Tag Archives: books

The Weekly Smile…Perfect Day

So here is something I can totally relate to…

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…or any other day.

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Jumping off the A to Z Train

So here’s the thing…

After much thought, I have decided to excuse myself from the remainder of the “A to Z Challenge.” Writing about my “Literary Ladies” for letters A through G has been fun but also a bit stressful. Posting everyday just does not fit in my schedule and it makes it difficult for me to find time to read all the other blogs, which is really my favorite part.

In addition, from the letter “G” on, I was quite short on topics so that would have been an added challenge. Some of the ladies on my list like Hermione Granger, Kinsey Millhone (Sue Graftons’s Alphabet series) and Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich’s Number series) may still make it into some future post but as for me and the “2016 A to Z”, I think I’ll just watch the rest from the sidelines. 😊

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An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Charley Davidson

Charley Davidson

“Maybe I needed sensitivity training. I once signed up for an anger management class, but the instructor pissed me off.”
― Darynda Jones, First Grave on the Right

The basics:

Chocolate brown hair; golden eyes; 27 years old; resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Part-time private detective; full-time grim reaper; has the ability to see and communicate with the dead.

Where to find her:

Charley Davidson is the main character in Darynda Jones’ “Grave” series beginning with “First Grave on the Right” (2011). The series is currently up to book nine, just released this year.

Why she made the list:

Obviously, this is one of those books that require the reader to suspend their grip on reality and just kind of go with it. It is also politically incorrect where death is concerned and leans towards an “R” rating  due to the incredibly hot relationship Charley has with Reyes Farrow, aka the son of Satan. What can I say,  I have slightly eclectic taste in reading material.

Charley Davidson, the big draw here, tends to be a bit long winded, spouting wise cracks and sarcasm in abundance but, hey, she’s a grim reaper encountering dead people on a daily basis. I’d say she deserves some slack where her coping mechanisms are concerned. The fact that she is so off the wall, is exactly what appeals to me. The biggest struggle she faces is trying to protect the people she cares about while still being able to do her job. For the most part, she succeeds

Have you ever felt like throwing convention out the window and just doing or saying whatever popped into your head? Charley is a one-of-a-kind entity who needs to operate on her own, making it up as she goes. She’s just so damn cool and fearless. I wouldn’t mind being that self confident now and then.

Plus, she has a really hot boyfriend. 😊

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imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female

 

 

An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Casey Singleton

Casey Singleton

     “Casey looked at his smooth face, smelled his cologne. The little bastard was enjoying this.  And in a moment of fury, of deep outrage, she suddenly saw another possibility.                                        From the beginning, she had tried so hard to do the right thing, to solve the problem of 545. She had been honest, she had been straight, and it had just gotten her into trouble.   Or had it?      “You have to face facts, here” Richman said.  “It’s over.  There’s nothing you can do.”   She pushed away from the sink.

“Watch me,” she said.  And she walked out of the room.

   -Michael Crichton, Airframe

The basics:

Thirty-six years old divorcee;  short brown hair; athletic body; mom to 7 year old Amanda; vice-president at Norton Air Craft; resides in Glendale, California.

Where to find her:

Casey is the main character and heroine in Michael Crichton 1996 novel “Airframe” a mystery/thriller involving a flight in which ninety-four passengers are injured, three are killed and the interior cabin virtually destroyed. Casey, who is in charge of quality control and public relations is thrown into the middle of the investigation and tasked with finding out exactly what happened on board TransPacific flight 545.

Why she made the list:

Casey Singleton is a no nonsense Midwest girl, a “straight arrow” as her boss at Norton calls her. She grew up in Detroit, earned a degree in journalism and began her career working for Ford Motors. Eventually she moved to California, trading cars for airplanes. She is smart and tenacious and very good at her job.

The entire novel takes place within a weeks time, a week in which Casey’s seven year old daughter is away with her dad and therefore removed from what becomes a dangerous situation. It is lucky, though, that she has experience dealing with her own child because most of the men she works with behave like children themselves! Apologizes to any male readers but Michael Crichton threw his own gender under the bus when he wrote this one. There are very few likeable male characters in Airframe and amid all the postulating executives and engineers, as well as one naive female TV producer, Casey is the sole voice of reason.

When Casey realizes that she has been set up by people who expect her to do as she is told, she instead figures out a way to do what is right. In the end,  she out thinks and out maneuvers the big shots and solves the mystery of flight 545 as well.

📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖

imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female characters too.

 

An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Annabeth Chase

Annabeth Chase

“Annabeth came up to me. She was dressed in black camouflage with her Celestial bronze knife strapped to her arm and her laptop bag slung over her shoulder—ready for stabbing or surfing the Internet, whichever came first.”
― Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian

The basics:

Age:  From 12 years old into her teens through out the series.

Appearance: blonde curly hair, gray eyes, very athletic, very intelligent

Residence: Camp Half Blood, Long Island, NY

Where to find her:

Annabeth Chase is a fictional character in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. She is a demigod, meaning she is half-mortal and half god. Her father is the mortal Frederick Chase and her mother is Athena, the goddess of wisdom, crafts and battle strategy.  She debuts in the first novel of the series, The Lightning Thief (2005). Throughout the series she becomes close friends with Percy Jackson, later becoming his main love interest and girlfriend.

Why she made the list:

The Percy Jackson books were the first novels my daughter and I read together. While Miss Dee was madly in love with Percy, she was also just as crazy about Annabeth and why not.?! Annabeth is a kick a** warrior with major brain power. I love that she isn’t written in just to give the book some female presence but instead is a very intragle part of the story. Annabeth is intelligent, brave, fiercely loyal to her friends and feels things deeply.

What a great roll model she was for my teenage daughter. Miss Dee still compares every literary female she meets to her. (“Well, she’s no Annabeth Chase, she whines too much.” or “Annabeth would never have fallen for that.”). I enjoyed routing her on as well because even though she comes across with such moxie, inside she suffers from all the normal teenage angst we all faced.

I’m pretty happy we got to know her.

Featured image courtesy of:

http://percyjacksonmovies.tumblr.com/post/91761508272/percy-jackson-and-heroes-of-olympus-fan-arts

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imageMy A to Z theme this year is a celebration of literary females. I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very very naughty, but for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female characters too.

A to Z Theme Reveal

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I love books and through the years I’ve learned that my favorite books are those with strong, interesting characters. That is what makes or breaks a story for me so I thought, for the A to Z challenge,  it would be fun to revisit some of these favorite characters…and, since we girls have to stick together…..

My A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female characters too.

Literary Time Travel,

If I could have a super power I would choose the ability to travel through time. Maybe that’s not really considered a super power but whatever. I’d choose it anyway and I would only travel backwards in time. Not forward. I’m okay with the mystery of what’s to come. I don’t really want to know about the future but I would like to experience first hand some of the things that I have read about or seen in photos.

I could watch Abraham Lincoln deliver the Gettyburg Address. I could visit the 1893 Chicago World Fair and ride the Ferris wheel. I could get to know my parents when they were my age. The list goes on. This desire for time travel fuels my choice in books as well. Historical fiction is one way to travel through time and I do enjoy that genre but what I really love is a book that deals with time travel itself.

In that vein, I thought I would share a list of my favorite time travel books. They are arranged according to their publication dates. Each one, in my opinion is an exciting ride.

The Time Machine –H.G. Wells (1895)

  You can’t really discuss literary time travel without starting here. Wells Time Traveler goes forward in time which is not my preferred direction but the thrill is still there. Being able to set a date on a dial and send yourself to that place and see what the future holds is a staggering idea! I actually saw the film version with Rod Taylor years before I read the book.  As a result, I can’t read this with out picturing the blue skinned morlocks and the mannequin the Time Traveler observes changing her fashion as he moves forward in time.

Time and Again- Jack Finney (1970)

 Though written in 1970, I only recently discovered this book on a Goodreads top ten list. In this story a bored New York City advertising man is approached by a government agency interested in recruiting him for a secret experiment in time traveling. The quirk in this time travel theory (because of course every author has their own), is that the traveler has to be in a place that existed during the time they wish to travel to. Our hero moves into the historic Dakota apartment building on Central Park and begins to immerse himself in the past. We learn about New York during the turn of the century and experience life through the eyes of someone who knows what the future brings. 

Timeline- Michael Crichton (1999)

 This book has been a favorite of mine for quite some time (pardon the pun). In this a group of archeologists working on a dig in France discover a message buried in the dig site that appears to be a plea for help written in English and in handwriting that appears to belong to their missing team leader. Eventually through the use of quantum physics, they are transported back to 14th century France in order to rescue their friend. I think what appeals to me most about this story is that the characters are a group of historians and academics who have researched and obsessed about this particular time period only to be dropped into the middle of it like kids in a candy shop! They can actually see what they have only theorized about. Also, if you have ever read anything by Michael Crichton (Jurrasic Park, Airframe, The Adromeda Strain) you know that he never does anything half way. He’s done so much research into quantum physics and multi verse theory and explains it so logically that you almost believe time travel could be possible. On a side note, this book was made into a really bad movie. If you’ve seen it, please don’t judge the story based on that.


11/22/63- Stephen King (2011)

 And then there’s this, the novel that asks the question that everyone who has considered time travel has thought about: Is it possible to go back in time and change the past? I’m a little surprised that Stephen King had not tackled this subject before considering he is a master of the strange and unusual. I really enjoyed all of the historic detail King included in the story. I found myself reading up on Lee Harvey Oswald and the events leading up to Kennedy’s death just to find out more and to confirm the information being given in the novel. The hero is an ordinary guy who stumbles into the fantastic, a very likable guy who struggles with his moral duty and has to make some very difficult decisions. The ending of the book seemed to go on longer than was necessary but King’s tales tend to do that.

I’ve read others, but these are my favorite so far. I would love to hear your thoughts on these books or some recommendations for further time travel adventure I could take!


Judging a Book By Its Cover

I know the saying really is “Never judge a book by its cover”  but I’m speaking in the more literal sense. You know, actual books and their actual covers. Being a very visual person,  I notice book covers.  If there is an interesting or intriguing photo or illustration,  I stop and look.

I’m a bit of a book store addict. Shopping online only works if I know what I want. When I’m just browsing I need to be in a room surrounded by actual books. Secondhand bookstores are my favorite because you never know what treasure you might find tucked away on the shelves.  On these expeditions, I  often purchase a book just because I am am fascinated by the cover or title. What can I say, I’m reckless like that sometimes.

Here are some examples. These are only the covers. I’m not going to tell you what the books are about (if you don’t already know) because I figure if you are as intrigued by the covers as I was, you will find out for yourself!  I will, however, tell you that they all lived up to my expectations and were well worth the time.

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Creepy, huh? I admit, I like weird, especially weird photographs. The entire book is filled with the same kind of visuals. This is a Young Adult book, by the way, but as far as I’m concerned a good story is a good story no matter what section of the store it’s in.

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Another YA book. I found this one at a yard sale and was desperate to find out how a baseball bat and an umbrella worked together in the story line. The characters are wonderful. My 16 year old has read it several times and considers it one of her favorite books.

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So so here is a book about…..a book! I’m already hooked.  I really wanted to know more about this intense society woman posing in her 1920’s finery. This was a real person and a real diary and that alone made me curious.

imageAnd finally, how could you not love the title of this book?  I am a great lover of letters and post cards. They are so much more personal than emails or texts. I think that  woman gazing off into the water and the hand written card tugged at the romantic in me.

This isn’t a foolproof method though.  I’ve bought other books because of their great covers only to be very disappointed by the story. Live and learn, you know. I still enjoy the hunt and I get really excited when I discover a hidden gem.

Let’s hear your thoughts. Have you ever judged a book by its cover? What book was it? Was it worth the risk?

O is for Opening Lines

All writers know the importance of a good opening paragraph. They only have a few lines in order to get the reader hooked and to make them want to read more. Good writers usually equal good openings.

There are lots of list on the Internet of famous opening lines. They are usually from classic novels and they really are “great opening lines” but they don’t always include more modern book.

Well, I have very eclectic taste in novels so I thought, just for the fun of it, I would make my own list.

So, in no particular order, here are Nancy’s 10 favorite opening lines:

1) “When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

2) “There are some men who enter a woman’s life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me–not forever, but periodically.”
– Janet Evanovich, One For the Money

3) “I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar.”
– Charlaine Harris, Dead Until Dark

4) “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
5) “Serene was a word you could put to Brooklyn, New York.  Especially in the summer of 1912. Somber, as a word, was better.”
– Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
6) “The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.”
-H.G. Wells, The Time Machine

7) “Marley was dead, to begin with.”
– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
8) “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
– Margaret Mitchell, Gone With The Wind

9) “The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years – if it ever did end – began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
-Stephen King, It

10) “When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.”
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird 

Okay, how did I do? What opening lines would you add?

N is for Nancy

Today it’s all about me!!! Okay, it’s all about me and other people named Nancy. Maybe these other Nancy’s are  better known than I am but I don’t mind sharing my name with them anyway. So presented in totally random order:

Nancy Drew

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Drew

Teenage sluth extraordinaire! Who could forget Carolyn Keene’s talented young lady with the matching sweater sets. I must have read every book in the series 3 times. We still have copies in the school library that are borrowed on a regular basis.

Nancy Reagan

 http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Reagan

I am always impressed by the poise and grace with which this former First Lady moves through life. First she took on Hollywood (check out her and her husband as they star together in “Hellcats of the Navy”1957), then she took on Washington (Say No To Drugs!). She gives the rest of us Nancys something to strive for.

Nancy Sinatra

Her boots were made for walkin and her dad was from Jersey. ‘Nuff said 

 https://ticklemevintage.wordpress.com/tag/nancy-sinatra/

Fancy Nancy

https://www.fancynancyworld.com/books/hardcover/fancy-nancy-10th-anniversary-edition/9780062352149 

Could any literary character be any sweeter? The illustrations and the shear joy in these books make them worth reading. My hubby gets me a new one for Christmas each year just because I’m his Fancy Nancy!  I know-he’s a keeper!

I could go on but I think that’s enough Nancy-ness for one day and I have to say, speaking as a Nancy, I think this is pretty good company!