Monday, February 29, 2016

Kdrama Review: Faith aka. The Great Doctor

It appears that for a time I'm getting my fix for stories from a medium other than books. Or shall we say, I'm adding to the mix of ways I'm getting this fix. Since I enjoy reviewing the stories found in all these ways, movies, TV shows, and etc. I'll add Korean dramas to the list. And thus I give you my first review of a Kdrama.

Drama: Faith aka. The Great Doctor (link to the online location where you can watch it!)
Genre: Historical Romance
Starring: Lee Min Ho and Kim Hee Sun
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

The is the third Kdrama I've consumed. The first two were very fun silly romantic comedies. But also filled with a lot of heart and deep moments. But this one was much much different from the first two in that it's way more serious (not to say there weren't funny moments because there are a lot) and is also an amazing historical period piece.

And, it lived up to the name DRAMA in a big big way.

It takes place in the 1300's during the Goryeo Dynasty... what Korea was in the old days. A young king and his young princess bride have recently taken power. They are guarded by an elite group of warriors called the Woodalchi. This group is lead by a dude named Choi Young. At the time the story starts, they are being attacked and the queen gets hurt. Hurt badly enough that the doctors of the time don't know what to do.

Well, it just so happens that right then, a phenomenon occurs where a gate is opened  to what they think is heaven. They feel like if they can go through it, they can find someone to help save the queen. And so, they send the Woodalchi leader through.

Choi Young, Woodalchi General

Turns out, the gate is actually a time warp hole and he comes through to modern day Korea... he asks around and finds out there's a doctor conference going on nearby. He snags the first doctor he sees and drags her back through the gate.

So now this girl, this doctor (she's a plastic surgeon), finds herself surrounded by these people from her ancient history and they immediately ask her to perform surgery on the queen. Which she does and saves her life.

Meanwhile, the gate closes. She is stranded.

It doesn't take her long to figure out what's going on. She realizes she is in the presence of some pretty famous figures from history... including the Woodalchi general who kidnapped her. And it doesn't take long for her to realize that she has arrived at a very tumultuous time in history. The political intrigue and the schemes and power struggle is intense. And somehow, when people learn of her skill and her knowledge of the future (which oops she lets slip out!) she becomes the center of this power struggle.

And so it goes from there. Fascinating characters, brilliant amazing costumes, beautifully choreographed fight scenes, political intrigue, fantastical elements and of course, romance. Because yes, she and the general become very very attached.

The General and the High Doctor

He has promised her that he will take her back to the gate, if they can figure out when it will open again. And yet... now what is she going to do? Leave him? Drag him with her? He won't come, because he is bound to the king. And if she stays with him... she will/might die... because of... reasons.

And so... what are they going to do?? AH! So intense!

It's one of those shows where you start to wring your hands in nervousness for what's going to happen next and then again and again and again.

It's one of those shows where you get so wrapped up in the intensity of the character interaction that you find your own heart pounding.

It's one of those shows where you have to watch just one more episode!

(Luckily, these shows are what we'd call one season's worth... this one is 24 one hour episodes. Which seems so easy to swallow compared to season after season after season of a show that we end of binge-ing on often.)

My only issue with this viewing experience is that there was tons of political talk and much of it went right over my head. Very detailed and yet, it was a blast to learn about this time in history. I'm sure there are a lot of embellishments, but still, you get the feel for what it must have been like. Awesome.

Lee Min Ho
This show introduced me to one of Korea's most popular leading actors. And it only took maybe one or two scenes for me to understand why and to fall under his spell. He is mesmerizing. And, in this show anyway, soothing and calming and so so smooth. And swoony. Did I mention the swoon factor yet? Because it's one swoony thing after another with him! He melts you with a look. Or with one velvety word. (Jenni, he's instantly blasted his way to my top ten, just so you know how serious this is!)

Here's some clips of some of the swoony moments if you're into that sort of stuff, set to the song that is their theme song:

Speaking of the music, awesome!  Epic and emotional. I loved it. Here's the soundtrack on Spotify if you'd like to listen a bit.

I can't find a good English subtitled trailer, but this one works to show more of the feel of the show, set to one of the other theme songs that I loved (though it should say "I am Woodalchi". Geez people get it right!

Bottom line: Epic and intense. I loved it all! one should I watch next? I'm worried none of them will live up to this one!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Banter 8: Fluff vs. Morals

We're back! We've been wracking our brains to figure out another thing to banter about, and since Jenny has deemed this adult book month, we wanted one that fit that theme. We've finally come up with this one, though it's a bit of a stretch since we can sympathize with both sides.

But we decided to pick one and argue our points!

And so I give you:

 Book Banter Topic 8: 
Fluffy Books vs. Books With a Point (or Moral)

What Jenny Says:

Reasons I like having a moral to my story. (Which is not to be confused with an agenda.) 

1 I love discussions. I love "arguing" I like to take a side of an "argument" and fighting for it. Thus this lovely Book Banter, Suey and I do. So, when I read a book I like an idea presented. Something to think about and ponder. It doesn't have to be overly deep just a good message. Like a character that learns something about themselves. I like issue-y books. I like books that encourage discussion. If a book is just a fluffy little tale with no real purpose to it except romance or something it's just not as engrossing. 

2 I love finding the "moral" to the story. I have moral in quotes because this can be something different for each reader. When I was young I'd read a book and run and tell my mother all about it. She would always ask me, "what was the author trying to teach you"? So, I guess I sort of learned to always looks for a message. I appreciated my mother teaching me to think deeper about what I was reading and that my answer to her question was never wrong. To this day my mother and I discuss books and their meanings. We'll never agree on The Pearl by Steinbeck. We could argue that one forever! 

3 Reading is an escape for some people. To be honest, though my life is a bit dull sometimes and not always easy but all in all, I have a good life. So for me reading isn't an escape so much as a way to get my brain working. Watching TV can me so mind numbing. Glorious but sometimes I just need to think and discuss. Reading provides an enlightening. My brain needs to be stimulated and without a message or moral or issue...well, it's just reading.  

What Suey Says:

In Defense of Fluff

My part in today’s debate is to argue why fluff and books with no point (though I’m not sure there’s such a thing) or shall I say… books with no obvious message are just as valuable as books with a point and or message.

  1. Escape. People read books for many reasons, and lots of people read books to learn, to understand the world, to figure something out and to gain some insight. But I maintain that one of the biggest reasons to read is to escape real life, to immerse oneself in another world, whether that be a fantasy one or a real one it doesn’t matter, just a world that has no real resemblance to our own. If this reason is valid, then I think that the book doesn’t necessary need a point to it… for the whole point is to read said book and escape.
  2. Brain Candy. Not only do we read sometimes to escape, but we read sometimes to give our brain a rest. If we have to be figuring out the point of the book, or what’s going on, or who’s who, or trying to understand a complicated plot, then our brain is working. Not to say that’s bad, but if you want to rest your brain from all that thinking then a book with no point, or a fluffy book, is just what you’ll be looking for!
  3. Happiness. I like to finish a book with a happy feeling (though yes some of my favorites are definitely not this way) and often the books that have more meaning are the sad, depressing ones. I mean, not always, but often. Does this make sense? And thus, I think those books that simply leave you feeling light and free and happy are worth it too, even if they didn’t leave you with some deep thought about the world.

And there you have it! Did we make you see one or the other of the sides differently? Which camp do you fall in, Camp Fluff or Camp Moral? (Like you can fall into one or the other of them, but I guess the question is, are you just as happy with books that haven't a moral to the story as you are with those that do.) 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

What to Blog About When There are No Books to Review: Analyzing a Slump

I'm fast approaching my ninth blogiversary and I think there has never been a time in all these years where I truly have gone for weeks without finishing a book or having a book review to post. So I'm sitting here staring at my blog wishing for a book to review and... I've got nothing.

So I thought I'd blog about this weird phenomenon.

Why am I not reading and/or finishing anything?

Yes, I'm extremely distracted by the addition of other forms of entertainment that I've been referring to way too much lately. I've always maintained that a person can have all sorts of interests and consume all sorts of fun media type things during the day and as long as they are vigilant and aware of time you can pretty much fit it all in... or at least spread all the things over the week.

But I'm finding that this time around I'm struggling. And books and writing are feeling the sacrifice. I hope I can still figure it out. I'm telling myself that one month of not reading isn't the end of the world or anything, so relax. But still, I feel weird.

You may think the new grand baby might be causing some shifting in activities, but really that was only a couple days last week and since then, my life has pretty much resumed normality.  (Except for the worry and anxiety about things, though I live with worry all sorts of things constantly, so that's not really different either.)

And yes, the books I've been trying to read just aren't doing for me either. One I thought I could read in just a couple of days, but sadly I fall asleep or my focus drifts every time I try it. I will finish it, but it might take awhile.

So I tried another one, one that was due to disappear off my Kindle.. and it had moments, but again, wasn't nearly as engaging as I'd expected given my feelings for the first book.  So it was a slow go and disappeared before I could finish it.

Little Women is going well, but I'm reading it slowly and as it's a re-re-read, I'm not as fully engaged as if it was my first time through.

Then, I look at Winter, this huge book on my nightstand, and think... just pick it up... just do it, do it, DO IT!

And I look at all the other piles of books on my shelf and floor and I can't find the energy to even grab one and try it!

So then I roll over, grab my tablet, plug in the earbuds and am soon wrapped up in the drama on my screen instead!


I'm starting to get worried here!

Will it pass? Is there hope? Is it a normal run-of-the-mill blog/reading slump or are we talking about something worse here? Have I ruined my reading/writing life by letting in new things? Will I be able to figure out how to balance all the good things?

What a trivial problem, eh? And yet, one that I really need to address! Or else this blog might have to change its name!

At any rate, here's hoping I finish a book soon...

Monday, February 22, 2016

On Blogging, Aging and Being a Grandma

So the other day I saw a random tweet that asked... are there many book bloggers over 30? I was like, wait... why does this person care?  And the conversation that followed was just as mind boggling. People said things like... "well, I almost am!" and "of course, I started <insert a between the lines gasp> after 30" and (even  more shocking) "some of us are beyond 40!" and "there are lots of older bloggers but they don't blog about YA as much" and so on...

The tweeter than said "I'm going to turn 30 soon and wonder what I'll do with my blog." I was like... seriously?

I wanted to stand on a chair or a box or a wall and scream "WHAT DOES AGE HAVE TO DO WITH BLOGGING?????"

Maybe it's just a sensitive time for me, seeing as how I became a... wait for it... GRANDMA this week! And what do you know... I STILL WANT TO BLOG ABOUT BOOKS.. and...even more crazy... about YA books!

I know... you might want to hide your eyes.

And....I may be sensitive too, seeing as how the past few months I have been engaged in a decidedly non-grandma type obsession with a certain Korean boy band. Gasp. And while I find the this fact to be yes a little strange, I for sure don't want to suppress the fun that is obsessing over things just because I'm suddenly a grandma. Or old. Or not in the target age group. Or whatever.

And, I may be a little sensitive because I've noticed that I always seem to be a little off with what I like to do compared to people my age...and I don't know if I should be proud of this fact or embarrassed by it. I go back and forth. And it makes me crazy. (What do people my age do anyway? I've always wondered.) The fact that I've recently become a true and real grandma probably makes this back and forthing even more prominent.

And then that tweet. And I sort of went crazy.

I mean, will I suddenly change now that I turned the dreaded 50 AND became a grandma
 all within a few months? Will I suddenly want to not do all I love and instead sit back and, I don't know... what do grandma's do? Sit on the porch and rock? (Rock out to music maybe...)

It's true getting old sucks, but I don't have to lay down and take it. I can fight it and not act like I'm old. Even if I do hobble around because my feet are malfunctioning!

I, for one, plan to fight it by:

  • blogging to my heart's content, even if I'm NOT in my 20s and even about YA books!
  • going to Korean boy band concerts even if I'm not a teenage Korean girl
  • going to any other loud rock concert that my heart desires
  • going to Comic Con and screaming for celebrities
  • wearing the nerdiest of nerdy tshirts
  • doing Zumba until I die
  • traveling the world until I die
  • blasting the music 'til my ears bleed
  • swooning over whatever I want to swoon over
  • author stalking as usual
  • writing a book and maybe even publishing it
It makes me wonder what the above tweeter thought happens when one turns 30... or 40... or 50. Maybe they just wanted to have a new direction for their blog? And wanted to see what others have done to grow with their blogs. Maybe. But she did say she didn't want to be the mom at the school disco. Whatever that means.

There's got to be a grandma in that audience somewhere!

I guess I'll be the grandma at the school disco, or... no, wait, at the Kpop boy band concert!

ETA: I just wanted to edit this to add that the blogger who asked this question didn't mean it in an offensive or malicious way, and truly only wanted to find other bloggers in that age range. And I hope we can be friends! I'm surprised and amazed at the conversation this has sparked and I thank her for making many of us think and talk about it. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Little Women RAL Discussion Part Two: Chapters 18 to 33

We are two thirds through the book and the read along! Wow! I've gotten a bit behind during this section with much happening in my real life, but here's a stab at answering the questions posed by Kami over at Kami's Library Thoughts.

Chapters 18 - 33 Discussion Questions:

1.    What would be your dream cast for the March sisters (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy), Marmee, Laurie, and whoever else you'd like to cast.

Gah I can never think of these especially when all I see in my head are the actors from the movie we plan to watch! I think I'll pass on this one and just be curious about what everyone else comes up with!

2.    How do you feel about Meg and Mr. Brooke's relationship? 

I think it's sweet and romantic. I like it. I do! And their ups and downs after marriage... totally normal.

3.    How do you feel about Jo's reaction to Meg getting married?

A little over the top and a bit of an overreaction, more like what a mom might be thinking instead of a sister. 

4.    The girls are growing up and changing, do you feel differently towards them now than you did at the beginning?

No, not really. It's fun to see them grow, but they all have the same feeling about them. I think Amy has changed the most for sure and I have trouble turning her from a little girl into teenager/woman.  That has always thrown me off a bit. 

5.    Two important men were introduced in these chapters. What are your impressions of Mr. March and Professor Bhaer?

Mr. March seems to be a nice quite sort of man, and yet with the power to lead his family. I like him. Professor Bhaer seems very nice and sweet and is obviously intriguing to Jo... though sheesh... too old for her! :)

6.    Do you think it was fair that Amy got to go to Europe instead of Jo?

Yes, because it's true that Jo is a  poop about many things and it turns around to bite her few times, like this. And with Amy's desire to draw it seems she'd get more out of the trip anyway. I don't know.. maybe they should have asked to take BOTH girls along!

7.    What are your thoughts on the time period and setting of the book? Do you like it? Why do you think a very important historical event like the Civil War is hardly mentioned in the story?

I like the time period, and it's never really bothered me that they don't talk about the war much because, besides their dad being gone, it isn't affecting their life that much. Thus, we don't hear much about it. It isn't part of this particular story.

8.    Louisa May Alcott supposedly patterned the March sisters after herself and her own sisters. How accurate do you think she portrayed her family? Do you think a lot of the book is an idealized version of her and her sisters?

What we should do is read a LMA biography. That would be interesting to compare. I don't know how accurate it is, but I have a feeling it's pretty close to how it was.

9.    Why do you think Louisa May Alcott later added Part 2 to the book?

Part Two wasn't in the original book? Then probably she added it because all the readers were dying to know what happens next! And how it all turned out!

10.    What is your favorite adaptation of Little Women and why?

I think the one we plan to watch, the 1994 one, is the only one I've seen. I really should watch one of the others sometime so I could actually answer this question!

And now.. let's finish this book!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Report on LTUE 2016

It's been nine years now since I discovered this little gem of a writing conference, and I haven't missed it since. It's an amazing deal and so much fun... even if I can't seem to get my writing (or bookish) friends to go with me!

My writing resolve has suffered pretty much since I wrote the enthusiastic post about how great I was going to do this year. I've been feeling guilty ever since. I was hoping this conference would kick start the enthusiasm, but so far, it hasn't.

Not to say it wasn't great, because it was. Just to say that I'm not feeling the writing thing at the moment and that makes me all sorts of crazy sad.

Anyway, here are a few highlights from the event:

  • watching two hours straight of six episodes of Writing Excuses. I got tired sitting there, but my brain was engaged the whole time. Subjects they talked about: fashion in writing, the question of wonder, environment in writing, self-publishing, how to get the great ideas, and etc. It was awesome all around.
  • Shannon Hale's keynote speech about gender bias when it comes to books and reading and how boys should have the choice to read and like any book, the same as girls do. It was passionate and powerful.
  • Kevin J. Andersen's keynote speech about how it's important to just jump right in and get your hands in all sorts of projects. I loved the stories he told about his friendship with the band Rush and how he wrote many of his books inspired by their music. So awesome.
  • I tend to enjoy the one person presentations over the panels. I went to presentations about tips on productivity, how to write horror, techniques to show more and tell less. I feel like in presentations I take a ton of notes whereas in panels I just listen and absorb.
  • some stuff I starred: come up with a sentence memorable elevator pitch hook, think of an event and go back ten steps answering "why" and go forward ten steps answering "what if," all writing is telling but we need to show by giving the reader triggers to feel stuff, cliches work if you do them right....
  • the program was printed wrong which made me miss the panel on finding your tribe, which is something I really need to do. So that made me sad. I was hoping they'd say something really enlightening that I hadn't thought of that would make all the difference.
And a few pictures:

Brandon Sanderson, Lee Modesitt, and Mary Robinette Kowal

Dan Wells and Howard Taylor

Shannon Hale

Kevin J. Anderson

Learning about the future.

Anyway, it was a great time as usual and I look forward to next year already! 

Friday, February 19, 2016

BBAW Day Five: Blogger Burnout

Blogger burnout... that thing that happens when you are sick of blogging, out of ideas, bored with what you have to say, tired of keeping up and etc. I suppose it happens after you've been at it for awhile, but it happens to newbies too I'm sure. I've been at this awhile, and have had only rare moments of it, thankfully, so for today's BBAW prompt I thought I'd just make a list of things I've found that helps.

  • take a break
  • try something new
  • keep reading and continue to at least write reviews
  • start a project with another blogger
  • blog about something not book related
  • participate in an event that kickstarts the enthusiasm again
  • forget about the rules 
  • take a longer break
  • review a movie
  • host a read along
  • be easy on yourself
  • don't stress about it because it's supposed to be for fun and not a job
  • take time to comment on other blogs instead of writing a blog post
  • if you take a break, when you miss it, start up again!
That's all I have. But I think it covers the basics for getting through a burnout period! What things do you do when you're feeling this?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

BBAW Day Four: Connecting

Today for Book Blogger Appreciation Week we're talking about connecting with the book blogging community. Which is the whole reason for doing this right? Well, at least one of the big reasons!

There are so many ways to connect, but the big thing about connecting is... if you WANT to connect, you can't just sit back and hope it happens. You've got to do something. It's a give and take. Am I right?  Here are the ways that I've found to be fairly successful when it comes to connecting:

1. Commenting. This the number one way, hands down. Recently, commenting seems to be going out of fashion. We don't have enough time. We are reading on our phones which are a PAIN to comment with. We read posts, but don't have much to say back. Twitter happened. Google Reader died! Yes. I know and feel them all. But I think this is still the best and number one way to let each other know we are out there and reading and feeling it. Agreed? So, just do it.

2. Twitter. It's been around a while now and I think most people, most bloggers, have figured out that if you aren't participating on this platform, you'll probably miss a bunch of stuff where connecting is happening. Funny conversations, projects planned, chats, read alongs... so much stuff! I love Twitter and it's awesome, so if you haven't embraced it, just do it.

3. Events. There are so many events that it can get overwhelming, but pick and choose a few and participate. Seriously, the connection that happens with these things is amazing. For a list of many (most?) of the events going on, be sure to check out the calendar over at Book Bloggers International. And don't be shy about jumping into things. I think most of us tend to be shy in real life, but it's much easier (for me anyway) to come out of my shell a bit online, so... JUST DO IT!

Those are the main ones for me. I mean, there are so many other social media things to do, but I think if you are doing these three, you'll find people and people will find you.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BBAW Day Two: Interviewing Jenny from Alternate Readality

Today is interview day for BBAW. I'm not sure how the pairs were assigned, but as it turned out Jenny and I were assigned each other! And if you have been following awhile, you'll know that we have been friends and buddies for years IRL and blog buddies ever since I finally convinced her to start one how ever many years ago that was (like four or five I think?) And most recently, debate buddies for our Book Banter feature (which is currently waiting for another topic to debate!)

So it was fun to think up questions for each other that were something we didn't already know about the other. Here's what I came up with for her to answer:

Please meet Jenny from Alternate Readality!

1. When you are browsing at a bookstore, what factors make you actually pick up a book to look at it closer?

I'm a "judge a book by it's cover" kind of girl. I love beautiful and intriguing covers. My favorite series: The Matthew Swift Series, was discovered because I fell in love with the cover. I also look for books based on all the recommendations of my friends! So, if I'm at the book store and see a familiar title for a good price I usually buy it. 

2. What three things will make (or break) the book for you? For instance, it's a total given you'll love it if it has _______ or you know you'll hate it if it has _______.

I know I'll love it if there's an underdog hero or heroine....well usually.
I know I'll hate it if it talks about forbidden love, love of her life, destiny, blah blah blah. You know what I'm talking about, right? 

3. What fictional family most matches up to your family... either the one you grew up in... or the one you have now with your guy?

Oh, my. I have no idea. This is a hard one. Um, I guess I'd say some book where there was a huge family. As you know, I'm the youngest of 11 kids. So it was pretty crazy at my house. I really can't think of a certain book right this minute. Sorry. As for my life now...hmmm. I did just read a book called What Alice Forgot and there was a secondary couple in it that had some similarities to my life now. 

4. Speaking of your guy, how do you deal with the fact that he's not at the same place you are reading-wise? (In other words, strategies for living with a non-reader.)

Sometimes I want to tell him about a book I'm reading and it's frustrating that he just doesn't care. Or sometimes I'll start sobbing about some part in a book and laugh at how awkward he get's trying to figure out why in the world I'm crying over a book! As for coping: I try to remember that I don't show a huge amount of interest in the things he loves any more than he shows an interest in my books. I say, as long as he doesn't try to make me stop reading, everything's fine. 
5. If you could spend a vacation inside any book, which one would it be?

Any book that takes place in London! I really, really, REALLY want to go back there! 

6. What book do you think needs to be made into a movie... like.. RIGHT NOW?

I Am The Messenger! 

7. What's your favorite:

*Music group: Too many to name. I love Keane and Group Love and Muse... 
*Color: Navy blue
*Candy Bar: It switches between Caramello, KitKat and Twix. 
*TV Show, Another tough one. I'd have to say right now I enjoy Game of Thrones the best. 
*Celebrity: I don't have a favorite. I think Ryan Reynolds is hilarious but I wouldn't call him my favorite actor.
*Soccer team: Real Madrid! 
*Animal: Horse or cat.
*Place to visit: London or the ocean 
*Dessert: I love Strawberry short cake! 

8. If you get back into writing again, what story would you write?

Really weird stuff that I doubt anyone would read. Ha Ha! I have a story that's about a girl that's been genetically modified into a super warrior by a shady government entity. But the whole thing was done against her will. They killed her parents and friends. Anyway, it's quite weird. I love stories like that.       
9. One of my favorite questions to ask... describe what you'd do on your perfect day.

This all depends on where I lived. If I lived on the beach I'd sleep in, get up late and have a nice big breakfast and then go walking on the beach. Then I'd shower and head out for a day of shopping (book shopping). And then I'd go to dinner with a sunset view of the beach and then go home and snuggle in front of a fire with a good book! 

10. Pimp your favorite book of all time!

Frankenstein is my favorite book of all time. The writing is the most beautiful writing I've ever read and the story is so perfectly tormenting! It makes me feel a myriad of emotions while reading it and I'll never get tired of it. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

BBAW Day One: Five Books Introducing Me

It's Day One of the all new revived Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Thanks again to The Estella Society for bringing it back!

Today our task is to introduce ourselves by listing five books that define us. If that's not a loaded question, I don't know what is! But I'll give it a shot and I'm sure there'll be cheating along the way.


1. The Book Thief, or anything by Markus Zusak actually. As any long time reader of this blog knows, I have a thing for this author. He amazes me, and I love all his books with a passion.

2. I'll say Pride and Prejudice to represent anything and everything Regency and/or period piece-y and or British. Because it's a pretty sure guarantee that I'll like anything with this feel, both old and new. And it's not hard to get all worked up and passionate about books and/or movies and/or actors that have anything to do with this particular subject!

3. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. So I list this book to represent all the timse I've read books and LOVED them for the fact that they teach about worlds and cultures not my own, which I adore. (As you may or may not know, I'm currently deeply entrenched in the study of Korea! And I need to find books about this country quickly!) Anyway, this above book BLEW ME AWAY when I read it and is a good one to illustrate this aspect of me and my fascination with the world and cultures around me.

4. At the risk of just listing my favorite genres here, I must mention some book of the SF/F or really anything of the speculative fiction persuasion. Because not only do I love the actual world we love on, but those we do not. But which book to list? This is where I get especially overwhelmed! I've decided on a Brandon Sanderson:

5. And finally, I've decided to list The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson just because it's about a bookworm Heathcliff loving clarinet playing band geek (while I don't play anymore, I relate) who loves a swoony broody boy and is dealing with real life issues, as we all are. (I just looked up my review and yeah, I need to re-read this book!)

Well, not sure I did a very good job actually representing myself, but there you go! Happy BBAW week!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Bookish Events These Past Couple Months

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but the book signings and book events are coming at us in droves. The thing is, I want to go to ALL of them. But alas, other stuff happens in live too besides book things and it's pretty much impossible!

But I thought it would be fun to share through pictures some of the events of the past little while. In few months, I'll do another one, because there are many coming up too!
Just the other night we visited with Lindsey Leavitt,
whose books I enjoy so much I pretty much bought them all!
And look at that fun crowd we pulled together to hang with!

Just last week the friends went to see Marissa Meyer.
I couldn't go since I had tickets for the The Producers the same night.
And I was so sad to miss it especially since
  it was the first time friend Jayne (on the right) got to come!
And she won the ARC of Heartless!
She was the star of the night!

This is Bil Lepp.
He's on of the best storytellers that comes every year to the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.
Here's an example of what he's like.
A couple weeks ago he came and did a special telling just for us library employees.
He was awesome as expected and had us in stitches.

The regular crowd seeing Ally Carter for the second book
in her Embassy Row series, See How they Run.
I need to try some of her books! 

Ally Carter.
Ally Carter... she was very funny.
Lots of lovely stories.

Here's Toto with Lindsey Stirling and her sister who helped her
write this book: The Only Pirate at the Party.
Don't know Lindsey Stirling?
Check out her amazing talent here.

We waited in a 2 1/2 hour line to see her.
It was crazy and they shoved us through,
so that was maddening, but all in all, still lots of fun.

During the Christmas break we had a family girls night
and brought the crowd to the launch party for
Endure by Sara B. Larson.

Sara Larson signing books!

Sara Larson,
She always has fun stuff to say and wins the award for cutest author I think.

Here we are waiting! much fun going to author events! In a month or so, I'll have another bunch to post!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Little Women Read Along Part One: Chapters 1 to 17 Summary and Questions

We are ten days into our read along and hopefully those of you participating have been able to read up through chapter 17. Here's a little summary of what's happened so far in the lives of our little women:
  • We've met the four girls and have quickly learned their characters and personalities. 
  • We've met the neighbor boy, Laurie, and his grandfather, and his tutor, Mr. Brooke.
  • We've learned that Mr. March is off fighting in the war. Toward the end of our reading, he gets sick and Mrs. March leaves to tend him.
  • We've learned that Mrs. March appears to have never ending patience with the four girls and teaches them wonderful life lessons as they experience different things.
  • We've gone on a vacation with Meg, hobnobbing with friends that aren't really that great of friends, we've gone to a New Year's Eve party with Meg, Jo and Laurie wherein Jo dances with Laurie in the hallway and Meg sprains her ankle, we've gone on a picnic and croquet adventure with Laurie and his friends from England, we've experienced the imagination of the girls as they make up plays, write newspapers and conduct a private club, we've rejoiced with Beth when she gets a piano from Mr. Laurence, we've moaned with Jo when she discovers Amy has burned her story, and we've laughed with everyone when Jo tried to have a dinner party that was very unsuccessful.
  • We are noticing, along with Laurie and Jo, that there seems to be something up with Meg and Mr. Brooke.
  • We are also wondering ourselves if there is something up with Laurie and Jo, but if there is, Jo is in extreme denial still.
  • The segment ends just when we begin to feel anxiety over Beth, who appears to have contracted scarlet fever from the family they've been looking after. Drat.
I hope you are all enjoying your first visit with this family or your repeat visit, as the case may be. I know I am!  Here are a few questions I've thought up:

  1. What's your opinions so far about each of the girls? Do you identify more with one or the other of them? Do you like them, or do they get on your nerves in a way? Which one do you think would be your friend?
  2. What do you think of Mrs. March aka. Marmee? What's one of your favorite pieces of advice or lessons she's taught the girls so far?
  3. Do you think that the characterization of these girls and this family is realistic? Explain.
  4. What's your favorite scene or incident so far? And why?
  5. If this is your second (or third etc.) time reading this story, what stands out to you this time?
  6. If this is your first time reading this story, is it meeting your expectations? Or is it different than expected? Explain.
  7. How do you feel about Jo cutting off her hair? Was this incident surprising to you? Do you think it's symbolic of anything?
  8. What's your feeling about the inclusion of poems, letters, stories, plays and etc. into the story? 
  9. Any thoughts in particular on the male characters in this story?
  10. Are you liking this reading experience? If yes, why? If not, why?

Feel free to add any other random thoughts of course! Here are my answers:
  1. I thought I would identify with Meg the most, but I didn't remember how obnoxious and annoying she is... not to say that I'm not those those, but I don't THINK I am! I've always thought of her like Jane in Pride and Prejudice,but no. She is not. And perhaps I'm a little like Jo in some aspects, but in others not at all. I'm nothing like Beth or Amy, I don't think anyway. And yes, I do find them annoying often... they are too sweet, too agreeable, too nice, too accommodating... even with their faults. Even in the day,  I don't think kids were this perfect. 
  2. I like Mrs. March, though I also find her to be a little too nice and sweet and unruffled by anything at all. By far, my favorite lesson she's given them was the week of no work. And then when she went away for the day too. How often do we as moms threaten to do just such a thing? 
  3. I sort of answered this already. I think the picture this paints of a family is a bit on the rosy side, you know? I mean, I'm sure they were happy and imaginative, but still...
  4. Um so many! But you know what I really love, is the whole post office idea and how they find so  many fun things to exchange, even though they are all together. I think it's the first form of social media! :)
  5. I'm surprised at how obnoxious Meg is... I'm surprised that Laurie is dark with curly hair, I'm surprised at how accommodating these girls are.
  6. I remember not really liking this book when I read it the first, confession.
  7. I'd forgotten that part and it bums me out! She is crazy! 
  8. I like the letters.. the poems are okay, the stories are a little long and the plays I'm not a big fan of.
  9. I love Laurie and his grandpa. I wish we could get to know Mr. Brooke better. 
  10. Yes!
That's about all I have to say. And I think it's enough. Now... your turn! Write your thoughts, answer the questions and etc. and link up your post here:

And don't forget... we'll chat today on Twitter at 5 pm Mountain time! #LittleWomenRAL! See you there!


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