Friday, April 24, 2015

#30Authors Returns With Legacy: An Anthology!

Do you remember back in September that I participated in an unique blog tour known as #30Authors?  Over the span of 30 days, 30 authors shared their recent favorite reads on 30 different blogs.  It was quite an unprecedented event, and I am excited to share with you all a collaboration that resulted from the #30Authors event.

With The Book Wheel as yet another driving force, along with Velvet Morning Press and a handful of the authors from #30Authors, an anthology of short stories was born.  Legacy, recently published, features 14 short stories, some of them fiction and others nonfiction that focus on what legacy means to the writer.  Some of these stories were heart-warming, some heart-wrenching, but each one personal to the author and touching to the reader.  A number of these stories really stood out to me, but I wanted to focus on three that really impacted me personally.

"Apfelstrudel" by Vicki Lesage
Lesage's legacy piece transports us into the past through the eyes of a young child caring for her brothers during the era of World War II.  To be honest, I am a sucker for anything written around this time period because it fascinates me, so it is no surprise that this short impacted me.  I thought it was a sad, yet beautiful story and one that truly embraced what I imagined as a legacy and the importance of the little things passed down from generation to generation.

"Forget Me Not" by Stephanie Carroll
Caroll takes a different approach to legacy through her short, "Forget Me Not."  It takes you on a roller coaster ride, starting with anger and frustration (partly because you don't understand what is causing it) to sadness and regret to even smiles and warm content.  It was ultimately a sweet story that closed with a sort of perfection (as odd as it may sound).

"Gracie's Gift" by Piper Punches
Punches' story brings me comfort as it is opens around a grandmother and her granddaughter working on a quilt.  The story that brought them together at that very moment is revealed to be a complex and difficult road, and the future is foreshadowed to bring something similar.  However, the ending provides the reader peace and warmth despite these difficulties.

Though I leave you with comments on only three of the tales within Legacy's pages, there is one story that I also believes an honorable mention for its creativity and execution:  "Four Days Forever" by J.J. Hensley.  Hensley writes about four powerful days in reverse order, starting with this unforgettable first line . . .
"A shotgun is a formidable weapon."
Yes, yes it is.  And, so is Hensley's pen!

As with any anthology, I believe that a number of Legacy's tales were enjoyable, and there were a handful that did not work for me.  However, as a whole, I love that it was a mix of fiction and autobiographical; a mix of entertainment and lasting words.  Legacy is truly an impressive word to define these shorts, and what I loved most is how personal and different and unique they were to each of the individual participating authors.

Thank you to Velvet Morning Press for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I encourage you to check out the full blog tour schedule in honor of the release of Legacy, including an upcoming author interview here at Tif Talks Books next week.  If you do choose to purchase your own copy, all proceeds will go to PAWS for reading.

Have you had the opportunity to read the shorts of Legacy yet?  If so, which stories left a lasting impression on you?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wishful Thinking by Kamy Wicoff

What busy mom doesn't dream of an app that can turn back time and add hours to her day?  I know that I frequently complain about the lack of time in my day and how much more time I wish I had to complete that never-ending list of things to do.  Well, Kamy Wicoff explores this very concept in her novel, Wishful Thinking.

Jennifer Sharpe is a single mom to two active boys, working a chaotic job that limits the amount of time she can spend with her sons.  She can basically forget the idea of a social life or any resemblance of romance, especially when her ex-husband files for custody of the boys.  That is, until a stranger gifts Jennifer an app that allows her to relive hours of her day.  She believes that this extra time will solve all her problems, but quickly discovers that life just becomes more complex.  More time proves to be more responsibility!

Wishful Thinking was a fun read because I could personally relate to wanting this very wish!  It was fun to step into Jennifer's shoes and fantasize a bit about having the unlimited power of time, but it also proved to be very thought-provoking when considering the consequences of such an app.  By the final pages of the book, it was time for reality to set in for both the main character as well as myself.  Despite that slight disappointment, I found Wishful Thinking to be a fun ride, and one that left me appreciating life just the way it is.  For that reason, I believe that this one is a great candidate for a frequent re-read in future years!

Thank you to Spark Point Studio for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Have you discovered Wicoff's Wishful Thinking yet?  If so, what did you think about Jennifer's time-traveling adventure?  If you had a time-traveling app, how would you use it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Ghost Town Cemetary

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday!

Pulling from the archives this week to bring you a spooky pic from the Bannack Cemetery.  Bannack is a ghost town, preserved as a history site here in Montana.  It stands as one of my favorite places in that state, and you will be seeing more shots from this place in the weeks to come.

For more Wordless Wednesday selections, check out the dedicated blog.

Is anyone else a bit obsessed with photographing cemeteries, especially really old ones?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

It's time for another Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!!  As the name implies, it is a readathon that lasts only 24 hours and participants are encouraged to read as much as they can during that time frame.  I have decided to jump in on the fun again this time around.  The weekend is pretty much empty, and I have finally narrowed my books down to a few stacks to choose from.

Yesterday, I shared that I am also participating in the Spring Into Horror Readathon that lasts all week.  You can view my goals there, but I mentioned that this would be my stack to choose from to get to the "scary" aspect that is required for that event.  It is very likely that one or more of these will overlap with Dewey's Readathon as well.

The second stack of books comes from recommendations from my son.  He has been bugging me lately to read these two series because he loved them so much.  They will be quick reads, so I decided that this event could be the prime time to knock these out as well.

The most exciting part about this readathon is that my daughter has declared that she wants to participate a little with me!!  She even picked out her stack of books earlier today!  I really have no idea how much she will sit down and read with me, but I am guessing that she will at least a little bit.  She's a reader just like her momma!

Last, but not least, I will likely be listening to a bit of audiobooks as well during the event.  I have not yet decided what my next book will be, so I am going to leave that one open for now.  I usually choose a book that is available through Overdrive and that suits my mood at the time.  I have been on a bit of a Sarah Addison Allen kick, so I may just stick with her.  Then again, I may switch gears and finally try to get a Jo Nesbo book as well.

I have no set goals except to read and relax as much as I can.

As always, I will be posting updates via my social media sites, particularly Instagram and Twitter.  My final update will appear in my weekly ramblings on Monday.

Will you be participating in Dewey's Readathon?  What are your goals or hopeful reads for the weekend?  (Feel free to leave links for me to visit!)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Maunder: Spring Into Horror Readathon

This is the week for readathons!!  Today, kicks off the Spring Into Horror Readathon hosted by the fabulous Michelle of The True Book Addict as well as Seasons of Reading.  This readathon does require that I read at least one scary book, but this can mean horror, mystery, gothic, etc.  I think I've got this covered!

I am diving in, and this is my plan for the week.

  • Finish To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Finish Legacy: An Anthology in honor of #30Authors
  • Finish The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (audiobook)
  • Read a bit of scary to meet the requirement of this readathon.
A hint at what the scary books may consist of . . . 

I in no way expect to get through all of these books, but you never know.  Afterall, Saturday is Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and I will be participating in that one as well.  I do reserve the right to edit my list and will likely read something that is not discussed here.  Tomorrow, I will post more details on Dewey's Readathon, but you can expect to find updates from me on Twitter and Instagram throughout the week, including any updates to my list.

I am excited to focus on reading this week, but that doesn't mean that I won't still be writing.  I am still working to find this fine balance between the two and am determined to succeed!  For those participating and those not ... Happy Reading!!

Are you participating in this readathon?  If so, what are your plans?  If not, will you be participating in Dewey's Readathon this weekend instead?

Friday, April 17, 2015

"Graphic" Novels: A Story of Misunderstanding

It was a few years ago that I really got into reading comics and graphic novels. It was also during that time that I discovered how expensive reading these graphics could really be. Thankfully, I had access to an amazing library that I frequented on a regular basis. However, I have always loved having copies of certain books for my own personal collection, so I began haunting used bookstores and library book sales for copies for my own collection at a less expensive rate.

This last summer, I moved to a new community, one that was not quite as literary as the communities that I have lived in the past. I searched high and low for book availability in my area, finding only a handful of bookstores and a library with a minimal selection of graphics. Yet, I remained hopeful when I saw that the library was having one of their book sales. I knew that I would make it a point to check it out, and when I first walked into the room, I was not disappointed. It was a large room filled with lots of books, stacked on top of the tables, stacked in boxes below the tables, on bookshelves lining the walls, and in usual library style, bookshelves standing side by side in the back of the room. They even had a room devoted to special collections and editions.

I spent hours at that book sale, visiting every aisle, every table, looking high and low for any and all books that caught my eye. Yet, I did not spot a single graphic novel or comic. I thought I might have been missing something, so I politely asked one of the library volunteers, “Do you have a graphic novel section?”

Instantly, this kind woman with grey hair and thick glasses was very uncomfortable and she only looked at me with large eyes. I was not sure how to take this response, until she quietly asked me after that long pause, almost in a whisper, “Do you mean graphic sexually?”


“Ummmm, no.” My only response that I could muster. I had never received this kind of reaction to my request before. Then, of course, I thought, not necessarily. Because let’s admit that some of the best graphic novels and comics that are out there may have some sexual content.

After gathering my own thoughts, I then clarified, “More like comics in book format.”

“I would try the children’s section.”

I resigned myself to checking the children’s and young adult’s section one more time, quietly hoping as I browsed the shelves amongst the young ones that the books I was looking for were not found here, where little eyes may be opened to quite another world. Not bad worlds per se, just worlds that are meant for more mature eyes.

I left the library book sale that day with a great stack of books, but sadly not one graphic in my stack and quite a different view on how they may be perceived. I wish I had found a good one that I could share with the volunteer that day, to open her eyes to the beauty and fabulous literature that can be found in panels.

Have you ever experienced a graphic misunderstanding in your bookish life?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sit Down & Write 6 Wrap-Up

Last week, I jumped in on a writing challenge a little late.  Sit Down & Write was an event that allowed participants to catch up on any writing projects that they might be working on.  I shared my list, and here it is again with updates for those curious about my progress during the week.

  • Schedule blog posts already written.  (4)
  • Catch-up on reviews.  (5) -- Wrote 3; have 3 more to go because I finished another book recently.
  • Schedule comics discussion post. (1)
  • Schedule more Wordless Wednesday posts.  (4) -- I didn't get all 4 scheduled, but I did get 15 pictures prepped and ready to be scheduled!

  • Journal 1-2 times per week.
  • Catch up on writing prompts from memoir class.  (2)

  • Re-work current chapters for easier navigation.
  • Reach 25,000 words on current WIP.

I did not get everything done that I was hoping for, but I will take any progress at this point.  Honestly, I believe my biggest achievement was getting a better schedule down for writing.  With recently starting a new job, I feel like I have had to adjust my schedule and writing was the top priority.  I have moved my writing back to the evening hours, which is always what seems to work best for me.  Now, I just have to keep it up and I think that the rest of these items that I didn't get crossed off should be done in no time!

Did you participate in the writing challenge?  How well did you do?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Montana Castle

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday!

Did you know that there is a castle in Montana?  Here is the sole one, built by hand in the late 1800s.

For more Wordless Wednesday selections, check out the dedicated blog.

Have you been to a castle (assuming it was not in Montana, of course)?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Maunder: Random Thoughts

Welcome to my weekly maunderings!  Today, you are going to get just that ... random ramblings ... so, read on at your own risk!

Last week, I mentioned that I started a new part-time job working at my kids' school.  I am really enjoying it so far.  I get to work with kids that are a blast, and a small portion of my day is helping kids with a specific reading program.  You can't beat that extra added bonus!

My husband and I are looking to buy a house this spring/summer.  I've really enjoyed looking at homes, trying to decide which one will be the perfect fit for our family, and imagining a future little library in each.  Who knows how it will work out, so I'm trying to have fun while we are at it.

I am determined to get back into a writing schedule this week now that I have been on this new work schedule for a little while now.  I have a plan, so I guess we will see how it pans out now.  Once I sit down to write, I tend to do okay.  It's the finding time to sit down and actually do it that is the hard part for me right now.

I am so excited for a couple of movies to be out on DVD -- Mockingjay Part 1 and The Hobbit:  The Battle of the Five Armies.  I have copies of both already and yet, still have not yet had the time to watch them.  I watched both in the theaters, but can't wait to visit them again soon.

Last, but not least, my reading this month has been a bit slow.  I am hoping for it to pick up again since I have a number of books that I want to get to before the end of the month.  I am currently re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, listening to The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, and just started The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan with my kids.

Well, that's it for this week. Now, it's your turn to share your random thoughts with me!

What are you currently reading?  What are you looking forward to in the weeks ahead?  Do you have any goals that you are working towards at the moment?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sit Down & Write 6

I am a little late in posting this, but I still have a good week left in this challenge and need a good kick in the pants this week!

Sit Down & Write is a writing challenge hosted by Michelle of The True Book Addict and Stories Inside.  During this time, participants can work on anything that involves writing.  That might mean catching up on blog posts, working on your personal writing projects, and/pr something else entirely.  It's really up to you!

During this last week of the event, I will be working on a number of goals.  I have broken them down into three categories below . . .

  • Schedule blog posts already written.  (4)
  • Catch-up on reviews.  (5)
  • Schedule comics discussion post. (1)
  • Schedule more Wordless Wednesday posts.  (4)

  • Journal 1-2 times per week.
  • Catch up on writing prompts from memoir class.  (2)

  • Re-work current chapters for easier navigation.
  • Reach 25,000 words on current WIP.

These are some big goals, but I'm determined to get the ball rolling and figure out this new schedule of writing.  I will let you all know how it goes after the challenge ends next week.  Wish me luck!!

Are you participating in Sit Down & Write 6?  If so, what are your writing goals?