Friday, August 31, 2012

The Cricket in Times Square

The Cricket in Times SquareFrom Goodreads:    One night, the sounds of New York City--the rumbling of subway trains, thrumming of automobile tires, hooting of horns, howling of brakes, and the babbling of voices--is interrupted by a sound that even Tucker Mouse, a jaded inhabitant of Times Square, has never heard before. Mario, the son of Mama and Papa Bellini, proprietors of the subway-station newsstand, had only heard the sound once. What was this new, strangely musical chirping? None other than the mellifluous leg-rubbing of the somewhat disoriented Chester Cricket from Connecticut. Attracted by the irresistible smell of liverwurst, Chester had foolishly jumped into the picnic basket of some unsuspecting New Yorkers on a junket to the country. Despite the insect's wurst intentions, he ends up in a pile of dirt in Times Square.
Mario is elated to find Chester. He begs his parents to let him keep the shiny insect in the newsstand, assuring his bug-fearing mother that crickets are harmless, maybe even good luck. What ensues is an altogether captivating spin on the city mouse/country mouse story, as Chester adjusts to the bustle of the big city. Despite the cricket's comfortable matchbox bed (with Kleenex sheets); the fancy, seven-tiered pagoda cricket cage from Sai Fong's novelty shop; tasty mulberry leaves; the jolly company of Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat; and even his new-found fame as "the most famous musician in New York City," Chester begins to miss his peaceful life in the Connecticut countryside. The Cricket in Times Square--a Newbery Honor Book in 1961--is charmingly illustrated by the well-loved Garth Williams, and the tiniest details of this elegantly spun, vividly told, surprisingly suspenseful tale will stick with children for years and years. Make sure this classic sits on the shelf of your favorite child, right next to The Wind in the Willows
My Thoughts:
-    This was a very charming story about 3 friends and a family who run a newsstand.
-    Can you really tell the temperature from a cricket?  Someone try this out, count the # of chirps per minute, divide by 4, then add 40.  
-    I thought Chinese people couldn't pronounce "l"s.  Isn't it a little backwards to substitute the "r"s with "l"s?  Should it be vice versa?
-    That Tucker mouse is so cute!!  I love how he had a dream come true by sleeping in the cage with dollar bills.  ha ha!
-    The illustrations were fun.  I liked how they looked like sketches.  Harry the cat was so fluffy and fun to see, and Tucker's facial expressions in some of the pictures were hilarious!
-    I wish the crickets outside our house played as beautifully as Chester.  
-    Every kid needs to read this book!  It is charming!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's Left of Me

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)Goodreads Synopsis:    Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

My Thoughts:

-    This was a really unique and interesting idea and story.  I loved it from the get go!

-    I really liked how all the characters were introduced.  I got to meet each one, and I gained a relationship with them as I learned more and the story progressed.

-    It would be really weird and hard to share a body with 2 souls.  It would have it's advantages, but I think it would be really hard, and the story reveals a lot of the pros and cons to the situation.

-    Speaking of pros and cons, how do the 2 souls handle it when 1 is interested in someone and other soul isn't?  I liked how the romance was just beginning in this first book, but I have a feeling it is going to get more complex though.  I'm really interested to see how it all plays out. 

-    I liked how Addie and Eva really complimented each other.  One was stronger in certain areas that the other lacked, and they helped each other.  They treated each other like sisters, and their relationship was very realistic.

-    It was interesting to read the story from Eva's perspective.  I thought the author handled that really well.  Addie and Eva share a body, but we see the world through Eva's eyes.  Really cool!

-    I'm glad there were 2, or rather 4, friends to help Addie and Eva through the story.  Hally/Lissa were like one of those girls who don't do much, so you have to help them a lot.  A damsel in distress type character, but Ryan/Devon was a great hero figure that Eva could rely on.  I liked seeing that contrast.  

-    There wasn't a huge cliffhanger, THANK YOU!  I really enjoyed the ending.  I felt like I got some closure, but they left some things open for the next one. 

-    Overall, this was a really fun and interesting read!  I am very eager for more! 

Re-read Thoughts:

-    Not as amazing as I first thought, but still good. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Kill Order

The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5)From Goodreads:    The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

My Thoughts:

-    This was a very intense book!  It starts off crazy and doesn't slow down!  It was just one thing after another.  It was like the author tried to squeeze as many horrible things he could into this book.

-    The dreams/past scenes were intermingled in the story.  I would have liked it better if they had just done one continual story instead of break up the time sequence.

-    There is some gruesome stuff in this book.  There were a few cringe worthy moments.

-    I kinda felt like the Maze Runner series had zombie like creatures in it, but this one just confirmed it.  Zombies EVERYWHERE!!

-    I really wanted the prequel to be about how WICKED started and how Teresa and Thomas met and started the whole process, but alas, it wasn't.  It was about how The Flare started, which is terrible!   We get a tiny bit about Teresa and Thomas, but not much.  I personally think that Deedee is Teresa.  

-    I still have questions that I want answers to, but looks like I'm not going to get them!  Grrr!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Plants vs. Zombies

My Overall Thoughts:

-    This is a super fun and highly addicting tower defense type game!!  I played for hours and still craved more!

-    I've complete everything I can, but I'm still playing.  Seriously, I did EVERYTHING!  I have ALL the achievements.  I'm going through adventure mode again!

-    This is a great game for all ages!  I enjoyed it on the Xbox 360 just as much as I did on the PC.

My Thoughts on Gameplay:

-    The whole "story" of the game is waves of zombies are attacking your house, and you must plant different varieties of plants to protect your house/brains.

-    Going through adventure mode is a great place to start the game.  It teaches you how to play and introduces you to each plant and what it does as you unlock them.  You'll also get to battle in every scenario.  Fog is my least favorite.

-    Mini Challenges are really fun.  Each level is a different puzzle that makes you think a bit to solve.  Some levels are patterned after other popular PopCap games.

-    Survival levels are hard to get through towards the end.  I had to look online for help on a few of them.  It is played on the pool scenario.  I made it to flag 120 on Endless Survival!!!!

-    After you play for a while, you unlock the Zen Garden.  You can find plants during levels you play or buy some in Dave's shop.  The plants give you money, and you can sell them for lots of money when they're mature.

-    Dave's shop is run by Crazy Dave, apparently he is the only one who has survived the zombie apocalypse cause he's craaaazy!  At Dave's shop you can buy additional (awesome) plants, flowers, house upgrades, additional slots, and various other useful items.  My house is awesome!  Dave runs his shop out of the back of his car.  It's pretty funny.

-    You can play a cool Co-op mode where one player uses plants and the other player plays the zombies.  I personally like playing the zombies.  I think they have the advantage.  You can also play some of the mini challenges and adventure mode with 2 players.

My Thoughts on Control:

-    It is different to play with an Xbox controller rather than a mouse, but it isn't difficult at all.

-    I liked how I could scroll through the plants using the RB and LB.

My Thoughts on Graphics:

-    The graphics aren't anything fancy, but it is fun. 

-    I think the plant and zombie designs are really clever.  They are fun and cartoony.

-    I like that anyone can play this.  The zombies won't scare your little ones, but they are fun enough for adults to play.  

-    Watch Crazy Dave's license plate in his shop.  It changes each time.  Some of them are pretty funny.

My Thoughts on Sound:

-    I find myself humming along to the music and sound effects of the game A LOT!  I also like to say "brains" all deep and gravely like the zombies.  

-    I like Crazy Dave's jibberish!  He is a funny guy.

-    I LOVE the little music video at the end, and the song is highly addicting.  Don't be surprised if you are singing about zombies in your yard all day.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Random Thought

My mouse broke this week, and I ordered this bad boy on Amazon!

It came today, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!!

It's sexy!


Although most of the UBM celebration happens online, some of it actually takes place IN UTAH for REAL! Please come and join us for our summer social! Whether you're a blogger, author, or anything in between WE WANT TO SEE YOU! Here are the details:

Utah Book Blogger Bash
Friday, August 24, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Wines Park in Lehi*
Pavilion #3, SW corner

  • Bring a dessert to share; we'll provide plates/forks/napkins/cups/water. If you can, please consider bringing a gluten free dessert.
  • We'll be having a book swap again, so bring a book(s) to give away!
  • You may also want to bring chairs and blankets for sitting on the grass.
  • Families welcome

*From I-15, take Lehi Main Street Exit. Turn west onto Main Street (toward Lehi Roller Mills). Turn right onto 100 East. Turn left onto 500 North.

I will attending the event and I hope to see you all tonight!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mirror Mirror

My Thoughts:

-    The whole movie visually stunning!  The colors, the costumes, and the scenes were really well done!  If definitely looked like a fairy tale.

-    At times, the prince had a nice voice, but then at other times he sounded like Brendan Fraser.  It bugged me.  I'm not sure what to think of the prince, but I wish he had been more useful.  

-    The movie was pretty cheesy.  They were aiming for comedy, but ended up with cheesy and oh brother!  The dwarves were especially annoying at times.

-    Snow White's bandit outfit was awesome!  I want one!  

-    I hated how everyone dropped the T in Brighton's name!!  UGH!!!  They kept calling him Brigh-UN!!! It bugged me. 

-    I really liked Snow White.  She did a good job, and she was really pretty.  I thought she fit the role really well.  

-    I usually don't watch movies with Julia Roberts in them, but she was tolerable in this one.

-    This movie made me want to watch Willow!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Character Challenge

Utah Book Month Mini-Challenge

Here is how you play:

I will describe a character from a book written by a Utah author.  You must guess the character I describe and what book they are from.  Get all 3 and you win!!  

Winners will be eligible to enter into my Utah Book Month Giveaway!  
Winners can also enter in The Grand Giveaway!!

Thanks for participating and take luck!

Mystery Character #1
-    I have a secret identity.
-    My story was released this year (2012)!
-    I am a stubborn little snot, and I'm always ahead of the game.
-    My mother was a barmaid who married a king
-    I can roll a coin over my knuckles with both hands.

Mystery Character #2
Ball Gown
-    I go by my nickname.
-    My aunt decided to give me to a dragon.
-    My story is a debut novel and part of a trilogy.
-    I am very talented with a needle and thread, and I like to show off my embroidery on my skirts.
-    A magical item makes my feet itch like crazy!

Mystery Character #3
-    I share the same name with my author's daughter.
-    I have multiple mothers.
-    I secretly read books from a bookmobile.
-    The boy I love was beaten because he wanted to choose me.
-    I escape the only life I've ever known.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Help

The HelpGoodreads Synopsis:    Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

My Thoughts:

-    I like that this is a book about writing a book.  It reminds me of those old Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney movies.  How it was a show about putting on a show.  I love it!

-    The terrible awful is hilarious, but it also grosses me out!!  I'm never going to look at chocolate pie the same way.

-    There was a really out of the blue scene about a naked man outside Miss Celia's house.  It was gross and highly inappropriate.  I didn't think it was needed in the book, and I'm very glad it wasn't in the movie.

-    I love the 3 narrators, and I love that we got to see different perspectives from the story.  Minny was my favorite! She cracks me up!  All 3 ladies were amazing in their own way.  I admire their courage, kindness, and compassion!

-    I watched the movie first, but I think the movie did justice to the book.  They got all the great stuff and the emotions.  They also cast the perfect people for the roles.

-    I love the emotions throughout the book.  I laughed so hard in some places, but I wanted to cry in others.  Those white ladies made me so mad sometimes!  I wanted to smack someone.  

-    The bit about Constantine just broke my heart.  

-    There was a lot of cursing in the book, and it really bothered me.  They mostly used the Lord's name and Christ's name a lot, and I didn't appreciate it.

-    I listened to the audiobook for the 2nd half.  It is SO good!!  The 3 narrators do an amazing job!  They give the story so much heart!

-    There is a lot to take away from this book, and I love good moral stories like this.  It just makes you ponder your own life and helps you feel a little good and bad about the world.  This story made me want to love my daughter more, and to be more kind to people. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Yard Sale Score!

I went around town checking out yard sales this morning with my friend, and I happened to find this:
Jealous yet?  Just wait!  These are my favorites:
5 Han Solos!  Oh ya!

There was an Ewok in a box, and I should have thrown him in my bag of goodies!  All his clothes were in the bag.  I'm really angry I didn't.  

Friday, August 17, 2012


My Thoughts:

-    I like how they make fun of Superman.  That was funny.

-    Why does everyone in this movie have a giant forehead?  It bugged me.

-    The plot had some unexpected twists, but some predictable ones as well.  I like how they put a twist on the classic hero vs villain thing.

-    For most of the movie I was shaking my head and going "Oh brother! Really?"  

-    I hate Will Ferrell, but this was ok cause I couldn't see him.  I loved David Cross as the minion!

-    I didn't like that everyone in the movie had a bit of a stupid side and things just kinda worked for them.

-    I can't really decide if I liked this or hated it.  I'm leaning towards the "didn't like" though.  Tyson and Hubby loved this movie, so I'll just let you know their thoughts.

Tyson's Thoughts:

-    Any movie with Welcome to the Jungle and Bad as a soundtrack can't go wrong.

-    If this movie was an Asian lady, I'd marry it.

Hubby's Thought:

-    This movie had a lot of twists, and I like that.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I've Been Interviewed!

My lovely friend, Jenni Elyse is interviewing me on her blog today!

The Chosen One

The Chosen OneGoodreads Synopsis:    Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.
But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

My Thoughts:
-    This is a very solemn book.  It has a lot of sadness and worry in it, but in the end, we get a bit of hope.  
-    It makes me sad and a little sick to my stomach to know that the events in this book take place in the real world.  There were certain parts that just break my heart.  
-    I love the emotion in the story.  Kyra's feelings come across so strongly that I just feel for her so much!  I feel scared, sad, happy, and everything else for this character.  I just want to hug her and tell her that everything will be alright.  It just makes me want to show my daughter 10x more love!  
-    I wish the ending held a bit more, or that there was a sequel.  There are a few questions I want answered.  
-    I want to visit a bookmobile!  Patrick is a hero in my eyes!
-    I love the format of this book.  Carol Lynch Williams knows how to get so much more out of a book by playing with the format and sentence structure.  I love it!!
-    The ending is so riveting!  Oh my gosh!!  It is one of the most heart pounding car chases I've ever read or seen.  
-    This is one of those books that you just have to finish is one sitting!  Once you start, you just can't put it down.  Thank goodness it isn't too long.

-    Carol Lynch Williams is such a pro at telling difficult stories in a beautiful way!  Her writing is like poetry, but not.  I just love her style!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blogger Interview

Utah Book Month Blogger Interview

I received the pleasure of interviewing Kathy From Read This Instead.  Kathy and I have not had the opportunity to meet face to face, but I'm sure we'll run into each other soon at some library event.  From what I've gathered via Twitter and Email, she is a very kind and awesome lady!  

Here are My Questions and Her Answers:

1.    If you could have a story written about you, what author would you pick to write it and why?

For my "adult" life (being married/having kids) I'd pick Shannon Hale because I think she could manage to find a plot in all the diaper changing/dinner making/play grouping that goes on.  But if it were my teen years, definitely E. Lockhart.  She could capture all the over thinking and angst and annoying-ness of that time and still make me a likeable character.

2.    What is the best and worst thing about blogging?

The best for me is getting to know other bloggers and making bookish friends.
The worst is when I don't have time to blog, or I can't come up with anything interesting to post about.

3.    What are the top 5 books that have changed your life?

Harry Potter, because it's the first thing I read as an adult and really liked.
The Hunger Games, because it proved there were other books besides Harry Potter that I could enjoy.
Pride and Prejudice, because it showed me I could enjoy a book later in life that I didn't like in high school.
Fanny's Dream, because it's just a cute children'd book.

4.    What are some of the perks of being a Utah Blogger?

We have such a great community of bloggers!  I love that there are so many events and that everyone is really friendly.  I started out not knowing any other Utah Bloggers and was worried I'd feel stupid going to stuff.  But everyone has been incredibly nice.

5.     If you could meet any author (dead or alive), who would it be and why?

I don't think I'd want to actually meet anyone - just because I manage to say or do really silly and embarrassing things at author meets and greets.  Like, seriously embarrassing.  I won't even go into details.  But I love to listen to the different lectures authors give at the library.  I just get nervous and silly talking to them afterward.

6.    How do you find the time to read and keep up with your blog while running a home with 2 cute little boys?

Thanks :) Sometimes I just don't.  I've been blogging since March of last year and I've already gone on a hiatus twice because I had too many other things going on.  But I really like blogging and all the friends I've made from it, so I try to post here and there when I get a chance or my kiddos are asleep.  lately I've been focusing more on visiting other blogs than writing my own posts.

7.    What is one book you think everyone should read in their lifetime?

I don't think there's one particular book that would work for everyone.  So my cop out answer is whatever book will make them realize it's fun to read.  For me, that was the Harry Potter series.

8.    What are your ultimate blogging goals?

To create good relationships with other bloggers, and to have my blog content be as interesting as I can make it.

9.    What do you like to see on other people's blogs?

I love book reviews, especially if they're in a more unconventional format.  And I really like the occasional personal post.  Blogging is such a social thing for me, so I really like feeling like I get to know other bloggers.

10.   What advice would you like to give other bloggers?

Have fun!  Comment on other people's blogs.  And don't worry too much about followers/page views/stats.  I worried about that way too much in the beginning.

Great answers!  Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions, and thanks for contributing to the great literature crowd we have here in Utah! 

Keep in touch with Kathy:

p.s.  Leaving a comment will get you another entry in my Utah Book Month Giveaway

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Death Cure

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)Goodreads Synopsis:   Thomas knows that Wicked can't be trusted, but they say the time for lies is over, that they've collected all they can from the Trials and now must rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission. It's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test.

What Wicked doesn't know is that something's happened that no Trial or Variable could have foreseen. Thomas has remembered far more than they think. And he knows that he can't believe a word of what Wicked says.

The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine.
Will anyone survive the Death Cure?

My Thoughts:

-    To be honest, I had to take a break after The Scorch Trials.  I was really angry, and I wanted answers.  I'm glad I took my break.  I think it made The Death Cure better for me.  

-    Did I get all my answers?  Kinda sorta.  That is all I'm willing to divulge.

-    There was a lot of fluff and extra stuff that kinda slowed the story, and I felt like it wasn't needed.  I didn't really need a whole chapter dedicated to Thomas walking towards a building.  

-    There were some crazy awesome scenes among the fluff though, and I couldn't read fast enough.  The ending is especially exhilarating, and my eyes were just flying across the words trying to consume everything.  Some of the bits about Newt really got my heart pumping as well.  

-    I thought this was an alright ending to the trilogy.  It wasn't perfect, but I was happy with how things ended up.  There are some sad moments, but that is to be expected from this series.

-    It was really crazy to see Thomas's character change and evolve into a serious survivor.  He isn't the same Thomas he was in The Maze Runner.  I really liked seeing his character development.

-    Of course, all great characters need great supporting characters.  I liked some of the people, but hated others.  I think I was supposed to hate the others though.  I really loved Minho.  He is one dedicated friend, and Thomas really needed him.  There just isn't words to describe the relationship you get with someone after you've been through hell and back with them.  

-    I liked this better than 2nd book, but the 1st was the best.  I don't know if I'll ever re-read this series, but it was worth reading once.  I'm still looking forward to the prequel.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Library

Since it is Utah Book Month, I decided to do a little dedicated post about the greatest library in Utah (at least that is my opinion).  

The Provo City Library

Not only is it the best library ever, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Utah County.  I live in Orem, but I use Provo's library (Orem's library is really sad in comparison, I can't stand going there).  Why is Provo's library so great you ask?  I'll tell you.

1.    They have a wonderful variety of books, movies, audiobooks, etc. to check out!  I can find almost everything here, and if I can't find it, I can request it, and they usually get it.  Awesome!

2.    I love being able to manage my library account online.  I can put books on hold, renew books, search the catalog, see when my books are due, see how many things I have checked out, and see all the upcoming events all from my couch.  Awesome!

3.    I LOVE their checkout system.  I stack a few books over the pad thingy, and ding ding ding, they are checked out to me!  Awesome!

4.    Provo library has SO many author events it is crazy!!  I've met so many authors and have had my books signed!  It is fantastic!  Here is a little list of some of the authors I've met/seen thanks to my library:  Markus Zusak (oh ya!), Christopher Paolini, Rick Riordan, Jennifer A. Nielson, Carol Lynch Williams, Lindsey Leavitt, Kiersten White, Marissa Meyer, Emmy Laybourne, Anna Banks, and lots more!  Awesome!

5.    They also have a bunch of other great events!  I've attended some of their Learn It classes, and I always come out feeling so much smarter and motivated!  I've collected a lot of books from Talk N Swaps.  The summer reading program is the bomb!  So Awesome!

6.    It is easy to navigate.  I love that I can walk right in and find everything.  They have a great layout.  Awesome!

7.    The people who work there are super nice!  And awesome!

8.    A lot of my blogging buddies use this same library, and it fun to see them at events!  Be-Awesome!

If I haven't convinced you yet, then you'll have to just go get a library card for yourself and experience it!  

I love my library!  Thanks to everyone who makes it awesome (staff, community, etc.)!  It's just another thing that makes Utah great!  

Keep up with the Provo City Library's happenings!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Pirate

My Thoughts:

-    I know this will sound ironic, but I thought this movie was really cheesy.  I know musicals are kinda that way anyway, but this one was extra cheesy.  It was really different for an MGM musical.

-    Gene Kelly's dancing was bit different from what I usually see.  It was more twinkle toed.

-    Kelly needed a haircut and to lose the mustache.  He is much cuter that way.  His costumes were very nice though.

-    Judy Garland is so pretty!  

-    Even though it was cheesy, I did laugh a few times.  It had it's funny moments.  Garland should have done more comedies.

-    The dream sequence was really weird.  I really didn't enjoy watching it.

-    Garland and Kelly make a fantastic team!  I love them together.  Between the dancing and singing, it is wonderful!  I wish they had made more movies together!  

-    This wasn't my favorite musical, but it was alright.  I'd watch it again.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Carol Lynch Williams

Utah Book Month Author Interview

I got the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Carol Lynch Williams for UBM!!  I've been a HUGE fan of this Utah author for a few years now!  Her stories are very touching, emotional, and sometimes hard to swallow.  She is the proud author of over 20 books for YA readers and middle grade readers.  She was one of the first authors to kick start our amazing literature community here in Utah!

Here are some of her amazing stories:

The Chosen OneGlimpseMiles from OrdinaryWaitingPretty Like UsKelly and Me

Now without further ado, my interview with Carol Lynch Williams!

or what I like to call...

My Questions - Her Answers

(I know it looks long, but it is worth reading!  Carol has some awesome things to say!)

1.    Your books are usually about sad/dark events.  Does this reflect events in your own life?

I think any writer would tell you bits and pieces of herself is on the page and that is no different for me.  I always write from some truth that's inside me.  Even my historical fiction has something from my life on the page.

Past that, yes I am kind of a sad and depressed person.  I always write about family.  And I always write about death, dying, and that kind of thing because that topic is always on my mind.  When I speak with kids, I tell them my best writing tip is for them to put someone dead or naked (said nekkid) in all their stories.  My novels always have one or the other and sometimes both.

2.    From your dedications and acknowledgements, I gather that your daughters are very special and close to you.  If you could describe each daughter in one word, what would they be?

Elise - tender-hearted
Laura - tough
Kyra - creative
Caitlynne - compassionate
Carolina - athletic

The truth is, my girls are all pretty darn great.  I love them.  It was my daughters who kept me going to school for my MFA from Vermont College.  They wouldn't let me quit.  They have ALWAYS supported me.  And I've lucked out that some are following in my footsteps.  I get to work with Kyra and Laura at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, Kyra is a writer, Laura and I are working on a book together even as we speak, Elise wants to be a teacher (something else I do), Caitlynne loves to dance - just like me, Carolina loves illustration and I want her to try her hand at some illustration in a book I'm writing - PLUS all the girls love to read.

3.    Your latest book, Waiting, has a unique style to it.  It is like poetry but not.  How did you come up with this style of writing, and why did you choose to use this particular style?

My first stylistically different novel, GLIMPSE, was written in a short, choppy line.  My editor wanted another like it, but GLIMPSE is the only book that may ever be written that way.  The main character, Hope, demanded the story be told in that manner - in glimpses.  And when I started WAITING, a book of grief and loss, the line just needed to be shorter, the scenes shorter, the telling different.  I'm starting another book for this publisher (Simon and Schuster - Paula Wiseman Imprint), another dark story of family, and I think the set up will be different yet again.

Amazing writer, Ann Dee Ellis (who shares a blog with me and Kyra) says to play and have fun while you write and I think that's good advice.  Play with the line, the sentence, the structure - enjoy what you can of the writing process.

4.    You are brilliant at getting inside a teenage girl's head.  I've never been in any of your character's situations, but I can relate to a lot of the emotions they go through.  Is it emotional for you to write these stories?  Is it hard to get the perfect emotion from a character on paper?

Thank you for the compliment. :) I have to admit that I am about 12 in my head.

For me, good writing is emotional writing.  Emotion, I think, connects the reader to the main character.  Emotion makes the story feel real.

When I started really writing WAITING, some horrible things had happened.  I lost a lot of friends and family to death, my girls had friends die - and this followed other deep grief.  I was so sad.  In one part of the novel, London wonders if God believes in her.  That was a real part of what I went through, knowing that I believed in God, but wondering had He forgotten about me and mine.

5.    What is your favorite book that you've written and why?

I don't have any favorites.  I move on pretty quickly from one book to the next.  Some people say choosing a favorite book is like picking a favorite kid.  The truth is, I like my kids way better than I like my books.

Now, there are books I have written that have been easier to write than others.  That's a question I can answer!  CAROLINA AUTUMN was a book that almost wrote itself.  So did WAITING.

6.    What is your least favorite book you've written and why?

My novel that comes out from St. Martin's Press THE HAVEN was a killer to get on the page!  In fact, I wrote two novels after I signed a contract for THE HAVEN.  I had the hardest time writing that one. It nearly killed me.  And THE CHOSEN ONE almost broke my heart.  So each book is different, each takes me down a different path.

7.    There are a lot of great authors in Utah.  Do you enjoy being a Utah author?  What are some of the perks and downsides?

I love being a UT author.  I remember before there were so many pubbed authors - way back in the olden days.  It's cool to be named among so many fabulous people.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, and thank you so much for being a fabulous Utah author!!  It was a real pleasure to interview you!  

Saturday, August 4, 2012

July Book Club

For July we read:

Magic Study (Study, #2)Fire Study (Study, #3)


We had to reschedule our book club to last night, and only a few of us could get together.  We still had fun though, and I talked to Erin about the books already.

Our thoughts on Magic Study and Fire Study:

Andrea and Erin both loved Moon Man.  Andrea like how he provided some comic relief to the story.

We thought Lief was a bit annoying, but we understood why he acted the way he did.  We all thought the reuniting with Yelena's family was handled really well!

Andrea said she loved how everything was so well thought out.  Go Author!

Everyone thought Cahil was an idiot!  I personally think Valek should have just killed him.  We talked about how stupid it was that he still wants to take over Ixia even though he isn't royalty.

Fisk and Opal were both really interesting characters, and we loved them.

The Commander is so awesome!  It all finally makes sense.  It was cool how he was harboring 2 souls.

Erin thought Fire Study was a bit tedious to get through.  She didn't like the traveling around, but she thought the ending was good.

We thought the books were so fun to read, and they are pretty quick to get through.

We talked about more stuff, but I can't remember everything.  I should probably write down stuff next time!

For August we decided to read:

The Help

We plan on watching the movie at our next get together!  I'm way excited!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Palace of Stone

Palace of Stone (Princess Academy #2)Goodreads Synopsis:    Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting . . . until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should "help them. Soon Miri finds herself torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city. Picking up where "Princess Academy "left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom.

My Thoughts:

-    I really liked the letters Miri wrote to Marda.  It gave the reader more insight on what Mirri was thinking and her emotions at the time.  

-    I loved the author's letter at the beginning.  After finishing the book, I completely agree!  Miri's story and personality was just screaming for revolution! 

-    I didn't like the love triangle.  I felt like Timon was bad news from the beginning, but I can see why he was necessary.  Miri struggled with choices this whole book.  She was torn between feelings on several things.  I am happy with what she eventually chose.

-    I really admire Miri's character.  I still want her to be my friend.  I want to be a Mount Eskel girl.  They have such a kinship, and I want to be a part of it. 

-    I liked the atmosphere of this book.  It was such a great contrast from the first one.  We got to see Miri in the mountains and in the big city.  It was cool to see the contrast in scenery.  

-    The book focuses mostly on the beginning and ideas of revolution, and I love how the author handled this!  It was like reading out of a history book.  I kinda makes me want to read A Tale of Two Cities.

-    Overall, this was a delightful read!  Another home run for Shannon Hale!