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Showing posts from September, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday

I've finally got past whatever was blocking me from writing and have made some progress on the rewrite of Floating on the Surface. Not as much as I like, but enough to get my imagination in gear again. I found a great picture the other day that just captured me and just had to make a new book cover.

Cool! Really sparks my imagination. National Novel Write Month will be starting in just 31 days, so have to get back into the habit of writing at least 1667 words a day. If I start shooting for that amount every day, by the end of October I should have most of the rewrite done. I'm working my way back up to it. Day light savings time ends on October 31st and setting the clock back an hour will help. It will help me get back in the habit of getting up at 6:30. As long as I get up a couple hours before the rest of the household, I'll have my quiet time to write.

I've been working on character outlines and world building for Eyes in the Ashes and coming up with some…

Wordless Wednesday

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol


Dan Brown

Front Flap: "As the story open, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object - artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient meant to usher its recipient into a long lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept his mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never before seen locations -- all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

Dan Brown just happens to be one of my favorite authors. The very first book I r…

My little salesman!

Happy, optimistic James and me - geeky mom. I have to buy a better hat and quit grabbing the first ball cap I come across.

As we all know, part of being a girl scout or boy scout is the fund raising. The girl scouts sell their delicious cookies for a couple weeks out of the year and the boys scouts have their popcorn sales. Surprisingly though, I discovered the boys aren't limited to a certain part of the year for sales. They only have the door to door sales for a couple weeks, but thanks to Trails end who provides the popcorn, folks can continue to buy popcorn year round. But we'll get back to that in a moment.

Yesterday, James did his first ever door to door fund raising for the boy scouts. We figured all our neighbors would be home on a Sunday afternoon -- wrong! Only three were home, but they all ordered something. Yeah! It was a good experience for James and he did well with his spiel, chatting up the neighbors, making them laugh and making them forget about t…

Banned Book Week

Banned book week starts tomorrow September 26th and runs through October 3rd. I will be reading The Great Gatsby which has been sitting festering on the shelf for the past few years. Every year I say I'm going to read it and don't. This year I'm determined. I may even attempt The Grapes of Wrath - maybe.

I was looking at the list on the American Library Associations site and I have to confess. For the past couple years, every time I have looked at the list of challenged or banned books, I've missed something. The thing I have missed or not read correctly is this

According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 42 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts. The titles in bold represent banned or challenged books.

I totally overlooked the "titles in bold" are the banned or challenged books. I always thought every book on the list had been challenged or banned. Which lead m…

Weekly Report #1

We started lessons this week after a long break so made it a light week. Each week will add in more until we are up to speed. Introducing quite a few things this year and much more reading involved. One thing I am totally stoked about, plus shooting myself in the foot for not doing so sooner, is getting the Voyages in English Teachers Guide. Oh my goodness, it is a gem. Last year we did without and I only taught from the grammar section based on Susan's Well Trained Mind recommendations.

According to Bauer "the writing exercises are not useful in building expository writing skills and should be skipped," and recommended other writing programs. After reading through the teachers manual, I totally disagree and I could see was feeding the poor kid hamburger when all along I could have been feeding him steak. Yeah - Father looked at me strangely as well when I said that to him. Then he took a look at the guide and understood what I meant. I've used a coupl…

Educational Moments

Star Wars X Wing Fighter

See this puppy. James is attempting to put it together all by himself. He didn't want my help. So instead of doing math right now, he is in his room, reading the directions and constructing the x wing. Last year we bought several kits and they have been just sitting, because James wanted me to do all the work. He just wasn't interested. Suddenly, some brain cell kicked in and he's been working on the kits. He's diligently working away and it is educational. Just one of those unschooling moments that you have to take advantage of.

Schindler's List

I know the movie came out back in the 90's but I never saw it. Don't know why - just didn't. The other night I was reading and Father calls from living room "Schindler's List is starting." I look at the clock - 10:30 p.m. I really don't want to start watching a movie so late and tell him to dvr it. After a few minutes I go into the living room, sit down and it only took a matter of minutes for the movie to capture me. Yes, I ended up staying up til 1:30 a.m. watching the whole movie. Needless to say, we were both reduced to tears by the ending.

The movie brought back memories of going to the movie theater with my sister back in the 1970's to see Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place. I had read the book so knew what to expect, but still. When the movie was over, I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. You know how when you come out of movie, everyone is usually chattering about the movie. How great it was, what thei…

Fall Reading Challenge 2009

Fall into Reading 2009

September 22 through December 20

Hosted by: Callapidder Day's

Welcome to the glorious days of Fall. Once again Katrina of Callapidder Day's is hosting Falling in Reading 2009 - a low pressure, set your own reading goals, and just read challenge. I decided to continue with my theme of First time Author Reads. I'm enjoying discovering new to me authors and I have a few in my current TBR stack that have been calling my name. The books I will be reading are:

Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald . The book has been sitting on the shelves for a couple years now and with banned book week coming up, decided I should read it. It was challenged by a baptist college in South Carolina for language and sexual references. There are a number of books listed on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th century and the reasons why listed here.

A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin (674 pages) I have heard many good things about George R.R.…

BBAW Contest Winners!

All my contests are over, except the one for Whiskey Gulf and you have until midnight tonight to enter. All the winners have been notified by email.

Congratulations to all the Winners!

Monday: "The Boneman's Daughter" goes to Gina of Book Dragons Lair

Tuesday: "Wicked" goes to Alexa of Violet Eyes Roaming

Wednesday: "The Divorce Party" goes to Sue of Mickelson Family

Thursday: "Benny and Shrimp" goes to Frances Ellen of Frances Ellen Speaks

Friday: "Paris City of Night" goes to Barb at Meditative Reading

Bonus Book "My Soul to Take" goes to Donna at Donna's Blog

Bonus Book "Intertwined" goes to Megan at Leafing Through Life

Thank you to everybody who entered. Thank you again to the hostest with the mostest Amy of My Friend Amy's.

Libri Multus

Random books read in the past couple weeks

In my quest to read all things Agatha Christie, 4.50 from Paddington was very interesting. Miss Marple's friend Elspeth is traveling by train to visit her. Another train passes and for a few moments it travels in tandem with Elspeth's train. Elspeth glances across and sees a man strangling a woman. Miss Marple is the only one who will believe her and sets out to investigate with the help of Lucy Elsebarrow. Classic who done it. Thanks to Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise and the Agatha Christie Reading Challenge.

Dead until Dark (a Sookie Stackhouse Novel) BethF and a few others have mention the Sookie Stackhouse books so many times, I just had to read it. Charlaine Harris is a first time author read and I'm sold. Have already picked up her 2nd book Living Dead in Dallas.

Hot Blooded by Lisa Jackson. Book #1 in her New Orleans Series. Reading as part of J.Kaye's Lisa Jackson Reading Fest. Romantic suspense novel and v…

BBAW Bonus Book: Whiskey Gulf by Clyde Ford

You ready for one last giveaway - Here it is!

Whiskey Gulf


Clyde Ford

Front Flap: After a sailboat drifts into a "live-fire" naval exercise area known as Whiskey Gulf, it's never heard from again. Maritime private investigator Charlie Noble is asked to discover what happened to the couple aboard. But he's stonewalled by the American and Canadian military. Then he learns that a Middle Eastern agent has been dispatched to find the couple as well. An agent with an old score to settle from his days as a Coast Guard intelligence officer.

Ultimately, Noble and his partner, Native American salvage diver Raven, head north along the Inside Passage where a hidden cove harbors answers about what really happened in Whiskey Gulf. But in order to return with the truth they must first survive a vicious attack and escape the clutches of a deadly whirlpool. Set in the stunning wilderness of the pacific Northwest, Whiskey Gulf is a story about unlocking secrets from the past th…

BBAW - Goals

Hopefully this week you’ve been visiting a bunch of new book blogs and maybe noticing some things about them you’d like to try yourself. Or maybe you’ve just had some ideas for improvements to your blog you’d like to put into place or new ideas for content. But there’s also probably something you really love about your blog, too, something you’re really proud of. It’s time to show off! Tell us and this is really important, in 50 words or less what you love best about your blog! And then in 50 words or less where you want your blog to be by the next BBAW! Ready? GO!What I love about my blog is it reflects where I am in life right now. When I started My Two Blessings back in 2007, I had no idea where it would take me. I originally started the blog to catalog our homeschooling journey, plus keep family and friends up to date. Over the past couple years, it became a creative outlet for me, plug I discovered a whole new world of books bloggers, writers, authors and a variety o…

BBAW Friday Giveaway - Paris City of Night by David Downie

Paris City of Night


David Downie

Back Cover: "June 18, 1850: The blurry image of escaping Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann wells up in a CIA darkroom in pre-dawn Paris.

December 26, 2007: Madeleine Adelaide de Lafayette, celebrated resistance and free french hero, former CIA deputy chief of station in Paris, is found dead in her mansion fronting the Eiffel tower. Few know she was a key player in the misguided Allied effort to fight Communism by smuggling Nazis to freedom. So was William Grant, Madeleine's favorite operative, also recently deceased.

December 28, 2007: As the countdown to New Year's Eve flashes from the top of the Eiffel Tower, vintage photographer and Daguerreotype expert Jay Grant, "son of a spook," races to piece together a deadly picture puzzle. Why were Madeleine and his father William murdered--and whose side is the CIA really on? Someone is trying to kill Jay before he can crack a code embedded on a set of Daguerreotype plates and flush ou…

BBAW Bonus Book: Intertwined by Gena Showalter



Gena Showalter

Front Flap: There's something about the new guy at Crossroads High....

Most sixteen year olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:

One can time travel.

One can raise the dead.

One call tell the future.

and one can possess another human.

With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now they're causing him all kinds of trouble. Like, he'll blink and suddenly he's a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he'll change the future. Or he'll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she's going to die. He's so over it. All he wants is peace.

And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, as long as he's near her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He's a loner, she has friends. He doesn't care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she r…

BBAW Thursday Giveway - Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti

Benny and Shrimp


Katarina Mazetti

Front Flap: "It started in a cemetery, where they begrudgingly share a bench. "Shrimp," the childless young widow and librarian with a sharp intellect and a home so tidy that her jam jars are in alphabetical order, meets Benny, the gentle, overworked milk farmer who fears becoming the village's Old Bachelor. Both driven by an enormous longing and loudly ticking biological clocks, they can't escape the powerful attraction between them.

But how will she learn to accept that he falls asleep at the opera and has a house full of his mother's cross stitch? And how could he ever feel at home in her minimalist apartment, bare as the dentist's waiting room?"

To enter this contest, please leave me a comment along with your name and email address. The contest will remain open for the rest of the week and ends at midnight September 18. Winners will be picked using and notified via email. Contest open to U.S. residents …

BBAW Reading Meme - Getting to know you

BBAW Reading Meme

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack? Pepsi and Doritos or Chex Mix

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea ofwriting in books horrify you? Eek! no - simply too horrifying.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?Laying the book flat open? No spine breaking here - bookmarks

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? 90% fiction / 10% non fiction

Hard copy or audiobooks?: Hard copy - my brain is too busy to listen to audio books. End up tuning them out.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are youable to put a book down at any point? Used to be I had to read to the end of the chapter. My two extrovert, talkative come see what I doing right now guys have cured me of that. Can leave at any point. After all it is a book - you don't have to rewind. Just go back a paragraph or two until you go "oh yeah, that's where I was at."

If you come across an unfamiliar word…

BBAW Wednesday Giveaway - The Divorce Party

The Divorce Party


Laura Dave

Back cover: "Gwyn Huntington knows how to throw a party. And Hunt Hall, her postcard perfect Victorian home in Montauk, is no stranger to celebrations. But on the morning of her thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, she's putting finishing touches on the last party she'll host there: A party to celebrate her divorce.

Just over one hundred miles away, Gwyn's future daughter in law, Maggie Mackenzie, sits on the floor of her Brooklyn apartment attempting to organize her new life. She's in love with a wonderful man, and today she is meeting his family for the first time.

The Divorce Party takes us into the lives of these two women at opposite ends of marriage. For all the differences between them -- distance, privilege, age-- Gwyn and Maggie have one thing in common. Each has found herself at the crossroads, facing the same question: How hard should you work to stay with the person you love?"

Good question: How hard should you work to stay…

BBAW - Show us the TBR Pile.

Show Us The TBR Pile!!! Okay Book Bloggers!!! It’s time to get creative! If there’s one thing book bloggers seem to have in common, one bittersweet fact, one troubling but joyous shared burden….it’s the TBR pile.Show us your TBR pile!!!

My Nightstand

Bottom Part
bottom part - review and challenge books in front of the stand and inside are bunch of nonfiction theological books (research for story) plus Lisa Jackson books

A bit closer look at the top paperbacks
A bit closer look at the hardbacks, plus bookmarks and the essential reading glasses

The bonus books in the living room - inherited classics and history books. The green books contain the complete works of Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allen Poe. Lots of books to keep us all busy for a while.
Check out other bloggers more creative ways to show off their tbr pilesCome on what else do you have to do?

Teaser Tuesday -- The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current readOpen to a random pageShare two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that pageBE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!(make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Yippee - Skippie. It's here!!!!!

"The Secret is how to die.

Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die. The thirty four year old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine." (page 1)

"Few men knew it existed...and even fewer knew its awesome power or the ingenious way in which it had been hidden. To this day, it remained this country's greatest untold secret. Those few who d…

BBAW Bonus Book: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take


Rachel Vincent

Back Cover: Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh. She doesn't see dead people, but....

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next....
This year Harlequin launched Harlequin Teen and their first two releases are paranormal romances: "My Soul to Take" by Rachel Vincent and "Intertwined" by Gena Showalter. Ask and you shall receive, I discovered and Harlequin sent me courtesy copies of both books. They will be releasing a third title "Elphame's Choice" by P.C. Cast September 29th.
I've never read anything by Rachel …