Friday, August 14, 2015

School Bound! (I Hope)

Seven years ago I applied to begin a graduate program to get my Masters of Library Science. I received the acceptance letter in October. When I went through the application process in early August, I had no clue I was pregnant. It was a different story when the acceptance letter arrived. I knew I was due May 4. And the spring semester ended May 9. I didn't think that was a wise decision. Who knew how things would go? So I didn't register and since then I didn't pursue the process any more. Two kids and many years later...

So I've started to get bored. Not that I don't love what I do. I do. I love working with kids, planning story times and programs for them, and helping them and their parents find books they love. But the challenge, I think, it's what's gone. Due to that, I've decided to plunge into the depths of schooling. All I have left to do before I submit my application is write a 750-1500 word personal statement. (Which, I've discovered, is a lot harder than it sounds... I used to be able to do that so easily... but I wrote this thing and realized I repeated myself multiple times... Whoops!)

All that said, I'm excited to start this new chapter in life. I'm hoping that it goes fairly smoothly and that it benefits not only myself, but my family as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes & TOP TEN TUESDAY

There's going to be some changes around here. I decided, with my recent decline in reading (*gasp*), it's harder to keep up an actual book blog. I'll still be talking books on here, when I'm feeling it. I'm thinking broadening the scope of the blog will actually get me doing it more.

That being said, while the url remains the same, I've changed the actual name to "A Little of the * Life"... thus indicating I could be talking about anything. I hope you stick with me and don't go anywhere, but I'll understand if you abandon me.

Since it's Tuesday, I'll do a Top Ten Tuesday post, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. :)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they provide a Top Ten topic for you to create your list, then you share it on their post so others can find you. :)

  ♥ Top 10 Authors I've Read the Most Of

I don't know how fancy I'll get, but off I go to my Goodreads' page... which only goes back as far as the beginning of 2010, when I started using it. We'll see what we get. :)

I had a *lot* of ties. I decided to stick toward faves if there were ties, which left me with one spot by the time I got to authors I had read 3 books of... that one was hard to decide which one to go with. If you actually want, you can actually go check out the Goodreads list.

Anywho. Here they are, counting up to the most read itself... *drum roll*

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3095893.Stephanie_Perkins?from_search=true&search_version=service     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/324620.Laini_Taylor?from_search=true&search_version=service

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5186274.A_G_Howard?from_search=true&search_version=service     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4637539.Tahereh_Mafi?from_search=true&search_version=service

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4039811.Veronica_Roth?from_search=true&search_version=service     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1406384.John_Green?from_search=true&search_version=service

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2936493.Lauren_Oliver?from_search=true&search_version=service     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2987.Sarah_Dessen?from_search=true&search_version=service

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1330292.Maggie_Stiefvater?from_search=true&search_version=service     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7128.Jodi_Picoult?from_search=true&search_version=service


What about you? What authors have you read the most of?

Smiles,
B


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Say What Now?

So lately I've had a really hard time reading an entire book. Despite joining two book clubs, technically three if you count my upper elementary one I am starting at work, I just couldn't find the desire to read on. The books weren't grabbing me by shoulders and pulling me in. They weren't screaming at me to open them back up when I folded their covers over their words. No. And, unfortunately, it was making me feel entirely way too guilty. I mean, I was feeling guilt over not reading books. I was still reading - blog posts, news articles, stuff for work, books to kids (my own and my work kids...). I still got up in the mornings and got my oldest off to school and youngest off to daycare, arrived at work, did my job, went home and did the "home" stuff... laundry, cooking, homework, cleaning, yard work, etc. So why in the world was I feeling guilty over NOT reading? Of all the things to feel guilty about not doing, why was this the one that was getting to me?


The past week or so I finally started trying to talk myself out of focusing on all the books sitting around that I wasn't reading. The books that were gathering dust on my shelves rather than gathering love (or dislike) from me. The constantly battery-drained e-reader lounging on top of said dust-covered books. I decided not to care (easier said than done, but I think I did fairly well). Screw the taunting cries from the books as I walked by on the way to my bedroom, or the cries of feeling unloved from the shelves at work. I hit the mute button. And you know what? I felt better. All week. And yesterday, instead of taking my tablet to lunch with me and watching the addictive Once Upon a Time (seriously, it's probably good that show isn't trying to sell me drugs... I might just partake for the first time ever... anyone know how to make VooDoo dolls? I think I need to torture the people (my Dad, for one) who suggested I watch it because I'd love it... it's been roughly two months and I've watched nearly all three seasons on Netflix... damn him... ;)), I took a book. I grabbed a YA one that's been on my TBR list for quite some time, and I started it while I ate cold pork chops and pasta salad. I read 68 pages on my lunch break (at 2 pm) and finished it last night before going to bed (at 10:53 pm). Not only did I actually want to keep reading and find out what happens, I didn't want to close it and wait. So thank you, Jennifer E. Smith, for writing such a fun story with characters I cared about.


So... color me excited. Would that be yellow? Pink? Purple? I don't know. Whatever it is, I'll take it. ;)  Now I have a book group to read by Friday. Let's hope it's as enticing.


What about you? Do you ever make yourself feel guilty about not doing something? Reading, writing, watching tv, scrapbooking? Those things, hobbies, that really aren't "essentials", but yet feel like it to you. And why do we do this to ourselves? These things are supposed to be fun. Not make us feel like we're somehow doing something wrong for not doing them.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Books That Make You Go "Meh"

So I really just suck at this whole keeping up the blog thing. I think about it a lot. I want to write more. I want to talk more. I want to interact more. But, alas, it doesn't happen. Oh well.

Let's talk books, tho. Y'wanna? I *still* am having trouble getting into books lately. I finished AG Howard's Splintered series, and loved it. But other than that? It's hit and miss and a lot of 'meh's'. I haven't LOVED much past that. Maybe I'm expecting too much when I pick up a book? I want to be hooked, to love/hate the characters, to care what happens to them.

I started reading Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Replacements and The Space Between. Paper Valentine left me wanting, but I was REALLY hopeful for Fiendish. After 126 pages I've decided to reshelve it for later. The writing is still good. But I'm not connecting whatsoever to anyone in the story. And, it's not a spoiler since it happens right away, this girl is locked in a cellar and is being overtaken by roots for ten years. At the age of seven. Gets out at the age of seventeen... and has no problem walking and talks as if she were seventeen... as if she'd lived her life normally. There's obvious magic at work with the entirety of the novel, but for some reason that just annoyed me.

It's like I'm having trouble connecting to anything I read. Hopefully that will change. Short of not reading at all, it can only get better, right?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ensnared {A Review}

Ensnared (Splintered, #3)Title: Ensnared
Author: AG Howard
Series: Splintered #3
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Source/Format: Own/Hardcover
Rating: 5 freaking stars

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She's determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world--a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that's gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

Goodreads-badge-add-plus 

I finished this series with a heavy heart. I have immensely enjoyed my stay in this world that AG Howard has created and was very sad to know that it was ending.

Starting the end of a series that I love is always so emotional for me. It's going to either make or break the love for me, as far as my undying love and devotion goes. But I usually trust the author to do what feels right, to have to story end true to the characters, to the plot. And this one? AG Howard succeeded... far beyond any expectations I could possibly have. I had no inkling which of many routes her characters would choose to make her take. But I was not disappointed.

I want to tell you all everything I loved about this book. But to do so would be to ruin some of it for you if you haven't read it. So here's what I can say (which mostly applies to the series as a whole):

  1. The imagery. Howard gave herself the task of creating vastly different worlds. And that's not like moving a setting in a story from Paris to the United States. We're talking going from the human realm, with which we are all familiar, to Wonderland, and then to Any Elsewhere. And each world had its own feel to it. They were characters in and of themselves. I could see them, I could feel them, I could touch them. I was there.
  2. The characters. They were 100% real... realistic. They could my brother, sister, parents, friends. I wanted them to be those things. I wanted them all to be happy, to be loved, to find themselves, to discover their own abilities, to cherish each other and what they had with one another.
  3. Chemistry. I have read very few authors who can write a scene so sizzling hot yet entail very little detail (for lack of a better word at this moment). Where a touch in the book can send shivers down my spine. A mere kiss being shared can make my own lips tingle.
  4. I'm not sure of a "heading" for this one, but everything that happened felt true to the story, to the characters. There were times I felt my heart ripping in two. There were times I cried. Times I laughed out loud (making the hubs look at me strangely, per usual). A few times I wanted to reach through the pages and strangle people, hug them, slap them, love them. 
Needless to say, I will be reading anything AG Howard decides to write. Going on blind faith... I'll just buy them without a care as to what they're even about. Even if it turns out to be her own take on the alphabet or dictionary, I won't care. She's that awesome. ;)

To keep it completely and utterly spoiler free, that's all I shall say. Other than if you haven't read this series, WHAT IN ALL THE WORLDS ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Plunging into the Icy Depths of Suckage

So I talked about here whether or not I was going to partake in any reading challenges this year. And while I'm still on the fence as to whether or not it's a "good" thing for me to do, I went ahead and did it. I claimed I wanted to read 50 books this year on Goodreads. And then this happened:

 
Seriously... Goodreads is already telling me I suck. *sigh*

But oh well. I laugh in the face of suckage. 

That's what I'm going with, anyway. To be fair, I would have been at 0% and x amount of books behind no matter what number I set for myself, since I haven't read a single book this year (outside of picture books, of course, as I have small children and considering it's what I do for a living... lol).

So... 

Happy reading to you all and may you reach your goals.  :)

Smiles,
B

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Keeping the Moon {A Review}

Keeping the MoonTitle: Keeping the Moon
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: September 1999
Source: Own
Rating: 3 stars

The Scoop from Goodreads:

Colie expects the worst when she's sent to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt Mira while her mother, queen of the television infomercial, tours Europe. Always an outcast -- first for being fat and then for being "easy" -- Colie has no friends at home and doesn't expect to find any in Colby, North Carolina. But then she lands a job at the Last Chance Cafe and meets fellow waitresses Morgan and Isabel, best friends with a loving yet volatile relationship. Wacky yet wise, Morgan and Isabel help Colie see herself in a new way and realize the potential that has been there all along

Goodreads-badge-add-plus  

I found this in my drafts. Wrote it when I read the book back in October, just never completed the actual post. So... yeah... here ya go. :)

So I was looking for something to read over the weekend. Ever since I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I've had a hard time with finding something I liked. I read, and disliked, Gone Girl (feel free to throw things at me... and it wasn't just the ending I didn't like). I tried to get into Girl of Fire & Thorns, but just couldn't. I read a good portion and realized I just wasn't that into it. Some day I may revisit it. I tried Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, and found myself just simply not caring. I thought it was strange and uninteresting. I tried a few pages of a few other books, but nothing was grabbing my attention. As I was browsing my bookshelf, I realized I had a Sarah Dessen book on there I hadn't read. I thought "I can always get into these, no problem." So I picked it up.


And I did enjoy it. I really like Dessen's writing. It's simple and beautiful. And, for the most part, I really liked the characters in this one. Let's start with Colie (actually, it's Nicole. Sparks. Nicole Sparks. I wonder if that similarity was done on purpose?). She's a lost soul. Truly. Once she and her mom finally settled down in some place, her mom and her both lost weight. But while her mom went on to be a successful weight loss-related product spokesperson, Colie is left feeling alone and broken. She's only ever had people be mean to her and she doesn't know how to cope/deal/let go of it all and just be herself. She is sent to live with her eccentric Aunt Mira in Colby. She meets Norman, who is a collector of all things with which he uses for his artistic creations. He's also a painter and a really sweet guy. She also becomes friends with her neighbors and coworkers (she gets a job at a restaurant where Norman is a cook and these two gals are waitresses), Morgan and Isabel. Morgan is a peacemaking, trustful person, while Isabel is a straightforward, tell-it-as-it-is type person.


So, there's a brief description of the main characters. There's no major drama, just your typical run-of-the-mill type things. But there's a lot of self-discovery and realizing what's important and what's not. And while all of those things are done well, there were a few hiccups for me with this one.


One: The Fat Years. Maybe it's my own sensitivity, but Colie loses 45 pounds. And I'm by no means saying that being 45 pounds overweight is a good thing. It can wreak havoc on your health. But, calling it "The Fat Years"? I don't know. For some reason that phrase just made me cringe... every time I read it. Every. Single. Time.



Two: Preachiness. There's always a lesson in a Sarah Dessen book. Always. But I just feel like this one was a little preachy in that sense. Not-so-subtle. I like subtle when reading a novel when it comes to lessons. So Mira had a conversation with Colie and it was obvious she was specifically trying to point things out to her to help her along. And same with other characters. Not that these things didn't need to be said, I just felt like it was a bit too "out there." Make sense? (In all fairness, I think Dessen has improved on this tremendously throughout her writing...)


Three: Cluelessness. There was quite a bit of it. Mostly on the part of Colie. This is VERY minor and has no bearing on how I feel about the book as a whole, tho. Just something I wanted to point out. I'm sure I was pretty clueless at that age as well, but dang. Sometimes I wanted to reach through the pages and just spell it out for her. (That goes against how I feel above, tho, doesn't it?)



All in all I really enjoyed this one. Mostly it was the second hiccup. It just took me out of the story more than I'd like. Keeping in mind it's one of her earlier works, I will still get excited over new ones she has comes out. Like Saint Anything. (Out May of this year... woot-woot!)