Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Word Association for October 28

Let's squeeze in this week's word assocation tonight, shall we?

  1. Redskins :: Jim Zorn
  2. Show :: Ticket
  3. Smoker :: Gross
  4. Bad movie :: Great Review
  5. Play :: Theatre
  6. Jaguar :: Car
  7. Click :: Remote
  8. Production :: Company
  9. Sand :: Beach
  10. Foreign :: Currency

Okay, so who's impressed that I actually came up with a name for the Redskins? (I mean, besides me.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mini Review: Dial H for Hitchcock

Time for this month's What's On Your Nightstand.

Okay, so I'm doing these mini review slightly out of order at the moment. But since Dial H for Hitchcock actually comes out today officially, I thought I would start with it.

This series, written by Susan Kandel, features Cece Caruso, biographer of dead mystery authors. Somehow, as she works on each book, she finds herself in a case that is similar to their style.

In this book, Cece is struggling to finish her book on Hitchcock, so she goes to see a showing of Vertigo at a revival theater. The next morning, she finds a stranger's cell phone in her purse. Trying to return it, she witnesses a murder. Then the killer calls her on that phone and threatens her to keep quiet. As she begins to trying to unravel the plot, she finds herself in a classic wrong man conspiracy. Can she get out of it?

I've known Hitchcock would be the subject of this entry in the series for a couple of years now, so I've watched about 6 of his films in preparation. I have a feeling it really helped me enjoy the film and spot the parallels, not that you'd need it to enjoy the book.

There were very minimal pacing issues in the first third of the book, but after that it took off and never looked back. There weren't any suspense moments like Hitchcock had, but those are kind of hard to do in first person narration.

All in all, I really enjoyed this entry in the series. I'm sorry I've finished it already. I'd love to keep savoring it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And that's a Wrap

Well, I was really hoping to finish Dial H for Hitchcock. For one thing, I need to know how it all ends. But I am 50 pages from the end and have reached my limit. Besides, I do need to be at church at 8 tomorrow.

So as a grand total, I got in one adult novel and one classic kid's novel. Just over that, really, since I started with 70 pages of a novel this morning and finished with 50 pages left tonight.

Just think how much I would have gotten read if I hadn't been driving all over Southern California this afternoon.

Hey, this was fun. I hope it works out for me to do it again in the spring. And maybe actually devote the entire day to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

11 PM Update

I thought I was doing well. I'm on page 173 of Dial H for Hitchcock and was debating just how long I was going to stay up. But then I came in to check in on line and I started to feel the fatigue. We'll see how long I last before I give up to sleep before church tomorrow. I really want to make it to midnight.

Meanwhile, I am going to accept a mini-challenge from Lynn: Name 5 favorite books from my childhood. (And if you want to know more, follow the links to my reviews at Epinions.

1. The Gatehouse Mystery by Julie Campbell - The mystery is terrible, but this is the book that cemented my love of the Trixie Belden series for me. And that's been a big part of my life ever sense.

2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis - I fell in love the first time I read it in 3rd grade.

3. Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary - This book still contains one of the funniest chapters I have read anywhere. "Ramona and the PTA."

4. Creature of the Mist by Sigmund Brouwer - Another favorite mystery series. This one can stump me even on rereads. And this is the best of the series.

5. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett - Fantasy and adventure mixed together with some humor.

Book Two Behind Me

Yes, I have finished Through the Looking Glass. Still a crazy but fun book. I just have to wonder what exactly inspired Lewis Carroll to write such nonesense.

Having now read the stuff I needed to read for the membership class at church tomorrow (yep, homework), I'm not ready to start in on Dial H for Hitchcock, the book I got at the booksigning today. It's the fifth in a mystery series that I really enjoy.

Not sure when I will check in again, but I'm off to the living room for now.

And We're Back

Yeah, I'm feeling a little guilty since I didn't get much read at all the last 7 hours. But I certainly had fun. The book signing was small, but that just meant I got to chat with the author more. Even bought The Looking Glass War by the next author who was signing. (Forgot his name.)

I parked at a Borders not too far from the field where I was going to play ultimate Frisbee, and read for an hour or so. Unfortunately, I feel asleep for about 20 minutes. That means I figure it will be about an hour before I finish Through the Looking Glass.

I'll check back in then.

Out and About

Yes, I know today is supposed to be about reading all day long. But I'm actually leaving the house for a while now.

First up, I'm going to a book signing. Techically, Susan Kandel's Dial H for Hitchcock doesn't come out until Tuesday, but she's doing a signing today. And don't worry, it's the third book on my readathon list.

I'll have a little time to kill, so I will grab lunch and read.

Then I am taking a non-book break and playing ultimate Frisbee for a couple of hours, my normal Saturday afternoon activity.

If I can find free Wi-fi, I'll check in at some point. But if not, see you when I get back.

One Book Down

So apparently, I was off on the start time of the readathon by a few hours. Oh well. Not much I can do about it now. Frankly, setting my alarm for 7AM on a Saturday was early enough as it was.

Maybe that does explain my crazy readathon related dreams between 5 and 7 or so. I was only dozing that entire time, and every time I dozed off, I would dream about trying to read by falling asleep while doing it. Rather funny actually.

But this post is to announce that I have finished my first book of the readathon! Well, don't be too excited yet. I went to bed last night with only 70 pages left of A Date You Can't Refuse by Harley Jane Kozak. That book was a wild ride from start to finish. Climax could have been stronger, but it's a minor complaint. I loved it.

Right now, I'm off to shower and eat breakfast, then start in on book 2 - Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll.

And I've got to thank the cheerleaders. I can't tell you how heart warming it was to log in just now and actually find comments on my blog posts. Thanks!

Welcome to the Readathon

So today, I am partipating in the Fall Readathon. The idea? Read for 24 hours.

I'm not quite going to be reading the full time. For one thing, I'm going to a book signing at noon. And I'm not giving up ultimate Frisbee. Plus I have to sleep since I have to be at church at 8 Sunday morning.

The readathon is scheduled to start at 7AM Pacific time. Knowing me, I'll still be in bed when that happens. But I've scheduled this post to let you know I will be reading and I will be updating as the day goes on. Not sure how often or when, but I will do it.

So I'll see you throughout the day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fitness? I Think I Tried that Once

You might have noticed one thing lacking in my recent posts about my life. (I'm not talking about all those book posts. BTW, there will be lots of those tomorrow). My fitness work has really suffered recently.

I've just lost all motivation to do any of the things I know I should be doing. Instead, I'm spending time on the internet, reading, and watching TV. And I'm staying up way too late doing it. That makes it hard to get up and go running in the morning. Heck, it makes it hard to get up in the morning period.

I did run on Thursday morning. Got in 3 miles, dragging my friend Kenny along with me. Yeah, I shouldn't have pushed him that far. We'll see if he ever runs with me again.

The only other thing I've been keeping up with are push ups. I'm working hard toward doing 100 push ups at one time. I'm almost done with the program, so we'll see if I can actually do it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mini Review: Heat Wave

Yep, I'm enough of a TV geek that it seeps into the books I read. Case in point is my last book, Heat Wave by Richard Castle.

If you've missed the TV show Castle, you're really missing out. The premise is that best selling author Richard Castle is shadowing a NYPD homicide investigator so he can base his next character on her. This book was released as the second season started, and is the book that is being released on the show right now.

It follows Nikki Heat, a NYPD homicide inspector as she investigates the death of a wealthy real estate investor. Since he fell six stories to his death, first thought is suicide. But it quickly becomes apparent it was murder. Who wanted him dead?

This book is an absolute blast for fans of the TV series. The characters are thinly disguised versions of the TV characters. They even worked in a writer characters named Rook. The plot was pretty good as well. It kept me entertained and guessing what was happening until the end.

The real flaw with the book was the writing. At the beginning, it was over written, bordered on pretensious. Some of the sentences had multiple phrases and rambled on. Fortunately, as the book progressed, the writing smoothed out and I was able to get lost in the action without the words distracting me.

Word Association for October 22nd

Time for some word association for the week.

  1. Werewolf :: Howl
  2. Jim :: Trixie
  3. 2x4 :: to the Head
  4. Unruly :: Kids
  5. Component :: Eletronic
  6. Prolific :: Writer
  7. Wrestler :: Strong
  8. Huh? :: Confused
  9. Dolls :: Girls
  10. Super! :: Fantastic!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Is Just a Test

So here I am testing the free BlogPress app to post on my blog from my iPod. We'll see how it works.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Fabulous Weekend

This weekend was busy, but it was wonderful. I'm so thankful for good friends.

My weekend actually started off Friday afternoon. I took time off work and headed to the beach. My roommate Daniel had a friend in town, which created the perfect excuse. And it was a perfect day. After the rain we had earlier in the week, the sun was out and it had warmed up. It had to be mid-80's in Malibu with a very slight breeze. Could not have asked for a nicer day.

Saturday was part two. I went to Magic Mountain with a group of friends. I thought it was going to be very crowded after the first few minutes, but it didn't turn out to be as bad as I had feared. We still had to wait, especially for the big rides, but it could have been much worse.

The only person I knew well before the weekend started was Daniel. Basically, he'd invited me to hang out with his friends for two days. Didn't phase me in the least. I had a great time.

Sunday, I started the membership class at church in the morning.

The afternoon was supposed to be a nice, relaxing time at home. That didn't exactly work out when Kurt called to see if I want to join him and Kellie to see Where the Wild Things Are. I debated about it before Daniel, Sam, and I joined them. Turns out none of us really liked it. I was merely ambivolent about it, but the rest hated it. One thing I didn't like was the sadness and loneliness it made me feel. Go back and look at my weekend and then tell me why I should be feeling lonely. It took me a couple hours to shake it off.

Fortunately, I went over to Joe's. Hanging out with him and Josh while watching Babylon 5 helped me shake that feeling.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mini Review: Ghost a la Mode

Tonight's mini review is of Ghost a la Mode, the first in a new series by Sue Ann Jaffarian.

The book introduces us to Emma Whitecastle who is going through a divorce. But after going with a friend to a seance, she finds she was followed home by a ghost. The ghost is her great-great-great grandmother, a woman who was falsely accused of killing her husband. And the ghost is very insistant that Emma clear her name. Can she do it after all these years?

I normally don't go for the paranormal in my mystery, but since I got a free copy by doing that 5K I did over Labor Day, I wasn't going to pass that up. And I'm glad I didn't because I really enjoyed it. This was one of those books I never wanted to put down. Unfortunately, the climax was a little weaker than I like, but that's my only real complaint.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mini Review: 7th Heaven

In my effort to get caught up on my October reading, here's another mini-review. Today I'll be talking about 7th Heaven by James Patterson.

As with most books in this series, the four women who are the main characters find themselves facing parallel plots. Up first is a new clue and a confession in the disappearance of a former governor's publically loved son. Did the prostitute that confessed really do it?

Second, a series of arson/murders are happening in the San Francisco Bay Area. The killers set fires, leaving the wealthy owners tied up in their own homes. Can these criminals be caught?

This was another toss up. One of the plots was well done and reached an exciting climax. The other one? It fizzled and died before reaching a bad climax. Not happy with it at all.

I do realize I have come to love these characters. In fact, one of them was being stupid with her love life, and I want to yell at her and shake her to wake her up. Probably get me beaten to a pulp if I tried it to her face. So I will keep reading the series. But it would be nice if there was one great plot again.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Word Association for October 14th

Time for this week's word association.

  1. My treat :: I'm paying
  2. Bell :: Ring
  3. Five :: Ten
  4. You’re crazy :: But I'll watch you do it
  5. Disgust :: Unhappy
  6. Tempest :: in a Teapot
  7. Bummer :: Dude
  8. Brim :: Full to the
  9. Hose :: Water
  10. Lollipop :: Suck

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mini Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Today's mini review fits in perfectly with 5 Minutes for Book's Children's Classics Carnival. I'm talking about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll which I reread.

I'm sure most people are familiar with the basic premise. One day Alice sees a White Rabit go by wearing a pocket watch. She decides to follow him, falls down his rabbit hole, and finds herself in the strange place of Wonderland. There, she grows and shrinks after eating stuff, meets a Caterpillar, goes to the strangest tea party she's ever been to, and runs afoul of the Queen of Hearts.

The book is silly fun. Adding to it are the nonesense poems by Lewis Carroll scattered throughout. I enjoyed most of it.

However, rereading it as an adult, I found parts of it slow and repetitive. Honestly, Alice spends too much time growing and shrinking and growing again. I was ready for her to move on to something different. I remember liking it as a kid, so I wonder if it bothered me back then. Either way, I enjoyed it for the most part this time around, too. Maybe I'm just being a little more picky.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Insert Title Here

If I had something interesting to use as a title, I would. But I'm drawing a blank right now. So let's just talk about my week, shall we?

I started out my week by going to a book signing last Monday night. Michael Buckley was in Southern California promoting his new series, NERDS. I am glad I went because there were only 3 of us total. He's a funny guy and this book sounds like lots of fun. I'm looking forward to reading it soon.

The rest of the week was rather quiet. Tihs last weekend was Outreach week, when the students leave campus to go and work with churches in California (and other states, at least at one point) evalgelising and helping the church in any way they can. That made it quiet around campus. And at home. My roommate was gone for the week as well.

That did mean the fitness center was closed down. And just as I was getting back into working out. However, I did push ups at home and ran Thursday after work. Plus I played ultimate Frisbee Saturday. But not working out allowed me to get some serious reading in. Amazing how one hour of reading a day makes the books fly by. I've got to figure out how to do that without sacrificing any TV or anything else I want to do. (And as long as I'm dreaming....)

Last night, I went with Joe and Angelique to see the Toy Story double feature. Here's a shocker, I loved it!

Really exciting life I lead, isn't it?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mini Review: Plum Pudding Murder

My second mini review of the fall is on Plum Pudding Murder, the latest Hannah Swensen mystery by Joanne Fluke.

The book opens 10 days before Christmas. Everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is hopping, getting ready for the holiday. And that's especially true at The Cookie Jar, where Hannah is trying to keep up with her normal customers plus make extra cookies for catering orders and for the Christmas Tree lot in town.

But it's the Christmas tree lot that is proving to be the sour note in the holiday. People are beginning to suspect that Larry the owner isn't as honest as he is cracked up to be. So when Hannah finds his dead body on the lot late one night, it's hardly a surprise. Who shot him?

I love this series. So it's hardly a surprise that I loved this volume as well. There were some slow parts in the first third, but once it got going, it really held my interest. And the characters are absolutely charming. And there are still more mouth watering recipes.

If you enjoy this series, you'll like the latest installment. And if you are looking for a light mystery series, this may be for you. Just start with the first, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, as the characters are most of the fun.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Word Association for October 7th

Wow, this thing is getting neglected again. Maybe some word assocation will fool you all into thinking I am still around.

  1. Yacht :: Sailing
  2. Paula :: Abdul
  3. Delete :: All Suspects (Donna Andrews title)
  4. Auto :: Car
  5. Obsolete :: Typewriter
  6. Dedicated :: Hard Worker
  7. Old :: News
  8. Convince :: Argue
  9. Poster :: Child
  10. Erase :: Chalk Board

Friday, October 02, 2009

Another Week Gone Already?

Yikes, time does seem to be flying. I mean, we're in October already.

Frankly, this week hasn't been that big a deal. All the fun was last weekend.

Saturday was the launch party for Plum Pudding Murder. It was well attended, although it wasn't as crowded as the last one. That's a good thing. I'm sure the store broke several fire codes that day. Had a chance to chat with Joanne and Laura Levine as well. All in all, it was a fun day.

Sunday, I headed down to Santa Monica for one last summer hurrah. It was still in the 100s here, but down there it was foggy. Still warm enough that I got hot playing ultimate Frisbee. Went down with Daniel and Billy, who played in the water the entire time. Still, it was a very pleasant day.

And Monday night my parents were in town. They were finally heading home from Texas. They got to see my new office and then we hung out at the condo playing Toy Story Mania! They seemed to like it better than I thought they would.

Other than that, I've been trying to keep up with TV, especially since I've been recording Ken Burn's new documentary series on the National Parks. I've watched the first two episodes, and I'm calling it a day. There is some good information there, but it is too slow to really keep my attention. Heck, I downloaded a solitare game for my iPod last night and played that through most of it.

It's certainly cooled off. It is still hitting 90 most days, but it getting to the 50's at night. And the Santa Anna winds were really blowing yesterday. I guess fall is here. Man, I wish it were still summer. I just love that time of year.