January 30, 2013

Playing Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  In the USA this coming Sunday millions will be watching as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49er's in the Superbowl.  What was the last event you attended that could be described as super?

Super, eh? Well, it all depends on your definition of 'super' I suppose. But I think I'll go with an opportunity that came up two years ago. Several friends and I went to a book signing for Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman. A four hour wait in line seems long, but with seven of us sitting in a corner and chatting, the wait went pretty fast actually. I'm not certain how many people were there, but the bookstore was crammed in every space, so a whole lot. It may not have been as 'super' as a football game with millions watching, but it was pretty awesome to me! :)

2.  Share something you're a fan of these days?

I read My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay during my trip home over the holidays. (My review is here.) It swept me up and wouldn't let me go. It was such an incredibly awesome story! I have been talking it up to anyone who likes to read. It is an excellent, excellent story and if you get the chance to try it, I highly recommend it! :)

Also The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is getting more awesome (if that's possible :), go watch the videos if you haven't seen them yet. But only if you like Jane Austen and aren't a purist as it's a modern update on Pride and Prejudice.

3. How do you feel about wings?  In case anyone is confused, I'm talking the edible appetizer kind.  What's your preferred seasoning on a wing-hot, mild, teryiaki, sweet and sour, other?  Do you make your own or is there a favorite place you like to go for wings?   

I like wings, but I don't have them much. (As in I can't even remember the last time I did.) As for seasoning, as long as it's not extremely spicy, I'll at least try it. I don't really have a "preferred" seasoning.

4.  As long as we're talking sports today...have you followed the Lance Armstrong story?  Did you watch his interview with Oprah and if so what was your reaction to his confession and subsequent remarks?  

The only things I know about this story is what the headlines read online. So....very little. Therefore I don't really have an opinion other than I think taking anything to enhance your athletic ability is very silly, not to mention it has to be terrible on your body.

5.  What's a question you hate to be asked?  

"And who is your husband?" or "Are you seeing anyone?" The person always means well, but after I have to tell them "I'm not married" and "no I'm not seeing anyone", there's always that awkward pause where they feel like they have to say something in return but they don't know what and now they've gotten themselves in a spot they didn't mean to. In other words, it just makes things AWKWARD!

6. The coaches in this Sunday's big game happen to be real life brothers.  Jim Harbaugh coaches the 49er's and his older brother John Harbaugh coaches the Baltimore Ravens.  Were you and your sibling(s) competitive?  In what way? Are you still?  If you're an only child how did you handle competition growing up?  

I don't really remember being competitive with my brothers. We probably had our moments, but none stick out right now. Although.........perhaps you would consider this competition? We had loads of Archie comics when I was growing up and we always seemed to want to read the same ones at the same time. Sharing and not getting mad at each other were our biggest problems! :D

7.  What's your favorite game involving a ball and when did you last play?    

Athletic I am not. But as a spectator I enjoy baseball. My roommate got me onto it because she always watches the World Series every fall. It would do me no good to attempt to actually play baseball though, I'm terrible! Truly terrible. So I try to excel at cheering on the sidelines or in front of the TV. ;)

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

YouTube is way too addicting! I start with one video and then just one more, which leads to this one and this one and this one and it just explodes on from there. It's completely ridiculous, but I'm the one clicking so obviously I'm the ridiculous one. :) Anyhoo, one day in my meanderings, I came upon this little gem which made me laugh and laugh. It's evidently part of a british TV show which I've learned can have some humor that is a little crude for me. But this little video is hilarious and short, so I wanted to share it so you could laugh too! :D

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy Wednesday! :)

January 29, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays {The Last Dragonslayer}

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:
The Last Dragonslayer (The Last Dragonslayer, #1)
"He'd have eaten the leg in under a second if I'd allowed him, but Quarkbeasts, for all their fearsome looks, are obedient to a fault. They are nine-tenths velociraptor and kitchen blender and one-tenth Labrador."

~ page 94, The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Happy Tuesday all! It seems I'm on a fantasy kick these days, having read The Host, now this one, and next (hopefully) Seraphina. What can I say, everybody had returned fantasy stories to the library the day I visited. :) Mr. Fforde is a quirky writer! It took me a few pages to get used to his writing, but I am definitely enjoying the story now. Dragons are quite fascinating! What are you reading this week?

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

January 27, 2013

Grey Days To Glimmering

{ Kellie at Accordion to Kellie is having a blog party to get us out of the wintertime blues! Click over and join in. :) And since I didn't do the Wednesday Hodgepodge last week, I thought this might be fun. }

1) What's your favorite thing to do when you've been feeling uninspired?

Most probably read a book. That seems to be what I do with any free time I have.

2) Tell us about a really great movie/show that you've just discovered.

Ah, I haven't discovered anything recently. I know, boring, boring, boring! What can I say?

3) What do you like to do to change your mood?

Find something to do. Get my mind off whatever is bring me down. Either by reading a book, getting online and finding new blogs, or find a project I can do for someone else. Doing for someone else is always a good thing. :)

4) Your favorite drink is currently...

Hot tea. I recently tried Starbucks Orange Blossom hot tea and really like it. But I'm quite fond of any citrusy-flavored tea.

5) When you hear the word exuberant, what's the first word that comes to mind?


6) What made you smile last?

 Hearing a southern accent this morning. Some of my extended family is in town this weekend and it's so good to hear that VA accent again! I miss it. :D

7) What five songs would make a playlist to describe your week?

I'm going to cheat and only post two. Last week, with not feeling well and concern for mom, I spent a great deal of time thinking about my parents and thinking about home. :)

A. 'Home'. I wrote about it on this post yesterday.

B. 'Promises' by Sanctus Real. Concern about my mother, who's having some struggles right now, made me listen to this one several times this week.

8) What's at the top of your creative 'To-Do' list?

I'm not really very creative in general, but I'd like to get some sewing done soon. Sewing of dresses I mean. From a pattern! Here's hoping anyway. Because I love new clothes. (Yes, I am very much a girl.)

9) The last thing you crossed off the above list was...

 Writing my annual Christmas poem.

10)  Quickly - the first movie quote from the top of your head, please!

 "So goodnight dear void." (from You've Got Mail)

11)  The best thing about January is...

 It's a new year and a brand new start! Everything's new and you have a clean slate.

12) The worst thing about January is...

 Where on earth did the last year go? Why is time flying by so fast?

13) What's your #1 resolution for 2013?

 To become a little bit more braver. To step out of my comfort zone and roar at my fears! (Even if it's just a tiny roar.)

14)  And lastly, share a quote or verse that you've found especially inspiring lately.

I have two to share because I couldn't choose between them. They are both currently on my bathroom mirror so I see them every morning. :)

 "I'm keeping watch from my particular dark, with my question marks and anxieties and messy middles, praying for eyes to see what is the already and faith to wait for the not yet." ~Sara Zarr
"I wonder about me, too. About that gap between who I am and who I could be-or maybe should be-and I peer across this gap and suck in my breath cuz, ooh boy, I can not jump that far. But...that's where I believe grace comes in. Grace comes in, not to sweep me up and set me on the other side, the side where I'm right and perfect and never screw up. Nuh-uh. It comes in to say hey, so you're a little damaged, so what? I can work with that." ~Shari Green

Toodle-loo kangaroos! What's inspiring you this week?

Deja Vu Review {A Fantasy}


The Deja Vu Review is hosted every Sunday by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide.  It's a chance to write a mini-review for books that you read in your pre-blogging days!

Today's topic is: A Fantasy

What better epic fantasy than The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner? (I know it's more than one book, but I can't limit this to just one. The entire set is simply fabulous! Plus it's really just one long story anyway.) (As most series are, I suppose. But I digress.) I first heard about them from Angie last year, right around this time actually. Her post (and subsequent reviews) led me over to Chachic's Book Nook where she had a Queen's Thief Week going on. Go and read all the fabulous posts and then I dare you to decide that you won't read these books. It's not possible I tell you! They totally convinced me with all their gushing and so I trekked over to the library and found the whole series. I have to admit that I found The Thief just okay, and while it had an awesome ending, I wasn't blown away yet. So on to The Queen of Attolia. Frankly I was in shock that Ms. Turner could make me read a story with war and war strategies since a good portion dealt with that. Yet she had hooked me in by now, and while I still didn't think the books were fabulous, I was starting to notice details that were intriguing me. (In fact, I remember telling a friend that I was reading this well-written series but I couldn't imagine wanting to re-read them again.) (Silly me.) But then.........oh my goodness! Then I started The King of Attolia! Suddenly all these details from the first two books made a whole lot more sense, I had now fallen in love with Gen, Attolia, Eddis, the Magus, and the rest of the colorful characters, and by the time I finished it, I was feeling quite wind blown! :D A Conspiracy of Kings just solidified that feeling! I couldn't believe all these details that were showing up and things that had happened in the first books suddenly took on a whole new meaning completely. I was totally blown away and in love with these stories and dying to talk to to someone about them. So I now stand firmly in the camp of people gushing about this series and saying that you must read them! NOW! Then come back here and gush about them with me. ;) Seriously though, I encourage you to try them. They do seem kind of slow at first and you may think the way I did; that this isn't as fab as you expected and why should you want to finish. But I beg you just stick with it. Please read at least beyond the first book. Read one and two and then see if you don't want to go ahead and read three and four. It's worth it! :)

Just as a point of interest, Ms. Turner actually takes years to write these books. There's four years between the publishing dates of one and two, six years between two and three, and four more years between three and four. I believe more books are planned, but not out yet. The latest was published in 2010, so we've got a while yet for number five. So she has plenty of time to plan in detail and make sure we get another awesome addition. ;) But don't worry about cliffhangers and such! Each book ends at a point that you could stop and be quite satisfied, yet when you get the next story you realize how glad you are to be back in their lives again. Read it, read it, read it!

Well, that was considerably longer than "mini" wasn't it? Sorry about that. Guess I just needed to get my gushing out of my system! :D

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy reading!

January 26, 2013

Review: The Host by Stephanie Meyer

The Host (The Host, #1)
The Host

About the Book:

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves - Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

My Thoughts:

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this story. Having read the Twilight series and had mixed emotions, I was uncertain whether to try this one. But hearing more and more news about the movie intrigued me, so I picked it up from the library. I'm glad I did! Ms. Meyer certainly has a unique premise here. Two conscious minds in one body, or should I say "souls"? Wanda is definitely a very unique being and her struggle between herself and her rising love for these humans is quite fascinating. And watching Melanie and Wanda find out about each other and slowly come to understand and care for one another was well done. Watching as Jeb and Jamie and the few others come to know and care for Wanda was nice also. The relationships, and how the characters interact with one another, is really where the strength of this story lies. The world this is set in causes people to forge relationships that may not have happened before and do things they wouldn't have dreamed of doing before either. People's strengths and weaknesses are more widely known simply because they have to be to survive. There aren't any major tension-filled moments; you know things will end happily for everyone, so it's all the little moments strung together that make it enjoyable. Ms. Meyer may not be the best writer I've ever read, but she knows how to hook me in and make me want to find out what happens next. The problems I had are the same as her other books, many little details are glossed over. There are so many details left out and other information about these aliens that I wish could have been expounded on. And the love story portions are a little crazy and a little cute and a whole lot of insta-love. Which means that they work while you're reading it, as long as you don't look too deep and try to analyze anything.

It was a fun read! I'm glad I finally picked it up and it's the kind of story that I might want to re-read every once in a while. Definitely enjoyable while it lasted but not any sort of award winner. It's different from her other series, so if you haven't read it yet you should certainly try it yourself! :)

A Passage For You:
"This shouldn't have felt like a betrayal, the idea of continuing on my right and proper course. My first language, the true language of the soul that was spoken only on our planet of origin, had no word for betrayal or traitor. Or even loyalty-because without the existence of an opposite, the concept had no meaning.
And yet I felt a deep well of guilt at the very idea of the Seeker. It would be wrong to tell her what I knew. Wrong, how? I countered my own thought viciously. If I stopped here and listened to the seductive suggestions of my host, I would truly be a traitor. That was impossible. I was a soul.
And yet I knew what I wanted, more powerfully and vividly than anything I had ever wanted in all the eight lives I'd lived."

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

TSMSS - Home

I'm sharing a song about Virginia with you today. Virginia is where I grew up so it will always be 'home' to me. :)

I've been thinking about mom a lot this week. I've decided that when I'm sick or not feeling good, I want my mother around! I know that sounds like a little kid, but mom's just know how to make you feel better. :) So of course when I think about mom, I also end up thinking about VA. Like they say, "there's no place like home!" The hills, the food, and especially the people. VA was just a pretty special place to grow up.

While on YouTube yesterday, I stumbled across this video from the VA Chamber of Commerce. This particular song spoke to my heart. It's some good old country playing and the lyrics are beautiful. I hope you enjoy! :)

Do you feel the same way about where you grew up? Do you long for home whenever you get sick? Where is 'home' to you?

Toodle-loo kangaroos.

More Thoughts From Kara's Nonsensical Brain

I'm alive! Did you wonder what happened? I'd been posting great and keeping up with other blogs great and bam! This week happened. I had such great plans of how my week was going to go too! Needless to say, it did not start well. My roomie got sick on Monday and I didn't feel good on Tuesday or Wednesday. I never actually got sick, but my body must have been fighting it hard because it sure let me know it wasn't happy. But enough about yucky stuff that y'all have no interest in.
Source: squidoo.com via Kara on Pinterest

Did you have a good week? I hope better than mine. Although the last couple days have perked me up again. Today especially. First of all, it's Friday! What's not to like about that except to wish that it was Saturday? ;) And I went to work, but had a lunch meeting in another city, so including drive time I spent most of the day out of the office with one of my favorite co-workers. I probably shouldn't mention her as she might get embarrassed, but she totally made my week so much better when she mentioned how she reads my blog and liked some of my reviews *waves hand* Hi there! Hoping she's reading this so I don't feel too ridiculous speaking about someone not even paying attention. Anyway when she told me that, it completely brightened my day and made my week much more awesome. So while it didn't start great, it has ended fabulously! :D

On the plus side of not feeling well, it is possible to get some reading done. Yahoo! (I'm quoting my nephew. At Christmas, my dad was handing out envelopes to everyone, and when S opened his and saw the money inside, he cried "Yahoo!" It was adorable.) (He's only 3 by the way.) (Why yes, I am quite fond of my nephew, why do you ask?) I only finished just a couple books mind you, so reviews shall be coming forthwith. (How quick does 'forthwith' mean? Not tonight, sorry.) (But they will be coming!)

Meanwhile back in my brain (I agree, it's a scary place), I'm thinking about the lunch meeting we had today. When we arrived and sat down, they had these little bitty cups of dessert already sitting around the center pieces on the tables. They were so cute that we couldn't tell if they were real or not. Have you ever been in a room full of people you don't know and tried to eat something fake? Neither have I, but I was a little worried about it. Plus I didn't want to be the first one to pick a dessert because that's just not cool. It's way better to wait and be the second or third. (I have no idea why it's not cool, but haven't you ever noticed how no one wants to go first with those sorts of things? Or not. Maybe it's just me. Probably. Okay then!) Well, whether I looked cool or looked silly, it was a good dessert. Something chocolaty. The only downside was I had waited so long to try it that I no longer had any drink left and it made me incredibly thirsty! And of course I wouldn't dare to stand up and go get more drink because that would require getting up in front of all those people I didn't know as the meeting had already started. You see my dilemma? Perhaps not, but it felt like a small dilemma then. Have no fear, I hung on til the end and survived. I didn't die of thirst so all's well that ends well!

In case you haven't figured it out, I really dislike being in front of people. You couldn't tell, could you? Like I said, my brain is a scary place. Trust me, I don't make sense to myself half the time. So if you're sitting there shaking your head at my ridiculousness, don't worry I'm totally with you! :D

Speaking of fabulous ideas (Yes. We were.), have you ever gone searching for a geocache? My cousin and his children introduced me to this fabulously fun free-time frolic. Okay that makes no sense. Although it is a fun little thing to do when you have free-time. Because it does take time and it also takes somebody smart since those little buggers can be hidden really, really well. But not so much a frolic really. Hmmmm. Nope, no frolicking was had, but that's a story for another day! Perhaps if there's any interest shone, I shall tell the tale someday soon. So I suppose that's your homework. Or my homework. Or whatever I mean. What I'm trying to say is I wanna know if you wanna know. Or whatever. You know what I mean. If not, that's nothing new, so.......well. Yeah.

Okay so, anyone else all caught up on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? I am so loving the Pemberly arc! It's become a very small reason to look forward to Monday's! :) If you aren't watching, why on earth not? Go check it out! It's loads of fun. :)

I shall leave you to it then. Go forth (watch a few videos on YouTube) and have a fantabulously wondrous and splendiferously awesome weekend!  :D (And sorry for all the Norman Rockwell pics. I started a new Pinterest board and remembered how much I like his paintings.)

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

January 20, 2013

The Deja Vu Review {Book With a Food Theme}


The Deja Vu Review is hosted every Sunday by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide.  It's a chance to write a mini-review for books that you read in your pre-blogging days!

Today's topic is: A Book With A Food Theme

Chateau of EchoesChateau of Echoes by Siri Mitchell

This isn't a story primarily about food. I couldn't find one of those on my shelf. But Freddie spends a great deal of time in the kitchen of her bed and breakfast. And the food she fixes will make your mouth water! Yet this story is so much more than just the food they eat. Taking place in France, Cranwell has come to Freddie's chateau to research Alix de Montot, a fifteenth century young woman who lived in the chateau. So while we learn about Freddie and Cranwell, we also get Alix's story written in diary form. Cranwell's intrusion into Freddie's well-ordered world, and also learning about Alix's arranged marriage, makes her look at her life and her belief's and how she really feels about it all. Freddie, Cranwell, and Alix are complex people whose layers take a while to peel back one by one. The beauty is in the peeling back. It's gentle and quiet, but soon you're sucked in and don't realize how subtly the characters are changing until there you are! As Freddie herself says, "There were moments of incredible happiness strung together with real life." And several moments of laughter and fun! Don't let the length of this book scare you away. It's a wonderful story and very well worth your time! :)

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy reading! :)

January 19, 2013

Review: Mothership by Martin Leicht & Isla Neal

Mothership (Ever-Expanding Universe, #1)
Mothership (Ever-Expanding Universe #1)

About the Book:

Elvie Nara was doing just fine in the year 2074. She had a great best friend, a dad she adored, and bright future working on the Ares Project on Mars. But then she had to get involved with sweet, gorgeous, dumb-as-a-brick Cole--and now she’s pregnant.

Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship--and one of them turns out to be Cole. She hasn’t seen him since she told him she’s pregnant, and now he’s bursting into her new home to tell her that her teachers are aliens and want to use her unborn baby to repopulate their species? Nice try, buddy. You could have just called.

So fine, finding a way off this ship is priority number one, but first Elvie has to figure out how Cole ended up as a commando, work together with her arch-nemesis, and figure out if she even wants to be a mother--assuming they get back to Earth in one piece.

My Thoughts:

Interesting. That's the first word that pops into my head when trying to describe this book. Very interesting. If the description above sounds kind of weird, well....that pretty much describes this book to a T. It's not a bad story, it's just different. I saw it at the library and remembered that I had seen some reviews for it that had intrigued me, so I decided to try it. I wasn't expecting to be blown away mind you, so I'm not complaining. The basics of what didn't work for me is really the relationship between Elvie and Cole. Cole is just as described, gorgeous but dumb-as-a-brick. Really! He clearly is missing a few marbles and also keeping quite a lot of secrets from Elvie, but because he's so hot, she forgives him really quickly. Oh, she does show a little anger at his deceptions (which are major deceptions in my mind!), but it isn't long before she's quite willing to forgive and forget (at least forget as much as she's able as she's carrying his child). It's a case of insta-love, or insta-lust more like, and I could never really figure out exactly how they supposedly "fell in love". And since their relationship is the instigator for the whole scenario, I wasn't exactly thrilled with where the story took me. But I do have to give credit to the authors! They obviously had this future world planned out and they do a great job of explaining who is who and what they want with Elvie and the other mother's-to-be. The spaceship school they're on is quite large and as they navigate around in it, I could easily picture where they were.

It's not difficult following where the authors' lead you; their writing is well done. They also nicely set up for the next book without leaving you with a terrible cliffhanger. Which I really appreciated! (I'm not a huge fan of big cliffhangers when it's going to be ages before the next book comes out.) So essentially, there is nothing wrong with this book if you enjoy a fast-paced scifi insta-love romance. It may be right up your alley! As for me, I'm not planning on reading the rest of the series. 

A Passage For You:
"I duck behind the door and try to hide the best someone can with a fetus jutting out her front end. I don't know who these dudes are, and I can't see their faces, but I know for a fact that they weren't on board ten minutes ago. The faculty doesn't pack heat. They usually stick with demerits. Which means that the L.O.C. Echidna is under attack. 
Lights flickering, intercom crackling, I suddenly realize. Everyone else is on the lido deck doing underwater prenatal yoga except me."

 Toodle-loo kangaroos!

January 17, 2013

Audiobook Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Read by Rebecca Soler

About the Book:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Thoughts:

I've been seeing this book around everywhere since it came out! It seemed like everybody had read it and loved it. But as I knew it was the beginning of a series and had heard that it had a cliffhanger, I determined to wait until at least one or two more books were out before starting this one. HA! So much for that idea. :D This story about a cyborg Cinderella totally sucked me in! Cinder's sarcasm and quick thinking draw you into her life and you just want to give her all the hugs she's been missing. Living a life of drudgery thanks to her stepmother and one of her stepsisters, her bright spots are Peony, her other stepsister, and Iko, an android. I loved, loved, loved Iko! She is so cute and funny! Her little comments never failed to make me smile. I really wish there had been more of her in the story, so I'm hoping she shows up again in later books. Ms. Meyer did a great job of describing her world without going into too much detail. I know that sounds funny, but it's true. She doesn't use a lot of words, yet I could perfectly picture the market place and Cinder's apartment and the castle. This world she's created is quite fascinating, as are the Lunar's, especially evil Queen Levana (and is she ever evil!). One major plot twist I pretty well figured out from the getgo, but there were lots of other surprises in store that I didn't see coming. There were a few characters whose motives were hard to read at first, and some I'm still wondering about. Around midway through I was absolutely loving the story. The characters were hilarious and Cinder's adventure was fun. Ms. Meyer had interspersed sections of the story with Kai's point of view, which was fine in the beginning. But then in the back half of the book, his portions pretty much consist of politics. Which is important for the story, I do realize. But those parts kind of bogged the story down a little for me, so I skipped through them as quick as I could. I admit I was more interested in what was going on with Cinder than what was going on with Kai. Plus Kai's interest in Cinder moved a little quick for me, but considering the source material (Cinderella and her prince fall in love during one dance!) I could forgive that. Also the story is just a lot of fun! :)

Ms. Soler is a fabulous narrator! I'm pretty positive that she is a huge part of why I loved this story so much. The voices she uses for each character totally suit them and had me in stitches or shuddering with creepiness. I really don't think I would have gotten quite as sucked into the story were I not listening to Ms. Soler's reading. It would be awesome if she does the rest of the series. So I definitely recommend getting this audiobook for a quirky and fun escape for a few hours! :)

A Favorite Quote:
“Oh, my stars! Think about Prince Kai! You could dance with Prince Kai!”
This made Cinder pause and squint into Iko’s blinding light. “Why would the prince dance with me?”
Iko’s fan hummed as she sought an answer. “Because you won’t have grease on your face this time.”

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy reading! :)

January 16, 2013

A North and South Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen's English...here's the list for 2013-
fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, yolo (an acronym for you only live once), spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings, and guru
Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen.

Well, I've actually never heard most of these in anyone's "everyday speech", certainly never used them myself. So I'm not certain I'd want to keep any of them. Except maybe for a few special occasions. Every once in a while, I have thrown out "guru" just because it's a fun word to say. But as for the rest, I don't think I'd miss them.

2.  When was the last time you rode a train?  Where did you go?

About eight or nine years ago, a friend and I, along with her grandson, took the train down to the Fresno Zoo for the day.

3. Bagels-yay or nay?  Favorite 'flavor'?  Favorite topping?

YAY!! I love bagels! My favorite kind is cinnamon raisin and I like plain cream cheese on top. The whipped cream cheese is the best! :)

4.  'Tis the season of awards shows...if you could star in a movie already made which one would you choose?

I am absolutely terrified to stand in front of people and be the center of attention, so I could never, ever, ever, ever be a movie star. Sounds horrible to me. But if I HAD to, I'd probably choose a period drama since I love to watch those and that means I could practice my British accent! :) (I've always thought it would be fun to be able to whip out a British accent whenever I felt like it.)

Speaking of period dramas, if I could be in a movie with Richard Armitage and get him to look at me like that, I certainly wouldn't complain! Although I'm not so sure I'd even be able to talk if I ever actually met the man. :D (And yes, this is a shameless plan on my part to encourage you to watch North and South!)

5. The move towards single gender classrooms has been making the news in recent months....what say you?  Do you think kids perform better if separated by gender and are taught differently or is that discrimination?  If you're a parent, is this something you'd support in regard to your own children?

Just going by my own experience, as I have no children, I don't see anything wrong with going to class with guys and girls both. It was fine with me and never affected my studies that I can recall. I obviously don't pay attention to the news much as I hadn't heard anything about this, so I don't really have a big opinion either way at this point.

6. What's your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?

Not having to do any of the laundry or cleaning!

7. Do you have a 'word' for 2013?  What's the story behind your choice?

I don't really have one, but recently Natalie Lloyd had a post about "roar" and being brave. It was a great post (go read it!), so perhaps I'll go with that. I could stand to fight my fears and be braver this year. :) Fear can definitely keep me from stepping out into the unknown and I'd like to change that.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Since I've already mentioned North and South, I thought I'd entice you with more pictures in case you haven't seen it yet. And if you have, then perhaps they'll encourage you to go watch it again! :D It is hands down my absolute favorite movie/mini series ever! I have watched it countless times and I imagine many more times will happen in the future. :) It's a wonderful romance but also filled with mill worker strikes and problems and everyday life in England around the 1850s. All the characters are awesome. (But especially John Thornton and Margaret Hale, the main couple.) Each one is well acted and fleshed out. I could probably gush for days about the splendiferously fabulousness of this mini series but I won't. :D Just........go watch it! It's a great way to spend four hours of your time. Perhaps more if you're like me and re-watch the last scene multiple times!

Source: bbc.co.uk via Kara on Pinterest

Toodle-loo kangaroos! :D

January 15, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays {Cinder}

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)My teasers:
"Iko rolled to her side, clasping her metal grippers over her chest. "Prince Kai. Check my fan, I think I'm overheating!"
chapter one, audiobook version of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

So I totally broke one of my reading rules with this book. Usually I don't like to start a book when I know it's the first in a series. I like to wait until at least a couple books are out. But I saw this audiobook at the library over the weekend and thought, "Why not?". (And luckily the sequel will be out in less than a month so yay for that! ;) I popped in the first CD on my way home and as soon as I heard the above lines, I knew I was hooked. I love Iko! I wish she were featured more. But I am really enjoying this story and can finally understand all the rave reviews I've read about it! Ms. Meyer is an excellent writer. Plus Rebecca Soler is doing a fabulous job with all the voices and characters. I think she's half the reason I'm having so much fun! :D Have you read it? What did you think?

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

January 13, 2013

The Deja Vu Review {Fave Book Covers}


The Deja Vu Review is hosted every Sunday by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide.  It's a chance to write a mini-review for books that you read in your pre-blogging days!

Today's topic is: Favorite Book Covers.

My Stubborn HeartMy Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

Cover: I think this is a great cover. I know some people don't like when the people have part of their heads cut off, but in this instance, I don't mind. It's simple and the focus is on the character's. Which is appropriate for this story.

Review: This is such a sweet romance. Kate and Matt have incredible chemistry! Although Kate's the only one who will admit to it. Matt is all deny, deny, deny. But his pain after losing his wife to cancer is hard to get over, which is understandable. Alas Kate doesn't give up and their journey to each other is cute and fun. One of my favorites to read again and again! :)

Sixteen Brides
Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Cover: I like this cover as well. I especially like that we can't see their faces. I have fun looking at what each lady is wearing to try to figure out who is who. Because while the title says sixteen, there are actually five main ladies that we get to know.

Review: A southern lady, a spinster and her widowed mother, a doctor's wife, a military widow and her son, and an abused divorcee, all on a train and headed west. Each lady is so different, yet they do all have something in common: a desire to get out from whatever situation they want to leave behind. And while they may not look like it, they each also are very willing to work hard to make their lives better. How they view each other changes as they have to rely on one another to survive in Nebraska in 1871. The viewpoint changes from lady to lady, so we get lots of stories and situations going on, but it never gets confusing. Ms. Whitson does an excellent job of jumping from character to character and infusing each one with their own personality so you know what's going on. Plus she's great at ending one character's time in the spotlight with a little cliffhanger which makes you eager to find out what happens next. An excellent historical romance!

 Toodle-loo kangaroos! What are you reading this week?

January 10, 2013

Review: Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

Jayber Crow
Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William)

About the Book:

Jayber Crow is the story of a man's love for his community and his abiding and unrequited love for Mattie Chatham, a good woman who had too early made one bad mistake. Sent to an orphanage at the age of ten, Jayber grows up knowing of loneliness and want, and learns how to be a watchful observer of human goodness and frailty. With the flood of 1937 he returns to his native Port William to become the town's barber. Slowly, patiently, the observer becomes participant.

My Thoughts:

I was recommended this book by my cousin. He said it was a great story about the south. Which is very true! Really this story is a love song for the American small town in early to middle 20th century. Written as a fictional autobiography by Jayber himself; he is an old man looking back at his life and all the changes he went through and all the changes America went through. Jayber is a pretty quiet fellow, always was and always will be, so he spends a great deal of time in his own head. He has a unique way of interacting with the world, as he's a barber and thereby privy to loads of details about everyone. Even details they may not realize he knows! "Around here it is hard for a interesting secret to stay a secret." Such is the life of a barbershop, where customers come and go, loafers come and stay, and the conversation is always ongoing. Really, his barbershop is the meeting place in town where all the men gather and where news is spread. It's not a place for women, except on certain days when they'll bring their boys in for haircuts. But these small town farmers are worse gossips than women sometimes! No one topic is sacred. Still they are all neighbors and friends (even the people they don't like) and are willing to help out in situations should they be needed. Especially if you've got some whiskey or beer or moonshine to offer as reward! 

This book is not a riveting tale, it's quiet and gentle most of the time. Jayber speaks of his childhood near Port William, moves away during his teen years, and then tells about his journey back again in his twenties. He sets up his barbershop and thus begins the most fun chapters. What I really enjoyed about this book were the characters. In fact, Port William and the surrounding area are almost characters themselves since Jayber knows all the hills and valley's and paths really well. But the people who populate his life, their stories are what make this story so delightful! We learn each person by name, what kind of life they lead, and how Jayber views them. So onward we go as we watch Jayber and his friends getting older and all the changes that are wrought through two world wars, a Depression, the onslaught of modern machinery and all that brings with it. Jayber himself struggles with who he is and where he wants his life to go. 

It may not sound like a very exciting book, and it's not really. But it gently sweeps you into these peoples lives and soon you're concerned over their children with them and worried how the flood or drought is going to affect their farms. Before you know it, you're invested in what's going to happen next! :) I truly enjoyed my time in Port William very much. The only quibble I have is that around halfway through, it kind of got bogged down a little bit in some of Jayber's escapades (yes, he did have a few of those) and there were a few chapters where I sped read through them. But it only lasted a few chapters and then picked back up, so it didn't bug me overmuch. The end result being that I enjoyed this delightful little story filled with stories! You should try it too. :)

A Favorite Passage:
"But also Bill Thacker, walking home over the Katy's Branch bridge, blundered into the railing and mistook it for his yard gate. Finding that he could not unfasten it, he climbed over and fell fifteen feet into a field that Webster Page had plowed for corn. Fortunately, the backwater had just withdrawn from the bottom at that place, and instead of breaking his neck Bill only made a deep impression in about a foot and a half of mud. The mud was so soft and comfortable that he took a good nap before he got up. This story would have been hard to learn except that Bill Thacker himself thought so highly of it that he walked to town the next Saturday afternoon to tell it on himself."

Toodle-loo kangaroos! :D


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