Saturday, October 25, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Prepping

I had a blast last year writing updates here on the blog about how my Nano experience was going. Hopefully some of you, my fellow Nano participants at least, will find it fun to follow along this year with whatever thing I feel the need to vent about. I'm thinking maybe Saturday will be a good day to blog about this as it feels like that's normally a pretty dead day around here. So we'll see how that goes.

So today, we are ONE WEEK away from November 1! Can you believe it? That means ONE WEEK to get ready! What do I need to be doing this week?


1. Finish last year's story! Yes, all year I've been going through it getting alpha reader feedback and fixing a few things but mostly figuring out the big things that need fixing. But I didn't quite get through it! And.. I never quite actually finished to the point of writing THE END. Sadly, I don't think it's going to happen this week. Sigh.

2. Figure out who my characters are in this next book. I've got an idea, and I've got a basic thought for some of their "things" but not totally. I'm hoping much of this will come when I start writing. But I need to make some more lists, especially for ideas for side characters and family situations and stuff.

3. Have some blog posts scheduled. I might do the BookBlogWriMo prompts... as featured over at Book Bumblings.  Or I could get really ahead in Top Tens. and catch up on reviews, I have a couple to write. But for the most part, I think I'll be winging the blog as I go this month. Last year I seemed to keep up okay, but we'll see.

4. Stock up on easy to make food and plan a few crock pot dinners. For the most part, my family doesn't care about dinners anymore, but still, it would make me feel better if I have a few things planned. Besides, I won't be writing very well if I'm starving.

5. Plot out a schedule of sorts. I'm usually quite the fan of doing stuff whenever it fits and not forcing a schedule, but I've recently (within the past couple of weeks) been doing tons better with the Zumba thing (I should blog about that one of these days. I want to find out who my fellow Zumba-ers are!) and I know for a fact that I'll write better if I manage to continue fitting that in. So.. how to do it? I've got to figure it out, that's all I know!

6. Research some more! My book will be set in the 80s and I want to be sure to include actual events that happened then, and so I've been making lists. But I want to feel good about those lists and like I'm not forgetting something really huge and obvious! What happened in the world during the school year of 82 to 83 (Sept 82 to May 83) that I simply can't forget? Any 80's children out there? Let me know!!

I'm sure there's more stuff, but those are the main things in my brain at the moment. Wish me luck this week with all the plans! Seriously, I'm so excited I could explode... or something.

P.S. I'm thinking I need some motivating helpers too:


Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Book: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating: ★★★☆ ☆
For: Review
From: Received for free from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 

Short Synopsis: This is the third book in the Raven Cycle series where Blue, who lives with her clairvoyant aunts, has befriended a bunch of boys from the local prep school. These boys have mission.. find the burial spot for a dead king. Well, one has the mission, the rest are on a mission to help him. In this book, they are getting so very close! And they go cave exploring and find... all sorts of other things, but not the dead king. And Blue's mom is missing and so they also need to find her. Meanwhile there's bad guys and bad.. things... trying to stop them every step of the way.

My Response: Okay. I love these characters. LOVE them. But I had no idea what they were trying to do in this book and I had so many questions. Maybe my brain was just on low function this week, but this book had me so confused. I love the writing style and the feeling we get of these characters through this style, but sometimes it feels so cryptic to me that I feel like we are left guessing exactly what's going on. And I have no idea what's real and what's the all mysterious weird stuff. Know what I mean? 

Bottom Line: I will keep reading and so should you if you love these boys! Gansey is GOING to find that king if it... dang it.. KILLS him! Sigh. I just wish I remembered why he wants to find him in the first place. One book to go and I'm nervous!

Let's Talk About: The book fog... that's what I call it when you are reading something that you just aren't getting. . . and you feel like the true thing that's happening is being obscured from you. I mean, it's not that it's that complicated, but the author is being so vague and/or poetic that you are just... say what? Do you find this happening much? Does it make you crazy or do you just roll with it and enjoy the beautiful words? 

Other Reviews:

Mysteries and magic, complicated friendships, myth and murder, trust and betrayal, psychics and dream thievery all blend together. From A Garden Carried in the Pocket

I am in love with the characters, the tone, the unexplained magic of it all. From In Bed With Books

Like the other books, this one has an ending that will leave you saying "Wait, what?" and then wanting the next book immediately. From Read This Instead

It's a heady experience giving yourself over to one of Maggie's novels and not a decision to be taken lightly. From Angieville





Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Book: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
Genre: NF Memoir
Rating:★★★★★
For: book club
From: I read a library copy, but I have my own book too!

Short Synopsis: Louis Zamperini was a wild child... but when his brother got him into running he was able to focus his energy and he became one of the best runners ever. He went to the 1936 Olympics after only training for a couple of years. He had dreams of going back in 1940 and taking the gold. But before that could happen, WWII started and Louis enlisted and became a bombardier, flying in planes over the Pacific. One time when he was asked to go on a search for a missing plane, his own plane also went down. He, along with two other guys, survived on a raft for 47 days (well, one of the other guys didn't make it.) And then, he was captured by the Japanese and held as POW for two years. He did make it home, but he never made it back to the Olympics.

My Response: Wow, what a story! It's taken me so long to get to this one and I feel bad about that...but we've had plans for years to read it for book club and so I was waiting until that happened. It finally happened! And just in time for the movie this Christmas! I knew the story would be a pretty unbelievable one but still, I was surprised at the things this guy had to endure and am so impressed that he came out of it so well. I found it interesting that he still struggled, that it took him four years or so of crap before he could pull himself out it and live again. It's quite the inspirational story.

The writing is amazing too and I will read anything this author writes. She blows me away with her ability to take a story and make it so readable. And all with such thorough and overwhelming research. I don't know how she does it. I wonder what subject she'll be writing on next?

Bottom Line: Everyone should read this. Everyone. If you have't done it already, put it one your list!

Let's Talk About: If you HAVE read this book, what's the most amazing thing you think he had to survive? The POW stuff? The sharks? Being shot at? Starving? Disease? What's the biggest worst thing? It's hard to pick, don't you think?

Here's Louis with Angelina Jolie who directed the movie.
He died just this past July at 97 years old. 
Here's Louis the runner. 
Here's Louis going to war.
And here's Louis finally coming home, hugging his mom.
This picture makes me tear up!

Other Reviews:

Hillenbrand is a gifted author, one who carefully uncovers the essence of what it means to be human in the face of cruelty, degradation, and hopelessness. Although graphic at times, I could not stop reading this amazing book. From Caribousmom

I admit I wondered if there was some exaggeration in the book, too, but by all accounts the author did flawless research. From Books on the Brain

You will want to cheer for Louie; cry for him; fight for him; and save him. From Alison's Book Marks

What I didn't quite expect to be as emotional was the final section which focuses on his return to the States after the war is over. Those months and years where he had to get on with his life, to return to a "normal" life, his mental and emotional struggles. From Becky's Book Reviews

Here's the trailer for the movie which looks amazing and makes me weepy especially after reading the book:


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Walking Dead Discussion: S5E2 Strangers (Spoilers!)


My random and scattered thoughts on this weeks Walking Dead episode: Strangers. Beware the spoilers (though I'm actually pretty vague this go around!)  Let me know your thoughts!


It was nice for awhile, wasn't it? Sitting in the church, hanging out, laughing a little, catching a breath. But just that let us all know that it wasn't for to be!! But, did you notice baby Judith hugging up to her daddy Rick? So cute! :)


So they came upon a priest. Did he make you nervous from the very beginning? What do you think he's story is? I'm anxious to find out!


And then there was the water logged zombie scene. GROSS!!! And I thought Bob was bitten. Was he bitten? Later, he went off to cry by himself, and I was sure of it. But then, worse things happened. So, I'm still not sure what was up with the going off and crying bit.

BETH!! So Carol and Daryl go running off after a car and that's all we hear of them this episode! Seriously? You can't do that to us!

But... but... guys... YOU SHOULD HAVE KILLED THEM ALL!!! Oh man, you are going to be so sorry you didn't. GROSS GROSS and triple gross. Gareth is the new Governor.. or the worse than the governor. And I knew, I just knew that Tyreese didn't really kill that one guy. Of course he didn't!


Yes, the survivors are now worse than the zombies. This is the scary part!

What did you think?

P.S. I loved all the slow-mo in this episode. Lol.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: I Want To Start These!


Here's a few new (ish) series that I'd like to start. If only there was time!

Top Ten Series I'd Like to Start

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
2. Splintered by A. G. Howard
3. These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman
4. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
5. The Young Elites by Marie Lu
6. Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch
7. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
8. Incarnate by Jodie Meadows
9. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
10. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Did I pick some good ones? Which ones should I be adding to my list? What's on your list? Check out everyone's links over at The Broke and the Bookish!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review Discussion: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Book: The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
Genre: YA SciFi/Dystopian
Rating:★★★★☆
For: Fun (readathon pick)
From: bought at Amazon

Short Synopsis: (Spoilers for the first book, The 5th Wave ahead!) We pick up shortly were we left off. The kids are holed up in a hotel and wondering what happened to Evan Walker. Ringer heads off to check out some caves they've heard about and where it might be safe to stay. Things do not go well for her. Meanwhile, back at the hotel, there appears to be an intruder and all hell breaks lose. Also, there's a new weapon of sorts that the bad guys have set loose and causes even more grief for the kids.

My Response: You know, it was good, but not quite as good as the first one. Namely, I needed more Evan Walker. Because yes I totally fell in love with him during that first book! But never fear... I will tell you that he does appear! (SPOILER!) So.. if you are like me and you need him to be in the book... pick up the book! The story is told from Cassie's view, Ringer's view, and Evan's view. I think that's about it. A new guy is introduced and he's pretty fascinating too. I love this story. As I've said before, I love it when you aren't quite sure who's the good guy and the who's the bad. It's so mind bending! What a crazy world this is and I can't wait for the conclusion! Another whole year? Argh!

Bottom Line: Loved it... maybe not quite 5 stars worth, but still. Loved it. A perfect pick for powering through during the readathon.

Let's Talk About: Are you like me? Do you love to be confused on who you are rooting for? Or do you like it much more black and white and clear as a bell?

Other Reviews:

It's a middling middle after a brilliant beginning. From The Speculative Scotsman

One thing in which The Infinite Sea excelled at was plot twists and turns. From Bloody Bookaholic

I don’t know what’s happening, but I do know I love this crazy series. Rick Yancey, you simultaneously scare the crap out of me and make me swoon. From We Still Read

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon October 2014: Updates and Challenges


Hour 18 Update:

This will be me last update for the day. I plan to go to bed soon and sleep for the last six hours of the thon. It's been a fabulous day of reading around here and we've had a blast!

What I’m (we’re) reading now: I've started Lily Blue, Blue Lily. Strange little book so far and I'm not sure I'm getting it! My daughter finished Blood of Olympus, started and finished The Loser's Guide to Life and Love, and has started Under the Never Sky. Her friend finished Harry Potter #1!

How many pages read since last update: Not sure... a couple hundred?

How many pages read total: nearly 500 maybe?

Books finished since last update: Finished The Infinite Sea and Wimpy Kid #7

How many minutes/hours read since last update: several hours.. hours and hours!

What we are listening to: I put in a random CD mix... with real CDs on my real CD player. What a concept!

What we are eating: we stopped awhile back for pizza, chips and salsa. Have been snacking on the caramel popcorn I made yesterday, and candy. I feel sick!!

Distractions: the kitten continues to drive us a bit crazy... sleepy eyes are a both too, and we had some visitors awhile back which was good and needed distraction!

I took a picture of the mess we've made today:

But... where are the readers???
*************************************************

Pet Parade Challenge:




Color Cover Challenge:

We went a little crazy and did a few more than four! :)

************************************ Mid Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? Just finished The Infinite Sea. So good!
2. How many books have you read so far? That makes two books finished. 
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Hmmm... I think maybe I'll start the Lily Blue book. (I can never remember how it goes Lily Blue Blue Lily... or Blue Lily Lily Blue!!! )
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Yes but not many. Way less than my normal readathon experiences go. Mostly just fighting the tired eyes!
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How freaking fast the day goes. I't CRAZY!

******************************
Show It Off Challenge:

I've showed it off before, but I can easily do it again... my most treasured book signing:



******************************************
Name Your Readathon Challenge:


The Infinite Sea of Impossible Memories.



Update Hour Seven:

What I’m (we’re) reading now: The Infinite Sea.... my co-readers are reading Harry Potter and The Blood of Olympus... though they have both abandoned me but will hopefully come back soon!



How many pages read since last update: 80 or so


How many pages read total: 210 ish?


Books finished since last update: none since last update!


How many minutes/hours read since last update: probably a good hour... or hour and a half


What we are listening to: I switched to some CDs which include classical, Beatles and Lord of the Rings


What we are eating: I broke out the M and M's and Kit Kats....chocolate!!

Distractions: a shower, a cat, some family members, random life

********************************
Pausing to do some mini challenges and an update!!!


SHELFIE!

Weird reading position!!!
(not me!)
HOUR FOUR UPDATE

What I’m (we’re) reading now: Finished Maus and starting The Infinite Sea... I think


How many pages read since last update: Maus II was 136 pages


How many pages read total: 136


Books finished since last update: One! Maus II

How many minutes/hours read since last update: 2 1/2 hours or so...with a few stops and starts


What we are listening to: Pandora New Age station


What we are eating: coffee cake, apple juice and a banana

Distractions: the kitty!!!


****************************************


The Readathon begins now! Here I'll post my updates and challenges and thoughts and whatever...throughout the day with the newest thing at the top. I can't wait to get started! I'm optimistic about getting a lot of reading done this time around. 

Intro Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

UTAH!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I would have to say... The Infinite Sea. Very much looking forward to that one.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

The caramel popcorn that I made yesterday and some chocolate to go with.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I've been blogging for seven and a half years. I have four kids, two married (this past year) and two still at home. My youngest is reading with me today, along with some of her friends. I plan to participate in my second NaNoWriMo also in a couple of weeks and I can't wait for that. All these blogging/bookish/writing events make me happy!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I'll be doing nothing different from all the readathon's I've already participated in. Just reading and having fun and enjoying it and without stress! I have learned to add graphic books to my pile so it feels like I'm progressing more than I normally do. :)


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