"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." ~Toni Morrison

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

TeaTime Chat (May 17, 2017)

If we were having tea, I would tell you that I am really enjoying the spring.  The weather has not been perfect here in Oregon, in fact we have had a lot of rain, but when the sun is out, it is perfect.  My husband and I have been working in our garden as much as possible.  We have weeded and planted veggies and flowers.  My favorite right now is this beautiful columbine.  I swear that every day it is a little different and a little more beautiful.

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If we were having tea, I would let you know that my favorite tea is Barry's.  I grew up with it and I have now become kind of a snob.  I have a hard time drinking any other kind of tea.  I have to special order my tea on Amazon, can't find it in any of the stores.

If we were having tea, I would tell you that work is going well, but that springtime is the worst time to be a teacher.  The summer vacation is in sight, and no one wants to be working in a stuffy classroom.  Four weeks seem like an eternity and too little time all at once.

If we were having tea, I would tell you about Wednesday Friendsday.  My friend and I recently started spending time together every Wednesday afternoon.  It has been so much fun.  Last Wednesday we went for a walk, and the week before we went out for pretzels and root beer.  It is something I look forward to every week.

If we were having tea, I would tell you that I really miss my cat.  She died on January 9th, and I think about her every day.  She used to consume so much of my life.  Now I have extra time to relax in the evenings and I have the freedom to leave the house more, but I miss that fuzzy little thing.  I will definitely have a cat again soon.

If we were having tea, I would tell you about the book I am reading.  It is about journaling and creating an illuminated journal.  It is a beautiful and inspiring book.  I hope that one day my journal will be that beautiful too.

What's going on in your life?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Quotable Books: The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen


I read this book as an e-book on my Kindle.  I got it as part of the Kindle First  program.  As a Prime member, I get to choose one book each month from a list of new releases.
What it's about:
In a stratified society where contact with the sun is a luxury reserved for the elite, those kept prisoner in the darkness will do anything to find the light. Arden-beautiful, street-smart, and cynical-is one of the citizens of the lowest Level, known as Undercity, of an off-world colony. A blackout band traps Arden in her district, but as sister to the leader of the most powerful gang in Undercity, she has access to Above.

There she meets Dade, one of the few lucky enough to be born into the sun-kissed families who reside in the Towers soaring above the rest of the city. But life isn't perfect in the sky. Dade, desperate to escape his upcoming arranged marriage, has a secret of his own, and he's willing to risk everything for it.

An unlikely romance develops between the two teens-but their love faces opposition from above and below. When her gang pressures Arden to help break the grip of the elite and end Dade's interference with their drug trade, she is forced to make a deadly choice between love and family loyalty. But will the brewing class war destroy the world around them first?

What I thought:
I really enjoyed this book.  It's a different look at the future, and I thought it was a fascinating idea.  Especially in this day and age, where we hide from the sun, sunscreen and skin cancer, it surprised me to read a book where sunlight was saved for the elite. 

The main character is an intelligent and strong female, another reason to love this series.  Although she falls for the handsome, rich man, there is more to her life than the romance.  She has very difficult decisions to make about where her life will lead.

The basic story line is the story of star-crossed lovers, like Romeo and Juliet, but the ending is different although still full of tragedy.  The book ends with a cliffhanger that left me wanting more.  Surely some pages were missing?  No such luck.  I guess I will have to find the next book in the series to find out what happens next with Dade and Arden.

Have you read this book?  What did you think?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2017 What I'm Reading Wednesday #10 (May 10, 2017)

I am currently reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.   It's an easy read, and I expect to finish it quickly.
Anyway, here is my progress so far... 

2017 Goal: 32 books
Books Read = 12/32
Books from TBR list: 4
Series completed: 0
*Erin's Book Challenge:  8/10  0/Bonus Round (Final Score)


January

1.  Midair by Kodi Scheer
*2.  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (TBR)


February

*1.  Christine by Stephen King
2.  The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (yup, I started a new series)


March

1.  The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens (second book in the series)
*2.  Wonder by RJ Palacio (TBR)
*3.  Matched  by Ally Condie
*4.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (TBR)


April

*1.  The Ancient Ones by Kirk Mitchell
*2.  The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
*3. The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen

May
*1.  11/22/63 by Stephen King (TBR)


Currently Reading:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert




What are you reading this week?  How are your reading goals going?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Erin's Book Challenge 6.0 Has Ended

Once again, another round of Erin's Book Challenge has come to an end.  April 30th was the last day, and I did not complete my 10 books  :(

• 5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs




This book was so much better than the movie!  I enjoyed the vintage photos throughout the book, and the story was compelling.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series.



• 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “W”

OMG!  The feels!  This book made me cry more than I have ever cried when reading a book.  I loved the story.  I had medical problems as a child that have followed me into adulthood.  Maybe I saw a little of my childhood in this book.



• 10 points: Read a book with six words in the title.
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I didn't get to read this one but I still want to read it.  Soon, hopefully.







• 15 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) green cover.
Matched by Ally Condie

I liked this book.  I will definitely read the next book in the series.  The innocent teenager voice threw me for a loop at first, but I quickly got caught up in the storyline.




• 20 points: Read a book with a homonym in the title
Changed to:  The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen

I couldn't find You at the library, so I switched to a book I already had on my Kindle.  I really enjoyed the book!  And what a cliffhanger ending!  Now I have to read the next book in the series.



• 20 points: (Submitted by Linda) Read a book by your favorite author. 

I love Barbary Kingslover!  And what a nice surprise to discover that the book featured two of my favorite artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.  I loved everything about this book!  The language, the characters, the re-imagining of history.... and, of course, it's Barbara Kingsolver!  What more need I say?




• 25 points: (Submitted by Christina) Read a book set in the city/town/state/territory/county/province where you live.

I liked this book.  It was a good mystery, and I liked reading about Native American traditions and life.  The characters felt real.  At first I thought it was going to be a Christine type book, but turned out to be a very human problem.




• 30 points: (Submitted by Peggy) Read a “Rory Gilmore” book. 

I love Stephen King!  Another great book by a great author.  I loved everything about it.  



• 30 points: (Submitted by Stef Read a book from a genre that you’ve never read (or rarely read.)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I liked this book.  Good storytelling.  I like how all the different stories connected and showed how one decision can affect so many lives.



• 35 points: (Submitted by Ferne) Read a book with time travel.
11/22/63 by Stephen King


I finished this one, but not in time for the challenge.  I started it before the challenge ended but did not finish until May.  It is a huge book!  And the ending.  OMG!  The ending was so sad, and so beautiful.  Loved it!


I almost completed the challenge this time.  I was only a little over one book away from reading all ten books on my list.  I am excited to try again when the next book challenge rolls around.  

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Quotable Books: The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
From Barbara Kingsolver's website:
"
Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico—from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City—Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.

Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America's hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption."
I read this book as part of Erin's Book Challenge for the category of a book by a favorite author.  Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors.  I really admire how she mixes her knowledge of science with beautiful words.  I even wrote her a letter a few years ago, but never mailed it because I was embarrassed.  Maybe I should give that another try...

I loved this book.  Reading it felt like talking to an old friend.  Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are two artists that I admire and I have read a lot about their lives, so to meet them as characters in a book was a treat.  I enjoyed every moment of this book and would definitely read it again and again! 

5 out of 5 stars
★★★★★

Have you read this book?  What did you think?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What I'm Reading Wednesday #9 (April 25, 2017)

I am currently reading 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  Huge book... huge.
Anyway, here is my progress so far... 
2017 Goal: 32 books
Books Read = 11/32
Books from TBR list: 3
Series completed: 0
*Erin's Book Challenge:  8/10  0/Bonus Round

January
1.  Midair by Kodi Scheer
*2.  And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (TBR)

February
*1.  Christine by Stephen King
2.  The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (yup, I started a new series)

March
1.  The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens (second book in the series)
*2.  Wonder by RJ Palacio (TBR)
*3.  Matched  by Ally Condie
*4.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (TBR)

April
*1.  The Ancient Ones by Kirk Mitchell
*2.  The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
*3. The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen


Currently Reading:
11/22/63 by Stephen King



What are you reading this week?  How are your reading goals going?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Revising My Novel: The Editorial Map

I have been revising my novel using  Janice Hardy's At-Home Workshop to Revise Your Novel in 31 Days.



The first step is the editorial map and I recently completed mine.  I'm not sure why it took me so long to finish... probably because I was scared, and... well... I should have been.  So, what did I learn from the experience?  Good question.

1.  I think I have a good basic story structure.  After reviewing the 3-act structure and comparing it to my editorial map, I think my story fits well in the structure(I am never sure when it comes to writing).

2.  My story has a lot of problems.  My characters keep doing things they would (should) never do.  For example, why would a paranoid conspiracy theorist broadcast a cold call about a top secret mission to his whole radio audience?  The answer: he wouldn't.  Unless it was accidental, like if someone was bugging him.... hmmm.

3.  I need more conflict.  A lot of events happen too easily.  I once read that you should do the worst to your characters.  I think I need to go through each scene and add more problems, more hoorible things.  My characters need to suffer more(that sounds bad, huh?).

4.  I do really like to handwrite.  I always start my projects by handwriting and I type everything later, even when I'm editing.


5.  I have some research to do: pirate radio, military stuff, sound vibrations, and a ton of other topics.

6.  I figured out the daughter's name!  Somewhere in my writing I forgot her name and started calling her "the daughter." Now I know her name is Susie and I am not sure that I like it.


Now to begin the next step.  Wish me luck!