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Showing posts from April, 2009

Booking through Thursday - Worse

Deb poses an interesting question this week on Booking Through Thursday:

Which is worse?

Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author I love is more forgivable than discovering a new author and hating every book you read after the first one. If I love an author and there are many that I do, I'll overlook the disappointing book and continue. But if it becomes a trend, then they lose me. Not every story can be golden, but for some authors like Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Lowell, and Linda Howard, you just come to expect it. What a reputation to live up!

I've discovered a lot of new to me authors within the past year and nine times out of ten, their other books have been just as good. Then there is the one, you absolutely love the first one, the 2nd book you try is mediocre. But hey, you decide to give them another chanc…

Work In Progress Wednesday

Work In Progress Wednesday

Time flies when you are having fun!

Where did the day go? It's 4:30 and I just came in from sitting outside, enjoying the sunshine and writing. All this past week I've been working on the rewrite of "Floating on the Surface." My method is to write out the story in my handy dandy notebook, then type it all up. In essence, when typing it up, I'm expanding upon what I wrote, plus editing it somewhat. It also takes a lot longer, because I'm spending an hour or two writing, then another couple hours typing everything up. However, my thoughts flow much more smoothly when I'm writing so the extra time is worth it.

Last week, I was pondering whether wanted to start the story with Samantha arriving and surprising her brothers. Or... begin with the past event in which the villain attacked her and she had an out of body experience, then jump forward to the present. I started off with the surprise and found myself adding tidbit…

Homeschool Spotlight

Great article at by Stacy Conradt

Homeschooled Celebrities

"Agatha Christie was a painfully shy girl, so her mom homeschooled her even though her two older siblings attended private school

Pearl S. Buck was born in West Virginia, but her family moved to China when she was just three months old. She was homeschooled by a Confucian scholar and learned English as a second language from her mom.

Alexander Graham Bell was homeschooled by his mother until he was about 10. It was at this point that she started to go deaf and didn't feel she could properly educate him any more. Her deafness inspired Bell to study acoustics and sound later in life.

If Thomas Edison were around today, he would probably be diagnosed with ADD -- he left public school after only three months because his mind wouldn't stop wandering. His mom homeschooled him after that, and he credited her with the success of his education: "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; an…

What's On Your Nightstand - April

It's time once again for

What's On Your NightStand?

hosted by 5 Minutes for Books.

My nightstand is still overflowing and I'm trying to be good and not buy too many books or request too many ARC's for review. But you know how hard that is and the temptation is greater than the resistance when something great comes along.

I've managed to read a total of 52 books this year so far and 10 since the beginning of April. Last month at this time, I was reading "War and Peace" and really enjoyed it. If you want to see my reviews, they are here or just scroll up to the linkbar.

This month finds me reading the 800 page Stone's Fall by Iain Pears and really enjoying it. Also getting used to the British spellings versus Americanized has had me stumbling a few times. My internal editor was going crazy at first. "Wait, that's not spelled right." Check the dictionary and find it's the British variation. Okay, moving on. However, would someone …

Sunday Salon - Gifts, time, reviews and perspective.

Welcome to My Sunday Salon and the Sunday edition of All About Books! Or maybe should call it My Life with Books! Is it any secret I love books and reading? Silly question. I am thoroughly pleased and enthusiastic as all get out about the press release announcing Dan Brown's new novel The Lost Secret. It is being published by Doubleday and the release date is September 15, 2009. I thoroughly enjoyed "The Da Vinci Code." Read it twice as a matter of fact, when all the hoopla came out about it. I thought it was a good fictional story. Somewhere the word fiction got lost in the translation with a number of people.

I have read every single one of Dan Brown's books and enjoyed each and every one. So, I'll be the first to raise my hand and say "I would be pleased as punch to receive and review an advanced reader copy of The Lost Secret." So if anybody wants to pass that message along to Mr. Mehta, the Editor in Chief of the Knopf Double…

You've Got a Friend

Blessings of being a Blogger

I've been graced with two awards this week by Desert Rose of Desert Rose Booklogue

The Zombie Chicken Award

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all..."

I don't know who created this award but they have a unique sense of humor . Yes, I tried to trace the origin down, but didn't have any success. Talk about persistence. Plus:

Thank you, Rose. I am going to risk the wrath of the Zombie chickens and not pass on the award - right now. Jus…

Book Review # 51 - Iron Kissed

Iron Kissed

(Mercy Thompson Novel # 3)


Patricia Briggs

Back Cover: "Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape--but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kid, it's up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. Mercy's loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not know for their patience, and if Mercy can't decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her..."

Iron Kissed is a continuation of book 1 Moon Called and book 2 Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs. Mercy becomes more closely involved with the Fae as she tries to help Zee discover who has been murdering some of his people. The Fae let Zee be arrested and are willing to let him be the fall guy, but Mercy is not. She puts her life at extreme risk in order to help her friend. She also finally decides who she will chose - Sam or Adam, but a traumatic event …

Weekly Report # 26 4/20 to 4/24

I think we all had a case of spring fever this week which made it quite difficult to get anything done. We were all scattered - the same as the weather. We had a couple cool days, then two days over 90, then is cooled down again and rained. Our weird April weather happens every year, so not sure why it threw us for a loop. Must be the barometric pressure.

Explorer Bible Study: Discussed Genesis 10-11 about the tower of Babel and God's reaction to it.

Voyages in English: We only completed one section in Section 7 Punctuation and Capitalization but it was a good one: Titles of Books and Poems. It was an excellent reminder on how to write the Titles for books which I had completely forgotten about.

Each important word in a title begins with a capital. The first word and the last word are capitalized. Short words such as of, to, for, a, an, and the are not capitalized unless they are the first or last word of the title. Underline the title of a book.

Put quotation marks aro…

Book Review # 50 - The Graveyard Book

"The Graveyard Book"


Neil Gaiman

Front Flap: "Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy--an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack--who has already killed bod's family...."

"The Graveyard Book" is the first book I've read by Neil Gaiman. I enjoyed it, even though it was weird and quirky. The story begins with a man named Jack walking through a home, killing first the parents, then bod's brother. Bod, even though a toddler, somehow manages to climb out of his crib and wander …

Booking Through Thursday - Symbolic or not

Today's Booking Through Thursday is a question suggested by Barbara H:

My husband is not an avid reader, and he used to get very frustrated in college when teachers would insist discussing symbolism in a literary work when there didn’t seem to him to be any. He felt that writers often just wrote the story for the story’s sake and other people read symbolism into it.

It does seem like modern fiction just “tells the story” without much symbolism. Is symbolism an older literary device, like excessive description, that is not used much any more? Do you think there was as much symbolism as English teachers seemed to think? What are some examples of symbolism from your reading?

I remember an English class I took in college in which the professor found sexual symbolism in every story we read. There was a story or maybe it was a poem about loggers and trees being cut down in the forest. How on earth can you find sexual symbolism in that, right? I wanted to get a good grade on the paper…

Work In Progress Wednesday

Work In Progress Wednesday is hosted by

Kate of The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me

My goal this past week was to work up a new outline for "Floating On The Surface." I actually didn't get much writing done for the story, but I did do a lot of writing for my Art Final and other things. I did a lot of thinking about the story and what I wanted to do. I finally came up with a broad outline and general idea of what direction to take the story. There are quite a few passages that can be rewritten to match up with the changes in the story. Plus scenes I had written but didn't include that will now be salvageable. However, I am far from coming up with any elevator pitch or short synopsis - for the life of me I can't come up with a short description.

I mentioned the original story in last week's WIP and have changed quite a bit. The backstory is Samantha, retired from teaching at a private affluent school due to an attack, and left her partially disabled. The per…

Book Review # 49 - A World I Never Made

A World I Never Made


James LePore

Front Cover Flap: "Pat Nolan, an American Man, is summoned to Paris to claim the body of his estranged daughter Megan, who has committed suicide. The body, however, is not Megan's and it becomes instantly clear to Pat that Megan staged this, that she is in serious trouble, and that she is calling to him for help.

This sends Pat on an Odyssey that stretches across France and into the Czech Republic and that makes him the target of both the French police and a band of international terrorists. Joining Pat on his search is Catherine Laurence, a beautiful but tormented Paris detective who sees in Pat something she never thought she'd find--genuine passion and desperate need. As they look for Megan, they come closer to each other's souls and discover love when both had long given up on it.

Juxtaposed against this story is Megan's story. A freelance journalist, Megan is in Morocco to do research when she meets Abdel Lahani, a Saudi b…

The Liberty Belle B-17

The Liberty Belle B-17

Sunday morning we are at home and heard the rumbling of an airplane. Father knew instantly it was a old military plane and heads out onto the patio. The Liberty Belle flew overhead and he got quite excited about seeing the B-17. That afternoon He and James went over to Mather Field near our house to see the plane.

What is the story behind the Liberty Belle?On September 9, 1944 the 390th Bomb Group attacked a target in Dusseldorf, Germany and suffered its second largest single mission loss of the war. Over the target just prior to bomb release, one of the low squadron B-17s was hit in the Bomb bay by flak. The 1000 lb. bombs exploded and nine of the twelve aircraft in the squadron were instantly destroyed or knocked out of formation.

Six of the nine went down over the target, one flew two hours on a single engine and landed at Paris, another "crippled plane" landed in Belgium and the other struggled back to its home base and landed long after the o…

Book Review # 48 - 14


(A Taylor Jackson Novel)


J.T. Ellison

Back Cover: " In the mid 1980's the Snow White Killer terrorized the streets of Nashville, Tennessee. Then suddenly the murders stopped. A letter from the killer to the police stated that his work was done. Now four more bodies are found, marked with his latest signature. The residents of Nashville fear a madman has returned, decades later, to finish his sick fairy tale. Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson believes the killings are the work of a copycat killer who's even more terrifying. For this monster is meticulously honing his craft as he mimics famous serial murders...proving that the past is not forgotten."

Continuing my theme of first time author reads for the Spring Reading Challenge, I read J.T. Ellison's "14." Ellison is one of the authors who blogs at the group site "Murderati." I have been slowly making my way, reading books by all the authors who blog on the site and have to say, s…

Post to Ponder

Beauty in the face of adversity

I finally watched the whole Susan Boyle youtube video after seeing a small portion of it on the news the other day. It choked me up to watch this woman face this crowd of people who doubted her and sing her heart and soul out bringing them all to their feet in admiration. Someone with less strength or self worth would have folded and walked out in defeat or choked up and sang horribly before they even began because of the audiences attitude. But she didn't.

Susan Boyle knew...she knew and said it herself in the preinterview "I'm going to make the audience rock." I had my husband and son watch it as well and my son who typically can't stand watching anything youtube stood there with a big smile on his face. My husband was as choked up as I was.

Author Toni McGee Causey over at Murderati (my favorite author group blog site as everyone should know by now) has some very profound words to say about not only Susan Boyle but &quo…

Book Review # 47 - Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Eon Dragoneye Reborn


Alison Goodman

Front Flap: "Twelve year old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye--an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; it anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured. When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.

Only Eon's master knows her secret and is risking everything for if Eon becomes a Dragon Eye, it will i…

New and Improved doesn't always mean better.

New and Improved doesn't always mean better

Don't you just love it (not!) when a manufacturer of a product you have been using for years decides to improve upon it. "New and Improved" I really dislike with a passion those words because it means that once again I will have to go in search of something else.

I have been using Shell gasoline for years and years and years. My gas of choice, until recently. Enter Shell's Nitrogen enriched gasoline. I stopped to get gas and notice the signs and all the banners in celebration of their "new gas." I go home and mention it to my hubby who just looks at me strangely and tells me that doesn't make sense, why would they do that. Yes, why would they do that? Supposedly, it will make your engine run cleaner, blah, blah blah.

I have a 1996 Mercury Cougar, which is in excellent shape and has a well tuned engine. The next morning, I take off for work and my car is making all kinds of weird noise…

Read A Thon Recap

Dewey's Read A Thon is over and I had fun participating. I managed to read a sum total of 2.5 books and 762 pages. However Father gave me a bonus of 20 pages since he interrupted my reading to talk about his electronic project. We decided to donate .10 cents per page read to The American Heart Association and I just going to round it off to an even $100.00

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

I read during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. With all of life's interruptions, I managed to read a total of 8 hours which means I read about 100 pages an hour. Not bad. The most daunting hour would have to have been the last hour.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

Not really, because a book that will keep me engaged, won't necessarily do it for another person. Really depends on what they like. I would suggest suspense thrillers or if you want to learn something about art, one of Iain Pears A…

Read-A-Thon Update 5 - Book Review # 46 The Titian Committee

It's 9:15 here and I've managed to complete my 2nd book - The Titian Committee by Iain Pears. Total pages 230.

Description according to Amazon: "This playful satire of the squabbling international art scene and the Italian police bureaucracy reunites volcanic beauty Flavia de Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad, and diffident British art dealer Jonathan Argyll, who first met in The Raphael Affair. Set in Venice and first published by Gollancz in 1991, the tale opens with the murder of American art historian Louise Masterson, a member of the scholarly international Titian Committee, who is found stabbed to death in a bed of lilies at the Giardinetti Reali. Then the elegant, reputedly incorruptible British art collector Tony Roberts drowns in a canal, and French art philosopher Georges Bralle is discovered suffocated in his home in France. Affection blooms between Flavia and Jonathan as they probe current affairs and Titian's paintings for clues to the kill…

Read A Thon Update 4

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I got home and around 4:00 sat down out on the patio to read. Quickly gave up on Ray Bradbury and switched to "The Titian Committee" by Iain Pears. I managed to read about 61 pages before my son tells me that AT&T was at the door. "Huh" I think and go to the door. Come to find out our street has been upgraded to fiber optic cable. Yippee, says me. Yippee, say Hubby and we just spent the last hour discussing choices for telephone, internet and cable. We will now have zippier internet and father gets to have his blip blip capability back on the TV and we can ditch Dish. It all gets installed on Thursday. *sigh*

So, Pizza is now on order and French Fries are in the oven for son who for whatever unfathomable reason doesn't like pizza. I'm off to read until the pizza arrives. :) Will update again in a couple hours.

Happy Reading!

Read A Thon Update # 3 - Book Review # 45 Mercy Street

Still at work but managed to finish the remaining 153 pages of Mercy Street so have read total of 388 pages so far. Approximate reading time is 3 hours.

I enjoyed the story and it will continue for a couple of the characters in Cry Mercy which will be released on April 28th. Another book for my wish list.

Excerpt beginning Chapter one: "From the top of the jetty to the rocks below was roughly twelve feet, give or take. Not enough to break much more than a few limbs, the man standing at the far edge thought wryly. Hardly worth the jump. Not for the first time, he wished he'd had the jetty built higher."

Robert Magellan is a billionaire and has become a recluse since his wife and child disappeared a year ago. Two high school seniors are killed in a park and two others who were with them disappeared. The girl is the daughter of the church secretary and Father Kevin, Robert's cousin talks him into paying for a private detective to search for the two missing kids…

Read-A-Thon Hour 2 Update

I'm in my hour 2 - I think. Not sure how the hours think is supposed to work.

I've been reading since around 7:15 a.m. and it's now 9:24. Taking a break to make James breakfast. He slept in late for once.

Still reading Mercy Street by Mariah Stewart and on page 235. Minus the 45 pages I read last night, have read 190 pages in 2 hours. To see how much every one else has read check out the Read Feeds.

I have to get ready to go to work at 10:00 since it is my Saturday to work at the Shop. So taking the next half hour to wander round, check your blogs and be a cheerleader for a little while. Will be at the shop from 11:00 to 3:00 and depending on how busy we are, (which I hope is very) will try to finish Mercy Street. Will take another book as backup, just in case.

There's a mini challenge that will be open for another hour at Bart's Bookshelf
which is a quiz to identify as many books and authors as you can from thumbnail pictures. Good luck because I don…

Read-A-Thon: Ready, Set and she's off

Ready, Set and Go!

This first hour, let’s start with the introduction meme Darcie wrote a few read-a-thons ago. It’ll help us all get to know each other a little bit. Here are the questions she asked: Where are you reading from today?3 facts about me …How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

Good Morning, It is 7:05 a.m. here in Northern California and I'm all set to start reading. I know starting a big late but even though I was awake around 5:00 a.m., just couldn't pull myself out of bed and start reading. Now I'm ready. I have my tea and a good book. Just to start off this morning, 3 facts about me: Besides the fact that I love reading - I'm married to my soul mate, I'm going to be turning 50 this year and actually looking forward to it and I'm allergic to roses.

I now have 8 books in my pile …

Dewey's Read A Thon

I'm all set for the Read-a-Thon. I finished my final and got a 90 of the multi choice part - yeah. Won't know for a few days what I got on the essay part but pretty sure will be getting a B for the course.

When I mentioned the Read-a-Thon to father all he said was "I don't have to read do I?" LOL! We discussed it and decided we will donate a certain amount to the American Heart Association. We have a lot of heart things that run in both our families, so seemed the most appropriate thing to do. For every page I read, we will donate .10 cents or at least $50.

The books I plan on reading are:

The Titian Committee by Iain Pears - 230 pages
B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton - 211 pages
The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Alice Kimberly - 261 pages
Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs - 287 Pages
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury - 158 pages
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint Exupery - 83 pages
The Soul Collectors by Charles Quince - 78 pages

At this point a total…

Weekly Report # 25 4/13 to 4/17

This week we went gang busters with lessons and working on cub scout stuff. Last week I had the weird laryngitis virus that's been going around and tried to talk as little as possible so I wouldn't lose my voice entirely. We only did stuff that didn't require me to talk. One of my technicians has it and he is so much worse than I was and two weeks later is still not able to talk very loud. His voice is coming back very very slowly.

What we accomplished:

Explorer Bible Study: Genesis 8 - 9 After the flood which is all about the Covenant God made that he would never flood the earth again. We discussed the theories of whether the whole earth was flooded and if it was just more localized flooding such as described in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Voyages in English: We started Section 7: Punctuation and Capitalization. One of James weak areas. He loves to write either in all capitals or all lower case letters and has a habit of not capitalizing the first letter of the firs…

You don't Say - Thank you Super Commentors

(Created by Sheri of A Novel Menageri)

We give and get awards for having a great blog and being a good friend. What I want to award is to those people whose comments have meant THE WORLD to me. It takes time to visit a blog and leave a comment. I wanted to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to each and every one of you who has left a comment for me on A Novel Menagerie. Also, I wanted to recognize some special bloggers whose comments have made such an impact on me. The “You Don’t Say?” Award is awarded to these special bloggers in hopes that they will pass the award along to 5-10 of their best commentors!
Sheri gave me this award last week (again, thank you). I finally figured out the html of the comment counter and now know how many comments each person has left. (Thank you, J.Kaye). Very cool! I'm going to leave up the list of all commentors up on the sidebar (scroll down a ways) for a couple days. Have fun checking out where your name is on the list. Then gosh dar…