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Showing posts from July, 2014

Austen in August - The Reading List

This is one of my favorite reading events each year! I'll be posting most of my updates over at CNJ - JASNA.

Reading list:
Longbourn by Jo Baker (BCD)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The List Lovers Guide to Jane Austen by Joan Strasbaugh
Mr. Knightly's Diary by Amanda Grange
Cassandra & Jane by Jill Pitkeathley
Darcy Christmas by Various Authors

Book Review - Where Fault Lies by Carrie May Lucas

Where Fault Lies: A Survivor's Story of Game, Shame & Blame by Carrie May Lucas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When Carrie got in touch with me about reading her memoir, I debated on whether or not it was something I wanted to read.  I don't like reading about difficult situations, but I felt that I couldn't ignore this story.  It was a hard read, it took me almost a month to finish the book but I'm glad I accepted the request and that I pushed myself to finish reading Carrie's story.

Carrie is a single mom who decided to move with her young daughter across Washington State to Seattle. She had gone through a divorce and was trying to find herself again.  She felt that the move would be a good thing for the two of them.  Things seemed to be going great for a while before everything changed.  Carrie had a job she liked, a group of friends, and she finally found a guy who could deal with her idea of what she wanted in a relationship.  Carrie was looking for a relationshi…

Thesis Project: Sample layout

So the layout for my Thesis Project (I'm not ready to call it my novel in progress or short story collection in progress yet) includes three elements:
From the Table:  These sections are like author's notes. They are the stories from real life that kind of tell the background of the fictional short story that will follow.The Short Story: These stories are based on real stories told throughout my childhood.  They are linked together to tell the story of my maternal grandparents. I have set it up so each decade from the time my grandparents met to when my grandfather passed away is shown in two stories. Recipe: Since we're Italian we have a lot of stories linked with food...or food linked to stories. Some of the stories I'm telling involve food or at least have a strong connection to some kind of food/drink from my life.
Here is a sample of my format.

From the Table – Why I Still Live at Home
Traditionally, in Italian households a child lived at home until such a time as the…

Tea and a Book: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (mini review)

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This summer's Adult Summer Reading Theme is Literary Elements.  We've taken a science/science fiction approach to the theme.  I decided that for July and August my book club would pick two classic science fiction books.

I unfortunately had to cancel our July meeting but I wanted to share some thoughts on the novel.  I couldn't remember if I had read the book or not as part of a school assignment, but it's a story most people at least know the basics of, (at least I hope they do!).

The only thing I really disliked about the book was the point of view Stevennson used to tell the story.  I would have liked to have been with Dr. Jekyll when he tried his experiments and been there after he had woken up from being Mr. Hyde.

I think the story is a great discussion on the ideas of good and evil in humanity.  It was interesting to note that Mr. Hyde was smaller than Dr. Jekyll because…

Reader's Workouts - Getting back on track

Reader's Workouts is a weekly event which is hosted over at Joy's Book Blog.

I'm a Fitbit wearer, I like that it helps me keep active and moving during the week.  If you also wear one feel free to friend me!


Things haven't been going good for me on the fitness front, since my gym buddy had her scheduled changed for the summer I found it easier to make excuses to not go walk the track or go walk on the treadmill at the gym.  I still track my food and try to meet my daily step count (I'm a low step count).

Things haven't been great the last few weeks, I've slacked on tracking my food and this past weekend all but gave up on wearing my FitBit. Needless to say, by Sunday night I was sick of me and made myself a promise that I was going to the gym to walk at least a half hour on the treadmill.

I'm happy to say I kept my promise and on Monday morning I went to the gym and put in a solid half hour. I had planned to just walk at a steady normal pace but as…

Flash Fiction 55 - Writing Exercise #12

A man has been murdered.  Wind the clock back 10 minutes and describe what the murderer sees at this moment.

Gregor awoke in a daze. He yawned and stretched before taking a look at his surroundings. He blinked a few times and realized everything around him was a sickly green. He looked down at his hands and saw massive black paws. The panther roared Mikhal, he thought, was going to pay for this.I'm having some fun trying to write this writing prompts in 55 words or less.  This one comes in at 53 words but it was a bit longer to start with, about 112 words but I think I cut it down quite nicely.

Favorite Books of 2014 - So Far

I've been seeing a lot of picks for favorite book so far in 2014. I don't think I can pick just one, so here are my picks for best book for the first six months of 2014.

January February March April May June

Today's Post Is Brought to You by the Letter....

Bev over at My Reader's Block participated in this chain-meme which was started by Simon at Stuck in a Book. Bev shared Simon's description of the meme and I'll share that here too!
Here's something that should be fun - and do get involved in the comment section! - I'm going to kick off a meme where we say our favourite book, author, song, film, and object beginning with a particular letter. And that letter will be randomly assigned to you by me, via If you'd like to join in, comment in the comment section and I'll tell you your letter! (And then, of course, the chain can keep going on your blog.)
Bev gave me the letter:

Favorite Book:
I took at look at my Goodreads list of read books and looked at the 5 and 4 stared books that started with 'W' and there were a lot of good ones, but the one I chose for this meme was the one book that was different from all the others. Brian Selznick combines two stories, one written out the other told on…

Thesis Project - Synopsis/Novel Outline

Around the Table is a collection of fictionalized short stories based on the lives of my grandparents, Carl and Mary. The  'From the Table' sections are the stories I grew up hearing around the kitchen table. The titles with years after them are the fictionalized stories based on the ones I grew up hearing.  Some stories (well most stories) are connected with food and include a recipe.

From the Table – Genealogy
Courtship (1931)

From the Table – Sauce vs. Gravy
Sunday Gravy (1937)
Recipe – Grandma’s Gravy

From the Table - Head of the Family
The Draft Board (1941)

From the Table – Green Acres
From The ‘Burg to the Farm (1945)
Recipe – Tomato Sandwiches

From the Table - Now vs. Then
Close Call (1950s)

From the Table – Break of Dawn
Day at the Beach (1950s)
Recipe – Italian 'Picnic'

From the Table - Letters
Back to Italy (1960s)

From the Table - JFK
A Family Gathering (1963)
Recipe – Pasta Ceci

From the Table - My Grandmother
Untitled Story (1976)

From the Table - We Risk Going to Italy
A Secess…

Book Review - An American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne

An American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Carly is a work-a-holic, her music is her life and everything revolves around when she gets to play next.  She is currently on a trip to Italy to play a number of concerts.  While it sounds like a dream trip, things aren't going so great for Carly.  Her best friend and fellow symphony member has focused more of her attention on her currently relationship with the director. Carly is stuck rooming with the diva singer, a woman who is obsessed with the aria the two are preforming. Carly is also missing some lucrative gigs and she's worried about losing her place among go to musicians.  On top of all this, she's got a flirty thing going on with the groups tour guide Michelangelo.

Michelangelo is dealing with a plateful himself. He's not a tour guide, he has no idea what he's doing but he can't screw up this job.  He needs the money to save his family's vineyard. He's got a thing for Carly, b…

Reader's Workouts - Hoofing it to the Beach

So I had no idea what to post today, I didn't have my planned book review written and then I saw this weekly event which is hosted over at Joy's Book Blog.

I'm a Fitbit wearer, I like that it helps me keep active and moving during the week.  If you also wear one feel free to friend me!

This holiday weekend wasn't a great one, but I did manage to get moving, unfortunately I didn't have my Fitbit on me and can't accurately tell how much I moved.  Yesterday (Monday), we went to the beach and got a late start which meant parking in East Bumbble F*ck.  So after hoofing it three blocks a young man (he was probably my age but still) offered us his parking spot, so I hoofed it back to our car to then drove up to park closer. With the walk across the beach, and then back to the car, and then a three hour shift at work, I totally got my steps in for the day!

June Reading Challenges Update

Here's Where I Stand on the I Love the Library Challenge

Books Checked Out and Read:
Delicious! by Ruth ReichlThe Giver by Lois Lowry (BCD)Palisades Park by Alan BrennertGathering Blue by Lois Lowry (BCD)The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootIt Happened One Wedding by Julie James Books Checked Out and Currently Reading Divergent by Veronica Roth (BCD) Books Checked Out and Not Read - Yet Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice by Paula ByrneAnd One Last Thing by Molly HarperUp at Butternut Lake by Mary McNearBeowulf - J.R.R. Tolkien (translator)The Closer by Mariano RiveraThe Messenger by Lois Lowery (BCD)Books Checked Out but Didn't Read
The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterBooks Checked Out for School Assignments Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverShakespeare's Kitchen by Lore SegalTrue Stories: guides for writing from your life by Rebecca Rule
Here's Where I Stand on the TBR Pile Challenge

I read one book from my book basket
Matchless …

Photo-a-Day Challenge Recap

Day 1 - June 10 - guilty pleasure
Day 2 - June 11 - love
Day 3 - June 12 - summer
Day 4 - June 13 - books
Day 5 - June 14 - friendship
Day 6 - June 15 - childhood
Day 7 - June 16 - food
Day 8 - June 17 - inspire
Day 9 - June 18 - stripes
Day 10 - June 19 - obsession
Day 11 - June 20 - self
Day 12 - June 21- nature
Day 13 - June 22 - home
Day 14 - June 23 - favorite color
Day 15 - June 24 - movement
Day 16 - June 25 - art
Day 18 - June 26 - toys
Day 19 - June 27 - your handwriting
Day 20 - June 28 - looking out
Day 21 - June 29 - dinner/lunch/breakfast or snack
Day 22 - June 30 - hero

I started off strong posting every day but the last few days went by and I had to catch up on the 30th.  I really enjoyed taking new photos and digging back for ones that instantly reminded me of that day's theme.

Book Club Mini-Reviews

Tea and a Book:

Palisades Park by Alan Brennert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tea and a Book didn't meet, because no one showed up.

I loved the book and was so happy I picked it as our June book.  I became invested in the characters and would get angry when my lunch breaks would end or it got so late I couldn't keep my eyes open to read even one more page.

Mercer County Girls Just Wanna Have Fun:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We had a great discussion with this book, a lot of talk about ethical and moral standings with regard to science.  We also talked about how much has and hasn't changed since Henrietta's life in regards to medical coverage.

We can't wait to see the movie (whenever it gets made).

Forever YA:

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 1 of 5 stars


I just couldn't get into this story. It felt like I was dropped into the middle of the story and I just couldn't get my footing.