February Photo a Day Challenge

>> Thursday, January 31, 2013

February starts tomorrow. That means it time to talk about Photo A Day.

Every month I post a reminder and try to recruit more of my friends to participate in rhe Photo a Day Challenge hosted by Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim. I've been doing this daily photo thing since the middle of March and today will be my 322nd day of posting a daily photo. That one full year milestone is just around the corner. It seems like every month more and more of my online and in person friends join in. I love seeing everyone's photos and how creative folks can be with the daily prompts.

Any day is a perfect time to start. Heck, I started on March 16th, It's not hard and you can participate in so many ways. Looking back through my photos after a few months is fun and it's turning out to be a bit of photo journal with all the little daily memories both small and significant that end up being included.

Every month Chantelle posts a list of subjects or prompts for each day of the month. Chantelle's post about February's list includes some extra explanation and ideas just in case any of the prompts have you stumped.

This is the list for February and Chantelle's instructions:

Click to view full size
How to play!

Playing along with photo a day is super easy:
♥ Check out the February photo a day list.
♥ Each day look at the daily prompt and take a photo according to whatever the prompt is. For example for day 1 the prompt is FORK. Now… forks are boring right. Well, it’s a great opportunity to get creative. Go out to a cafe for lunch and take a photo of the table there. Or take a snap inside your cutlery drawer. Be inspired by a little creativity and see what you come up with. You could even take a photo of a fork in the road… let your imagination take you away!
♥ Once you’ve taken the photo it’s time to share it. There are loads of places you can share it. See below for more details.
♥ Check out other people’s photos. You can browse through them on my Facebook page. Or on Instagram or Twitter just search for the #FMSphotoaday hashtag to see them all.

Where to play?

There are loads of places to be social and share your photos with the #FMSphotoaday community:

♥ Instagram: Just upload your photo, use a fancy filter, add a caption and the hashtag #FMSphotoaday and then share.
♥ Facebook: There are a few options here. You can simply share on your own personal page, among your own friends. Or you can upload to my page’s wall, or I’ve created a Facebook group for 2013. You can join it here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FMSphotoaday/
♥ Blog: If you have a blog, you could share each day or do a wrap up of all the photos at the end of the month.
♥ Tumblr: Add your daily photos to your Tumblr feed.
♥ Flickr: I’ll be playing around more with Flickr in the New Year. You can get their app {for free if I remember correctly} and share your photos there, or upload on their web version. We also have a photo a day group here.
♥ Twitter: You can share on Twitter by uploading the photo and sharing the hashtag #FMSphotoaday. Easy.

To keep this simple I only use photos from my phone. Between Instagram and a few other photo applications I have plenty of options for editing photos on my phone. It's fun for me to see what I can do using just my phone and apps.

If you’d like to check out my previous photos they’re on my Tumblr blog at at Whimpulsiveness

I'm also really enjoy using ShutterCal too. You can see all of my Photo A Day photos in a calendar format. I think this is my favorite way to scan through my past photos and this is the format that ends up feeling like a bit of a journal of my year in photos. If you decide to use Shuttercal, be sure to let me know or link up with me there.

The most important thing to remember about this is don't overthink it. For me, using only photos from my phone makes it low pressure so I don't feel like I have to have a perfect shot. That helps me to just relax and have fun with it. Even with the photo promts that are repeated it's fun to try to come up with something different. Sometimes a prompt that was used a couple of months ago can spark a totally different meaning depending on my mood or circumstances that day.

If you've been participating I hope you'll continue or give it another try if you've gotten out of the habit. Please let me know where you are sharing your photos so that I can find them.

Here are a few of my favorites from the Dedember Photo a Day Challenge. Click on the individual photos if you want to see a larger version.

movement
January 5th - movement
street
January 7th - street
water
January 11th - water
two things
January 16th - two things
stripes
January 24th - stripes
through
January 28th - through

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Wordless Wednesday #172

>> Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Morning Frost

Morning Frost
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Fables Volume 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham et al.

>> Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fables Volume 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham et al.

Fables Volume 3: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham et al.

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #3 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 190
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Rather than one ongoing story this volume contains several stories that put some favorite Fairy Tale and literature characters in some pretty interesting situations.

Why I Read It:
I’m hooked on this series and The Hubster is reading them right along with me.

The Book:
This volume 3 is a compilation of issues 11-18 of the comic series.

From the publisher:

In the Fables' world, there isn't a lot of happily-ever-after to go around. As refugees from the lands of make-believe, the Fables have been driven from their storybook realms and forced to blend in with out gritty, mundane reality.

But that doesn't mean they don't have any room for romance—or the pain, betrayal and jealous rage that go along with it. In fact, love may be blooming between two of the most hard-bitten, no-nonsense Fables around. But are they destined for happiness— or a quick and untimely death?

My Thoughts:
There are multiple stories in this volume. Some are more standalone and others continue the ongoing story of the New York based Fables and their continuing saga.

Jack in the Beanstalk makes a deal with the Grim Reaper to save the live of his latest love interest but it doesn’t quite turn out the way he would like.

Bigby Wolf (as In Big B(ad). Wolf) uses Sleeping Beauty’s habit of putting the entire building to sleep when she nicks her finger to save the Fables from an investigative reporter who is a little too close to learning the truth but is actually wrong in a rather amusing way.

The history of the Lilliputians from Gulliver’s Travels and Thumbelina are intertwined and used to explain why the young male residents of “Smalltown” have a rite of passage that involves a dangerous trip to New York from the Fables upstate farm.

The primary story continues from the previous volume and has Goldilocks (as a gun toting revolutionary) and Bluebeard trying to take over Fabletown. When they manage to send Snow White and Bigby Wolf off on an adventure I discovered that Snow White and I have similar feelings about camping. To quote Snow, “I would never do that’. Seriously I did get a kick out of them being in the mountains of the Northwest and outfitted by REI.

Bigby Wolf is becoming my favorite character in this series. He’s got issues but he’s more and more interesting as the series goes on.

I heartily recommend this series but please start at the beginning with Fables: Legends in Exile. The stories are interesting, the artwork is wonderful and the familiar characters are cleverly re-imagined yet recognizable.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Touring my TBR – 2013 Series to Target

>> Monday, January 28, 2013


Touring my TBR Spreadsheet and Shelves

This month I’m talking about the series I want to target for 2013.

I did this last year with moderate results and I want to do the same for 2013

I targeted five series for 2012

First, the ones with which I succeeded:
Tonight I Said Goodbye by Michael Koryta Michael Koryta's Lincoln Perry Series
I only had one of this series to read but I’d been distracted by Koryta’s excellent standalone thrillers. I did read the most recent but I hesitate to call it the last in the series because Koryta has left the door open and I hope brings Lincoln Perry back someday.
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain Chelsea Cain's Archie and Gretchen series
I didn’t make it in 2012 but I just finished the most recent book in this series over the weekend. So I’m caught up in this one. Chelsea Cain writes some seriously disturbing stuff but it’s so good
Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt David Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter series
I switched to audio partway through this series because I love the narration by Grover Gardner. I’ve listened to the most current release and I’m looking forward to the next one due out in July

And now for the ones with which I didn’t do so well:
Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham Mark Billingham's Inspector Tom Thorne series
I pretty much failed when it comes to this series. I think it has something to do with the fact that I read the first six over a period ot six months in 2011. Now that it’s been a year or more I’m ready to get back to this series and see if I can get caught up I have three to read before Miulholland Books releases the newest US edition with Damages in July. I like Tom Thorne despite his flaws and I’m looking forward to getting back to this British Detective series.
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy Julie Hyzy's White House Chef series
I had only read one of this series before 2012 and I managed to read two more. I have three to read to catch up with the current release. It’s a fun cozy series and I’m happy to keep it on my target list for 2013

Now for the new series I’m targeting for 2013 in addition to the two discussed above:
In the Woods by Tana French The Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French
I read and loved the first one. I already own the second but haven’t read it yet. I have three to read to catch up so maybe I can do that by the end of 2013.
Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy The Monkeewrench series by P.J. Tracy
I had only read one of this series before 2012 and I managed to read two more. I have three to read to catch up with the current release. It’s a fun cozy series and I’m happy to keep it on my target list for 2013

What about you? Are there any series that you’re going to try to catch up with in 2013?

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Weekend Update January 27, 2013

>> Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
Last weekend I finished three books so this was new book week for me. I read Kill You Twice by Chelsea Cain. Her books are decidedly twisted and rather gruesome but the characters are great and I’ve loved every one of the Archie and Gretchen series. It’s also fun to read books set in my hometown.

This one starts on Mount Tabor and Cain mentions the Adult Soapbox Derby held there every August.


We went to that for the first time this past summer and saw Chelsea Cain and her daughter there.

At one point I told The Hubster “Well, Chelsea Cain just burned up the White Stag sign”.

While the White Stag sign does play a part in the story in the book but the Adult Soapbox Derby doesn’t. It was just fun to see it mentioned after seeing the author there. Just part of the fun of reading local authors.

I started a new graphic novel yesterday. I picked up the first volume of the Y: The Last Man series by Brian K. Vaughan. It’s a dystopian series about the only man to survive the simultaneous death of every male mammal on earth (except his pet monkey survives too). I’ve heard good things about this series and really only read a handful of pages last night. I hope to read more of it today.

My next book I’m going to start this afternoon is Burning for Revenge by John Marsden. This is the 5th book in the Tomorrow When the War Began series. It’s been a while since I read one of those so it’s a good one to include in the January Long Awaited Reads theme.

I’m still reading a little bit of Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd here and there. I’m not in any rush to power through this chunkster so a little at time is good,

On Audio I started The Navigator by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos. This is part of their Kurt Austin series. Scott Brick narrates this series and it’s a fun escapist unrealistic adventure series that I enjoy experiencing via audio.


Other than books and reading:
We finished watching the first season of Homeland and loved it. Such a good series. Claire Danes deserves every acting award she’s won for this one. We pretty much stopped watching new shows a couple of years ago because it seemed like every new one we started watching got cancelled. We decided to wait and see what survived and got good reviews and watch them later. Because of this approach we started watching Grimm and loved it and now Homeland. It looks like the second season of Homeland is available on On Demand until the end of April so we’ll be able to catch up.

Now I just need A&E to run a marathon of the first season of Longmire sometime before season 2 starts. I have a backup plan of watching season one via itunes but I don’t want to do that unless I have to. I’ve really enjoyed the Walt Longmire books by Craig Johnson and I’ve heard such good things about the TV series.

Howie says “Hi”


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Audiobook - Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas

>> Friday, January 25, 2013

Death Without Company by Craig Johnson

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: 2007 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2007)
Length: 8 hours, 25 minutes
Read by: Lorelei King
Source: Library

The Short Version:
World War II and a nearby Japanese internment camp make the affect the life of a young teenage girl and her family and friends

Why I Read It:
I’ve read a few books by Sandra Dallas but I heard good reviews of the audio version of this one so I decided to try the audio format.

The Book:
From the publisher:
During World War II, a family finds life turned upside-down when the government opens a Japanese internment camp in their small Colorado town. After a young girl is murdered, all eyes turn on the newcomers. Rennie has just turned thirteen and until this time, life has pretty much been predictable and fair. But the winds of change are coming, and with them, a shift in her perspective and a discovery of secrets that can destroy even the most sacred things. Part thriller, part historical novel, Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas is a riveting exploration of the darkest - and best - parts of the human heart.

My Thoughts:
This happened to be the third book in about a year for me that had the American internment of Japanese during World War II as part of the story. This was the first of those that was not told from the viewpoint of a Japanese character.

The story is told from Rennie’s point of view looking back as an adult. On one hand this story is about the murder of a young girl and the mystery of who her killed her. On the other hand that murder mystery often takes a background to the story of a small town during World War II that has the war brought home when the internment camp is built nearby.

As with other books I’ve read by Dallas, the story is primarily about the women. It’s about their roles, their struggles, their quiet strength and their relationships. The male characters are the ones to tend to move the action along but the women are the focus of the story.

At times it was a little too slow and the mystery of the murder trails out over a lengthy time period. Some of the secrets are rather predictable by the time they are revealed but nevertheless I liked the book.

As for the audio production, I had a difficult time at first because my previous experience listening to Lorelei King was with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Once I got the Stephanie Plum connections severed in my brain, I was able to hear how well King did with this story and the way she portrayed the characters in their proper time and place.

The edition I got from the library includes an interview by King with the author. I was struck by her story of when she had visited the location of the Amache internment camp in Colorado. This is the camp she used as the basis for Tallgrass. She described that the buildings were gone but the concrete foundations and roadways remained. That really struck me because it’s exactly what I saw when I visited the site of the Dachau Concentration camp in Germany.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration



SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Wordless Wednesday #171

>> Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frosty Web

Frosty Web

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Orange Crush by Tim Dorsey

>> Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Orange Crush by Tim Dorsey

Orange Crush by Tim Dorsey

Genre: Humor, Suspense
Series: #3 in the Serge Storms series
Publisher: Harper Touch
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 354
Source: Purchased


The Short Version:
Tim Dorsey meets Florida politics and chaos ensues.

Why I Read It:
I have giggled my way through the first two of Tim Dorsey’s Serge Storms books and it had been a while so this was a perfect book to pick up during January Long-Awaited Reads month.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The Republicans' "golden boy" -- and a loyal, unquestioning tool of the powerful special interests -- handsome, unthreatening, Florida governor-by-default Marlon Conrad seems a virtual shoo-in for re-election. That is, until he undergoes a radical personality shift during a bloody military action in the Balkans. Now it's just three weeks before the election and Marlon is suddenly talking about "issues" and "reform" as he crosses the length and breadth of his home state with an amnesiac speechwriter and a chief of staff who turns catatonic in the presence of minorities. The governor's new-found conscience might well cost him the election, though. And it appears that pretty much everybody from Tallahassee to Miami Beach is trying to kill him...

My Thoughts:
Tim Dorsey’s books aren’t for everyone and even for me I have to be in the right mood for the complete chaos and zaniness that is his signature. It’s so far over the top that it’s on and over the next top, but the ride is just fun.

I think reading this post election season was perfect because political gamesmanship that we’re all so sick of gets thoroughly skewered in this farce. From the “Florida Governer’s Race sponsored by Outback Steak House” to the ‘forget the debte lets have a WWF style wrestling match” it’s completely unbelievable but fun anyway.

When the raised to be Governor Marlon suddenly begins doing the unthinkable and telling the truth his advisors (including his father) just aren’t sure what to do. He shrugs off the security detail borrowed from the Rolling Stones and takes off across the state in rented Winnebago with an evolving entourage of loonies including Serge Storms as readers haven’t seen him before. It’s still the Serge who has the encyclopedic knowledge of Florida history but he’s just not quite the same.

It’s also the first book I ever read where the “note on the type” cracked me up

For people who have read other Serge Storms books, this one is fun because Serge is the normal one here. For folks who haven’t read any of Tim Dorsey’s books this is probably not a good place to start. I’d recommend picking up Florida Roadkill first.

3 stars Rating 3/5

I'm counting this one for the "Something you'd find in your kitchen" (an orange) category for the What's in a Name Challenge.

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Weekend Update January 20, 2013

>> Sunday, January 20, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading Orange Crush by Tim Dorsey. This was exactly the crazy and often odd but fun ride that I expect from Tim Dorsey. Serge Storms and Dorsey’s style are not something that everyone enjoys but when I’m in the right mood I giggle my way through and I did exactly that with this one.

I finally picked up a new graphic novel this week. I read the third book in the Fables series, Storybook Love. This comic series about fairy tale and fable characters living in exile in contemporary New York is just a ton of fun. This one continued the pattern of the first two with keeping the action moving and filling in the background stories. Goldilocks as a gun toting revolutionary is unlikely but thoroughly enjoyable reading.

I haven’t read much of Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd this week but I hope to get back to it and read the next section this week.

On Audio I’m in the middle of the last CD of Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas. I’ll finish that the next time I head out somewhere in the car so I’ll pick a new book from what’s on my ipod. I have plenty so it’ll likely depend on my mood at the moment.

Other than books and reading:
It’s been a pretty quiet week. It was a week of nothing out of the ordinary which after a couple of months of holiday stuff was actually kind of nice.

I had a road trip planned for today but thanks to the flu rudely attacking one of the friends I was going to meet, we’re rescheduling that. My plan B for today is to read and watch football. I took care of a lot of things yesterday expecting to be gone all day today so the change in plans gives me some extra unplanned me time.

I can’t leave you without a bit of Abby Antics.


This week she decided to be more ‘helpful’ than usual when I was working from home.


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

>> Friday, January 18, 2013

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harcourt
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 386
Source: Library

The Short Version:
In 1906 young Mattie Gokey is working at a hotel in an upstate New York when the death of a guest leads her to seek the truth about the murder and reevaluate her own dreams along the way.

Why I Read It:
This has been on my TBR list for ages because many people I know have enjoyed it.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Mattie Gokey has a word for everything. She collects words, stores them up as a way of fending off the hard truths of her life, the truths that she can't write down in stories.

The fresh pain of her mother's death. The burden of raising her sisters while her father struggles over his brokeback farm. The mad welter of feelings Mattie has for handsome but dull Royal Loomis, who says he wants to marry her. And the secret dreams that keep her going--visions of finishing high school, going to college in New York City, becoming a writer.
Yet when the drowned body of a young woman turns up at the hotel where Mattie works, all her words are useless. But in the dead woman's letters, Mattie again finds her voice, and a determination to live her own life.

Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this coming-of-age novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

My Thoughts:
I finally picked this one up after it had been on my TBR list for years. After I read and enjoyed Donnelly's adult historical fiction book, The Tea Rose I started hearing my friends tell me how much they'd liked this young adult book of hers. For some reason I hadn't read it but the January Long-Awaited Reads event inspired me to get it from the library.

It's a good combination of historical fiction, murder mystery and coming of age story and I enjoyed it a lot.

Mattie is an easy character to like. She's smart and kind and overwhelmed with responsibility for a girl her age. After her mother's death the day to day running of the household on their farm falls on Mattie's shoulders. At the same time she's being encouraged by her teacher and her own heart's desire to continue her education and go to college in New York City.

I enjoyed Mattie's story and I also enjoyed the mystery of the death of the young drowning victim.


4 stars Rating 4/5

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Where in the World Are You Reading? - Unusual Reading Spots

>> Thursday, January 17, 2013

Where in the World Are You Reading is a monthly themed Meme jointly hosted by Trish at Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity, Lisa at Books. Lists. Life. and Kailana at The Written World.

Where in the World Are You Reading

Click on any of the links for the posts that explain the details of the Meme. It's never too late to join in so please consider doing so.

Trish is this month's host and this month's theme is Unusual Reading Spots. You can read Trish's full post here

I must be a pretty normal reader because I don't think I really have any unusual reading spots. I'm pretty sure that while these might seem unusual to some people I know, my reader friends will find them quite normal

1. Sitting in my car in the driveway. This happens when I get home and there's only a few minutes left in the audiobook I'm listening to.
In my driveway
I've been known to sit in the driveway or in the garage to finish up an audiobook.


2. In line just about anywhere. This photo is in the customer service line at our local store waiting to return something.
In line
Luckily I had a ebook from the library on my phone because I had a few 'everything is complicated' people in front of me in line.


3. My laundry room. OK, so this doesn't happen often but it has happened a few times.
In the laundry room
 I've gone upstairs to get my book and realized that the washing machine will be finishing the cycle in a few minutes so I've stood there and read in the laundry room until it finished and I could put the clothes in the dryer and start the next load.


4. My stairwell. Now this one I'll admit might be classified as unusual. On the days I work from home I try to do anything I can to get extra steps in. I usually try to spend my lunch break on the treadmill but some days it doesn't work out for me to do that.
Stairwell
I have been known to pick up my book and go up and down the stairs while I read a chapter. I don't do this with books that have long chapters. It's nice to get a few extra stairs in for my FitBit stats on my work from home days.

Check out the link to Trish's post above and join in on this fun monthly meme.

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Wordless Wednesday #170

>> Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Big Spring Creek
Near Mt. Adams, Washington July 2010

Big Spring Creek, Washington
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Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham et al.

>> Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham et al.

Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham et al.

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #2 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 128
Source: Library


The Short Version:
More of your favorite fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters living in exile but this volume focuses on the animal and other characters who can’t pose as humans and get away with living in New York.

Why I Read It:
I’ve been hearing for ages that this series was good and after reading the first I had to continue (as well as convince The Hubster to read them too).

The Book:
This volume 2 is a compilation of issues 6-10 of the comic series.
From the publisher:

Travel to upstate New York, where the non-human Fable characters have found refuge on a farm, miles from mankind. But all is not well on the farm — and a conspiracy to free them from the shackles of their perceived imprisonment may lead to a war that could wrest control of the Fables community away from Snow White. Starring Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

My Thoughts:
I thought the first Fables book was excellent and the second doesn’t disappoint at all and is perhaps even better. Now that I’ve been introduced to the idea of all my favorite Fable characters living in exile in New York and hiding their true identities from the Mundies (Mundane people) it was fun to find out what the other characters were up to. The characters who cannot pass for human (or choose not to) live on a well hidden farm in upstate New York.

Unfortunately, things are not going well at the farm. When Snow White and her sister Rose Red make a routine visit, they find themselves entangled in a mutiny. Led by the gun toting Goldilocks, the residents of the farm are conspiring to organize and arm themselves to take back their homeland from the Adversary who led to their exile in the first place.

This one gets pretty gruesome and bloody before it’s over. This is not the comics you remember from your childhood. There are definitely adult themes and dialog. There is also plenty of humor.

The artwork is wonderful and you have to carefully look at the pages to get all the story and often the visual humor. I found myself scouring the scenes with groups of characters to identify the various fairy tale, nursery rhyme and fable characters. It’s not all animals at the farm. For example the old lady who lives in a shoe is there because there’s not a giant shoe available for her and her children to rent in New York.

If you don’t think you’d want to read comics, think again and get yourself to a library or bookstore and pick up the first in this series. You won’t be sorry.

4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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Weekend Update January 13, 2013

>> Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weekend Update

Since my last update:
I finished reading A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly. I’ve heard from many friends over the years that this was good and it was perfect for the January theme of Long-Awaited Reads. I thought it was good and I’m glad I finally read it.

I’m continuing my slow re-read of Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd it’s going to take a while since I’m reading other books too but I’m enjoying re-experiencing this one.

After finishing A Northern Light I picked up another off my Long-Awaited Reads stack and started Orange Crush by Tim Dorsey. It turns out it’s been three years since I last dove into the insanity that is a Tim Dorsey book. This is one that has people on the train giving me funny looks because I’m laughing out loud as I read it.

On Audio I’m still listening to Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas. I’m enjoying Lorelei King’s narration of this one. Her voice characterizations have been great.

I haven’t picked up a new graphic novel yet but I’ve got a couple out from the library and should start one this week.

To follow up a bit from last week, my quest for a book cataloging database program continues. I’ve played with several trial versions over the past couple of week. I think Readerware might be a good solution for me. I still need to play with the reporting and exporting stuff but so far it looks like it might work for me.

Other than books and reading:
What is it about the first full week of work after holidays and vacation? I swear this past work week was at least 9 days long. At least it included some vacation planning.

Ixtapa, Mexico

I’m feeling more relaxed already knowing we’ll be in Mexico in a few weeks.

Yesterday was the last of our annual holiday related events. We get the family together for Dad’s birthday because it’s easier than trying to coordinate anything around Christmas. We had a good turnout yesterday and a fun lunch in Hood River. The drive through the Columbia River Gorge was beautiful as always. No matter what the weather it’s pretty. I was driving this year so I couldn’t take pictures along the way because The Hubster is still recovering from his eye surgery.
Columbia River Gorge

I put him to work on the way home though and he didn’t do too bad with the camera for a guy who can’t see out of one eye right now.

Columbia River Gorge

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth

>> Friday, January 11, 2013

The Ridge by Michael Koryta

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 254
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Collier County Florida in 1962 isn’t quite prepared for Boston transplant Jackie Hart.

Why I Read It:
After reading Jen’s review at Devourer of Books I decided that this would be a good light post holiday read and I was right.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Eighty-year-old Dora, the narrator of a story that began a half century earlier, is bonding with an unlikely set of friends, including Jackie Hart, a restless middle-aged wife and mother from Boston, who gets into all sorts of trouble when her family moves to a small, sleepy town in Collier County, Florida, circa 1962.

With humor and insight the novel chronicles the awkward North-South cultural divide as Jackie, this hapless but charming “Yankee,” looks for some excitement in her life by accepting an opportunity to host a local radio show where she creates a mysterious, late-night persona, “Miss Dreamsville,” and by launching a reading group—the Collier County Women’s Literary Society—thus sending the conservative and racially segregated town into uproar. The only townspeople who venture to join are regarded as outsiders at best—a young gay man, a divorced woman, a poet, and a young black woman who dreams of going to college.

My Thoughts:
I knew from reading Jen’s review that this book wasn’t as saccharine as that description made it sound, otherwise I might not have picked it up. I’m glad I did though because it was both light and touching.

Dora who tells the story in hindsight is a good narrator. I liked her from the early pages. Partly because of who she is and partly because she’s telling the story from a distance of many years, her observations and insights into the other characters work well.

Parts of this story were fun and parts were quite sobering. Robbie-Lee as the town’s only gay man made me laugh out loud several times. His mother (a former dancer turned alligator hunter) is the kind of quirky character I enjoy. It’s not all quirky and made for laughs though. Jackie’s burgeoning feminism creates problems for her and her family.

The group of misfits who form the literary society learn from and teach each other creating strong bonds. Dora tells the story and Jackie is very much the central point around which the story spins with secrets both kept and revealed along the way. All in all it was a mostly light but not completely schmaltzy reminder of how far women (and gay men) have come since the early sixties.

This is just a couple of quotes I enjoyed along the way.

After the group read Breakfast at Tiffany’s one of the characters perfectly summed up why I don’t like to talk about “who should play who if this book is made into a movie” conversations.
“I had trouble imagining the Holly Golightly character as anyone other than Audrey Hepburn too,” Miss Lansbury said. “And the funny thing is, I had read the book first! But that’s the problem with film compared to books. When you read, you fill in the blank spaces yourself, using your own imagination. When you see a movie, someone else has chosen what you will see.”

And this is just so true.
There's an old southern saying that if you’re worried about your weight, your clothes, or getting old, then you don’t have any real problems.

I suppose there are two worlds -- the small, protected one we carve out for ourselves, where we fret about a whole lot of nothing, and the other world, the real one, which comes knocking at the door, demanding to be let in and given a seat.


3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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Wordless Wednesday #169

>> Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Candlelight

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Christmas in Absaroka County by Craig Johnson

>> Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas in Absaroka County by Craig Johnson

Christmas in Absaroka County, Walt Longmire Christmas Stories

Genre: Short Stories
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 80
Source: Purchased


The Short Version:
This is an ebook collection of four Christmas themed short stories featuring Walt Longmire from Craig Johnson’s ongoing series.

Why I Read It:
After listening to the first two Walt Longmire books I couldn’t resist this special ebook to read during my holiday vacation time

The Book:
From the publisher:

Full of Longmire’s dry wit and good heart, Christmas in Absaroka County is a holiday must-have for every Longmire and Craig Johnson fan, and it also includes the first chapter of The Cold Dish, the first novel in the Walt Longmire Mystery Series.

My Thoughts:
If you’ve read any of the Walt Longmire series, this is something to put on your radar for a quick holiday read next year. If you haven’t read any of the series, go ahead and pick this up now, read the first chapter of The Cold Dish as an introduction and then you’ll have between now and Christmas to read a few more of the series before reading these short stories.

Ministerial Aid – it’s New Year’s morning in the year 2000 and Walt is out in a remote part of the county nursing a hangover when he crosses paths with a woman who needs his gentleness and assistance

Slick-Tongued Devil - finds Walt thrown for a loop by the oddly timed re-appearance of his wife’s obituary in the local paper. As he retreats to his cabin to deal with reignited grief he has an unexpected visitor who will learn a surprising lesson.

Toys for Tots – When his daughter drags him to the mall for some last minute Christmas shopping Walt ends up helping an injured Marine Chaplain have a holiday to remember.

Unbalanced - On his way to Montana to pick up his daughter for a Christmas visit, Walt picks up a young female hitchhiker in a storm. They both learn some things about themselves along the way.

If you haven’t read any of the Walt Longmire series and want to read a bit along with some well done holiday themed short stories this one is worth getting your hands on. It’s short enough that even without an ereader you can easily read it on your computer with a variety of reading applications.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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