Monday, March 26, 2012

Frustrated with Blog Comments....Suggestions please???

I am having some serious battles and frustrations leaving comments on Blogger and Wordpress blogs. I feel bad as I want to leave comments but they often don't go through with signing up my Google account or Wordpress account unless you can figure out how to sign in and it goes through correctly. I've emailed bloggers and asked what to do and it sounds like everyone is frustrated with these changes. I'm okay here on my blog as I haven't changed commenting with Blogger and left it the old way. I want to update my blog but am concerned that the changes are going to make it less user friendly.I have been trying to comment and visit blogs but it's not easy to leave comments on all blogs.  Are there any easy solutions or is it just hit or miss? How is everyone managing this? 

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour the month of March at Diary of an Eccentric

This is what I received in my mailbox and bought last week:

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson win from Bermudaonion. I was so excited that I won an Autographed copy of this book!  Thanks Kathy!! I moved my current book aside and have already started reading this, my first book by Joshilyn Jackson.

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas from Half Price Books Clearance section ~ I couldn't resist as I've read some interesting thoughts on this book and it sounds thought provoking. HPB has a great $1 clearance section and with a 50% coupon day it was only 50 cents!

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey from Half Price Books ~ 50% of coupon for this like new hardback book that was already marked down 50%! This was on my wishlist, I am a Jane Eyre fan so I was thrilled to find it on the New Books shelf!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Blogging...The Hunger Games & I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Allan Bradley

We've been enjoying some wonderful weather this week, it's spring and we've had summer temps in the 80's. This is highly unusual for Ohio and it feels like summer in March. We really did not have much of a winter so we are not sure what summer will be like. I'm enjoying the sunshine and it's definitely lifted the spirits with my health challenges. Thanks to all who commented last week and were so supportive and I have had some great chats by email with several great women who shared some insights and ideas with me. 

My son is on spring break this week and we are looking forward to some fun, sun and rest. I had hoped that he would want to see The Hunger Games movie with me but he saw the trailer and didn't care for the kids fighting scenes. I  understand as that is one of my concerns with the books. I bought him a copy of the first book, The Hunger Games and he has not read it yet. He read The Giver by Louis Lowry this year in English class (7th grade) and I read it along with him. It is a fabulous novel, thought provoking and not obviously violent. My son did like this book and expanded his reading into dystopian novels. So, for those with teenagers are your kids reading The Hunger Games...going to see the movie...what are your thoughts?

On the reading front, I have been reading but am still struggling with focusing on writing book reviews. I just finished the audio book of I am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley the 4th book in the Flavia De Luce series. This last one was not a favorite, it could be that I listened to the last three books on audio back to back. I found that this last book did not hold my interest as the other books had and I am finding that the stories are starting to become a rehash of the same plot strife, sibling rivalry with the sisters, detective investigations are similar and this one was a bit boring. Flavia is an 11 year old detective sleuth and I feel that she should start getting older in this the 4th book. I think that most 11 year old girls do not have the maturity and insights that Flavia is depicted as having. It is a bit unrealistic to me, even though this is the 1950's in England. I do love the setting and English touches and the narrator Jayne Entwistle is a fabulous narrator capturing the tone of the language and characters. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour during the month of March at Diary of an Eccentric

This is what I received in my mailbox last week:

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher from Paperbackswap

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain UK edition from Bookmooch

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Catching up on a Sunday ~It's almost Spring!

It's almost spring! It's so nice to have warm weather in March, it definitely lifts the spirits. My son and I spent the day enjoying the weather today. I even found one lone daffodil poking out by the waterfalls. 

I did not get any reading in today as we had to get out and enjoy the day even though I was limping around and may need to ice my ankle later. I did  get my walking boot off this week, which made me happy! I am still having some medical issues and have had some joint flares due to my new diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is a journey that I am learning how to manage each day...medication or not, medical leave of absence and so much more. If you are dealing with this and have any advice, please post and/or email me privately. 

On the reading front, I had book club this week and we discussed The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. I liked the book a lot and will post a review this week. We had some mixed views on this book but I found it a thought provoking book on the foster care system, bonds and how one can communicate emotions with flowers. 

I just started reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I have had it on my bookshelf for awhile and after reading Staci's review at Life in the Thumb I had to pick it up to read next. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is on tour for the month of March at Diary of an Eccentric

I bought both books at a local Half Price Books and was in luck as I found them in like new condition in the clearance section for a steal at $1 each! I couldn't resist.

The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book Club & Review of Girls From Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow

My book club discussed Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow for our February Book Club meeting that I hosted. We went to a restaurant and had our own private section which made for a great time and discussion about the book as we had appetizers, wine & beer and of course dessert! 

The Girls from Ames is a story about eleven girls who all grew up together in Ames, Iowa and had a special bond that continued into their adult lives. They spread apart to different states but they maintained their friendships through college, dating, marriage & divorce, motherhood, childhood illnesses and deaths. Their story is a true testament of the bonds of friendship and that friendship, especially among these women can be the glue that holds  their lives together. Jeffrey Zaslow is a journalist and wrote from that perspective as he shares the girls stories over a 40 year time period. It is a book that women can relate to as most of us can look back and recall memories of our first friendships and many are blessed to have maintained those friendships over the years. I grew up in the 60's and 70's when the Ames girls were growing up so I could relate to much of the cultural and social references. I have maintained contact and connections with many school friends from my youth but not in the same way as the Ames girls have. I do envy that connection that they have held throughout the years, always knowing that they have a group of friends that will be there for them.  

I liked the premise of the story of The Girls From Ames but the style of writing  and flow of the book didn't work for me. It was hard to connect to the girls as there were so many and it was hard to keep their lives and experiences straight. In the hardback edition that I read, there was a list of the girls and a small bio and picture that I frequently referred back to as I read. Some of the girls in my book club read the paperback edition which they said did not include this list which made it harder to keep track of the girls. We did all agree that the writing style was hard to follow and affected our appreciation of the book. We had a great discussion about the book, friendships over the years, adult vs girls friendships, struggles and challenges and the effect friendships have had on our lives. There is a game in the book that the Girls From Ames played as adults at one of their get-togethers called the "Pebble game". I made a version of the game called the Hershey Kiss game for our book club discussion and we all had a fun time with the game. In the Girls From Ames version of the Pebble Game, there are pebbles in a bag with numbers 1-20 on them. Each girl passes the bag and takes out a pebble and the leader has a list of life related fill in the blank questions related to each number. I used Hershey Kisses instead of pebbles and numbered the tags and made up a list of questions some which came from the book and others that I added. Overall, we had a great discussion of the book. Although most of us won't say it's a favorite book, we will remember that it stirred a wonderful discussion.

Sadly, right before our book club meeting, the author Jeffrey Zaslow was killed in a tragic car accident. He is the author of The Last Lecture and several other novels that share stories about inspirational people. He wrote columns for the Wall Street Journal that inspired many of the novels that he wrote. This is such a tragic loss for his family, first and foremost, as he leaves behind a wife and daughters. He has also left behind a legacy of stories that have touched the world.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday Snapshot

My new favorite thing is my monthly Birchbox. I wrote about it in a previous post here. I received my March Birchbox and it was filled with great nice sized samples of items I am interested in. It's a treat, something just for me which is rare these days. You can read more about Birchbox

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books

Thursday, March 1, 2012

"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" Best Animated Short Film Oscar winner

"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg was awarded the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the Academy Awards this week.  This is beautiful and charming, it's been described as "a magical love letter to books".  I totally agree, you must take the time to watch this short film, it's about 15 minutes in length and it will sweep you away into this wonderful world of books. The story that inspired the animated short film will be made into a picture book. I was mesmerized and loved every minute! Pure Brilliance!