Friday, September 30, 2011

Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

Goodreads Synopsis:  In 1904 Texas Ranger Luke Palmer arrives in Brenham, Texas, with one goal—to capture the gang of outlaws led by Frank Comer. Undercover as a telephone repairman, he uses his days on the range to search, not realizing there's another pair of eyes watching him.


Georgie Gail, switchboard operator and birder, heads out on a birding expedition, but instead of sighting a painted bunting, her opera glasses capture her telephone man, armed and far away from telephone lines. Palmer is forced to take this alluring troublemaker into his confidence and unwittingly puts her in harm's way. The closer he comes to the gang, the further she works her way into his heart—and into trouble. Soon it's more than just love that's on the line.


Love on the LineLove on the Line by Deeanne Gist
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As usual, Deeanne Gist gives up the goods.


hobbied heroinie + handsome, undercover lawman  = good, not overdone, but not underdone either.  Just right.


It's a fun read.  One thing I just love about Gist's books are that they are labeled romances and they actually say they love each other/kiss BEFORE the last page.  Amazing.


It didn't follow a typical romance arc, which was kind of surprising.  On top of that, I couldn't always guess what was going to happen.  Always good.


Highly recommended.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Are You Ever Self-Conscious?


I pulled out the book I'm reading, Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist, while I was in Bio Lab today.  You've heard me talk about her before probably.

Before you scold me, I wasn't reading while he was teaching.  I'd already looked at my slides, put my microscope away, and was waiting for the next part of class.

Well, anyway, Bio Prof came up to me and asked me what I was reading.

"A book that just came in."  Maybe had my Bio Prof was a woman, I may have said the title, that it was a historical romance, etc.

He told me it was good that I read and that I looked like a reader.  He pointed out that reading is supposed to put off Alzheimer's.  I remember doing some Googling a while back.  I never found confirmation of that and I told him that they disproved it, or that they couldn't prove it, something like that.  I Googled it again today and I couldn't find anything definite.  Although, I did find that they're studying to see if Vitamin B could put off Alzheimer's.

"What do you read?" he asked.  Before I could answer, he said, "Fiction?"

I nodded.

He told me he didn't like fiction because it's not true.  He likes true stuff.

Now, when the girl next to me asked about it, I just handed the book to her.  She's a girl, she understands.  Or at least I hoped she would.

"It looks good," she said.

"It is," I answered back.  I may have said Gist was one of my favorites, but anyway...

On MWFs, I got 4 textbooks and my binder in my backpack.  The last thing I want to add is more weight to it.  Those days, I just read from my Kindle App on my BB.  I can fit in that way.  People can think I'm doing whatever they please.  They see my staring at my phone, they think I'm like them, nobody asks me questions.  They don't know I'm undercover.

Honors-Meeting Tuesdays and every Thursday, my true colors shine.  I have a print book with those days.

After being surrounded by non-readers for years, I'm very defensive and close-mouthed about it.  Being  called, "Girl Who Reads," and people asking me why I read has left me very distrustful of a non-reader asking me about what I'm reading.  Even profs who are supposed to encourage it.  Because reading it good for you whether it puts off Alzheimer's or not.  It'll still sharpen your mind.

I've had enough of being picked on and the awkward questions.  While I haven't dealt with teasing in college, the high school years of teasing/not fitting in are still fresh.  It doesn't help that I'm still in a personal classroom setting and it's still a lot like high school.  

Please, non-reader, don't ask me about my book.  That was--for the most part, still is--my mindset.  Don't try to understand, because until a book casts its spell on you, you can't understand.  

Have you ever been self-conscious about what you read in public?  Are you not, but when someone asks you about it, do you become self-conscious?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Double Standards

Excerpts from Jadi's Connotative Dictionary:
Zeal - the most annoying human emotion
Zealot - an annoying person
Huntin' - we don't say "hunting" here. It's huntin'.


I have standards.  We covered this.


I got double standards too.


Double Standard I've Caught After Serious Thought:


If I haven't mentioned this before, I'm anti-environmentalist/green (even if it is my favorite color), and anti-animal rights.  I am 100% save the humans.  Under no circumstances is a tree or a dog more important than  a person, nor are they equals.  Keep this in mind.


My mom and I were going to pick up Vin from the Elementary school.  Mom was telling me about the stamps she got.  One of which was, "Go green."


"How dare you," I said.


When she asked why, I said that it was environmentalist.


My mom doesn't exactly share my views.  She agreed that yes, we were first, but that doesn't mean we should destroy the world.  She's okay with being enivoronmentalist.


I don't want to make it worse, I told my mother.  I just wasn't going to go out of my way to help.


It's unfair of me.  One, because if something is "go green" and just so happens to be cheaper than the normal one, I'll get it.  It's cheaper, after all.  I'm against it, but I'm not impractical.


Every time I see the ASPCA begging for money, I think, "You wouldn't need so much money if you invested in a 20-20 (or even a 30-30) and some bullets."


My mom's friend the librarian worker is go-green.  She's one of the best people I know.  But she also knows that people are more important.  Lumping her in with the zealots isn't fair to her and gives the crazy ones too much credit.


Passion is infectious but when people go over the top, I shut down and shut them out completely.  Considering that's all I see, I'm prone to think all the supporters are that way.  Again, not fair.  If somebody's going to chain himself/herself to a tree, well...anyway...


Now that I have given myself a good chastisement, it's time to read a Kindle book that no trees were killed to make.


One day, I'm gonna plant a bunch of trees in my backyard and then I'm going to sell it to a paper company.  "Here!  I planted them with THAT purpose in mind.  Now, print me some books."


Other reading:  The Incredible Like

Monday, September 26, 2011

Reading-Blitz

Yup, I've finished all 5 books and the 2 short stories.



SQUEEEEEEE!!!


I love the series.  The first 2 books got 4 stars.  3-5 got 5 stars apiece.  The Christmas short got 3 and the Valentine's Day got another 5.


(Insert more spazzing here.)


All in all, I'd say I was a very satisfied reader.


Am I started Hollywood Headlines now?  Um, no.


I finished The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King.  I was so ready to be finished with that book, but I have to admit, when I reached the last page, I was really happy with it too.  4 stars.


Now, as long as I stay away from suck-ish books, I've been in a pretty good mood.  I mean, how could I not?


Whilst I was knee-deep in the SK, I looked around Perk for the other SK books.  Seeing which was about who and what, what the page number is, et cetera.


Insomnia and Bag of Bones are next on the Books by SK That I Want To Read Before Graduation in May List.  


Oh yeah, and I have to read all of Beowulf for World Lit.  I already Sparknoted it.  30-something pages worth of information on it.  It's so counting for my reading challenge, the actual epic, I mean.  I let the shorts count, didn't I?  It's an epic poem, and it's longer than the shorts, I'm sure.  It's counting!


Yes, the High Heels are in chronological order:




While I got covers for the books I've been reading displaying:
I really like The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon's cover.

    The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon    Insomnia   Bag of Bones

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something About a Book

I have a Kindle.  I love it.  There's so many books in this little electronic package.  It's mouth-watering.  It's enough for me to spaz and twitch over.


So many books...


We met up with the pastor and his wife yesterday.  Pastor was urging Mom and Dad to get my a Nook, what his wife has.  They know I'm a bibliophile and an aspiring writer.


Proudly, I pulled out my Kindle and showed them.  "I love it."


Yeah, I know I got a BlackBerry Torch with a touch screen.  Touch screens are cool, but I like pressing buttons.  I love my BB.  I can use buttons or the screen.  Otherwise, I probably would've given the Nook more consideration.  I like my Kindle.  It works for me.  I can't do touch screen only.  I refuse to do touch screen only.


I think I have a tangibility complex.


The goal of the Kindle was for everything to fade away and to loose yourself in reading.  Some time last year, I started Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros on eBook on my computer one night.  The next day, I sat down at my computer and stayed there the entire day.  Didn't take care of the animals, probably didn't eat much, I may have gotten up once or twice to do something for my mom, but mostly, I just read.  I finished it that night.


It doesn't take much for me to get lost in a book, no matter what the medium is.  The only problem with reading eBooks on a computer is that, well, as comfy as my computer chair is, as comfortable as I can make myself, I can't haul my desktop everywhere.


This is where my Kindle comes in.  I don't take it many places, mainly because I'm afraid of it getting damaged or stolen.  Well, not afraid.  I'm paranoid.  I have the Kindle app on my BB, so it's not a big deal.  I can read it on there.  And that screen is back-lit, so I don't need any lighting.


But there's something about a book...


I picked up a print book yesterday (the day before?) and just the feel of it seemed foreign, but familiar at the same time.


Man!  That feels good.  Never mind it was by my favorite author.  I will continue to get his books in print until publishers are no longer making print books.  Which, hopefully, is a long time from now.

Kindles don't smell like ink and paper and don't have real pages you can turn.  It's also a lot harder to read the last page.  Trust me, I've tried.  Don't judge me, it's not like you've never done it. 


Books are more user-friendly too.  You can easily read a few pages ahead to see if Guy A walks in on Girl A and Guy B and then go back.  You can't do that on a Kindle, not without losing your place.  I did that last night on my Kindle.  I had fun trying to find my place again.  You puppy ear the page and then look at the author's pic on the back and wonder what he was thinking when he was shot with the camera.  Or you can read the back description or just stare at the pretty cover.


Did you know a lot of Kindle books don't have the cover they're advertised with?  How annoying.


Print books, for now, aren't going anywhere.  I just ordered 3 from Amazon, one was a pre-order.


They should never go out of style.  What'll happen when the government decides we don't need electricity?  How will we power-up our gadgets then?


Books don't need batteries, to be charged, or booted up.  Just open the cover and go, go, go.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Investing in Books

Because I've enjoyed the Gemma Halliday High Heels Mysteries, I got a boxed set of another of her series:  Hollywood Headlines.  One of the characters from High Heels has a big role in these books.


I have one book left in High Heels, and then a little novella-type book.


Gemma Halliday's been a great author so far.  She's got the sensationalism thing down pat.  Every book seems bigger, badder, and more dangerous than the one previous.  Rare gem, that, no pun intended.


Just for what the last book and novella are about, I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy them.  Maddie and  the LAPD are getting married!  (Well, if you looked at the descriptions of all the books, you know it's happening.)  The short is about their first anniversary that falls on Valentine's day.


Okay, I'll admit it:  The Christmas short wasn't that great.  I think she wrote it just because readers (and maybe the author herself) wanted to know what a Ramirez-and-Maddie first Christmas would be like.  This last novella is a mystery like the rest of the books.  I can't wait.


SQUEE!!! 


It's such a great thing when you can find an author you just click with as a reader.  You find books that just satisfy you.  It makes you smile just thinking out it.  Years after you read it, you're still like, "Man, that was a good book."


While I'm on a chick-lit mystery reading blitz, I kind of want to check out the Stephanie Plum books.  They're not exactly chick-lit, but they keep comparing Maddie Springer to Stephanie Plum and I read the first book's description and I am interested.  Perk's library has two of them.  I'll have to see about an interlibrary loan for the other ones.  Hm hm hm...

Friday, September 23, 2011

What Do You Use?

I know, I know, this sounds really weird coming from somebody my age, but:

There is such a thing as too much technology.

I have Microsoft Word 2007 on my computer.  It's a great software, however, it thinks it's smarter than I am and re-formats my document.  I write fantasy.  I have weird names (although most can be found in a baby name book).  Those little red lines get distracting.


I like WordPad.  No red lines show up.  It doesn't try to re-format what I'm writing.  It just lets me select Times New Roman, size 12.  And I can go, go, go.  Comes up quicker too.

When I first started writing, I used WordPad religiously until I got all the shiny stuff in Word.  Obviously, it got old.

Look at how simple and easy that is.  No stress.



On Word, I have to do all that, fix the spacing between paragraphs, constantly see how many words I've gotten on the bottom task bar, constantly, constantly, constantly re-fix my font/size of the text, tell the program to quit tabbing for me because I know where the tab button is and I like pressing it and I don't like the little spacing arrow at the top of the ruler moving from the margin line, red or green lines appear under the errors...

Is all that really necessary when I'm not interested in any of it at the moment?

I hate Windows 7 with a red-hot, flaming passion.  It committed the unforgivable sin of changing WordPad (that's not the only reason, but it was the dealbreaker).  It looks like Word now.  I wanted to pull my hair out when I saw it.

Word does have its advantages, though.  When I'm ready for all that pretty formatting, or I need to put in a page break for a school paper, grammar check, and word count, then Word's fine.

But when I want to just pound keys and figure out what I'm going to do to my characters next, all that fancy stuff has to go!

What word processor do you use?  (And do you have any recommendations?)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pass the Shrooms, Please

I learned some interesting stuff in Biology II today--other than jokes from Bio Prof.

A single fungus can produce up to a million or even a trillion spores.  A spore from Louisiana can wind up in Arkansas.

Their mycelium can spread out for acres and acres.  Enormous.  All part of the same organism, too.

Can we say horror story fodder?  You see plenty of horror stories about bacteria and virus induced illnesses and things like that, but fungus?

Fun biological thriller.  Good way for somebody to kill two hours.  Somebody other than me, because I'm not a thriller and/or horror movie-type person.  I read it, can't watch it. 

Primeval did an episode with a highly-evolved fungus.  It looked like the swamp monster.  This beastie infected an entire building and at first they wanted to use a flamethrower to kill it.  They wound up having to freeze it.  It killed almost everybody that came into contact with it.  One of the main characters gets "infected" and they freeze her, but bring her back to life, and then she quits the force.  She'd been in plenty of near-death situations, but after that, she decided to quit while she was ahead.

That's the only instance in media I can think of.  But then, I wouldn't know much outside my sphere of entertainment either.

Just imagine the people from the Mushroom Kingdom (Toad from Mario Brothers), turning evil and running rampart on the streets of NYC...

Attack of the Evil Mushrooms!

Monday, September 19, 2011

In the Stacks

Two people were in the stacks at the library on Friday.  You know the PS section with all the Dean Koontz and Stephen King books and Mercedes Lackeys...  In effect, all the fiction books.


There was a person there other than me, that is.


One of them, I wanted to stare at in plain shock.  Nobody is ever in the stacks when I'm back there.  Unfortunately, I had to go to class and I had to leave so I couldn't stare at the poor fella.


So I left and went to class.  By the time I was back, he was gone.  But there was somebody else back there asking my mom's friend the librarian worker about the books.

She went down the PS aisle too.  Two in one day.  Amazing.  I asked her if there was anything in particular she was looking for.  No, she was just seeing what they had.

The only books I've really read were the Stephen Kings.  She was open to anything that wasn't a murder mystery, is that what h wrote?


Stephen King's horror, I told her.  I think she looked a little, well, pale.  You know, the kind of face people get when they realize they may be talking to a mentally unsound person.


Still, I recommended The Eyes of the Dragon, and Firestarter.  Good starter King books.  You get a taste of his writing but don't run the risk of wetting your pants.  Perfect. 


The best part of all this was that she still took my recommendation and took one and said she'd try the other one next.


You can well imagine my excitement.  Not everyday somebody takes my book recommendations, and certainly not everyone goes into the library stacks.


All in all, I'd say that was a great day in the library.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Standards

I finished Dead Until Dark.  I wasn't impressed. I laughed a lot, but apparently, it wasn't enough.  This REALLY surprised me.

I know, I'm just as surprised as you are:  I have high standards.

Apparently, I do need more than a few laughs for me to truly like a book.  Like a strong plot, characters I actually like, but it's okay if they're kinda flat.  Plot is more important than characters for me, really.

It's supposed to be a mystery, but I didn't find Sookie was really active in solving the mystery.  She listened in on a few minds, never found anything, never put the pieces together...etc.

The ending... well, we know how I feel about endings.  It wasn't good enough.  I'll forgive anything if the ending's good.

Also, one line in the whole book kind of just jolted me out of the story:

"Every now and then I felt like Bill's doll."

For those of you who haven't read it, Bill liked braiding & brushing Sookie's hair. There's nothing weird about that in and of itself.  I thought it was really sweet.  I did like Bill.  Most of the time.

However...saying "Bill's doll"...

Dracula playing Barbies, anyone?  I got weirded out. I can't explain it.

I find myself...still on Team Van Helsing.

What's stronger?  The vampire or the one that kills him?  Plus, I mean, it's Hugh Jackman...

I will continue to get my recommended dose of dumb blonde mysteries from the High Heels Mysteries by Gemma Halliday.  But Maddie's really not that dumb.  I think she is intelligent, just a little naive.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fangbangin'

I started the first Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead Until Dark. My mom's read them. My sister's read them. My writing buddy, Lacey, has read them.

Basically, all the readers in my real life.

So, I've told Lacey that I started it, and I told Goodreads. You guys are next.

Why Vampires Suck at Math - Not Funny CartoonsI'm enjoying it, kind of. I mean, I expected a lot more than what I'm getting. This is why I'm always leery of books that people just love-and-tell-me-I-need-to-read-it-to-be-cool.

With no foreseeable end in sight to the series, I'm reluctant to read beyond the first one. If it wows me, I might go against my grain and read what's there and wait like the rest of the Fangbangers for the next book to come out. If not, well, I can say I've read a Sookie Stackhouse, review it, and go on with the rest of my reading life.

Sometimes you just find a book that clicks for you. You love it from page one and finish it in three-four days (that's my norm). You can't help but want the finish out the book or the series.

And then there are the other ones. You trudge through it. But once you're done with it, you know it was time well spent. It was worth it.

And then there are others that you trudge through and/or devour and just go with the rest of the middle-rate crap you read.  It was good, but not that good.

I don't know where this book will go.  I laugh at it.  I think it's interesting, even if the vampires are jerks.  I have mixed feelings about Bill.  I remember a Facebook flair saying it was like Twilight for adults.  I can't help but agree.  Still, I picked it up at the library and started reading it, and then snagged (okay, stole) my mom's copy at home to finish it out.

Darn my curiosity.  Let's see how this turns out, shall we?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Honors

My Honors professor asks the teachers whom we do Honors projects for not to go over the top with what they have us do.


World Lit I: 4-5 critical analysis on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Travelling Companion."  This is that teacher's first year at Perk, and first year, I think, having a student do an Honors project.  She didn't know what to give me, even after talk to Honors Prof, and she let me pick.  I don't know how much analysis has been done on "The Traveling Companion" but I know I'll be able to manage it.


Why didn't I do "The Snow Queen"?  That would probably take 10-15 pages.  It's an in-depth fairy tale and there's been a lot said on it.  "The Traveling Companion" is more obscure, and there's not as much on it.


Biology II: 14-page paper and a 10-15 minute presentation on a topic of my choice.  No, it's not over the top at all.  0_0  I got a bunch of scientogical topics that I was interested in together.  On the list that I showed Bio Prof, he picked...dinosaurs.  Oh, I am so having fun with that presentation.

I got two topics that I really like.  You know, I heard a horror story about teachers who give their Honors kids 50-100 page papers.  Some outright refuse to give their students a project at all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau

I caught the Kindle bug, I think.  I saw this book either on Amazon or Goodreads and I was just thinking, That sounds fun.  I had just enough money on my account to get it too.  ("When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes." Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus)

When I found out the character was only 13, turning 14, I was a little more attracted to it.  I'm tired of all these advanced high school, junior-senior books.  I was ready for something about a young person.

This isn't part of my Goodreads review, but it kind of reminded me of The Thirteenth Year.

Goodreads Synopsis:  Freak of nature takes on a whole new meaning...
If Jade hadn't been so clueless, she might have seen it coming. But really, who expects to get into a relaxing bathtub after a stressful day of shopping for tankinis and come out with scales and a tail?


Most. Embarrassing. Moment. Ever.

Just soon discovers she inherited her mermaid tendencies from her mom. But if Mom was a mermaid, how did she drown?

Jade is determined to find out. So how does a plus-size, aqua-phobic mer-girl go about doing that exactly? And how will Jade ever be able to explain her secret to her best friend, Cori, and to her crush, Luke?

This summer is about to get a lot more interesting...


Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings
Real Mermaids Don't Wear Toe Rings by Helene Boudreau
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a great way to lose a few hours. It's funny. I loved the characters, and the surprise at the ending is just too great to miss!

Recommended for girls, any age.

Monday, September 12, 2011

To the Christians: Freedom from "Religion"

"Religion" is not a bad word.  It's just a word.


From Dictionary.com:


Religion
noun
1.
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creationof a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
4.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
5.
the practice of religious  beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

This is a dirty word in most churches. You could drop the f-bomb, and they wouldn't be as offended as they would be if you said, "Christianity is my religion." (This is probably an exaggeration, but bear with me.)

Yes, I've spouted "It's not about religion, it's about a relationship" several times over the course of my life.  Yeah, the relationship part is really important.

Some people take this too far.  When I can't say, "Christianity is my religion," and somebody tells me they don't have a religion (yet they're a Christian), it rankles me.

"Religion" is just a word.  Just like any other word.  I don't understand how some Christians get so riled up over it.

Set of beliefs.  Adherence to a moral code.  Devotion.  How--why, why my dear Christians, is this such a bad word?

Maybe it's the label stigma.  I happen to like labels.  I like being able to classify such and such with this certain term.  Yeah, some things can't be labeled (those are the Specials--which is still labeling, by the way), but most stuff can be.

Christianity is, as far as labels are concerned, my religion.  In practice, I am a Ragamuffin.

Christianity has a set of beliefs.  It's about the devotion to a God, and more importantly, His devotion to His people.  It is attempted adherence to His laws.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Christianity is a religion.

Religion.  Religion.  REE-LIH-JUN.  Say it with me, Christians.