Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child


I picked this book totally at random from the airport bookstore because I ran out of reading material due to a long flight delay. I chose this one over the others because Megan said her friend had read it three times and liked it.

This book was okay. My biggest gripe is that nowhere on the cover or in the introductory pages does it say that this is book #7 in a series of thrillers centering around FBI Agent Pendergast. Several of the Pendergast books are stand alone, but this one is the last of a story arc spread over three books. I think I would have enjoyed it more had I read the previous ones.

My second gripe is this is one of those books where new characters are introduced so fast and their parts in the overall plot are so complex that you feel like you need to take notes to keep them all straight.

A museum decides to re-open a long closed exhibit of an Egyptian tomb where mysterious deaths occurred in the past. A diabolical killer is manipulating this opening with the intent to kill and/or drive insane as many people as possible. The one man who can stop him (Agent Pendergast) is locked away in a prison known to be escape-proof. Pendergast's friends develop a very complex plot to break him loose in an attempt to save the day. There is also a sub-plot concerning a mysterious and creepy backstory (developed in the previous books) about a young woman who is much older than she seems.

I liked this book okay, even not knowing what had happened in the earlier books, but I definitely think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read the books in order. There was quite a bit of serious swearing by a few of the characters. Some graphic violence during the prison escape and some blood and guts gore resulting from a few murders. There was some implied sex and sensuality, but nothing very graphic.

As far as thrillers go, this one was pretty good. It kept me guessing through most of it. If I get a chance, I'll probably go back and read the earlier books, but they won't be a top priority--and I'll check them out from the library instead of buying them.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Sheep's Clothing by Josi S. Kilpack

If your children have access to the Internet, you need to read this book. If those children are over the age of 12, they need to read this book. The back of the book is a great set-up, so I'm excerpting it here:

Six children keep Kate and Brad Thompson busy all day. Between work, school, and Church activities there isn't much time for anything else. Having baby number seven might disrupt the family routine, but Kate isn't worried about that. She is worried, however, about her oldest daughter, Jess, who has been more secretive of late...

For Jess, being fifteen isn't just tricky—sometimes it feels downright impossible. ... Jess feels totally overwhelmed, continually misunderstood, and completely alone. Until she meets Emily online.

Emily listens, understands, and gives Jess confidence. Best of all, Emily introduces Jess to her cousin, Colt...[who] understands her better than anyone else in her life.

However, when Jess disappears it only takes one e-mail for everyone in the Thompson family to discover that when it comes to the Internet, things aren't always what they seem...

I liked the Prologue, which sets the tone and foreshadows events to come. I liked the way Josi started each chapter with e-mails between Jess, Emily and Colt. It was unnerving to see how subtle, yet manipulative those e-mails were--coaxing identifying information from Jess, alienating and isolating her from her parents and friends, and finally, convincing her to break all the rules and meet in real life. The scenes with Jess seemed realistic and right on with the way teens think and feel. I could really empathize with her.

I was less captivated by Kate. We spent a lot of time in Kate's head and there was a lot of "telling" rather than showing of her emotions. I like that to come out in action and dialogue a little more. There were also quite a few errors--typos, cut and paste mistakes, etc. It should have been more closely edited, and for Deseret Book to let these slip through, all I can say is "tsk, tsk."

But even with these annoyances, the concept and plot are great. The characterizations are well developed. I liked the ending. [small spoiler alert] It was a delicate balance between reality (the usual result) and a happy ending (unlikely), but Josi handled it well and it was believable.

I think this is an important read on a timely topic and so I say once again: If your children have access to the Internet, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. If those children are over the age of 12, THEY NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How I Started My Summer Vacation

Megan and I are going to Grandma & Grandpa's in Kentucky. We have to leave our house at 4:00 a.m. in order to be on time for our flight, which leaves at 6:05 a.m. It's an early start, but that's okay because we got a great price and good connections. We'll be in Kentucky a little after 3:00 p.m. (1:00 p.m. Utah time).

4:00 a.m.—Leave house for airport

4:50 a.m.—Arrive at airport

5:30 a.m.—at the Ticket Counter
"I'm sorry. We have you booked on tomorrow's flight."

"Today IS Wednesday, July 27th isn't it?"

"Yes, but your flight was cancelled and we re-booked you for tomorrow."

"And I was supposed to know that—HOW?"

6:05 a.m.—Still at Ticket Counter
"We can get you on Delta at 2:45 p.m."

6:15 a.m.—at Delta's Ticket Counter
"Where are you headed?"


"Oh! You're much too early. We can't check you in until 9:50 a.m."

7:00 a.m.—Waiting with all our luggage

8:00 a.m.—Thank goodness for camera phones...

8:15 a.m.—...and iPods

8:30 a.m.—Bored now.

9:50 a.m.—Check in!

9:20 a.m.—Get in line to go through security check

10:05 a.m.—Invited to participate in a detailed security check

10:45 a.m.—Exploring the airport

11:00 a.m.—Arrive at gate

11:15 a.m.

12:00 noon—Lunch. Buy a random book because I know I'll finish the one I have before we arrive at the next airport

1:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

2:30 p.m.—Boarding Call

2:50 p.m.—Take off!

3:00 p.m.

3:45 p.m.—Finish Sheep's Clothing by Josi Kilpack

3:46 p.m.—Start The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

6:40 p.m.—Time change to 8:40 p.m.

8:41 p.m.—Arrive in Atlanta

8:55 p.m.—Arrive at next gate

8:56 p.m.—You've got to be kidding!

9:00 p.m.

9:30 p.m.—Board flight

9:45 p.m.—Sitting on runway

10:00 p.m.—Sitting on runway

10:15 p.m.—Sitting on runway

10:30 p.m.—Take off

10:32 p.m.

10:45 p.m.—My book is so entertaining, I fall asleep.

11:30 p.m.—Arrive in Louisville 30 minutes late

12:00 midnite—Get luggage

12:03 p.m.—Grandpa & his car is waiting for us at the curb. (Grandpa spent the past 7 hours at the library, waiting for us to get there.)

12:07 p.m.

1:20 a.m.—After an amazingly entertaining and fast-paced day, we finally arrive at Grandma & Grandpa's house.

Now playing on my iPod: The battery died 13 1/2 hours ago.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

For Blog-less Readers

When I started Summer Reading Thing 2007, I sent out an e-mail to all my friends inviting them to join. Several of my friends expressed an interest in participating but they don't have a blog, and they don't particularly want one. Voilá! Problem solved.

If you, like them, want to participate but do not have a blog, you are welcome to use this one. E-mail your book list, book reviews and recap to me and I will post it here, then link those posts to the appropriate places. Easy as pie.

The Tag Train

I got tagged last week. I really don't like to do these things because they make me have to think too hard. But I do understand that they help promote web traffic and I'm all for that. At least she's not asking me to mail dish towels to twelve different people. So here goes.

Remove the blog from the top, move all the blogs up one, and add yourself to the bottom.

Ennui in the Grocery
The Lyon's Tale
Sundial in the Shade

What were you doing ten years ago?
I was a newlywed. My new husband, his mother, my two youngest children and I had just moved into a new house. I worked as a technical writer, in-house (which I hated) and I weighed 300 pounds.

What were you doing one year ago?
Trying to keep my publishing company alive and launch a new imprint for LDS home school curriculum.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Russell Stover's Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate miniatures & /or Nutty Nouggie Chews
2. Wheatables (low fat; I don't care about the fat content, but the regular ones taste greasy)
3. Bananas & sweet red grapes
4. Movie popcorn and Russell Stover's Sugar-Free Mint Patties in alternating bites
5. Oatmeal

Five songs you know all the lyrics to:
[I don't think there's a single song I know all the lyrics to, but I think I know most of these]
1. 5 o'clock Somewhere by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet
2. Cheeseburger in Paradise by Jimmy Buffet
3. The Pretender by Jackson Browne
4. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
5. Where You Lead, I Will Follow by Carole King

Things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Restart my publishing company
2. Buy a house where everything works
3. Buy a car that is any color other than rust
4. Start about 20 other companies I've had ideas for and hire all my friends and family to work for me
5. Buy Wallsburg, UT and kick everybody out and only let people I like move in

Five bad habits:
1. Procrastination
2. Don't finish things

Five things you like to do:
1. Write
2. Read
3. Hang with my fam
4. Blog
5. Sleep

Things you will never wear again:
1. My wedding dress—I don't weigh 300 pounds anymore
2. Orange
3. High heels
4. Spandex (oh wait, I never wore that!)
5. Blue eye shadow

Five favorite toys:
1. Mac laptop
2. My UB fragrance designer kit
3. Words
4. My MIRACLE iPod
5. Carter

Where will I be in ten years?
Finishing up a world signing tour to promote my 20th best-selling novel. Teaching creative writing during summer term at some prestigious university. Owner of a dozen businesses. Mayor of Wallsburg.

Five people to tag:
1. Megan
2. Elle (Megan said I could...)
3. Sandra
4. Suan
5. McKenna

Now playing on my iPod: Dream On by Aerosmith

Monday, June 25, 2007

Read Together

If you have children or teens around this summer, you may want to participate in Jennifer's Read Together program over at Snapshot. (You can do it concurrently with the Summer Reading Thing.) I love the idea behind this.

I read a lot of books (and watch a lot of movies/tv shows) that I normally would not give the time of day because my teenagers are reading/watching them. Based on my experiences as a teenager, I realized that there was no way I could prevent my teens from reading something if they were really determined to do so. I discovered that what works better is for me to read the book also, then talk about it with them. If I listen to what my teens think and why they like the book with an open and uncritical mind, they are willing to listen to what I think as well. I like to think of these discussions as antibiotics. I may not be able to prevent exposure, but I can certainly give my teens the tools to fight off a deeper infection.

Which is not to say that I don't draw the line somewhere. There are certain books and authors that will never be allowed in my home. There are others that I insist on reading first and my kids know I may then put them on the No Way list or the You Can Read It But We Have to Talk About It list. It works for our family and our book discussions have been wonderful.

Megan (my only kid still at home) and I both just finished New Moon and have talked about it a lot. Her ideas and responses have shown me that she's not going to fall for some of the subliminal messages of that book. (See my review). We're also both reading the new Harry Potter when it comes out. Two of Megan's books (The Believer and My Not So Fairy-Tale Life) are on her list because I had read them and suggested them to her. Because I read the books she suggests, she's willing to read the books I suggest. I may be adding Lovely Bones to my list because she's interested in reading it and that's a "pre-read" title. Even my older children (McKenna and Melanie--thanks for signing up for SRT) influence my choice of reading and vice versa. I'll most likely add some titles from their lists to my own.

I cannot express strongly enough what a joy it has been over the years to read and discuss books with my children. They are clever and fascinating people and often find depth and meaning that I miss. Reading with them has been one of the most fulfilling things I have done as a mother and gives me such insight into who these people that I share a life with are. I love it! If you've never done it, take this opportunity and give it a try.

Link to Jennifer's Read Together info page
Link to Jennifer's list of suggested titles for elementary ages
Link to Jennifer's Read Together sign up page

Now playing on my iPod: Happy Together by The Turtles

Mr. Linky Clarification

Sometimes I know what I'm saying so well that I don't realize I'm leaving out vital information. So here is a clarification on how to use the Mr. Linky's for the Summer Reading Thing.

There will be THREE Mr. Linky's by the time we are done:
In each case, the Mr. Linky icon will be at the bottom of the post page. It says "Mister Linky You're Next" (in green). Click that icon. You will see a list of everyone who has linked in before you. You can click on their names to go to their sites and read their posts.

To add yourself to the list, enter your name in the "Your name" field. Enter the URL you want it to link to in the "Your URL" field. Then click the button that says "Enter." All done.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon is book #2 in a series about a teenage girl who is in love with a vampire. In Twilight (book #1), we're introduced to Bella when she moves to cloudy Forks, Washington to live with her father. She very quickly falls in love with Edward, one of a family of "good" vampires who do not drink human blood. He reluctantly falls in love with her and through trials and danger, their relationship develops.

In New Moon, Edward decides he is a danger to Bella, breaks her heart and leaves. After months of depression, Bella develops a friendship with Jacob Black, a young man who lives on the reservation in a nearby town. His friendship is the only thing that eases her heartache. I don't want to spoil the story for anyone planning to read it, but it includes killer vampires, werewolves, and a trip to Italy where Bella races to save Edward's life.

I have ambivalent feelings about this book. I like fantasy so I'm predisposed to like this book. I also am a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, which means I like vampire stories (if they're not too scary). Meyer has an interesting take on the vampire and werewolf legends that I found unique and fresh. New Moon is more cohesive than her first book. It flows more smoothly, the characters are better developed, the dialogue more natural. It also diverges from the traditional romance devices which I appreciated. (I am not a big fan of romance novels.)

However, I still have issues with it. First, Bella is an idiot. I know she's a teenager, and by definition, is not going to think things through, but still. It was outside the realm of believability at times. (I don't want to be specific, but you'll know what I mean if you read the book.)

Second, I really, really have an issue with some of the subliminal messages: it's okay for girls to give up everything, who they are, their identity for love; if the girl loves the "bad boy" enough, he will change for her; if you're sad and depressed, an appropriate cure is to do something reckless and life threatening. As an adult, I can look past this and still enjoy the story. But this series is marketed as YA. In the first book, Bella is 16, turning 17. That means the target audience is 14 year old girls. Most girls this age see the world through highly romanticized eyes in the first place. They do not have the ability to discern and reject these messages, and therefore, may internalize them and go looking for a bad boy of their own. If you allow your daughter to read it, I'd very much suggest you read it as well and talk to her about these issues, pointing out the fallacies in Bella's thinking and the foolhardiness of some of her behaviors.

Having said that, I have to admit that I did like this book—not as much as a dyed-in-the-wool romance reader would, but I still enjoyed it. And contrary to 99% of the Twilight fan club, I want Bella to end up with Jacob because, in my opinion, he's the better guy. I know it will never happen, and I'm not sure that I really want him to end up with her, she is an idiot, after all. Will I read books three and four? Probably, because even with the typos, grammatical mistakes and a few plot holes, it's still an interesting story.

Megan also read New Moon and posted her review here. We discussed the book and why she would never, ever, ever make some of the choices that Bella makes. I was so pleased that she picked out some of the same idiot behaviors and labeled them as such, as I did. (We did this for the Read Together challenge.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

1st Summer Reading Thing Review

It's the first official day of Summer Reading Thing 2007 and we already have our first review! Thanks, Sandra.

To read her review, go to this post. Click on the Mr. Linky icon, then click on "Counting Stars (Sandra)."

Remember when adding your own reviews to link to the specific paost page of your review, like Sandra has. (Instructions here and here.)

Official Start of Summer Reading Thing
(Prize Alert!)

Today is the first official day of Summer Reading Thing 2007. I know several of us have already started (and one of us already finished) our first books. That's so great! I really look forward to seeing book reviews start to pop up on the Mr. Linky found here.

As of today, there are twelve of us. I'd really like to see us break 100 (200 would be great, too). So to encourage you to recruit your friends and get them to sign up, here is our first prize.

The person who gets the most people to sign up by midnight (MST) on Friday, June 29th will receive a copy of Sorry, the Stork Takes No Returns by Claire Bowen. Either you or your friend(s) will need to let me know that you are the person who referred them by leaving a comment on This Post. (If you're responsible for referring someone this past week, go ahead and take credit for it. It counts.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Spring Reading Thing Wrap-Up

The Spring Reading Thing 2007 ends today. Although I found out about it late (with only 9 days left), it was still fun. That's probably obvious, since I'm hosting a Summer Reading Thing, right? (Officially starts tomorrow. Sign up by June 29th to be eligible for the Grand Prize.)

Katrina suggested a list of questions to answer in our wrap-up, so here goes.

What was the best book you read this spring? Since the Harry Potters were re-reads, I have to go with My Not So Fairy-Tale Life by Julie Wright.

Did you try out a new author this spring? If so, which one, and will you be reading that author again? Again, Julie Wright—and most definitely.

If there were books you didn't finish, tell us why. Did you run out of time? Realize those books weren't worth it? I read 4 of the 5 books on my list. I didn't finish New Moonbecause my daughter swiped it. Actually, she had borrowed it from a friend and I swiped it from her while she was away at Girls Camp, and she reclaimed it when she got home.

What was the best part of the Spring Reading Thing? The kick in the pants I needed to get back on track with my reading.

Would you be interested in participating in another reading challenge this fall? A HUGE yes!

This was fun. Thanks, Katrina, for hosting the Spring Reading Thing.

My Not So Fairy-Tale Life by Julie Wright

Suzanna "Cue" Quincy has had a rough life—an abusive mother, emotionally absent father, drugs and alcohol. If that's not enough, she discovers she's pregnant and isn't sure who the father is. Suzanna's mother kicks her out of the house because she won't get an abortion. Her friends abandon her because she will no longer party with them. With nowhere else to turn, Suzanna leaves Massachusetts and heads out to Utah, hoping her brother and his new wife will forgive her for ruining their wedding reception and give her a place to stay while she figures out what to do with her life and her baby. On her cross-country trip, Suzanna meets Rion, a member of the same weird religion (Mormon) her brother had joined a few years earlier.

Once in Utah, Suzanna makes a gradual transformation from bad girl to responsible citizen. Her struggle with feelings of insecurity and anger as she contemplates the future ring true. Her developing feelings for Rion and an increasing respect for her brother's religion leads to a believable spiritual experience during the birth of her baby.

I liked this book because it was realistic and believable. The characters were unique and developed. It was inspiring without being over the top. Although Julie deals with difficult topics (things we wish our children didn't know about, let alone have to face themselves), it was handled well, clearly showing the consequences of poor choices. I found nothing offensive or inappropriate. I've encouraged my two teen-aged girls (16 & 19) to read it. I look forward to seeing what Julie writes next.

[Book review for Spring Reading Thing 2007.]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Give me a break!

Overcome by peer pressure, I have tentatively decided to go the Yard Sale approach to de-junking, rather than using ebay. (What peer pressure? Not everyone who comments about my blog does so via the "comments" channel.)

So yesterday I began. I decided to sacrifice my kitchen/family room (it's one big long rectangle) and use it as a staging area. It's summer, so no one eats at the table anyway and we would all be better off with less access to the idiot box.

After 2 1/2 hours of grueling work, I managed to open and remove all the items from three boxes and spread them all over two long tables. At which point, I had to stop because I was hot, tired, hungry and late for work. (Yes, even though I freelance, I try to start my work day at a set time.)

Then I had to go eat a bunch of chocolate because I was so depressed.

At this rate, I can probably schedule my Yard Sale for August 11, 2010. Mark that on you calendars, please.

Now playing on my iPod: I'm a Loser by The Beatles

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Someone should just slap me

I started trying to declutter back in January when I moved my office back into my home. I needed to do some room reassignments, painting, organizing, etc.

How's that working for me? Did I mention I broke my toe on a stack of JUNK? That stack is still there, but now I'm more careful when I walk past it, 20 times a day.

I really want to dejunk, but that whole process presents several dilemmas.* (dilemmi?)

1. Every room in my house is overstuffed with boxes of things from the aforementioned move. I can't play Clean Sweep and haul it all out to sort in the front yard. Logistically impossible. Plus, I'm a wimp with muscles like overcooked spaghetti. So where do I put all the crud while I'm sorting it? My living room? Oh, wait. It's already in there.

2. I get the concept of having sorting boxes for keep, sell, donate and trash. Wonderful idea. But how do I decide what goes in which box? What if I get rid of the wrong thing? How do I know I won't desperately need something one day and regrettably discover that I'm too poor to replace it.

3. Sell. I really, really need some cash right now or I'm going to have to go get a real job. Trust me—although I'm wonderfully self-motivated, have some killer skills, and can get lots of work done very fast—no one wants to hire me as an in-house employee. I need an extremely flexible work schedule and I don't play well with others. So, do I try to collect all my stuff together and sell it in one ginormous yard sale (hurry, please, someone tell me "NO!") or do I sell it a little at a time on ebay, where I'll have to photo, package and ship everything?

What to do with all my stuff has been my daily dither for about three years now. What to do? What to do? So what elevated this ongoing frustration to posting level today? I went by my friend's house this morning and she, her husband, and 6 of her kids are all happily mucking out her garage.

I knew I should have had more kids!

* American Heritage: A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive.

Now playing on my iPod: Our House by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

Summer Reading Thing Prizes

Grand Prize: $10 gift certificate to

Grand Prize Eligibility Requirements:

1. Join Summer Reading Thing 2007 by posting your reading list on your blog and signing up through Mr. Linky by midnight (MST) on Friday, June 29th, 2007.

2. Post at least one book review and use the Mr Linky here to share it with us.

3. Post a recap of your Summer Reading Thing 2007 experience on your blog and link through the recap Mr. Linky by midnight (MST) on Saturday, September 29th, 2007 (one week after the summer ends). (Recap page will be posted September 15th.)
Note: You can join Summer Reading Thing 2007 at any time; deadlines are only for prize eligibility.

Intermittent Prizes: Books
These prizes will be given out randomly during the summer, regardless of when you join, and are independent of the Grand Prize (meaning it is possible you could win both).

Intermittent Prize Eligibility Requirements & Details:
1. Join Summer Reading Thing 2007 by posting your reading list on your blog and signing up through Mr. Linky before midnight (MST) on Friday, September 22nd, 2007.

2. I will make intermittent Prize Posts describing the prize book. To be eligible for the prize, leave a comment on the Prize Post. Comments will remain open on these posts for three days. To make sure you are alerted to every Prize Post, please check back often or sign up for the RSS feed to this blog. (Instructions here.)

Intermittent Prize Book Donations
I have already collected several books that I will be giving out as intermittent prizes during the Summer Reading Thing. However, I'm looking for more.

If you are an author and would like to DONATE your book(s) to be used as a prize, send me an e-mail.

Here are the conditions:
1. You must participate in the Summer Reading Thing. (You can join at any time.)

2. Your book must be currently available for purchase (no out-of-print titles) and listed online through or another online bookstore.

3. You (or your publisher) must be willing to ship the book directly to the contest winner within a week of the contest.

4. No self-published books.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cell did we live without them?

Briiing, briing.

"Why are you calling me on the phone?"

"Can you bring me some toilet paper from the hall closet?"

Now playing on my iPod: Better Together by Jack Johnson (Melanie's ringtone)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Welcome to the Summer Reading Thing!

Katrina over on Callapidder Days isn’t doing a Summer Reading Thing, so I thought I would.

Here are the basic details (and yes, I’m sticking very closely to her format. Why reinvent the wheel?):

Who: The Summer Reading Thing 2007 (no, I’m not very creative; I steal all my ideas from other people) is for anyone who’s game and up for a reading challenge.

What: A summer reading challenge for everyone. Set your goals and track your progress. No goal is too small; no ambition too great.

When: June 22nd through September 22nd, 2007. (At that point, Katrina will start her Fall reading program and we can all go back over there and read with her.)

Where: The blogosphere. Join up using Mr. Linky. Post your summer reading list on your blog and backlink here.

Why: To promote literacy around the world. Yeh, right. Because we’re addicted to reading or we need a kick in the pants to get us started.

1. Make a list of books you’d like to read during the summer. Check your bookshelves and nightstands for unread (or unfinished) books. Go to the library. Browse your local bookstore or Check the book lists from Katrina’s Spring Reading Thing or last year’s Fall Into Reading. Ask your friends and neighbors for suggestions. Encourage them to join as well. Start a group where you all read the same books. That’s cool too.

2. Decide which book(s) you’re going to read. There are 13 weeks of summer. If your goal is to read one book this summer, that’s great. If your goal is to read 13 books, or even 26 books, that’s great, too.

*I’d like to suggest that we stretch a little. If you normally read fiction, put at least one non-fiction on your list (and vice versa). Try a genre you don’t usually read. (For me, that would be romance.) Try a new author chosen totally at random. Make your list challenging and FUN!

3. Write your blog post defining your list. If you have all your books nearby, you could stack them up, take a photo and post it. If you’ve really got time on your hands, provide a link to for each of your titles. Totally up to you.

4. Come back here and use Mr. Linky to join up and backlink to this site. Let’s support each other in this fun summer reading challenge. Visit the blogs of other participants and POST COMMENTS! We all love comments.

(I promise I will visit the site of every participant and post a comment on your book list post, your book review post(s), your recap post, and at least one other non-Summer Reading Thing post.)

5. Feel free to use the Summer Reading Thing 2007 image in your sidebar and/or in your post. If you know how to do it, please link the image back to this post. (I tried to do instructions for you, but it keeps displaying them all weird. Sorry, I'm not the most code savvy person. If anyone knows how to do that, please put instructions in the comments section.) [Click the comments link at the bottom of this post. Instructions are in the second comment. Thank you, Sandra!]

6. Regularly (defined by you) update your posted reading list on your original blog post. Change the color of the text or cross through them as you finish each book.

7. Almost Entirely Optional: Post reviews of the books you read on your blog. Use the Mr. Linky on the Summer Reading Thing Reviews page to link back to your blog. (This is entirely optional, but required if you want to win the Grand Prize.)

8. At the end of the summer, write a recap post telling us about your experiences in pursuing your reading goals. I’ll have a list of questions for you to consider answering and another Mr. Linky to be posted the last week of the summer (September 15th).

9. And yes, there will be prizes. Like Katrina, I’ll choose one participant at random at the end of the summer who will receive a $10 gift certificate to

Grand Prize Eligibility Requirements:
  • Join Summer Reading Thing 2007 by posting your reading list on your blog and signing up through Mr. Linky by midnight (MST) on Friday, June 29th, 2007

  • Post at least one book review and use the Mr Linky here to share it with us.

  • Post a recap of your Summer Reading Thing 2007 experience on your blog and link through the recap Mr. Linky by midnight (MST) on Saturday, September 29th, 2007 (one week after the summer ends). (Recap page will be posted September 15th.)
Note: You can join Summer Reading Thing 2007 at any time; deadlines are only for prize eligibility.

Other prizes will be given out randomly during the summer, regardless of when you join. Prizes to be announced later, but they will all be books.

Okay, that’s it. Let’s get reading!

Click here to join Summer Reading Thing 2007.

P.S. Thanks, Katrina, for your wonderful idea. Everyone, go visit Katrina at Callapidder Days and post a comment somewhere telling her how much we love her idea!

Summer Reading Thing Sign Up

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you read through the Summer Reading Thing intro first.

Write and post your book list and use the URL specific to that post to sign up through Mr. Linky (below).

Click on the Mr. Linky icon below. It will bring up a box where you enter your name and your URL. It will also show a list of the other Summer Reading Thing 2007 participants. Click on their names/links to go to their sites for some great ideas for your own book list.

Also, please leave a comment on this post when you sign up, so I'll know to go check out your list.

When you sign up, link to the individual page where your book list is posted so that other participants can easily find your list. (Ex:; NOT just To get to the URL for that specific post, click on your post title to display just that page. Copy the text from the URL line and paste it into Mr. Linky below. If you already linked to your main blog, rather than the individual page, and you want to change it, click on Mr. Linky, find your name in the list, click on the Smiley face, delete the old link, then re-add yourself with a new link.

My Summer Reading Thing List

I have an entire bookcase in my living room devoted to my "read someday" books. The books in this case rotate in and out regularly, but still, it was pretty easy to go browse my stack and select my titles* for Summer Reading Thing 2007.

Here they are:
1. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (REVIEW)
2. Sheep's Clothing by Josi Kilpack (REVIEW)
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (review coming in a few weeks)
4. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer (REVIEW)
5. Counting Stars by Michele Paige Holmes (My stretch; a romance.) (REVIEW)
6. The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child (REVIEW)
7. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) by Jim Butcher (REVIEW)
8. Blood Price (Vicki Nelson, Book 1) by Tanya Huff (REVIEW)
9. Blood Trail (Vicki Nelson, Book 2) by Tanya Huff (REVIEW)
10. Pretties (Uglies Trilogy, Book 2) by Scott Westerfield (REVIEW)
11. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1)
by Phillip Pullman (REVIEW)
12. Eclipse (Twilight, Book 3) by Stephenie Meyer (REVIEW)
13. Wake Me When It's Over by Robison Wells (REVIEW)
14. The Counterfeit by Robison Wells (REVIEW)
15. Uglies by Scott Westerfield (REVIEW)
16. Specials by Scott Westerfield (REVIEW)

**Blue = I've finished the book.

Summer Reading Thing Reviews

Write and post a review of one or more books you read this summer. Use the URL specific to that post to sign up through Mr. Linky (below).

You can do this a couple of ways:
1. Put all your reviews on one post and update as you add more. List your name or your blog name and the one URL.

2. Give each review a separate post on your blog and a separate entry in Mr. Linky. Put the title of the book, followed by your name in the “Your name” field. [Example: The Cat in the Hat (Karlene)] Use the URL specific to each review post.

To read the reviews, click on Mr. Linky below. Then click on any in list links. (A great way to start compiling your list for Katrina’s 2007 Fall reading program.) And remember to leave a comment while you're there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Heroin on a budget

Okay, not really. But it got your attention, didn't it?

My drug of choice (after Nouggies and RS Dark Chocolate) is reading books. Like any other addict, I need a regular fix—sometimes as often as 1 or 2 books a week.

I've tried the government subsidized drug program (aka library), but most of the time the books I want are on terminal hold or lost forever.

I've also tried Drugs R Us (aka D.I.—Utah's version of the Goodwill), but it's too hard to find the book you want unless you're willing to browse through 2,000 titles every time you go.

That leaves buying my books off the street (aka retail). I can't afford my habit. At the rate I read, I could easily spend $40 a week. I've resorted to stealing books from neighbors, family and friends. Of course, I usually give them back, reluctantly. But sometimes I forget they're not mine and I write in the margins.

I just discovered a drug, I mean, book sharing program that seems great and very affordable.

Paperback Swap is a free program (for now). You sign up online. When you post your first 9 books to swap, you get 3 credits. You use these credits to "buy" books; 1 credit = 1 book. Additional credits are earned each time someone "buys" a book from you or you can purchase a package of credits from the PBS kiosk. The owner/shipper of the book pays for postage.

It's not just paperbacks either. You can swap hardbacks and books on cassette/CD as well. They also have a Member Wish List where you can ask for specific titles. I took a quick look and realized I have quite a few books that members want and that I'd be happy to part with. It looks really easy and they have lots of titles that I want. I'll be starting my swapping this weekend. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Now playing on my iPod: This is How It Goes by Aimee Mann

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Spring Reading Thing 2007

Always late to the party, I just discovered the Spring Reading Thing 2007:

What a cool idea! I used to read 100+ books each year, but the past two years I've been lucky to hit 10. Life has been too hectic. I've missed reading so I was glad to find this and use it to jump start my reading again.

The Spring Reading Thing ends June 21st, but I'm hoping a Summer Reading Thing will start on the 22nd. But in the meantime, I'm jumping in.

Here's my list of books that I have read/will read for Spring:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

My Not So Fairy-Tale Life by Julie Wright

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Monday, June 11, 2007

The cure for what ails you

Sitting in bed, reading a new book or reading blogs on my laptop, with the window open and a breeze playing my wind chimes. It's almost heaven.

Now playing on my iPod: Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Top 10 reasons NOT to have laser hair removal

I've been thinking of having laser hair removal done since 1992, when I was diagnosed with a disease that caused excessive facial hair growth. Since my goal in life is to avoid as much pain as possible, I've never done it.

Until Monday. After 15 years of gathering up my courage, I used a free treatment coupon that I got at a women's expo last month. The fact that I wouldn't have to actually pay someone to hurt me made it a little easier.

In honor of this experience, here is my list of the top 10 reasons not to have laser hair removal:

10. It takes 6 to 10 treatments, spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart to get 80% of your hair gone.

9. After all the hair is gone, you still need to have 2 to 4 treatments each year for "maintenance."

8. You can smell burning when they do it. Quite unnerving.

7. The area lasered stays tender for several days after.

6. You will get red welts. Depending on the individual, these red welts disappear in a few hours, or a few days.

5. You cannot pluck or wax your hair between treatments.

4. It is dang expensive. Expect to spend $300-$700 (or more), depending on what you're lasering.

3. You have to let your unsightly hair grow out before your treatment sessions, which means people will see it.

2. The hairs don't vaporize into oblivion. Nor do they fall out immediately. They can take up to 10 days to fall out.

1. It HURTS!

The number one (and only) reason that I will do it anyway:

I'm afraid I'll wake up one morning and see this in the bathroom mirror.

Now playing on my iPod: Hair by The Early November