Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Elevated

Title Elevated
By Elana Johnson
Genre YA Contemporary Verse
Pages 300

First Sentence April rain sinks in sheets, forces me to squint against the chaos in the sky, makes the WALK signal blurry, almost invisible.

The last person Elly wants to get trapped in an elevator with is her ex Travis. She hasn't told him why she broke up with him or why she hasn't talked to him for five months. But her secrets are about to come out. When you have nowhere to go, you can't hide from the truth.

What it has going for it
Let me just start off telling you two very important things about this book. One, the cover and synopsis make it look just adorable and fluffy. It's not. Two, I hated this book the whole way through until the end...and then I loved it. With that out of the way let me tell you a little about why I loved it without spoiling too much. This book, though it looks light and fluffy, is anything but. There's not one single piece of fluff in this one. It's sad and depressing and seemingly hopeless...seemingly. It has that beautiful writing a verse novel has and Elana pulls out all the guns on the feelings department. In the end, if you can make it through the poor decisions and MC's guilt trips, you'll find a beautiful and important message. A message so important that the whole sad story made it worth it.

What's lacking
It's very hard to read this one and agree with the choices being made and to see the things these poor characters have to deal with. It's gritty and real and painful. I really didn't like Travis. I'm sorry but he was just so broken and there was no fixing him. The ending made it worth it, though.

Yea or Nay?
Yes, I'd highly recommend it. It's a verse novel, as I mentioned and so a fast read. It's also too real and beautiful to miss.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rant & Rave #1

                                                                Rant & Rave

Welcome to my first Rant and Rave post. A place where I can Rave about something or someone, and a place where I can get that chip off my shoulder by Ranting.

I'm such a negative person that Raving about things just isn't "me", if you know what I mean. But, yes, occasionally I get over my pessimism and find something glorious and beautiful in life to rave about.
Today's Rave: My all time favorite toy ever! My leaf blower. I know, you think I've really lost it now but don't click away just yet. I seriously love this thing. I love how powerful it makes me feel. I love when I'm in a particularly bad mood how taking the ol' leaf blower out and blowing my yard free of leaves dust and dirt just makes me smile. Nothing, can withstand it's force. (ok not really, but it feels that way) and just holding the power of wind in my hands makes me happy! I use it to clean not just my yard but my shop vac's filter out. Yep, just take that baby outside, have someone hold it, then blow the crap out of it! Wahoo! I also used that technique on my furnace filter when I wasn't able to replace it quite yet. Seriously, just ask my husband. When ever there's a job for the leaf blower; I get a huge grin on my face, a slight skip in my step and run to my beloved leaf blower.

Today's Rant: Stupid drivers. Actually, you'll probably see this little rant of mine more than once. My particular rant today has to do with people in parking lots. OK, so say you're driving down the little isle between parking spots looking for a good one or you've just exited your spot and are making your way down the isle to the exit and suddenly, someone starts pulling out. Well, obviously you can see better than they can, so you slow down waiting for them to see you. Now in my humble opinion. If you're pulling out of a parking spot you yield to the person in the "road" but lately theses entitled bastard just keep pulling out! They know I'm not waiting for their spot they just can't be bothered to stop. Apparently, in their mind, they have the write of way. What the hell?! It's happened to me so many times in the last little bit that I swear...one more person does it and I'll ram my crappy dented Honda Civic into their shiny new Mercedes. I swear I'll do it, consequences be damned! Phew! That felt good. Sorry about the swears.

Hope you enjoyed my Ranting and Raving. What are you Raving and Ranting about today? Please share.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Dune

Title Dune
By Frank Herbert
Genre Adult Scifi
Pages 528

First Sentence In the week before their departure to Arrakis, when all the final scurrying about had reached a nearly unbearable frenzy, an old crone came to visit the mother of the boy, Paul.

 Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who would become the mysterious man known as Muad'Dib. He would avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family--and would bring to fruition humankind's most ancient and unattainable dream. (from Goodreads)

What is has going for it
I'll make this short and sweet. If you want to read my discussion posts about this book for a more in depth review you can find them here, here and here.  I read this one for Book Club and as part of a read along hosted by Jenni, Kami, and Suey. The read-along was awesome. There were Twitter chats and a sort of ongoing discussion going on all the time. I really enjoyed that aspect of reading this book. And while I can say I'm glad I read it, and no, it wasn't torture, I enjoyed the read along better then the book.

What's lacking
My biggest problem with this one was that it starts out very confusing and took quite awhile to get into. That being said, once you do get into it, it moves along at a quick pace, covering a lot of ground...Too much ground. It just seemed like too much happened for one book. Even if it was over 500 pages. I also really disliked the way Paul turned out. He seemed too bitter at being a slave to fate. Even though, Jenni assures me that, when read again and again, one picks up on so much more and might have a different opinion of Paul, I don't think I'll read it again. 

So, no, I didn't hate this one I just didn't really like it. 

Yea or Nay?
If you love scifi and classics, then yes. Otherwise, it's not one I'd recommend. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Salon

Welcome to the Sunday Salon. A Weekly Update of my boring life. 

Weather Small Talk:  Still having that typical Utah spring weather. Hot as Hades one day, cold as ice the next. 

On The Idiot Box: My TV watching is pretty much down to series on Netflix. I tried out The 100, The Paradise and Daredevil. So far I'm only still interested in Daredevil. I guess I'll just stick with Game of Thrones.

Weekly Reads: I read two books again this week! I'm on a roll! I finished Dune and read Elevated by Elana Johnson. 

Crazy Kitties: I'm at my wits end with Belly. She keeps going potty on the bathroom rug. Now I don't get to have a rug in the bathroom. Any tips? Seriously. I've tried everything from punishment to ignoring her and nothing helps. It's a territorial thing and I can't get her to stop. 

This Week: Had some serious highs and lows this week emotionally. Stupid hormones! 

Movie of the Week: No new movies but I watched The Babadook (a Australian horror movie) on Netflix. I laughed through most of it as I often do in horror movies but this one had this whole symbolic thing going and it was pretty interesting. 

Food Talk: I know you're never going to believe this but I think I'm all sugared out. I just can't stand the thought of eating more sugary foods...just give me a few days. I'm sure I'll be back to sugar soon. 

Married Life: I decided to add a little something about my married life to this post. Tell me what you think. The past couple of weeks, It's occurred to me that the honeymoon phase is over. No, no. I don't mean I'm miserable and my marriage is boring and loveless. It's just not all passion and lovey dovey crap anymore. However, the communication level has gotten really good and I'd take that any day of the week over romance. 

Lessons Learned: Unfortunately, though I have these amazing breakthroughs about life everyday, I don't seem to act on them very well. Oh well. I'm still working on my goal of the year to love myself more. It's hard guys. Why do we woman struggle with this so much?!

Plans For The Week: The gross swamp we have growing in the pool is going bye bye. I'm so excited to get it all cleaned out and filled. Now if the weather will just cooperate and get warm! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Dune Read Along: Discussion Three

Well, we did it! We finished reading Dune. For our third and final discussion Kami is hosting. Stop on by her blog to link up and read other peoples thoughts on part three. Don't forget the Twitter chat tonight at 9:00 pm MDT. #DuneRAL

1. What are your overall thoughts? Did you like it?
I was into the plot but just never connected to anyone. I also felt like A LOT happened in just one book. It felt like too much and that affected my overall opinion.

2. Do you think you could ride a giant worm?

Never. Despite being a big fat wimp, I'd feel bad. I couldn't believe how they hurt them to keep them above sand. It was an awesome idea and it worked well for the story but it made me sad.

3. Paul's relationship with his mom, Jessica, dramatically changed and evolved over the course of the book. How did their relationship change and why do you think it did?

Definitely things changed between them. He was all dependent on her at first but then quickly took a leadership role. I understood his resentment of her but I thought he was kind of a jerk about it.

4. What do you think about Paul's lack of emotion?

I didn't think Paul had a lack of emotions until that last scene. Then I sort of thought he became a complete asshole! So he was pissed at his fate. Big deal! We all have crap we have to do and hate it sometimes. So what! Suck it up!

5. Now that I've finished, I feel like I'd pick up on a lot more of the details and things if I read it again. Do you think you'll reread Dune? If this is a reread, did you catch different things this time around?

I won't be re-reading this one. I know I'd pick up on more if I did but I just can't. There wasn't enough emotional connection to any of the characters for me.

6. How do you feel about the political arrangement at the end? Do you feel bad for Princess Irulan or Chani?

That was a really shitty ending. I'm sorry, but ouch! Why were they so damn heartless towards Princess Irulan? Geeze. You'd think Paul, being a slave of fate, would be more understanding of her. What a horrible cruel way to end the book. I felt like Jessica and Paul had become incredibly bitter.

7. Will you read the rest of the series?

No. Mainly because I learned in this book that when I expected that maybe Herbert wasn't a complete jerk and would maybe take us down a better path he NEVER did. So I can hardly continue reading the series. He won't make any thing better.

8. Favorite character and why?
I might have said Alia or Jessica or even Paul but by the end of the book my favorite character was Princess Irulan. Most of the chapter introductions were her history of Maud'Dib and after seeing how cruelly she was going to be treated it made me think, "maybe she finds solace in writing the history".

9. What did you think about the quotes at the beginning of each chapter? Did you read them? Were they interesting? Were they helpful?

I think I covered this question above. I read them. I enjoyed them but I was trying to figure out who Princess Irulan was.

10. Did you have fun during the Read Along? Was there anything we could have done better? Would you have read this book if you hadn't joined?

I had fun. The Twitter chats were fun and seeing everyone's opinions has been fun too. I would have read this book for book club but I would have dragged through it. The Read Along helped me get through it faster.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review: Lost Lake

Title Lost Lake
By Sarah Addison Allen
Genre Adult magic realism
Pages 296

First Sentence "Wake up, Kate!"

Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? (From Goodreads)

What it has going for it
I love Allen's books. Let's just get that out of the way. I love how magical and perfect they are. Realistic? No. They're full of hope and happy endings and, let's face it, life isn't that way at all. But that's what makes Allen's books so wonderful. When life in all its dreariness gets you down, you can count on Allen to lift you up with humor, magic, and happy ever after. Lost lake starts out rather sadly. It seems that all the characters are a little lost a, a little out of hope but with the help from a alligator/boy and a little bit of magic everything turns out OK. While this one wasn't my favorite Allen because nothing in it really hit home with me at this time in my life, I still loved it. It was just what I needed and I flew through it. I'm determined to read more of Allen's books now.

What's lacking
Like I said, this one didn't have some hidden message that struck home with me. So, while I loved it, it didn't move me. When I read The Sugar Queen by Allen, it totally hit home with me. That one will always have a special place in my heart. I'll remember Lost Lake, though. It sounded so magical and warm and safe. I really have no complaints.
Yea or Nay?
Yes, I'd recommend Allen's books to anyone. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's prompt: Top Ten authors I REALLY want to meet.

Sarah Addison Allen
I really love her books and think she'd be a delight to meet.

Dean Koontz
Come on, I have to meet the creator of Odd Thomas!

Kate Griffin
One of these day's I WILL meet the author of the Matthew Swift books! I have to!!!

Neal Shusterman
Honestly, there are books of Shusterman's that I'm not a fan of. But, there are book of his that I absolutely adore. Either way, I'd love to meet him.

Stephen King
Again, another author who is a hit or a miss with me but still, can you imagine meeting this  amazing author?!

Jane Austen
Yeah, so I could never actually meet her but I'd REALLY, REALLY like to. Who wouldn't want to meet the creator of Mr Darcy and Captain Wentworth or Mr Knightly?

Markus Zusak
Actually, I've met Markus before. He's absolutley as awesome as his books...which is why I'd love to meet him again!

Kate Morton
I've actually only read one of Kate's books but I plan on reading the rest for sure! This woman can weave a story!

Lindsey Leavitt
This one actually makes me a little crazy because I've has the chance twice now to meet her and didn't do it. How stupid is it that I've never met her? Seriously need to rectify that!

Rosamund Hodge
After reading Cruel Beauty...I just really need to shake this author's hand...or hug her. You know, whatever.

This prompt totally wasn't fair. I have like a billion other authors I'd like to meet. This isn't even my top ten. I can't narrow it down like that. These are just the ones that have been on my mind lately. I need to meet them? Any author's we share in common?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Salon

I've decided to revamp the Sunday Salon post! Mostly, because I'm not reading as much and since I'm not reviewing as many books...well, I need something to post, right? Plus I just like to get personal sometimes. So, here we go. 

Weather Small Talk:  Stupid Utah weather. It's been raining all week. Now I love me some spring rain but did the temperature have to drop 30 degrees? Sheesh!  Last Sunday I turned the AC on this Sunday I've got the furnace back on. 

On The Idiot Box: Still just watching Game of Thrones. Last week's episode was really lackluster. I'm hoping this week's episode is better. 

Weekly Reads: I Finished two whole books. Yay me!  I finished Cress and Lost Lake and enjoyed them both. I'm still working on Dune and am thinking of starting Elevated by Elana Johnson.

Crazy Kitties: Buns, my siamese is same old same old. She's getting old and I just realized the other day that she could die as soon as next year.  How sad is that? Belly is still crazy.  She loves to go outside but I only let her out when I'm with her and she doesn't think I go out enough. 

This Week: We hauled away all the trees we cut down. That was exhausting.  Then it rained and rained and I spent a lot of time reading. 

Movie of the Week: No new movies but I did see (for the first time) the old 70's version of The Exorcist. I didn't find it all that scary but I did appreciate that back then that movie probably scared the crap out of people. 

Food Talk: Today, as you know is Mother's Day. My mother in law is coming for dinner and loves peppermint pattys so I'm incorporating them in to a cake.  I hope it turns out ok. 

Plans For The Week: More yard work and reading. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Review: Cress

Title Cress (Lunar Chronicles 3)
By Marissa Meyer
Genre YA, Scifi, Dystopian
Pages 550

First Sentence Her satellite made one full orbit around planet earth every sixteen hours.

As Cinder, Scarlet, Thorne and Wolf try to keep away from the evil Lunar Queen and come up with a plan to overthrow her, a young girl held captive in a satellite watches their every move. Cress, a netscreen hacker genius, has been watching the foursome escape and try to stay hidden. She's determined to help them if only they, specifically the handsome Thorne, will rescue her.

What is has going for it
I really love these silly re-tellings! I say silly because there's just a few unbelievable things here and there in these stories but other than that...what can I say? I really loved Cress. She was introverted and shy but a complete genius. Her wild imagination and silly fantasies cracked me up. The plot in this one is nonstop fun! I was much more engrossed in this story than I was with Scarlet. I loved Scarlet too but this one just had more fun and more action. It felt like it was moving forward more. I can see where the story is going and it's going to be just awesome! Marissa is a genius. I love the way she ties the original fairy tales in to these books and stays true to them but manages to make them her own. Pure Awesomeness! I can't wait for the concluding book!

What's Lacking
As I mentioned above, these books aren't perfect. Damn near, but not quite. I'm not sure I can believe that Cinder would so readily accept her destiny and then how unconcerned she is with starting a war. The books are awesome but there's always that obvious reminder in the characters attitude that screams, "This is only a story!". Which is totally fine with me but I like to really believe the book I'm reading could happen...Or at the very least, that the characters realize how serious things really are. People are dying, Cinder! Feel a little bad even if you can't cry!

Yea or Nay?
If you haven't read these ones yet, I'd highly recommend them. Very fun books!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dune Read Along: Discussion Two

It's time for our second discussion on  the Dune Read Along. Today's discussion is hosted by Suey and the questions cover part two of Dune.  If you'd like to read other discussions or link up you can do so on Suey's blog.  And don't forget our Twitter chat Thursday May 2nd at 9:00 pm MST. 
Ok here we go.

1. What do you think about all the rituals the Freman have surrounding water? Especially the funeral.

I can totally get this obsession with water but one wonders why people actually try living on Arrakis. Why not have water shipped in or live off planet  on a space station or something with water being delivered? 

The funeral had one of my favorite quotes from this book.  

"The meeting between ignorance and knowledge, between brutality and culture—it begins in the dignity with which we treat our dead."

2. Any other thoughts you have about the Freman now that we've been introduced a little better?

I think they're very typical native type people. Though, I'm really not sure if they're native to Arrakis. Jenni? 

3.. How do you feel about the way Paul is progressing to his destiny?

I don't like the "many paths and out comes" crap. He's not all that cool if he can only see what might happen.  

4. We had more deaths in this section, two that stand out. Compare and contrast them.

I'm disappointed that Kynes dies. Especially after having this breakthrough about water.  Jamis was annoying and I didn't care that he died. I felt like he was used as a plot device to get the people to accept Paul... twice. 

5. What political maneuverings are happening during this section? I'd love a nice uncomplicated explanation!

We have several political maneuverings going on. I'm wondering why the Bene Gesserit want Feyd-Rautha's blood line to live on. I'm not sure why the Baron wants to make Arrakis a prison planet. I'm afraid that went over my head. 

6. What religious events are happening?

I guess Jessica becoming the new Reverend Mother was interesting, especially because she was pregnant, but I'm confused. Was this Reverend Mother a little off her rocker or did Jessica not understand the Bene Gesserit completely?  So confused. 

7. What do you think of the Baron?

I think he's disgusting of course.  And honestly not as clever as he thinks if he thinks the Freman are wiped out. 

8. Any foreshadowing moments that stand out to you? What's going to happen?

I actually think Hawat is going to play a huge role near the end.  I think he's blind as a bat but I like that he's playing the Baron and Feyd-Rautha against each other. 

9. How do you like (or dislike) this section compared to the first? Any new favorite characters?

I'm liking this section better than the first but I'm also becoming less interested in the book as a whole. I'm feeling like it's not going to wrap up and the characters I'm interested in aren't going to have a role in this book.  

10. Do you plan to finish and stick with us through part three?

Yes, yes.  I've already started part three. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bookstore Tour

I don't usually post this sort of thing but I just couldn't resist. See, there's this used bookstore in the city next door that I've fallen in love with. It's called Pioneer Books. Now, as much as I love a used book store with stacks of books everywhere, unless you have oodles of hours to just sit and sift through them all, they aren't very user friendly. Pioneer Books is very, very organized. Their YA section isn't completely depleted and picked through, though some days are better than others. And they don't have just piles of old John Grisham's lying around, if you know what I mean. There fiction section is big and very well stocked. Anywho, the other day I was there and just couldn't resist taking a few pictures to show you.

The bookstore is so freaking cute! It's located on an old street with wall to wall shops and has two floors. I'll focus on the top floor because that's were the fiction books are. Are you ready to start the tour?

The View from the upper floor to the cute street below.

See how organized? Yes that's my husband enjoying the view while I peruse the isles. 

More organized glory! 

A comfy couch because every good book store should have one.

Another nook to read in peace and quiet.

And my favorite! The front of the store. Is that paint job not all sorts of Awesome?!

Just wanted to share the awesomeness that is this book store. If you're ever in my neck of the woods we should go together. And to all my Utah bloggers who haven't checked this store out...What are you waiting for?!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Sunday Salon Returns!!!

I've decided to revamp the Sunday Salon post! Mostly, because I'm not reading as much and since I'm not reviewing as many books...well, I need something to post, right? Plus I just like to get personal sometimes. So, here we go. 

Weather Small Talk: Spring is here! I spend evenings out side on the front porch with my kitties. 

On The Idiot Box: As, you know, a lot has changed for me in the last two years. Sadly my obsession with TV has been put on hold. However, I have got my husband addicted to Game of Thrones. We caught up on all the seasons in time for this season's premier. It's a gritty, gritty show but I loves it! 

Weekly Reads: I'm still reading Dune for the Read Along and Book Club. So far so good. I'm also working on Cress and loving it. I kind of struggled with Scarlet a little but Cress is awsomeness! 

Crazy Kitties: My Siamese featured in the picture for my Sunday Salon posts is getting a little old. :( She takes things calmly and patiently. Our new kitty, on the other hand, is young and impetuous. She runs around the house like a maniac leaping off walls and skidding around corners. 

This Week: We finally got some renters in our basement apartment and I've also been working in the yard cutting down tree after tree. So Tired!  

Movie of the Week: I saw The Age of Adeline on Tuesday...Meh. I really wanted to love it but it was only so so. 

Food Talk: Sadly my diet and I are at odds with each other so I've gained weight and am eating quite dreadfully. Oh well, life ebbs and flows...like my weight. ;) I'm always pinning delicious recipes on Pinterest but don't try them very often. 

Soccer Sightings: My biggest "I do not want to confess this to be blogging buddies". I have not been watching soccer. I know, I know! I'm shocked too. I had to cut the channel that showed the games because I couldn't afford it. I still follow my boys on line but it's just not the same. Sigh! One day I'll get back to them, right? 

Plans For The Week: Keep working on the yard and spend more time reading. I deserve some freaking lazy reading time. Can I get and AMEN?! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

April Wrapup

I seriously almost considered not posting a wrapup this month. I only read two books.*hangs head in shame* I did, however, get the basement apartment finished, found renters and began the process of working on the yard. See! I have a good reason for not reading very much. Anywho, here you go.

The Princess Guide to Life by Rosie Blythe
A self help that sounded froofy but ended up having some depth to it. I liked it

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Way too much set up and nothingness for a total let down of an ending. Yuck!

Favorite of the month. I guess The Princess Guide to life, though I didn't LOVE it. Least favorite was obviously the Golem and the Jinni.

Plans for May

I definitely want to read more. I've got Dune to finish for book club and the Read Along. Cress to finish for fun. I got Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen on a whim at the Library and need to get it read and returned, as well.

Also I shall be working more on the yard. It went from looking like this...

To this....

:( Way too much neglect. So I'm doing a complete overhaul. One day I'll post pictures of it finished.
Have a great May everyone!