Wednesday, April 29, 2015

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

North of Beautiful is the story of Terra Cooper, high school senior who can't wait to graduate and leave her small town for college. The problem is her mom doesn't want her to go, her mom needs her to deflect the anger and cruel treatment from her father, and her father absolutely thinks she only needs to go to local Western Washington and refuses to allow talk of any other location.

This story is well told, and interesting in that all the chapter are named for mapping terms or cartography references. Chapter One is called Fate Maps,  there is on titled Here Be Dragons, and one titled Orienteering for Girls.  Another thing you need to know is that Terra is tall, blond and fit, but she also has a port-wine birthmark. That birthmark influences her whole life.

I loved that fact that this book was not dummied down for the YA genre. There are words I had to look up and words that were new to me. I hope that young people reading this book, take the time to look up the words that are new to them. The author does a good job of using the words in sentence structure that allows us to sort of know their meaning and in that way learn a new word. But I found the research of the words helped my understanding of the story too.

Terra makes an extraordinary discovery, that the Land of Beautiful is traversed with love, with acceptance and with understanding. I recommend this book for most of my friends, my husband however would not be a fan. Not enough action for him and way too many emotional thought provoking themes.

I gave it 5 Happy Hands! 

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Join us on Wednesdays to highlight words found while reading or even while listening. Kathy at BermudaOnion's Weblog gives us a place to share these Wondrous Words.

From North of Beautiful by Justine Chen Headley.

This is a YA novel. I wondered as I read it if the wondrous words I found there would also be words that the YA age group would know or wonder about. I don't have my finger on the pulse of 15-19 year olds. So I would welcome the input from anyone. here are a few of the words I found.

stigmata: a stigmata plural : bodily marks or pains resembling the wounds of the crucified Jesus and sometimes accompanying religious ecstasy

" How they'd comment offhandedly that sometime their birthmarks bled spontaneously, stigmata without any hope of redemption."

chagrin: noun - distress of mind caused by humiliation, disappointment, or failure

               intransitive verb - to vex or unsettle by disappointing or humiliating

"His chagrin turned into a full smile"

cartouche: noun-a scroll-like ornament or tablet, esp. as an architectural feature
on Egyptian monuments, an oval or oblong figure containing the hieroglyphs of the name of a ruler or deity

"I had yet to sign a single piece of my work, had never thought myself worthy of a cartouche, never claiming my creations."

inured: transitive verb - to accustom to accept something undesirable

"It was as she had become so accustomed to disappointment , so inured to people reneging on their promise, that she expected setbacks, heartbreak."

froment: to cause or try to cause the growth or development of (something bad or harmful)

" His lips thinned, reminiscent of Dad and his quiet fromenting rages.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Friday, April 24, 2015

Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

I haven't played along in awhile, but here is the beginning and the "56" of my current read. If you want to join in, go to Rose City Reader and link up your Book Beginning and then share your page 56 or 56% at Freda's Voice.  There you will find a myriad of other bloggers who have shared their Book Beginnings on Fridays and their Friday 56. Fun!!



Fifteen-year-old Winona Grey stared out at the waterfront ranch that had been in her family for four generations, looking for something that had changed.


pg 56

Dad grunted something unintelligible and got up from the table. Without looking back, he headed into his study and closed the door behind him.

Winona sat there, irritated once again  that she'd let herself expect something from him. Gratitude at the very least.

I may be one of the few people who haven't read this book. I have read other of her titles, Firefly Lane, On Mystic Lake, Winter Garden, Night Road, so I am pretty sure I will enjoy this one as well.

For the next week or two I am going to concentrate on reading the titles I need to finish the Mega Mix Challenge II on Goodreads. You can check my progress HERE.

There are 6 books I need to read to complete the challenge. They are: Wildflower Hill, True Colors, Fifty Shades Freed, Our Lady of the Lost and Found, Cat Trick or The Three Kitties That Saved My Life, and Fire on the Mountain.

And then there will be life getting in the way too I am sure.

Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wondrous Word Wednesday - Word of the Day

I haven't completed a lot of reading in the last several weeks. Still ahead of my goal to reach 60 books read this year, but not moving very quickly. I did complete the graduation quilt for my DIL and a small Christmas themed table topper that I started in October.  This week I will use the Word of the Day from my email from Merriam Webster.  You can join us at Kathy's blog, Bermuda Onion's Weblog and share your wondrous word for the week. Maybe you found more than one, that's OK too.

quidnunc:  a person who seeks to know the latest news or gossip, a busybody

"To spend time with a book in order to read scandalous revelations about real-life people is not an elevated or honourable thing to do, but it appeals to the gossip-sharing quidnunc in all of us." — John Walsh, The Independent (London), July 22, 2003

We are having company this weekend. Mr Busy's 3 nearest siblings are coming to help clean out the storage shed in which all of the remaining furniture and some extraneous stuff was placed after her death nearly a year ago. No one was able to do more than a small bit of clearing out at the time. Now they are coming from SD and Montana to help him complete the job. We will have fun after the work is done I am sure. 

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Already Home by Susan Mallery

Already HomeAlready Home by Susan Mallery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a new Susan Mallery fan. So far this is my favorite.

Jenna's marriage has ended. Her ex, Aaron, though charming and good-looking, had systematically destroyed her self-confidence and her creativity. So she has left L.A. behind, returned home to Georgetown, Texas and bought a store front to open a cooking store, Grate Expectations. But she is terrified. What does she know about retail. She knows kitchen, but selling and customers, Yikes!

Just as she thinks she has a handle on the store, ( she hired a quirky woman, who seems to know people like the back of her hand), her birth parents show up on her doorstep.  Why now, why at this late date?

This story has family, love of good friends and a hint of romance. It is a story about starting over while going back to your roots. It is about how love can change a person's perspective. This is the first book I've shed a tear over in awhile.

Now, do you suppose there will be another, so I can find out if Jenna and Ellington continue to build a relationship? Does Grate Expectations actually expand and make a go of it?  Maybe Violet can finally let go of her demons and find true love. Let's hope!

View all my reviews

April is National Poetry Month - Do You Haiku?

Julia at Diary of a Word Nerd reminded me that April is National Poetry Month. I haven't been finding any new and interesting words in my reading of late, so I decided to share this one for my entry in Bermuda Onion's Weblog 's Wondrous Words Wednesday meme. 

haiku :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — 

Since it is Cherry Blossom Festival time in our nation's capitol and I heard that they had rain on Tuesday I am sharing the following haiku I found on a site called Suburban Haiku

cherry blossom rain
sound of a love song passes
with the traffic
— Dawn Apanius

 These are two of about 20 that were on that site when I logged on yesterday. This one made me grin!

Blossoms open up –
stop the presses, some good news
unfolds in D.C.!
— Melissa Romero Fortner

Have you ever written haiku or any other form of poetry?  I have written rhyming verses, not actually poetry. I think I will give haiku a try. 

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Living Vicariously! Dreaming of France

Normally I do not get to post to Paulita's meme about France. I have never traveled to Europe and probably will not get to do that . But I can live vicariously through the travels of my family. The last time I posted to this meme was when my nephew and his new bride were on their honeymoon. You can revisit that post here.

Today I am sharing a couple of picture that were taken by the wife of my other nephew, the older brother of the couple who honeymooned in France, Italy and England. I am not sure what the occasion is for this wonderful vacation for them, but probably it is to celebrate his 10 anniversary of being cancer free. Whatever the reason they are there, I am happy for them. And I am glad to share their adventures even from my armchair at home. 

 I am not sure, but I think these are pictures of a beach or beaches in Nice.  Maybe some of you world travelers out there can confirm.

Certainly it is beautiful water and sky and probably a much needed respite for my nephew and his wife. They live in the Twin Cities in Minnesota and are the parents of two beautiful little girls.

So I am Dreaming of France and you can too by clicking the link and joining Paulita and her fellow bloggers.

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Snapshots : A near finish.

Sharing just a couple of photos of a recent quilt. Go to West Metro Mommy Reads to check out the few rules and see what other bloggers are sharing this week.

I have been working on a quilt as a gift to my DIL. She graduates from ASU (Arizona State University) in May. Her degree is in Creative Writing with a minor in Communications. She will graduate Summa Cum Laude. We are very proud of her. If you know anything about me, you will know that she is a non-traditional student, she is 46.  A great accomplishment for her.

This is the quilt top done, but not quilted or totally finished.

 I just got the quilt back from the long-arm quilter and the binding is now sewed on the front, waiting for me to hand sew it to the back.  All the large squares are fabrics that have words. There is a newspaper print from the 60's, a travel brochure depicting Route 66, some antique postcards, the Declaration of Independence.
 The quilting is a large meander, with words interspersed. Words that are important to her: books, write, read, sister, daughter, grandmother, church, God, roses, chocolate, wine.........etc.
I hope she will like it. It is a pattern called Big Quilts by Debbie Bowles, I have also called it "Words Squared".

The next several evenings will be getting the binding sewed down and a label made.
Have a great week everyone.

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday- North of Beautiful

What are you anxious to read soon?  Share the first chapter, first paragraph of your next read at Diane's blog, Bibliophile By The Sea.  Write a post and link up at Diane's blog.

I hope to start this one soon. It has been on my list for several months and I finally made the trek to the Young Adult section of our library to check it out.

North of Beautiful
Justina Chen Headley
Hachette Book Group
February 2009
Young Adult

Fate Maps

Not to brag or anything , but if you saw me from behind, you'd probably think I was perfect. I'm tall, but not too tall, with a ballerina's long legs and longish neck. My hair is naturally platinum blonde, the kind that curls when I want it to and cascades behind my back in one sleek line when I don't. While my face couldn't launch a thousand ships, it has the power to make any stranger whip around for a second look. Trust me, this mixture of curiosity and revulsion is nothing Helen of Troy would have ever encountered.
   Please don't get me wrong: I've got all the prerequisite parts - and in all the right numbers, too: one nose, two eyes, and twenty-four teeth that add up to not a bad smile. But who notices pearly whites when a red-stained birthmark stretches across the broad plain of my right cheek? That's exactly why I never went anywhere without my usual geologic strata of moisturizer, sunblock, medical concealer, foundation, and powder. 

I hope that this is the story I am anticipating it to be.    Would you want to read on?

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

This book will be my 11th library book on my way to meet my goal of 28 at Sheila's blog. You can watch my list grow at my 2015 Challenges page.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday Snapshots 4-4-15

Sharing a couple of pictures taken yesterday while visiting our great grandson. His momma had just left to run a few errands in preparation for her husbands birthday party last night. JR cried when she left, so I distracted him with a small bowl of some Cheerios. It worked. He immediately decided to empty the bowl and put the Cheerios in the indentation of his wooden shape puzzle. I think Mickey and Pluto look pretty good with cereal on them. What do you think?

Share your snapshots on Melinda's blog, West Metro Mommy Reads. There are a few rules, check them out at Melinda's site. Mostly that they are safe for all eyes and they are photos taken by you or a family member or friend.

Until next time,
Stay Busy and Stay Happy

Friday, April 3, 2015

What's In A Name 2015 - Animal : Blind Your Ponies.

Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West. 
Published 2011 
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Sam Pickett is hiding from the nightmares and violence that has invaded his life. He is an English teacher that ends up in the tiny, hopeless town of Willow Creek, Montana. In addition to his English classes, he is asked to coach the basketball team. They are a sorry sight, and their record speaks for itself . For the last 5 years he has coached and they are still 0-93. He wonders, why me?  There are a few supporters in the small town, Andrew Wainwright, Ray Collins, and Elizabeth Chapman. This year will be different, how?

Enter Peter Strong, Elizabeth's grandson from the Twin Cities, MN. His parents are divorcing and they have sent him to Grandma while they sort it all out. Also a foreign exchange student shows up to live with Mervin and Claire Painter. Two of their daughters had been exchange students, one to Spain one to Brazil, they felt the need to reciprocate. They are hosting Olaf from Norway, hopefully, a son to fill the void felt by Mervin.  When they meet him at the airport gate, they are surprised by his bright blue eye, his straw-colored hair, and boyish grin. Also, he had to duck as he walked through the gate. He is 6' 11''.  Mervin wonders if he plays basketball.

Thus begins the new season for the Willow Creek Broncos and Sam Pickett. And what a season it will turn out to be.

I really enjoyed this feel-good, but not sappy sweet story. The setting is not far from where we live, so it felt personal. I love the small town feel, the camaraderie. The characters where fun to get to know ( well most of them). I loved Grandma Chapman's spirit, and Diana Murphy's insight.

The only thing that spoiled this wonderful story was the editing of the e edition I was reading. Clumsy grammar, hyphenated words where they should not have been, capitalization of the A in afternoon (frequently). I hate that.  I intend to try to find a print edition of this book and compare. Also I will probably read other books by this author, because I like his writing. But I will be careful to only use print book editions.

Am I the only one this happens too? Do any of you find blatant errors in ebook editions?

I gave this story 5 stars because I loved it. And I think the editing was not the author's fault.

Until next time
Stay Busy and Stay Happy