Monthly Archives: November 2012

2013 WHERE Are You Reading Challenge Sign Up!!!

3rd year running and OH I love this challenge!  As the host of the weekly What Are you reading meme, I find it awesome that I get to host the WHERE Are You Reading Challenge each yearWhat is the point of this challenge?  It is to try to read in each of the 50 States between January 1 2013 – December 31, 2013. 

How do you decide what state a book is categorized under?

1.  In a fiction read it would be the State or Country that the book spends the most time in.  (Ie. If your main character is from Wisconsin but the book is all about his/her time in college in California – the books should categorize under California….)

2.  Non fiction reads categorize  in whatever State or Country it is about (Ie…. a book about fly fishing in Colorado is a Colorado point, and a book about women in Afghanistan is an Afghanistan point.

3.  If the book goes from one state to another… go with the state that most of the time is spent.

How to get started

Set up a map under Google Maps.  It is easy to do!  Every time you read a book in 2012, upload a cover picture to Picasa Web Albums (there may be other sites to use, feel free to use what works best for you).

Grab the challenge button here for your posts and sidebar:

Questions?

Do you have to have a blog to participate? No.  You can do everything on the map above without linking the book to a review.

Do I have to have my post up by January 1st, 2012? No, but I would think you would want to get started right away at the beginning of the year.  However, you will be able to sign up throughout January as well.

How will people see my map? There are a couple of possibilities.  On your original challenge post you should have a link to your map.  You could also put it on your side bar to draw interest to it (see mine on my left side bar)  I will be linking my map to every review I will also set up a monthly link here to post updates if you wish.

I dont get it – I cant figure out how to use Google maps but I really want to participate! No worries!   You are welcome to create a challenge post that lists the 50 states (as well as bonus out of USA spots) and then fill them in as you read in the areas.

Do audio books count?  ABSOLUTELY!

Once you are ready and have your map set up please create a blog post (those who have blogs) using the Challenge picture of the map I provided above as well as link to this post so others may join in.  Then come back and link that post here to Mr Linky (below) so I as well as other participants know that you are participating and we can pop in throughout the year to check out your map and how we are all doing.  I will post a linky at the end of each month so participants can check in with their own post of how they are doing.  I will offer a $10 amazon gift card to one lucky participant who does a check in post at the end of each month and links it.

This is actually a fun and easy challenge as all books you read qualify and it will be fun to see where you generally read books from as well as searching out books to fill in areas that you need.

For those who have covered the 50 states by the end of 2013, they will go into a drawing for a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble or to Amazon.  **  All other areas beyond the 50 states are bonus points and we will have a drawing using random.org for those who read 10 or more books throughout 2013 in that category.

You can see my map I worked on in 2011 here to see what the map looks like and how the pictures link to the reviews.  (If you zoom in you will see the individual areas I read in and clicking on the blue pins will show you what book it was and clicking on the picture will take you to the post!

That’s it!  Here is a link to tips on how to do it.  Any other questions – please leave them in the comments section below. 

I can’t wait to see WHERE You Are Reading!

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* Please enter the link to your post on your blog, not directly to your blog.  Thank you :razz:

*If you do not have a blog but wish to participate by creating the map you can link to your map

Morning Meanderings… Gone For The Weekend

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Good morning and happy weekend!  *doing a little dance with Coffee Cup*!  I am doing a quick check in here as I am leaving for the cabin in about ummmm….. 20 minutes here for the weekend.  My friend Laura and I will be working on some craft projects before Christmas and hopefully a little reading too.  :D

Have an awesome weekend, I am putting up the WHERE Are You Reading Challenge today, I hope you consider signing up – it really is a lot of fun. 

Morning Meanderings… Audio In Da House Baby!

Good morning!  I am a little wired. (COFFEE!!!!) and a little tired… which in reality is probably stimulating the wired.  Yesterday… two audio books came int o my home and I am so THRILLED!  Mainly because my house was empty of all audio cds that I had not yet listened to.  Sure, the IPOD is still full of good audio – but my kitchen cd player and my car… empty.

Trust me… that is so weird.

Yesterday arrived two audio books I had ordered from Amazons Black Friday sale, one of them was Linger by Maggie Stiefvater.  I had read the books a few years ago and thought the audio might be fun.  When I put it in the cd player yesterday I wondered if it was really wanted I wanted to listen to right now, a YA about wolves…. and then I heard the words that sold me.

The book is set in Minnesota.  I seriously smiled when I remembered that.

“Why is that a big deal Sheila?  Why?  Why?”  (Told you I was wired!)

Well, it is a big deal because I have been working the last couple weeks on updating my WHERE Are You Reading Challenge and I was saddened to see that I had not read anything in my home state of Minnesota this year.

Now – I have fixed that.  Let the wolves rule the woods of Minnesota!  :razz:

So I can not present to you my updated and current WHERE Are You Reading Challenge.  I will be posting the new 2013 sign up hopefully yet this week as I LOVE this challenge!  You can see here the books I have read and where, and you can see my map here (which is super cool!)

I have to get moving this morning but hope your day is FAB!  If you have been working on the WHERE Are You Reading Challenge with me this past year, I would love to hear how you have done!  (If you have or havent, I would love for you to consider signing up for 2013)  :razz:

The Quilter’s Homecoming by Jennifer Chiaverini

Elizabeth Nelson had many a man turn his eyes towards her, but Elizabeth only had eyes for one man. 

Henry.  It had always been Henry.

When Henry finally proposes he offers Elizabeth a life in California where he has spent his life savings on a 120 acre ranch.  Elizabeth packs up her belongings and her beautiful wedding quilts and the newlyweds are soon on their way to their dreams.

Upon arriving to the claim they are hit with some shocking news and instead of being land owners, they become hired hands on the very property they thought they would own with barely a penny to their name.  Where Henry is ashamed of their misfortune, feisty and high-spirited Elizabeth does what she can to help out to get them back on their feet and on their way back to the home and family she loves.

Of course, more surprises and bumps in the road keep the plans of Henry and Elizabeth at bay, but along this journey they never intended to take they meet some interesting people – some shady, some meek, some bullies, and some kind… and some how this new reality, becomes a home.

A blending of the past and present brings the story of this place and this last together.

This picture is from the Elm Creek website where all the books are featured. Click to go to site

Normally this would not be my kind of read, or so I thought.  Set in the 1920′s – I prefer more modern-day reads and like strong female characters, not the “Oh save me!” type.  That is where the book caught hold of me.  Elizabeth is not an “oh save me” girl.  She is strong-willed, self-sufficient, and met my criteria of “no wimpy chicks”. 

I really enjoyed the story of Elizabeth and Henry and was surprised to find out that this is actually book ten in the Elm Creek Quilts series.  The book easily stood alone, but now I find myself wondering what happened in the 9 books before?  Did I miss something good? 

I really enjoyed the quilts as a back drop.  After all every quilt tells a story and I found it smart of author Jennifer Chiaverini to set these books around quilts. 

This book, and I suspect the others as well, make for a wonderful cold weather read, even reading about quilts makes you a little warmer on this inside.  I think a quilters club will really enjoy this series.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

If you are not familiar with the name Steve Jobs, you are familiar with the name brand Apple as in Apple Computers, or I Pod, Or I Phone, or I Tunes… all are associated with Steve Job.  While Steve was not the lone creator, not even really the mastermind behind actually making these things work, he is indeed the mind that made them what they are today.

Steve dared to dream things that no one thought could be, or should be dreamed.  He pushed the envelope as far as it would go, nay sayers be dammed, and in some cases friends and family too… nothing stood in his way. 

No one ever would claim that Steve was a layed back easy-going guy.  No.  He was temper mental, known to cry when he did not get his way, insist that things did go his way including color of products, and how to advertise.  While you can easily argue that he was an impossible man…

he was also a brilliant man.

In this audio of Steve’s life from adoption to billionaire, Dylan Baker narrates this audio to a perfection even Steve would have to approve of. 

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

Although Jobs cooperated and encouraged this book, Jobs waved all rights to read or approve what people said of him in this book.  A no holes barred telling of an incredible man who fought his own demons all his life, dying of cancer in October 2011.

Steve Jobs in the beginning with the apple, years later, the IPAD

When this book first came out I did not know if I wanted to read it.  I had heard that Steve was not a very likeable man and I did not want to commit the time to read or to listen to his story.  Yet, it was the story itself that drew me to the book.  Steve, and people like him, fascinate me.  The big dreamers.  The ones who step out of the box no matter what people say – see the vision and make it happen.  It’s the same reason I appreciate JK Rowling so much.

I finally downloaded the audio and once I turned it on I had a hard time shutting it off.  From the beginning Jobs story grabbed me, while he was rough and cruel at times, It seemed he always felt he had something to prove.  And brilliant?  On my word! 

I was particularly fascinated by the part where he introduced the 1984 ad.  It was his vision, it was risky and it only aired one time on tv, at the 1984 Super Bowl and to this day is one of the most popular commercials of our time.  The clip I have below is when Steve showed the video the one time before the Super Bowl and while it is a 6 minute clip I highly encourage you watch it.  It is amazing to see a young and enthusiastic Steve.  He sure could bring out confidence in himself and his products. 

I loved this audio and am looking for the book now to have in my collection.  Brilliant and informative, I learned a lot about how the I products came to be, the ideas behind them, the Pixar/Disney battle for the top and how Steve was involved, and more.  I encourage you to check this one out.

Morning Meanderings… What Happened To My Blog

Wait!  Don’t go!  It’s me, Sheila!  There just have been a few ummmmm… changes around here this weekend.  Truly it was unintentional.

Here is what happened.

My old template had only certain colors you could use with it.  While I loved the layout, I didn’t LOVE the colors.  On Sunday evening I decided to pay for the upgrade that would allow me to make the colors what I wanted, plus keep Book Journey ad free for a year (always a plus!).  BUT (and I really don’t like that word), once I put in the upgrade not only did some of my color changes not happen when I put them in the template, my blog was tweaked, no longer centered in the page and honestly – flat-out annoying.  I thought maybe it needed time to change (I don’t know why, I am from Brainerd, I think things take time) so I logged out and thought maybe in the morning all would be lovely.  Like magic.

Nope.

SO I changed out the whole template, went with a different color theme then I have ever used before and well, here we are.  I actually – really like it.  I like the sidebar links and I love the quote marks.  I love the little Facebook and Twitter links tucked into the header.  AND speaking on the header, I love that too.. crisper, cleaner, dare I say more sophisticated?  :shock:

And here we are… a new day, a new look, but I tossed my face (that sounds funny!) up there in the right side bar so hopefully you know it is still me, just a fresh paint job.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Welcome to It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling me how many you visited.  **You do not have to have a blog to participate! You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

 

Last weeks winner: Lori from Escape With Dollycas!

Congratulations!  Please choose a book or bookish item from the Reading Cafe!

And this week with Thanksgiving and all I put up another pretty lite week of posts:

Breaking Dawn Part II (I say “See It!!!”

Update with “the dogs”

The Language Of Flowers – Bookies Book Club Review and food!

 

 

I have posts to write, just havent got there yet :D 

 

 

This week I am working on:

In a Norman Rockwell town in North Carolina, where residents rarely lock homes, retired army colonel John Matherson teaches college, raises two daughters, and grieves the loss of his wife to cancer. When phones die and cars inexplicably stall, Grandma’s pre-computerized Edsel takes readers to a stunning scene on the car-littered interstate, on which 500 stranded strangers, some with guns, awaken John’s New Jersey street-smart instincts to get the family home and load the shotgun. Next morning, some townspeople realize that an electromagnetic pulse weapon has destroyed America’s power grid, and they proceed to set survival priorities. John’s list includes insulin for his type-one diabetic 12-year-old, candy bars, and sacks of ice. Deaths start with heart attacks and eventually escalate alarmingly. Food becomes scarce, and societal breakdown proceeds with inevitable violence; towns burn, and ex-servicemen recall “Korea in ’51” as military action by unlikely people becomes the norm in Forstchen’s sad, riveting cautionary tale, the premise of which Newt Gingrich’s foreword says is completely possible.

 

 

I have to pick up some more audio this week as the car is “audio free” and that’s just weird and my kitchen cd is empty too.  I need some good audio!!!  :D
I am going to finish the books I have going before I post more :)
Now what are you reading?  Please add your link below where it says “click here”

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and those of you who read mainly children’s through YA reads – please also link your post here:

The Language Of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Bookies Review)

Victoria was one of those kids who fell through the cracks of the foster care system.  Placed time and again in homes that did not fit for her, or were flat-out… abusive.  The Foster Care program felt it was Victoria, she was labeled as difficult and uncooperative… and so Victoria continued moving home to home until at 18 years of age she outgrew the foster care age -

and then was on her own.

One home however, haunts her dreams in a painful loss sort of way and if filled with the “what if’s” of life.  When Victoria was placed with Elizabeth a woman who grew up surrounded by flowers and their meanings , Victoria soon learned the secret language as well…. aster meaning patience, honeysuckle for devotion, plum meaning keep your promises….

But a poor decision leads to an unthinkable tragedy and Victoria once again shuts down, holding within her secrets and not trusting anyone with her heart.  She finds herself in a world of flowers and in almost an unreal way she flourishes, knowing exactly what those looking for the right bouquet want and need… and while this keeps her busy and is fulfilling…

she still longs for what she came so close to having if not for her secret, and Victoria is about to learn that your past has a way of finding you… and that isn’t always a bad thing…

 

My book club the Bookies chose this book for our November read.  On synopsis alone, I wasn’t sure about this one… I had some sort of 70′s flower child image in my head, however the girl who recommended this one is usually spot on with her book suggestions and she had already read it and said it was wonderful. 

The Language Of Flowers, as it turns out is wonderful and an incredible discussion book for reading groups.  The beauty we found within the pages of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s story line here was well worth discussing.  While Victoria is not always likeable, that makes the story even deeper.  She is flawed.  She will annoy the crap out of you (and did).  AND her decisions do not always fall back on her child hood and the “oh look what she has been through though!”  My response to that is, “yeah well, we have all been through stuff.”

However….

Victoria is three-dimensional, while you can not put her on a pedestal, you also can not fully dismiss her.  She makes you want to know more about the way she thinks and the underlining flow of flowers and their language is not only fun but interesting.  I highly recommend this read not only for flower lovers but also for discussion groups as there is so many ways to discuss this book further.

 

BOOKIES THOUGHTS

The Bookies over all rated this one a steady 4 out of 5.  While we differed somewhat on how we felt about Victoria, we still enjoyed the read and the characters.  The flower discussion was good and I had printed out lists for everyone of Victoria’s Dictionary Of Flower, found on-line and created by the author.

Fresh flowers of course adorned our get together as well as flower book marks.  Our food for the review looked like this:

 

The foods served were some mentioned in the book.  I went with Zucchini Linguini because Zucchini starts out as a flower. ;)

The Language of Flowers makes for a wonderful discussion book for book clubs. 

Also submitted to Beth Fish Reads, Weekend Cooking Meme.

Sunday Check List

 

Good morning and Happy Sunday!  How is everyone doing with their turkey comas?  We are good and pretty clean here…. I sent the pumpkin bars (dangerous!) and a lot of turkey home with College son when he left yesterday.  I made turkey soup for dinner last night, Al ate the last of the stuffing…

This morning I am helping out with a volunteer fair and should be back home around 12:30.  I am hoping to get all my 2012 challenges updated so I can start promoting for 2013.  Oddly…. I find that exciting!  :D  I love new beginnings. 

 

Today…

I am still reading The Forgotten Road by Randall Arthur

I am listening to One Second After by William R Forstchen and this is weird – I am listening to nothing in my car or on my kitchen cd player as I am out of audio.  :shock:  I know…. I need to get to the library or something….

I am planning to work on the Challenges this afternoon and a work out. 

I am hoping to catch up on my posts that need to be written this week.

I am working on something fun for the Team Kickin It blog with Amanda from Reading and Running.

I am looking forward to a gun permit class I signed up for that will be next weekend.

 

 

Here are the books that graced my doorstep this week:

 

 

I am excited to do some reading in my near future too! 

What are your plans for this Sunday?

 

Morning Meanderings… Dogs Life

 

Good morning!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We did here!  Did a little eating, did a little shopping, watched movies and just spent time together. 

For my Saturday Snapshot today I thought I would give you a little update on the adopted dogs.  Sammy, was a stray and came to live with us in April:

In July, we rescued Mater who was abused:

Sammy is Lap-so, and Mater is art beagle and part basset hound, “A Baggle”.  :D  As you can imagine my house went from a quiet home with just Al and I and Bailey (our 14 year old Schi-tzu) to a BUSY house with Sammy who they believe was 1 1/2 when we got him, and Mater who was 4 months old when we got him.

Mater made the biggest changes to out home.  He grew fast.  He is extremely curious.  In the last 4 months he has taken food off the kitchen table, went through a “running through the house with a roll of toilet paper” phase, 3 pairs of shoes, perhaps most painfully – 10 books, and a lot od saying “MATER!” when he plays non stop.

Sammy and Mater are buddies,  although Mater is a year younger than Sammy, he is three times as big as Sammy now.

If you want to check out other Saturday Snapshots, check out Alyce’s site At Home With Books where she hosts this fun meme. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday.  Justin, College Son, goes back home this morning.  I have a volunteer fair to help out with for a few hours this afternoon and a few hours tomorrow.  Other than that, I get to hang out at home the rest of this weekend… get a little exercise and catch up on my challenges from 2012 so I can post about what the plans are for 2013.  :D 

What’s the rest of your weekend plans?

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