Friday, May 31, 2013

Armchair BEA--Nonfiction

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Image by Nina of Nina Reads

All about non-fiction today over at Armchair BEA! I love learning about all sorts of things. Science, psychology, the cosmos, history, language, biographies, philosophy, religion, culture. All of it.

I have a skeptic book club and we read one sciencey book a month. This month we're reading The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail--But Some Don't by Nate Silver. It's all about finding the signal among all the noise of hard statistics and combining that with a little human intuition. Fascinating!

The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons was truly thought-provoking. If I ever get called for jury duty, I will say that I cannot convict on eye-witness testimony alone.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an amazing biography of her journey out of Somalia and ultimately out of Islam.

Made in America by Bill Bryson. It's a fascinating biography of American English. He travels all around America and finds out why certain areas have their dialects and accents.

I could go on, but I won't. I would have to say that half of my yearly reads come from non-fiction. They've literally changed my life and have truly opened me up to new worlds, ideas, and possibilities!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cat Thursday (6)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

cat thursday meme

This week is cat nicknames!

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Caught them all under the bed to avoid my son :)

My white kitty is Wolfgang but we just call him Wolfy. Frodo is sweets at various times to tabby version of Grumpy Cat. Shadow is usually Naughty Chubby Kitty, cuz she's super naughty and gets into everything, etc and chubby cuz she's the alpha cat and eats the other two cats' food! But Wolfy is chubby too but he's lost weight since we acquired Shadow! LOL.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Armchair BEA--Genre Fiction

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Image by Emily of Emily's Reading Room

Armchair BEA's third day of fun is all about Genre Fiction. What are my favorite kinds? What is literary fiction anyway? According to the Wiki: Literary fiction, in general, focuses on the subjects of the narrative to create "introspective, in-depth character studies" of "interesting, complex and developed" characters. This contrasts with paraliterary fiction where "generally speaking, the kind of attention that we pay to the subject in literature ... has to be paid to the social and material complexities of the object".

Character studies? I don't know. I lump whatever I read into a few categories and any literary fiction I read will either fall under historical fiction or contemporary fiction. Do I read a lot of literary fiction? I want to read more. But I usually find myself reading for entertainment and that usually pushes me toward young adult fiction.

Zombie fiction is a favorite of mine and steampunk and when you combine both? Heaven :) Boneshaker by Cherie Priest combines both fabulously! Steampunk and the paranormal? Try Soulless by Gail Carriger. Urban fantasy can be fabulous with the right author and Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles is stupendous.

Young adult fiction is also great. Anything by John Green or Melina Marchetta for real fiction. For young adult fantasy my favorites are Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

Literary fiction? Anything by Barbara Kingsolver.

Non-fiction? The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd was a life-changer for me. Doubt: A History by Jennifer Hecht is wonderful, Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine, Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne. All of these have impacted my mind and life for the better!

I love many types of genres. I love thinking about the world, I love learning about it, and I love learning about people. I can get all of that by picking up so many different types of books!

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

beautiful darknessThis is the second installment of the Beautiful Creatures series. At the end of the last book Lena was able to avoid being claimed for good or dark but her uncle Macon died and she's unsure where her mother has gone.

Ethan feels confused about that night. Did something happen to him? Lena and Amma are acting strangely. Lena seems drawn to a newcomer who is both caster and demon. Her eyes are also turning gold--the sign of a dark caster...will she choose the dark side?

OK, this installment was a bit on the cheesier side. The authors let Lena explore a bit of her dark side. We learn more about the link between Lena and Ethan and more about the history of Uncle Macon and Ethan's mom. Well, lots more history which makes the book big.

This series isn't the best written. But I really like it. It's just good fun. It doesn't take itself too seriously. I would let my teenage daughter (if I had one) read this book without fear of wanting a controlling and abusive/stalker boyfriend. I mean, it still has its star-crossed lovers trope. They literally can't have sex because Ethan will burn into ashes....kind of silly. But I guess it allows them to have lust and passion without getting into the nitty gritty of sexuality with teens. But it's still all heavy-handed about true love and soul mates, while romantic and great for fantasies, isn't healthy for teens.

But despite the faults, it's a great fun series. The world they create is amazing. I love the Caster world. They have created an amazing world. The characters aren't nearly as great as the world they live in. I think it's worth it just for that.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Armchair BEA--Classics

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Image by Sarah of Puss Reboots

Classics! I have read some. Let's see...Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is my all-time favorite book. Period. Classic story of overcoming our past and learning to love unconditionally and staying true to who you are.

Persuasion by Jane Austen. My personal favorite of Austen's. It's a powerful love story. One that stands the test of time. People can change. Good stuff.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I read this in 2 days, it would have been one if I hadn't had school the next day. Something about Rhett and Scarlett and true love and all that...

Shakespeare. He's a classic. I've read The Merchant of Venice and Romeo & Juliet. Both were very hard to read but oh, so worth it. If you can't get into actually reading them, I recommend the movies. A great way to piece it all together visually. Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream are probably my favorite movies for Shakespeare. I also saw The Merry Wives of Windsor on stage a few years back! Something about the visual helps bring out the subtext and main points. Pure genius. Then you have modern-retellings....10 Things I Hate About You for The Taming of the Shrew.

I think "classics" can be tough because they really do speak to us on a subconscious level, not every single one, but almost. Books really help us to make a sense of what the author was experiencing in his/her age and time. And the fact that so many reach out to us and make them classics says a lot about the human experience and how universal it is across time.

I say pick one up. There are so many to choose from, from any time and place. Hug a book and mourn for a second that we have lost so much to time but then be ever so grateful that we have as much knowledge as we do, the eternal nature of ideas and the eternal way to share those ideas with others.

Armchair BEA 2013--Introductions

Armchair BEA is a virtual conference for book bloggers who can't attend all the book stuff in New York City. I've decided to join in this year because I've never done so before and I'm sick (and feeling like doing something to make me happy) and one of my favorite book bloggers is also doing it and has just inspired me :)

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Image by Nina of Nina Reads

The first day started yesterday....but I'm late to the game so here I go. Introductions are in order.

1. Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

I'm a mom of one little boy. I'm a stay-at-home mom for a tiny bit longer until my son gets into school. I have a great husband who keeps me laughing. I love books, wine, making AMFs for my friends, chai tea, dancing in the rain, kick boxing, my family and friends, the Cosmos and science, Earth, myths, pagan rituals, humanistic and feminist philosophy, and TV and movies. So a little bit of everything.

I hope to be the best parent I can be to my son. I hope to leave this Earth a little better than I found it.

I've been blogging for 3 years now! Wow! I got into blogging because it was a way for me to get some thoughts out about what I was reading and watching. I have connected with so many amazing people and ideas that my life has literally been changed for the better and drastically over these last three years.

2. Where in the world are you blogging from? Tell a random fact or something special about your current location.

I'm blogging from Eagle Mountain, UT. My city began as housing developments in the local county, which evolved into a city that has had almost as many mayors as it has been around. We have a mean age of 12 in this city, meaning it's mostly made up of young children. But Utah is home to some amazing mountains and I like to get out and hike, hike, hike!

Hiked Bell Canyon this morning! Gorgeous hike :)
Bell Canyon in Sandy, Utah

3. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2013?

I am currently reading Sophie's World by Jostein Gaardner, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, and Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.

My favorite book so far is Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. This was a beautiful historical fantasy/romance. I will reread this one!

4. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

It's probably cliche but I would have to say Charlotte Bronte. She wrote my favorite book of all-time and I would love to hear anything she had to say on any subject.

5. What is your favorite part about the book blogging community?

I have been in and out of the book blogging community throughout my three years of blogging. But it's always there to accept me back in when I have the time and ability to be involved.

I have been given books by the author or publisher to review. I have won so many books and swag. I have had authors personally comment on my blog or respond to my emails and thank me for my reviews.

I have been introduced to some amazing books that I would never have known about otherwise.

I have met some incredible people through book blogging. Many who have sent me letters or cards when someone close to me died.

It's an amazing community of which I'm proud to be apart.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Snapshot (2)

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky at West Metro Mommy. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.
Beautiful up there!

I snapped this one with the help of an Instagram filter while up in my local mountains last weekend. It's just beautiful up there and love every minute I can get away and hike!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cat Thursday (5)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.

cat thursday meme

cat smart meme

cant afford dog

I'm loving the smart cat meme this week! Made my day :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Resurrectionist by E.B. Hudspeth

The Resurrectionist offers two extraordinary books in one. The first is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black, from his humble beginnings to the mysterious disappearance at the end of his life. The second book is Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy for mythological beasts—dragons, centaurs, Pegasus, Cerberus—all rendered in meticulously detailed black-and-white anatomical illustrations. You need only look at these images to realize they are the work of a madman. The Resurrectionist tells his story.


What can I say? This book is a beautiful memoir fiction. The drawings in here are amazing. The way the author combines human anatomy and mythical creature anatomy is flawless.

But the story is also intriguing and a bit on the scary-side. We learn about Dr. Spencer's sordid fall into lunacy after trying to prove that humans evolved from mythical creatures.

I guess the one thing I could say that was negative was the use of the mad-scientist trope. But that's what the book was going for so it works but still a bit annoying that this trope is used so often in books and movies....

It's a sad tale where one looks for the evidence to fit the hypothesis rather than see where the evidence leads and then change the hypothesis. And his turned him into a madman....cruel torture and death.

It's a quick read and one I'd recommend on an eerie night with low-lighting...and one for the coffee table. The illustrations are amazing.

I received this book for free to review from the publisher.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

I awoke to a fabulous cuisine of....Reese's Peanut Butter cups and peach rings! And an adorable card drawn by Gabe at preschool along with a cute decorated planter and plant.

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We headed over to Denny's for some Mother's Day brunch and coffee.

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Then it was over the local splash park for some fun with water. Just a relaxing afternoon with Gabe and Archie. It's Spring and so I decided to put in my flower barrette that my beautiful friend Sarah made for me back in February and my Spring dress.

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It was a gorgeous day and we spent the rest of it with my mother and my sister's, bbqing and talking and eating dessert while Gabe ran amok with his cousin Mailia!

I wanted to say some other things about Mother's Day. I know this is a day that can cause a lot of distress and anxiety for so many women. If you are a woman who's never wanted children of her own, it can be a day of judgment and misunderstanding. If you have lost a child it can be a day of depression and anger. If you don't have enough children or too many or don't have a "normal" family, it can cause the day to be quite stressful.

I go back and forth on this because I'm not the most nurturing of mothers. I don't fit that typical role. It's tough and because it's so damn tough for me, Archie and I have chosen to only have Gabe. And sometimes this day causes anxiety for me because I feel guilty. I shouldn't have a day lavished on me because I don't fit the "role" or whatever. It's dumb but they're feelings and they affect me.

But I try to think about how I care about people in general. I empathize, I want the world to be a better place. I love my son and my friends and my family. I have cats. I nurture them. I have plants outside on my porch that I try to nurture (some days are better than others). I try to nurture my friends' kids. My point is I think most of us (men too) are nurturers. We "mother" things, people, Earth, etc. I think it's a day to celebrate life and the nurturing of that life in whatever form that takes.


Happy nurturing and life day to all :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cat Thursday (4)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! Hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict.
cat thursday meme

Gabe and Sadie Snowflake!

Grumpy cat it was awful

One of my friend's cat Sadie Snowflake and my son Gabe. The other is just a classic of Grumpy Cat! Happy Cat Thursday!