Monday, June 28, 2010

Here's why I slacked on the blogging last week

So, I didn't post much on here last week.  I planned to get some blogging done but that didn't happen.  And the reason it didn't happen is...I GOT MARRIED!!!!! 

That's right!  I got married this past Saturday, June 26, 2010.  I was pretty busy last week with trying to finalize everything.  Everything was amazing, and I couldn't be happier.  Here's a sneak peek of my wedding.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (6)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme held by Miz B at Should Be Reading.  It's a great way to share what you're reading or what you're planning on reading.  Here's how it works.  Grab a book, open to a random page, and share two teaser sentences.  Be sure to avoid posting spoilers and include the book's title and author.

This week's Teaser Tuesday is from My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

Zanne shows up the night before we are due to go to the hospital to begin Kate's preparatory transplant regimen.  She lets Jesse help her set up her portable office, takes a phone call from Australia, and then comes into the kitchen so that Brian and I can catch her up on daily routines.-p.227

What's your Teaser Tuesday?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up (2)

This past weekend was super busy and very fun.  It was the weekend before my wedding, which obviously means it was jam packed with stuff.  I was hoping to squeeze in some reading but figured it probably wouldn't happen.

On Friday night, my fiance and I had a relaxing night together.  We watched some episodes from True Blood Season 2.  I love that show.  I wish I had HBO to watch the new season.

I figured if I did any reading over the weekend, it would be on Saturday.  My fiance went to a fundraising mini golf tournament held by a local radio station.  It was part of his bachelor party.  That meant I had the whole day to myself before heading out for my bachelorette party.  I ended up taking my jeep to the dealership for a little bit of work, picking up a present for my dad for Father's Day, dropping it off to him, running my little brother to the store to get a present, and then rushing home to get ready.  I definitely didn't plan on fitting all of that into my day.  I did manage to read a few chapters of Mercy by Jodi Picoult. 

My bridesmaids and grandma went to the Spaghettie Warehouse for dinner.  After dinner, I went to a local bar with a few friends.  We didn't stay very long, and I only had a few drinks.  It was enough for me, though.  I'm not a big party animal. 

On Sunday, my fiance and I ran some errands and did some shopping.  Then we spent several hours watching the rest of True Blood Season 2.  He had a late hockey game, which meant I could fit in some blogging. 

The best part of my weekend was that it was the last weekend before we are a married couple. :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday 13 (1)

13 Things About Me

1. I'm 24 years old.
2. I'm a semester and a half away from having my Master's in Professional Counseling.
3.  I work with survivors of sexual assault.
4. I'm getting married in just under 2 weeks.
5.  My fiance and I were born 4 days apart.
6.  I have an Old English Sheepdog named Baxter.
7.  I love books.
8.  I love to read (obviously).
9.  I still have my baby blanket.
10.  I can say the alphabet backwards.
11.  I can't swim.
12.  The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie.
13.  I want to eventually write a book.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Just One? (1)

I didn't always read fiction.  For the longest time, I only read non-fiction books.  Most of these had something to do with psychology, which was related to me wanting to be a psychologist.  I loved reading about psychological disorders and true crime cases.

Eventually, I started reading more fiction books as an escape from work.  I deal with some pretty heavy issues at work and needed to let my mind wander.  In addition to reading more fiction in general, I also began reading books in series.  There are plenty I want to read.  So starting today, I'm going to be sharing the many series I'd like to read. 

This week is:  The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris.

Dead Until Dark (read)
Living Dead in Dallas
Club Dead
Dead to the World
Dead as a Doornail
Definitely Dead
All Together Dead
From Dead to Worse
Dead and Gone
Dead in the Family

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (5)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme held by MizB over at Should Be Reading. Grab a book and play along!

Open your book up to a random page and share 2 teaser sentences. Be sure to not give anything too juicy away. You don't want to spoil the book for anyone else! Also, remember to share the title and author. You know. In case your teaser is just so good we want to read the book!

This week's Teaser Tuesday comes from Second Glance by Jodi Picoult.  It's part of my own personal reading marathon. 

I will carry her tight against my chest; I will keep her warm.  On the way to Canada, I will tell her of the sights we pass--the cows marooned in fields, the violet fireweed exploding along the road, the mountains that curve like the line of a woman's body. p. 216

What's your Teaser Tuesday this week?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up (1)

This past weekend was rather slow compared to others.  I didn't have class, and I wasn't on-call for work.  With these two things missing, I had lots of freedom regarding my weekend plans.  The only things on my to-do list were 1) read, 2) blog, and 3) sleep.  ;-)

So did I complete my to-do list?

Friday night was pretty lazy.  My fiance and I met with our caterer to finalize our menu and go over some things before the wedding.  It's coming up pretty quickly.  We attempted to sit out in our backyard to have a few drinks, but the bugs thought we tasted pretty good and kept coming back for seconds and thirds.  We eventually went inside and opted for starting True Blood Season 2.  We made it through the first episode before deciding we were old and tired and heading to bed.

Saturday started bright and early before 7:00 a.m.  My future mother-in-law called us (and woke us up) to ask if we wanted to go to breakfast.  Breakfast was yummy.  I had a hair appointment to try out my hairstyle for the wedding.  It turned out great!  I can't wait until the wedding to see it with my dress. The rest of the day was spent car shopping.  I'm thinking about getting an SUV to help me get around better in the winter.  Sometimes the snow we get in PA is too much for my Cobalt.  After spending the day car shopping, we got dinner at a local seafood place.  And I just realized we ate out twice in one day, which is unusual for us.  We let our awesome dinner settle in our bellies before going out for a little fun.  I played designated driver while we hit up a bar and a friend's bonfire.

Sunday was a very productive day.  I planned on tackling cleaning and wedding stuff.  I started my day with an early trip to the grocery store.  Chocolate chip waffles were an excellent start to my day.  After doing a few loads of laundry, my fiance and I took our dog to a rabies clinic held by our local humane society.  We waited for 2 hours, but I was able to get Baxter's rabies and distemper shots, and he was microchipped.  They had a young Old English Sheepdog available for adoption.  I immediately fell in love with her but didn't say anything to C.  He told me to inquire about her, and we stopped at the shelter on the way home.  Unfortunately, someone had already put in an adoption application.  We put one in, too.  Hopefully the other person is denied. ;-)  I really want her.  I'd love to have two Sheepies.  I made an awesome lasagna for dinner, and then we settled in to work on our seating for the wedding.

It's now almost 9:00 p.m., and I feel like I've done plenty for today.  C has a hockey game, so I'm going to use this quiet time to work on some blog posts.  So, how did my plans for reading, blogging, and sleeping work out this weekend?  Not so well.  Haha.  I didn't do much reading or sleeping.  I did, however, get quite a bit of blogging done.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Proclaiming My Love for Paperbackswap

I don't know about anyone else, but I love Paperbackswap.  It has been a great way for me to get "new" books to read without paying a fortune.  My library is quite small and doesn't typically have much to offer.  Plus, I'm really terrible at remembering to return my books on time. 

For those who aren't familiar with Paperbackswap, here's the basic gist of it.  Paperbackswap is a book swapping site.  You post books that you own to your Bookshelf.  Other members browse for books and can request books from you.  Once someone have requested a book from you, you're responsible for mailing it to them.  Shipping is typically a few bucks.  When the person receives their book, you receive a credit.  You then use a credit to pick a book that you would like.  Basically, you get a book for a few bucks. 

My swapping had been slow until a couple of weeks ago.  Books that I'd had posted for months were finally requested.  I also finished a few other books and an audiobook that I could post.  I found myself with 6 credits.  What could I get? 

I recently ordered a Nook, so I'm trying to whittle down my collection of paper books.  I decided I'm only going to keep series and stand alone books that I love.  Recently, I got the first book of the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs.  I haven't read it yet, but I love the show Bones.  So I decided to start ordering the rest of the books from the series.

Here's my list of requests (sorry, no cover pictures):

Death du Jour (Temperance Brennan Book 2) by Kathy Reichs

Fatal Voyage (Temperance Brennan Book 4) by Kathy Reichs

Grave Secrets (Temperance Brennan Book 5) by Kathy Reichs

Bare Bones (Temperance Brennan Book 6) by Kathy Reichs

I wasn't able to order the third book in the series, because it wasn't available.  I'll be keeping my eye out for it, though.  Sorry I didn't post any cover pictures.  My computer was being a PITA and wouldn't let me copy and past any.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Keeping Faith

I've had Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult sitting on my bookshelf for awhile.  As I was reading it, I decided to have my own personal reading marathon and read the rest of the Jodi Picoult books I own.  I thought this would be a good way to plow through the books I own but haven't read yet.

Keeping Faith is the story of  Mariah and Faith White.  Mariah's marriage ends after she discovers her husband's affair.  As if coping with this wasn't bad enough, Faith begins exhibiting strange behaviors, like saying God talks to her. 

  Cover: The cover of Keeping Faith was quite beautiful. It was simple, and yet I felt it conveyed a lot of emotion. My edition had an image of a young child wrapped up in someone's arms. Without being able to see the other person's face, it made me wonder who was holding that child. Once I began reading the book, I found more meaning in this cover. Was the child being held by her mother, father, or God?

Characters: The main characters were Mariah White, Faith White, Colin White, Millie Epstein, and Ian Fletcher. Mariah is a weak woman who has been broken by her husband's antics but still seeks out his approval and love. I felt she measured her self-worth through the approval of others and craved routines and perfection. Faith White is a typical child who is suddenly put between her parents and develops a special gift. Throughout it all, though, she maintains the innocence of a child. Colin White is Faith's father and Mariah's husband (ex-husband). He has been the catalyst for problems in Mariah's life, and one might argue, set off the gift that Faith develops. Millie Epstein is Mariah's mother. She's a strong, outspoken woman who cares for her daughter and granddaughter deeply. Ian Fletcher is a teleatheist ( I know, it sounds weird). He makes a living trying to get others to accept that God doesn't exist. He has some sneaky qualities but shows some endearing ones later on.

Writing: I thought Picoult's writing was lovely. She did such an amazing job at conveying Mariah's feelings, whether they were regarding her husband, daughter, or herself. It was easy to imagine what she was going through. I also thought she did a wonderful job expressing what Faith was experiencing, feeling, and thinking. At times, there was some dialogue from Faith that I thought sounded a little old for a 7 year old. But from working with kids, I know it's possible.

Plot: The plot of the story had a general predictability to it. Husband cheats and leaves his wife. Family falls apart. Child has some sort of difficulty. What I liked about this story, though, was that Faith's difficulty was unique. It wasn't the typical behaviors one might see in a child whose parents have divorced. I also liked the way Mariah changed from the beginning of the book. I don't want to give too much away, but her growth was different than what I'd expected. I've always enjoyed that Picoult's books have a main topic that is typically one that causes debates. In this book, it was the existence of God. As an atheist myself, I found it extremely interesting to read about all of the different viewpoints regarding God. There were many characters that believed and many that didn't. I also liked that a simple answer was never given. It's still left up to the reader to have his or her own beliefs.

Overall: 4/5 I really liked this book. It kept me interested all along the way and also caused me to think about things in new ways. The characters were easy to care about, especially little Faith. Once again, another tough topic tackled in a unique and clever way.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jason and Me

One day during a break at work, I was browsing the free eBooks on my iPhone's Barnes & Noble eReader. I saw a cute cover and clicked to read the synopsis. The story was about a girl who fell for her best friend, and the synopsis alluded to things not turning out as one would hope in a love story. I thought, "Ooh! A cute little love story!" and downloaded it.

I began reading this book only to find that it ended rather quickly. It turns out that it was just a short story. Once I realized this, I understood why the book seemed crammed. There were several parts that I felt were important that just seemed rushed. The author didn't develop a lot of detail, and there wasn't a lot of history given on the two main characters.

The premise of the story was enjoyable, and I liked the outcome. I just think the story would have been better if it had been expanded.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reading Marathon (1)

You know how exciting it can be when your favorite TV show is running a marathon? I definitely squee when Law and Order:SVU or Bones is running a marathon. What could be better than a TV marathon? A reading marathon with some of my favorite authors. I've decided that to help me tackle my TBR list and bookcase stacked with books, I'll have some reading marathons involving authors that I've loved or have stumbled upon. To start with, I'm going to have a Jodi Picoult reading marathon. I chose her mostly because I'm reading Keeping Faith right now and have a ton of her books on my shelves at home.

So after I finish Keeping Faith, here's what I will be working on.


Second Glance

Handle with Care

My Sister's Keeper

This should keep me busy for awhile. I can't wait to read all of these!
What author would you choose for a reading marathon?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (4)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme held by MizB over at Should Be Reading. Grab a book and play along!

Open your book up to a random page and share 2 teaser sentences.  Be sure to not give anything too juicy away.  You don't want to spoil the book for anyone else!  Also, remember to share the title and author.  You know.  In case your teaser is just so good we want to read the book!

My Teaser Tuesday is from Mercy by Jodi Picoult.

Allie touched her finger to the spot on Maggie's cheek that Jamie was kissing, then touched her own mouth.  Feeling slightly guilty, she pulled the photo from its clip and tucked it into the pocket of her chamois shirt.     p. 138

What's your Teaser Tuesday?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Confession: I Should Be On A Makeover Show

I am a mess.  I don't know how to style my hair.  I don't know how to pick out cute outfits.  I don't know how to put on makeup.  I'm a plain, frumpy 24 year old, and I feel sorry for my fiance.

He loves me and thinks I'm beautiful.  I, on the other hand, don't think I'm attractive enough for him.  He's known me for so long and knows me as the Plain Jane that I am.  I can't remember a time that he's ever said anything negative about the way I look.  Well, there were a few times when he told me I couldn't wear sweatpants to the bar.

So, my confession for this week is that I need a makeover.  Here are the things I'd like to change:

My hair.  It's super long and curly.  And unruly.  I have a really hard time managing it.  Typically, I shower at night and throw my hair into a ponytail.  Occasionally, I might put some product into my hair after washing it and let it dry curly.

Makeup.  I don't wear makeup, mainly because I don't know how.  Sometimes I'll wear eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara.  When I do, I usually just wear a neutral color on my eyes.  I'm not one to play with color.  Clowns scare me, and I don't think the people in my life would appreciate that. 

Clothes.  I am TERRIBLE at putting outfits together.  I wish someone would sort through my clothes and pair outfits together for me.  Getting dressed for work is like pulling teeth for me.  I have to dress up, and I have such a hard time finding tops that match my dress pants.  I also hate wearing heels.  It's not uncommon for me to rock a pair of tennis shoes with my dress pants.

My body.  I'd love to lose 20 lbs and a good percentage of my ass and thighs.  Seriously, my thighs are as big around as my fiance's head.  I've never been one to stress over my weight.  My motto was always, "I'm happy as long as my belly doesn't hang over my pants."  Well, that time has come. 

So, if anyone has any ideas or would like to invade my life and make me over, feel free!  In the mean time, I'll continue using brains to make up for my lackluster looks.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Somebody Else's Kids

Awhile ago, I wrote about a book I was reading in the hopes that it would get me out of my work funk.  That book was Somebody Else's Kids by Torey Hayden.

Cover:  The cover was rather plain.  There was a small picture of 4 real live children portraying the children of the story.  I was impressed by how the children in the picture resembled the descriptions in the book.

Characters:  The main character was the author, Torey Hayden.  I find her extremely inspirational.  She comes across as a devoted teacher and someone who genuinely cares about her students.  The four children she worked with were Boo, Lori, Tomaso, and Claudia.  Boo is a low-functioning autistic child.  Lori suffered severe physical abuse when she was much younger and developed brain damage that prevents her from learning to read or write.  Tomaso is a foster child with severe behavioral problems.  Claudia is a pregnant 12 year old from a good family and parochial school.  These kids may be considered to be "throw away" children.  No one else wanted to be bothered with them, so they sent them to be hidden away in Torey's classroom.

Writing:  Hayden does an excellent job of getting beyond the surface of the children.  She doesn't just write about their problems but spotlights their strengths.  That's one reason I love reading Hayden's books.  She does such a great job at pulling out their strengths and helping them build on them.  The book was easy to read and written to create an interest in what comes next.

Plot:  Hayden's books are all similar in the sense that she is given children who seem to be a lost cause.  Sometimes Hayden makes great progress, and sometimes the obstacles are just too great.  The plot of this story was predictable in general.  There were, however, some surprises along the way.  I personally enjoy that Hayden tells her story in a chronological manner.  The changes that occur are best understood that way.

Overall: 5/5  I love Hayden's books!  I always develop a soft spot in my heart for her kids.  Her books also motivate me to not give up on the kids I work with, even if everyone else has.