Thursday, December 31, 2009

Off Topic - Happy New Year!

52 Books in 52 Weeks wrap-up?

This was a no-brainer for me but that doesn't mean I followed through on the updates :-(

Robin of My Two Blessings did a wrap-up post and asked some questions.....


Yes, I read 52 books during 2009 -
reviews: 47
re-reads: 112
nonfiction: 10
library books: 38
children/teen: 60
ebooks: 246
titles under 100 pages: 149
titles over 400 pages: 32


Even if you didn't, how many did you manage to read?


Did you discover a new author or a new genre.
I read many new authors and discovered I read almost every genre.


Did you rediscover an old classic or reread a book from years gone by?
I usually re-read.


What book did you finish up the challenge with?
Santa Clawed by Rita Mae Brown


Did you read from a list and fly by the seat of your pants choosing a different book each week?
I had a list this year because of all my challenges but I spent a great amount of time reading off-list. I also didn't complete all my challenges.


What was your favorite book?
LOL


What was your least favorite book?
DNF The Christmas Cookie Killer


Did you learn something new about reading, yourself or a topic you read?
I learned to enjoy nonfiction


What is on your wish list for 2010?
Time? More bookshelves. My wish list at amazon has grown with blogger recommendations


What authors, genres, or books would you like to see spotlighted on the blog for 2010?
Sorry, haven't given it any thought


Just a few questions to think about as we wrap up our reading year. I'll be posting a 2009 Reading Wrap up post shortly on My Two Blessings and will link to it on Mr. Linky. I have a wish for the 2010 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. According to the stat counter the blog received 4,391 visits over the past year: 3,596 were first time visitors and 785 were returning visitors. How many commented? About 1%. We have a lot of shy visitors. So, my wish is that you won't be so shy in the future and let us know what you think - about anything you read here on 52 Books. I promise, we won't bite.
I'll try

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I can't do it... I just can't stay away any longer

I tried to stay away so I could clean house, enjoy the holidays with family and have a party.

It didn't work.

Well, the go-to-their-house and have-a-good-time part worked but the party here?....let's just say that I'm not as good at picking up as I should be and leave it at that. I like to have Grandparents over for dinner, been doing it for five years? Missed this year.

My parents have three children. This was the first year that they didn't go somewhere or have one of my brothers in town near Christmas. They didn't even put up the tree. One brother has a new grandbaby so they went there. The other brother has a new daughter-in-law so they had guests. We cooked dinner and took it over on the 24th & visited. The daughter-in-law was called into work so that brother brought lunch stuff on the 25th and stayed the weekend. Did all of that make sense? In a nutshell, I cooked and my dad did dishes and we had a nice quite visit with them (minus daughter and her husband) on Thursday then on Saturday we went over to see my brother & his wife. Nice time. Whew

So the question is why didn't I have the party? Didn't feel up to it. Am I depressed because it's the first Christmas since my daughter got married? Or is it because my new son-in-law decided not to go to our family get together (they live less than an hour away)? Or something else? Either way, it leads to the same place. The tree is up but the decoration boxes are still in the room. sigh.

Hey, this should have been a Tuesday Tangent!

I tried so hard to stay away. I'm organizing my books for 2010 and doing some background stuff. Clearing out my GR and visiting you. That visiting was my downfall. I may have skipped visiting Wendy but I found a couple more challenges other places that I need to post about so I can sign-up. Looks like you'll see me around getting ready but I've got a few more days of play before starting my regularly scheduled stuff on Sunday.


I don't know about you but we're thinking about vacations and this little unplugged week has shown me that I'm going to go through withdrawals each time. Each time? Why yes, we're talking about three vacations this year. Cruise prices are low, low, low and my parents want all of us to go again (4 days, should be alright). This is the year for the extended family's beach trip (full week but can go to the library). Also, I'll be married for 25 years this year and M is talking about going on a cruise (7 days with no access!). I cringe thinking about it. The cruise will be a blast and it will be nice being away, just us but no email? No checking in? {shudder}

That's it for now, I've got to get the challenge posts up and fix my Happy New Year post....

happy reading,

Gina

100 Mile Fitness Challenge Progress

Progress

Check-in is on Fridays
Totals up to....
Jan 8:
Jan 15:
Jan 22:
Jan 29:
Feb 5:
Feb 12:
Feb 19:
Feb 26:
Mar 5:
Mar 12:
Mar 19:
Mar 26:
plus 29, 30 & 31

Plan

January
4: Mon - 20 min
5: Tues - 20 min
6: Wed -
20 min
7: Thu - 20 min
8: Fri - 20 min
9: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

11: Mon - 20 min
12: Tues - 25 min
13: Wed - 20 min
14: Thu - 25 min
15: Fri - 20 min
16: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

18: Mon - 25 min
19: Tues - 20 min
20: Wed - 25 min
21: Thu - 20 min
22: Fri - 25 min
23: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

25: Mon - 25 min
26: Tues - 25 min
27: Wed - 25 min
28: Thu - 25 min
29: Fri - 25 min
30: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

February
1: Mon - 25 min
2: Tues - 30 min
3: Wed - 25 min
4: Thu - 30 min
5: Fri - 25 min
6: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

8: Mon - 30 min
9: Tues - 25 min
10: Wed - 30 min
11: Thu - 25 min
12: Fri - 30 min
13: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

15: Mon - 30 min
16: Tues - 30 min
17: Wed - 30 min
18: Thu - 25 min
19: Fri - 30 min
20: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

22: Mon - 30 min
23: Tues - 30 min
24: Wed - 30 min
25: Thu - 30 min
26: Fri - 30 min
27: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race


March
1: Mon - 30 min
2: Tues - 45 min
3: Wed - 30 min
4: Thu - 30 min
5: Fri - 30 min
6: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

8: Mon - 45 min
9: Tues - 30 min
10: Wed - 30 min
11: Thu - 45 min
12: Fri - 30 min
13: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

15: Mon - 45 min
16: Tues - 30 min
17: Wed - 45 min
18: Thu - 30 min
19: Fri - 45 min
20: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

22: Mon - 45 min
23: Tues - 30 min
24: Wed - 45 min
25: Thu - 30 min
26: Fri - 45 min
27: Sat - 1 mi treadmill or race

29: Mon - 45 min
30: Tues - 30 min
31: Wed - 45 min

100 Mile Fitness Challenge

I totally and completely flaked on the previous challenge and HAVE to do better this time around. I copied her whole post for you, my progress will be ---here--- (link coming soon)



Here’s how it works:
In order to complete this Challenge, you will need to “travel” 100 miles from January 1st through March 31st.

Here's how you calculate your mileage:
*Running or walking 1 mile outside or on a treadmill equals 1 mile.

*15 minutes of other workouts equals 1 mile (elliptical, swimming, weight lifting, workout video, workout classes, etc.).

A few "workout" stipulations:
“Workouts” only include activities specifically done for the purpose of exercise. Shopping, house cleaning, walking to and from the parking lot, and other day to day activities should not be included.

Partial miles travelled on different days cannot be combined. For example, if you run 1.25 miles on one day, and .75 mile on another day, that does not equal 2 miles. It counts as 1 mile.

Minutes accumulated on two different days cannot be combined. For example, if you workout 10 minutes one day and 5 minutes the next day, that does not combine to equal a mile.

1 mile on the bike or elliptical does not equal 1 mile, etc. Only walking/running is mile for mile.

Hey Trish!
How do I report my miles to you? On Fridays I will put up a Progress Report. Once you report, then I will put your name in the sidebar and update your miles for you each time you report. Ultimately it is your responsibility to keep track of your total mileage. (I like the putting stickers on a grid method...)

Hey Trish!
I just found your challenge and it’s already February, but I still want to join! Well, then join! Talk to me about how you can prorate your 100 miles.

Hey Trish!
Why can't partial miles or minutes be counted? Well, among other [maybe better] reasons, when rules start bending then there's no stopping them from breaking. You'll thank me in the end. :)

Sign Up here--No Wallflowers Allowed! (You do not need a blog to participate--just put this blog's URL the URL field if you don't have a blog):

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of Year Report 2009, sorry, it's a bit long winded....


BOOKS READ: One of the challenges I sign-up for, and failed to keep updated, was "Pages Read". I do know that I choose to read 50,000 pages during 2009 and met that goal in July. I added another 30,000 and at the end of December....I've read 88,103 pages. Granted some of my ebooks don't have pages so it is more but I'm just happy I made it to 80,000...and NOT to have made it to 100G!!!


453 books* were read, of which....
re-reads: 112
nonfiction: 10
library books: 38
children/teen: 60
ebooks: 246
titles under 100 pages: 149
titles over 400 pages: 32

365 days = 241.4 pages per day
average 195 pages per title/binding

looks like one goal for 2010 should be to read fewer shorts and more chunksters ;-D Actually, I'm quite pleased. Last year the non-fiction would have been much lower or zero and the re-reads would have been considerable higher. The total would have been higher also - blogging seems to take away from my reading.

* each "book" was a single binding even if very, very short.



READING CHALLENGES JOINED: 2009 was a big year for me, and a learning experience. I was introduced to reading challenges and book blogging then to all you wonderful people who have made my life less insane. It is good to meet other people read like I do & love to talk about books. And those with small children &/or jobs? Hats off to you, how do you do it???? I don't really want to know but M does ;-) And the ARCs? I'm reading out of my comfort zone and am loving it!

I'm not even sure of which challenge I joined first anymore, I just know they all sounded so good and I kept adding to the list....the number of challenges I ended up joining for 2009 (including perpetual ones) is.....63

Of those 63:
perpetual: 5
completed: 29
end in 2010: 9
abandoned out right: 12
failed to complete goal: 13, some just barely!


Challenges Completed:
20 Books in 2009
100+ Reading Challenge
2009 Pub Chalenge
A-Z Reading Challenge
August Reading Challenge
Books into Movies
Cat Sleuth Challenge
Christmas in July
Christmas Reading Challenge
Confuzzled Faerie Book Challenge
Cozy Mystery Challenge
Dewey's 24 hr Read-a-thon, October
eBook Reading Challenge
Fall into Reading
Holiday Reading Challenge
In Their Shoes
Love Bites
National Just Read More Novels Month
New to You Authors
R.I.P. IV
Reading through the Seasons
Rescue Challenge
Ride the Reading Wave
Summer Reading Challenge
Summer Vacation Challenge
Support Your Local Library
What an Animal II
What's in a Name?


READING CHALLENGES HOSTING:
In 2009: 3
In 2010: 8


READING CHALLENGES for 2010:
With hosting, perpetual, carry-overs and new challenges....I've joined 28 challenges. Hey, that's not bad plus I've already completed two of them. Wendy, I love you, but I've got to stop visiting your blog. I'm serious, A Novel Challenge is a great place to go for new challenges but I've got to avoid it! For at least a couple of months.


ummm, let's see... hosting more, but joined fewer. Well, the year isn't here yet! If you break 2010's challenges down to books needed with no overlap....no, that's too scary to contemplate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Unplugged and more....

I'm headed out to lunch and still more shopping. Lots of extended family stuff at their house on the 24th & 25th, and at our place on the 27th. Then there's another party on the 30th, I just need to bring munchies. I'm hoping to "Read in the New Year" but I'm not positive. I'm still expecting a couple of review items but I'll tell you about them in January.

I finished the Cat Sleuth Challenge on Sunday when I finished Santa Clawed, hope to get a review up soon after the 1st. Santa Clawed also completed the Christmas & Holiday Challenges. Not bad, one book and three challenges completed :D

Look for a blogoversary contest after the 4th, changes and lots of reviews. I'm sure I'll be around the blogosphere (Is there a better word?) and may even come up with a couple of posts but I have plans to be off-line. It's a little scary ;-) and on that note....


funny pictures of cats with captions


May you have the best holiday ever
Be safe. Be Well.
I'll see you in 2010.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Challenge Wrap-up

Callapidder Day's Fall into Reading 2009 Challenge


Originally I listed ALL the books I needed to read; books checked out from the library, books needed for challenges and review books. I wish I had remembered that because I fizzled on my challenges once Fall hit.

The second list, on the challenge post was just review & library books. It was 25 books long. I read 1 before the challenge started. Read 10 for the challenge and returned 4 to the library unfinished.

I also started a list of all books read. There ended up being 65 on the list but that included the 10 from above and a couple of children's books.

So, yikes, I read 67 titles between Sep 22 & Dec 20 and still managed NOT to complete some of my challenges :-(


THE FINAL LIST OF TITLES READ

Laced with Magic - finished 9-27
The House on Tradd Street - finished 9-30
Bitter Creek's Redemption - finished 9-30
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much - finished 10-1
Wake - finished 10-2
Vampire Academy - finished 10-3
Fade - finished 10-4
Benny & Shrimp - finished 10-5
Causing Havoc - finished 10-7
Simon Says - finished 10-9
Unrequited - finished 10-11
Hard to Handle - finished 10-11
Tigers and Devils - finished 10-12
Two In, Two Out - finished 10-14
The Noticer - finished 10-14
Saving Noah - finished 10-15
Right Next Door - finished 10-16
The Midnight Twins - finished 10-20
The Sweetgum Ladies Knit for Love - finished 10-21
The Cat Who Lived High - finished 10-22
The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare - finished 10-23
The Cat Who Played Post Office - finished 10-23
Ghouls Don't Scoop Ice Cream - finished 10-24
Dragolin - finished 10-24
Dragonling, vol 2. - finished 10-24
Magic Lessons - finished 10-24
Magic or Madness - finished 10-24
Thanksgiving at the Inn - finished 10-24
Magic's Child - finished 10-25
Red in the Flower Bed - finished 10-25
Second Chance - finished 10-25
Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night - finished 10-25
Uneven - finished 10-28
The Cat Who Tailed a Thief - finished 10-31
The Cat Who Moved a Mountain - finished 10-31
The Cat Who Sniffed Glue - finished 11-1
The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern - finished 11-1
Cinderella (kindle) - finished 11-1
The Cat Who Went Underground - finished 11-2
Different Suits - finished 11-2
Brier's Bargain - finished 11-3
The Sportcasters Guide to Watching Football - finished 11-3
The Cat Who Came for Breakfast - finished 11-4
The Cat Who Saw Stars - finished 11-4
The Dragon in the Sockdrawer - finished 11-4
The Secret Diaries of Miranda Cheever - finished 11-11
A Snowflake in My Hand - finished 11-13
The Cat Who Played Brahms - finished 11-13
The Black Stallion and the Shape-shifter - finished 11-14
The Cat Who Blew the Whistle - finished 11-15
The Cat Who Said Cheese - finished 11-16
The Cat Who Sang for the Birds - finished 11-17
The Tallest of the smalls - finished 11-17
The Cat Who knew a Cardinal - finished 11-18
The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts - finished 11-18
Fanuilh - finished 11-21
Wizard's Heir - finished 11-23
Begger's Banquet - finished 11-24
The Christmas List - finished 11-26
A Highlander Christmas - finished 11-28
The Vanishing Sculptor - finished 11-29
Falling into the Sun - finished 12-1
That Holiday Feeling - finished 12-6
A Magical Christmas Present - finished 12-8
Blaze of Memory - finished 12-9
Moonstone - finished 12-20
Santa Clawed - finished 12-20

First Day of Winter and it's time to...

Chill Baby, Chill!

Do you have a stack you're dying to get through? Burned out on required reading? This is the challenge for you! End the year reading anything you darn well please! Actually, the challenge goes through to Spring so there's no hurry. I do want you do read six books but challenge overlaps are encouraged.

Sign-ups are here. I've got a participant list going so we can check out each others lists ;-)

What are you Reading?


What are you reading on Monday? is a weekly meme hosted by J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book blog where you post books completed last week and plans for upcoming books. Jump over to her blog and see who else is participating.


Monday, December 21
Finished this Week
Moonstone
Santa Clawed

reviews posted: 1
plus 2 short stories


Still Reading/Started
The Once and Future King
Moonstone
Murder Is Binding
The Masonic Myth

Planning to Read/Start
Nefertiti (yikes, due this week!)
The Third Man Factor
(yikes, due this week!)
The Male Factor (this has a specific review post date!)

Library Books Now Available
10,000 ideas for term papers and projects
39 Clues - Maze of Bones


and Reviews needed to Complete
A Circle of Souls
The Right Side of the Tracks
True North
Benny & Shrimp
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
Red in the Flower Bed
Second Chance
Nine Things Nathan Saw a Night
The Tallest of Smalls
A Sportscasters Guide to Watching Football
plus any/all of the previous books read....

why, yes, the list does seem to be getting longer! And I found out I haven't posted a couple of reviews that I thought I had. One down, 9+ to go.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Moonstone by Marilee Brothers

Other Shelf Tours book stop. I'm also going to post this in January because I believe a lot of bloggers are on a holiday break.


Moonstone
The Unbidden Magic Series, book 1
Marilee Brothers

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Release Date: August 2008
format: trade paperback
pages: 225
Young Adult/Urban Fantasy
Ages 14 and Up



from the publisher
The girl voted least likely to save the world may have to do just that.

A sickly mom. A crappy travel trailer. High school bullies and snarky drama queens. Bad-guys with charming smiles. Allie has problems. And then there's that whole thing about fulfilling a magical prophecy and saving the world from evil.

Welcome to the funny, sad, sometimes-scary world of fifteen-year-old Allie Emerson, who's struggling to keep her act together (not to mention her mom's) in the small-town world of Peacock Flats, Washington. A zap from an electrical fence sets off Allie's weird psychic powers. The next thing she knows she's being visited by a hippy-dippy guardian angel, and then her mysterious neighbor, the town "witch," gives her an incredible moonstone pendant that has powers only a "Star Seeker" is meant to command. "Who, me?" is Allie's first reaction. But as sinister events begin to unfold, Allie realizes she's got a destiny far bigger than she ever imagined,

If she can just survive everyday life, in the meantime.

My thoughts
I am not a young adult but I loved this story. Granted it took a while to get into it but I had other things going on. I was soon up all night to finish it.

Allie tells a great, believable story. I know there's magic but the whole thing reads like real life with a twist. I wanted to know what was next. Is the good guy not? Is the bad guy really bad? Who's your friend? You can you trust? And what with the wind chimes?

I was unsatisfied at the ending but only because it did. I am so glad it is book one, and am looking forward to reading more about Allie and her friends.


My Rating: 3 but I'll be looking for the rest of the series.

This was a review book sent to me free of charge with no obligation but to read and review honestly.

New Books in the house

Two wonderful people have weekly memes about what has shown up in our mailbox the previous week.

Kristi at The Story Siren
& Marcia at The Printed Page.
Jump over to see what others have received this week.

I'm sorry, I wanted this to have more info, like last week, but I'm too tired...
Review books that have arrived this week:

The Male Factor
A Rainbow in the Night
Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart


Purchased (physical store):

Onmivore's Dilemma (for a gift)
and Another Thing (for M but I'll read it too)
Morning Light


Purchased (Mail order delivered):

The Unexpected Dragon
Zanna's Gift
StoneFather
Empire
Invasive Procedures


Thank you to J.Kaye's Book Blog
One in a Hundred Million
Pistonhead
School of Fear (audio)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wouldn't it Be Nice

Quote it Sat is a Weekly Event
hosted by Leslie at That Chick that Reads.



I was reading free shorts around the web and this paragraph made me think how nice it would be. Our couch reclines so we don't have a coffee table and, for some reason, ;-) my husband doesn't want my reading material all over....

Will was moving around the living room, picking up magazines and books, making neat stacks on the coffee table. The stacks would be dismantled soon enough, as he dove back in for reading material. It wasn't unusual for there to be two or more books open over the arm of the couch, and the latest issues of the magazines to have the subscription cards sticking out at angles for bookmarks.


sigh

Spotlight on...

Roberta Temes, Ph.D., author of Solace: Finding Your Way Through Grief and Learning to Live Again, is a noted psychotherapist who has taught classes in death, dying, and bereavement at schools such as Downstate Medical School and CUNY. For more than 35 years she had a psychotherapy practice in New York City but recently moved her office to New Jersey.

She is the author of several books, including the award-winning Living with an Empty Chair: A Guide Through Grief and The Tapping Cure. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother, and lives in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.



For more information please visit www.DrRoberta.com and www.SolaceAfteraDeath.com.






Thank you to Anna Suknov of FSB Associates for sending me a copy of Solace: Finding Your Way Through Grief and Learning to Live Again to review.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I do not live in a vacuum

I do not blog in one either and I have the awards to prove it! I'm seriously behind in saying thanks but it's not because I don't love ya. And since I can't keep my eyes open any longer....here's the first two. I'll be back after dinner with a couple more.



Helen at A Reading Collection gave me the Who :Heart's:You, Baby! Award. Basically, the rules of this award is to pass it on to fellow bloggers who awarded you in the past. So here they are:

1. Gwendolyn B. at Sea of Books
2. Shellie at Layers of Thought
3. Christine at booktumbling
4. Kristen at Bookworming in the 21st Centry
5. Michelle at The True Book Addict
6. Sandra at Musing of a Book Addict
7. CC at CC Chronicles
8. I didn't "write down" who passed along the Over the Top award



Thank you to Bookworming in the 21st Century for nominating me!

These are the rules:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2. Pass the award to other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

My nominees:

1. Kari at Another Book on the Stack
2. Debbie's World of Books
3. Pasadena Housewife
4. Hollywood Flakes
5. Lynne's Little Corner of the World

Fearless on Friday: What if Things get Worse?

I am part of the Tomas Nelson Book Review Blogger program. I tell you this because I reviewed Fearless in September through them and have been given the opportunity to share excerpts with you.



the link takes you to Scribd where the chapter is uploaded on private. You must use the link to read it. Please tell me how long it take for it to upload for you. I may need to figure out another way to do this.

Don't forget to check out....
chapter 1: Why are we afraid?
chapter 5: My Child is in Danger
chapter 6: I'm Sinking Fast
chapter 9: Make-Believe Money

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Note from the Author

Imagining the Past in Paris
By Thad Carhart,
Author of Across the Endless River


To walk in Paris is to walk through multiple layers of the past, more than 900 years of built history that awaits any stroller. Having lived here for twenty years, I've seen the city change with new roads and bridges, new museums, new rows of apartments. And yet the deep respect that Parisians have developed for what they call their patrimoine, their inheritance, ensures that old buildings are regularly restored and preserved, integrated into the flux of daily life. The look of the city changes subtly, as it has throughout history.

The biggest transformation in modern times was simply the cleaning of the stone edifices of central Paris, initiated in the 1960's by de Gaulle's Minister of Culture, André Malraux. No change could have been more surprising, or more deeply satisfying. When I was a very young boy living in Paris, I was convinced that all of the buildings were made from the same stone, black as night and so softened by centuries of wood and coal dust that the surface was a felt-like matte whose edges looked as if they would soon crumble. This was the "atmospheric" Paris of all those voluptuous black-and-white photos (what blacks and grays there were on every side), the ponderous Paris of Buffet prints and countless tourist posters.

Then the government started to clean the major monuments one by one -- Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre -- and the transformation was shocking, almost troubling in its strange newness. The buildings of Paris weren't black after all, but very nearly . . . white! It took almost two decades of careful cleaning and restoration, but Paris emerged from the process the albino twin of its former self. To appreciate the contrast, buy a vintage postcard aerial view, dating from 1970 or earlier, at one of the bouquiniste stalls along the banks of the Seine, then compare it with the present-day aerial shot: the era of dirt and grime looks like a photographic negative of the light and airy Paris that current tourists will recognize as the "real" Paris.

Walking, however, reveals just one facet of the landscape. Recently, in researching a historical novel, I needed to imagine Paris as it would have appeared in the 1820s. The first stop for any such endeavor is the splendid Musée Carnavalet, the Museum of the City of Paris, whose collection documents in elaborate and fascinating detail every step of the city's past. As I consulted paintings, prints, and manuscripts, many of the differences were obvious: in 1825 the Champs-Elysées was already a broad, fashionable avenue, but the Arc de Triomphe did not yet grace its rise; the Eiffel Tower wouldn't appear until 1889; and, of course, Beaubourg, the Pyramid of the Louvre, and the Grande Arche, all sturdy Paris fixtures today, would only appear within the last four decades.

Another clear difference was the absence of cars, though factoring them out mentally also involved imagining the presence of horses . . . lots of horses. As I examined the numberless paintings at Carnavalet, I thought a lot about the look, the sound, and the smell of tens of thousands of horses plying the streets of Paris close to 200 years ago. Merely disposing of their manure -- and Paris was very well organized in this department -- was a Herculean task daily. And, just as in our day, when playboys often drive Porsches and tradesmen more likely use vans, the paintings reveal fancy thoroughbreds ridden solo by dandies, sturdy draft horses pulling huge wagons, and bony nags hitched to battered carts.

Perhaps the biggest surprise that comes with seeking the past in the Paris landscape, especially after examining the documentary record, it to realize how little the scale of buildings has changed over the centuries. With two exceptions on the Left Bank (the Tour Montparnasse and the university's Tour Jussieu), no high-rises spoil the illusion in the center of Paris that the modern age has yet arrived. Individual facades, a modern infrastructure, and hordes of cars all tell a different story, but the look and feel of many quartiers -- the Marais and the Latin Quarter are simply the best known examples -- would feel appropriate to a Parisian of the early nineteenth century. This tenuous, heady relationship to the past is often seductive, and yet it can also feel weighty, old-fashioned, and artificial. How long it can prevail in the face of change is anybody's guess.

©2009 Thad Carhart, author of Across the Endless River

Author Bio
Thad Carhart is a dual citizen of of the United States and Ireland. He lives in Paris with his wife, the photographer Simo Neri, and their two children.

For more information, please visit the author's website

Thank you to Anna suknov of FSB Associates for sending me a copy of Across the Endless River to review.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

TBR *lite*

sigh, skimming over my blog roll is dangerous. Yvonne had join the TBR lite so I clicked over to read her post. Challenges are like potato chips - you can't have just one. Or two. I think I'm working on eating the whole bag!

I join the TBR challenge last year but it was one of my first and I choose an interesting list. I went on to join other challenges and forgot about this one. I did read six out of the 12 ~ I think. This year?


hosted at MizB's Reading Challenges
January 1 to December 31

For those who love the original TBR Challenge, but need a little less “pressure” on their reading, the TBR Challenge *LITE* offers you that option!

You have your choice of ONE of the 3 options:

OPTION A: read 6 books in 12 months ~ your list of books CANNOT be changed, but you are allowed to have an “Alternates” list to choose from (like in the Original TBR Challenge).

OPTION B: read 6 books in 12 months ~ you CAN change your reading list throughout the year

OPTION C: make up a list of however many books you think you could get read in 12 months, as long as they are from your TBR stack/list, and then read them between January 1st and December 31st. You must have at least 3 books on your list.

Some Other General Guidelines:
- You are allowed to overlap with other challenges
- Audiobooks are allowed
- e-Books are allowed, but must still be books that you’ve wanted to read for at least 3, or more, months
- You should still have a list of books posted somewhere for others to see
- You don’t have to read your books in the order you put them on your list

A Yahoo! Group has been set up for this challenge, here ~ feel free to join!




I know I'm going to read more than six books next year, I may read that many the first two weeks of the year!

I'm going for Option A, must read six of the following books:

1. Life in the Pit
2. Out of the Pocket
3. Out of the Silent Planet
4. Perelandra
5. That Hideous Strength
6. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
7. Defending Angels
8. Haunting Jordan
9. Vermont Valentine
10. All Jingled Out
11. The Day the World Came to Town
12. The World Without Us

The Challenge that Dare not Speak it's Name

The Challenge that Dare Not Speak its Name... has it's own blog!

Here's a quick run-down but check out the blog and sign-up. I'm going for the Pink Triangle level.

Rules/Guidelines:

The basic idea of this challenge is to read books about GLBT topics and/or by GLBT authors.

The challenge runs year-round, and there will be three levels of participation:
  • Lambda Level: Read 4 books.
  • Pink Triangle Level: Read 8 books.
  • Rainbow Level: Read 12 or more books.
You don't need to choose your books right away, and they can change at any time. Overlaps with other challenges are fine.

In January, I will put up a post for you to leave links to your reviews, if you like. Those links can help serve as a reference for others. That will also be how I track participants for prize drawings.


Books to choose from:

10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert - Jan 1
A Time Before Me by Michael Holloway Perronne
Another Kind of Cowboy by Susan Juby
Crossover by Jeff Rud
Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon
Magic's Promise by Mercedes Lackey
Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
Magic's Price by Mercedes Lackey
Nothing Pink by Mark Hardy
Of All the Stupid Things by
Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg
What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson
Uncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah Brannen
Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle By Pija Lindebaum, translated by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard
Mermaids on Parade by By Melanie Hope Greenberg
The Boy Who Cried Fabulous by Leslea Newman

A-Z Wednesday

A-Z Wednesday is a Weekly Event
hosted by Vicky at Reading at the Beach.


Welcome to A-Z Wednesday!!
To join, here's all you have to do:
Go to your stack of books and find one whose title starts with the letter of the week.
Post:
1~ a photo of the book
2~ title and synopsis
3~ link(amazon, barnes and noble etc.)
4~ Come back here and leave your link in the comments
If you've already reviewed this book you can link the review also.
Be sure to visit other participants to see what book they have posted and leave them a comment. (We all love comments, don't we?) Who knows? You may find your next "favorite" book.

This week's letter is "S"


The Spy Who Came for Christmas
David Morrell

Vanguard Press
October 31, 2008
Hardcover (gift-sized)
248 pages



The tale unfolds within the contemporary story of an American espionage agent who outs himself to his vicious Russian bosses by running off on Christmas Eve with a package they’ve been hired to steal—the baby son of a modern-day peacemaker. The agent’s initially unwilling helpers are a woman (who has been terrorized by an abusive husband) and her young son, Paul. The breakneck pace allows little time for characterization, and the blood-and-guts level is high as Russian agents close in (even young Paul gets into the act), but along the way there’s plenty of play with names and situations drawn from Bible stories.


Amazon has it in paperback and for the Kindle.

This link goes through my Amazon Associates link. This books was purchased by me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Tangents?

Florinda asked some interesting questions today on her 10 items of less post.

But I'm now leaning toward "Tuesday Tangents" as an official title for these mental meanderings, because if I ever decide to make this a recurring feature, I like the sound of it - and it's a pretty accurate description. What do you think: do you like it, hate it, not care, or have a better idea? If I make a button for it and all that "official" meme-type stuff, would you consider joining in every once in a while?


I like the name Tuesday Tangents. I love doing memes even though I read somewhere that I shouldn't do a lot, I think they meant and do nothing else. I'll join in, twice in a while, if I'm able to write up my post early and maybe link late ;-) I like being about to do that, at one point, I had six weeks of Tuesday Teasers scheduled.

Other questions? SAHM so no, I'm not taking any time off ;-)

Dinner on the 25th? M's siblings and families get together at their parents house after 3 for food, fun and gift exchanges. We draw names so there aren't a lot of gifts but there's always a good time to be had. We do salads and sandwiches. Anything else is just to stressful and we just did that at Thanksgiving.

That's wonderful that Chris will be home for Christmas. My side of the family is all spread out and both of my brothers have grandchildren to visit. I do have a brother-in-law coming for Christmas that we usually only see this time of year so I'm glad he could make it this year. Enjoy your time with Chris & the rest.

Head cook on the 25th? Bite your tongue! M's family did it big for Thanksgiving so we tone it down in December.


What other kinds of things can I tangent about? Well, lets get personal.

I'm bi-polar with a sleep disorder so I'm stressing about finding a doctor that will diagnose the sleep disorder so we can find out how to fix it. Without messing up my bi-polar medication.

I'm overweight and out of shape but hate going to the gym. I use to love it but now it's just a drain on the bank. Oh! and M's had a pay cut to dig that quilt/knife in a little deeper.

I'm having both sets of parents over for dinner on the 28th. We do this every year and every year I wait until the last minute to get everything spic and span so my parents don't say anything. I'm not the main cook but we're having ham & a cheesy hash brown casserole. Green beans? Lettuce or pasta salad. Fruit? Jello? Found a desert but I think it was yours ;-) and I haven't made up my mind about it yet.

The 30th is a church get-together. Just some adults playing games and visiting. Blowing off some steam. A couple of people said thank you when we told them it was after Christmas. One less thing to stress about. Should be fun. We're taking our Wii and Guitar Hero.

The weather is NOT helping. It will be bright and beautiful in the morning and freezing cold later. I do not like winter. No, that's wrong. If it was snowing, I'd own warmer clothes and it would not be raining. I like rain when I can sit in front of the fireplace with a good book and not worry about family & friends out in it. Don't like the cold. Would it be feasible to live in different parts of the world so I could have summer all year round?


And now for something book related....

I have two books I HAVE to review - they're late

I have a tour book I've had too long that I need to finish & review yesterday

I have a second tour book that must be reviewed on the 14th, at least I can say I only received it yesterday.

And you should see my review book list. I've got over 35 (not including tour books) that I want reviewed before the end of June or sooner and that doesn't count the seven that are read but there isn't a review posted.

Once again I've join too many challenges and I think I need to change my 10*10*10 categories before the end of this year if I have any hope of completing it.

And finally, I think this is the first time I'm afraid to start a new book because I may need it for a challenge next year!


Wow, talk about up close & personal. What else would you like to know? Blood type? Bra size? lol

2010 A to Z Challenge

I mostly did this during 2009 but never officially signed-up. I want to be official this time.



She's funny, flexible with the rules and there are three ways to do this. Click over to read about it.

I'm choosing to read TITLES that have the required letter.

A -
B -
C -
D -
D -
E -
F -
G -
H -
I -
J -
K - The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola - Jan 1
L -
M -
N -
O -
P -
Q - Heart Quest by Robin D. Owens - Jan 16
R - Remember Summer by Elizabeth Lowell - Jan 22
S -
T -
U - Simply Unforgettable by Mary Balogh - Jan 18
V - Vision in White by Nora Roberts - Jan 8
W -
X -
Y -
Z -

Tuesday Teaser

MizB at Should Be Reading hosts this cool weekly event.

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:

--Grab your current read
--Let the book open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
--You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from… that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!


A series of black taxicabs pulled up to the curb in front of Freemasons' Hall and proceeded to emit nearly identical passengers: the proverbial Men in Black-men dressed in black suits with black neckties, all carrying black briefcases. The men-all Masons-ran up the steps and through the doors of Freemasons' Hall as more taxis arrieved, emitting more Men in Black.

This is from The Masonic Myth, introduction and yes, the book will tell you who these men are, where they are and why are the all dressed the same.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fall in Love

Fall in Love
September 23 to December 20

I wanted a seasonal challenge and this was too perfect. Post about the challenge on your blog (or just comment if you don't have one) then link back here with your post. I'll get a participant list going.

Sometime between Sep 23 and Dec 20 of 2010 read four books, one for each requirement.

1. one book with heart, love, marriage, home or family in the title
2. 1 book - romantic suspense
3. 2 books - fantasy/paranormal/time-travel romance


No requirements about length except not part of a collection/anthology, you need to read the whole thing.

Re-reads, audio, ebooks, challenge crossovers are all allowed.

Reviews are not necessary but it would be nice if you did a "this is what I read" with a summary so maybe we can add to our TBR list.


I know it's early but it fits in so well with my other post {blush}

edited to change requirements, hoping it makes things easier to find stuff you like :-)

Love is in the air...

Or at least Romance Challenges are flooding the blog world.

I already joined one reading challenge because I couldn't resist the button. Then I found Royal Reviews' challenge and finally remembered the challenges I thought up to host way back in September. I didn't see the Romance Club Challenge for 2010, there hasn't been a blog post for a couple of months so I don't know if it's happening.

Now, for 2009, I joined THREE romance challenges. For one I only had to read four books but they had specific requirements. One had to have title words or author's name matching specific letters AND do a review. The third was a straight five books. I don't know if I overlapped any books between the three but I didn't read two of the required books :-( Plus it was a category for my 999 challenge.

This year, I'm reading TEN for the 10*10*10 challenge so I joined the challenge that has me read five. Then Royal Reviews changed up their challenge and I won't need to do reviews or anything specific (different levels). THEN I have my challenge. I wasn't going to post about it yet, I swear, but this is actually perfect because you can do all three challenges and overlap books!


Sign-up for Romance Reading Challenge and read five books during 2010.
Sign-up for Royal's Romance Reading Challenge Fascinated level to read six books during 2010. (or Curious and read three)
They can be the same books! Now....
Sign-up for Fall in Love and read four books that you can use for the other two challenges. The trick is that Fall in Love is during the Fall - Sep 23 to Dec 20 and there are requirements.

I wanted a seasonal challenge and Callapidder Days was already doing a Fall into Reading. I didn't want to step on toes but the Fall into... was too cute. I guess I could have said "Danger" but my seasonal spring challenge is "Spring into Action" and I didn't want to overlap. Well. That was long-winded :-)



Cute graphic? I was looking for a tree with hearts as leaves but didn't find a nice one I could use. Oh, well. The requirements and other info is at the "sign-up" link above. Hope to see you!

Off Topic: Merry Christmas funny

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Romance Reading Challenge

I wasn't going to do this one since 5 romance books is a piece of cake but I'm planned out my review/challenge read and there aren't many romance books on there. I may have to actually work to get in five and I need ten for another challenge. Plus, I couldn't resist the button!


Naida at The Bookworm is hosting, for the third year, the
Romance Reading Challenge
Jan 1 to Dec 31


Rules:
1. "Romance" isn't limited to steamy Harlequin novels. There is a huge selection of books in this category such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance to name a few. As long as the story has romantic love between the two main characters your selection will fit this challenge. The novels do not need to have a happy ending either, there can also be unrequited love.

2. Choose at least 5 novels read them between Jan 1st though Dec 31st 2010. You can change your choices at any time. Crossovers between other challenges are fine.

3. Read them at your own pace in 2010 then come here and post the link to your review(s).

4. Link your "RRC" choices here with any of these graphics: there is a choice of six.

5. Ready? Please leave a comment to this post also if you are joining us, in case 'mr. linky' ever goes down.

Books to choose from:
1. Born of Night
2. Born of Fire
3. Born of Ice
4. Vision in White - Jan 8
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

What are you Reading?


What are you reading on Monday? is a weekly meme hosted by J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book blog where you post books completed last week and plans for upcoming books. Jump over to her blog and see who else is participating.


Monday, December 14
Finished this Week
A Magical Christmas Present
Blaze of Memory

reviews posted: 1
plus 4 short stories


Still Reading/Started
Falling into the Sun
The Untamed Bride - later
The Once and Future King
The Christmas Cookie Killer - maybe later
Moonstone
Murder Is Binding

Planning to Read/Start
Defenders of the Scroll
Nefertiti
The Third Man Factor
Moonstone
Murder Is Binding

Library Books Now Available



and Reviews needed to Complete
A Circle of Souls
The Right Side of the Tracks
True North
Benny & Shrimp
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
Red in the Flower Bed
Second Chance
Nine Things Nathan Saw a Night
The Tallest of Smalls
A Sportscasters Guide to Watching Football
plus any/all of the previous books read....

why, yes, the list does seem to be getting longer! And I found out I haven't posted a couple of reviews that I thought I had. One down, 9+ to go.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Do you have a football fan in your house?

Do you want to understand the game? I'm talking US football and if you want to know what all the yelling and screaming is about, I've got a book for you!

I'm not a huge fan of football. I have watched with my parents but never really "got" the game. I was lucky enough to be sent a great book to review.


The Sportscaster's Guide to Watching Football
Decoding America's Favorite Game

Author: Mark Oristano
Publisher: Synergy Books
Release Date: August 2009
Pages: 160
Format: trade paperback
Ages:
Genre: sports/self-help
review book

from the publisher:
To help novice football fans discover what all the cheering is about, veteran sportscaster Mark Oristano brings readers a basic understanding of one of America's most beloved sports. From "special teams" to "running backs" and "tight ends," Oristano highlights key football terms and puts them into perspective using realistic scenarios to illustrate the impact various positions, penalities and plays have on the game. Filled with diagrams of key plays, game-winning strategies and talking points to help new fans seem knowledgeable, this book informs and instructs rookie spectators as they root their favorite team onto victory.

My thoughts:
I loved this book and I don't like football. Really, I'm serious, the behind the scene information and the stories Mark tells are entertaining all by them selves.

Mark takes you through his career as a sportscaster, dropping names left and right, so you understand why he can teach us. Then he breaks the game down, tells us stories from the locker room and gives us sound bites so we'll sound like we know what we're talking about, telling us when to use them ;-)

And he's funny. I kept interrupting my sons computer game to tell him stuff and he's not into football either. The best part is this advice: Watch a recorded game while following along with the book. Stopping and rewinding as needed. I think it's best to do this when your fan is not around to "guide" you.

You won't be an expert by any means but you'll have a clearer understanding so you can enjoy the game. Professional, college, high school, youth. I can see the attraction of the game. Even if you really don't want to understand the game, read it for the stories and behind the scenes information.

Mark talks so we can understand without making us feel like idiots and if we need it, there is a great glossary.

Rating: I'm going with a 4.5 - It's almost a keeper but purchase this then donate when you no longer need it. You'll want to keep it longer then a library checkout will allow.
Disclaimer

In accordance to the FTC guidelines, I must state that I make no monetary gains from my reviews or endorsements here on Book Dragon's Lair. All books I review are either borrowed, purchased by me, given as a gift, won, or received in exchange for an honest review.


Followers