Saturday, November 21, 2020

Top Characters I've Named Pets After

 Characters I've Named Pets After

Romeo - The beautiful blue-eyed cat who held this namesake lived to be 19 years old! I got from my grandparents' farm in first grade. At the time, of course, I wasn't fully introduced to Shakespeare, but one of my favorite country songs that year mentioned the name "Romeo" and I just understood in kid-terms it meant a cool boy you love.

Obi-Wan Kenobi - My sweet odd-eye cat from middle school. I don't remember why I picked this character name out of the sea of awesome Star Wars characters. Maybe because he was as white as Sir Alec Guinness' hair? (Sorry Sir Alec!)

Taz - He was a black cat with just a hint of orange-ish stripes that appeared a little brown. So fluffy that he appeared plump; he reminded me of the Looney Tunes character. The Taz-Mania cartoon show and comics were also popular at my school at the time.

Frodo - The Return of the King was recently released and this pup had eyes as blue as Elijah Wood's appear onscreen. But, as a Great Pyrenees mix he ultimately grew bigger than any hobbit. He was quite the adventurer though, running over the hilly cow pasture.

The Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) - The newest addition to my family is a black kitten who is quite the little panther. I've been wanting to do something to honor Chadwick Boseman, who I thought was a great actor and I was deeply saddened over his untimely passing; giving the kitten his name just fit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Would Make Great Song Titles


 Book Titles That Would Make Great Song Titles

Love this topic, btw! One of the best IMO, rock on my book people!

Unite Me by Tahereh Mafi - I think, pretty much, the entire Shatter Me series titles would make good song titles (Shatter Me, Ignite Me, Destroy Me). I could see "Unite Me" as a rock love ballad by someone like Imagine Dragons. The sort of song you could play at a wedding or wedding reception like Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing."

An Offer From A Gentleman by Julia Quinn - I think this one could be rock or country. It reminds me of lyrics from The Killers "When You Were Young," but I could also see some pop-country chick like Taylor Swift singing about the ideal country gentleman.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton - This title is just so much fun to say. Since reading this collection of comics, I've done my best to work the title into my everyday vocabulary. It'd make a fun punk rock or rap song.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - Back in my pop-music-hay-day I'd say this could be a song by Pink or No Doubt. But I could equally see it as a soulful ballad by Adele.

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli - The sequel to the song “Call Me Maybe,” perhaps? I haven’t read this one yet, so don’t spoil it for me! I get a sassy Megan Trainor vibe, too.

We Keep The Dead Close by Becky Cooper - This one is straight out of the Goodreads Choice Awards best nonfiction nominees. I don't normally read about murder mysteries, but the title and cover of this one made me do a double take and read the synopsis. The title could make for an interesting ska or metal song.

All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols - I’m thinking this title could be an inspirational folk indie song. The kind with boho clothes and fields of flowers.

You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle - Ouch, sounds like a break-up song, even though the synopsis sounds like it ends in HEA.

You Had Me At Hola Alexia Daria - Cute title could make a cute Latin-pop crossover. I'm thinking to the tune of Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie."

There's Something About Christmas by Debbie Macomber - Ready for holiday tunes, yet? Anyone? I typically do not crank up Christmas music until December.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Top Ten Non-Bookish Hobbies


Non-Bookish Hobbies

Scrapbooking - My newest hobby! I always wanted to try scrapbooking, but I lacked true motivation until my baby arrived. Now, thanks to Shutterfly, Etsy, and, I am documenting my baby’s growth and family memories. 

Photography - I adore photography. I'm mostly self-taught, having had a nightmare professor experience in college. At one time I aspired to be professional, but ultimately I still think I'm too introverted and not high-energy enough to properly direct clients into ideal poses. But I have a personal photo diary on Instagram, as well as, some geeky accounts for toy photography.

Movies - Oh, 2020, I miss going to movie theaters. I really enjoyed seeing the re-releases of my favorite 80s and 90s movies. When my husband had holiday medical call, the theater was my me-party. Someday, we'll get to go to theaters again. As for the small screen, watching AFI's top 100 movies was apart of my 30 before 30.

Postcrossing - I discovered back in 2007 and it quickly became one of my favorite hobbies; allowing me to vicariously learn about other cultures when I had very little opportunity to travel during the recession. I have binders and photo books full of cards.

Gardening - I come by it honest, my grandparents grew up as farmers and retired as hobby farmers. So, from a young age, I learned all the effort it takes to care for plants. My dream is to have a Biltmore-estate worthy garden, with an awesome hedge maze/labyrinth someday.

Rock Painting - I like painting but never had much wall space for canvases. Then I discovered: one of my local parks has an art rock project; paint a rock with an inspiring message, leave one, take one. It's fun and quick stress relief with the opportunity to share and make someone's day.

Baking - I'm on a diet, but I love to bake! Being good at baking and people wanting you to bake when you're dieting makes the struggle real.

Genealogy - Several years ago I got caught up in the AncestryDNA bandwagon. I didn't know much about one side of my family, so I did learn a great deal. You also meet a lot of interesting distant cousins from all around the world.

Visiting State Parks - Pre-2020, I visited a GA state park close to once a month. It was our go-to family trip. I have been disappointed that I haven't been able to share my favorite spots with my baby yet, but I can't wait to do so during safer times.

Fishing - I grew up around small fishing ponds. It was a hobby that my whole family enjoyed. I recently moved close to a large lake and I hope to buy a boat and just chill, catch-and-release style, some weekend.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Super Loooong Book Titles


Top Ten Tuesday: Super Loooong Book Titles

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - This is in my TBR pile, so much so, that I believe I've accidentally bought multiple used copies at library book sales over the years. Maybe an alternative title should have been "Portrait of A Young Male Artist"? 

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Nowadays an editor might retitle this "Hi, God? Margaret, here.".

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things - I love the author's humor, but it's nice to have clarification that it's about horrible things for those who need to know beforehand.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - It's just a weird title altogether, I know it makes logically sense when you read the story, but it's a mouthful and even the abbreviation for it feels long.

Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There - No one ever adds the "and What Alice Found There" to the title. No one.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - Most people simply know it as “The Princess Bride”. If I remember correctly, it’s actually a retelling/revisioning of another story.

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist—the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century England - This has been in my TBR pile for longer than I want to admit. I guess adding Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to the title was a better selling point?

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened - A personal favorite of mine. Thankfully, the sequel "Solutions and Other Problems" is quicker to say and type.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Long, yes, but it's fun to say dramatically and kids still love it.

Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days: An Almost Completely Honest Account of What Happened to Our Family When Our Youngest ... Came to Live with Us for Three Months - Wow. I didn't know this book existed prior to this TTT. That has to be the longest title ever. I guess "My Son's Family Moves In" wouldn't do.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0) by Suzanne Collins


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0) by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 out of 5

Being from the foothills of Appalachia, having supported my family at a tender young (although I was in my twenties when The Hunger Games was first published), and coming off the recent recession, as a reader I quickly connected to the characters and the dystopian world of The Hunger Games series. When the final movie wrapped in theaters, I had no clue what fandom or series could replace its spot in my bookish heart.

When a new book was announced, I automatically, wrongly, assumed that the next installment would jump to the future and possibly feature President Snow's granddaughter, whom Katniss doomed to be in the next Hunger Games post-downfall-of-the-Capitol. I speculated that Katniss' children might somehow cross this Snow granddaughter's path. Perhaps they would have to work to right the wrong of their mother's decision; that no Hunger Game is a right way to govern. Anyways, yes, I was wrong, and I was surprised and apprehensive about reading a novel about a young President Snow.

Prior to giving the story a chance, my head canon more or less decided that President Snow had an upbringing similar to the Harry Potter character Draco Malfoy; possibly rich, spoiled, well-connected, and able to rely on his powerful daddy. Thankfully, I was wrong again, and President Snow's background is actually more complicated and interesting.

I NEVER ever thought I'd actually like President Snow or feel sympathy for his plight in his younger days. Collins succeed in making me care about this villain. She succeed in making the District 12 connections in the story feel natural, and in my opinion, not pure fan-service (although for a moment I was getting worried that Snow was going to Katniss' grandpappy...).

But that so many others have said before now: So.Super.Rushed.. Snow goes from being madly in love to suddenly-rethinking-everything-cause-he-doesn't-like-walking-in-the-woods-for-very-long. I could re-read it all day and still not decide if the girl got away. It's vagueness makes it interesting and memorable, although it's still a pity Snow's change-of-heart wasn't more well developed.

I have no doubt it'll eventually be an original mini-series on one of the streaming companies. In fact, I'll be disappointed if it isn't. But I still want my Hunger Games sequel featuring Snow's granddaughter and the Everdeen-Mellark children.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Changes In My Reading Life

Changes In My Reading Life

Oh boy, I feel like I'm not the reader I used to be AT ALL.

1.) Bookstores: Unfortunately, the bookstores in my life have changed. For three years I lived within walking distance of a Barnes & Noble. Sometimes I went there 2-3times a day. Since we lived in an apartment, I joked that Barnes & Noble was sorta like our yard. We would go there to get coffee, walk, and browse, and frequently buy. I blogged about this location on my IG tons.

Now I live about an hour's drive from a B & N in each direction. And sometimes their selection isn't as nice or current as my old B & N yard.

To add to the book shopping woe, the Books-A-Million of mine and my husband's childhood and teen years suddenly turned into a 2nd & Charles. I'm not joking when I write it made us feel like a member of our family passed. The change was so sudden, we knew nothing about it, I think we still grieve for the good ole book shopping days; what we were used to. Now, I guess, I should be glad the location still has a life as a 2nd &  Charles. But even though I do shop there sometimes, it feels like a Frankenstein of store.

And my location indie books is a no go as well. Our favorite employee has moved. The owners are busy with another out-of-town location. And the last time I visited, the new employee was rude. She touched my things without asking and laughed about it. I haven't been back.

2.) The Library: The library of my young adult/college years isn't the same either. The last time I went there, I felt like I was going to be robbed at 9am on a weekday.

For the past year, they have been renovating the 1970s building. Maybe the feel and safety of the location will improve when they finish next year?

3.) New Kindle: Yeah, so all that's a bummer. But, on the bright side, my husband and I gifted each other a new Kindle last year. Most of the time, the Kindle editions of books we want to read are more affordable, which helps with homeownership expenses. Since we're not near a good bookstore, the ability to have a new release "day-of" is convenient. I do have Kindle Unlimited and it's introduced me to several helpful ebooks that I wouldn't have had access to otherwise. Plus, when one of us wants to stay up late reading, the backlight on the Kindle is more thoughtful than having an actual lamp on all night.

4.) Fiction Reading Burn Out: For 2018 and most of this year I've suffered a major fiction reading burn out. Several books I thought I would personally enjoy either disappointed me or contained triggers and/or tropes I'm not a fan of. I did enjoy some of what I read this year and I was able to savor those few.

5.) Audible Burn Out:  Ditto for Audible. I used to listen to a TON of audible books. But, my husband and I don't long-distance car travel for education/work/visit family anymore. I also used to listen a great deal while I cleaned house, but with Youtube Premium, I decided to take a break and listen to pop-culture videos and podcasts instead.

6.) Increase In My Own Creative Writing: I think with the increase of my own creative writing I've had less time to read, and also, perhaps I'm more critical of the stories I do read. Not, always, the writing or style itself. I see the characters' development or choices as more technical chunks of info, and I get more critical of what the author chooses to do. It's become harder to enjoy the story for the sake of being a reader.

7.) Non-Fiction Reading Fire Up: While I've stalled on fiction reading, my non-fiction reading has increased. I'm in full mom-to-be baby mode and trying to prepare myself the best way I know how. This personal trend will probably continue as I plan to read more parenting books in the near future. I need all the help I can get!

8.) Reading Challenges:  For the first time in nearly ten years, I'm not going to meet my yearly reading challenge. But I'm ok with that. Sometimes it felt great to do other things, put energy into other projects and hobbies, or just rest, instead of constant reading. I started an Etsy store and only read what I really liked.

9.) Clueless About New Books and Series: So, ditto for pretty much knowing none of the books nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards this year. In years past, I was able to suggest an additional book for several of the categories. But, at least, if I feel like it, I can read the best of 2019 in 2020, if I have time...

10.) Transitioning to Mommy Blog: In the next few months and years, I see myself sharing and reviewing more children's books. I've always had a heart for children's lit and I'm looking forward to discovering which titles are my child's favorites. I see myself buying more books for my child and less for myself (other than ebooks.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Top Ten: Favorite Bookmarks

 Favorite Bookmarks 

Ah, bookmarks. Those book page saving lil heroes that I can never get enough of. (I'm assuming this week's top ten meant bookmarks for books and not bookmarks on a computer browser or the more updated pins on Pinterest.)

Sticky page tabs have quickly become my favorite bookmarks, especially to mark my favorite scenes so I can quickly return to them.

Girl of All Work has the cutest classic character designs. I've been known to use Darcy to mark the hero scenes and Elizabeth to mark the heroine's.

The last bookmark I bought for myself after seeing a user post it on Tumblr: gotta have my sequel trilogy Rey and Kylo Ben fix.

3. Stick Marker

I've found these adorable little page markers make cute birthday gifts.

4.  99 Problems Beaded Bookmark

I got this one from B&N several, several years ago. It made me laugh. Although I do still have book problems, like looking at my TBR and thinking I have nothing to read.

5. I-Clips

I like i-clips, but I don't actually own all that many of them. I bought these back during the height of Downton Abbey.

6.  Movie Bookmarks

I was very happy to receive these as a Christmas gift one year. Super excited about a new Hunger Games novel, too.

7. Movie ticket stubs

And speaking of movies, I've actually used movie ticket stubs to make my place quite often. Only nowadays most theaters don't have nice thick cardstock stubs anymore. But I can see their reasoning that most people don't reuse or recycle them.

8. Emoji Sticky Notes

I have used emoji sticky notes before, but they're a little on the large side. They're good for a typical bookmark to move from page to page while reading. Not so good for annotating.

9. Postcard

From time to time, I'll get a postcard that I really like and somehow it just ends up being a bookmark.

10. A receipt

And, when in desperation, there have been times in the past that I used a store receipt as bookmark. Notsomuch now, because I try to file them away for taxes asap.


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