Monday, July 30, 2012

Break/Hiatus/Vacation




So, school starts in a couple of weeks, I have meetings and such this week and next. I have to get my classroom organized. I have to clean my house. I have to read more books, especially those on my summer list!

In short...

I have to take a break from blogging for the next few days. Be back on Sunday to talk about Infinite Jest and the joys/pains of teaching, watching/reading about the Olympics, living in a country where good 'Christian' churches refuse to marry black couples and so on...'Talk amongst yourselves'.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Infinite Summer #6: I'm not enjoying/I am enjoying/I want to enjoy this book

Think of these Sunday posts as jumping off places...discuss what I've posted, post something yourself, answer questions, ask questions, add links...do whatever it takes to make this experience enjoyable and understandable for you!

These post will be CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS for the reading for that week (Just in case you didn't already know that!). I think knowing this will stop those of us that aren't at a certain place from reading on and will enable those of us who are writing to do so without worrying if someone knows that fact or not. If you are reading ahead and want to post about the pages ahead please wait and if you want to talk about other books, not Infinite Jest and are giving spoilers please indicate that in some fashion...even a *spoiler* before the comment would be nice.

And, finally, if there is anything I can do to make this run more smoothly please don't hesitate to message me on here, on twitter or on Goodreads and I'll see what I can do.



Let's begin the discussion...
I'm sorry this post is a few hours late in coming.

I am behind.

I can't seem to catch up.

It started the week I figured out I was behind and I just haven't found/made the time to catch up.

I thought I would last week while I was in Chicago, but we did other things...a lot of other things. I thought I'd catch up a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, but, alas, I read other things in Las Vegas. 

It's not that this book is hard to read, it's just that I want it to be quiet when I read it and I want to be alone when I read it and I want to read every word...when I read it.


And, then I found this article on the Infinite Summer website:




It seems to be singing the tune that many of you have talked to me about.
Avery Edison says:
1] I will finish this book, but I am not enjoying it.
2] I dislike the endnotes.
3] I dislike the long paragraphs.
4] I dislike the technical explanations of subjects that don't really need it.
5] I don't hate this book or I'd quit.
6] I just wish I were enjoying it.


And, people, I'd really like to have a conversation to help me over this little hump. Let's talk about anything...why you're behind, how your getting over the hump, what you like/dislike...anything. I need the conversation to sustain my reading.


About the book
Let's talk Politics
On ONAN-ite Politics 

Let's talk Fractals and format
Cause I Got the Real Love, the Kind that You Need

Let's talk dependency and just showing up
PS. Allston Rules

House-keeping:
1] Many of you have messaged me about needing time to catch up. Do I need to add another week onto our schedule? Do I need to exempt a Sunday convo day?
2] If you haven't signed up officially, please do so here.
3] Catch up on all of our IJ stuff and things here.
4] Come join in on the convo even if you haven't caught up with the reading. Just comment on the post for the weeks you have read. I miss the conversation.

Friday, July 27, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 25

Last year I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

Any Five Books From Your "To Be Read" Stack

OK, so I have 764 books in my TBR pile on Goodreads. If I read one of those a week it would take me almost 15 years...that is, of course, if I don't add any more books to the pile, which is not (use your best hoyty-toyty British accent) "Not Bloody Likely". I take comfort in knowing that my TBR list is shorter than my Read list and I move on...

Here are 5 books, that I really, really, really want to read, and, yet, every year they're in still looking at me in my TBR.

Kindred Octavia Butler
The Name of the Rose Umberto Eco
Neverwhere Neil Gaiman
American On Purpose Craig Ferguson
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy John le Carre




Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving
Day 11– A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book 

Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss

Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best Quote from a Novel 
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 24

Last year I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

Best Quote from a Novel


Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving
Day 11– A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book 

Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss

Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 23

Last year I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

Most Annoying Character Ever

Mr. Collins...






Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving

Day 11– A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book 

Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss 
Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I Wanna Go Home...

So, I'm in Chicago for a conference. It's my second faraway conference this summer. I gotta tell you I used to enjoy this little trips and would spend the whole summer blowing my extra money traveling. Last summer my kiddo and I traveled several places together and this summer I've had these conferences.

Here's what I thought would happen
1] I would go on my trip
2] I would read a lot...heck, I would catch up on all my reading on the plane and in the hotel room
3] I'd go to bed early
4] I'd sleep in
5] I'd take long baths
6] I'd watch TV

And, while some of those things happened in Vegas...I found they weren't nearly as fun as I wanted them to be. I've gotten used to...being interrupted during long baths or short showers and one can only watch so many "Law and Order" episodes uninterrupted before one gets scared of being in a hotel room alone. I know, I know...maybe I shouldn't have watched sooo many SVU episodes.

Anyway, I missed my kiddo. Heck, I missed Chris too, although he was there for all but the last two days, and we'd done some seen some awesome sites (such as the Hard Rock, the Hofbrauhaus, and Absinthe...all things we couldn't have accomplished with the kidlet with us)! And, although I went out with some ladies I met and we tagged around for lunch and dinner and such, I wanted to come home.

I was reminded of some of the terms (I'm only giving you the definitions, each one has a fun anecdote) Kristin van Ogtrop uses in her book, a book I go to for a laugh or cry when things feel a bit rough, Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom:

Absentee Parenthood: The state of being that sometimes defines your life and is by turns depressing and wonderful.  There are wonderful things about being an absentee parent, namely taking business trips that involve staying in a hotel room all by yourself, or having vital work meetings that keep you from going on the field trip to the local recycling plant. ...There are depressing moments too...
Family-friendly living: The happy-sad reality that your family is actually much, much better off because you work. And we're not just talking about the money. 
Guilt curve: The process by which your feelings of shame and inadequacy about being a working mom grow and then diminish. In my experience, the guilt curve is a bell curve, peaking when your first child reaches kindergarten, with a long tail that lasts until the day of your funeral. 
Homeward bound: The powerful drive you feel to get back into your house at the end of the day. The drive is so powerful, in fact, that sometimes it makes you do things that are irrational or completely out of character.  
Kill the messenger: The action you must take in order to forget about the office for a time--that is, to remove your BlackBerry/iPhone/Treo/whatever from your person and store it as far away as your neurotic self will allow...Any working mom worth her salt knows that it's the integrate-separate ratio between work and home that determines long-term working-motherhood success.
Strangely, it's nice to have people to come home to, it makes me happy to know that I've reached that place in my life were 'having people to come home to' is something I cherish. And, while I feel like I can handle the duality of being a working mother, I really must figure out a way to be gone less next summer...or, take the kiddo with me!

I think I may like my family and I look forward to seeing them tomorrow...


Monday, July 23, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #41 Lost in the River of Grass

I've been lost three times in my life. Once was with my friend when I was in 6th grade. We were riding our bikes and took one too many unknown turns and ended up in a field on a gravel path. It wasn't really that scary we'd packed a lunch, had planned on having an adventure and, in my small home town, all we had to do was pedaled to the top of the hill (hard on gravel, but not impossible) to see in what direction we needed to pedal to get back to town.

The second time involved my sisters and my grandparents house in the country. It was a little dicer, but still not that bad. We'd been walking in the fields and ended up walking to a creek out of sight of the house. We sat under a shady tree to cool down and tried to walk back the way we came, but ended up at the bottom of an, I swear, 90 degree hill. At the top of the hill we could see the house. Without food or water it was kind of hard to get up the hill and about half-way up we sat down...bad idea if you are trying to climb a vertical hill in the summer heat. but, we crawled up encouraging each other to get to the flat surface where the fence and yard were. Right when we thought we couldn't go any farther we heard our aunt calling us. She could see us and lifted the barbed wire to let us in. We were scolded with kisses and kool-aid and cold baths. She hadn't thought we were lost at all as she could see us from the dining room window the whole time.

The third time was something else entirely as it involved hiking in the dark unknown. It was my second year of teaching and a group of us had gone hiking. We left early and got to the natural bridge and creek at a wonderful time of day. The only problem was the seed ticks in our socks. We tried to follow the same path back, but it started getting dark and we lost our way. We were in a national park, but hadn't signed the post to say we were going to be in there. It grew pitch black and we didn't have any flashlights. We were not prepared for a night hike. It felt like we were going in circles and the seed ticks didn't help either. We ended up hiking up a hill in the dark straight into someone's back yard. These people were kind enough to take us to our cars.

After reading the book Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny Rorby I realize I've never been lost at all, and I'm not sure I could survive if I were left to my own devices in some sort of wilderness.

Sarah is a misfit at her preppy school. The girls make fun of her clothes, her mom works in the cafeteria and her dad isn't really in construction, he's a construction worker. She goes on the class field trip to the Everglades to hopefully get to know the students in her class better. Her hand-me down clothes and old camera just make her more out of place and when it's only her teacher giving her the time of day. She decides to take the scary advice of a local boy; she decides to go in an airboat into the Everglades. 

There are so many aspects of this book that are just beautiful, will do an excellent job of reeling in reluctant readers and are honest and real. Ginny makes a point to give us clues into Sarah's life but not everything comes to light until the end. Each chapter is divided up into how many days the kids are in The Glades. In Andy, we find a character who's life seems to mirror Sarah's own, however, Andy doesn't have the kind of parental support and therefore doesn't have the same opportunities. However, Andy is more than just your typical boy and Sarah isn't that 'fraidy cat girl she seems to be at the beginning. Finally, we have the Everglades. In this forest of water and trees we find all that is wonderful about nature and all that is deadly. There are gators and gator-crushing pythons, poisonous snakes, fire ants, Palmetto bugs (which I guess is a fancy Florida word for large roaches) and a baby duck named Teapot. 

In the end, I forgot all about how a stupid mistake got them into this mess and I forgot to think of the wilderness as scary instead I focused on the social and emotional issues of being a teenager and of being true to who you are. Rorby doesn't fail in giving us much to talk about at the end and over at YA Reads, we've talked about everything from the baby duck, to believable characteristics, to the wilderness, to what it means to be a teenager, to the cover of the latest edition. Yes, this book is that good and has that much going on. I loved every breathless minute!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Infinite Summer #5: BREAK



Well, it seems that many of us are either behind on the reading or just not commenting at all, so let's take a break for posting this week and we'll be all caught up for next Sunday...right?....right?

Get caught up on your reading and I'll see you next week.

If you'd really like to comment about something...
What part of this book do you like the best? What part could you do without?


Friday, July 20, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #40 The Lure of Shapinsay

My first book about selkies and it was definitely better than I thought it would be. Although the romance of it was a bit OVER THE TOP and Edward/Belle-esque, I enjoyed the story of a selkie torn between the sea he loves and the girl he's lured into being with him.

I thought this story was going to be told through the eyes of the selkie male (named by his 'captor' Eamon) and, it was. However, it is also told through the eyes of the girl, Kait and it seems that it is Kait's story that receives most of the attention in it we find a girl being forced to follow conventions and marry. Her parents have died and it would seem her twin brother Blair thinks he is doing her a favor by setting her up before he pursues his own bride. He believes this to be especially true since Kait's best friend has a baby that isn't quite human, and, because it was thrown out to sea to drown the selkies want some sort of vengeance. Eamon, too, is trapped by duty and a fear of humans, except for he can't stay away from Kait for too long.

It's pretty cool that this story takes place on the island of Shapinsay during the same time period that Balfour Castle was being built, the middle 1800s, when people still believed in faeries and the evil of witches. Kait learns that to keep Eamon with her, she must steal his selkie coat, and hide it in a place that no one would ever look. This is what human men have been doing to beautiful selkie women for ages and it works in reverse, but at what cost. While Eamon and Kait love one another and are bound to one another it must be determined if this love is strong enough to live through so much on both sides of the equation.

Although predictable (what love story isn't?), the ending has a twist that I truly enjoyed. I look forward to reading more lovie-dovie romances by Krista Holle and I need to find more books about selkies, as I don't know any of their legends and lore. I feel like I'm behind the times and must go watch The Secret of Roan Inish and Ondine immediately.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #39 Warrior's Rise

Warrior's Rise is unlike any book that I have ever read. I suppose that's why I chose it for my book that is outside of my typical genre in my Summer Reading Game.

It's Urban Fantasy with a bit of Spicy Romance...according to KotRT (which is where I received this book), "Spicy" means that there's on screen sex scenes that are written in an artistic and less graphic manner. Sure, I've read urban fantasy and, sure, I've read spicy romances, but never together.

I'm not sure how I feel about the romance aspect. There's nothing more off-putting than reading about demons and the Dark Lord and then having a bonded couple 'coo' terms of endearment. Please do not misunderstand...I love that Deva and Padraig learn from and grow because of each other. I find it interesting that the Goddess has deemed this so because of a past mistake she created. I just wish I wasn't made aware of it all of the time.

That being said...let's break this book down...

Cover: um, yeah, no...I would never have bought this book based on the cover...it looks like cheap porn and not at all like the feel the book gives...even the fonts are wrong.

Characters: At first Deva seemed a little too tough and then she seemed a little too girlie and weak, when she got to be about right the book was over. I think this character progression was on purpose. Padraig was also a character who progressed nicely. My only complaint is that there are too many. This book moves like one of those sweeping sagas...only it isn't that long and I got lost in all the character names, personalities and actions. There were sooo many characters floating around that sometimes I didn't know which were good or had a hint of evil and, sadly I didn't care when any died. And, a lot do.

Plot and Setting: Seriously, fun story about the Dark Lord coming back to claim Earth and the Goddesses' ultimate weapon, Deva, must save the world. It's cool to read a story that moves like fantasy, but is set in the world of Hum-Vs and technology. DeLeon does an excellent job of conveying this world and I love the descriptions of places in the United States that I know mixed with ancient stories. I enjoyed the battle scenes loads.

Style and Pacing: This book had strange pacing that made it really hard for me to get into the first half of the book. I kept on thinking that I'd skimmed over something only to go back and reread and recognize that nothing was missing. There's much detail given to whole days to have weeks summed up in a few paragraphs and whole scenes would sometimes last pages, while weeks would be glossed over. I'm not really sure how much time is given to the whole novel. It seems like years, but I think it's only supposed to be a month or two.

So, while this book is not quite American Gods or The Chronicles of Amber (the only other urban fantasies I can think of that I have read), I enjoyed the added romance novel twist and look forward to reading the 2nd book.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #38 Catching Jordan

Most of this review has been pieced together from a conversation in YA Reads for Teachers (and Any Other Adults) on Goodreads. This month the new-ish book I wanted to read Catching Jordan won the nomination which means I lead the discussion. This book is wonderful to moderate. Please know all the words below are mine. I figured since I said them to begin with I could rearrange them any way I liked.

Before I go off on a "I love this book so much that I want to marry it and have its babies" tangent...I want you to know that this book is exactly what I expected and in no way what I thought it was going to be at all!

Here's what I expected


1. A book about football
2. A book that highlighted football games and talked about aspects of the game I didn't understand
3. A romantic comedy

What I didn't expect
1. The subtle commentary about how boys treat girls in sports
2. The reason Jordan chose the boy she chose
3. What gets me is the sex scene...I wasn't even allowed to lock my bedroom door when I was alone and my mother would have flipped had she caught me in my room with a boy...and, she, like Jordan's mother, would have known what was going on. In some ways jordan's parents are 'too cool' and 'hip'.
4. All the f-bombs...even if I know that kids cuss that much when grown-ups aren't around (what I hear in the hall is sometimes astounding) and even if I know that as Jordan matures there seems to be less cussing and over-all 'puffing' up...wow lots of f-bombs

Jordan is a girl who at first seems pretty strong-willed and bad -a, but has actually spent her life trying to please others...her parents, her coach, her best-friend and the list goes on. And, although she has incredible talent as a football player, she still doesn't feel confident enough around girls her age to consider them friends.  It is her best friend that helps her find the balance and, although he is a boy, he is the one who seems to have her best interest at heart. If only he could stop sleeping around and partying enough to get through to her. 

Kenneally did a great job of showing us how easy it is to be a girl in a boy sport in high school compared to the college-level...a sad, but believable approach. Jordan must figure out who she is. She must decide whether she's a college football player (one that's on the bench or one that plays) or a girl who loves her best friend or a girl who loves someone who treats her with kid gloves or a daughter who needs her father's approval. I think this book wonderful shows how our high school dreams morf and change and it shows how we can choose to accept this change or we can find against it our whole lives. In one of those realities we'd have an incredibly unhappy future.

Feel free to discuss...

Oh, and here's the author's website if you're interested:

http://mirandakenneally.com/

Her 25 things is pretty awesome!


Want to contribute to the conversation? Want to read and discuss why YA books with your adult brain? Come join us!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 22

Last year I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

Favorite Non-Romantic/Asexual Relationship

I don't know what non-romantic *slash* asexual is, as if each word means the same as and can be replaced by the other.

My favorite Non-Romantic Relationship is...


My favorite Asexual Relationship is...er...what does that mean anyway?




Although I think Wendy really wished otherwise...




Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving

Day 11– A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book 

Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss 
Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)

Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Monday, July 16, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 21

Last year I found this book challenge (since then I have seen many variations of it, but I like this one best!), and have been intrigued about how I would answer the questions posed. Feel free to comment with your own answer or post the challenge to your own blog.

Favorite Romantic/Sexual Relationship

I don't know what romantic *slash* sexual is, as if each word means the same as and can be replaced by the other.

My favorite Romantic Relationship is...


"I don't want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you."
sigh...
I'm pretty sure Anne Shirley's relationship with Gilbert Blythe colored my idea of romantic love at an early age.

However, Howard Roark and Dominique Francon really opened my eyes to...um...another type of relationship entirely...



Day 01 – A book series you wish had gone on longer OR a book series you wish would just freaking end already (or both!)
Day 02 – A book or series you wish more people were reading and talking about
Day 03 – The best book you've read in the last 12 months
Day 04 – Your favorite book or series ever
Day 05 – A book or series you hate
Day 06 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 07 – Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise
Day 08 – A book everyone should read at least once
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving

Day 11– A book that disappointed you
Day 12 – A book or series of books you’ve read more than five times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)
Day 14 – Favorite character in a book
Day 15 – Your “comfort” book
Day 16 – Favorite poem or collection of poetry
Day 17 – Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)
Day 18 – Favorite beginning scene in a book 

Day 19 – Favorite book cover (bonus points for posting an image!)
Day 20 – Favorite kiss 
Day 21 – Favorite romantic/sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 22 – Favorite non-sexual relationship (including asexual romantic relationships)
Day 23 – Most annoying character ever
Day 24 – Best quote from a novel
Day 25 – Any five books from your “to be read” stack
Day 26 – OMG WTF? OR most irritating/awful/annoying book ending
Day 27 – If a book contains ______, you will always read it (and a book or books that contain it)!
Day 28 – First favorite book or series obsession
Day 29 – Saddest character death OR best/most satisfying character death (or both!)
Day 30 – What book are you reading right now?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Infinite Summer #4: DFW w/r/t style ... "The library, and step on it."

[Source]

Think of these Sunday posts as jumping off places...discuss what I've posted, post something yourself, answer questions, ask questions, add links...do whatever it takes to make this experience enjoyable and understandable for you!

These post will be CHOCK FULL OF SPOILERS for the reading for that week (Just in case you didn't already know that!). I think knowing this will stop those of us that aren't at a certain place from reading on and will enable those of us who are writing to do so without worrying if someone knows that fact or not. If you are reading ahead and want to post about the pages ahead please wait and if you want to talk about other books, not Infinite Jest and are giving spoilers please indicate that in some fashion...even a *spoiler* before the comment would be nice.

And, finally, if there is anything I can do to make this run more smoothly please don't hesitate to message me on here, on twitter or on Goodreads and I'll see what I can do.


Let's begin the discussion...
"If a writer does his job right, what he basically does is remind the reader of how smart they are. Wake the reader up to stuff that reader's been aware of all the time." ~David Foster Wallace


Footnotes and Endnotes
Detail
Complex Vocabulary


Pick one to talk about...add more to my meager list. Feel free to reference sections, add video or add favorite quotes...let's get to talkin'!!! 


House-keeping:
1] Many of you have messaged me about needing time to catch up. Do I need to add another week onto our schedule? Do I need to exempt a Sunday convo day?
2] If you haven't signed up officially, please do so here.
3] Catch up on all of our IJ stuff and things here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings: Chocolate Mug Cake

Aside from the cocoa...
we have the rest of the ingredients in our house all the time.
Jade's 5-Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
Original can be found here and in the book Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings. Below you will find a mixture of the two recipes, plus my own words, pictures and observations.

Ingredients and Directions
tablespoons flour
tablespoons sugar
tablespoons cocoa
Mix it well. Then add:
egg
Mix. Then add:
tablespoons milk
tablespoons oil
Mix. Then add:
tablespoons chocolate chips (optional...but, in our recipe it was a must!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (we used a capful each)



  • We won't talk about what that looks like
    ...it taste pretty darn good, though!


    Then:
  • Cook for 3 minutes on high. The cake bubbles up like when you heat up a marshmallow, but don't worry. It just rises up not over. Let it cool for a bit (unless you want to burn your lips off). We let our cool until it had settled to a normal height and then dumped it out onto a plate. Tip it out onto a plate if you want it to cool thoroughly. ENJOY!

  • Notes & Tips
  • 1] You may not need to cook the cake the whole 3 minutes...check it at 2ish, if you don't want it to be overly dry. It took our 3 minutes each and I used, as you can see, two different types of mugs.
  • 2] You might need to add extra oil if it isn't moist enough.
  • 3] Unless you are some sort of chocolate/dessert FA-REAK, this seriously makes enough for two or three, if one of them is a preschooler.
  • 4] Eat it with ice cream it's delish!
  • 5] My sister and I decided that the cake definitely must have the chocolate chips.

  • So, um, yeah my sister and I made this treat while our tiny people weren't around (don't worry they had the leftovers for breakfast! See, we're 'good' parents!). Here we are enjoying it while watching Sherlock. Seriously, it's pretty tasty with some ice cream. Does a little relaxation get any better than this?



  • Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    55 Books in a Year: Book #37 Everblue

    I have no idea why I wanted to read this book. I think I was totally drawn in by the cover; isn't it beautiful? And, then I realized I could get a mermaid book for ever so cheap ($.99 as an ebook on the Nook) and, well, I do love a mermaid book on the cheap.

    I love the setting of this book. It's so cool to think that living amongst everyday average people are merpeople and that there are gates to another world where they live and thrive with rules and cities different than our own. I also loved how the gate we see the most is in Lake Tahoe...so VERY different than the other books. I like how the world is created with air bubbles in homes so there can be furniture and human creature comforts. I also like the characters (even though one of the merboys is named Fin...yes, Fin, as in I have one), frankly, I especially like Fin the most of all.

    So, if I like all those things about it...why the low-rating? why the dislike? Let me see if I can break it down.

    1. The execution of the story
    This story is paced like it's a 500 page novel. With little details given over time and/or large chunks given over to explanation of a thing that isn't important at that moment. This book takes up practically a whole year.
    2. The back and forth narration doesn't work
    I enjoyed the change of narrator in Tangled Tides, it flowed and I got to know the characters. In this book the narration doesn't stay with one character enough for me to get into the story and I found myself rereading a part or a section just to see if I missed something.
    3. It's treatment of boys and girls...relationships...men and women
    If a mermaid is bonded to a boy once they kiss (an idea I do not mind...mated for life is highly romantic), isn't a forced kiss, well, rape? Ick. That's all I could
    4. The strangely forced Christian slant
    I am a Christian and I like being one...I don't like Christian just being thrown in for the sake of good Christianness. It just threw me off and...actually made me a little uncomfortable, like I was hanging out with my mother and I was 13 all over again.

    Everything about this book has rubbed me the wrong way...I'm not sure I need to read the rest of the series (although I've just downloaded Evergreen, I don't know why...it was cheap). I always feel bad when I genuinely don't like a book, mostly because I'm not really sure if I could do better if I tried and here a person has given their heart and soul and all I can do is read it and bash it. I've also read tons of other reviews, hoping those 4s and 5s (and there are a lot of them) would help me see the story differently. Sometimes I'd read a review and think..."Did we read the same book?". That being said, I do hope you try out this book for yourself and if you rank it higher than me please tell me why, I'd really like to know. I think I would have liked this book better had it been the first mermaid book I'd ever read and not the latest.

    I felt sad that for my Splash into Summer week, I chose to read two books that weren't what I thought they would be. On to my first truly selkie book, The Lure of Shapinsay!

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    55 Books in a Year: Book #36 Sea Change

    Sea Change by Aimee Friedman is a beautiful story of the sea and of budding teen romance and coming-of-age in a small town in the South...it is a story of mystery, suspense, history and family. I can't really tell if it's a story about mermaids. I think it wants to be. I think it thinks it is. I'm not so sure.

    Miranda comes from a long Southern family who vacations every year on Selkie (no there aren't any selkies in this book) Island. Miranda and her mother have gone back to the island to pack up their family home. While doing this Miranda falls for a local boy whose mysteriousness seems to be tied into a book of mermaids found on her grandmothers' bookshelf and to the island itself.

    The story of Miranda's growth into a girl who becomes a young adult who doesn't just do what she's told and doesn't live in her life by stereotypes. I really liked how Friedman gives us that stereotypical Southern Belle and Southern Gentleman in several of the teen characters, but then she gives us characters who defy those stereotypes. I like that Miranda learns that just because you fight or disagree with your parents that doesn't mean they don't love you or that you don't love them. I especially love that there is a side of Miranda that she didn't even know existed and I love that her grandmother, even in her death, is helping her find that side.

    Leo, a boy she meets on the coast of the island, is everything any girl wants in a man. He passionate and compassionate and good-looking, he loves all the things that she loves (science, sea creatures) and is from the island.

    The only thing is, Leo, may or may not be a merman.

    This is where Aimee Friedman lost me.

    She spends all of this time setting up this mystery. Mercreatures are attracted to red and gold; the whole entire town of fishermen is decked out in red and gold. Leo is always mysteriously near water and has a vast knowledge of the lore and science surrounding the island. However, all of this back story never really comes to any type of conclusion.

    I didn't mind the strange reason Miranda and Leo have a fight and I didn't mind how Miranda's mother seems to lose her mind once on the island flirting with an old flame and acting like a debutante. I did mind that this is supposed to be a mermaid story, even better a story about a merboy, and there's only a slight instant of tail fin. I don't mind connecting the dots in a mystery, but is it really a mystery if the author only just gives us a wee-bit to be curious about. In the end no questions are answered and, frankly, there are more questions asked. Is the guy on the ferry mer too? Is Miranda part mer? Was her grandmother and, in turn, her mother? At first, I thought that I had a bad copy of the book, that's how much is missing, but after reading other reviews I think this may be the intention of the novel. This book wants a sequel, although I hear there isn't one in the works at all.

    This book has a lovely romance and is a great story of the growth of a girl who learns that things can live outside of her comfort zone and knowledge. If you are reading this book in the hopes of having a little mermaid action you may be disappointed. Maybe.

    Review from Coffee and Cliffhangers

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    Riding Seaward on the Waves...Splash into Summer Day #1

    So, I've been waiting for this week for a little while now, I'm looking forward to reading reviews, and have already entered several giveaways for mermaid books and swag.


    Splash into Summer
    [Here's the linky if you are participating or want to read other mermaid posts]

    “I have seen them riding seaward on the waves 

    Combing the white hair of the waves blown back 

    When the wind blows the water white and black. 



    We have lingered in the chambers of the sea 

    By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown 

    Till human voices wake us, and we drown.” 



    I have always loved mermaids, below you will find links to the mermaid (so far) for this blog:

    Forgive My Fins (and an intro to my obsession)
    Hoorah More Fin Books and more mermaid tales
    The Little Mermaid
    Between the Land and the Sea
    Fins are Forever
    Tangled Tides
    Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings


    I also have a lovely (well, at least I think so...) Pinterest board.


    Follow it here
    If you, too, love mermaids, might we suggest going the distance and following the MerBooks blog. It can be found:



    BLOG
    TWITTER
    GOODREADS

    and join the reading challenge on Goodreads...here.

    What mermaid books are you looking forward to reading or have read this year? Who is your favorite mermaid?

    The Conscientious Reader
    July 9th     Introduction, Why I love mermaids, recap of my mermaid things thus far,
                    Pinterest board, MerBooks blog etc.
    July 10th   Review: Sea Change
    July 11th   Review: Everblue
    July 12th   Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings: Chocolate Mug Cake...yeah, I'm making
                    it and talking about it
    July 13th   Recap of Splash of Summer: favorite post, links

    and, check-out the blog I share with my English teacher friends for a giveaway!


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