Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday goes to the beach!

Top Ten Tuesday is graciously hosted by The Broke and The Bookish... pay them a visit and say thanks. :)

This weeks list is on books you should take to the beach. I wish I could get anywhere near a beach, but I get the idea. The beach, to me, doesn't call for the same types of books that a chill winter evening does, nope it's less reflective, more entertainment, lighter. Like the clothes.

Jane Austen - Any Jane Austen. Where love and marriage are the goals of life and ribbons and embroidery are the problems of the day. It relaxes me to think of re-reading Pride and Prejudice or starting Mansfield Park.

Stephen King - Any Stephen King. I know... I'm sort of Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde here so far with my choices huh? But where better to read the master of the creep out, the books that set your imagination on fire in the middle of the night not letting you sleep, than in the bright warm sun of summer? :) Especially Duma Key...which takes place on a beach.

Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe - Now while this book has tons to say on life and who we are, it is also fiercely entertaining and charmingly funny! Make sure you put on sunblock though because you may want to read just one more page before you go in!

The Devil Wears Prada- Lauren Weisberger. It fits. It's a perfect beach read. Look 'Beach Reading' up in the dictionary and there's The Devil Wears Prada.

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield. Works so well for the beach. Coupling Mystery with the relationship between not only two generations but two friends.

Nights in Rodanth - Nicholas Sparks. Beachy to the max, love and loss the way only Nicholas can do it...also a beach setting to stir your imagination to the possibilites.

Dr Zhivago - Boris Pasternik. A classic yes, but a love story not only about Yuri and Lara but about Russians for Russia! Besides you need to be warm to read about that much cold! I read it in the winter, I'm still not warm!

John Green - Any John Green. He fits anywhere anytime. His books are just so now and real. You'll look around at your fellow beach goers and see John's characters everywhere.

The Cat Who books. These are fun, quick, quaint mysteries that are just adorable reads. Just because they call them cozyies doesn't mean you have to have a chair and a blankie to enjoy them...a beach chair and a towel work too!

James Herriot - All Creatures Great and Small for example. I love animals and these short stories of a Vet's life are wonderful! Usually hillarious, watch out for the occasional tear jerker in there! Easy to get caught up in but since they are complete in themselves, plenty of stopping places to go spash in the surf.

Wow - I made it! Not bad for a Midwesterner! I think I'll go look for a big floppy hat and sit out on my screen porch swing and pretend I'm at the beach and pick up some of your wonderful suggestions!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Brisingr - Christopher Paolini

Author: Christopher Paolini             
Pages: 763
Why Read This Book: I had read the other books in the Inheritance Series but didn’t feel compelled to read Brisingr really. But then my daughters boyfriend saw Aragon and Eldest on my shelves and got so exited and ran home (which was next door) and got me the book. Now I ask you…who would shoot down the enthusiasm for books of a 17 year old boy? This is a hands on kid too not a bookwork by nature. It was my pleasure to read it. Even though he made fun of how long it took me to finish it!
RATING: 3.5/5

Synopsis From Goodreads:
Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.
First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength—as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices— choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.
Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?
My Review:
Having read Aragon and Eldest I knew there would be no way I wouldn’t some day read Brisingr or the next one. Not because they were in themselves so compelling but because I started it I may as well finish it. I, won’t look forward to it with much enthusiasm however.  Brisingr continued the story of Aragon and Saphira very well and did endear those characters to me.
It was disappointing to me in the long run however because it was very over written. Pages of description that didn’t highlight character, place, or tone, over run with banal details that distracted more than heightened my ‘suspension of disbelief’.  In short it was too long. Way too long. Through large sections of the text I was able to keep the story going very well reading only the first sentence of every paragraph or two. Bad of me I know.
Until the last 100 pages or so I nearly gave up. In those pages the pace quickened, the characters sharpened, and the plot moved swiftly on. I hope he kept that writing momentum into the next book as I know I’ll be reading it sooner or later.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Armchair BEA the recap

Well, it's done for this year and wow what a ride!! Armchair BEA Central has asked us to just sort of summarize our week and how we felt about this event. They offered this prompt:
 As you relax by the pool or have fun with your families this weekend, we ask that you take some time to write out a short recap of the week. What did it mean to you to participate in Armchair BEA 2011? What were your highlights? Would you do it again? Show your love for this week one last time and let us know what, if anything, you learned and enjoyed most!

This was far and away the most fun I've had online since I started my book blog! I normally visit a few new blogs every week, usually via MrLinky's from the memes I do. But this was so much more intense! It was just a regular beehive of activity and all focused on the world of books as a whole.

No exaggeration, I was in 7th heaven! I had more personal contact with bloggers than normal too and that was, indeed my FAVORITE part!!
Would I do it again?? Would tomorrow be too soon? Yes I will and can't wait.
 My favorite thing about Armchair Bea ... ok 2 things. Having BEA Central there to guide us and serve as like a 'home base' for all the events, topics, and posts.

The second were the twitter parties. No lie, those were smokin'! Sooo much fun! And I was pretty much a twitter newbie and I still loved it!

This event meant so much. It renewed my enthusiasm for blogging and stirred up excitement for all the great books that are out and are coming out.

With all that is going on in my life, this event was literally a  vacation for me. But much much less expensive than the real deal...which is great!  :)

Thank you to all who helped with organization and facilitation. Bless you all who participated! It was so cool to get to meet each and everyone of you!

Until next year... see you in the stacks!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The blogs on blogging

I am going to attempt this post if I can see through my teary eyes; I am so sad this is over!! Please lets find a way to all stay connected? I depended on Armchair BEA central to keep me in the know! 
Today is the day of the Book Blogger Convention, so  in conjunction with that event Armchair BEA will also put the focus on the “blog” portion of “book blog.” There are lots of things you could post about today - here are just a few to get you thinking:

  • How do you utilize social networking in relation to your blog? What may be the pros and cons of doing so?
  • Share some of your favorite blogging technical tips.
  • Create a "rule list" of things you should and shouldn't be doing on a book blog. 
  • What are your tips for balance life and blogging?
  • What genre do you blog about and why?
  • How do you keep your blog fresh and interesting to your readers & yourself?
  • There are quite a few book blogging events out there. Which are your favorites and why? How do they affect your blog directly?
 I'm not going to answer all of these, basically because some are questions I still have, such as 'how to utilize social networking.

My favorite technical tip is : KISS, yup Keep It Simple Stupid! Don't over content me, or make it hard to load, easy on the widgets please. This is from an ex widget addict. They were just so fun! Sweet and Simple with good content.

Which segways well into my rules: These are for me, take what you need and leave the rest
  • No Music!! Just say no!
  • Try not to go over 5 paragraphs. No one wants to spend all day on my site when there are so many others to visit too!
  • Don't change it up too often. 
  • Post often but not necessarily every day. ( I break this one a lot with not posting often)
  • Remember to write for yourself as well as your audience. (I tend to want to temper my opinions to be more well liked)
  • Visit other blogs often!!
See already I'm in danger of going over self-imposed length rule...but I usually do :)

Armchair BEA - THANK YOU!! for bringing us together!
Participants... I'll be seeing you as I'm following tons more of you now :)
Til next year....


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Zen and the art of blog network maintenance

Is it horrible I'm already getting sad because this event will be over too soon???? Carts and horses, Laura. Carts and horses...sometimes I have to remind myself to keep things in the right order!


Today's post topic takes building a network into the realm of maintaining a network. 

What about other bloggers? How do you connect with them? Is there a secret? What about authors? How do you maintain a friendship with an author when you're a book blogger? Do you partner with an independent bookstore? How is that experience? What are your tips to other bloggers who want to do the same?

I'm focusing on the bloggers today because I think you have to have some followers and have a blog folks look to for opinions on books before you can move over to the publishers and bookstores. If my aunt, my boss and an x-boyfriend are the only ones checking in regularly, my opinion on a book isn't going to carry it too far.

So yesterday's 'engineering networks' and today's 'network maint' are real sticky wickets in my crazy world!

I don't feel like I've accomplished either just yet. I'm still a sporadic poster (with some pretty good reasons though) and part time lurker. I am working on keeping in touch with some folks via their blogs and checking on them often. I'm getting better about commenting when I'm there and it seems the more I go the more there is to comment about, you get more familiar.

I hope I can step out of the shadows more often and post and comment more. My blog roll is huge and getting bigger every day! Especially now during Armchair BEA. :)

How do you keep up with everyone of these interesting bloggers??? How do you keep straight who you answered who you didn't? I've had some folks comment so genuinely kind offering prayers and I just know I'm going to forget to thank someone!!

How do you folks with hundreds of followers do it??


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

BEA and TTT and FUN!

Looks like I'm all about the the abbreviations today :) First up is the suggested topic for Armchair BEA. I'm diggin' this event!!

Today’s suggested posting topic is “Best of 2011!”
We'd love to have you share some of your favorite books so far this year, and/or the the books being promoted at BEA that you hope will end up among your favorites for the year!
I actually don't remember the last time I read a book the year it was actually published, sort of like, until this spring, I hadn't driven a car in the same decade I was in...or not for long anyway. I'm looking forward to a lot of books but most of them were released years ago! :) I've always been slow to the bandwagon. 
But there is the rumor of a new Markus Zusak book and I will be very interested in getting my hands on that!

We all have done it. Lied about reading a book in some way. I would love to tell the world I never read Twilight, or that I didn’t enjoy the first book in the Saga (LOL Saga) at all, however that is not the case. I kind of liked the first book, but don’t tell anyone. It’s kind of my little literary secret.

Ok, seriously tough question. My first reaction was...none! Who would do that...then a little bit of honest memory snuck in...like 

1) that time I said 'yes I've read the Bible cover to cover.' Ok wee bit of a truth stretch there.  But I really am working on it!

2) The Illiad and the Odyssey -  I know I've said I've read these because I feel like I'm familiar with them, but I haven't read them...and I probably won't. 
3) To Kill a Mockingbird.- I felt like anyone of literary taste has read that and well I didn't want to be the tasteless one so I fibbed and said I'd read it...which I have since I said that!
4) Moby Dick - Same deal... I said I had, I hadn't, now I have :)
5) Shakespeare - Yes I read some, mostly I gave up and my mind wandered. And I hate that. I really wanted to love it. Maybe if I re-read some of it.

6) Go, Dog. Go! - I mostly just looked at the pictures - Just kidding ;)

Huh - I didn't think I'd end up short-listing this one once I got started but I'm stalled out. If I think of more I'll do an update.

OH I thought of one
7) Mankind, Have A Nice Day - this is one I'd lie about HAVING read. In case you are unfamiliar...look it up and you'll see why I'd want to keep that little secret to myself. Who was I then? :) I'll still deny it if it's ever brought up in mixed company.

Love getting to analyze my reading patterns. Can't wait to read all of yours! To me this is a ton of fun :)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Armchair BEA

Well now all you book bloggers have gone and done it... one more thing on my bucket list!! Last week I didn't even know BEA or BBC existed and now I'm bummed Cuz I Want To Go!! pout.
 Ah but maybe someday... I thought it was cool enough to see that those, like me, pitifully not in attendance, could try to live vicariously from our armchairs...or where ever.

 I've been blogging for awhile and a few months ago branched off with Bunny Tales as my book blog. I just finished my Associates and am on a path that will hopefully lead me to the Masters in Library Science program at the University of Iowa (Go HAWKS!).

But we've had a little detour. In March my oldest of my 2 daughters was diagnosed with AML Leukemia and now we spend most all of our time here at the University of Iowa, but at the Children's Hospital. And no greater place could be found for us to seek her cure. :) I love that I was blessed with this place.
They truly care about all aspects of her recovery. The staff is AMAZING! And the volunteer groups are fabulous. And they have a library!! And it's just been completely remodeled. We go up there often!

I'm also a cat person,

love making my house a home, (even for the boyfriends)

 I like to dabble in tech stuff and am learning to build databases just for fun,  I work for a fantastic company that manufactures animal feed and am single. I used to date, but lately that has fallen down the priority list pretty far. ;)

I'm so happy to meet so many folks who love books too!! It's like finding a secret club and knowing the password!! :)

Looking forward to meeting you all!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hmmm? Wonder where they went.

So ...In the move and all that is happening here at the hospital, I lost my stack of challenge books. I know somewhere they are all together. But right now... I can't find them. So all those books I've been waiting to read next will have to wait....again! Gahhh! Where did I put them???? To quote a friend of mine..."it's like looking for hens teeth in a haystack".. He is forever mixing metaphors. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

A little light reading while this Associates Degree holder waits for counts to come up.

So three great things have happened.

My oldest angel is feeling better and we are anxiously waiting for her wbc counts to come up so she can come home for a week.

I managed to finish a book again finally (even though I didn't like it). I finished The Girls With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. But it was not my cup of tea. I love mysteries, and I like punk or steampunk, and I like romance, I do not like gratuitous SVU style sexual violence for the guilty pleasure of titilation. It annoys and saddens me. And frankly I think it's bandwagon jumping and this trend ought to be over by now. That and the shamelessly self-indulgent length kept me from any real enjoyment and the parts I did like were overshadowed by trite outcomes, like Lizabeth and Mikael. All in all, MAYBE 2 stars, but I certainly won't be reading any more of these.  2/5

Third - School is over and this time...this time... I did it!!!! I finally got a degree! Granted it's only an Associates degree, but its mine and no one can take it away and I'm so happy!!! I'm waiting anxiously to find out if  I made straight A's this semester. I'm waiting on my Statistics final to be graded. My grade of A or B hinges on that and weather I graduated with honors or not hinges on my grade in Statistics. But no matter what I have my  cool degree and I love it! Especially since it's in English. One step further on the path. I start at University of Iowa this fall to work on my BA. I plan on having a mock graduation ceremony when my daughter is home from the hospital. Luckily I'm plenty old for spiked punch :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring means Prom - even a non-traditional one

How will I ever say thank you enough for what the volunteers, staff, and Dance Marathon kids have done for my daughter and my family?

They threw her her very own prom.
Here's a link to the news video

Here are a few photos from the event. I'll have some more soon.