Monthly Archives: May 2012

Monday Musings

This week the Monday Musings question from Should Be Reading is the following: If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

I usually do.  Although I haven’t come across words I don’t know all that often lately, I did just finish Hyperion for a goodreads group read and that had quite a few words I stopped and googled.  And getting into historical non-fiction has caused me to do a lot more googling to learn about time periods and places.

How do you usually deal with unfamiliar words when you’re reading?

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Bookends About Bound By Blood

Title: Bound By Blood
Author: Leigh Savage, Kain Savage
Source: author giveaway on goodreads
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Review Summary: A collection of short stories with an unacceptable number of typos, underdeveloped and unoriginal plots, and reliance on shock factor to make things creepy which really didn’t do it for me.

This book is a collection of short stories by Leigh Savage and her late father, all about vampires and other creatures which need blood to live.  I won a signed copy on goodreads and had high hopes for the book, until it showed up and I discovered that the excerpts chosen for the bookmarks had typos.  Unfortunately, this was indicative of the quality of the editing throughout the book which was filled with typos as large as having sentences repeated and words missing or inserted. Continue reading

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Photography Friday

This past weekend was my second weekend having guests – first the boy two weekends ago and then my sister and her friend last weekend – which has been a lot of fun and also kept me very busy!  Exercising has pretty much not happened and getting work done has been challenging, so I’m happy to get back into my routine.  I will miss getting to go do fun touristy things in Ames with my guests though.  These pictures are from the botanical garden, which was one of my favorite things we did (perhaps after the awesome chocolate store we visited).  I had a particularly nice time because my sister and I both enjoyed taking our time and trying to get some really good pictures.  What do you usually enjoy doing with family when they visit?

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Lost in Shangri-La

Title: Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of WWII
Author: Mitchell Zuckoff
Source: from publisher for a TLC Book Tour
Fun Fact:  By 1945, New Guinea was home to more missing air planes than any other country on earth.
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: An incredibly engaging story with a great human element supported by well-integrated primary sources.

Lost in Shangri-La was my first experience with narrative non-fiction and I think I may be in love. For those of you like me who haven’t read narrative non-fiction before, I would describe it as a novel in which personal lives are as well researched as the bigger picture and the whole thing is presented as a story.  In this particular story, we learn about a plane crash in New Guinea stranding three service men and women in the jungle with potentially unfriendly natives.  Due to their isolated location, finding them in the jungle was only the first challenge.  A daring and dangerous rescue mission was then required to get them out. Continue reading

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Monday Musings

This week the Monday Musings question is the following: What do you do with the book before you start reading it?

For a fiction book, I usually just read the synopsis on the cover.  I may also have read a bit of the first chapter when deciding whether to get the book from the library or not.  With a non-fiction book I’m more likely to look at the chapter titles and get a feel for the book before digging in.  And lately with the more history-focused non-fiction I’ve been reading, I may also find a timeline and/or a map to orient myself in the story.

Feel free to answer the Monday Musing question yourself, either here or on the blog of the memes host, Should Be Reading.  What do you do before you start a new book?

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Bookends About A Romance

Title: I Never Fancied Him Anyway
Author: Claudia Carroll
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: My first foray into chick-flick romance novels, this turned out to be just what I was in the mood for.  Light, but not too cheesy with believable characters; an interesting twist on the typical chick-flick; and of course a happy ending.

After reading the rather depressing classic, The House of Mirth, I needed something light and I Never Fancied Him Anyway was just the thing.  Set in Dublin, I Never Fancied Him Anyway follows Cassandra as she tries to avoid falling for her best friend’s crush although her never-before-wrong psychic abilities tell her he’s the one.  Complicating matters, she is offered a position as a talk show psychic working for her crush.  This situation is made even more awkward when Cassandra realizes that her psychic powers take a vacation whenever her crush is around! Continue reading

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Photography Friday

This past week, I got to visit with the boy for the first time in almost two months!  Since we usually visit once a month, it felt like it had been forever.  So we had a great time with our visit, including a fun trip to the Des Moines Zoo.  I was also using my 55-250mm lens for only the second time (the first time was for the parade pictures last week) and the zoom was fantastic!  I do hate it a little that it becomes physically impossible for me to take pictures of anything too close, but I also think it’s a fun challenge to make all my pictures work without changing lenses.  I’ll definitely be using it more often!

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