SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT (The rest)

After finishing our first month of school, I’m reminiscing about my summer escapes.  I let the kids watch videos longer than they should, to savor a few more words (WTF: Wait ’til finished!)!  Sure, they read books, too, but books feel different when optional vs. requisite!

I’m excited to share this 2nd part of my Summer 2016 reading list. PLUS, one I’m cracking open tonight AND one already Amazon wish-listed – containing unforeseen twists even before creasing the cover. Click on the links to check out the books!

booksparkschoice

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

My reading pattern alternates between (or reading concurrently) heavy and light-hearted stories. I visited local Dave’s Used Bookstore and found another Sparks book! Though a fairly recent film release, my #BookBeforeFilm mantra insisted I read this one before watching the film that same weekend. Sparks also wove the characters’ pets into the story, for a warm-fuzzy touch to this heart-squeezing story.

bookmwrinkle

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

(Daughter’s summer reading assignment #1) – I finished this book with my daughter – 4 years after starting it with my son. I wish I’d read this when I was in elementary school because the technology mentioned wasn’t as real then and IT’s power may have been more frightening. Though, on the heels of another internet security breach, the fear feels real. Movie remake coming soon!

bookserumblefish

Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton

(Daughter’s summer reading assignment #2) – Mentioning S.E. Hinton’s name makes me giddy a) Because she is female, b) Successful in her teens, c) And, wrote The Outsiders – THE most amazing story and hunk movie of my teenage years.  I feel like Hinton’s characters speak their truth so well, that you can’t help but empathize and join them in their journey – blow by blow.

booksparksthree

Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks 

I’m always curious to read different genres of my favorite authors to compare story construction. I thought each chapter would begin “Dear Diary, Today we…” Instead, it revealed their adulthood as a result of their childhood – perhaps many of our childhoods, when kids ran free. It was also exciting for me – as a writer – to learn where his life inspired his books (A Walk To Remember) and how he presented those personal stories.


NEXT IN MIND:

jk

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

I mentioned starting this book on my Currently – September 2016 list.  Finally I’ll make an honest woman out of me, no kids, red wine, pjs, and grown up book by Jo sounds like the perfect reading environment!

bookrgcuckoo1

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Richard Galbraith

I salivate over juicy mysteries! This one starts in immediately with the author!  I’m the last person on the planet to learn that Richard is really Jo (see above)!  This set of 3  (and growing – named after the lead character/investigator), The Cormoran Strike series, are giving people chills and a thirst for blood pumping crime series!  

Here are the other two (don’t have to be read sequentially):

bookrgsilk2     bookrgcareer3

Though I can’t keep the summer reading pace during the school year, I hope to read one new one per “Currently” post. I want to hear what you’ve read in the comments below!

1st part of my list is HERE

What about you? What are you reading next?
Did you already know about Richard Galbraith?
Who is your favorite author?
What book is your guilty pleasure?
Are you a daily, nightly, weekly or sporadic reader?
Do you like when books change covers?

#Readabookday #NicholasSparks #MicahSparks #RomanceNovel #SciFi #Murder #Mystery #BookIsBetter #SummerReading #BookClub #TheCuckoosCalling #RobertGalbraith #JKRowling #MadeleineLEngel #SEHinton #Pseudonym #PenName #AWrinkleInTime #TheChoice #ThreeWeeksWithMyBrother #TheCasualVacancy #CuckoosCalling #Silkworm #CareerOfEvil #CormoranStrike #Detective

SUMMER READING ASSIGNMENT

The last night before school started, both kids crammed to finish summer reading assignments.  Though I don’t get summers off, the reprieve from micro-momagering homework allowed me some personal reading time.  So, here’re my book reports (to check the books out, click on the book photos to be teleported to Amazon):

One With You by Sylvia Day

I bought this at Target while waiting to get tires fixed. I didn’t realize this book closed out the sultry Crossfire series. Briefly, I considered holding off on finishing this book to read the first few novels in the series. Honestly, I won’t… for a really stupid reason.  During all the hot scenes, there were lots of fantastic descriptors for the guy’s joystick but called the gal’s thunderdome her “sex.” Boring and irked me.

fg

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness by Suzy Favor Hamilton 

One of my book-loving friends loaned me this book. This was a fascinating read braiding worlds I’ve never personally experienced: Olympic training, Bi-Polar Disorder and champion Vegas call girl.  I couldn’t put this book down. I felt like she was spilling her heart out to me over coffee so I couldn’t help but stay put and hear her out.

walk

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

Another book-loving friend loaned me this book when they saw my bullet-journal page I’d created tracking Nicholas Sparks’ books and the few I’d yet to read.  Not sure what took me so long to read this – perhaps because I prefer to read books before seeing the movie. To make up for lost time, I read the book and watched the movie the same weekend!  Those weren’t allergies making my eyes puffy! Very touching too, to learn the inspiration behind this story too in a later book by Sparks…

Night by Elie Wiesel

(Son’s summer reading assignment #1) – This book is powerful, yet the length makes you confident that you’ll survive it with your heart and humanity intact.  This was my 2nd time reading it, the first time after seeing Elie on Oprah.  I wanted to re-read the book to be able to discuss it with my son.  It saddened me to learn that Elie Wiesel passed away while his voice was in my head.

I’m amazed to report, there are more books from my summer reading pile!  Check back in a few days to see what else occupied my mind and to learn the inspiration behind A Walk to Remember!

What did you read this summer?
How’d you hear about the book?
Hard copy or Kindle?
Autobiographical or Fiction?
Books or Movies better?
If I ask you to list what descriptors you would have used in One With You, will that create a whole new set of Adult ads on my page?!

#Readabookday #NicholasSparks #Vegas #Crossfire #Target #BookIsBetter #SummerReading #BookClub #SylviaDay #OneWithYou #ElieWiesel #Night #SuzyFavorHamilton #FastGirl #NicholasSparks #AWalktoRemember #BookReport #TearJerker

Fifty Shades of __________!

When I heard Fifty Shades of Grey was Twilight-based fan fiction, I was determined to dislike the series. No millions raving about Christian Grey could lead me to betray Edward Cullen. When film trailers featured shockingly familiar dialogue, I felt it proved that Christian and Anastasia were faking it!

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Then, on opening weekend, I found myself out-of-town with hours to kill. With no additional Oscar-nom film haikus to watch, I said “WTF! (Watch The Film!)” Since I was the last person on Earth to get into the series, my spoilers won’t spoil it for you. This is my voyeuristic view.

To Get You Off the Couch
Stars: I had no preconceived view of who Christian (or Ana) should be so they were entirely appetizing.
Ladies Scored First: Both Ana and her valedictorian roomie were graduating from college. Ana had put literature before pillow talk and was a virgin at this point.
Throwing Her a Bone: I liked that, despite introvert tendencies, Ana held her own when drawn into conversations, even negotiations, with Christian.
Points for Grey: A good PSA when Hot Guy initiates condom use.

To Make You Come Again – multiple screenings
Fantasy-asstic: Christian’s experienced, diverse skill set. He knows when and how to play different hands …and stuff.
Billionaire Dream, Sex Machine: You, too, could be seduced by a hot billionaire! (That’s not what BDSM stands for?!)
Setting the Mood: Sultry soundtrack!

Left Me Unsatisfied
Eye-rolling, Lip Biting and Boobs: Less is more.
Open Your Mouth and What Pops Out?: When Christian said “I’m 50 Shades of messed up” I was sucked from the theatre into an MTV reality show.
Push Harder: This isn’t about Christian’s playroom toys. Granted, I don’t know much about his preferences, but if both people want to dabble – so be it. But Grey was always black and white. If Ana thought he won’t always use her in the end as another prop, she’s poorly mistaken – or just poor. While Anastasia pulled out, a sequel bets she’ll be back.

Overall, while the film was anti-climactic, I’ll admit, it was entertaining watching this Twilight/Pretty Woman mashup in-theatre, surrounded by gal pals squealing with every anticipated and unexpected moment in living color.

#MrGrey #ChristianGrey #Anastasia #FiftyShades #FiftyShadesDarker #FiftyShadesFreed #JamieDornan #DakotaJohnson

DAILY PROMPT: PROCRASTINATION: If you give a girl some homework…

If you give a girl some homework,
She’ll want to brainstorm some suggestions to begin work on it.
You’ll text her some of your favorite ideas.
She’ll probably get all giddy and inspired,
So she’ll want to jump online to research.
She’ll ask you to do a Google Hangout to chat about it.
When you give her the go-ahead,
She’ll probably ask you to wear a virtual crown and accessories.

WTF: With technology facelift

WTF: With technology facelift

You’ll have to find the best on-screen shades.
The shades will remind her of the cute barista where she was studying yesterday.
She might feel distracted and want to visit her favorite coffee shop again.
She’ll want you to come too.
She’ll look through her closet for a cute book bag,
Then she’ll look under her bed for her car phone charger.
When she’s under her bed,
She’ll find her old F*ck me strappy sandals.
She’ll try them on with the barista in mind.
She’ll probably need something special to wear with them.
When she’s all dressed she’ll hunt for her headphones.
She’ll play her very best divalicious playlist.
And she’ll start dancing.
Then she’ll want to, and want you to, take some selfies.
So you’ll both have to post them on Instagram #Procrastination.

Prime Procrastination

Prime Procrastination

When she sees and likes the pictures online,
She’ll ask you to take more.
Then she’ll want to send out copies by emailing each of her friends.
You’ll have to get her to close some windows and pop-ups to free up memory,
And get her to empty her spam folder.
On the way, she’ll see her blog stats in her back row.
She’ll want to build a blog post about barista boy.
She’ll want to add pictures to it.
She’ll look for new wall paper and google his pictures.
When she is on google.com,
She’ll see the online history.
Seeing the history will remind her
Of your favorite brainstormed ideas.
She’ll probably ask you to narrow them down.
And chances are, if she asks you for some ideas,
She’ll want to finally finish her homework in time.

Adapted from “If You Give a Pig a Pancake” by Laura Numeroff.
Laura is the author of one of our favorite series of books!

Love the rhythm of her books!

Love the rhythm!

LOOKING FOR AN IN WITH THE OUTSIDER

Only one celebrity inspired me to write a fan letter C. Thomas Howell.  I was in 8th grade, an outcast in my new school (5th new school in 8 years), and he played an outcast high school Greaser in a little story turned big movie.

Be still my heart!
Thanks Fanpop.com for the great shot!

While it boasted a pile of heartthrobs, his heart of gold stood out. I never finished that letter but it probably went something like this:

“Dear C. Thomas,

Do you prefer Christopher or Thomas?  I wanted to tell you that I loved you in The Outsiders, and E.T.! It must be really cool being a movie star, but I love that you still take time for your horses!  I ride too! English, mostly, except when I hit the trails in my western saddle or bareback. If you’re ever in San Diego, please look me up – we have great trails!”

I settled for one-way conversation from the big screen to my heart, but was heartbroken when I didn’t hear much from him after Red Dawn!

Wolverine!
Seriously, they remade this?!

What brought this on? Yaani York’s 2012 blog that featured Letters to Celebrities!  She thought of everything you’d want to ask or bring up to smack sense into celebrities, not just adoring them as I did.  I can think of a few celebrities who need her to give it to them for real! The thing that I love most about her nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award in May is that she proudly calls herself a writer.  For me to get recognition from someone in a position that I’m striving for feels amazing! So Thank You, Raani, for your support, your publications and fun letters!

Ironically, 20 years after penning my letter, I stood in line at a grocery store at the next cashier over from C. Thomas Howell.  Did I talk to him? No after such a long time with a one-way conversation, I didn’t know what else to do but check out imdb.com and to see what he’s been up to and what he might be filming in my neighborhood.

We haven’t aged a day!

I was pleasantly surprised that he’s been working steadily this whole time so now I have 20 years of catching up to do!

#TheOutsiders #CThomasHowell #SEHinton #Greasers #Socs #Horses #Cowboys #TeenAgeHearthrob #celebritycrush #penpal #whatcouldvebeen

SOMETHING ABOUT NOTHING

I wake up daily at 6am, intentionally or not. Today, being a rare morning with no children nor commitments, I set my alarm later.  At 8am I awoke relishing how great it felt to still be in bed.  I closed my eyes just for a moment to wake up slowly and when I did, it was noon!  As a teen I loved sleeping in, but now I hate wasting half my day.  I planned to hit the beach today and knowing I’d missed half my prime tanning hours caused some reconsideration.

Up and at ’em lazy butt!

I debated whether I should clean house today and relax tomorrow but knowing myself and that I only had half a day tomorrow before picking up the kids, watching the clock wouldn’t be relaxing.  I also hesitated since I would be forced to a new beach due to weekend crowds at my favorites.

After a trip to 7-11 for sustenance, I was on my way!  Once I was in the car, radio blasting with the windows down, I remembered how much I loved heading to the beach all day with good friends!

Today, I didn’t bring friends.  My goal was to relax, read a book and get a tan dark enough that I don’t have to wear stockings at work. When I arrived, the sea of people and sunshades mixed with the sea!  I walked far enough to find breaks in the crowd and found my people – a gal with her kindle.  I set up my stuff, checked-in on Facebook vowing to not leave until I’d read every page, and cracked open the book!

My little window of paradise
The only unobstructed view that I saw!

The 210-page book, “The Necklace” took me nearly 4 hours to read in between dodging beach balls, flipping over regularly to tan evenly, and staring at sailboats. It felt good to do nothing yet accomplish something! For me, finishing a book in one sitting is a rare accomplishment!  Reading the book made me feel a part of a rare sorority so I left feeling like I spent the day with great girlfriends – or maybe I just spent time allowing myself to be with me and enjoyed the company.  I’ll do a full write-up to talk you into reading it too!

SATISFYING MY HUNGER FOR A NEW SERIES

My inner tough-chick self hungered to see The Hunger Games to validate the feverish frenzy surrounding me. I loved the premise of kids sacrificing for another while making huge life-changing decisions towards their own futures. I got hung up on kids fighting to the death but went to see how this translated to screen.

WTF: With this, Fearless!

I gripped my seat constantly because the movie built upon itself so well. I found many great messages delivered by a great film with a kick-ass, intelligent, loving female character. I can’t wait to introduce her to my daughter later on.

May the odds be ever in your favor
This saying writes off most of the tributes saying, “You don’t stand a chance but we’ll pretend you do!” Katniss mentors teach her she’ll have to strategize and make her own odds. The saying reminded me of another famous saying but even the Force was of no value until Luke figured out how to manipulate it. She can’t rest on her laurels, nor rely on luck.

They just want a good show
Mimicking what we frequently see in the media these days, as long as good conflict and attractive players are involved, people become famous “winners.” While Katniss learned and followed the rules to ensure her victory, she did it her own way. Peeta stated, too, that were he to die, “I want to die as myself, I don’t want them to change me.” Turns out Katniss, who felt she was no good at playing games to win sponsors over, instead earned their respect.

WTF – Wearing the Flames
Photo Credit: Murray Close (C) Lionsgate

Hope… the only thing stronger than fear While Katniss may have been an underdog since she hailed from the poorest district that rarely produced winners for The Games, I never doubted she had the skills and ability to win. I only worried about the unknowns waiting for her on the battlefield. Still, she had hope and, even more powerful, love creating fierce determination to stay focused. Her power inspired the sponsors and worried the government. I loved that she appeared strongest when giving others hope.

What touched you? I know everyone else has seen this movie, so share!  Who’s ready to sign up for archery lessons with me?

WTF – With Two Fingers
Photo Credit: Murray Close (C) Lionsgate

MONDAY CHALLENGE IN THE LAST TWO HOURS OF MONDAY!

At 10pm I received a Monday Challenge (reblogged below) to do something nice for myself.  Not one to turn down a dare, I felt ideas boiling immediately.  Truthfully, the thought of staring at Alex O’Laughlin for 2 hours made me blush like a crushing schoolgirl but I settled for celebrating the highlights of today, and defining one way to treat myself.

We’re turning up the heat on Monday!

After spending Saturday and Sunday doing “Anything I Want,” I felt guilty dreaming of another day of self-indulgence! I, too, run constantly to make sure my kids get to sports, get homework done, play, read and get to bed on time before I crash and burn. Realizing that the change in perception matters most, today became a Monday like few others – holiday or not.

After ending the scramble to find childcare for my kids, I made peace with working today in order to stay home Good Friday – despite having my last day scheduled for the Monday before – good gracious! I celebrated that traffic rocked, hot coffee brewed at work saved me time and money, the executive brunch fed me without opening my wallet all day, I met a co-worker for lunch, that when I greeted with “Happy Monday!” I meant it.  I chuckled that other people barely growled coherently. Bottom line, I saw the benefits from allowing myself time to do anything besides what I should do!!

Besides blogging, reading remains my true rare indulgence. I’ve mentioned that I check out more books than I’d realistically read.  I especially love to read books about writers.

I love to wander and hop on their train of thought!

I’m not hoping to follow their money-winning plan word-for-word, just looking for the simple advice, for example E.B. White’s biography suggests to “write what you know” – a simple and common theme echoed by many. E.B. truly implemented the plan creating a masterpiece loved by generations.

Besides the gift of reading at least one chapter tonight, I will contemplate what “I know.” Notice I left off “better than anyone else.” It’s not important to prove to be the expert in the field, rather the expert of my connection to the subject, clearly communicating my observations and experiences. The luxury of the indulgence rewards me, but the magic happens with self-reflection.

Another great idea blooms!

Share your story & you may reach the one person who needed to hear it most.

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