Monday, February 28, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday 2/28

It looks like our house closing has been delayed - hopefully only for a couple of days. Fingers crossed! I'm spending today digging up some paperwork that the credit union has requested and trying to relax about the whole thing.

10 Good Things on a Monday is a great way to relax!

The Last 10 Books I Added to my Goodreads "To Read" Shelf
(Mostly found at Barnes and Noble - I refrained from buying them since I'd just have to pack them, and besides, I can always get them for free at the library!)

1. Dark Delicacies: Original Tales of Terror and the Macabre, edited by Del Howison - I love short story anthologies and especially scary ones!

2. Edge by Thomas Blackthorne - The cover caught my eye and the plot sounds intriguing enough to give it a try.

3. You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin - A seventeen-year-old hard-boiled detective? Why not? It sounds interesting!

4.  The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett - This seems like the kind of book I should read when I'm in just the right mood for it.

5. The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier - This looks like a unique kind of fantasy.

6. Snakes in Suits by Paul Babiak - To my knowledge I've never worked with a psychopath (I can't imagine what it would be like!), but the subject seems fascinating.

7. Without Conscience by Robert D. Hare - Another psychopath book. Does that make me weird? Probably!

8. Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World by Peter Shankman - I have been working on my library's social media presence and this book looks like it might contribute some useful tips.

9. Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne - I enjoyed this author's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and am looking forward to this new book.

10. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok - The storyline is interesting and I'd like to read more about this subject, which I'm not very familiar with.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3)Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After I read the first two books in the series, my reviews on Goodreads were pretty much one or two lines expressing my emotion with the book and my desire for the next one to appear on my desk immediately. I wanted to write more about this book, since I've finished the series, but it's so hard: all three of the books really play with your emotions, get you hyped up, keep you reading, and so to stop and try to put it all together objectively is really difficult.

The Chaos Walking series puts us down in one small place on one continent on one entirely alien planet. As the series continues, our perspective grows along with the protagonist's until we can understand the enormity of what surrounds us and what is still unknown. Two small and relatively unimportant leaders become the driving force towards what could be the extermination of the entire planet, or its salvation, and we see it all through the eyes of a teenage boy and a girl, a newcomer to the planet.

Along the way, the series explores what makes us human, what makes us part of our communities, gender conflict, and racial/species conflict. It does so in a very intense way. There is no shying away from violence and very little peacetalk. The native race of the planet is enslaved brutally and the women, due to the strange effect the planet has on men, end up being treated as second-class citizens almost everywhere. But none of it is heavy handed or moralizing. We experience the horror of it throughout the storyline as background mentions or as pivotal plot points, but it's never beat over the reader's head. There's a lot left unsaid and left to be inferred.

I have to say the battle scenes and violence are really intense. The writing style really flows and keeps the intensity up. It can be very draining to read, but it adds a lot to the series.

It's absolutely one of my favorite series I've read in a long time.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Packing machines and 10 Good Things on a Monday 2/21

On Saturday, Scotty got a call from our realtor. We had been waiting... patiently sometimes, and not so patiently others... during the week while we waited to hear something from our credit union. She let us know that everything looks spot-on, and our closing date is expected to be the 28th of February. And when Scotty mentioned how antsy I am to pack, she said the magic words: "go ahead and pack!"

So of course we immediately drove to Office Max and picked up some boxes. Packing has not gone as quickly as I would like because we are both getting over an illness (probably a cold) that knocked us on our butts last week, but it's getting there. I just have to turn a blind eye to the walk-in closet in this bedroom, which looks more like I have been experimenting with contained hurricanes.

(Even though I say packing is slow, Scotty calls me a "little packing machine." What can I say? I like projects.)

So. On Monday, a week from today, we could have the keys. I am so excited. I can't wait.

With that, I will distract myself with this week's 10 Good Things on a Monday. Taking the prompt from the blog this time. Kind of.

5 Things to Do on a Sunny Day

1. Visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum (one of my favorite places in the world to simply go and relax and enjoy the quiet)
2. Jump in the pool with the dogs
3. Eat ice cream
4. Buy chocolate bars from the grocery store and immediately stick them in the fridge upon coming home
5. Look for shapes in the clouds

It's funny that this prompt came up today. I live in Arizona, which is sunny almost all of the time - except today, which is cold and dreary and gray. Considering how often cozy days like this come around, I love them - so I am going to complete this 10 things with 5 Things to Do on a Rainy Day.

5 Things to Do on a Rainy Day

1. Eat soup or chili
2. Curl up under a blanket or two with a book or a movie (in my case, Monsters, Inc. and the Chaos Walking trilogy)
3. Forget it's rainy when you go outside to crush some soda cans and freeze your feet
4. Eat ice cream
5. Watch the raindrops in the car window

Monday, February 14, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday 2/14

Happy Valentine's Day, and happy birthday to my husband! I hope everyone is having a great day.

My top 10 favorite Beatles songs (in no particular order):

1. Yellow Submarine
2. Eight Days a Week
3. Lady Madonna
4. I Will
5. Paperback Writer
6. In My Life
7. Dear Prudence
8. I Want to Hold Your Hand
9. Eleanor Rigby
10. Let it Be

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A small house update

It's 12:27 on what has already proven to be a very tiring day. So I decided to use my lunch break to update everyone on what is going on with our house purchase.

We're waiting to hear back from our credit union about the loan itself. Once the loan is approved, there will be just some housekeeping and then closing (as far as I know). It's been a bit over a week since the loan paperwork was turned over to the credit union's processor, so things are just a waiting game.

Things happened pretty quickly for us once we got the preapproval for the mortgage, so it's hard to sit back and wait. Between January 15 - 28, we picked the house out, paid the earnest money, signed the bank's counteroffer, provided them with all the documentation they asked for, had the inspection, got the results of an appraisal/termite inspection done the previous month, and got the price down to the appraisal price. So it's kind of like... slow motion right now.

We haven't bought anything for the house or done any packing. I feel as though packing will jinx it (though I'm not usually superstitious). We have looked around, of course; I have a list saved at Ikea's website, and we've looked at washer/dryer units, the only appliance we will need when we move.

I am really excited! Things could still happen - we might not get the loan, etc - but I am letting myself feel optimistic about this. I can't wait to be in our own home.

Monday, February 7, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday 2/7

10 things I want for the future house:

1. A washer/dryer. Hopefully, this will be the first big purchase. I'm leaning towards the LG brand, and probably bright red...
2. A comfy, comfy sofa. Something with a chaise!
3. That lamp I saw at Hobby Lobby, which sadly was no longer there when I went to buy it with a gift card from Christmas. It was shaped like a tree trunk, with birds flitting in and out of it.
4. An alligator-shaped bathtub mat.
5. A basketball hoop.
6. A sulcata tortoise.
7. A nice new desk. Nothing big; something simple, like this.
8. This toy box to hold Loki's supplies. It matches her new vivarium!
9. A dresser.
10. A bigger TV. (Eventually.)

(Now, if only we'd hear back from the bank...)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2)The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Can't say anything, just have to sit here impatiently waiting for the 3rd book to come in...


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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like the way this book approaches the fantastic and blends it easily into everyday reality. Each character deals with their particular challenges (special or not) in a clean, almost spare way. The book is absolutely disconcerting when you step away from it, but I enjoyed the way the author made everything sort of make sense within the narrative.

Although the story at first seems as though it will focus on Rose, as it continues it takes on other aspects of the family, sharpening their character lines and making them more real as Rose begins to understand them more fully. Of course mysteries still remain, as with any family... I don't think any child can grow up knowing every family secret or why every relative behaves the way they do.

I was disappointed in the ending, which seemed abrupt and sort of loose; I thought it could have easily continued for another chapter or so. I would have liked more attention paid to Joseph and his father, just a little bit more focus.

It definitely has a lot of potential, but I would have liked more.

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