A Challenge Completed

I finally finished my first challenge of the year, the 100 Miles Fitness Challenge!!  Woo Hoo!  I actually finished my 100 miles with 2 weeks to spare.  So, far this walking has not translated into weight loss, but I’m okay with that.

I don’t sign up for challenges expected not to complete them.  I tend to push myself to get them done.  With Gage around this year I chose only a few challenges to try to think I have a good chance of finishing them all, except for the States challenge.  I still have a lot of states to get through and  this is my 3rd year trying this one and I’d love to complete it.  If you’d like to recommend a short book for any of the states I have left I will send you lots of virtual hugs 🙂  My challenge list here.

BBAW-Reading & Blogging

BBAW 2011 - Graphic (200px wide)I have been too busy (and forgetful) to participate in BBAW week this year, but thought I’d do at least one post. I combined today’s topic with the meme.   Visit BBAW for other posts on these topics.

Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read? Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging? How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits? Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging? Choose any one of these topics and share your thoughts today!

When I started blogging in January 2008, my intent was to talk about the books I read and anything bookish that tickled my fancy.  I had only read 40 books the year before and wanted to read more.  It took me a while to find the book blogging community.  I didn’t seek it out.  I did happen across Kathy (Bermudaonion) after a while and then started finding all the other great book blogs out there.  I was/am a lover of romances, mysteries, and classics, but other bloggers have encouraged me to read more mainstream fiction, chick lit.  It seems the blogging community has embraced the YA genre and I try to read one or two a year that appeal to me, but that is one genre I haven’t completely fallen in love with.

I have met so many wonderful people through this blog.  I wish I had more time to email or tweet to further those relationships, but I try my best to visit their blogs and comment often.  I’m terrible at responding to comments left on my posts but I  read andlove each one.  I just don’t have the time to respond and visit other blogs too.

My wish list, thanks to other book bloggers, is 20 pages long!

Today’s it’s all about the creativity.  We have this fabulous reading meme for you below and all you have to do?  Pick ONE or answer them all in as few words as possible!  Be creative, have fun, stand out!  That’s all! 

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?  Not really, unless wine counts 🙂
Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? Depends on the book.  Some books just beg to marked.
How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?  Laying the book flat open? Whatever is available, even dog-ears.
Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Mostly fiction.  I usually read to escape reality.
Hard copy or audiobooks? Both.
Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?  At this point, I often read in minutes spurts here and there.  I don’t often have the luxury of reading to the end of the chapter!
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?  No.
What are you currently reading? Skinny Legs & All, Mists of Avalon, Invitation (Deveraux), listening to Roots
What is the last book you bought? I picked up 7 a few days ago at Border’s.  They blend in with all of the other books I’ve brought home from Border’s in the past month!
Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?  See above.
Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? Anytime I can catch a few minutes.  At the gym or when Gage sleeps.
Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? Both
Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? Harlan Coben, Elizabeth Berg, A Confederacy of Dunces.
How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) Currently, a series bookshelf, books read, books to read and signed books bookshelves all alphabetized.

Big Stone Gap, by Adriana Trigiani

Big Stone GapFinished 9-9-11, rating 5/5, fiction, 269 pages, pub. 2000

Book 1 of the Big Stone Gap series.

She’s our starlet, so all the girls seek her approval and imitate her.  Tayloe gives them a standard, a marker by which to judge themselves.  Other skills and attributes can be appreciated and duly noted, but beauty is instantly obvious to all.  I have never met a girl (including myself) who did not long to be beautiful, who did not pray for her own potential to reveal itself.  When a girl is beautiful, she gets to pick-she never has to wait for someone to choose her.  There is so much power in doing the choosing.

Chapter 2 

Ave Maria has lived in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, her whole life.  She’s the town pharmacist and amateur director, but she never really feels like she belongs.  Her mother was from Italy and her father was distant and now that they are both dead she’s just passing time with regular visits to the bookmobile and nights out with her best friend, Theodore.  When a letter from the grave rocks the status quo, Ave Maria must decide where her future lies.

This book is full of southern charm and I loved it.  Ave Maria and her misfit friends all made Big Stone Gap so appealing.  The gossips and the haters made the small mining town so real.  Ave Maria had me rolling my eyes at her a few times, but for the most part I was just happy to be along for the ride.

There is nothing earth shattering here, but it was pure enjoyment.  I was unsure about the obvious-from-the-start love interest (and his name) but it all worked in the end and I look forward to continuing on with these quirky southerners in the next book.

This was from my personal library.  I picked it up (and way too many other books from my wish list) from Border’s for practically nothing.

Pictured Title Quiz – guessing closed

See if you can guess the titles of the books from the pictures.  9 points for the correct answer and 1 point if you know the author too. These all have one thing in common, an extra 10 points if you can guess what it is!

Please play along with us.  For everyone who plays an extra $ goes to the winner and the everyone is entered for a special prize.  Just leave a comment with your guesses and don’t google the answers.

Rules & Leaderboard here.  Last week’s Publication Quiz here.

1. &  Knots & Crosses (Ian Rankin)

2.   Killing Floor (Lee Child)

3.   Open Season (CJ Box)

4. The   The Bone Collector (Jeffrey Deaver)

5.  Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)

6. The   The Tea Rose (Jennifer Donnelly)

7.  Until  Dead Until Dark (Charlaine Harris)

8. The ‘s  the

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

9. The   The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

10.   the  One for the Money (Janet Evanovich)

Sundays with Gage- Wet

We spent the week on Kelley’s Island with Gage’s babysitters, um, I mean, grandparents.  This is a small island on Lake Erie that we visit every few years.  I love it because it is so small that you can walk everywhere you need to go and it’s quaint in a good way.  We always go in September after all the drunks have cleared out.  It rained.  A lot.

We spent lots of time inside due to the rain, but still managed to have a great time.

I apologize for the funky formatting.  Whenever I try anything else it deletes the photos!









Kid Konnection – September 11th

A Gift Of Loveby Dr. Claus.  Illustrated by Christopher Vassallo.  30 page paperback.  First published in 2001.

I saw somewhere recently that 97% of Americans remember where they were on September 11, 2001.  I am one of them.  For some reason I was watching the Today Show (it was not normal for me to be up at that hour!) and they were talking about the first plane, still thinking it had been a horrible accident.  But when the second plane hit confusion reigned there and on all the other channels.  I was glued to the television that day and most every day for a few weeks time.  I love New York City.  Jason and I had enjoyed almost 5 months living in midtown just the year before.  On that day I opened my photo album to the page of pictures I took from the top of the World Trade Center in September 2000 and had a hard time coming to terms with the terror that the people who were there must have felt when they realized that being rescued probably wasn’t going to happen.

I am sure that one day I will share the chaos of that day with Gage and A Gift of Love by Dr. Claus is a good starting point.  A young girl is about to start her first day of second grade and she shares the excitement of the morning with her mom and dad, a New York firefighter. The story is told beautifully from her perspective, as she is sent home early from school and her mother tells her what had happened to her dad.  I was completely touched by it.

Dr. Claus is an Iraq veteran and he also has a personal story that is included in the book that will remind us all to thank soldiers, veterans, and those that protect us on our own streets for their service to us and to this country.  Our lives are richer because of their committment and sacrifice.  You can visit his website for more information and to order a copy for yourself.

I admit that as much as I loved the story I was less than excited by the illustrations, but Gage seemed to like them 🙂

Visit Booking Mama for other blog posts related to children’s books.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VI

I need another challenge like I need another 10 month old, but here I am, admitting I joined just one more.  I’ve seen this one around every year and always meant to participate, but never got around to it, so this year in a moment of weakness I joined it.  I think it’ll be fun.

Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting.  Here are a few of the details if you are interested too.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Dark Fantasy.

The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.

I signed up to read two books before the end of October.   Let me know if there is one that I just have to read.

Open Season, by C.J. Box

Open Season (Joe Pickett Series #1)Finished 8-31-11, rating 3.5/5, mystery, 278 pages, pub. 2001

Book 1 in the Joe Pickett series

Joe lived, but it wasn’t something he was particularly proud of.  It was now fall and Sunday morning dawned slate gray and cold.  He was making pancakes for his girls when he first heard of the bloody beast who had come down from the mountains and tried to enter the house during the night.

Chapter 1 

Joe Pickett is a stand up guy.  He has a loving wife and two little girls with another baby on the way and he has his dream job as a Wyoming Game Warden.  When a dead man shows up in his wood pile, a man Joe has a history with, Joe wants to know why even if the local cops don’t seem to care.  When more hunters end up dead Joe knows something is up, but he’s hampered at every turn of his investigation.

Saddlestring is a small town that has seen better times.  Jobs have been lost and a potential pipeline through the town could mean big bucks.  Joe knows this but remains a man of principle.  He is easy to like and unlike some characters in mysteries who have to do bad things they never thought they’d do, Joe remains a steady and predictable character.  I like him a lot.  And his older daughter Sheridan is a great kid who is wise beyond her years, but not too much so that she doesn’t make kid mistakes.

I’ve never been to Wyoming but this book made me feel like I was there.  I’ve never hunted either, but I was immersed into that life for a while.  This book captured this atmosphere perfectly for me, which is great because I picked it up for the States Challenge.

I’ve read a few bloggers who really like this series and I admit I’m on the fence about recommending it.  I liked it, but don’t really have any desire to read any more of the series.  I think if this region appeals to you then the series might be a better fit.

This was from my personal library.

Publication Quiz- By guest blogger ‘Nise – guessing closed

The tables have turned and Nise, always at the top of the Leaderboard, has created a quiz just for you (and me).  All you need to do is match the titles with the year they were first published.  Easy right?  If you aren’t already familiar with Nise you are missing out and should visit her blog immediately!

Please play along with us.  For everyone who plays an extra $ goes to the winner and the everyone is entered for a special prize.  Just leave a comment with your guesses and don’t google the answers.

Rules & Leaderboard here.  Last week’s Suicide Quiz here.

If you are interested in creating a quiz (and earning 100 points for the week) let me know and I’ll get you on the calendar.

Match these best -selling books to their publishing dates.  Bonus points for knowing the author. (if you can’t see the books the titles are in the comments)

1813 1847 1908 1929 1936 1957 1960 1977 1986 1991 1993 2005

1. 1960 Harper Lee

2. 1813 Jane Austen

3. 1977 Colleen McCullough

4. 1929 Erich Maria Remarque

5. 1847 Charlotte Bronte

6. 2005 Steig Larsson

7. 1991 Diana Gabaldon

8. 1936 Margaret Mitchell

9. 1908 LM Montgomery

10. 1986 Stephen King

11. 1992 Robert James Waller

12. 1957 Boris Pasternak

Because of a typo, 1992 was not one of the choices.  Guesses of 1991 or 1993 will count 🙂

6 points for correct year, 1 point author, 1.4 points for both.

Sundays with Gage-Milestones

When you are a brand new parent you look at those parenting guides like the law.  They tell you when your baby is supposed to do this or do that and are supposed to be helpful.  Well, they are, at least until your perfect baby is late for one.  Then panic ensues and your husband has to listen to you obsess over every little thing.  And at only a month or two old there isn’t a lot going on so it is easy to put unnecessary pressure on yourself and your baby.

Milestones are important.  At the beginning of each new month I look at the What to Expect book and the Baby 411 book for new tricks Gage should be learning, but I don’t obsess anymore.  Those first three months I drove myself and Jason crazy.  Some milestones he was early for (raising his head, bearing weight on his legs), some he was right on time (sitting up), and others he was late for (smiling).  But somehow if you wait a month or two you’ll find that your baby will do things on his own time.  As my pediatrician told me, “the baby doesn’t read those books.”

All of the obsessing doesn’t make it happen any faster and you lose happy time just enjoying your baby.  Having said all that Gage did reach a very important and scary milestone this week.  He is crawling!  All others to this point pale in comparison to this life changer.  He is fast and I’ll admit that we are a little late in baby proofing the house.  It’s so much fun to watch him cruise around on his own.  See?

But with this freedom comes stressful moments like these…

He falls down.  A lot.  But at least not off this step so far 🙂  Welcome to the crazy train.  I’ve had a lot less time at the computer this week for very good reason !








Thanks for all of the advice on the napping last week.  I confess I have not been very successful this week, but I’m okay with that.