Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A New Author--To Me

Odd Thomas (Odd Thomas Novel, Book 1) Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had no expectations when I began this book, it being my introduction to Koontz (I'm not sure how this is possible). I was not disappointed. In fact, I almost entirely removed my own self from the world of the living while reading it. It definitely falls into the "couldn't put it down" category, even if its premise isn't entirely original. For me it really was about the characters. I loved Odd. And Stormy. And their relationship. And the way he expressed his feelings about their relationship. And I loved all of the other lovable characters running the gamut between mostly normal to eccentric and possibly insane. It was chilling and sensitive. I think that I felt nearly every range of emotion while reading this. I'm relieved that I don't have to wait around for the next Odd book to come out!


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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Little Man in a Big Bed


The time finally came for Ryder to move into a big boy bed. It has actually gone fairly well. A little better than I expected. He has needed a little help getting to sleep at night--except last night when Sage put a deliriously tired and screaming Ryder into bed. It took about one minute for him to stop crying but I was sure I would find him sleeping on the floor or somewhere equally inappropriate (on top of the toy box?). I was surprised to open the door and find him conked out on the bed. Good boy!

We do have a couple of problems, however. Nap time has not been going so well. He would typically lie down in his crib at nap time and fall asleep without any trouble. But the temptation of being in a bedroom filled with fun stuff to play with is overriding any sleepiness. The second (and more easily remedied) problem is that Ryder flips and flops while he sleeps. A lot! And so far he has flipped and flopped himself off the bed many times. I know! I just need to go and get one of those side rails. I intend to do that--today. But the bed is not high off the floor and we have placed pillows around to cushion the fall. Usually he doesn't even wake up. Of course I now wake up several times every night in order to check on him. Here is what I found last night:


He looks fairly comfortable, no?

Ryder and Haven are now sharing a bedroom. And their room is next on the remodeling list. Any suggestions about how to decorate a bedroom for a girl who loves princesses and dress-up and a boy who loves cars and trains? (Haven does like trains and Ryder often sports a purse--so there is a little cross-over.) And they both love books. I have to pick out some paint in the next day or two and would love to hear any opinions or suggestions.


Ahhhh....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Love That Amelia

Children of the Storm Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another great read from Elizabeth Peters. Amelia Peabody Emerson is one of my most favorite characters in literature (I want to be her when I grow up). She doesn't disappoint in Children of the Storm. One of the major bonuses of this series is learning about the Egyptian culture and Egyptology. I find it especially interesting being set in the early 1900's. It is sad to think of all the unrest that has happened in Egypt since then.

This particular Amelia adventure is more of the same. But the twists and turns and mostly the characters make it well worth the effort.

If you haven't read this series I highly recommend it. They are not your typical "mystery" novels. They are smartly written and, as I stated before, are full of great information presented in a very non-boring way. But definitely start at the beginning with Crocodile on the Sandbank. (Check out Elizabeth Peter's website!)


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Monday, June 9, 2008

Remodeling Fun


I know it will be worth it when it's finished. But for now I am struggling with the fact that I am surrounded by mess after mess, and dust covering every surface in my house. We (and by "we" I mean mostly Eric) are turning our office into a bedroom. Let me just take this opportunity to tell you that one of the biggest mistakes we made when buying this home (12 years ago) was paying extra for the door-less den that opens onto our entryway. It is one thing to walk through a model home and love that open pristine looking den. It is quite another to actually live in the room and realize that you don't live in the paperless and clutter-free model home world.

We have combined this renovation with new flooring in the front part of our house as well as the bedrooms. As a result we (here "we" equals Eric and MRK--thanks MRK!), had to remove a big chunk of tile and the result is dust. Dust is everywhere! I know we will recover from this eventually but it is possible that I might need some professional help.

I can't count how many trips we've made to Home Depot and Lowes. We've also changed our mind about flooring several times. Our lives have been thrown into disarray and I can't really remember the last time I cooked a decent meal (despite the fact that nothing is being renovated in the kitchen). This is probably not the best time to have all the kids at home and looking for all the excitement a summer can provide. But at least they have stopped telling me they are bored (I have an endless amount of suggestions for them--none of them very pleasant). Eric has been working is butt off and it is completely feasible that all (or enough to render our house livable) the work will be completed by this coming weekend. It will be so nice to actually WANT to be at home again instead of anywhere but.

Stay tuned for the end result.



The general mess.



The girls wrote on the bare floor preserving their current music tastes. (Savannah also hung up a sign in-between the drywall of our new wall that said, "Why did you tear down this wall?")



Our new wall (pre-mud, texturing and paint) and Sage's new door.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Another Favorite



It seems like many of my posts come across as advertisements (I have yet to receive any royalties or freebies as a result), but when I find something that affects my life in a positive way it is hard for me not to pass along the information. If you know anything about me then you know I love to read. It is, possibly, my only hobby (does that make me a tiny bit pathetic?). There was a time when I thought that audio books were only for long car rides and didn't really count as actually reading the book. But a few years ago I was a little pressed for time and had to read Great Expectations (for the third time). I thought that I would give the audio version a try and ended up buying it at Borders. It was actually an enjoyable experience and I felt like I was using my driving time (which, like any mom, I do A LOT of) more wisely and, additionally, I was not reading while driving--something I have been known to do (only at stop lights! Sheesh!). But in the world of iPods I was looking for something downloadable and cheaper than $30 per book for a set of cds. That is when I found audible.com. You may have already heard about it but I am here to tell you that it is awesome. You can actually sign up as a member and there is monthly fee, but it is WAY cheaper than buying the CD set or even paying full price through audible or any other online store.

Let me break it down for you (using my particular membership--$15 per month for 1 credit as an example):

PROS:

-Almost every book, regardless of length, costs 1 credit (prices vary without a membership but I estimate an average of about $30.00 per book).

--The credits carry over so that you don't have to use one per month if you don't want to.

--Audible maintains your library in cyberspace so you can download and re-download to your computer at any time.

--You have ownership. If you want to load a particular book onto more than one MP3 player--go for it! It belongs to you (unlike downloading from iTunes).

--They have great customer service. I once inadvertently downloaded an abridged version of a book. I contacted them via e-mail and almost immediately received a response indicating that the unabridged version could now be found in my library and was ready to download.

--They carry everything out there and sometimes have multiple choices for particular books.

CONS:

--I can't think of any. (Technically this would be a PRO, I think).

TIPS:

--Audible offers a listening sample for every book. Take the time to make sure you find the narrator's voice pleasing. I listened to Fahrenheit 451 read by the author and wanted to shoot myself by the end. This is also helpful if there is more than one choice of narrator.

--Not every book lends itself to being read aloud. For instance, while reading The Time Traveler's Wife I thought multiple times how glad I was that I hadn't chose to listen to it in an audio version. Because of the nature of the story (every chapter taking place in a different time and place), it would have been aggravating not to be able to flip back in the book and recall what had taken place and where previously in the story.

Having listened to many audio versions to date I have found that it often adds to my enjoyment of a book. Two examples are Bel Canto and The Count of Monte Cristo where it was helpful to hear the correct pronunciations of the many foreign words and names.


A few of my favorites: The Woman in White (read by different narrators when appropriate); Water for Elephants (also read by two narrators); and The Kite Runner (read flawlessly by the author). This is, by no means, a comprehensive list.



I guess we all know now why I will never actually be paid to advertise anything: I completely lack the ability to be concise! I hope that won't deter you from checking out audible.com.

P.S. They are running a special right now where you can get the first three months for $7.95 instead of $14.95. What a deal!