Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tagged...Why Not?

For you Brandy:

Five Things I Don't Leave the House Without
1. Life
2. Keys
3. Shoes
4. Baby
5. Diapers

Five Cartoons I Watched When I Was Younger
1. Ghostbusters
2. Ewoks
3. Care Bears
4. Muppet Babies
5. Rainbow Bright

Five Things That Terrify Me
1. Worms
2. Car accidents
3. The Government
4. Pregnancy
5. Child predators

Five Things I Hate/Dislike That Everyone Else Seems to Like
1. Mayonnaise
2. Cherries
3. Dogs (especially punt dogs)
4. Being startled
5. Dresses/skirts

Five Things I Want to do Before I Die
1. Write a novel
2. Get published
3. Travel
4. Be an amazing Grandma
5. Go on a mission with my husband

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Reading Recaps

Ever not blog in so long that you're embarrassed to post again? Yeah, me neither. :)

Books for April:
(Which turned out to be as bad as The Month of Upheaval. Perhaps for the frantic last minute preparation. Perhaps from the misery. Whatever.)
  1. Fablehaven: The Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
  2. Fablehaven: The Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull
  3. Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull
  4. In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Laura Schlessinger
  5. Revenge of the Cheerleaders by Janette Rallison
  6. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Books for May:
  1. My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison
  2. Dave Barry is Not Taking This Sitting Down by Dave Barry
  3. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  4. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
  5. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
  6. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
  7. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
  8. Searching for Dragons by Patrician Wrede
  9. Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock
  10. Calling on Dragons by Patrician Wrede
Now to put up a post that requires thought and effort...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

March Reading

Books I read during the Month of Upheaval otherwise known as March:

  1. Magician's Gambit by David Eddings
  2. Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings
  3. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  4. It's a Mall World After All by Janette Ralliston
  5. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
  6. Loser's Guide to Life and Love by A. E. Cannon
  7. Fablehaven: The Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
  8. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-10 Bad Movies

Worst movie adaptations: The recent release of Watchmen based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore got me thinking about what I thought were the worst movie adaptations of books. What book or books did a director or directors completely ruin in the adaptation(s) that you wish you could "unsee," and why in your opinion, what made it or them so bad in contrast to the book or books?

I tend to remember the good ones and dismiss the bad, but a few popped into my head. The first was the third installment of the Anne of Green Gables movies. I didn't watch the whole thing, but I didn't need to. It had a bunch of crap about Anne and Gilbert living at Green Gables and Gilbert getting lost at war. It had nothing to do with any of the books. It just stole the characters. Seeing as it didn't follow any book, I don't see how a "movie adaptation" could get worse.

The second bad movie I thought of was The Black Cauldron by Disney. This one did attempt to associate with a book, but it was pathetic. Not only was it very different, but it was way too scary for the intended audience. I don't remember too many details because I saw it a long time ago and immediately banned it from my house. Go read the Prydain Chronicles if you haven't, and stay away from the animated movie!

My World

As I was getting out of the car to go into the store this morning, I looked over at the beautiful pile of books on the passenger seat. I had just borrowed them from a friend and had placed them in the cleanest and most secure spot in the car. Now I was suddenly nervous. I couldn't leave such tempting things right in the front seat! Someone would surely see them and break into my car. (This is not an idle worry for me - my father's, brother's, and husband's cars have all been broken into.) I didn't want to move the books to the floor or the backseat where they could get dirty or stepped on. Then I spied the solution! I pulled a blanket from the back and covered them up. Good enough. I pulled the little girls out and waddled into the store.

On the way it occurred to me that books might not be a huge draw for car thieves. Quite likely they look for purses, stereos, and things that will fetch a price. Hmmm. Well, all you book readers should be glad I'm not a car thief, because in my world books on the front seat would be a terrible temptation.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

February Recap

Here are the books I read in February:

  1. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  2. Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
  3. Laura Ingalls Wilder Country by William Anderson
  4. On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilders
  5. Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  7. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
  8. Blue Willow by Doris Gates
  9. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
  10. West From Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  11. With A Single Spell by Lawrence Watt-Evans
  12. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Favorites for the Month:
  1. Elantris
  2. Twisted
  3. Every Soul a Star
  4. Hitler Youth

Weekly Geeks 2009-08: Rewind - Political & Social Issues

Here is how to play:

1. Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. If you were a Weekly Geek last May and already did this theme, pick a different theme than the one you did at that time.

2. Educate readers about your topic by telling us a little about it and any involvement you've had in this issue.

3. Find books a
ddressing your issue; they do not necessarily have to be books you’ve read. They can be non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc...Give a little synopsis of the book or a link to the description.

4. Use images which you feel illustrate your topic.

I seriously considered not doing anything this week since I have strong and not mainstream political views which I tend to avoid on my blogs. But I came up with a "social" issue!


I have a son with ADHD who is on medication and I will readily announce it from the rooftops. It is nothing to hide or be ashamed of. My son knows what is "wrong" with him, he swallows his pills like a little man, and is learning that self-control is something you work on every moment of the day. (Something many adults have yet to accept.)

I know this approach is far from normal, and before my experiences I bought into the media frenzy that ADHD was over diagnosed and exaggerated. I know that many people, from celebrities to talk-show hosts, will deny the existence of ADHD entirely. And I will stand up to any of them (all 5'3" of me while I shake from the confrontation which I hate) and fight it out. ADHD is real.

ADHD is the impaired executive fuctioning skills related to abnormal dopamine levels in the frontal lobe of the brain with well-documented diagnostic and treatment guidelines. ADHD has been recognized as an impairing disorder by: US Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, US Congress, US Cneters of Disease Control and Prevention, US Surgeon General, and all major medical, psychiatric, psychological and educational associations. And then there is the appeal to logic - if we acknowledge the existence of such conditions as down syndrome or severe autism all the way down to seasonal depression, there is obviously room for other mental disorders in between.

It would be hard to accurately describe life with my son before his diagnosis: how I thought I was going crazy and it was all my fault since everyone else seemed to be doing just fine with their children, the pain from watching him alienate all potential friends, living moment by moment repairing the drastic and often disgusting damage to our home, and even saving his life from his own hyperactivity and impulsivity. The understanding I have now brings such peace to our home and has changed the outlook for my son's life.

While searching out education opportunities, I found the wonderful organization of CHADD - Children and Adults with Attnetion-Feficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. This is an international organization with local chapters for easy access. I was able to find a seven week course to take in just the next city over. It changed my life! This is a picture of the course manual. The course went through everything from diagnosis and medical intervention to education laws and behavior strategies. I'll never forget the slide that read, "We MUST see the individual as IN trouble, not the CAUSE of trouble." After learning what was really going on in his brain and what the "evil medication" was really doing, all my fears evaporated. Medicine was the right decision for my son and he has blossomed at home and at school because of it. It gives him a few more moments to think before he acts.

His ADHD is an explanation, NOT an excuse. He will have to learn to control himself and function in society. But he WILL. Being open with him about his own disability is the first step. He knows he has to work harder on the things that come so easy to most people. He knows I am here to help and support. He knows his meds help him. He know he can do it because God made him this way because God knew he could do it.

Is our path with ADHD smooth now? Of course not. We have daily struggles with getting his shoes on, behaving in school, and adjusting his meds according to his growing/changing metabolism. But life is 100% better. Are there ever cases of misdiagnosis by, among other things, parents who don't discipline their children? Of course. The occurence just isn't as common as the media argues. I know from experience - from HOURS and DAYS of tests and questionaires and interviews - that diagnosises are NOT just handed out.

I googled ADHD images and quit pretty quick since the first few pages contained only comics negating ADHD. I have not read many books outside of my manual, but Amazon turned up 12,365 results. Here are a few that looked fun to me:

ADHD & Me: What I Learned from Lighting Fires at the Dinner Table by Blake E. S. Taylor and Lara, Ph.D. Honos-Webb

How To Reach And Teach Children with ADD/ADHD: Practical Techniques, Strategies, and Interventions by Sandra F. Rief M.A.

Learning To Slow Down & Pay Attention: A Book for Kids About Adhd by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ellen B. Dixon, and Charles Beyl

But the second option on Amazon was,
Dr. Bob's Guide to Stop ADHD in 18 Days by Robert DeMaria. *Sigh* ADHD isn't curable. This book would only help for one of those misdiagnosed cases. It does make me wonder what would happen if the media decided to dismiss depression, post-partum, or autism.... Would everyone just take it and start shoving their real problems under the bed?

Well, my 7 year old boy is as beautiful, inelligent, loving, and fun as any boy you'll ever meet. And he has ADHD. And I'm so proud of him.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Check This One Out!

First Five Gimme Gimme

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! my choice. for you. this offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!

2. what I create will be just for you.

3. it’ll be done this year. {translation: you may be waiting a little while}

4. you have no clue what it’s going to be … it may be cards, a poem, a bookmark, something yummy or a complete surprise to you (and me!) … who knows? not you, that’s for sure!

5. i reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

6. most importantly, you must offer the same deal on your blog - the first 5 people to comment on your blog (or if you do not have a blog, facebook) get something made by YOU! the first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me …

I found this new game at Ellie's blog (she's my cool cousin on my husband's side) and thought it would be tons of fun. She offered the option of service rather than something tangible, if you're that kind of person, so there's that idea. Me? I'm totally a tangible, make something kind of gal. So have at it!

PS If by some small chance I actually have more than 5 readers, send me a plea. I can be convinced to misremember how to count!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Favorite Recipe Book

I love this book!

As mentioned a hundred times previously, I hate baking. But I love to eat baked things. So this book and I are best friends. It means I can make amazing cakes and other stuff without measuring out flour, baking powder, and all those other annoying messy thing. All I have to do is mix in a few "special" ingredients, and eggs (always) and voila! Unlike most of my recipe books (which I enjoy collecting, reading, and collecting) this one has many of those slightly crumpled or stained pages from being left open on the counter in the hazardous baking zone.

Oh yeah. I'm proud of the used pages.

Here is a picture of one of the cakes I made recently.It was amazing. But my favorite is the Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting on page 64. Even more amazing. And this book has also taught me that those frostings in the baking aisle at the store are really gross. Well, I still use them for emergencies and stuff, but really, the frostings in the book are so much better. And they are usually easy with no cooking involved.

I love also this version. It hasn't been used as much becuase, while my world revolves around chocolate, my husband's does not. I try to keep the peace. But fortunately, the chocolateless cakes are so good I hardly notice!!!

Review: West From Home & On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder

On the Way Home
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Non-fiction, Journal
112 pages
published: 1962

3 of 5 stars

This book contains the journal entries made by Laura on her journey with Almanzo and Rose from De Smet, SD to what would be their permanent home in Mansfield, Missouri. It also contains some anecdotes written by Rose, a map, and many photographs.

The actual journal entries were interesting and quick paced, which made for quick reading, and made up for the occasional stretch of monotony. I enjoyed most of this book, but especially the anecdotes written by Rose at the end. She tells the story of her parents being unable to find the $100 dollar bill that was their entire savings and meant as a down payment on their new land. That part of the book was actually suspenseful!

I think that fans of Laura, who are perhaps a little older, would like the further insight into her life that this book provides. Younger readers would quickly become bored. I'm happy to have this addition to my collection.

West From Home
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Non-fiction, Letters
192 pages
published: 1974

2 of 5 stars

This is a book of the letters written by Laura (and a few by Rose) back to Almanzo from San Fransisco. Why would Laura be on the west coast? Well, these letters were written when Laura was considerably older and visiting her daughter, Rose, who then lived in San Fransisco. Rose was a writer/reporter and had begged her mother to visit for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915.

These letter were interesting and educational, unfortunately, that didn't mean it was a page-turner, or exciting, or fun. My patience for the endless description waned about half way through. In fact, towards the end, the book became drudgery. That is very sad to admit.

However, I did like the glimpses of Laura and Almanzo's relationship, the references to Laura's beginning writing career, and the pictures of old San Fransisco and the amazing fair.

Recommended For: Die-hard fans of Laura, those who like that non-fiction sort of thing

Books I Read in 2008

I'm cleaning up and reorganizing and such to my blogs, and I found this list tucked away on my sidebar. I can't vouch for its completeness, but these are all books I read in 2008.
  1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  2. Artemis Fowl 4 by Eoin Colfer
  3. Artemis Fowl 3 by Eoin Colfer
  4. Artemis Fowl 2 by Eoin Colfer
  5. Artemis Fowl 1 by Eoin Colfer
  6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  7. The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery
  8. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
  9. House and Home by Kathleen McCleary
  10. Love's Enduring Promise by Janette Oke
  11. Touch of Sage by Marcia Lynn McClure
  12. Raising Your Spirited Child by
  13. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  14. Leven Thumps by Obert Skye
  15. Trapped in Ice by Marin Sandler
  16. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  17. Host by Stephenie Meyer
  18. Physik by Angie Sage
  19. Flyte by Angie Sage
  20. Magyk by Angie Sage
  21. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  22. River Secrets by Shannon Hale
  23. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  24. The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Laura C. Shlessinger
  25. Specials by Scott Westerfeld
  26. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  27. The High Lord by Trudi Canavan
  28. The Novice by Trudi Canavan
  29. The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan
  30. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  31. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
  32. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  33. Turnabout Margaret Peterson Haddix
  34. Sisters Grimm: Tales from the Hood by Michael Buckley
  35. Sisters Grimm: Magic and Other Misdemeanors by Michael Buckley
  36. Sisters Grimm: Once Upon a Crime by Michael Buckley
  37. Sisters Grimm: The Problem Child by Michael Buckley
  38. Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley
  39. Sisters Grimm: Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley
  40. Spiderwick: The Wrath of Mulgarath by Holly Black & Tony Di'Terlizzi
  41. Spiderwick: The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black & Tony Di'Terlizzi
  42. Spiderwick: Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black & Tony Di'Terlizzi
  43. Spiderwick: The Seeing Stone by Holly Black & Tony Di'Terlizzi
  44. Spiderwick: The Field Guide by Holly Black & Tony Di'Terlizzi
  45. Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
  46. The Secret Lives of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  47. Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
  48. Austenland by Shannon Hale
  49. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-6 What's in a Name?

I've been thinking about this and after following enough links found that anyone can jump on, so I'm jumpin' on.

This is the origin page. Here is copy of this week's assignment:

For this week's edition of Weekly Geeks, we're going to take a closer look at character names. What are some of your favorite character names?

Go to Google or a baby name site like this one or this one, and look up a favorite character's name. What does their name mean? Do you think the meaning fits the character? Why or why not?

If you'd like, look up your own name as well and share the meaning.

I'm jumpin' on this week because I loved this assignment so much. I am focusing on one of my favorite fantasy series by David Eddings. Why? Probably because I've actually considered using the first 2 male names for my children.

Garion (the main hero of the Belgaraid, and as previous mentioned, one of my fictional crushes): I first found a site that stated the meaning was "gelding," which so does not apply that I continued searching. Every other site said that it derived from French and means "to guard" or "guardian." That was more like it. That meaning fits and makes me happy. The other site needs to go jump in a lake. Garion has never been popular and is often counted in the single digits.

Gareth (another favorite character from the Belgaraid): "gentle" and "watchful." This is another good match for the character who had the assignment of watching certain families for generations to make sure nothing went wrong and that eventually the chosen children would be born. This name has historical been much more popular than Garion, even making it occasionally to the top 1,000.

I looked up several of the girl names from that series, like Polgara, Liselle, and Ce'Nedra, but I couldn't find anything and am fairly sure they were made up.

Fantasy Names that I Love for Which I Did Not Attempt to Find Meanings For:
Tasslehoff Burfoot
Panamon Creel

Something I had fun pondering was how fun and convenient it is, as a writer, to pick a meaningful name for your character as opposed to when you name your children. A writer knows what the character will turn out to be - parents don't have that luxury!

Review: Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Hitler Youth
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Non-fiction, War, WWII
176 pages
published: 2006
5 of 5 stars

This take on WWII was through the focus of the children of Germany. For me it was refreshing, satisfying, educational, terrifying, and heart-breaking. Though I have read dozens of WWII books, there were many things I had never heard about. There were also many photographs that were fascinating and beautiful and horrible.

The books followed several specific teenagers: some whose actions haunted them for the rest of their lives, some whose stories ended abruptly, and some whose bravery inspired generations. All were given their fair chance to share their views and the reasons they did what they did when they did it. There was no judgment, only understanding and compassion for all the different paths that the teenagers took. Compassion for the brainwashed generation and a logical look at how Hitler used the youth as a tool.

It was an amazing read that didn't feel like "non-fiction" to me. It deserved the awards it received.

Recommended For: everyone old enough to handle it

Review: Laura Ingalls Wilder Country by William Anderson

Laura Ingalls Wilder Country
by William Anderson
Photobook / Non-fiction
published: 1990
5 of 5 stars

After going through the Little House on the Prairie series. I found I had a few questions and a lot of interest in what the real people looked like. After doing some research I discovered a few additional books and a whole bunch of scrapbooks, or photobooks, that have been published about Laura. I picked one out and put in a amazon order. (Yes, I probably could have searched out all those pictures, but I'm not that good at it, not that patient, and am very old fashioned about my desires to hold the pictures and look at them without worrying about resolution.)

I loved this book. It is big and beautiful and contains lots of information along with the pictures. I shows what the landscape looked like, what the houses looked like, what the people looked like. I read it cover to cover in one day. It also had such useful things as maps, time lines, and indexes.

Recommended For: every Laura fan - come over and borrow mine

Review: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

by Laurie Halse Anderson
256 pages
published: 2007
4 of 5 stars

I got this book from the library because one, I have loved everything I've read by Laurie Halse Anderson, and two, I thought it was a different book that I wanted to use for my dangerous challenge. It wasn't that book. But I'm glad I got it because I really loved it.

Warning. This is not a book for "kids" and I was glad there was such a warning in the beginning of the book. This book goes over some very mature themes, like sex, drinking, and suicide. Why would I like that was really good.

It's about this poor kid who pulls a stupid prank out of desperation and is sentenced to community service, meaning hard physical labor. This changes his physique and gives him a reputation that changes his situation in the cesspool of High School social life. While dealing with this, the girl, and his dysfunctional family, he also finds himself accused of a crime he didn't commit. The hell his life turns into leads him to contemplate some serious issues and figure out if life is worth living, and if it is, how to go about living it.

I would never have guessed that the book was written by a woman because the voice of this teenage boy felt so right. So right, in fact, that I mentally flinched occasionally at thoughts that I definitely did not relate to. But I felt such compassion for this kid! He was a good kid. A confused kid. A kid that wanted, needed, to grow up but didn't know how to do it - had no example to follow.

I really did love this book and couldn't put it down. And it ended where it should...looking up but without everything fixed.

Recommended For: older YA, High School kids, their parents

Friday, February 13, 2009

Review: Little House in the Big Woods and Sequels by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Prairie
Farmer Boy
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By the Shores of Silver Lake
The Long Winter
Little Town on the Prairie
These Happy Golden Years
The First Four Years
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

YA, Autobiography / Historical Fiction
published: 1932 - 1971
6 of 5 stars

I loved these book as a child and they left indelible images in my head. Images of the prairie from the back of a covered wagon; Christmas with only a tin cup, stick of candy, penny, and tiny cake with white sugar; grasshoppers falling from the sky and covering the house; a never-ending winter with hay twisting, wheat grinding, brown bread, and potatoes. These books where the first to pop into my head when I joined the Childhood Favorites Challenge.

Some observations this time around:
  • The first book, while still wonderful, didn't have as much story to it as the rest. It was more instructional in nature. It seems Mrs. Wilder hit her stride in the second installment.
  • As a child, Ma and Pa where old, of course, and a mite stringent in their work ethic. But as an adult reader I realized how young they were, how dedicated, and even how fun-loving the father was.
  • These book would not have been popular or interesting if the narrator had not been Laura. Imagine the story if Mary had been writing it! Yuck. Laura was lovable and interesting because she wasn't the perfect little girl she often wished to be. I loved her because she let her bonnet hand by the strings, was ever so slightly disobedient, loved to run and help her father, loved the wildness of the country and had a sixth sense about it the way her father did. Spirited Laura was the heart of the Little House books.
  • While all those things I remembered where still as fascinating and memorable to me, other things stood as just as plainly. Things like Laura teaching school when she was only 15, how close the family came to being murdered by Indians, the love and faith of Ma who followed her restless husband into the middle of nowhere (several times!) to start completely over, the work and preparation necessary to store enough food for winter, and how grateful they were for so little.
  • I remember being horrified that Laura married such a old man, 10 years older, when she was only 18. Ironically, I did the exact same thing.
  • I remember reading Farmer Boy during free time in my grade school class that was right before lunch. It seemed to me that the book was all about huge quantities of delicious food. It was torture for a hungry kid. The impression held true this time around as well.
  • When I thought of the end of the series, it was my memory that there was almost no romance, or even interaction, between Laura and Almanzo. When I began reading them again, I found myself saddened by the idea that I would have no idea about their relationship when I finished. I was wrong! There is quite a bit of interaction and subtle romance. I guess I ust didn't register any of it as a kid, and then mourned the loss only when thinking back on it as an adult.
  • The tragedies in the First Four Years hit me much harder this time. I didn't remember diphtheria and near paralyzation, nor failed crops year after years that meant strangling debt. I certainly didn't remember the baby boy that died. That was the most difficult of all the books for me.
  • If I had to pick favorites, it would be Little House on the Praire and The Long Winter. Both take you completely out of this world and into situations that we in our sheltered, comfortable lives can't begin to imagine.
I still love these books. I would recommend them to everyone. In fact, I gave the first one to my 9 year old daughter to read. Stay tuned for her review!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

25 Things

I've lost track of how many tags I got for this one on facebook. But facebook and I don't work that closely together, so I'm doing this here.
  1. I grew up swimming in lakes and wading in the ocean, so unlike most people here, I find the chlorine in pools disgusting, the crowds disturbing, and the scenery seriously lacking.
  2. I get my nose wet when I eat whole apples. Love apples. Gala and Fuji.
  3. I'm as naturally bad as any kid or man at putting things away. I will actually not see the mess until I look for it.
  4. I have never been east of Colorado or north of Oregon. (Not counting Yellowstone.) But I love to travel and hope to actually do some of it some day.
  5. I knew I wanted to be a writer in 4th grade and have never wavered. At this point I have had 2 poems published (or to-be published) in the national market. Otherwise, it is mostly on hold while my children shred my last brain cells.
  6. I have been going to BYU for nearly 12 years. No, I'm still not graduated.
  7. My favorite classes have been Creative Writing Picture Books, Adolescent Literature, and Folklore.
  8. I learned to crochet during the 4 months I was on bedrest with Xander. Now I can do dresses and probably anything else.
  9. I love to decorate and make things beautiful, but the most important design element for me is functionality. You won't find "pretties" just lying around on the floor or couches with 5 million pillows to be arranged.
  10. I can't eat chicken. Intolerance thing.
  11. I love collecting books. One my biggest space problems is all those books. I dream of some day having a LIBRARY with a couch.
  12. I was diabetic during one pregnancy (also Xander) and can count carbs, prick my finger without flinching, and will argue with you about rather corn is a vegetable. (And I'd be right!)
  13. I knew I was a mom when I found myself catching vomit rather than letting it get to the couch or the carpet.
  14. I used to carry a fully packed diaper bad ready for any contingency into every store or house I entered. Now my kids are lucky if I find a crumpled diaper on the floor of the car. Live Dangerously!
  15. I love playing frisbee and baseball.
  16. I don't like dogs. Especially small dogs, which I've called Punt Dogs for more years than I can count.
  17. I hate the color red.
  18. I was a huge tomboy as a kid. No hair combing. No dresses. Dig up dead cats and squish road kill. Fill your pockets with frogs kind of tomboy.
  19. I desperately want to write YA/MG novels but am too afraid to start one.
  20. I had a "fascinating" older brother and spent much time as a child on military hikes (ask me sometime), learning how to behave according to which body part was shoot, jumping off cliffs, and trying to tackle a much larger person only to be thrown across the room.
  21. I love fantasy novels, but could do very well with science fiction. And you can keep your Star Trek.
  22. I dislike the cutesy names forsed on small people and have adapted most to have butt, monster, bug, snot or the like in them. Cutie Butt, Cranky Butt, etc...
  23. I love music. I love to sing, but not where you can hear me. I love to play the piano, but if anyone asks, I will deny it.
  24. I have the best husband in the world.
  25. Speaking of tomboy...I loved to collect ladybugs at reces and once filled all my pockets and lunch box with them and took them back to class. Another student opened said lunchbox. *Giggle* I wish my memory didn't short out there. Though my mom remembers being called in to meet with the teachers while they incredulously discussed her "little girl."
I'd tag people, but I'm probably the last one.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Lost Interview Post

I'm so late on this I seriously thought about not doing it, but...what the hey!

There was an interview thing I saw on Suey's blog (that she got from other blogs: like Serena's blog and Monica, and Ruth) and I signed up.

Here are the questions Suey sent me:

1. If you could interview any author for your blog, who would it be and why? What would you ask?

Most of the "new" authors I love have blogs or interviews or I have met at writing conferences, so I feel I have "access" to them. So I guess I would interview some of the authors I read as a child, like Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, or Raymond E. Fiest. (I know you implied one, but I'm assuming that was a joke.)

I would ask writing questions. Everything from "computer versus paper" to "how do you plot." All three of these author write fantasy series and the plotting astounds me.

2. What would you do with an entire day that you had all to yourself?

I really can't imagine such a thing! I guess I would do some combination of all things I love and never really get to do: read, WRITE, scrapbook, crochet, sleep, blog... Or maybe I would try to visit some friends or call some family.

Come to think of it, assuming it wasn't in the middle of the disgusting winter, I would drive up into the mountains and get out and sit among the trees and close my eyes and just feel the breeze and listen to the trees and animals. I would think of stories to write, doodle in my notebook, take hundreds of pictures, and just feel all the knots inside my chest that build up from living in the city loosen and disappear. Suddenly I'd be able to really breath again, really think, and thank God for the beautiful world.

3. What book can (or would) you re-read over and over again and why?

There are several books that I have read countless times.

Dragonsong and Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
The Apprentice by Deborah Talmadge-Bickmore
Pawn of Prophesy (and sequels) by David Eddings
Restoree by Anne McCaffrey
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
And several of the Harry Potter books that we have on CD and listen to repeatedly on trips

Why? The first 3 have a nostalgic quality since I read them as a young girl, but they are also great escapes, great stories, and comfortable like an old t-shirt.

The last 3 I encountered more recently, but they have the great escape quality as well, and are now just as comfortable.

Most of these books are fantasy, and like most fantasy, have some romance. I love flipping through the pages and reading the most romantic parts. But I can also flip through and read the most exciting parts. I know these books that well.

4. What superhero power would you like to have and why?

I would love the super power of keeping my house clean. Or maybe the power that escapes my particular personality type of making decisions decisively and easily. Or how 'bout the super power of making friends easily and being outgoing.

But if we just want to talk about super super powers, I've always wanted to be telepathic and telekinetic. How absolutely amazingly cool would that be? (Read The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey)

5. Name five of your favorite books you read in the last year.

I wasn't keeping any sort of track last year! Old posts have been helpful, but some of these might be guesses...

The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley
Magyk and sequels by Angie Sage
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

If you'd like to participate here's the "rules":

Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” (along with your email address!)
I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Review: Light of the Moon by Luanne Rice

Light of the Moon
by Luanne Rice

496 pages
published: 2008
For: Live Dangerously Challenge
3 of 5 stars

While shopping with my family at the ever-popular Costco, I had a revelation as to how to start my living dangerously challenge. I always go through the movies at Costco, but rarely spend any time with the books unless I know something big is coming out. Why? Because that flat of books is everything I DON'T read. Those books are contemporary, popular books, written for adults! (And I don't mean popular with librarians, or with fellow writers, or with book reading friends, I mean popular with the masses.) Yes, I am a snob.

So I decided, while staring at the sea of literary pizzas, that I would pick one out and read it. *Gasp* I hesitated. Then I picked one up and read the back. *Bigger gasp* I put that down and read another back. And another. Then another. They were only getting worse! My shuddering became violent as I came to the end of the row where I encountered such authors as Grisham, whom I've successfully avoided all my life. I nearly failed at my resolve...but I staggered back to the beginning and picked up the first book I had looked at. I have to confess that my decision reflected both the fact that my family had moved on and I needed to hurry, and that fact that it was one of the cheapest.

Sidenote: My sweet husband didn't flinch one bit when I told him the strange book in the cart was for my dangerous challenge. :)

First, let me admit that I read this book and was entertained. I am a story sucker. I was also surprised and thrilled to find no swearing and no sex. I didn't know that was even possible these days. I enjoyed learning snippets about a different country and culture, and I enjoyed the info about the main character's career as an anthropologist who studied cave paintings. I cared about the characters and feel fortunate in my random selection.

That being said, this book was based on the whole "fly away to a romantic country to escape your problems and find your true love in the tiny foreign town." It has the obligatory "get rescued by hot cowboy on white horse" (literally) and the "we are so instantly and dramatically attracted to each other physically it is almost more than we can bear" elements. I guess that's what makes a good stirring romance? I admit I happily finished it. But I'm not going to be rereading it, remembering it long, or even keeping it. (Anyone want it?)

My only serious criticism is that I thought the whole thing a bit melodramatic. The love interest's problems just seemed a bit overdone. The main character's need to escape felt exaggerated considering that her problems weren't all the bad.

That's it. Enjoyable. Nothing special.

Recommended For: people who like that kind of thing, anyone wanting a momentary escape

Review: The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Princess and the Hound
by Mette Ivie Harrison
YA, Fantasy
416 pages
published: 2007
For: Book Club
3 of 5 stars

This is my second book by this author, and I liked this one much better. The plot was more complex, and for me, less dark. It also had Beauty and Beast elements, which I thought was interesting. Do all her books echo that story? At first it reminded me strongly of Goose Girl, and later of another book, but darn that I can't remember which one!

It was the story of two lonely royals who arrange their marriage for political reasons. But it's not as simple as just two strangers marrying - one has been cursed by magic, the other has the cursed magic.

It is a mystery, a fantasy, and love story. It has politics, witch hunts, betrayal, and of course, someone dies. (I must be in a facetious mood.) It was good fun.

Recommended For: all fantasy/fairy tale lovers

January Summary

Here's everything I read in January:
  1. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
  2. Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison
  3. Alcatraz and the Scrivener's Bones by Brandon Sanderson
  4. Atremis Fowl the Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer
  5. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  6. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  7. On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  8. By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  9. The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  10. Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  11. These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  12. The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  13. The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
  14. Light of the Moon by Luanne Rice
I am, of course, behind in reviews, but who would have expected anything less of me? I will work hard on catching up...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review: Artemis Fowl the Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer

 Artemis Fowl the Graphic Novel
by Eoin Colfer
YA, Fantasy, graphic novel

125 pages
published: 2007
2 of 5 stars

I have recently read through number 4 in the Artemis Fowl series and have been thoroughly enjoying them, so when I saw that there was a graphic novel out I was excited. I haven't had much experience with graphic novels, but figured the pictures would be highly stylized so I wasn't surprised when they were. My biggest complaint was that I was under the impression that this one contained an additional story, a side story, or something extra, but it did not. It was a retelling of the first book in the series.

Even given my disappointed on that count, I enjoyed this book and branching out from my usual reading style. It was actually fascinating to me to see how the author pared down the original book to fit it into this format. Surprisingly, most of salient points were hit.

  • If I ever have trouble getting one of my children to read, I'll be happy to whip this out and get them involved in a story.
  • I need to watch graphic novels carefully to make sure they don't cross the line into "graphic." There were a few pictures of the heroine I thought a bit too revealing.
  • I much prefer the full fleshed out story of a novel and my own imagined pictures. The author's words and MY visualizing are MUCH better.
Recommended For: Artemis fans, reluctant readers

Friday, January 23, 2009

Review: Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison

Mira, Mirror
by Mette Ivie Harrison
YA, Fairy Tale
320 pages
published: 2006

3 of 5 stars

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, and finally got to the library to get it. The premise for this novel is fascinating and I was excited and intrigued. I figured, with the magic mirror, that it was a take-off of Snow White, but it took me a little while to figure out where the characters in the beginning of the novel fell into the original fairy tale. It was a fun mystery.

I loved the idea and the insight into the wicked witch. I enjoyed the mystery and perilous situations that the peasant girl and the mirror got into. I was pulled into the story and read it straight through. I enjoyed the spunky peasant girl, though she seemed to wither as the story continued, only coming out again at the end. The ending was unexpected, but it made enough sense to me, and I wasn't upset that it was unhappy for some. It was happy enough. And the novel had good messages about love, loyalty, and appearance.

With everything I liked so well, I was surprised to realize that I did not love this book. After reading other reviews (and thinking lots) I have come up with some reasons. I didn't like the dark theory of magic employed in the story. I have read worse, but not in a YA. I really hated the scene where a child was grossly murdered, though I understand the use of it in characterizing the witch. The middle fell flat for me when the story centered on the relationship between the peasant girl and the merchant girl. I guess I just got a little bored with all the love. But the worst fault for me was that I didn't really care about any of the characters. I was interested in their story, but wasn't caring rather it turned out well or not.

Interesting Note: The story seemed to overlap with Beauty and Beast.

Recommended For: older YA, people who enjoy fractured fairy tales (without too weak a stomach)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Review: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians
308 pages
published: 2007
Alcatraz and the Scrivener's Bones
336 pages
by Brandon Sanderson
MG, Fantasy
5 of 5 stars

I love these books! They are fun page turners that are right up my sense of humor alley. (This is probably largely due to my being a writer and these books being filled with silly writer humor.)

The story is about another poor foster kid - but this one breaks things and happens to be from one of the other continents that us Hushlanders don't know about. He has to rescue his birthday sand from the evil librarians conspiracy with the help of his late grandfather. (And I don't mean dead grandfather.) Oh, and there is the 13 year old female knight with an attitude.

In the sequel, Alcatraz is trying to find his father who seems to have joined the ranks of the undead librarians. This time his help comes from his lost uncle, his sometimes ugly cousin, and the angry knight, of course. And don't forget the cyborg librarian!

These books are irreverent. Deliciously irreverent. Brandon Sanderson breaks all the literary rules. He talks directly to the reader, he lies, he throws in absurd things as well as philosophy, and makes the absurd make sense. Even more deliciously, he makes fun of himself, his novels, his genre, other popular novel, classic novels, novels in general, and librarians.

Recommended for: kids starting around 10. It would be helpful if they have done enough reading to have a grasp of how things "usually" go, otherwise they won't catch on to how Sanderson is breaking all the rules. Also for adults whose sense of humor tends toward the absurd and irreverent - adults who don't take themselves too seriously. (I've read a few bad reviews, people take themselves too seriously!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Review: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

 Wuthering Heights
by Emily Bronte
464 pages
published: 1847
For: Book Club
1 of 5 stars

My copy of this classic has a million pages of forwards, prefaces, original forwards, and the like which I dutifully waded through. These extraneous readings got me much more enthused about reading the book since they discussed how controversial it was, how shocking, how horrible. It told me the book read like a stream of consciousness, and that it crossed the internal line of horribleness. How exciting!

For the record, it is nothing like stream of consciousness. And while it had almost no characters worth knowing, it was neither shocking nor horrible.

It did keep my interest most of the time. I appreciated the family tree that I finally understood enough to no longer reference. But I did not love it. I don't know if I even liked it. Neither did I dislike it.

Cathy was unbelievable selfish (and stupid) and killed herself out of spite. Pretty sad. Heathcliff was mean and heartless. But rarely have I seen such a patient bad guy. The most disturbing scene was at the graveyard (which I had to read twice to understand) but it was all right with me. (Too much fantasy?)

A couple things that stuck out to me the most:

How myopic these peoples' lives were! They never saw anyone, went anywhere, or did anything. Cathy Jr. never associated with anyone but her father, servants, and later the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. I would get bored reading because of how boring I perceived their lives to be. Gasp!

How unbelievable I found most characters and behavior. How did Cathy manage to ruin her health permanently by throwing a fit and not eating for 3 days? I could do the same right now and still be fine! How did Isabella run off with Heathcliff when every one she had ever known told him how awful he was (Heathcliff never denying it nor showing any affection) AND Heathcliff hanging her dog before they left together. Really? Why did Heathcliff insist Cathy Jr. marry his son when he knew the kid would die and leave him with the daughter of the woman he loved? I could go on. Nothing seemed plausible to me. Just sick and wrong.

So. I think poor Emily must truly have been a sad, lonely, disturbed soul. The most I can say is that I'm glad to cross this book off the list of books I've wanted to read.

Confessions of a Idiot

This one goes under the idiosyncrasies category.

I've had a bib quandry for some time. Bibs are easy to come by, of course, you can buy them in packs of 10. But I quickly learned that a bib that doesn't cover the entire baby is no good. I then went on some bib adventures, including one that involved those plastic bibs that you wipe clean after the meal. Well those don't work for me. I tend to not clean anything immediately and plastic bibs with dried food are impossible. I like cloth. Get them dirty, then throw them in the washing machine. That is what technology is for.

Then I got a stack of bibs from my ever crafty get-everything-done sister in law. They are homemade from bath towels, bigger than the baby's chest and shoulders, with bias tape sewn around the outside to form the edge and the strings to tie the bib on. (Velcro doesn't work for long, and snaps just get pulled out.) These were wonderful and saved my life through most of Xander, Kyra, and some of Aspen. They are worn out now.

This sparked 2 bib missions. One was to make more bibs following the same pattern. I now have a huge bag of towels cut into bib shape, matching bias tapes, and cute appliques for the corners. Nothing much will ever happen with these because one, I hate my sewing machine (it is over 30 years old, weighs 500 pounds, and requires expertise to thread and use) and two, I suck. Really, I suck bad. I never have sewn much, so making a neat line that stays perfectly at the edge of both the top and bottom layer of bias tape is basically impossible. This sent me to the store where I found fairly large, thick cloth bibs with elastic-over-the-head baby attachments. I purchased these and have since decided this is the way I will go. I have to accept my personality defects to some degree, ya know.

Here is the point. I had purchased 4 of these bibs because there were 4 different ones - 4 wording/color styles. I had even struggled with getting one of them because it had the most obnoxious phrase (if you think I'm cute you should see my mom) which so does not apply that I am embarrassed to own it. But what could I do? I really wanted more than 4! (Confusion from all you well adjusted people, no doubt.)

A few days ago I confessed an epiphany to my husband. While pondering the need for new bibs, and blue bibs, I had happened upon the realization that I could buy more than one of each style. This was big to me. I was thrilled with my brilliant solution to this problem. The really funny thing is that it didn't even occur to me how ridiculous I am until I was saying it out loud to my poor husband who didn't realize how truly impaired I am.

While I was expounding on my brilliance, the alarms went off. The "why are you confessing this idiocy" and "are you seriously that infantile" and "this was an epiphany? you twit!" alarms had me seizing up with laughter. My husband was having a good laugh at me too. I don't even know the source of this strangeness - a symptom of OCD?

Anyway. I'll be going to the store before this one arrives and buying bibs. I will find the ones I like and clean out the store - buying more than one of each style.

It's so exciting when you feel yourself growing.

*It is also ridiculous how long this post is - but what can I say? I'm a writer.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Something New for 2009

My friend Suey is a bookblogger and I've been reading her blog for awhile. With the new year she has posted all the reading challenges that she will be participating in. I don't know if I'll ever be a "bookblogger," but these challenges sound like great fun to me. I don't mind direction or goals - and if I have direction or goals I certainly need a deadline - so this is perfect for me. Here we go.

And, No, I really don't have a problem being a copycat. Meow.

* Watch for lists!