Archives for May 2012

5 Blings! for Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to NOT Reading by @TommyGreenwald

Charlie Joe Jackson Bling!

Oh, Charlie Joe Jackson! You are a funny guy! I really enjoyed your guide to NOT reading!

What a great book! I love that it had elements of some of my favorite Middle Grade reads: The touching voice of The Wednesday Wars, the comedy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the silliness of Big Nate, and the cleverness of Origami Yoda! That’s quite a combo of awesome right there! 

The advice is great…only read books with short chapters, reading won’t help you succeed in life, never buy a book by someone whose name you can’t pronounce (and many more awesome tips!). I also love your excellent taste in music & your keen observations of those around you: Don’t call girls hot, because they, according to CJJ’s Mom, “think it’s insulting, “degrading” . . .  or “shallow.”” But giving them a theme song is pretty OK: “Hurrican Eliza comin’ in, the hottest hurricane in town” or “The thing about dogs is, they pretty much reflect the mood in the house.”

You are a smart guy, too, Charlie Joe. And I can’t blame you for hating to read. Your dad really did ruin it for you when you were little. I feel your pain, dude!  I, too, was jailed on a book-related infraction! I remember, with a shudder, all these years later, being locked on the porch one Sunday afternoon and not being allowed to enter the house until I finished some Little House book that I TOTALLY HATED for a book report due Monday (I think I was allowed in to pee, but I’m not 100% sure).

But guess what! I love reading now! I even became a teacher so I could get others excited about good books! What do you think about that, Charlie Joe?

If you don’t know Charlie Joe Jackson, you’re going to want to meet him right away! I’m SO ready for his next book, Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Extra Credit! September seems too far away!

5 Blings!

 

Recommend A…#1-Book With a Three Word Title

Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit started a fun new Monday post called Recommend A… & I’ve decided that Books and Bling should play along!

This week it’s Recommend A Book With a Three Word Title

Since so many books are either one word titles or a close to a sentence, it was  hard for me to think of a three word title on my own. I had to go to my Goodreads lists  for this one!

Since 3 is the magic number today, I picked my 3 favorite Three Word Titles from 2012:

The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake:

An awesome picture book illustrated by Adam Rex. This is a freaking perfect book that some wackos want banned from libraries. I read it to my 8th graders and they LOVED it! We call it The Naked Book. Here’s the quick version: He’s dirty, he gets a bath, his dog doesn’t recognize him, hilarity ensues, there’s naked parts, it is uprouriously funny!

The Dirty Cowboy Gets 5 Blings!

One Second After by William Forstchen

This book is a total WOW! for me. It freaked me out because it could SO TOTALLY HAPPEN right now, for real life! EMP’s go off, we have no power, no modern comforts, no transportation, no communication. Panic ensues and we’re all turning on each other to survive. Personally, just the thought of no air conditioning, iced coffee, or internet freaks me out. This book about pushed me over the edge. Just WOW! If you haven’t read it, you need to! Huge thanks to Parajunkee for getting me to read this one!

5 Blings for One Second After!

Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry

This awesome Zombie (yes, the get proper noun cred!) series is funny, poignant, and really freaking awesome! Brothers Tom and Benny Imura work to quiet Zoms in a crazy post apocalyptic world that isn’t ever what it seems.  Good guys, bad guys, confusion, and teen angst all come together in a series that is as exciting as it is undead! I’ve already ordered the third in the series Flesh & Bone, which is due out in September. If you are new to the whole Zombie Lit craze, this is a great place to start.  Pick up Rot & Ruin and you’ll be hooked!

Rot & Ruin + Dust & Decay = 5 Zombies Blings!

TGIF Question of the Week: A sad story

Ginger, from GReads!, has these awesome TGIF posts with really fun questions! I’m jumping in again this week, but with a warning:  My answer isn’t a happy one.  So, if you don’t want to read something sad, and I don’t blame you, then go ahead and skip this post.

A Book Blogger is Born:

What made you decide to 
start your very own book blog?

 

I started my book blog when I was going through a time of personal and emotional HELL! What started out as the best year of my life, quickly feel apart. In short, I had my dream job and Schmoopy and I were finally (finally, finally, finally after years of trying) going to have a baby. It was a time of true peace and bliss in our lives. It didn’t last.

There were plus signs and blood tests. There were ultrasounds and heartbeats. There were 13 weeks of complete euphoria. I was one of those annoying pregnant people that smiled every time I puked. It was just like heaven.

Then we went to visit to a new doctor for some testing (since I’m in the “kinda old to be pregnant” category, we needed to get some extra tests done). During the ultrasound, the tech, who we didn’t know, was making that “uh-oh” face. She said she’d be right back. I knew something was wrong. We were told by another stranger (a very nice doctor that I can’t help but despise) told us that our baby had no heartbeat. There aren’t words to describe this. We were broken. We were completely and utterly broken. Broken and shocked. This wasn’t supposed to happen. That was September 29, 2010. I had surgery on October 1. The recovery was awful. I was deeply depressed. I was in pain, both physically and emotionally.   I really was broken. There were nightmares, and pills that made me feel like I was being stabbed, and people that said the most horrible things. If you aren’t sure what I mean by this, please check this post by Devan at Unspoken Grief. There was a lot of healing that needed to happen in my heart and mind. My body was working against me and it seemed that everyone else was, too. If someone you know tells you that they’ve miscarried, love them, support them, express how truly sorry you are, and more than anything, keep your opinions and advice to your self.

As my world shattered (this may sound extreme, but it is actually an gross understatement), my work was also falling apart. My position wasn’t going to be renewed (budget cuts) and I was told that I’d be spending the rest of the year filling in at different spots throughout the building. Just like that, the dream job was slipping away, too. Isn’t there some saying about how long the fall is when you are on top of the world?! At almost the same time, my personal and professional life crashed.

Real depression is painful. It hurts. It also makes everyone who loves you hurt, too. Sometimes it brings out the worst in people. I will never understand why, but it’s true. Simple human kindness isn’t as common as I always believed it to be. And at the same time, the kindness of strangers is sometimes so powerfully beautiful that I almost can’t comprehend it. I’ll never know why some people act the way they do, especially when someone is in so much pain. I do know that most people are kind. I also know that I don’t have room in my heart or life for those that are unkind. What a horrible learning experience. I cannot even explain how amazing my husband was during all of this. I was completely broken and he stayed so strong. I know now that his heart was just as broken as mine, but I couldn’t do anything but breathe (and some days that was a struggle). He was perfect. He was everything I needed him to be. He found his healing through helping me. He really is my greatest blessing. I love that man!

In the spring of 2011, when I was just beginning to feel human again, I decided to start something positive. My love for reading and a silly little tradition of me taking pictures of my engagement ring (When Schmoopy and I got engaged, I started posting pictures of our Adventures in Bling!) came together into this blog. It was such a major part of my healing. I’ve met so many amazing people and learned so many new things. It’s been a little over a year now and I’m still learning as much as I can and trying to interact with as many wonderful people as possible.

That’s the long, sad story of Books and Bling! There is still healing to be done, unanswered questions about our future family, and lots to learn. Wow, this really made me feel better!

While this journey was born out of true tragedy,

it really is leading to a very happy ending!  

Please remember to be kind, always!

 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go Gets 4 Blings!

Wow!

Never Let Me Go is a simple story, yet so complex. There isn’t much I can say without giving away important information about the plot.

I will say that the story of Hailsham students sounds so calm and beautiful, but quickly begins to hint that all is not quite right in this tranquil setting.

It is a beautiful story. I think I will find myself thinking of it often. A story that that at feels effortless yet intricate at once. It is told in a gentle rhythm, and it left me in a state of awe.

Also, did not know this was a movie. I’m trying to decide if I want to watch it or not.

Have you read Never Let Me Go? Seen the movie? I’d love your thoughts! 

The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake Illustrated by Adam Rex

I am in love with The Dirty Cowboy! Just WOW!

The Dirty Cowboy Gets 5 Blings!

Hysterical, beautiful, and endearing, The Dirty Cowboy was fun and engaging! I’ll surely be buying this for all the little beasts and monsters in my life-those who will take a bath and those who refuse! I have a feeling that we’ll just be calling it the naked book for a while, but that’s OK!

Thank you Amy Timberlake & Adam Rex for a sure to be classic (even though some crazy people want it banned!).

Oh, Insurgent! You really are freaking awesome!

Insurgent Bling! Freaking Awesome!

So, I have to admit that I was a bit confused when I started reading Insurgent! It was just too long since I had read Divergent! I took a quit time-out to refresh my memory of the Factions. A quick visit to the awesome Divergent Fans  site fixed it all! I love this site, BTW. It is so awesome & totally my Divergent go-to site! I adore the faction symbols in the header, too!

After that, I was good to go. It was funny, because my friend told me the same thing! We were both too excited (nosy) to slow down & reread Divergent before diving right in to Insurgent. I mean, you can’t really blame anyone for that, right?!

I’m loving Insurgent! It is so what I wanted it to be! I hope to finish by the end of the week!

What are you reading? 

TGIF: My Literary Vacation! Where Would You Go?

I heard about this cool Friday question from Smash Attack Reads! I love her awesome book blog!

Today she posted about GReads! TGIF Question and I loved it! So, today I’m playing along!

Today’s Question: 

Literary Vacations: If you could take a trip this summer to any place within a fictional book, where would you go? Tell us about your summer dream vacation!

My answer came pretty quickly, which is funny because I am so not decisive!
I would totally choose Hogwarts! I’ve wanted to be a witch my whole life! Every year on my birthday, I (not so secretly) hope that this will be the year that I get my powers (yup, still hopeful after all these years). My mom teases me and always asks every birthday if it happened. Alas, no such luck yet!

I would LOVE it at Hogwarts. I would totally bring my cat Yankee with me. She’d love it! Poor Shakespeare would have to stay at home, he just isn’t magical enough (sorry Shakes!). I would be all over that castle, checking  out every room, trying out new potions and spells, and staying away from Snape and Filch! It would be EPIC! I just know that I’d be an excellent witch and totally rock that whole place!

This September, we went to NYC for a family reunion and were lucky enough to see Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Discovery Times Square. I loved seeing all the props, costumes, and pictures from the movies. I got to sit in Hagrid’s chair, throw a Quaffle in the Quidditch area, and pull a Mandrake! It was so awesome!  We haven’t made the trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure® theme park yet, but it is on my Oh My Gosh We Need To Do This!! List! We really need to make that happen soon! 

I really want to be a part of that world, especially now that Voldemort isn’t a threat!

What would be your ideal Literary Vacation? 

5 Blings! for Megan McCafferty’s THUMPED!

I loved Thumped! 

 

 

 

 

5 Blings for Thumped!                    
Here’s what Schmoopy and I were reading on our flight to Chicago. We both finished on our books during the  flight home! Since I got this His & Hers idea after takeoff, he really couldn’t refuse my request *evil grin*

I was totally reluctant to read Thumped! I didn’t like Bumped, not one bit. I even threw it across the room when I finished the last page (yes, I put myself in time-out after that).

After reading Thumped, I see that I just didn’t get Bumped. I read it at a point of my life that wasn’t the best time to read a book about kids and babies and infertility and all that. I get that now. Let’s just call it bad timing on my part.

This week I read Thumped and really appreciated it. I laughed and cried in all the right places. I got the clever use of language and appreciated how Megan McCafferty created this super believable, yet terrifyingly realistic, world in the not too distant future where all of this could totally happen. I loved all the language and creative names of everything. So clever! She also expertly crafted a fun read that calls attention to serious issues. That is no easy task. I won’t get political or talk religion, but I do appreciate her attention to both and the way Bumped & Thumped will get some people thinking about things in a way they may not have before. To accomplish that in a way that is both nonthreatening & entertaining is super impressive! I also loved the familiar references to Princeton, NJ (very close to where I grew up). So fun!

I don’t think I need to re-read Bumped, but I do have a new appreciation and respect for both books now!
I give them both 5 Blings!

Get Bumped & Thumped for yourself at your local library, your favorite independent bookstore, or online by clicking the pictures below:

The Post Where My Worlds Collide: Chicago Edition

This week I’m in Chicago at the International Reading Association’s 57th Annual Convention.

IRA 2012 Chicago

Two of my favorite things are combined: Reading and Education!

I don’t usually mix my two social media personalities, but this week Books and Bling and on Literacy Everywhere are mixing together in an epic pairing of awesome!

Yesterday, Schmoopy and I took a LONG WALK to see where Merit of the Chicgoland Vampire books lives-Go Cadogan!. Chloe Neill even posted my pic on her blog!

Cadogan House!

This morning, I got to see Dr. Steve Perry speak. He was really inspiring!

Dr. Steve Perry at IRA 2012

Then I met Michael Buckley and he loved the Bling! I’m a huge fan of his NERDS series! He is just as awesome in person as I thought he’d be!

Michael Buckley & the BLING!

 

Awesome NERDS Signed Copy Bling! YAY!

Next, I heard Nick Bruel speak and got him to sign some Bad Kitty books for me. I even snagged one of his Bad Kitty drawings from his presentation. AWESOME!

Bad Kitty for President! You’ve got my vote!

 

Bad Kitty Sketch!

Basically, I’m learning tons and fangirling my way through this awesome town! Well, we’re eating a ton of great food, too! Chicago is super yummy!