Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mindless Weekend Ramblings: 55 Quirky Questions for Readers

Welcome to my new blog event called Mindless Weekend Rambling where I will ramble on and on aimlessly about all the junk rolling around in my brain. Occasionally I might rant and rave about something that is bothering me or question the sanity of it all, or maybe choose to discuss my to do list or plans that I am making or maybe share something new I learned. The only thing I can guarantee is that it will be totally off the cuff. I hope you will bear with me and maybe get a laugh or two in the process.
So I came across this post on The Notebook Sisters answering 55 questions about your reading habits.  They traced it as far back as The Literary Lollipop.  Their answers made me giggle a little and made me want to answer them as well.  So bear with me as I bombard you with all these questions and answers (please feel free to answer some in the comments too or let me know if you did a post on your own blog).
1. Favorite Childhood Book?
That's a hard choice, I would say the Serendipity books but that is as much as I can narrow that one down.
2. What are you reading right now?
At the time of scheduling this closing I was reading:
3. What books do you have on request from the library?
Absolutely none, I am not into waiting and am horribly disappointed in my local library.
4. Bad book habit?
Reading too much at once. I often feel like I don't dedicate enough time to each book individually.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
I own more books than my library does so none.
6. Do you have an e-Reader?
Of course! I have the classic Nook and Kindle Paperwhite and of course both apps are on my phone and programs are loaded on my work computer and home computer so no mater what I can access a book.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?
I think #2 answers that nicely.
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Definitely, I am reading a lot more books and a much wider variety, not to mention keeping better track of what I am reading and what I think of the books.
9. The least favorite book you have read so far this year?
Thankfully I have really read a lot of good books this year and not so many of the bash my head against the wall type. I have had a few so far this year though . . . How to Stuff a Wild Zucchini, Dark Chatter, 100 Cupboards
10. Favorite book you've read so far this year?
That is an even harder question! I have read some really fantastic books so far this year. Pressed Pennies, Still Alice, This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store, Once Upon A Memory
11. How often do you read outside your comfort zone?
I try to read outside my comfort zone 10-20% of the time.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I really prefer reading fantasy and romance (mainly historical and paranormal), but am really starting to expand this comfort zone to include more genres.
13. Can you read in the car?
It is kind of hard when you are usually the one driving, but I do listen to audio books in the car so that counts right?
14. Favorite place to read?
Either in a comfy chair, couch or in the sunshine (as long as it is quiet time without Munchkin).
15. What is your policy on book lending?
Please give me enough of notice so I can go by an extra copy to lend you because I am sure as heck not allowing my only copy out of my house!
16. Do you ever dog ear books?
Occasionally, but I try not to, it really only happens if I think there is something I might need to revisit.
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Generally no, but I have come across a book or two that I need to underline a bit and then I have these handy bookmarks I can make notes on instead of writing in the book itself.
18. Do you crack or break the spines of your books?
I guess this could be considered my bad reading habit, I kind of love the sound it makes, that I am the first to really get into said book.
19. What is your favorite language to read in?
The only language I really can read in, English (though I did take many, many years of German but it has long since been forgotten).
20. What makes you love a book?
If it can make me feel something or express some emotion outwardly while reading, that is the mark of a good book.
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If it made me think or pause while reading to fully absorb it.
22. Favorite genre?
Definitely fantasy, but don't mix in any SciFi, if I get so much as a hint of math or science my rating will drop drastically.
23. Genre you rarely read but wish you did more?
I wish I read more poetry, I really enjoy it but for some reason don't read it very often.
24. Favorite Biography?
Hmm . . . not sure, I will have to do some research on that one since I don't read them too often but did more so in high school.
25. Have you ever read a self-help (and was it helpful)?
Can't say that I have, if I need to figure anything out I just get online and research.
26. Favorite cookbook?
I have a weird cookbook obsession (I really have revealed it too much yet) but of all my cookbooks I think is Simple Dinner or my Risotto Cookbook, both have signs of often use.
27. Most inspirational book you have read this year?
Oddly enough I have found that some of the graphic novels are the most inspirational, these are the best so far:
28. Favorite reading snack?
Most likely that is popcorn, but it kind of depends on where I am reading and what I am reading.  Oh and if I am at home it is usually accompanied by a chilled glass of wine.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
So far I am really not impressed with the Harry Potter series, maybe I was expecting so much more since everyone raves about it and it influence so many avid readers.  Oh and Fifty Shades of Grey, what a crock that was, I have read so many better books in that genre!
30. How often do you agree with critiques about a book?
I don't know, I have never actually paid attention because I read for me and don't really care what others think, granted I like to discuss books with others but am not looking for validation of anything.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Some times things just don't work out, I hate giving negative reviews but if the book didn't work for me, it just didn't. I do however try to find the good in each book, because what I don't like maybe right up someone else's alley.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which would you choose?
Italian, definitely, it sounds beautiful, it looks beautiful and so many of the older books that I love have been translated from Italian or Latin.
33. Most intimidating book you have ever read?
Hmm, not sure, Jane Eyre was intimidating and required reading for school. The Song of Fire and Ice series by George RR Martin is definitely intimidating and I have read a couple of those (but it is what I enjoy). So I have to say recently, Mansfield Park was the most intimidating book I read recently.
34. Most intimidating book you're too nervous to start?
The Mists of Avalon, Hubby gave it to me a couple of Christmas' ago and I really want to read it and I am sure I will love it but it is just so darn big and I could read so many other books in the time it would take me to read that one book.
35. Favorite Poet?
I would have to say it is a toss up between Javan and Pablo Neruda (translated of course) but one can never count Shel Silverstein out!
36. How many books do you have checked out of the library at any given time?
None, I have plenty of my own to read.
37. How often do you return books to the library unread?
I don't think I have ever returned a book to the library unread
38. Favorite fictional character?
I don't know if I can say it is a favorite because that obviously changes from book to book, but I have had a major crush on Brigan from Fire by Kristen Cashore since I read it years ago.
39.Favorite fictional villain?
I really honestly don't know, I guess I either don't pay attention to the villains or don't classify anyone as official villains.
40. Books I'm most likely to bring on vacation?
Whatever I happen to be reading at the time and if it is a series the following books. I also always take both my Nook & Kindle with me so I have over a 1000 books at my finger tips.
41. Longest I've gone without reading?
I really can't say, I didn't do as much reading for pleasure in college, but I took English classes so I could read, if that makes any sense.
42. Name of a book you couldn't/ wouldn't finish reading?
The titles listed in question #9 and then some. I only recently have given myself permission to stop reading a book if I really dislike it after reading half of it.
43. What distracts you easily when reading?
Munchkin, I think he is about the only thing that can distract me from reading. At work I am still able to function, answering the phones and not miss a beat with my reading.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, both the old and the new were absolutely fantastic. I also think they have done an outstanding job with the Game of Thrones series on HBO.
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Oh gosh, where to begin, I guess the worst was The Hunger Games, it turned into more of a love story and really down played the whole political and manipulation aspect which to me was the whole point of the series!
46. Most amount of money you have ever spent in a bookstore at one time?
Oh dear god, are you really going to make me answer that, what if Hubby stumbles across this?! I will just say it was over $100 and leave it at that.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading?
Never, I often don't even read the synopsis or back cover before starting it, usually I have already carefully researched the books I like before purchasing them.
48. What would cause you to stop reading halfway through a book?
A strong dislike of the subject matter, characters or the message that the book is sending. I don't mind if a book has strong view points but will not stand for something that is overtly offensive.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Yes, yes, yes but unfortunately since Munchkin was born my books have not once been organized, the books I have finished have just been shoved onto bookshelves and not even the correct ones, I try not to look at it when I am in the basement.
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once read?
Yes, whether I liked it or not it is staying on my bookshelf. Too many times I have donated books and then gone out to buy them again, so now nothing leaves my shelves once they are there!
51. Are there any books you have been avoiding?
Unfortunately yes, I have the last three books of the Eragon series and I was so horribly disappointed in the first I can't seem to bring myself to read the rest of them.
52. Name of a book that made you angry.
I don't mind books with religion in them, but I expect it to be noted in the synopsis or description if it is going to be prominent and I really expect it not to force it down my throat. I was so mad at this book I actually screamed and threw it (that is highly out of character for me).
53. A book I didn't expect to like but did.
Gosh that's a tough question, why would I read a book I don't expect to like? I guess if forced to answer, this year Dependent caught me off guard and drew me in more than I expected.
54. Name of a book I expected to like but didn't.
Simple answer here this year, The Harry Potter books so far. I have finished 2 of them and am really disappointed and honestly completely confused as to what everyone likes about them.
55. Favorite guilt free guilty pleasure reading?
Isn't reading in generally a guilty pleasure that I have absolutely no guilt taking part in (even when there are chores and work to be done).

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bedtime Story: Bedtime for Francis by Russell Hoban

Synopsis: "It may be bedtime for Frances, but that does not mean Frances is ready to go to bed - not by a long shot. First she must have a glass of milk and make certain Mother and Father have each kissed her good night (twice). Then she is ready to imagine there is a tiger in her room, and a giant, and...each time Frances thinks up something new, off she goes to tell her ever-patient, if increasingly weary, parents."

My Review: This was such a favorite when I was a kid and it is still mostly relevant today. I thought the parents were pretty clever in how they handled the monster situation and find it kind of funny how you can see them getting grumpier as the night goes on. There is a mention of spankings though for those of you who want to avoid it. The illustrations are so simple and yet so cute and seem to stick with you.
My Rating: Another classic to share with Munchkin, again it doesn't quite fit the times we live in now but still has great elements. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

After Dark Review of Surrounded by Secrets by Mandy Harbin

I have added After Dark Reviews to my blog as a way of notifying you of a review of a book with Adult themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for late night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)
Synopsis: "Lillian Caldwell has eyes on the hottie with the body, Jack Woods, one of the men who bought her family land and now new boss. She has big plans for Jack, including the getting-him-horizontal variety, and she always gets what she wants.

Jack is the family hard ass who’s trying to make amends. His plans of digging into the family secret he discovered are thwarted when he’s forced to work with Lillian, his gorgeous, pain-in-the-ass neighbor.

But a night of passion will unlock the secrets surrounding them and change both their lives forever."

My Review: Poor Jack just can't keep himself out of trouble. I never really liked him in the previous books but I have definitely come to appreciate him in this one. Lillian however I fell instantly in love with, I love her style, I love her spunk, I love her comebacks (especially the one featuring Sylvester, I really did spit my drink out that time), I could really go on and on. Not only did I love the characters but the plotline really developed fully in this book and it was a great conclusion to the series (that is if it the last book, one never knows these days).
My Rating: Might have been one of the best in the series.  I really enjoyed this one, it definitely earns a Four Paw rating.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday Writing

So Wednesday is my official writing update day. I have so many story projects going on and I need a push to get some done. So I will be trying to post each Wednesday about how my writing adventures are going (and I may need a swift kick in the pants by you guys sometimes).

Current Active Project:
Princess Bs - 34,317 words
A story about a woman, recently divorced and returned to her home town to figure out what is next. She encounters an old friend and spends a weekend with him and his daughters. Feelings that are long since buried are rising up again, but are her recent loss and his current life going to stand in the way of their happily ever after?

Other Works in Progress:

The New Old Home - 17,193 words
Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but what would you do with that money? That is the question presented to Natalie, when she is at the lowest point in her life, she is presented with an opportunity to make any normal person's dreams come true, but all those winnings can't give her what she wants most.

Night Rider - 17,229
Alice is a recent high school graduate who is a very accomplished competitive rider in Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western/Rodeo. Her parents had arranged for her to attend a private college on the east coast geared specifically to equine professions. However, Alice wants to focus on her studies in English Literature. When she arrives at the college she hides her riding abilities, but can she keep her talent and love of horses hidden?

The Last Mountains - 13,468 (handwritten) = 15,766 (typed)
A equine shapeshifting family is being hunted to near extinction and the young new leader must go against all her lessons and approach the elite council for aide. Will they help her? How will she keep her family's traditions and values alive, let alone her herd?
Olivia's Mountain Tale - 3,607 words
Olivia is left in the mountains by her uncle to guard the sheep grazing in the summer pastures.  This summer could change the course of her life.
Tamlyn Marie's Grace - 5,811
Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)

Other Ideas Plotting:

Bloodsoar's Story
A pegasus struggles through life, ejected from the herd, near capture by humans.

The Assassin's Assassin
A student learns what the school is really teaching and sets out to destroy those who support the program.

Angel Story
Angels battle out an age old feud in a parallel world

All in the Company
A business that keeps to itself, employees marry employees and live on company property. Lissandra is ordered to marry Cody but both are always on business and don't know one another.

Little Wind Guides
Little Wind must lead her clan to new territory as the gods of the Fire Forest are cleansing their home with wrath.  Will they follow her while she holds so many secrets.

Draft Complete:

The Story of Things (previously titled Each Item a Story) - 50,052 words
A journal a woman keeps as she sorts through antique items and documents left in a home she purchased.


I was really bad this last month and didn't write anything.  For some reason I couldn't quite grasp any inspiration or seem to settle down to write.  I think I am just being pulled in so many different directions at once with home life, work, munchkin and plans, not to mention reading and crafting.

The exciting thing is that I recently came up with an idea for this year's Nanowrimo (since you have to start from scratch technically) and have jotted down some notes for it and am planning to do a rough outline.

I hope you were all a lot more motivated this last month and got a lot more accomplished. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review of Pegasus and the Fight for Olympus by Kate O'Hearn

Synopsis: "Reborn as the Flame, Emily has saved Olympus from destruction. The Olympic flame now burns strong, and peace has been restored. But not for long ...When the gruesome Nirads begin a new invasion, Emily and her friends become entangled in the conflict as old grudges are unearthed and new enemies are discovered. And all the while, Emily yearns for her father, still a prisoner of the sinister CRU, somewhere in New York. Join Emily astride the magnificent winged-stallion, Pegasus, as she embarks on a new flight of adventure through worlds both old and new."

My Review: I enjoyed this book, though it got a little slow at times. While it is clear that it is for a young adult audience, at times the content seemed really dark to me, a lot of violence, torture, imprisonment, black mail and manipulation. With that said it is obvious that there was a lot of adventure and action within the story. I must say I became a big fan of Tange and was rather astonished at the ending. I will definitely be reading the next books.
My Rating: This second book in the series didn't capture my attention quite like the previous books did but it was still interesting. I give it a rating of Three Paws.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

From Baghdad With Love by Jay Kopelman
Visions of the Revolution by Jeffrey Minucci
Surrounded by Death by Mandy Harbin (After Dark)
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey (Bedtime Story)
Poseidon: Earth Shaker by George O'Connor (Graphic Novel)

Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Mommy Had a Little Flask
The Businessman's Tie
Tiger Lily
Curious George Visits the Zoo
Horsey Up and Down
Little Granny Quarterback
Little Bear
A Wizard Named Nell
The Please and Thank you Book
Father Bear Comes Home
Fair Catch
The Velveteen Rabbit
Little Bear's Friend

Currently Reading:

Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff - PB - on page 35 of 272
Cabin Fever by Diana Hunter - PB - on page 89 of 272
Buffalo Valley By Debbie Macomber - Kindle - 6%
My Heart to Yours by Michelle Zarrin - PB - on page 15 of
Stay by Allie Larkin - Audio - 25%

 Books to be Read Soon:

Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes
The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss (Mount TBR)
Bathing and the Single Girl by Christine Elise McCarthy (Requested Review)
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (Mount TBR)
Dragon Slayer by Jianne Carlo
Behind You by Carly M. Duncan (Requested Review)

Interesting Tidbits from the Web:

Angela's Anxious Life had a interesting and inspiring post about Being a Member of the Book Blogging Community



I again managed to get quite a bit of reading done this last week and I am really enjoying audio books now that I have it on my phone and Munchkin enjoys listening too! Of course now that I got it all figured out we are getting new cellphones (I hate it, it takes me 2 or 3 years to figure out how to use my phone the way I want and then we get new ones and it starts all over again).

In other exciting news over the weekend we finished cleaning up the basement for Munchkin's birthday party and had room for a new bookshelf (my friend was cleaning out her own house and gave me hers too)!!! On top of that as our gift for Munchkin we are creating a reading nook for his room and I got the go ahead from Hubby to get him new bookshelves too!!  I can't wait to dig into reorganizing books! (can you tell I am excited?!)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Crafty Times (5)

Crafty Times is a new thing I am trying on the blog where I can share some of the art and crafts I have created (you can too of course). I really dabble in a wide variety of crafts and hope you can find something that sparks your interest or inspires you!
Well I was at it again recently, and more for the little ones.  I had a first birthday to go to last weekend and when I asked the mother what the little one needed or wanted she responded with "we would love some of those felt stories you make".  So I was sent scrambling with less than a week to turn something out!
I wanted it to be book related as I always try to give books as gifts and landed on The Giving Tree, I had planned on making Munchkin a set at some point so thought this would be a good test run.
So here is the result
In the story the child takes the leaves to make a crown, so there are leaves to pull off. Then he takes the apples to make some money so again the apples can be removed. Then he takes the branches to make a house (I believe can't remember off the top of my head) so the branches are removable. Then he takes the trunk to build a boat so the trunk come off. Last there is a stump left to sit on. 
I wanted to make the boy growing up but just simply ran out of time (next time though).
So what do you think? A great bookish gift?