29 Apr

Happy Birthday Cheshire!!!

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Today my baby boy turns 3!

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When a co-worker told me that she had a mama cat and asked if I wanted one of the kittens, I answered with a resounding yes! I had recently moved back out on my own and Disney was feeling lonely after having my roommate’s cats for company, so bringing home a sibling to keep her company was perfect.

Cheshire sitting lip

While originally being named for his markings, making it look like he was grinning, Cheshire has definitely lived up to his name. As he has grown up he has gotten into all kinds of mischief, including locking himself in the bathroom as a kitten {I had to call maintenance for help getting into the bathroom}.

Cheshire&Eeyore

Hi antics and loving nature have worked their way deeply into my heart, and earned him the nickname monkey. I adore him from the tips of his ears to the tip of his tail.

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In the months since Disney has passed, Cheshire and I have bonded even more, comforting each other in her absence. My favorite moments are when he is curled up in my lap while I read.

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Happy 3rd birthday Cheshire Frederick!! Mommy loves you!

28 Apr

Favorite Authors~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Favorite Authors

While Elizabeth Gilbert writes both fiction and nonfiction, she is best known for her nonfiction works, specifically my two favorites: Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic.

Eat, Pray, Love                     Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Ms. Gilbert writes from a personal place, which I love. She openly shares her life and experiences in her memoirs and creativity books, imbuing them with a sense of humor as well. In reading her works, I feel like I am right there along with her.

“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.”
Elizabeth Gilbert

The memoir Eat,Pray, Love had a profound effect on my life in many ways. It was one of the first memoirs I ever read and endeared the genre to me. It also opened me up to the possibility of  change and allowed me to break out of some of the patterns in my life. It was after reading this book that I became a blogger and moved 1300 miles away from my home, being truly on my own for the first time ever.

I feel a kinship to many of Ms. Gilbert’s works, securing her place among my favorite authors.

27 Apr

Page vs Screen #2 The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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The Book:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: Gallery Books

The Movie:

Product Details
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky
Producer: Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith & John Malkovich for Summit Entertainment
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson & Ezra Miller

The Comparison:
Having the author write, direct, and act as an executive producer of the film made this film one of the closest adaptations I have ever seen. That being said, there are still plot and character variances between the book and the film.

The book is told entirely from Charlie’s POV  during his freshman year in high school and is told through letters sent to an anonymous friend that Charlie himself does not know. We are only privy to the information Charlie is told, observes, or infers.

The film includes moments of Charlie writing to his “friend” and we generally {with a few exceptions} see scenes which Charlie is in. The film also allows the audience to make their own inferences regarding the behavior of those around Charlie, namely his family, Sam, and Patrick.

The two biggest differences in the plot between the book and the movie involve Charlie’s sister. The first is her relationship with her boyfriend which is nothing like the book. The other is the climax point where everything comes to a head for Charlie; in the film his sister plays a pivotal role in this scene, whereas in the book she is not present.

There are of course some omissions in order to fit the story to film length. In this case, almost all of the deleted scenes are gatherings with Charlie’s extended family, which are not pivotal plot points. The other deleted scenes are either no essential to the plot line or involve the sister’s relationship, which was rewritten for the movie.

There are also some characterization changes, like Charlie’s freshman English teacher. And some characters play a much bigger role in the movie than the book, like Alice.

Bottom Line:
As previously stated, this is one of the closest adaptations that I have seen in my opinion. While there are some variances between the book and the film, the story still holds and the changes to not affect the plot line. If you loved the book, watch the film. If you loved the film, read the book.

* Cover links to Goodreads/IMDB; Title links to Amazon {affiliate}

26 Apr

Top Ten Tuesday #1: Bookish Things

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by the folks at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they provide a topic around which to create a list.

This week we are talking about our top 10 favorite bookish things. And since I love pretty much all things bookish, it was hard to narrow my list down to just 10 things!

Person Sitting While Open the Book

That “New Book” Smell
I absolutely love the look, feel, and smell of a new book. I love the way the pages feel in my hands. I even love the way my hand gets tired after holding a book for so long while reading. I am a huge proponent of physical books over e-books. At this time, I don’t even own an e-reader, though I have finally admitted to myself that I do need to get one as some titles are only coming out in e-formats {plus packing 6-10 books to take when I visit Cheshire every other week is getting excessive}.

Bookmarks
In a pinch, I can {and have} use anything to mark my page in a book. But if I have a choice, I’m always going to go for a “fancy” bookmark. I love bookmarks with pretty tassels and ribbons {though these tend to meet untimely ends since kitties think they are toys}. I love bookmarks with cute pictures. I love bookmarks with sweet quotes. I’ve even started making my own bookmarks with scrapbook paper.

Red heart on a old opened book

Characters, Characters, Characters
While some people may say the best part of a story is the plot, for me it is the characters. I can overlook a sub-par plot if the characters are written well. I love to try to get inside the head of the main characters, and often the secondary characters as well. And when a story ends, I tend to keep the characters in me heart as I carry on through life.

Creating a “Bed Nest”
My favorite place to read is my bed. Every day I create a little nest in my bed for myself to settle into with my books. First, I make the bed , then pile a back rest and pillows against the wall. Next I pile all {or some} of the books I am reading on the bed. I’ll add a snack and beverage on the side table and some music in the background, then settle in for hours content in my little nest. On cooler days I add a throw to cover up with.

Grey Tabby Cat Laying Next to Book

Kitty Lap
I cannot think of two things that go better together {except maybe peanut butter and chocolate} than cats and books. When I am with my kitty, he curls up into my bed nest with me and settles into my lap in a little ball. I am never happier than when I have a book in my hand and a kitty in my lap {unless you add in some of the previously mentioned chocolate and peanut butter}.

Books in a Series
I love series books. I love getting to know the characters a little bit more with each book in the series. I love immersing myself into the world within the story. I feel like the characters become my friends and family, and I always feel like a piece of my heart breaks whenever I finish a series.

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Bookshelf Art
Bookshelves are amazing because they can be arranged in so many different ways and become little works of art within themselves. I have seen shelves arranged by book height, by color, by some system known only to the owner {usually what I do}, and each shelf is beautiful in its own way. I especially love adding other bits and decor to bookshelves- candles, pictures in frames, figurines, etc; as long as the books themselves remain the stars.

Instant Community
When you meet someone who also loves to read, you know that you have met a kindred soul, even if you read completely different genres. When you find someone who reads the same genre and loves the same books, you’ve pretty much found a friend for life.

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Travel Anywhere from Your Chair {or Bed}
Books open new worlds. While travel around the world is more possible today than ever before, there are still those of us who can’t travel {or some who don’t want to}. Reading books brings the world to our chair, and creates new worlds that live only in the imagination of the authors. Through reading, I have spent time in the jungle, lived in a temple, explored space and fought in arenas. There are countless more adventures awaiting me inside the pages of a book.

Continued Learning
Through books I am able to continue learning every day. Nonfiction books bring information about any topic imaginable, but they aren’t the only books that teach us. Fiction brings a wealth of knowledge about places, people, morals, religions, historical periods, professions, etc. Every book has something to teach, even as it entertains.

What is your favorite bookish thing?

25 Apr

Monday Update #2 Shrinking the Stack

While my currently reading stack is still gigantic, I was able to shrink it a bit this week. Of course trips up to my brother’s house to visit Cheshire usually mean lots of reading, as was the case this week.

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Currently Reading:
{In no particular order}

Every Day is a Blessing by Aaron Zerah {re-read; brief daily reading}
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin {re-read; 1 chapter per month}
One Year to a Writing Life by Susan M. Tiberghien {1 chapter per month}
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Organizing Your Day by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims
365 Health and Happiness Boosters by M.J. Ryan {brief daily reading}
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
The 52-Week Life Passion Project by Barrie Davenport {1 chapter per week}
This Year I Will… by M.J. Ryan
Shelter for the Spirit by Victoria Moran
Being Single in a Couples’ World by Xavier Amador, PhD & Judith Kiersky, PhD
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
The MacKade Brothers: Devin and Shane by Nora Roberts
Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny S. Ditzler
Choose to Be Happy by Rima Rudner
52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You by Brett Blumenthal {1 chapter per week}
Under the Wire by Cindy Gerard
Beautiful Beginning by Christina Lauren
French Toast by Harriet Welty Rochefort
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling {re-read}
Reinventing Yourself by Steve Chandler
Run Like a Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives by Mina Samuels
The Best Year of Your Life by Debbie Ford
Grey by E L James

Recently Added:

 Beautiful Beginning (Beautiful Bastard, #3.5) Beautiful Beginning by Christina Lauren

 French Toast: An American in Paris Celebrates the Maddening Mysteries of the French French Toast by Harriet Welty Rochefort

Recently Completed:

Five Good Minutes: 100 Morning Practices to Help You Stay Calm and Focused All Day Long  Five Good Minutes by Jeffrey Brantley, MD & Wendy Millstine

Bloggers Boot Camp: Learning How to Build, Write, and Run a Successful Blog  Bloggers Boot Camp by Charlie White and John Biggs

Beautiful Player (Beautiful Bastard, #3)  Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren

Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

Whole New You, A: Six Steps to Ignite Change for Your Best Life   A Whole New You by Brett Blumenthal

*Click title links for Amazon {affiliate}; click cover links for Goodreads

24 Apr

Sunday Post #1

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Happenings In My Life:
Nothing super big in my life this week, though I did go up to spend time with Cheshire. I cannot wait for the day I am working again and I can get my own place and have him with me all the time again. I am just so thankful to my brother for fostering him while I am staying with my parents. It breaks my heart when I have to leave after each visit. He always knows and will curl up in my lap with his head resting on my leg. This trip he actually packed himself in my book tote {literally, he climbed right in}, I wish I could have brought him back to my parents with me.
Other than that it’s all job searching, reading, and blogging.

Last Week on the Blog:
A Whole New World- 4/17
Monday Update #1– 4/18
A Community of Readers– 4/19
Page vs Screen #1– 4/20
Favorite Authors: Nora Roberts– 4/21
Bookish Bucket List– 4/22

This Week on the Blog:
Sunday Post #1- 4/24
Monday Update #2- 4/25
Top Ten Tuesday #1: Bookish Things- 4/26
Page Vs Screen #2: The Perks of Being a Wallflower- 4/27
Favorite Authors: Elizabeth Gilbert- 4/28
Happy Birthday Cheshire!- 4/29

Reviews This Week:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- 4/25
A Life Without Limits- 4/26
No Opportunity Wasted- 4/27
If I Stay- 4/28

Book of the Week:

Beautiful Player (Beautiful Bastard, #3)  Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren

Quote of the Week:

Holy fuck, what happened to my life? In only a couple of months everything had changed.
Well, not everything. My friends were still the same, my finances were fine. I still ran (almost) daily, still caught basketball on TV whenever I could. But…
I’d fallen in love. How often does anyone see that coming?”
Will Beautiful Player p. 271

Notable Posts from the Blog World:
Stop Pushing Yourself So Hard: How to Slow Down and De-Stress from Tiny Buddha
10 Steps to Writing a Book and Getting it Published from SITS Girls
Chase the Fun from Modern Mrs. Darcy
8 Infused Water Combos to Keep You Hydrated from Back to Her Roots
Player One: You Are About to Die from Nerd Fitness
Why I’ll Always Stand Up to Bullies from Anastasia Amour
Why You Should Start a Book Blog from Paper Fury
My Top Readathon Tips from Jess Hearts Books
How to Handle the Difficult Times from Zen Habits: Breathe

22 Apr

Bookish Bucket List

Fridays are meant to be fun, so I plan to have some fun every Friday here on the blog. That fun will come in bookish and non-bookish ways, but I thought I’d start out with some of the items on my Bookish Bucket List

Friday Fun

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 Dedicate an entire room as a library
My Pinterest board is full of different library set ups, though I have an image of exactly what I want in the perfect home library: built-in bookcases covering 2 walls, the third wall will have a window seat banked by free-standing bookcases, the fourth wall will have a small writing desk, a large clock, and book related artwork. In the center of the room will be a large rug (over hardwood floors), a chaise, and 2 comfy chairs with a table between them.

Read the entire In Death series by J.D. Robb
I started the series a few years ago and have read the first 5 or 6 books, but there are so many more in the series and the prolific Ms. Robb continues to write more and more. I love seeing how the main characters, Eve and Rourke, grow and develop over the course of the series.

Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
I may not be able to get to London to see the Harry Potter Studio Tour, but I would love to visit the Orlando or Hollywood theme parks. I have a couple of friends who have been to the Orlando park {one lives nearby and goes frequently}, and I swoon over their pictures. I would just love to feel like I am inside the story in person {and if it lives up to what is in my mind}.

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Own all of my favorite childhood books
I’m not sure if all of my childhood favorite books were from the school library or if my parents gave away the books as I got older, but I don’t own any of the books I loved as a child. I would love to acquire copies of my favorites for my own library, especially the Little House series, Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and others like these.

Meet some of my favorite authors
I would love to attend a trade show or a book store signing event to meet some of my favorite authors. I even lived in the same city as a few of them for a while {Seattle}, but was unable to attend any events. At the top of my list is Nora Roberts {of course}, but also Suzanne Brockmann, John Green, Sylvia Day, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Jayne Ann Krentz.

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Complete a full 24-hour read-a-thon
I participated in a 24-hour read-a-thon in March this year, but there were some difficulties and I was not able to complete the full time. I would love to be able to devote a full 24 hours to reading with just a 10 minute break each hour for bathroom trips, snack refills, and stretching.

Read 250+ books in a year
Over the last several years, I have been so tied up with working long hours {or having long commutes} and my reading seriously slipped. In the past 3 years, I have not completed more than 30 books in a year. Since I am currently not working, I have already completed more than 30 books this year and my goal is to hit at least100. I really want to get to the point where I am able to finish much more than that, so my next goal will be 250!

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Write and publish a book
I have had this dream since I was a little girl. I have started and scrapped several manuscripts, but I still really want to complete and publish a book in my lifetime. At this point I am not 100% sure whether I want it to be fiction or nonfiction {leaning towards fiction}, but I know that I want to write something.

What is on your bucket list?

21 Apr

Favorite Authors~ Nora Roberts

There are some authors that draw us in and make us fall in love with their characters and their style of writing. As someone who would gladly live inside some of the stories I read, I have developed a great appreciation for the authors who create these worlds. These are the authors whose books I pick up without ever reading the synopsis because I just know that it’s going to be great. These are the authors who have made me into the reader I am and who keep me coming back for more. Each week I will be celebrating one of my favorite authors, starting with the incomparable Nora Roberts.

Favorite Authors

I was first introduced to Nora Roberts through the shorter romance novels she wrote for Silhouette. From there, I discovered her full length novels and the glories of her trilogies (and quartets). I instantly fell in love with the families and friends that make up the trilogies, especially those with a bit of Irish Magic. Ms. Roberts seamlessly weaves romance with the battle between good and evil in her paranormal works. And she is the author of the only vampire hero that I actually like {and adore}, Cian from the Circle Trilogy.

When I hear news of a new Nora Roberts trilogy {or even a stand alone title}, it goes immediately on my TBR list, and I work to get my hands on it. Luckily one of my aunts is also a fan, so if I am not able to pick up the books, I know she will and lend them to me.

It’s not just the series books that I love though, the stand alone novels are equally as good. Each story is full of atmosphere so that you feel like you are actually there with the characters, experiencing everything that they experience.

“Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.”
Nora Roberts

If you have never read a Nora Roberts novel, here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy {contemporary w/ mild paranormal}

The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1)               The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro, #2)                The Perfect Hope (Inn Boonsboro, #3)

The Circle Trilogy {paranormal contemporary & historical}

Morrigan's Cross (Circle Trilogy, #1)              Dance of the Gods (Circle Trilogy, #2)               Valley of Silence (Circle Trilogy #3)

And if you prefer a bit more suspense over romance, check out the In Death series by Nora Roberts’s alter ego J.D. Robb!

20 Apr

Page vs Screen #1

When I first started contemplating making the switch to a book blog, I knew that I wanted to incorporate a series that looked at the movies based on some of my favorite books. Because if there’s one thing {aside from cats of course} that comes close to my love of books, it’s my love of movies.

Page vs Screen

Before I start talking about specific adaptations, I wanted to talk about my philosophy regarding movies based on books. I think we can all agree, if we’ve read the book and watched the movie, the book is going to be better 98% of the time. Books are able to delve so much deeper into the story line than a movie can. Books can also look deeper in the personality, thoughts, and psyche of the characters. That being said, I still generally enjoy the movies as well {with a few notable exceptions}.

Because the characters are generally the most important aspect of a story for me, and because when I read I create an image of how each character should look, I tend to enjoy a movie more if I watch it before I read the book. This means I’m usually a bit late to the party with some really great books, because if I know a movie is coming, I’ll wait. If I don’t wait, about 70% of the time I am completely disappointed in the casting; even if the actor is great, if they don’t fit my image of the character, I have a hard time enjoying the movie.

I have found that most books adaptations fall into three categories for me:

*The movie does not do justice to the book at all and is incredibly disappointing {Fifty Shades of Grey}

*The movie follows the book and represents the story well {The Perks of Being a Wallflower}

*The movie uses the same characters but deviates from the story line and some key plot points but creates a film that can stand alone and be enjoyed separately from the book {Insurgent}.

In my personal experience, most movies based on books fall into the second or third category, with only about 15% being a complete disappointment. In truth, the major disappointments have always come after reading the book first.

19 Apr

A Community of Readers

Before taking the leap into book blogging, I started reading several book blogs {and then several more} to get a general feel of what was out there, what I liked, and what I didn’t. I quickly discovered that the book blogger community is immense, and that it lacks the feeling of competition that I noticed in the blogging community I was previously a part of.

Free stock photo of people, coffee, working, notes

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many amazing healthy living bloggers out there and I made a lot of friends in the community. I still follow several healthy living blogs {and I just discovered a wealth of cat blogs, but that’s another story} in addition to the book blogs that I am following now. But I feel like the book blogging community has a mellower vibe and I don’t see a lot of the copycat posts or bickering that I experienced before. Maybe it’s there and I’m still too new to see it. But the community as a whole feels very welcoming and open.

Free stock photo of book, reading, learning, letters

I’ve already found some favorite bloggers in this community, and have slowly started interacting with them. I know that it will take some time before I am fully immersed in the community. It will also take some time to build a follower base in my new niche. But I am already having so much fun! I’ve participated in challenges and read-a-thons and am looking forward to more.

White Hot Mug on Book Near Linen

There are several memes that I have discovered that I can’t wait to link up with! My three favorites are Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish, Stacking the Shelves from Tynga’s Reviews, and The Sunday Post from Caffeinated Book Reviewer. I’m looking forward to my first opportunity link up with them! And to get to know my fellow book bloggers!