the kids books were in a big light, open area with the most awesome stained glass window depicting fairy tales. We loved it! And the CDs and movies? Oh my word, but that collection was expanded to have its whole own section and they had thousands and thousands of items. We loved it!

A minuscule section of the CD collection

And just some of the movies.

Many years went by. My kids grew up and we stopped going to story time. But we started going to summer reading. It was the best! Every week we gathered and a new person would be there to talk to them about whatever the theme of the summer was. They even had a different group for the teens. One summer, they had to move to the mall while they remodeled the old wing, and my daughter sat in the window and modeled books! How fun is that?

My daughter and her friend sitting in the library window.

The bridge that connects the two wings.

We loved going. We went so much that I kept thinking how awesome it would be to come and actually get PAID for it. There had to be a job I could do there.

Meanwhile, we not only supported the summer reading, and continued to check out things like crazy, but we came to evening programs. I loved these. Awesome speakers all the time. I can't remember what else we came to in those days, but there was always something happening. And the CDs and movies? HUNDREDS of thousands of items now!

Then six years ago, I finally ended up with a job at the library! Weird how I'd thought about it for so many years and then it finally happened. And now I totally know what it's like to work behind the scenes and it's crazy I tell you. Crazy!
The view from where I sit!

So much is going on at the library. Let me just tell you some stuff:

  • There's a fun blog full of lists and recipes and staff highlights and much funny stuff. Check it out!
  • This next weekend is the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival... the second largest of its kind after the one in Jonesboro Tennessee. If you haven't seen these storytellers. . . the time is now. This event, in which the library is heavily involved, happens every Labor Day weekend.
  • There's programs and movie screenings, and chess, and writing groups and story time and all sorts of things all week long!
  • Each fall we have Orem Reads where a certain book is highlighted and then there are programs and events for two months long surrounding the theme of that book. I love it! This year it's going to be all about poetry. 
  • You can check out magazines, online!
  • Speaking of online, there's a huge resource of ebooks and audiobooks. 
  • Did I tell you about the CDs and movies? I think so. You should just come and LOOK at this collection. It's truly amazing.
  • Two wings, six levels of collection. That's a lot of books.
  • Awesome staff! :) I know. Believe me.
The day brothers Rob and Dan Wells visited.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I love this library so much. I've been coming for all these many years, and I'm not tired of it yet!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore

Book: Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Utah Book Month
From: Bought it at Seagull Books

Short Synopsis: Amelia was married by proxy to a Duke she never met...and he died before the meeting could ever happen, which makes Amelia quite happy. And now his brother has come to declare it all a fraud. Meanwhile, her awful admiral of a dad has beckoned her home to London (she's been raised in Jamaica, a British colony) and she has to go on none other than the angry brother's war ship! Of course, since this is during the Napoleonic Wars, a battle happens in transit. Lots of other stuff happens too!

My Response: At first, I thought there was too much ship/navy talk and it went a bit over my head, but it grew on me and I ended up loving it. We got a wonderful feel for what it might have been like on one of these war ships! The battle itself seemed sudden and quick. A few other things seemed sudden and quick too, and easily resolved. It's only a 200 page book after all. I could have handled a longer book with more detail and a bit more story. But as it was, it was fun and enjoyable and I raced through it quickly. Also, yet another "new to me" Utah author I've discovered!

Bottom Line: It was a nice "proper romance"! Just what I needed!

Let's Talk About: Do you ever read books that have settings that are quite unfamiliar to you? Does it make you enjoy learning something new? Or do you scratch your head in confusion? There were SO MANY sailing terms thrown around in this book. Some I knew, some I had no clue about. It made me crazy at first, but then I enjoyed the feel of it all and could imagine the workings of this small community. It helped that I recently toured the Midway in San Diego. It really helped me to envision it all, even though the ships are from completely different eras.

Other Reviews:

There is love, action, adventure and intrigue, all the great hallmarks of a historical romance to me. From The Muse Unleashed

Wonderful characters, beautiful setting of the story, amazingly written and such beautiful love story. You totally should read it! From Corazones-Literarios

If you enjoy clean regency romance, then this is the book for you! From Mel's Bookshelves

Becoming Lady Lockwood had everything an historical romance should. It had a strong heroine, a dashing hero, a moving plot that with some tension and a little danger, great chemistry between the two love interests, some humor, romance that extracted some sighs, and a happily-ever-after ending that had everything stacked against it. From Wishful Endings

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommend Something to Me

So here's the thing. . . the prompt today (over at The Broke and the Bookish as usual!) is to list books that people have recommended to us, and while I know of all the buzz books (mostly anyway) I can't think of a book that has been recommended to specifically me, at least lately. 

So I thought I'd just ask you all... WHAT BOOK SHOULD I BE READING RIGHT NOW? What am I missing out on? What book do you think I would just LOVE LOVE LOVE?

Let me know!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson

Book: Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Review and Utah Book Month
From: ARC from the author at a book signing (to be released Jan. 2015)

Short Synopsis: Charlotte (formerly Piper) has just escaped an abusive childhood. She is now ready to change her life and put everything behind her. Then she sees a little girl that appears to be suffering the same awful abuse that she herself has just escaped. Charlotte has to help her and now her life is going in a completely different direction than she planned. Thanks to help from a strong and understanding boy named Cam, it just might be possible to overcome all.

My Response: Ah, tough subject matter! This is torture abuse, literally. It's hard to even imagine. But despite the harrowing bits, it's also an inspirational tale that leaves you with the feeling of  "you go girl" toward Charlotte. She is strong and determined, yet she is also unable to do this alone. Thanks to some friends she meets along the way, she is able to fight back and overcome. It's page turning to watch. Yes, hard, but also, yes, awesome. Cam, an unlikely friend she finds along the way, is amazingly understanding. I'm not sure any normal person would stick around and just... you know... take the good with the bad. Because this bad is pretty bad.

Bottom Line: I totally enjoyed this one. A sad, powerful story. (Note: This book doesn't come out until Jan. 2015 and I usually don't review something so far ahead of time, but have made an exception this time as part of Utah Book Month celebrations!)

Let's Talk About: What are your feelings reading about reading about abuse? I know it's hard, but it's also eye opening and something that we need to do to be aware. Don't you think? Or do you think it's better left unsaid and unwritten? Or do you think that sure, it should be written about, but you don't have to read it? Thoughts?

Other Reviews:

I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! The story was so intense. I wanted to finish it as soon as I started reading it. From Jenni Elyse

This is a very realistic fiction with a very important theme, one that unfortunately is probably more true than any of us outside this type of a situation may know. From Lisa Loves Literature

Side Note: Don't read this after dark! I had some weird dreams after reading into the night. I just couldn't put it down, but I paid for it! From Kami's Library Thoughts

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Currently: Back to School? Already?

(written this very second)

Listening: Nothing. I should fix that. What should I listen too? We've been listening to a lot of MIKA at our house these days. Raise your hand if you know this singer??

Watching: I started the second season on Netflix for Hell on Wheels. Also, I watched the first episode of Outlander on the computer. Didn't catch the second one last night. Not sure if I'll manage to keep up with this one. But anyway, that's all the TV I've watched in the past few days. Feeling some withdrawal. I need the new shows to start up! I want Once Upon a Time and Parenthood and Survivor and... well... at least those ones....

Reading: I haven't been doing very well with my Utah Book plans. Only two books down! And I started a third and it's not grabbing me. I think I'll try another one today and see if it takes hold a little better.

Writing: Having fun chatting online with my little group every Tuesday... those that come anyway! I'm still making slow but sure progress with editing and revising my Nano story. Starting to gear up and think about a new Nano story for this November.

Also, we are very close to jumping full force into creating my new writing space. I have every reason to believe once this is done, my writing will totally take off! Ha!

Blogging: Gah... I guess I'm in a slump! Just not feeling it these days. Forcing myself to write those posts that actually do show up. I hate that. Here's hoping it changes.

Anyway, smack in the middle of Utah Book Month and have plans to start gearing up for a full on Bloggiesta which is fast approaching! Oh my word, but time flies!

Eating: I've been tracking my eating at My Fitness Pal now for three full weeks. I HATE IT! Hate it tell you. I feel hungry all day long. And there is nothing to show for it. But I'm determined to keep trying. I've managed Zumba several times, which I actually really love. It's just finding a moment to squeeze it in. But yeah, I'm tired of being fat, but the effort not to be fat is exhausting and frustrating. I'm guessing I'm not alone in this sentiment.

Crafting: Nothing but I need to do some wedding scrapbooks so bad.

  • school starts this week for kid #4. Kids 1 through 3 all start various colleges the next week. Party on.
  • we've plans to go camping this weekend as our final hurrah. But there are so many things happening that we'll miss that we wonder why we even tried.
  • Oldest kid turns 25 this month. He is freaking much worse than I am.
  • the whole writing blog posts for Comic Con has not turned out as expected. Two weeks have gone by and I haven't seen a thing yet. Sigh.
  • I want to see The Giver. And I want to see Richard Armitage in that tornado movie. And people... is Guardians of the Galaxy really that good. I mean...really?
  • And all the talk about Robin Williams and depression and all... has made me depressed. No joke.
  • Ah well. I guess that's all that's on my mind at the moment.

Happy new week to you all!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Utah Book Month Party 2014

Once again, we are gathering all our awesome bookish-ness in one place and you know you want to be there! Yes it's true, to end our fun celebration of Utah Book Month, we'll be having a party at the same park in Lehi where we've been the past couple of years. Except this year, we'll be in the directly opposite pavilion then we have before, which means we'll be at the NE take note! Here are the details:

Utah Book Month Bash
Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Wines Park in Lehi, Pavilion #1 (NE Corner)

  • Bring a small dessert to share; we'll provide plates/forks/napkins/cups/water.
  • Bring ONE book (per attendee) to swap.
  • We do have a pavilion with picnic tables, but you may also want to bring chairs or blankets for sitting on the grass.
  • Families are welcome - there is a playground for kids

We hope to see all you bloggin' buddies and favorite authors there!

Here we are a couple of years ago.
I would love to see this many come again!

Friday, August 15, 2014

In Which The World's Strongest Librarian Comes to Book Club!

Since it's Utah Book Month this month, our book club decided to read a book by a Utah author. The book they chose was The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne. Turns out, the library even had a book club set for this book! Which is always a plus for our book club.

We planned to meet next week on our normal third Thursday but after a fun turn of events due to a Twitter conversation I had, we met last night instead and Josh Hanagarne himself came and joined us!

I was so very nervous. Talk about doing something out of your comfort zone! So I rallied the book club and I said, hey, if you haven't read the book yet.. read it now! And bring guests (friends, husbands, kids, moms) to book club! And they did and last night, we had an awesome, interested and engaged crowd!

And Josh came and he was fun and interesting and willing to answer pretty much any question we had. In the end after we gave him a thank you gift that included a t-shirt from the library, he even modeled his book stack spine tattoo when he changed shirts. LOL!

Some of the things we talked about:

  • his relationship with his parents, particularly his mom who was featured so strongly in the book. 
  • how the book came about, which was sort of accidentally, when someone fell in love with his blog
  • how he learned to write? From reading! And practicing. "If you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write."
  • the difference between a memoir and an autobiography: a memoir is a certain slant on a life...there's a theme. An autobiography is the whole life of a person... beginning to end.
  • Did you get your Mark Twain set back? YES!!
  • "Everything is a story." Even math spreadsheets.
  • We talked a lot about honesty. His book is so honest and forthright, and yet, things in just the past few years have changed yet again. And now he's so different even from the person who wrote that book. There's another memoir in the works to talk about all the changes...I think.
  • One of the big changes.. divorce. I know many of us were curious about this one and he talked about it a little. 
  • Book crushes since Fern? The girl that appears only for a paragraph or two in Carols Ruiz Zafron's The Angel's Game. 
  • Some favorite books: anything by Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, Catch 22, Don Quixote. But the book he's read the most... Terminator 2!
Here's a few pictures: 

Josh Hanagarne with girlfriend Angela

A crowd shot
More of the interested audience!
Here's our posed picture... and even then a few people
didn't jump in.
Changing shirts and showing of the tattoo!
My husband handed him a phone book.
This was the result!

 Such a fun evening! It will go down as one of our best book club moments. Thanks to Josh for joining us!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden

Book: Longing for Home by Sarah M. Eden
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating:★★★☆ ☆
For: Utah Book Month
From: I bought it.

Short Synopsis: Katie is from Ireland. She had a terrible time there due to the potato famine. She is now in America trying to make a life for herself so she can get back to Ireland to make amends with her parents. This finds her in Wyoming as a housekeeper to a guy and his two daughters. Things are not as she expected, but she figures it out. What she really doesn't expect is to get right smack in the middle of the town conflict between the Irish people and the other people. And somehow, everyone is counting on her to fix it.

My Response: I enjoyed the romance. Very sweet, though beware, it's a triangle! And the Irish culture was awesome to learn about. But I got tired of the conflict... it seemed repetitive. Like, okay, I get on with the story! Also, I didn't get why Katie herself was so important to the solving of this issue. I mean, really? Strange. Anyway, I do want to keep reading the sequel to find out who she picks, though it seems obvious at the moment. Both love interests are pretty wonderful and I can see her dilemma!

Bottom Line: Sweet, fun story. Nothing to rave about but it was enjoyable to read.

Let's Talk About: Accents. Ireland has an awesome one, just like Scotland and I enjoyed the portrayal of this accent and their sayings very much in this book. Do you like it when an author writes the brogue of a certain language? Or does it make you crazy and take you out of the story?

Other Reviews:

Of course, there are a couple of handsome men to add confusion to the mix. This is called "A Proper Romance", after all. From Good Clean Reads

I realized that as I was getting closer to the end of the story that it was an actual story as well and I enjoyed that aspect of this author. From Minding Spot

One of the best parts of this book is the hilarious banter that the characters toss back and forth between one another. From Gamila's Book Review

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Not So Sure About

The prompt at The Broke and the Bookish today is "to read or not to read?" Or.. what books are we not too sure about reading. Here's what's on my list:

1. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon: This is the second Outlander book and with all the hoopla about the new TV show (yes I watched that first episode. Yes I totally loved it. Scottish music, Scottish accents... so much swoonishness!) it makes me want to keep reading this series, but there were so many things about that first book that disturbed me I'm not sure about it! These books make me nervous.

2. And the same goes for the Game of Throne books. I read the first one and wow wow wow. I'm so curious about the rest of the series, but I just don't think I can stomach it.

3. My daughter wants me to finish reading the Percy Jackson books and I just can't muster up any enthusiasm for them!

4. I'm not even a little bit interested in J.K. Rowling's adult books.  But sheesh, it's J.K.!

5. I've been seeing this Me Before You book everywhere. Is it for me? Is it not? I'm not sure.

6. I wonder if I'll ever read Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick. Once yes. Now, I'm not so sure.

7. There are many Oprah books that I bought back in the day that I wonder if I'll ever read now. Some still seem a bit appealing, others not so much.

8. I have Requiem by Lauren Oliver on my kindle, the final in that series. People haven't said good things about it. But I want to finish the series, and yet, I don't want to waste time on it if it's really terrible!

9. Even though I love Maggie Steifvater, I'm not sure I'll ever finish (only read the first one) that werewolf trilogy of hers. I think what she's done since is much much better. So it'll make me crazy to go back to that, right?

10. And to end, something I am pretty sure about, I highly doubt I'll ever read that one 50 shades series. You know the one? :)

How about you? What books do you wonder if you'll ever read?

Friday, August 8, 2014

Utah Book Month: The Maze Runner Movie

Here's my son back in 2009 with both
James Dashner and J. Scott Savage at
one of our blogger parties.
You are probably sick of me telling the story that begins like this.... "Remember that one time when James Dashner came to our book blogger party? No, when he came, like, three or four times to our book blogger parties?"

Yes, that story. He came to our party back when The Maze Runner was just a gleam in his eye! He was telling us all about it, this new book of his, and was so excited. Though he did seem a little worried that everyone would think he was floating on the coat tails of The Hunger Games.. except his book was written before he'd even heard of The Hunger Games. People don't understand the timing of these things and he was worried.

Anyway, his excitement was catching and I couldn't wait to read this book when it finally came out. I loved it! Granted, I was a little disappointed in the follow up books. They fell a bit flat for me. But still, that first book, The Maze Runner, was awesome.

And now, a movie? And a movie that looks to be as big as any of the other recent YA book-to-movie successes? It's crazy! It's awesome! I still remember that gleam in his eye and now... this BIGGNESS? I love it.

So here's to Utah authors making it big! And getting their books made to movies!

Have you seen the latest trailer? It's brand new. It looks so good guys. Scary and good. And the guy who stars in it...I think he's spot on. It's Dylan O'brien who I fell in love with on Teen Wolf. He plays Stiles there and he stole the show. He looks to be so perfect for this part. I can't wait to see it and see how he does.

Anyway... congrats to Mr. Dashner, our very own Utah author! I know what I'll be doing on September 19!


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