September 28, 2012

Words, words, the musical fruit...

Words, words, the musical fruit..... Wait, that's not how that goes, is it? But it could! Words can be very musically minded, you know. Now let me think...........

Words, words, the musical fruit, the more you say, the less you're cute! (Sorry, it's Friday night, I'm tired. That's the best I got right now.)

Seriously though, words are so interesting. They are how we communicate anything. I mean think about it. Words make up our songs, our books, our talking, our thinking, our describing, you name it. When you look at something, you have to use words to even think about what you're looking at. They are such a huge part of our lives, we simply couldn't do without them.

And some of them are so much fun! For example: thither, felicity, nonsensical, hitherto, awesome, splendiferous, delicious, extravaganza. (I could keep going, but I won't. You're welcome.) But aren't they fun to say out loud? I dare you, triple dog dare you even!, to say them out loud right now, exactly where you are. No matter who's listening, no matter how they may look at you, just pick one word that looks fun to say, either from my tiny little list or one you like, and say it out loud right now. This instant! Go ahead, I'll wait here.

Did you do it? Were you brave? Maybe that isn't bravery for you, but it is for me! If it makes you feel better I did it, but as I am sitting alone in my room typing, it didn't really have any effect. But I promise that the next moment I am somewhere a little more public, I will use felicity in a sentence. (Really. I will!) I'll let you know what happened. But you have to return the favor! If you can use one of my words, or a unique word of your choosing in a sentence to someone else, please, please tell me about it! Stories are splendiferously awesome! (See what I did?) But it has to be a word that you would not normally say. So leave a comment with the word used, and how you used it, and what reactions (if any) happened. I promise to enjoy your stories. :)

One thing is for certain about this gal, written words are my crazy friends. I mean, you get me in a big room full of people and my mind goes completely blank and therefore I say nothing, but you sit me down in front of a computer to write a blog post and I'll type about all kinds of nothings til the cows come home! (And this post is obviously one of those kind. If you can't tell.)

That's also a problem for me at work. I work in an office and occasionally have to type memos and such. My word vomit gets so bad sometimes, that I automatically have my supervisor proofread any letter or memo I send out now. (Lucky for me, he's a nice guy that way.) And he usually can eliminate about a quarter to half of my sentences. There has yet to be a moment when he proofreads something I've typed and doesn't scratch out at least one sentence or phrase. (My blog posts would probably drive him absolutely nuts!) For some reason, my brain likes to use twenty words to describe or talk about something, when five would actually work just fine. Anybody else have that problem?

Words are unique and wonderful. I like to throw out something different every once in a while. In fact, I've been tossing around an idea to try here. A Word of the Week, or month, or whatever length of time I decide on. Where I choose a fun word, showcase it somewhere on my blog, perhaps define it so we all know what it means, and attempt to then use that word as many times in my posts as I can. What do y'all think? Is it too silly? Please let me know. And be honest! If you like my idea, you can say 'Kara, what a fabulous idea!'. If you don't like it, you can say 'Kara, that's way too silly. Do not even attempt it.' I will not be offended (as long as you're nice about it anyway).

If you can't tell, I would love some feedback. Pretty please? With sugar and ice cream on top? :)

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend. I noticed Bloggiesta is going on, so I may lurk around some of those posts myself. Perhaps my blog will look prettier by Monday. Or maybe it won't. Who knows what will happen? Toodle-loo kangaroos!

Have Some Spare Time? Volunteer!
A friend of mine approached me the other day. She said she had been thinking about volunteering somewhere and when she mentioned it to her sister, she was told she should talk to me. Now I am far and away not an expert on this. But I do volunteer my time every week for hospice. So, I thought I would share a little about volunteering and try to convince others that they should try it.

{Disclaimer: Please don't think that I am trying to raise myself up as this perfect role model because I volunteer. That is not my intention at all! If I come across that way, I sincerely apologize. I merely want to encourage others who may be interested, that it is an extremely worthwhile thing to do. Because it really, really is.}

First of all, I've been volunteering for around four years now. Back in 2008, I had traveled to Mississippi (that state is so much fun to type!) to help with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. I was only there a week, but I realized in that short amount of time how much I enjoyed helping someone else. So when I got home, I decided there had to be something I could do around here that would be just as helpful. Long story short, hospice was the only available option for evenings or weekends. And now four years later, I'm still going strong (well........mostly).

I would absolutely urge anyone who has ever had the thought, to try it. There are all kinds of opportunities out there, and you don't have to give hours and hours of time. I myself only go about 2 hours a week (well, three if you count travel time). I do understand that since I don't have children, I have a little more spare time on my hands than other people may. But I also believe that if you want to make it happen, you can make it happen.

Perhaps try looking for an opportunity that's kid friendly. It doesn't have to be an organization either! It could simply be going to your neighbor's house and doing something for them once a week, or twice a month or something. (And what a great example to set for your children!)

The other thing I have learned is have a set time in your routine to do this. Whether you are working for an organization like hospice, or just helping out your neighbor or someone you know, have a specified day, a start time, and a length of time you will work. Now these things can be flexible, but since I am someone who finds it hard to stay committed to projects sometimes, this has been immensely helpful to me! I know every Thursday evening what I will be doing. Then when something else comes up, either I plan it for another night, or I change what night I go that week. Or sometimes I don't go at all. (That is also perfectly permissible. You know your schedule and what will work or won't work.)

My schedule is flexible, but I try not to move it around very often. I have too much of the tendency to want to stay home and read a book! :) (And it's not like I have temptation sitting right there or anything. Have you seen my bookshelves?)

Now let me be clear that I am not pressuring everyone to volunteer. If you've no desire, then by all means that is perfectly okay! (I promise I'll still like you.) I do realize that it is not for everyone out there. I just wanted to encourage someone who may be thinking about it already. The amazing thing about it is, you know you're helping someone else (I mean, that's the kinda the point), but you end up getting just as much, if not more, from it!

If you already volunteer your time somewhere, let me know in the comments. :)

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

September 25, 2012

Review: Ruby's Slippers by Leanna Ellis

Ruby's Slippers

About the Book:

Dottie Meyers, 35, is a real-life Dorothy Gale living with her little black dog on a small farm in Kansas that’s about to be hit by a tornado. Knocked unconscious by the storm, she awakes three months later at a recovery facility in California where her father, last seen when she was four, has left her a mysterious pair of ruby slippers.

But unlike The Wizard of Oz, this isn’t a dream, and the yellow brick road journey that Dottie and three friends are about to take from Los Angeles to Seattle in search of her dad, will show the realities of a broken childhood. More importantly, everything connected to those sparkling red shoes will prove to Dottie that there’s only one true wonder Worker behind the so-called curtain who can heal her wounds and prepare the heart for love.

My thoughts:

This is another book that has found its way to my bookshelf, and isn't going anywhere. Dottie's story is such a fun adventure! Having cared for her sick mother until her death, she's still living in the house she grew up in; still living the quiet life she's always lived; and does not even want to imagine any kind of change to her routine. In other words, she's in a very predictable, very boring rut, until a literal tornado takes her staid life and shakes it up completely! She wakes up three months later confused, fearful, uncertain, and unable to make sense of her life. Her sister, Abby, has moved her to California during her coma, and pretty much gotten rid of everything from her old life. With a body that's slowly recovering, she meets the other characters living in the Santa Barbara Retirement Center, or 'Rainbow's End'; Maybelle (a four foot tall retired carnival worker), and Sophia (battled breast cancer, now her chest tends to get lopsided).  Finally reunited with Otto, her faithful dog, she discovers that sometime during her coma, her long lost father has visited and left some ruby slippers for her. The slippers belonged to her grandmother, and Dottie sees this as her father making an effort at last. With her farm in Kansas just about to be auctioned off, she decides to meet her father in person, hoping he can help settle her questions along with selling the shoes so she can buy back her farm. With Sophia, and Otto of course, off they go to Seattle. Along the way, they pick up two extra travelers who are a little lost also, and what follows is a great experience that helps each of them find themselves.

Sprinkled with little call backs to The Wizard of Oz, this is a story that will make you smile. You root for Dottie to find her answers, and you also can't help but enjoy all the people she meets on her 'yellow brick road'. Especially Leo, Sophia's son, who is a little bit broken himself. Dottie and Leo circle around one another, and their banter is just so cute to watch! Dottie hasn't ever had someone tease her and rile her quite as quickly and as often as Leo seems to. For Leo, Dottie's bravery and determination are intriguing. (Plus he really just likes to see how quick he can make her blush.) Their interactions are simply charming. Overall, this adventure is delightful and amusing to read! Try it yourself! You won't be disappointed.

A passage for you:

"You remind me of a school teacher I had once."
"What did you do? Put gum in her chair? Burn her desk? Pull a knife on her?"
For a long moment he doesn't answer. He studies me as if I'm under a microscope. Resisting the urge to flinch or look away, I glare right back. Intelligence sparkles in his eyes. His mouth tugs sideways. He's enjoying this too much.
"So..." I prompt, uncomfortable with his scrutiny. "Did you get kicked out of her class?"
"Nope." His mouth tugs to one side in a self-satisfied grin. "Top student. Highest grade in the class."
Why do I doubt that?
"I kissed her."
I shouldn't be surprised, but I am.
"Not sure that had anything to do with my grade though. But I think she'd have given me an A for the kiss."

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy Reading!

September 24, 2012

Review: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores

About the book:

Customer: Have you read every single book in here?

Bookseller: No, I can't say I have.

Customer: Well, you're not very good at your job, are you?

A simple Twitter question posed by John Cleese-"What is your pet peeve?" -inspired Jen Campbell to start a blog collecting all the ridiculous conversations overheard in her bookstore, everything from "Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?" to the hunt for a paperback which could forecast the next year’s weather; from "I've forgotten my glasses, please read me the first chapter" to "Excuse me ... is this book edible?"; and from "Can books conduct electricity?" to "My children are just climbing your bookshelves: that's ok... isn't it?"

If we didn't know it already, this irresistible book is proof positive that booksellers are heroes, the world over.

My thoughts:

This wonderful little book is a very quick read, but oh what fun it is! You read it and can't hardly fathom that there are people in this world who would say/ask such things. I mean, I know we're all human and each of us can do some silly stuff once in a while. But the quotes collected here make you shake your head in wonder. It did not take much time to read this one, but it certainly makes you laugh all the way through! Get it and have it handy when you need a pick me up. :) (There is an adult section that you may not want your children reading. It's only one small section, but it is there. Just a heads-up.)


(A couple approaches the desk)
Bookseller: Can I help you find something?
Man: Yeah, we're looking for a vocabulary book. It's either called The Soars or The Sars.
Bookseller: Let me look it up and see what we have.
Woman: Oh, it's ok, I made a note of the title.
(Customer pulls a napkin from her purse and lays it down for the bookseller to read. Written on it is: "The Saurus.")
Customer: Do you have any books on Japan?
Bookseller: Sure. A travel guide or a history?
Customer: Yes.
Bookseller: Which one?
Customer: Both.
Bookseller: Right.
Customer: ...And it should also have stories for children.
Bookseller: ...
Customer: Illustrated.
Bookseller: ...
Customer: And it has to be a hardback, not a paperback. And it should be a good price.
Bookseller: ...
Customer: A really nice old edition, with a modern twist.
Bookseller: ...I'm really not sure what kind of book you're looking for.

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

It came in the mail today!!!

So remember from a whole entire week ago, when I posted that I won a book? Well, hallelujah it came in the mail today!!! It looks fabulous. :) Since I had told y'all that I won it, I figured I better actually show proof of receiving it when it got here. I did think that it would take a lot longer to traverse the mailing system from London, England all the way over to me, but one week is not bad at all! In fact, I was very, very surprised to get home tonight and find it waiting on me. Definitely made my Monday blues a LOT happier! (And my Monday blues are notoriously fickle and moody.)

I do admit that my hand maybe looks a little ridiculous, but I hope you don't mind anyway. :) And check out the lovely little inscription Jen wrote:

Nothing too amazing I guess, except IT'S SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR! That's one of the best things about it. Who am I kidding? The whole thing-won book, mailed from England, signed by author, etc.-is simply delightful, and awesome, and splendiferously wonderful! :)

So, it's official, my Monday blues are gone. I've been smiling all evening! :) :) :) :) :) :) See?

Toodle-loo kangaroos! Hoppy reading!

September 22, 2012

Audiobook Review: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time)
(Read by Pam Turlow)

About the book:

What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world? Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaeologist parents. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds … until Gabi places her hand atop a hand print in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.

My thoughts:

My very first audiobook! I have been reading all about how audiobooks are great!, wonderful!, awesome! (insert your adjective here).  But I hadn't tried one. Until now. A local library happened to have this one checked in last weekend when I stopped by, and I thought "why not?". I figured it would be a good idea to start off with a book I had already read, so I could get a feel for listening to a book first. Then I could branch out to other books I haven't read. So here I am, fully converted to the audiobook bandwagon! Thanks for having me!

Now about the actual story. First of all, I do realize that everybody and their sister or brother reviewed this series last summer when the last book of the trilogy came out. So, I'm late to the happydance, but I decided to review it anyway. This is such a great story!! I enjoy history, and have read time travel stories before, but this is exceptionally well-written. Ms. Bergren clearly did her research. She does not shy away from the reality of how rough and difficult it was to live back in the fourteenth century. (For example, when people are in need of medical care, their abilities back then were very, very primitive. Imagine getting badly hurt and having minimal to no anesthesia of any kind to get you through it! Not to mention any guarantee of surviving. It certainly made me thankful to be born in modern America.) At first glance, this seems like a fluffy story, and it certainly has its moments, but Ms. Bergren sends Gabi (and the reader) a huge wake up call to reality pretty quick. She's a modern seventeen year old who grows up really fast in the fourteenth century. Of course, it does help to have a sweet and handsome knight (literally!) to flirt with and admire. Adventure, cute guys, time travel, what's not to like? Absolutely nothing! :)

In regards to the audiobook itself, it was terrific! It did take me a little bit of time to get used to this medium. But Pam Turlow did a great job. She had a voice change for every character when they were speaking. It was actually helpful to have that distinguishment. One thing I did notice through listening to the story versus reading it, was that I laughed a lot more at Gabi's thoughts when she would respond in her head to what was happening in the past. Her modern viewpoint that she couldn't actually voice out loud was very amusing! Therefore, if you have not read this one yet, what on earth are you waiting for? Go get it right now! You won't be disappointed.

Two passages for your pleasure:

Marcello and the men covered their mouths with their hands, their eyes alive with merriment.
"What?" I asked.
"They do not wear such dresses in Normandy?" Marcello asked, not bothering now to hide his grin over straight, white teeth.
"What is wrong?"
"You have it on backwards."

"Now your hair," he said, bending to retrieve the box. "Quickly tend to your hair, and we shall be off."
I opened the box and stared at the five pins that appeared to have been carved from ivory. Quickly I pulled my hair together, trying desperately to smooth and then wind it into a coil. I secured it, as best I could, to my scalp. He offered me the wide band of cloth and hairnet, then crumpled it in his hand. "Never mind," he muttered, staring at me like I was the most freakily weird chick he'd ever met.
I had clearly done it wrong. The bulk of my hair was supposed to hang below, at the nape of my neck, and be covered by the net. It was coming back to me, now, engravings and illustrations of women from this era. Not a particularly attractive look, but apparently one I was supposed to have mastered.

Toodle-loo kangaroos!

"Weird Things...", Cute Kids, Summer Ending
{Be warned. This post is meandering and curious.}

I simply had to send y'all over to This is Not the Six Word Novel! Jen did a cute "Weird Things" post on what children have been saying in her bookshop. If you need a laugh, head on over! (Don't worry, it's short and sweet.)   :)
    Went to a hot dog roast/birthday bash tonight at my cousin's house. Since I live so far away from my immediate family, my cousins have made me a part of theirs. I always have so much fun when I visit! And when I'm missing my nieces and nephews something fierce, their children ease the pain. (Any other aunts/uncles out there who don't get to see their nieces/nephews very often? Tell me I'm not alone!)

      D had these candles on the table, and I thought they were so cute. Of course the kids couldn't leave them alone. What is it about fire that is so fascinating? They all, at one point or another, were poking at the wax or blowing at the flame. I even saw the adults trying it out! :)

      Fire is mesmerizing. It's like when you go camping and sit around the campfire. There is always that one moment (or five or ten) you pick up something with a long handle (stick, skewer, hot dog roaster, pie iron, it doesn't matter so long as it's long and fire-resistant, or not), and poke away at the campfire. You sit and stare at it. You push the log to the left, then to the right. You poke at the coals. You pull the stick thingy out and stare at the end that's burnt. Then you get up and add more logs to play with. And start the whole process again. You just can't leave it alone! (Come on, you know you've done it.) I don't get it, I just do it; and it seems to affect almost everyone. (Young, old, tall, short, smart, dumb, get the picture.) Fire simply intrigues us.
        One other thing I always forget is how LOUD children can be when they're playing together! My house is quiet. The only noise is the occasional snuffle or bark of my roommate's dog. (Not that often.) But let me tell you, quiet is non-existent when you get 8 children together ranging in age from 1 to 9!

        Especially when you have a 3 year old who needs constant attention. "Wook, Kara! Are you wooking (looking)? Kara......Kara......KARA!!!!!! WOOK!! (Patience is not a virtue in that child's mindset.)

        But he's so cute!

        I can't resist him!

        He comes up as soon as I arrive, and just blinks those sweet little eyes, smiles at me, and HAS to tell me all about the chocolate and marshmallows we're going to have for dessert (and then into the kitchen to point them out to be sure that I've seen them with my very own eyes). Just a little later, he comes over and gives me a great big hug. How do I not 'wook' when he asks? (Okay, yes, I can say no to him. Really. I mean it. Promise. At least once. I won't mention the other 50 times when I don't. Hey, I'm just the cool cousin, I leave the parenting up to the parents. I figure that's the privilege I get just because. Isn't that reason enough? Who's with me? Anyone? No? Sigh. Okay then.)
          Anyhoo, twas an awesome evening. And a great way to give summer one last hurrah! I can't believe September's almost over. I know we always talk about how time flies, but that saying is a saying for a reason! It's totally true!

          I love summer. Not the hot, hot weather mind you. But the warm sandal-wearing weather. I also like the early fall where it's cool but I can still wear sandals.  Not a huge fan of winter because I have to wear layers upon layers and socks and shoes. (Are you sensing a pattern? I LOVE my sandals! Let my feet have air!)

          But this year I'm looking forward to the colder weather. And it's all because of that new scarf I have now! I am so excited to wear it. (I'm really tempted to start wearing it now, but considering that it's still 90 outside in the middle of the day, that probably wouldn't be smart. I'd keel over from heat stroke and have to actually admit that I got too hot simply because I couldn't wait to wear my scarf. I don't think my doctor would be amused. I don't think I would be be amused. So I'll just wait a little longer.)

          Wrap Up With A Good Book Scarf: Persuasion by Jane Austen

          But what fun it will be when I finally get a cold day to wear it! :)

          Okay, so if you're still reading this, you totally deserve some cookies! Most definitely some of my fabulous Carmelita's. Unfortunately I do not own a transporter, nor do I think the US postal service would work fast enough for me, or you. So I'll telepathically send you the sweet aroma of warm caramel and chocolate on top of a wonderful crumby crust. Smells divine, doesn't it?

          On the bookish front, more reviews coming this weekend. Least ways that's what I'm hoping. Y'all have a fab weekend of reading and eating and just generally having an awesome time!

          Toodle-loo kangaroos!

          September 21, 2012

          Hope is the thing with feathers
          That perches in the soul,
          And sings the tune without words,
          And never stops at all.
          ~Emily Dickinson

          September 20, 2012

          Review: Legacy of the King's Pirates by M.L. Tyndall

          In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate day (ahoy, mateys!), I thought I'd review a series that had pirates in them! Of course, by the time this gets posted, the day will be gone. But it's the thought that counts, right? We'll just pretend that I posted this Tuesday evening, instead of Wednesday evening. Are we all in agreement? Great, moving on. (There will be spoilers, since I'm reviewing a trilogy. Sorry, but that was the easiest way to do this.)

          The Redemption (The Legacy of the Kings' Pirates)

          About Book One:

          Lady Charlisse Bristol sets off on a voyage in search of a father she never knew, only to find herself shipwrecked on a desert island. Near starvation, she is rescued by a band of pirates and their fiercely handsome leader, Edmund Merrick. Will Charlisse win her struggle against the seductive lure of this pirate captain? While battling his attraction to this winsome lady, Edmund offers to help Charlisse on her quest-until he discovers her father is none other than Edward the Terror, the cruelest pirate on the Caribbean. Can Edmund win this lady's love while shielding her from his lecherous crew and working to bring her father to justice?

          The Reliance (The Legacy of the Kings' Pirates)

          About Book Two:

          Tormented by his wife's apparent demise, Edmund Merrick sails away to drown his sorrows-only to find himself trapped in the dark world of a demented Frenchman. When his mind clears from its rum-induced haze, will Edmund find the will to escape? Seemingly abandoned by her husband, Charlisse is thrown into the clutches of the vengeful pirate Kent. Will she be swept away by the undertow of treachery and despair? Can Edmund and Charlisse steer their way to the faith-filled haven they so desperately seek, or will they ultimately lose their love and lives to the sea?

          The Restitution (The Legacy of the Kings Pirates)

          About Book Three:

          Lady Isabel Ashton, scorned by society after the birth of her illegitimate child, longs to regain wealth and position-despite Christ's call on her heart. But when her son is kidnapped, she's forced to seek the aid of the man who pirated her purity. How far will Isabel go to save her child and redeem her honor? Captain Kent Carlton, desperate to win the heart of the woman he once ravished, finds himself battling jealousy as well as the sea. Can a penniless pirate capture the love he so urgently desires, or will the lady seek her safe harbor in another man's arms?

          My thoughts:

          Book one - I admit, it caught my eye because it hadn't been too long since I had seen Pirates of the Caribbean. I had pirates on my brain, and as soon as I saw the book I thought, "what fun!" So I brought it home and immediately settled in for the evening. This book will grab you and take you for a wild ride! Poor Charlisse (and if you know how to pronounce that, more power to you) is hardly given any time to relax. The first page throws you right into a storm at sea, and there's hardly any down time from then on. Charlisse and Merrick circle around each other, and neither does what the other expects. Of course they're attracted to each other, but Merrick is a pirate, and pirates are supposed to be bad, right? (Discounting Captain Jack of course!) Ms. Tyndall does an excellent job at writing pirate vernacular though. It's actually easy to understand.  And pretty fun to read! (Ye's, and yer's, and jackanapes, etc.) There are kidnappings, and good pirates, and bad pirates, and flirtation, and cannons firing, and sword fights, and well, you get the picture.

          Book two - Charlisse and Merrick are married but get separated  really soon. This one starts off with a fort attack. (Yes, they're on land, but they head out to sea pretty quickly.)  It then builds on the story from book one. Both of them battle insecurity and fears; and other pirates, namely the pirate named Kent. And there are several battles. Ms. Tyndall does not skirt around the miseries and fear that pirates would cause. But she doesn't make them unredeemable. That's the beauty of the story; how they become better people.

          Book three - Focuses mostly on Isabel and Kent (whom you met in book one and two). Kent is a pirate and has lived a terrible life, as evidenced in the first books. But he never planned on Isabel. Her goodness and courage make him desire to be worthy of her. But after the life he's lived, that's not so easy to do. And Isabel does not simply yield to him! (After what he's done to her, I can't say I blame her.) She's spunky and feisty; she keeps him on his toes. So they have quite a time learning to trust one another, with their lives and with their hearts. It is not a smooth road at all. But the swords and cannons and pirate ships are there to add lots of fun and excitement!

          Overall, this series is just a lot of fun! It allows you to live the life of a pirate vicariously, without all the blood and sweat on your end. :) Try it out, I'm pretty positive that you won't be bored!

          Some quotes from all three
          Book one - "He be the first mate. Good sailor. Better at swordplay than any I seen in a while. I'm glad he didn't draw his sword." He grinned at her and then added in a capricious voice, "Bit of a jackanapes, if ye ask me."
          Book two - "Know this milady. If that fish-brained husband of yours dares to attack me, I will sink him to the depths of the ocean."
          Charlisse marched toward Kent, emboldened by the sight of Merrick's ship. "If my husband attacks you, you insufferable boor, 'tis you who will find yourself in a watery grave."
          Book three - Isabel sneered. "Wealth without title, without position, is meaningless. Honor and integrity cannot be bought, and you, sir, are without both."
          Then he growled, and in one swoop, hoisted her over his shoulder. "Swounds, woman, I would that it did not come to this, but your impudence is not to be borne."

          Have a jolly good day, ye land lubbers!

          September 18, 2012

          Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen (Also...Fun Stuff!)

          Persuasion (Dover Thrift Editions)

          About The Book:

          Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?
          My Thoughts:

          Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel.  I am a huge Janeite, but this particular story for some reason strikes a chord in me. Anne is such a wonderful character! I love that she is older and steady and knows what she wants out of life. Granted she does allow her family to ride roughshod over her at times (especially in the beginning), but even so she never loses sight of her confidence in herself. She's had eight years to regret her actions, and she has allowed that time to mature her. She does wish Captain Wentworth would forgive her and then renew his attentions, but when she thinks that won't be happening, she makes an effort to move on. She's not entirely successful in moving on mind you, but she does try. I appreciate that she quietly goes on living and making decisions for herself. She is not one for dramatics and shenanigans when things don't go her way. (This is one the bigger reasons why I like her so much!)  She uses the heartache of seeing Captain Wentworth again to really find her place in her family and finally show that she won't be walked over anymore. She seems like the kind of gal I could totally be friends with! I think we'd get along great. :)

          The letter. The letter!! If you talk about Jane Austen and you mention The Letter, I think just about every good Janeite knows exactly what you're talking about. And if you've not read the book, and just look it up, well. You might enjoy it, but it takes the entire story to truly appreciate its loveliness. It's simply gush-worthy!

          I could probably sit here and type for hours about why I love this book so much. But I'd just repeat myself endlessly, and you'd be bored out of your mind and never come back to my blog! So I won't do that. I will, however, very emphatically (and nicely) suggest that you try the book yourself. If you do read it for the first time, come back here and let me know what you think! (Even if you don't like it.)

          I will leave you with a passage so you may appreciate Austen's prose:
          "Well, Miss Elliot," (lowering his voice) "as I was saying, we shall never agree I suppose upon this point. No man and woman would, probably. But let me observe that all histories are against you, all stories, prose and verse......I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman's inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men."

          "Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please......Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. ...the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything......We each begin probably with a little bias towards our own sex, and upon that bias build every circumstance in favour of it..."


          Fun Stuff:

          First of all, I wanted to show this lovely cover of Persuasion:


          Isn't it glorious? I have never seen this cover in real life, but I'd love to get a copy of this edition!


          Second of all, I received a very, very splendiferously awesome scarf in the mail this past weekend! It looks like this:
          Wrap Up With A Good Book Scarf: Persuasion by Jane Austen

          It was made by the talented Tori. Visit her Etsy shop! The words on it are The Letter, from Persuasion. Doesn't it make you want one? She hand-makes each one of these, and they are simply fabulous. (At least mine is!) :) Now I can't wait for winter so I can actually use it!  She was great to purchase from, so go check out her shop.

          Go forth, gentle beings, and have a fantabulous week of reading. Toodle-loo kangaroos!

          September 17, 2012

          Musings and Mini Reviews

          MINI REVIEWS:

                Divergent by Veronica Roth
                Good writing, intriguing story, but something about it just didn't click with me. It was my first dystopian, and I had read such raving reviews of it. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't grab my attention. Don't let me discourage you however. Check out this positive review from Courtney! You may like it yourself. I'm not quite ready to give up on dystopian novels completely. I just haven't found the right one yet. :)

                Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
                A re-read. This is such a cute story! Juli is so persistent that I don't blame Bryce for wishing she'd go away. But she is so funny and does mean well.  She has a really good heart. It takes Bryce a great while to realize that and the journey to that point is such fun. The book is a quick read and very worthwhile. It's a middle grade I believe, so younger teens would enjoy it. (At least I imagine younger teen girls would, not sure about the boys.)


                • I love Sunday afternoons! A great day to relax, read a great book (or play around in blogger), and not feel guilty for getting zero chores done. :) (Or even an unexpected talk with an old friend for two hours-laughing at the things we'd almost forgot. Best phone call all day! Just think of the calories I lost from all that laughter!)
                • Watched Dolphin Tale last night. Such a wonderful, family-friendly film! Winter is truly inspiring. I must admit that I teared up at the end when it showed all the handicapped people who visited/are visiting her. So sweet. Check out her website! Winter & Dolphin Tale
                • I watched the movie with two very dear friends. We range in age from 30s to 70s. But one thing we absolutely have in common is a love of books. We don't all read the same ones, but we understand each other when one exclaims over "this fabulous book I just read!"  My point being that books bring everybody together. It doesn't matter who you are, what you do, how old you are, or anything else. Book lovers simply understand each other. I love the sense of community books bring! (And book blogging too!)
                •  That's all she wrote folks! I'm hoping to actually get more reviews done this week.  That's my goal anyway. (Wish me luck.) 

                Toodle-loo kangaroos. Have an awesome week of reading. :)

                September 15, 2012

                A Favorite Bookshop (I love that word)

                In Manteca, California, there is this little shop on main street called 'The Book Exchange'. It doesn't look all that spectacular on the the outside, but that's because all the spectacular-ness is inside! As advertised, it sells mostly used books but has new ones also. You have to visit this place if you're in the area. Because while I love to shop for books (especially used ones that are cheaper) there is another reason to visit this spot.

                Elaine and Lois
                These ladies!! They are a huge part of why I shop here. (There are a few other gals who work here, but they weren't available for portraits on the day I visited.) I was embarrassed to have to admit to them that I couldn't remember their names and they were sweet enough not to mind. Lois, on the right, said "I'm Lois, I was married to Superman!" Elaine, on the other hand, couldn't think of a way to remember her name until a fellow customer reminded her about Elaine from Seinfeld. So there you go. Lois and Elaine everybody! Awesome ladies!

                (sorry the quality isn't that great)
                Every time I go in, there's no telling what they'll come up with to talk about next. But I can guarantee that you'll laugh with them! For instance, on this visit we covered how we need use sugar (doughnuts) to get us going (it's only fattening if you think it is; if it's delicious, it's not fattening!-per Lois); and if you're flying in a little airplane it's very reassuring  to note that if you crash, everyone is packed so tightly in there, that you'd just bounce instead of dying (Lois again); and when I asked if I could take their picture, "Sure! Too bad you didn't wait until there were other customers in here, particularly of the gentlemen sort, who we could stand beside." (Lois once again) (Meanwhile Elaine is just shaking her head. I bet she's thinking "and I have to put up with this every day I work!") I promised them they could see the picture I took to verify that they were willing for other people to see it, and once they took a look, "We look good! There's just no perfecting perfection, is there?"  Are you getting the idea that they like to tease and have fun?  I'm always laughing when I go in!

                This is what you see as you enter. Just about every customer that comes in, they remember their name and welcome them with big smiles! (This is why it was embarrassing to admit I didn't know theirs.) You can bring in your books and they keep track of your credit. Then you just wander and wander and wander. It's not a huge store, but as any good bibliophile knows, it takes a good long while to look everywhere and see everything. You don't want to miss one book that could possibly be your next favorite ever!

                About a year and a half ago, I was wanting to find another bookstore to visit. I have a favorite close to home, but I was sure there had to be others in the area I just hadn't heard of yet. So I got online and googled it.  It only took one visit to realized what a fun atmosphere they have! You can buy books lots of places these days, but to have a shop to visit and know you're going to have a wonderful time while you're there is priceless in my book. (pun intended)

                This section has classics.
                Believe me, with all the books they have, if you're searching for it they just about have it. Perhaps not every single book in the world, but you can bet you'll find something you'll just have to have. Every now and again, I can't find anything that strikes me, but that's pretty rare.

                One whole wall of religious books!
                The other thing I think is great is that the sign out front just say 'books'. The front of their store says that too.  They've probably got the name on the building in front, but the thing that caught my eyes on my first visit, was the word 'books'. Why have anything else? If someone is searching for them, that will definitely lead them to the right place! :)

                Parking is relatively easy. You can stop right in front of the building, or there's a little parking lot right beside the above sign. Easy peasy. If you pick the parking lot, you get the pleasure of parking by the side of the building and you see this:

                Such a pretty sign to see as you get out of your car! So, go visit them the next time you need a book fix. You'll have a great time and may even come home with a lovely book stash to add to your shelves!  As for me, I'm positive that I'll be going back, and probably soon.  I just can't stay away from bookshops. Especially if Lois and Elaine are there to entertain me! :)

                Toodle-loo kangaroos! Happy reading!

                Yay, yay, yay, yay!! (Can you tell I'm happy?)

                Westminster Abbey (

                So, I woke up this morning with no idea the news that was waiting for me! I checked my email and low and behold I found out that I won a book!!! A signed copy from the author no less! I think I jumped around and couldn't stop grinning for an hour or so. Ha!  I have seen lots of blogs do a give away, but had never tried for one before. Since I now have a blog, I saw the opportunity yesterday and thought, "why not?".  AND I WON! How amazing is that?!!

                I'm sure any and all bloggers who've been around a while will laugh at me. Such a simple little thing. But for this gal, who's hardly ever won anything, it's amazing news!  As you can tell by the exclamation points , I'm thrilled to bits!!!!!!! :)

                Now, I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath to see what this book looks like, right? Here it is:

                Weird Things Customers Say In Bookstores

                Isn't it cute? I think it will make my bookshelf look much cooler than it does now. :)

                I just want to send a shout out to Jen Campbell: This is not the six word novel. She is a poet and writer living in London, and she has such fun posts about writing. I stumbled across her blog around a year ago or so. I got interested because she had these posts about "Weird things customers say in bookshops", and they were hilarious. I think I spent one whole evening reading all of them and laughing my head off. Well, this book is a compilation of all those, plus a few extra. It was just released here in the states this past week, so if you get a chance to read it, do!  I'm positive you'll be laughing soon.

                I'll end with some quotes. (To see more click over here.)

                Customer: I read a book in the eighties. I don't remember the author, or the title. But it was green, and it made me laugh. Do you know which one I mean?


                Customer: Excuse me, do you have any signed copies of Shakespeare plays?
                Me: Er... do you mean signed by the people who performed the play?
                Customer: No, I mean signed by William Shakespeare.
                Me: .....*headdesk*

                Toodle-loo kangaroos!

                September 14, 2012

                What About Your Life? (wherein Kara talks a lot)


                [If you're actually interested in reading this, then hallelujah!!! But be warned that it's rather lengthy.  Word vomit kind of happens sometimes with this gal. But go forth anyway! I hope you enjoy it!]

                So I read this article today. It was written in my hometown newspaper about one of my high school classmates.  If you've no interest in clicking over to check the article out, I'll summarize for you. Jared Kubasak was killed in action in Iraq in December 2005. Evidently, sometime in the Fall right before that, he made the acquaintance of a Swedish author, Peter Englund.  Somehow, he made enough of an impact in that man's life, that Englund proceeded to write his next book and dedicate it to Jared's memory.  The book was published in Sweden in 2008, and Jared's parents had no idea. At least not until last month, when Englund sent them an English copy of the book.  Englund wanted to "make it a little bit harder for other people to forget him (Jared)."

                My first thought after I read the article, was "wow!". How amazing is that? These two men met, and obviously spent some time together, got to know one another enough, that the living one doesn't want people to forget about the one who died. If they met in the Fall, and Jared died the beginning of December, they only spent a few days to a few weeks around one another.  Yet something about Jared impressed this man. 

                But isn't that the kind of story we all wish could be written of us?  That we matter; that other people feel that we matter? That in just a short period of time, we could make such an impact on someone else? I know I think that way a lot sometimes. Be honest. This precious life that we are given; we all hope and dream that we could make a difference, don't we? We all aspire to that ideal. 'After I'm gone, what will people say about me,' we wonder?

                This life is so very fleeting. Am I living each day like it counts?  Am I telling others about Jesus?  Do I get up each morning, and live out each moment? As if this one, right now, could be my last?

                Monday, September 10th, was the one year anniversary of my car accident. It was nothing too major, but it did total my car. Along with giving me a slight fracture in my left ankle. But the thing that still stands out the most to me is that 30 seconds or so; from when the other guy ran the red light, hit me, and my car spun around and came to a stop.  It was only 30 or 40 seconds I'm sure. But it's a 30 or 40 seconds that I can't remember. At all.  I distinctly recall hearing his brakes, and seeing his car a split second before he hit. And I also remember the guy then standing at my door, asking if I was okay. Everything between those moments, is a complete blank. (I always read about seeing things in slow motion, and your life flashing before your eyes, and all that. But it sure didn't happen that way for me! Quite possibly that stuff is just movie magic anyway, but it sounds good, right? Or am I the only one whose ever wondered about that kind of thing? Yes, Kara, no one else is that quirky. Oh, okay then. Meanwhile, back at the ranch...)

                My point is, in that split second, POOF, my life could have been over! Just that quick. It's happened that way for plenty of people. If that were the case, would I have really been ready? I mean, had my life shown anything of import?  What do I spend my time on? (Reading, reading, more reading, a little social life, church, Internet, more Internet, then more reading, etc. You get the picture!)

                I actually deal some with hospice patients and their families. (And let me just say right up front that hospice is awesome! In a 'they really help people' kind of way.)  And one thing that becomes clear pretty quickly, is if you have any regrets in your life, when you know you're dying they become about a million times worse!  On the other hand, those who absolutely believe in life after death, in God especially, they're ready to go long before they actually die.  When I go in their room to talk to them, there's peace on their face and in their voice.  Those with regrets? Their faces and voices are filled with fear, and sadness, and despair.

                Okay, so, getting away from the depressing stuff, I just want to say this.  Live your life!  If there's something you want to do, try and make it happen!  Meet new people!  You never know who you might impact. And that impact may not take very long at all.  (In fact, it more than likely won't.  People can generally get a feel for who you are within just a few conversations. It doesn't take much time.)  If you need to make a change, do it! Most especially, care about others!!!  Helping other people out, even in small ways, are how BIG impacts are made! I firmly believe that.

                And above all else, enjoy life!  God made this life to be lived, not endured!!!!!!  Believe it!


                PS: Toodle-loo kangaroos!  


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