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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Month of Letters


I discovered this today, at www.lettermo.com. It took place in Feb 2013, so technically I missed it. However, I loved the idea so I thought I would still do it, just not register all of my mailings with their website. I downloaded the logo above, a few business cards to print out to enclose in a few letters, and a sheet of stickers that I printed out to tape/glue to envelopes. According to their rules:
  1. In the month of February March, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
  2. Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.
For March that's 26 days. I may not get out something every day, but I plan on trying to at least reach the goal of mailing 26 items out this month. After all, it's the 5th and I haven't mailed anything yet, so I can't go back and mail on March 1st.

However, I signed up for the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) mailing group through Cross Stitch Round Robin Mad stitching group and mailing a St. Patrick's Day card to everyone in both RAK groups I signed up for. So that's 6 right there. I've also got a Spring/Easter stitched card for an exchange to mail. And I've signed up for a postcard and a bookmark exchange for March. So that's 10 out of 26 right there. Oh, just remembered I signed up back at the beginning of the year for a Pay-It-Forward post on Facebook to mail something randomly to two friends. That's another 2.  I've started a letter for a friend and will obviously need to write quite a few more letters, postcards, note cards, etc. This will help me keep in touch with family and friends. :)

 
 
Country Woman Magazine

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stephanie Plum

Stephanie Plum series

by Janet Evanovich



    This is a very popular series about a 30 year old inept bounty hunter from Trenton, New Jersey. The series is comprised of the following 19 novels, and 4 holiday/between the numbers books:

#1 One For The Money
#2 Two for the Dough
#3 Three to Get Deadly
#4 Four to Score
#5 High Five
#6 Hot Six
#7 Seven Up
#8 Hard Eight
#8.5 Visions of Sugar Plums
#9 To the Nines
#10 Ten Big Ones
#11 Eleven on Top
#12 Twelve Sharp
#12.5 Plum Lovin'
#13 Lean Mean Thirteen
#13.5 Plum Lucky
#14 Fearless Fourteen
#14.5 Plum Spooky
#15 Finger Lickin' Fifteen
#16 Sizzling Sixteen
#17 Smokin' Seventeen
#18 Explosive Eighteen
#19 Notorious Nineteen Nov 2012

One For The Money (Stephanie Plum, #1)Two for the Dough (Stephanie Plum, #2)Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum, #3)Four to Score (Stephanie Plum #4)High Five (Stephanie Plum, #5)Hot Six (Stephanie Plum, #6)Seven Up (Stephanie Plum, #7)Hard Eight (Stephanie Plum, #8)Visions of Sugar Plums (Stephanie Plum, #8.5)To the Nines (Stephanie Plum, #9)Ten Big Ones (Stephanie Plum, #10)Eleven on Top (Stephanie Plum, #11)Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum, #12)Plum Lovin' (Stephanie Plum, #12.5)Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum, #13)Plum Lucky (Stephanie Plum, #13.5)Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum, #14)Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum, #14.5)Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum, #15)Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum, #16)Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum, #17)Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18)

All of the above hyperlinks take you to each book on Goodreads.com where you can read book the book(s) description, rating and reviews.


      Our main character is Stephanie Plum. She's approximately 30 years old, slim (130 lbs), and has a 34B size chest. Yes, they give you that many details. She grew up and lives only a mile from the burb, an Italian/Hungarian neighborhood of attached houses in an area of Trenton, NJ. Her grandmother lives with her parents and she has dinner there at least once a week, usually more. Stephanie has a pet hamster. In book one, her first FTA (Failed to Appear) that she has to capture as  bounty hunter is cop Joesph Morelli, an Italian bad boy she grew up with but hasn't seen in awhile. After blackmailing her cousin Vinnie into giving her her the job as Fugitive Apprehension Agent, ie Bounty Hunter, she is told to go to someone named Ricardo Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, second generation Cuban-American. Ranger starts out as her mentor, becomes her friend, and at least briefly, her lover. Morelli becomes her off again on again boyfriend throughout the series, occasionally her roommate, and even once her fiance. Over 19 books the love triangle continues, without her making a choice between them.
     As book one starts, she hasn't seen Morelli in at least ten years or more, but they do share a past to some extent. She then meets Ranger. The author has written it, at least it seems this way to me, as to weight the balance between the two men at the beginning in Morelli's favor, but over time, the balance shifts to Ranger. She still isn't choosing. Morelli's the obvious choice as he's the one who wants to settle down and Ranger, aka Batman is still mostly a man of mystery. But Stephanie loves both, and I assume, before the series ends, will hopefully finally choose one of them.
     I should point out, that although Stephanie makes enough captures to pay the rent and barely stay afloat, she is very bad at what she does. She hates her gun and rarely uses it, but when she does, she's good. She can hold her own in a physical fight. My problem with her is that she seems TSTL (too stupid to live.) The men in her life like to say she's a danger magnet. She loses at least one car per book, by the most hazardous means possible. Her cars get rammed, shot up with bullet holes, but most tend to explode from being firebombed, shot with a rocket launcher or something else just as ludicrous like exploding taxidermy.
    Which brings me to the reason I really love this series. I do like a good mystery and she does have to solve and figure a lot out before apprehending her man (or woman). However, her FTA may be a midget, a 7ft transvestite, or your typical homicidal maniac. Quite a few are eccentric elderly, like the flasher or the man who thought he was a vampire. A lot of colorful language and sexual situations in the book (although any actual sex is eluded too without graphic details, but if she runs into a naked FTA, his manhood may be described in detail). She and her file clerk/sidekick Lula are like Laurel  & Hardy. They go into a warehouse to talk to the bad guy and Lula hauls a rocket launcher outta her car trunk she said she got at a garage sale. You absolutely cannot take these books seriously. Is Ranger a fantasy? Most likely but as a lady, I'm okay with that. lol You get enough fart comments, etc from Morelli.
     As long as you aren't offended by violence, bad language or sexual situations, if you'd like to follow along as she solves some crime or finds someone, and won't take the books seriously or mind the occassional plot hole, they are worth a belly full of laughs!
     If this gives you any idea... I'd never read these before. I enjoyed the series enough that in 30 days, I read the entire series, in order, all 18 novels plus the 4 between the numbers novels and then preordered #19 that comes out in November. The novels are roughly 310 pages each.


      NOTE: While I recommend the 19 regular numbered novels, I cannot honestly recommend the four between the numbers/holiday novels. The reason is because Morelli and Ranger are shelved and Diesel pops in. Literally. Apparently, he's what you'd call an "unmentionable", as in a regular human but with some extraordinary power, however useful or useless. (Take for instance, Ernie the Fire Farter.) Steph makes is absolutely clear two men in her life are already one more than she needs but he insists on sticking around. He's there to find someone "unmentionable" who happens to have something to do with her current FTA. He has no other place to stay, so stays with her, against her wishes, and she wakes up every morning to find him smothering her in bed. He is annoying and steals kisses. He teases her relentlessly about unmentionable powers, real or imaginary so you (and she) never know what to believe. Not only do I find Diesel highly annoying, the stories themselves, because of the unmentionable ie superhero folks added, to be beyond ludicrous.
     There are some items of note in the personal lives of some of the side characters in the series that it may be helpful to read and learn about, but the novels themselves are terrible. The worst is probably the first, Visions of Sugar Plums involving an FTA Sandy Claws who is a toymaker who only hires elves - in New Jersesy. The best is the last, Plum Spooky. That one however ticked me off because it didn' have a clear ending. Instead, it just sent Gerwulf Grimoire and Diesel off into their own "Wicked" spinoff series, with Stephanie's cousin Lizzy helping Diesel. Nothing like reading a 300+ page novel to suddenly in the last 2 pages have a character basically say "tag your it", poof and disappear so the other is forced to follow, and lead off into their own novel to see what happens.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shadow of Night

by Deborah Harkness


All Souls Trilogy, Book 2



    I've been waiting a year to read this. The first book in the trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, was my favorite read of 2011. I reread it just before book 2, Shadow of Night came out. I'd pre-ordered it back in May for my birthday.
    This is nearly 600 pages long and I devoured it in 2 days, the same way I read the first one. That should tell you something about the series if I literally can't put them down once I get my hands on them.
     The book has witches, vampires and daemons in it, along with ordinary humans. The various characters from main characters through and along with the smaller side characters all have enough personality to stand out. I feel as if I have actually met them. The author did that good, not only with her characters but with a very intriguing and I'd like to think, original plot. I've heard some folks say they had a hard time getting into the first book, saying the first 40+ pages dragged. I didn't have that problem. She can't just dump you in and you have to start slow and draw your reader into her world.
    It's hard for me to say much about this without literally giving away the plot! I will say that I highly recommend the trilogy and am seriously anticipating the final book in the trilogy out I hope next summer.

Below are the Goodreads links for each book published so far in the trilogy:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8667848-a-discovery-of-witches
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11559200-shadow-of-night

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Walt Longmire series

 by Craig Johnson


      Absolutely amazing. Found the book series because of the TV series based on it from A&E. I actually like both. The series is pretty accurate to the books. A few minor character changes but only in regards to a couple deputies. For an author's first work, this is outstanding. It's a modern day western mystery. I thought I'd figured out who did it, but boy was I wrong. You can definetly relate to aging lawman Walt Longmire but I'd have to say my favorite character is actual his best friend Henry Standing Bear.
   You can find out more about the A&E TV series and watch full episodes here: http://www.aetv.com/longmire/
   From the inside of the front cover of the book:
  
Craig Johnson is the author of eight novels in the Walt Longmire mystery series, which has garnered popular and critical acclaim. The Cold Dish was a Dilys Award finalist and the French edition won Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/Bibliobs. Death Without Company, the Wyoming Historical Association's Book of the Year, won France's Le Prix 813, and Kindness Goes Unpunished, the third in the series, has also been published in France. Another Man's Moccasins was the Western Writers of America's Spur Award Winner and the Mountains & Plains Book of the Year. Junkyard Dogs won The Watson Award for a mystery novel with the best sidekick and Hell Is Empty was a New York Times bestseller. All are available from Penguin. The next in the series, As the Crow Flies, will be available in hardcover from Viking in May 2012. Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire novels have now beed adapted for television in the series Longmire. Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

    Obviously then, I'm not the only one to really like this series. I've just finished the first in the series, The Cold Dish. I am absolutely going to read the rest of the series. I'd love to own the entire series. I found the first one on sale for $10.99 with a new cover to match the A&E series. However, even with the older books in this series, they are all at least $10+ still. Are they worth it? Yes. However, my library also has the entire series so while I'm waiting to afford to buy each book in this series, I will read the library's copies.
    So far, this is what's released in the series, in order, with first publication dates:

#1 The Cold Dish (2004)
#2 Death Without Company (2006)
#3 Kindness Goes Unpunished (2007)
#4 Another Man's Moccasins (2008)
#5 The Dark Horse (2009)
#6 Junkyard Dogs (2010)
#7 Hell Is Empty (2011)
#7.5 Divorce Horse (2012) (51 page ebook novella)
#8 As The Crow Flies (2012)

(Hyperlinks take you to the Goodreads website page with information on each book).

I highly recommend this series for anyone loving a good western or mystery.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer Reading List for 2012-2013 Honors English Sophmores.


This is the summer reading list my son was handed from school. Below are the teacher's instructions:

Each of the bold-faced titles below is a literary work that is studied in English 10H. You will be much better prepared for next year's reading if you spend some time this summer exploring some of the related books and movies below each title. Please notice the ratings on the movies; talk with your parents about the appropriateness of these films for your personal situation before viewing. Your first assignment next fall will be to write about whichever of the following books you choose to read.

1984

The Running Man - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
Armageddon's Children - Terry Brooks
The Children of Men - PD James
The Time Machine - HG Wells
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood
Uglies - Scotter Westerfield
The Giver - Lois Lowry
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Chrysalids - John Wyndham
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Little Brother - Cory Doctorow
Suzanne Collins
Movies:
V for Vendetta (R)
Artificial Intelligence (PG-13)
THX 1138 (R)
Twelve Monkeys (R)
Children of Men (R)

A Seperate Peace

Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
The Chocolate War - Robert Corimer
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Rule of Four - Ian Caldwell
The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay
The Painted House - John Grisham
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Piccoult
How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents - Julia Alvarez
Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen - Susan Gregg Gilmore
The Flowers - Dagoberto Gilb
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
The River King - Alice Hoffman
Crow Lake - Mary Lawson
Movies:
Dead Poet's Society (NR)
School Ties (PG-13)
Finding Forrester (PG-13)

Lord of the Flies

My Losing Season - Pat Conroy
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Nation - Terry Pratchett
Alive - Piers Paul Read
Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Piccoult
Movies:
Cast Away (PG-13)
Alive (R)
Madagascar (PG)

Macbeth

Wyrd Sisters - Terry Pratchett
The Seeds of Time - John Wyndham
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury
By the Pricking of my Thumbs - Agatha Christie
Enter Three Witches - Caroline Cooney
The Players: A Novel of the Young Shakespear - Stephanie Cowell
Blue Avenger Cracks the Code - Norma Howe
The Face in the Mirror - Stephanie Tolan
King of Shadows - Susan Cooper
Othello: A Novel - Julius Lester
The Playmaker - JB Cheaney
The Shakespeare Stealer - Gary Blackwood
Wise Children - Angela Carter
Movies:
Any Shakespeare play
Elizabeth (R)
Shakespeare in Love (R)

Tale of Two Cities

Abundance - Sena Jeter Naslund
Annette Vallon: A Novel of the French Revolution - James Tipton
The Scarlet Pimpernel - Emmuska Orczy
Mistress of the Revolution  - Catherine Delors
Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
The Days of the French Revolution - Christopher Hibbert
The Queen's Necklace - Alexandre Dumas
The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution - Sally Gardner
Revolution - Jennifer Donnelly
Movies:
Marie Antoineete (PG-13)
The Affair of the Necklace (R)

Night

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
The People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks
The Bee Season - Myla Goldberg
Summer of My German Soldier - Bette Greene
The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Maus I/Maus II: A Survivor's Tale - Art Spiegelman
The Entertainer and the Dubbyak - Sid Fleischman
Elephant Run - Roland Smith
The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story - Diane Ackerman
Sarah's Key - Tatiana DeRosnay
On Hitler's Mountain - Irmgard Hunt
Movies:
The Pianist (R)
Life is Beautiful (PG-13)

To Kill a Mockingbird

Bud Not Buddy - Christopher Curtis
Cold Sassy Tree - Olive Ann Burns
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Copper Sun - Sharon Draper
Girl with a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
Peace Like a River - Lief Enger
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Mildred Taylor
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
A Time to Kill - John Grisham
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith
Guardian - Julius Lester
Movies:
Girl with a Pearl Earring (PG-13)
The Secret Life of Bees (PG-13)
A Time to Kill (R)

Les Miserables

White Oleander - Janet Fitch
Waiting for Normal - Leslie Conner
Made in the U.S.A. - Billie Letts
Before Their Time: The World of Child Labor - David Parker
Blessings - Anna Quindlen
Movies:
Slumdog Millionaire (R)
Tsotsi (R)
Juno (PG-13)

 



 






Saturday, February 18, 2012

We'll Have the Summer by Dutch Henry



I got this as a free kindle ebook from Amazon a couple days ago. (Sorry, it's no longer free. You can see the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Well-Have-The-Summer-ebook/dp/B004QS989G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329602460&sr=8-2

This book was very touching. I absolutely dearly loved it. I highly recommend it to others. It's the love story of a couple married 35 years, their love of horses, and of saying goodbye. Our heroine only has a few months left to live and plans on living life to the full with what time she has left. I can't remember the last time I cried so much while reading a book. As much as I dislike reading kindle books on Kindle for PC, it was well worth it for this book. This book was beautiful in showing unconditional love not only between the main characters but shared with their friends and in the love they show for horses.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Companion of Lady Holmeshire

I'm recommending this book as it's something you might not find on your own otherwise. I was lucky enough to get it the weekend Amazon offered it's kindle edition free. It's also available in paperback.

The Companion of Lady Holmeshire
by Debra Brown

This is a historical romance that was written very well. The story is about exactly what the title says it is, the companion of Lady Holmeshire. It'll give you nice insight into different classes and the barriers between them in Victorian England. It has romance in it but its more so the tale of one lady's story. I read it in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it, so recommending it.