Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

So while I am in the middle of apartment shopping and job orientation, I have not read much.  But I have so been inspired by the people whose blogs I have been following because they read so much.  They are really challenging me to make reading a regular part of my routine (busy or not).  Bobbie over at Til We Read Again inspired me to keep up with a different form of "In My Mailbox."  Since I have so many books already, I thought keeping a list of what I am reading as well as setting a goal (even if not met) for the week could be fun. So here is my smaller, but still read "It's Monday, what are you reading?" List.

Read Last Week:
Brave New World
Perfect Chemistry
Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch

Currently Reading:
The War of the Worlds
Light of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King, Book 1)
Deception (Ollie Chandler, Book 3) (listening to on CD)

For This Week:
The World Set Free
Rules of Attraction
Northanger Abbey

Goodness, I had not realized I had read so much last week!  So I set a goal of three books for this week.  We will see how I do.  Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Brave New World

Small update on life:  I've been debating writing my review on Brave New World all night.  I received word today that my orientation will start one week before I thought it would.  So I'm starting to move tomorrow, instead of Monday.  I've also had some drama in my life as of late.  I just have to say, I hate being bad at things.  I hate it when I mess up or make mistakes and have them pointed out.  I'm a perfectionist, which is sometimes a flaw, I know.  But my recent drama has made me self-doubting and frustrated with my thoughts of posting my reviews or thoughts in general.  But part of my blog is expressing myself, whether people read it or not.  I think it is a wonderful way for me to catalog my thoughts on books, especially with references to other people's thoughts.  So.... on to my thoughts for Brave New World.

I have been thinking about this book for the last several days, and I still cannot decide if I really liked it or am totally confused.  First of all, I am a good-ending type of person.  I really like it if there is a happy-ending, some type of hope for happiness, or some type of good-feeling ending.  None of which happens in Brave New World.  I'm not sure what I expected, the whole world to change by the end of the book?  But this book definitely triggered many thoughts, and I have contemplated it for several days.  Both of which I consider to be signs of a great book.  (which is why I gave it a 4/5 stars on GoodReads).

Second major thought: Aldous Huxley is a great writer.  I can say that while reading this novel, I definitely commented several times, "Well, that's an interesting way to write that."  I never once thought of sentence structure mistakes or that there were stupid conversation pieces.  No, this book is very well written.  I love authors who write in ways that take me beyond the sentences.  Huxley did not simply tell about a world in the future.  Instead, he wrote of the world through a tour, thoughts of a worker, conversation between two friends, and automatic reactions of the characters.   I was totally impressed.

As far as the story goes, I do not feel that I can give a summery, except to say that it is a dystopian-type novel written about a future world.  I believe that Huxley wrote a warning of how our world is progressing, both in technology and in the emotions of the people around us.  My favorite part of the novel comes towards the end, when there is an honest conversation held between two characters, discussing how this world came to be.  I do not feel that I can say anything else, so I thought I would let the novel shine by itself through some amazing quotes I took note of.  My last thought should be that I find it interesting that Huxley does not himself draw a conclusion, but lets the readers take from his words what they will.  These quotes I believe are some of the main points he wanted us to contemplate:

"If you allowed yourselves to think of God, you wouldn't allow yourselves to be degraded by pleasant vices.  You'd have a reason for bearing things patiently, for doing things with courage."

"We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own.  We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves.  We are not our own masters.  We are God's property.  Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter?  Is is any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own?  It may e thought so by the young and prosperous.  These may think it is a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way - to depend on no one - to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another.  But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man - that it is an unnatural state - will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end..."

" 'It's curious,' he went on after a little pause, 'to read what people in the time of Our Ford used to write about scientific progress.  They seemed to have imagined that it could be allowed to go on indefinitely, regardless of everything else.  Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. "

"People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then.  Anything for a quiet life.  We've gone on controlling ever since.  It hasn't been very good for truth, of course.  But it's been very good for happiness.  One can't have something for nothing.  Happiness has got to be paid for."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Read-a-Thon Finish

As my adorable pup has chewed my computer cord, I had to wait until I arrived at my parents house to write about the end of my Read-a-Thon.  I am sad that the event is over, but I am continuing my personal read-a-thon as I have had a renewed love for books that is growing the more I read and write about them.  But I thought I would finish up my thoughts about the Read-a-Thon.  I finished three books during the days of the Read-a-Thon.  Not a lot, I know, but I was working.  And I simply enjoyed my time reading.  I am going to write a separate post on Brave New World, simply because I want to add some quotes.  So here are the books:

1. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles (review)
2. Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by Candance Calvert
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by Candance Calvert

I started reading this novel simply because it was a Kindle Freebie.  However, I really enjoyed it.  It was a light hearted fun read, but I was not frustrated with a feeling of "wasting my time" as I am with some Kindle Freebies.  The basic idea is that Dana is a Montana rancher whose siblings are pushing her to sell the ranch.  She is woken up one morning by her foreman who found a set of bones at the bottom of a well on her place.  They are forced to call the Interim Marshall, Hud, who happens to be an old flame of Dana's.  Their relationship ended badly (I don't want to give any other details), and the plot of the novel is solving the murder and unraveling the night their relationship ended.  It's a typical romance with some murder mystery written in.  I actually guessed the bad guy at the beginning, but the plot is not completely predictable or easily solved.  Not the best read I've ever read, but not the worst either.  Overall, I would give it a 3/5 because I liked it, but I probably wouldn't read it again and I do not believe I'll think about it years from now.  It made a good summer and Read-a-thon read.

Life and New Books

So much has happened in the last couple of days.  I am currently awake at a stupidly-early hour, which is partly my fault (went to bed early) and partly the fault of an adorable puppy that has been following me around this morning and chewing on my hangers.  Bennett and I officially moved out of our Nashville house and came home before the big move to a new city!  Once I got home (or I should say my parents house), I found a nice big hole in my ceiling.  Literally.  We had a water leak while I was gone and now half of my boxes are water logged and ruined.  I have tried to not focus on the loss of my beautiful books, but instead have been avoiding the upstairs by playing with Bennett and exploring the vast book and blog world online.  So: here are some of the things I found this morning:

1. Jennifer Echols:  Oh my goodness!  I'm so excited about finding this new author.  I found a review of Going Too Far and Forget You at Pure Imagination's blog this morning, and I instantly added both to my goodreads TBR bookshelf.  Then, after I finished browsing Lori's blog, I was scrolling through my dashboard and found a link to Confessions of a Bookaholic's Jennifer Echols Release Party!  (I have placed the link in a separate post below.)  Turns out, there is a giveaway of some signed copies of her books plus an interview with the author herself!  I'm so excited.  I even started talking to myself (Bennett was asleep by this time).  I, being the broke-though-newly-employed-nurse that I am, do not have a whole lot of money to buy books right now, so yah for giveaways!  I used all of my graduation money to buy my kindle, and now my kindle wish-list just keeps growing for that first payday!

2. Book Extravaganza: So now that we've covered how I don't have money and love giveaways, here's my next bit of exciting news.  Apparently, in this world of books and blogs that I just found, they host events just about giveaways!  April, over at Good Books and Good Wine, linked to this wonderful thing called Book Extravaganza.  Hosted by The Neverending Shelf and Bookworming in the 21st Century, it is an event where book bloggers come together to give away books.  How cool is that!  Here is the link to The Neverending Shelf's page where she describes the event.

3. Links: As you can probably tell by now, I've figured out how to use links for this website.  During my exploring this morning, I found so many nice looking blogs.  Mine just fell to shame, so I've decided to try to step up my techno abilities, starting with links.

Jennifer Echols Giveaway.

So I just got really excited about life as I was just adding some Jennifer Echols books to my TBR list on goodreads, and then I found this away giveway. The giveaway is from a new favorite blogger: Confessions of a Bookaholic. I have placed her button and a link directly to giveaway, just in case anyone stumbles upon my blog and wants to get excited about life like me. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Bloggers

So one thing I have enjoyed exploring has been the vast world of book bloggers. So here's to my new blog addiction and the book blogs I've recently subscribed to for one reason or another:

Pure Imagination
1. Pure Imagination (
I forget how I stumbled onto this blog. But I have to say I've enjoyed it ever since. Lori is co-hosting the Read-a-Thon, which I thought was a great idea. I've also read a few of her books on recommendation, and so far we seem to have the same taste. Plus, she's introduced me to several other bloggers that I now follow.

2. The Bookshelf Sophisticate (
I stumbled onto Katelyn's blog due to a contest she is currently hosting. However, once I saw the "What Jane Austen character are you?" I knew I could not go wrong with following her. :)

3. Good Books and Good Wine (
April and I are the same age, and I have to say that her blog title had me caught. But now that I've graduated college, I am interested in what everyone else (both my age and not) are reading. Plus, I'm always looking for book/wine combination recommendations.

There may be more later, but since I am not techno-savy, I thought I would post the links for my new favorite obsession here. :)

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenges

Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf Mini-Challenge:

For my challenge, I'm asking you to pick your favorite book you've read so far for the read-a-thon and write a review for it.

The favorite book I've read so far is Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. I wrote a review below, but I thought I would include a summery of the novel as well: Perfect Chemistry is a young adult fiction novel about two different people: Brittany and Alex. Brittany is the typical popular, wealthy high school girl. Captain of the pom pom squad, dating the captain of the football team, and seemingly perfect life. Alex is the typical bad-boy figure from the other side of the tracks. He is a member of Latino Blood, the ruling gang of the town. He drives a motorcycle, does not seem to take school seriously, and is rumored to do drugs regularly and kill someone who looks at him the wrong way. The two are paired in a Chemistry class with a senior project that is required to finish together. They both seem to catch each other off-guard and see parts of their lives that do not fit into the stereotype. Though the plot is a predictable boy-meets-girl story, it is a fun read and perfect for a read-a-thon.  It highlighted stereotypes in high school, and really showed how people are not always what you think they are. I greatly enjoyed reading it, and I could not put it down once I started.  I would give it a 4/5 for being a great read.

Read-a-Thon Day 2

Today is technically day 2 of the Read-a-Thon I am participating in. Though I have not read a large amount of books, I guess the whole point is to read, which I am doing and enjoying, so I am not dwelling on the number of books but the quality of reading time. I have been working a lot lately, but I am enjoying spending the time away from the TV and with my nose in a book (or my kindle in this instance).

I am currently reading: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, but I will speak on that in a bit. I wanted to get my thoughts about the other two books I've read first as well as post some answers to Mini-Challenges for a chance to win some fun stuff.

1. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Perfect Chemistry was recommended by several book bloggers on account of it being a fun, fast read. It is young adult fiction, I believe, with the setting based in high school. I found that I greatly enjoyed it. It was a very fast read, and I read it all in one night. I stayed up until 3:30 am just because I wanted to finish. The summery about the novel speaks about it being centered around a modern age star-crossed lovers type story. Though I would agree with this description, my first thought is the breakdown of high-school stereotypes. The novel's main characters include the beautiful, popular, wealthy Brittany and the Hispanic, bad-boy, unwealthy Alex. Both live with the stereotypical image to maintain, though neither fit the images created in their high school. Though the plot is mostly predictable, boy-meets-girl idea, it is a fun read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction. On a personal note, I was pleasantly surprised by the author's handling of sex. Being an adult now, I seem to see a varied opinion on sex in high school, and how young adult writers handle the topic has been of interest to me. Though she does not preach a "waiting" stance, she handles the concept appropriately with the characters not taking it lightly or sleeping around. I was watching a TV show that handled the idea completely differently, and I was surprised to see young girls, ages 12 and 14, see the concept of sex and nothing to think about, no big deal. I just think that it is important for role models and creators of role models (in this case, authors) to remember how they influence young people who do not have a good sense of the world. I thought Elkeles handled it well. Those are my two cents. But in all, I really enjoyed this young adult fiction novel. It was a delightful read, with the characters mostly realistic and enjoyable. It was a great summer read and perfect for a read-a-thon.

2. Critical Care by Candance Calvert
Critical Care was the first novel I have ever read by Calvert. I had never heard of her, but I read her book on a recommendation from Amazon, as they were having a freebie sale on her novel. I also enjoyed this novel as well. It is a Christian fiction book about an RN recovering from a tragedy of working in the ER when her brother (a firefighter) dies. As an RN myself, I have to say that this was the first from many novels (and TV shows for that matter) about medical issues that I enjoyed. Having a nurses education makes me a cynic when it comes to medical dramas, because my eyes automatically catch the mistakes. I cannot focus on the story because I am too busy saying to myself, "Well, THAT'S not what really happens." "Yeah right, doctors NEVER do that." But this novel was fairly accurate when it came to medicine, so I had time to enjoy the storyline. Though predictable, the story was a fun read that did deal with difficult issues. I thought the author handled death, dying, and stress issues very well, both with making them apparent but not the center of the novel. Having spent a semester in a Pediatric ED, I have seen the stressors on the employees who deal with death everyday. I agree with the general message of the novel both on a personal and general level. Those who work in such a field that deals with the life-and-death issues need to have a way to deal with them. Because the novel was a Christian fiction, the focus is on a faith centered orientation. On a personal level, I understand that it is important to deal with those issues, and one way is to know that Someone greater is in control. And that I can work my hardest and do my best, but at the end of the day, it is His decision. From a general perspective, some type of stress relief in all walks of life is important.

And on a different note (not on that tangent), I will summarize that this novel was again, a good summer read, perfect for a read-a-thon. It was a quick read, and again, I stayed up later than I should have trying to finish it. I only had one major pet-peeve with the writing. You can tell from the writing that this novel is meant for a series, because there were several other characters with problems other than the main ones and several parts of the novel were focused around those. I would say that, personally, thItalicere were too many perspectives brought in. I would have enjoyed it a little more if less of the story was told from the different characters. Instead, I would have written it by presenting the background stories through conversations and observations of others instead of basing several pages developing the other characters through their perspectives.

Currently reading: Brave New World
I have to say that i have been enjoying this novel, though it has been a different type of enjoyment. I'm not sure I completely understand it. It is definitely different from the fun, summer-reads that I have been reading. But I am excited to find out how it will finish. According to my kindle, I am 55% in the novel. I am enjoying Huxley's writing, as it is different from the direct, well-written approach. Instead of directly describing everything, the writing is sometimes vague, sometimes interwoven, but at the end of the page, very well-written. I can understand why it is a classic. It reminds me of Fahrenheit-451 and other futuristic novels, as I am sure it is supposed to. I have read some reviews of Brave New World that put it in the same class as 1984, so that may be next on my classics list. Nothing like an endless TBR list.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Reading Fun on a Saturday

I've been home alone for a bit this weekend, so I have been enjoying the lack of schedule and human contact by doing whatever I feel like. Mostly, I have been reading and sleeping . I received my kindle this week. A long awaited arrival, if I might say so. I was patient, and I waited until after I had taken my nursing license to order it. And in this case, my patience paid off, because the kindle was discounted right before I bought it. Though I have been tempted to buy an iPad (my dad sure is for it), I decided that I really only wanted an eReader, not another computer. Though others may disagree, the kindle is exactly what I wanted.

I guess you could say that I started my Read-a-Thon early. As I sit at home and wait for my best friend to call when she is finished with a wedding, I have been exploring the book blog world and playing with my kindle. I have been reading most of the time I have been home, and I have enjoyed the time away from TV. Though I was enjoying reading House Rules, I cannot seem to get in it and stay "stuck" so to speak. Perhaps it is because Jodi Piccoult always makes me think and presents a more realistic view of life, but I am expecting to be sad at the end of her (wonderful) novel. I am just not quite ready for it. But it is summer time; and in the spirit of summer reads, several other readers seem to be reading fluff novels as well. So I am taking some recommendations from their Read-A-Thon lists, going to spend some money, and read, read, read.

A friend asked me what a read-a-thon is, and though I am not certain on the details, here is how it goes in my head. It is a time where I will read, read, read. And several of the book bloggers are doing the same. I am assuming they will be posting about books the are reading, and I will be doing the same. But mostly, I think it is a way to promote reading. Ok, bend my arm, I'll read for three days. I will be working during those days, but I'm excited to have a purpose to my reading.

So while I have been exploring the recommendations, I have been adding books to my to-be-read (TBR in book world, I found out) list. There seems to be a theme of young adult fiction running around, but I cannot say I mind. I think it may have something to do with the release of Eclipse (which I still have not seen). But I also have some adult fiction that I have been dying to read as well. So here's a list of some books I am wanting to read:

1. Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles
2. Rules of Attractions, also by Simone Elkeles
3. The Second Coming, by David Burton
4. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
5. Blindness, by Jose Saramago
6. Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut
7. The Apothocary's Daughter, by Julie Klassen
8. No Place for a Lady, by Maggie Brenden

I guess that's a good enough list for now. I'm sure I will be adding to it soon. Not that I plan to read all of those books in the next five days (I figured I would start the read-a-thon early), but hey, I like lists.

Currently Read: Brave New World
Currently On Hold (until further notice): House Rules

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Whole New World

I find it interesting, this world without school. I have been an RN approximately six days, and I still do not know what to do with myself. At first, I thought I would only write on this blog to be able to participate in the Read-a-Thon (which I proudly figured out how to add the button to my page). However, I have been opened to a whole new world of blogs, books, and the Internet. Who knew that so many people discussed books from the comfy couch of who-knows-where with a computer screen at hand.

Though I am still doubtful that I have anything worth saying on this huge cyberspace, I think I will enjoy having a space of my own as well as a constant record of my thoughts on books (and probably life as well). Plus, I am incredibly intrigued by the world of book bloggers. I have Lori from TNBBC to thank for that.

Today has been a difficult day for me, as I have had people trouble (the worst kind, if you ask me). I am an incredibly non-confrontational person, so conflict upsets me. Therefore, I have retreated into the wonderful escape of naps and books. I am currently reading a Jodi Piccoult book titled House Rules. I have been attempting to read this novel for several months now, but I did not succeed in multitasking. Studying (and avoiding studying) took over my life. Now I have finally gotten to the good part. In the back of my mind, I can hear the "The plot thickens" quote from who-knows-where. In a short summery, House Rules is a fiction novel about a teenager who has Asperger's and becomes involved in a murder trial. For those who have not met the term Asperger's should know that it is a form of autism in which, generally, the child is excessively smart, obsessive about a particular topic (in this book's case - forensics), and very socially awkward. The child also has problems with control and can become overwhelmed easily, which causes a sometimes violent spiral downwards until balance is maintained again. I found this book interesting because I bought it after watching a movie featuring Hugh Grant playing a man who had Asperger's. I am enjoying learn about the syndrome.

Is it odd that I sometimes want to avoid reading books in which sometime bad is about to happen? For instance, it took me several months to read the 5th (I believe) Harry Potter. I had seen the movie, knew that the godfather was going to die, and I did not want to read the book because I did not want it to happen. It is as if I do not read something, then it does not happen i my universe. Is that odd? I do not really ask the question for an answer, but as a simple rambling put out into cyberspace. I realize that I have my small oddities. Sometimes I think of how I would introduce myself to someone by listing those odd things about me. I cannot stand the color orange, though I cannot tell you why. I have to watch TV shows from the beginning, otherwise it bothers me. I sometimes live in a world of my own universe, in which I rewrite endings to movies I did not like the conclusion in; I do not read books in which I know something bad is going to happen unless I want to cry. I hate reading books after I've watched the movie. I always fold the tissue the opposite way before blowing my nose. I went from drinking coffee religiously to only drinking tea. I eat ice cream with a fork. I love to bake, though sometimes I do not like eating the things I bake (for instance, I love making cake and cupcakes, but I do not like cake). My favorite part of the day is the middle of the night, for I feel as though it is my own special time when no one else is awake.

There are some days when I wonder what people will think of me when I am gone. I am getting ready to move to a new city and start a new job. And I have given a lot of thought to what people will miss me and what will be said about me when I am gone. I often wish I had the power to read people's mind. Would I be surprised? I wonder how much of my perception and thoughts of what other people think is correct.

I wish Jane Austen were still alive and would write many more novels.

My roommate and I watched the movie Leap Year last night. Such a wonderful movie. I have really become a fan of Amy Adams. I have loved everything she has done. Leap Year is such a warm, fuzzy movie that has made me smile both yesterday and today. It also made me want to make some coq au vin. Ah, Julie Child, how I envy, idol, and love you. Someday soon (within the month, hopefully), I will make coq au vin, even if it is only for Bennett and me.

Currently reading: House Rules, p. 112
Currently watching: Criminal Minds, Season 1; The Big Bang Theory, reruns on the tivo

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hello World

I honestly have not thought about blogging since I was a teenager and it was the super cool thing to do. However, I wanted to participate in a Read-a-Thon, and I needed a url address. So now I officially have a blog. I had not thought about this much before I created it, so I have a feeling my blog will evolve into whatever I want it to be.

A little bit about myself (for the random chance someone who is not apart of my family reads this): I am a newly graduate RN. I am moving shortly to another city with my adorable puppy Bennett. I have spent most of my life in school and working too much, so down time is new to me. I love to read, watch movies and TV shows, cook, bake, and drink tea.

I became a mommy about two months ago when I bought my puppy Bennett. He is a double-dappled dachshund and about the cutest person in the world. Yes, I am one of those people who talks to their dogs as if they were people. He is a great listener and always cocks his head in the most adorable way when I am trying to punish him for some type of puppy-behavior.

I have not been cooking or baking much recently, due to my graduation from nursing school. However, I am very excited about moving into a place of my own and starting my experiments up again. My sister ( started her food blog a while ago, so I will not attempt to live up to her standards. However, I may be posting pictures of my successes and failures just for fun.

As far as reading goes, I love to read. I was an avid reader in elementary and high school, though I ran out of time in college. A couple of years ago I met serious literary people, and I realized I should expand my reading horizon to more than just romantic fluff. As a person who loves lists, I searched until I found one I liked (and of course one that was so incredibly hard I will probably be working on it for the rest of my life). I bought the book, and now I am attempting to read the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. Oh, and I tend to read other books just for fun as well.

One of my favorite movies is Julie and Julia. I love the idea of cooking through Julia Child's cookbook, but I have never been so adventurous. Maybe one day. Who knows what is going to happen one day.