Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reading for 2013

If you've been around here for very long, or if you have had a look at my "Have Read" tab, you know that I read a lot. There is always something I want to read and my reading list is ever growing.

Back in May, I graduated with my Master's of Education in Library Media and Information. For that degree I had a YA/Children's Literature course that required me to read lots and lots of YA titles. And I read some great YA books and found some great authors that I will continue to read.

However, after I read a lot of YA books, I  start to feel like I should be reading more challenging material. I guess that is the English teacher in me coming out. I have always told my students that they should always challenge themselves in their reading choices. So, I guess when I read a lot of YA books, I feel like I'm not practicing what I preach. Now, don't get me wrong. I love YA literature and I think that there are tons of great YA books and YA authors, but I also feel, that as a reader, I need to push myself to read other things as well.

Although, when I was in grad school working on my MA in English I was required to read so many "classic" titles that I think I wore myself out on challenging material. So, I think that may have been why I began dive into YA books so eagerly. At that point, that were a little bit of a brain break for me.

I assume I'm normal in that my reading habits seem to go in cycles. And, apparently, now my brain is starting to crave a challenge. So, for 2013 I am making a goal to include a few "classics" (both modern and historical) into my reading list.

Here are a few that I want to start with:


Goodreads synopsis: In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.



Goodreads synopsisAfter eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.


Goodreads synopsisIn this story of the trials of the peasant Jean Valjean--a man unjustly imprisoned, baffled by destiny, and hounded by his nemesis, the magnificently realized, ambiguously malevolent police detective Javert--Hugo achieves the sort of rare imaginative resonance that allows a work of art to transcend its genre.


Goodreads synopsisIn their world frivolous liaisons are commonplace, but Anna and Vronsky’s consuming passion makes them a target for scorn and leads to Anna’s increasing isolation. The heartbreaking trajectory of their relationship contrasts sharply with the colorful swirl of friends and family members who surround them, especially the newlyweds Kitty and Levin, who forge a touching bond as they struggle to make a life together. Anna Karenina is a masterpiece not only because of the unforgettable woman at its core and the stark drama of her fate, but also because it explores and illuminates the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.


Goodreads synopsisKurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.


Goodreads synopsisA vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to "redeem" him—the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."


Goodreads synopsisNot just revolutionary because it was groundbreaking, the Lord of the Rings is timeless because it's the product of a truly top-shelf mind. Tolkien was a distinguished linguist and Oxford scholar of dead languages, with strong ideas about the importance of myth and story and a deep appreciation of nature. His epic, 10 years in the making, recounts the Great War of the Ring and the closing of Middle-Earth's Third Age, a time when magic begins to fade from the world and men rise to dominance. Tolkien carefully details this transition with tremendous skill and love, creating in the Lord of the Rings a universal and all-embracing tale, a justly celebrated classic. 


Goodreads synopsisOn the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.


Goodreads synopsisWhen 1st published in its entirety in 1958, T.H. White's masterly, incomparable, entertaining epic novel about King Arthur & his round table was hailed by critics as an instant classic. So it became; widely acknowledged as one of the definitive works of the fantasy genre, The Once & Future King is a retelling of the Arthurian legend that is at once both comic & political, enchanting & educational. While it works on one level as a highly entertaining saga of knights, battles, magic & heroes, the novel also presents a conscientiously researched historical interpretation of the round table as a civilizing force that brought England out of the Dark Ages thru the notion of chivalry. Divided into four books originally published separately which detail Arthur's boyhood, the building of his empire, his doomed friendship with Lancelot & his undoing thru the boy Mordred, White's novel reimagines several of these well-known characters in unconventional ways, painting Arthur as sweet & in many ways simple, Lancelot as a complex & deeply troubled man with an ugly face, & several older knights of the table as sympathetic or even comic Good Old Boys, blundering amiably around in creaky armor as they support their young king without entirely understanding him.


Goodreads synopsis: "Catch-22" is like no other novel. It is one of the funniest books ever written, a keystone work in American literature, and even added a new term to the dictionary. At the heart of "Catch-22" resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His efforts are perfectly understandable because as he furiously scrambles, thousands of people he hasn't even met are trying to kill him. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

So, have you read any of these books? I would love to hear any thoughts or comments. Also, if you have any other suggestions...please, suggest away! 

Also, if you are on Goodreads, stop by and say hello! You can find me here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Say hello to Emily!

Guys, I have to say that I have some pretty awesome sponsors right now, and one of them is Emily from Be Blessed, Y'all.

So, today, she is making this really great "If I Were a ..." post.

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I saw this on Jenn's blog forever ago, and knew I had to join in on the fun!  
What better time than when I take over Sara's blog!!??
here we go...

 If I Were A House...I'd be a Craftsman




If I Were A Quote...I'd be John 10:10
 




Source: etsy.com via Emily on Pinterest











o


or this Dr. Suess one...






If I Were A Handbag...I'd be my current bag:

(From Charming Charlies)

If I Were A Cocktail...I'd be, well, not really a cocktail...


Mascato Wine
or anything fruity!


If I Were Jewelry...I'd be something PEARLY and SPARKLY like this:


Source: etsy.com via Emily on Pinterest


If I Were A Dress...I'd be one of these:
casual:
Source: stylesays.com via Emily on Pinterest


cocktail:
Source: stylebop.com via Emily on Pinterest


If I Were A Celebrity...I'd be 
Source: google.com via Victoria on Pinterest


Who or what would you be!?  Stop over and let me know!!  
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Thanks for this great post Emily! I loved this! 

So how about you guys? If you were something, what would you be?

If you are interested in making a guest post or becoming a sponsor, email me or click on the "sponsor" tab at the top of the page. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Now I Should Also Be Banned from Bath and Body Works

If you will remember, a while back I talked about how I should be banned from Hobby Lobby.

Weeeeelllll....after today, I think that ban should be extended to Bath and Body Works as well. It seems like I just go crazy when I go in there.

I was in the mall today and I walked past the store and saw that they had an AMAZING sale going on. Amazing as in $3 bottle of lotion and body wash. Other products were on for 50% and 75% off. So, seriously, how could I pass up deals like that?

So, here is what I came home with today...


Japanese Cherry Blossom is one of my all time favorites, so I was super exited to see such a great deal on these two...


I used Strawberry Sparkler last year and loved it. So, this was another happy moment for me today...


My mom got me the lotion in this new scent in my stocking, and I loved it so much, I had to go and get the shower gel to go with it. 


And lastly, these are brand new to me. I haven't ever used these before. But, they smelled wonderful, so I am super excited to try these out. 


So, what do you think? Have you ever used any of these? What is your favorite lotion or shower gel? I am always open to suggestions for new things to try.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Test Post

I've been told that my blog is looking a little weird lately.

Are my posts showing up waaaayyyy at the bottom of the page for you?

It looks ok when I view it, but I'm not sure if it looks ok to everyone else.

If you could do me a huge favor and leave a comment telling me whether or not everything looks normal, I would appreciate it.

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas Eve!



As many of you, for the next couple of days I will be enjoying the holiday time with my family. So, I may be a little MIA for a little while.

However, I thought I would leave you with a few interesting Christmas links...

Electric Christmas Lights: The Brief and Strangely Interesting History

The First Christmas Card

12 Facts About the "12 Days of Christmas"

10 Facts About Your Favorite Christmas Carols

Set Up a Personalized Call from Santa

The History of Santa and Christmas Cookies

Christmas By the Numbers

Coca-Cola Holiday Ads Through the Years

If you know of any other interesting little tidbits of Christmas info, please share or leave a link. I love this kind of stuff.

Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I survived! What about you?


Just in case you were worried, I survived! I hope you did too. Last I heard, there were no sudden unexplained deaths or disappearances, etc... So, hopefully, we all survived unaffected.

Moving on, as everyone knows, Christmas is approaching, and with that comes family get-togethers and grandma's food. 

So, I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of the get-together traditions my family practices every year. 

First of all, on the Saturday before Christmas (today), my mother's family gathers at my grandmother's house for supper and a few gifts. This includes about 25 people; all of my mother's sisters and their children, and grandchildren. Usually, it is kind of a Mexican meal with enchiladas, chips and salsa, queso, etc. I really don't know when this meal turned into a fiesta, but we love it. And it is a nice break from all the other "normal" holiday food that comes with every other holiday meal. After  everyone has eaten and the kitchen has been cleaned up, we all gather in the living room to open a few gifts. Then, sometimes, after gifts are exchanged and everyone is getting tired, we may play some board games or cards. 

Now that my brother and I are grown and married, our Christmas Eve traditions have changed a little. As adults, we go back to our parents' home and have supper together and spend some quality time with each other. Since there are so many fewer people here than at my grandmother's this tends to be a more relaxed gathering. While hubs and I have no children, my brother and his wife have two. So, I really enjoy getting to spend time with them and spoil them with gifts. My dad's mother usually joins us for this meal as well. 

Finally, on Christmas morning, the husband and I get up and exchange gifts between the two of us. Then we are usually pretty lazy for the rest of the morning. About noon we head to his parents' house to eat lunch and spend time with his parents and his sister's family. Sometimes his aunts and cousins join us, but it is always a good meal and a good time. 

By the time we leave his parents, we are usually pretty tired and glad not to have any more get-together obligations. As much as we love our families, we always enjoy that holiday time at home by ourselves enjoying each other's company. 

How about you and your family, do you have the same standing plans every year or do your plans change from year to year?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy End of the World


If we are still here on Saturday, I'll catch up with you then.

Have a happy End of the World Friday! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

50% Off ALL Sponsor Options



Just a reminder, as a welcome to all my new bloggy friends, ALL of my sponsor options are 50% off for the rest of the year.

Sponsorship is still something new around here, so I am super excited to hear from you.

If you are interested, make sure you use the promo code "welcome".

You can also click on the "Sponsor" tab at the top of the page to learn more about the different options.

I am so very thankful to have such amazing readers. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my little ole blog.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Island Livin' December Giveaway

I am super excited to be able to be a sponsor this month on Tarole's blog, Island Livin' with one Haole Girl. She has been wonderful! 

She is so amazing that she has put together this fantastic giveaway and has allowed me to participate. So, many thanks to her for putting this all together! 

I feel like my blog has been overflowing with giveaways lately, in the best possible way. I cannot believe how much fun it has been to participate in all of these giveaways this month! I have had so much fun! 

Anywho...without further adieu, here is Tarole's giveaway...

Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Currently Reading


I know this books has been around for a while now. I am apparently way behind by just now getting to it. Also, I know this is supposed to be a great book. Every time I turn around someone else is suggesting it and telling me how great it is. So, I was pretty excited to get started with this one. 

However, right now I am about 100 pages in, and I'm getting pretty bored pretty fast. I am definitely interested in the premise of this novel, but it just doesn't seem to be going anywhere quickly enough. I generally don't mind slow-going reads, but this one is really taking some effort for me to stick with it. I don't like to quit reading books right in the middle, so I will keep reading and I will finish it. But, I guess, right now, I'm just looking for some reassurance that, in the end, it will be worth it. 

So, has anyone read this? It is worth sticking with it? 

I would love hear what you have to say about this book. 

Or if you have any other suggestions for move on to after I finish this one....please share.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Favorite Friday Hops

These are just a couple of my favorite Friday hops. 

You should definitely check them out.

You can find some amazing blogs! 

Let Them Eat Cake


Aloha Friday Blog Hop

Also, if you would still like to receive a Christmas card from me, 
make sure you click here and fill out this form ASAP
Time is running out! 

Also, you can still participate in my Welcome Giveaway! 
Just click here

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New Friends and New Excitement!

Hello Hello Hello!

In case you haven't noticed, there are tons of cool new people hanging around here lately.

Now, I know a lot of you are here because of the iPad Mini giveaway, but I want you all to know how super thrilled I am that you chose to click "Follow"! (And if you still haven't entered that giveaway, there is still a little bit of time. Just click here.)

Well, for those of you who are new to my little world, I thought I would take a little time to tell you about myself.

I have a wonderful husband, his name is Richard. His name makes random appearances around here from time to time.

We have no kids, but we do have three amazing trouble-making pets. We have one dag, Leo, and two cats, Dot and Tod.

  

I used to teach high school English. I did that for three years and hated it! I loved the kids and all of my co-workers, but I hated all the standardized testing, state involvement, and dealing with parents. So, a teaching opportunity at a local two year college open up. I applied, and I ended up getting the job. I just finished my first semester, and I can absolutely say this was the best decision I could have made! I am so much happier now! I love this job! 

I have three Master's Degrees. I really loved college, and learning, in general. I am a super nerd, and I'm ok with that. I watch Jeopardy every day. I've even tried to get on the show a couple of times. 

Let's see...what else? Oh yeah...I LOVE HARRY POTTER! It is still a huge part of my life, as is LOST! My life still has emotional voids left from these! I'm still looking for something to come along and fill those empty holes in my life. Right now, Once Upon a Time seems promising, but it is still too early to decide. (I know, it's a sad life) 



I also read a lot, I mean a LOT, of books. So, from time to time, I talk about what I read. It you have any good suggestions, I always open to hear them. So , please...share! 

As far as this blog goes, I try to post at least four times a week. Sometimes it ends up being more, sometimes less. 

I am excited about each and every comment that I receive, and I try my best to reply to every one. 

Since I am super into the Christmas season, I'm sending Christmas cards to anybody that wants one. So, if you would like to receive one, just let me know by clicking here.

Just recently, I have added sponsorship opportunities to my blog. You can read more about them here or just clink on the tab at the top of the page. For the rest of this month, as a welcome to all of my new friends, I am offering all ad spaces at 50% off. Just enter the promo code "welcome". I have cleared out a special space in my sidebar just for some of you! 

And last, but not least, I am super exited to share my own personal giveaway with you. 

Yes, I know a lot of you are here from the group giveaway. But, I wanted to do my own giveaway to show my appreciation for everyone that made the choice to hang around here! 

So...I know this isn't as glamorous as an iPad mini, but I am happy to give away THREE great prizes to you all. 

1. A $15 Starbucks gift card
2. A $15 iTunes gift card
3. Two months FREE 200x200 ad space


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another Postcrossing Post

It's been a while since I made a Postcrossing post...a long while. You can see my last Postcrossing post here.

If you don't know what Postcrossing is, it is an online postcard swap. I love it because of all the interesting postcards I receive from all over the world.

These are a few of my recent cards that I really loved.

I hope you like them too.

From Russia

From Finland

From Germany

From Germany

From Germany

As you can see...lately I've gotten a lot of interesting card from Germany. 

Do any of you participate in Postcrossing? Have you received any really interesting cards?

Also, have you signed up for the iPad Mini giveaway yet? If not...you better get to it, the giveaway closes tomorrow night.