This Week’s Five!!!

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Hard to believe it’s been another week. So what’s been good?

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  1. I found petunias growing in the (mostly untended) bed at the side of the house. Quite the surprise! And they are a deep purple color (which is my favorite) so that’s like bonus points for them.
  2. I’ve really been enjoying the evening hours outside. Taking time to water and weed and enjoy the cool-ish hours when the sun has begun its descent really makes me content.
  3. My nails are a beautiful coral color.
  4. Milkshakes!
  5. My garden seems to be doing pretty well.

So, what’s something that brought a smile to your face this week?

Gardening with Julia – Update 12

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This week’s update is a look at how the plants are growing.

Everything seems to be coming along pretty well. The biggest changes are that I now have baby strawberries and my first baby tomato of the season. There are also a couple of tiny jalepeños trying to get going, too. It’s HOT outside, I’ve been watering every-other day or so, but will start feeling of the soil to make sure so I’m not doing too much over watering. To get the scoop on the rest of the plants, check out the video above.

This Week’s Five!!!

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Honestly I can’t believe we are at another weekend already! We’ve reached the point in summer where I don’t really know what day it is, and forget about knowing the date! It sure is a good thing all this technology has dates on it…so here are some good things.

  1. Some friends invited us out to Concerts in the Gardens. This was the first time we’d ever been, and it was fun. Not the type of thing we usually go to, but definitely a good experience. We listened to the Fort Worth Symphony play music to various films, and the second half was Star-Wars themed with a laser light show. That was pretty awesome.
  2. It’s Father’s Day! I love having an extra day to celebrate the amazing father that my husband is to our little boy. Not to mention being able to tell my own father thanks for being pretty great, too.
  3. I ate from my garden this week! Peppers and lettuce. My last thing of lettuce was starting to bolt, and it had sizable leaves, so I cut it off, cleaned them up, and am enjoying them.
  4. Skirts. Skirts are the best. They are better than pants, even better than shorts. I love them. I want more.
  5. Sadie’s been real fun, check out this toad friend she found.FHLeSSnI

How about you? What’s brought a smile to your face this week?

#NTTBF16 Recap

Wow, I know this is a little late, but better late than never, right?

I was lucky enough to be an attendee at the North Texas Teen Book Festival again this year. I also had the fortune to attend the luncheon and panels on the educator day with my mother-in-law.

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Mother-In-Law meeting Jonathan Maberry

I enjoy so much getting to listen to the authors speak about doing what they love, but also being reminded that they are human and have struggles, just like the rest of us.

One of the things that is interesting to hear is how these authors, all of them successful, all have different processes. (If you want to know how I feel about that, check out these posts.)

Here are some of the other tidbits I gleamed from NTTBF this year.

STORY 1 -Fiercely Fantastic Panel – ON STORIFY

STORY 2 – Paranormal Tendencies Panel – ON STORIFY

And of course, listening to these authors make me want to read their books. Some of those I’ve added to my list are Cindy Pon, Jonathan Maberry, Sarah Rees Brennan (she was added last year, I still haven’t got to her books), and Natalie Lloyd (my understanding is that her books are more MG, but I don’t mind 😉 )

Since I’m writing this at such a late date, it may be fun to add that while I was at Dallas Fan Expo, I wore by NTTBF shirt and promoted it to the local teens that stopped by the booth.

I love this event. I look forward to one day being able to volunteer to help (I hope).

Blog Tour – The Darkness That Could Be Felt

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THE DARKNESS THAT COULD BE FELT

Treasure of the Raven King Book One

by

C. Wayne Dawson

Genre: Historical Military Fiction / Mystery

Publisher: White Bird Publications, LLC.

Date of Publication: May 22, 2016

# of pages: 304 Continue reading “Blog Tour – The Darkness That Could Be Felt”

Review – Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I spend a LOT of time browsing Overdrive through my library. I also have been having headaches that make the thought of looking at words sound like torture. So I happened upon the audiobook of Uprooted by Naomi Novik and decided to give it a try.

Have you read Uprooted? What did you think of it?

22544764“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. (Goodreads)

I give Uprooted 4 out of 5 stars!

I started out thinking I wouldn’t even be able to finish the story. The narrator for the audiobook has (or read with) an accent to match the feel of the book – very eastern European sounding.  After a few listens though, I was able to stop focusing on how much the accent grated on my nerves and enjoy the story being told. This is not to say I don’t understand what was being worked toward with the choice of narrator (immersion in the story/setting), just that personally I didn’t enjoy it as much as some do.

Other than the accent though, I thought the reader did a very good job. By the end I was glad to have chosen this format. I admit I’m not good at names, or slowing down to pronounce names, and that I would have likely confused the places and people and had a hard time knowing what was really going on. Hearing the names of the people and places, however, made it easier for me to keep straight which was a town, which was a person, and what part they played in the story.

Ok, now that I’ve covered the audiobook aspect of this reading, let’s talk about the story itself.

I really enjoyed Agnieszka’s voice and descriptions. While listening to the book I was right alongside her. I enjoyed that she wasn’t “the most beautiful” or “the smartest,” that she was considered clumsy, that her mom made her sit still once she was ready for a festival so that she didn’t ruin her clothes.

The story was really pretty episodic. There were a lot of adventures in the story, but they all tied into and built up the bigger story, which I really enjoyed. I remember at one point in time I was thinking “what did that have to do with anything?” but it all evened out.

I loved the magic in this story. The different approaches Agnieska and the Dragon took were very interesting. I loved the descriptions how Agnieska navigated the currents of magic, and how it bewildered the poor Dragon (and the other wizards, too).

So what’s stopping this from being a 5-star read? Well, at times it felt like magic was an easy out of certain situations, and times when Agnieska seemed to just ignore the rules of how much magic to use, but there weren’t consequences for this. There was also a time or two when I felt like the story was starting to drag, and at the beginning Agnieska would drop a big bit of backstory and all I wanted to know was what’s happening NOW.

***SPOILERS BELOW THIS POINT***

There were a few things that I want to discuss, but I think they’re considered spoiler-y, so here they are.

As someone in a Twitter chat pointed out, could the Dragon read minds? Or was Agnieszka’s face that readable? Sometimes I wasn’t sure which it was. Also-did all the girls he took have an affinity for magic? Or was Agnieska the first?

I don’t know if I’m spelling this right, but Alyosha’s injuries? They were never mentioned between the Dragon and Agnieszka, and I kept waiting for a conversation about it, but it never came. Then in the end it was just “she’ll take a long time to recover.” Not the closure I was looking for in that part of the story, I guess.

I LOVED the attraction between Agnieszka and the Dragon. LOVED IT. I should be able to elaborate on this…but I’m having difficulty doing so. I think it had to do with the fact that she started out absolutely HATING him, and then that undeniable attraction between them and their magic intermingling and OOOHHHH!

Kasia. What will become of her? I’d really like to know if eventually she might return to the Wood.

At the very end, I had resigned myself to the idea that the Dragon was gone. I pretty much squealed when he showed up.

 

 

 

This Week’s Five!!!

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Hello there! Welcome to This Week’s Five, a somewhat-weekly reminder of the good things from the past week or so.

It’s summer, do I really need to say anything more? Hah.

Here are five things that have brought a smile to my face this past week:

  1. We’ve been getting some summer rain these past couple of days, and it is so nice! My garden is enjoying it, too. The rain has brought slightly cooler temps to us, which is extra nice considering our air conditioner is acting up again.
  2. IMG_20160612_105606Flowers in my garden! Also, I’ve posted a #GardenWithJulia video on YouTube, keep an eye out for the companion post sometime soon!
  3. Bookmail! This week I’ve received books from a couple of giveaways. Check out tweets 1 and 2 for pics.
  4. Having evening coffee with hubby’s parents.
  5. I’m just so happy it’s summer, and our family gets to spend so much time together.

What about you? What’s something that’s made you happy this week?

#RockMyTBR – May Recap

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The #RockMyTBR Reading Challenge is hosted by Sarah K, The YA Book Traveler. Click here for more info.

[My #RockMyTBR list]

May Recap

On par with most of the other months, I didn’t read any books from my #RockMyTBR list. I did read a few things, they just weren’t from THIS list.

How did your challenge go this month?  Leave me a link and I’ll check out your recap!