Monday, April 26, 2010

Pink Eyes

Can you say "pretty girl"?!?!?!

I'm puffy and pink and it's ever so pretty...

First grade is trying to leave it's mark on me one way or another! But the worst part is that it hurts to read! Ouch!
I should have called in a sub - administration wasn't any too happy to have me there (now that's a change!), but it's "test" week and I'm determined to stick it out. Sooo....Z-pack and massive antibiotics to the rescue. Now if only the sinus headache will disappear! Argh!

In the meantime I'm...
Studying - Spanish
Watching - the Suns playoff game!!
Thinking - about my pillow
Reading - Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn (upstairs), I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (traveling book), and Open Season by CJ Box (downstairs)
Wondering - where all the cool weather went - it's HOT!
Hoping - for good scores for my students. Come on little bugs!

Random thought - Am I looking at the world through "rose colored" eyes now?!?! Hmmm...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Show Me Five Saturday

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
2 Words that describe the book
3 Settings where it took place or characters you met
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it

5 Stars or less for your rating?

1 Book you read and/or reviewed this week
Heist Society by Ally Carter
2 Words that describe the book
Art Theft!
3 Settings where it took place or characters you met
Setting - all over modern-day Europe (England, Paris and Austria (you just have to throw plausibility to the wind with this book!)
Kat - Katarina Bishop, 15 year old daughter of two world renowned art thieves, has decided to change her ways and leave the "family business". Unfortunately a powerful mobster has other ideas. Kat is thrown back into her old life when she needs to protect the ones she loves by stealing 5 old world masterpieces with a team of "highly trained thieves" - teenagers themselves!!

Hale - W.W. Hale, IV. Old-moneyed, bored teen who has become Kat's co-conspirator and friend. He's every girl's dream; good looking, moneyed, suave and a natural with people, yet Kat won't allow herself to be more than friends. Or will she? Hale's real need is to belong; to feel a part of the "family", even if it is a family of thieves.
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it
1 - Think of the movies Entrapment, Ocean's 11, and Sneakers and you'll have a pretty good mindset for this book. Not very plausible but a good ride nonetheless. I can see a Disney teen movie in this.
2 - Does the fact that Kat is stealing art masterpieces to release her father or return them to their rightful owners make things right? It's a conundrum we often use to validate our own choices. Talk about a mixed message book.
3. The plot line was certainly entertaining, I kept turning the pages, and the author did keep some good plot twists and turns at the end. Yet surprisingly enough I never really cared about Kat and certainly never felt a sense of "family" that I knew the author wanted to portray. I never understood her kinship with nor care for her Uncle Eddie, never felt her love for her father who she was now risking her life for. It all felt detached and aloof.
4. Although the characters jet-setted all over the continent, the settings never seemed to play much of a role in the book. Each setting was set off beautifully in the book with a world map, a destination and a count down of days. I wish as much care had gone into making the setting a bigger part of the story by the author.
5 Stars or less for your rating?
It was a fun romp, a change of pace from some of my other readings of late and I just downright love YA literature, but after all the hype this one fell flat.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some New Friends

I made friends at the bookstore the other night. It was the perfect setting too. Cool spring night, Grimaldi's perfect pizza for dinner, Old Town Scottsdale, and a breeze coming through the bookstore's open door. It was the perfect place to talk books, share ideas and make friends. Author CJ Box told great stories, applauded US as readers, and made me feel like we could be buddies! CJ Box writes a mystery series based in Wyoming featuring a game warden, Joe Pickett. I have never read any of his books but I'd heard lots of great things about him and figured that Rich would like him too, so off we went to meet a new friend!! The crowd was full of questions and CJ Box catered to us all. Wyoming, as a setting, actually becomes another character in his books, and those from Wyoming seemed to flood the audience. It seems that everyone there had either been there or was from there. (We had traveled all across it two times this summer so we felt like experts ourselves!) I loved the story that he shared about a comment that he got on his blog one time from a woman who ended up being Gary Cooper's (the actor)daughter! She had been introduced to CJ Box's books and felt that the main character, Joe Pickett, was a lot like her dad; a man's man and one of intelligence and integrity. She had just figured that no one wrote about guys like that any more. His publicist contacted her and they ended up meeting. Chuck (we're friends now, ya know!) said that he sat in awe of her the whole meeting! What a personable guy! I can't wait to try his books now.
I also met another friend; the woman sitting next to me. We talked forever. I loved learning about her journey to Arizona and her discovery of self. I left the store wishing we had exchanged phone numbers. Next time I will follow that inspiration!! I went out to the bookstore with my best friend and came away with even more friends - and a few books too!!!!(don't tell!)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!

(Artist - Liz Lemon Swindle)

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I know that my Redeemer lives.
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
He lives, my ever-living Head.
He lives to bless me with his love.
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed.
He lives to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply.
He lives to guide me with his eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint.
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart.
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise heav’nly Friend.
He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing.
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath.
He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives my mansion to prepare.
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives!
He lives! All glory to his name!
He lives, my Savior, still the same.
Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives!

Text: Samuel Medley, 1738–1799. Included in the first LDS hymnbook, 1835.

Music: Lewis D. Edwards, 1858–1921

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mystery Madness or Spring is here!!

The Book Group theme was "Mystery Madness" again this year. Each member reads any mystery book they want and then we all gather for a bunch of "book - commercials" and tell all about what we read. It's fun to watch as each member writes down new titles and we pass around books!! Yippee for me - I read two different ones.

Nevada Barr's ,Firestorm, features Forest Service Ranger Anna Pigeon as she labors to fight both crime and a forest fire in Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. Barr's description of the landscape and feel of the forest gave you the feeling that she's really been there and experienced just what the characters have. She has!! Barr is herself a Forest Service ranger and writes what she knows. The "firestorm" descriptions were downright scary but the solving of the mystery dragged and plodded more than I wanted. I just wanted more. Barr writes about many of the National Parks around the country and my book-buddy, Rich, bought one of her books about Glacier National Park this summer when we visited Montana/Canada on vacation. I do believe I'll be tempted to try that one too!This was the first time I'd read any of Nevada Barr's work but I was glad to recommend it to the group!

The Thursday Club by Lee Martin was book #13 by an author I read a lot of about 10 years ago. When I found this elusive title a few years back I was excited but truly ran out of time to read it and it got shoved to the back of a shelf. When I culled my shelves this spring break I was thrilled to "discover" it again. I loved reading about the characters again, it was like meeting friends at a high school reunion. But like a reunion, you often find that you've outgrown the friends and you're glad that the reunion is a short one. You say all you need to say in a few minutes and then the silence is awkward. The book felt a little bit the same. Deb Ralston is a Fort Worth detective still trying to balance a growing family, private life and career. This time crime hits close to home when her "Thursday Club" jogging buddies come home to find one of their husbands murdered. Deb comes to comfort and help and is dragged into the investigation in more ways than one. I enjoyed the books for a few hours and then was ready to be done. It was nice to tie up some loose ends but I do believe as "friends", we've outgrown each other. Again, it was easy to talk about this book with others at book group, maybe they're ready to start a friendship with the book, but I'm ready to move on.

Now my nose is right in this book....truly quite addicting.

This Easter weekend is already starting out to be a beautiful one.

General Conference!!! Watching in our living room and in our jammies!! Yippee!

super-de-dooper Spring weather....

chocolate bunnies......mmmmm (need I say more?!?!)