Saturday, October 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Sign up to write a novel, it's FREE!

A few months ago I was introduced to NaNoWriMo through this post written by Janet over at Homeschooler Cafe.  NaNaWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and the post written by Janet directs to The Young Writers Program.  After some research I decided to sign up (for free, always a bonus) to write a novel in the month of November.  Writing is to commence on November 1st, which is really really close.  I thought I would share this with my readers on both my blogs.  I figured readers of my Tots and Me blog would be interested in this for their children (or for themselves).  Here is their description of the program:

National Novel Writing Month happens every November!
It is a fun, seat-of-your-pants novel writing event where the challenge is to write an entire novel in just 30 days. That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but our Young Writers Program allows participants who are 17 years old and younger to set reasonable, yet challenging, word-count goals.
The thing that matters most in NaNoWriMo is output. Our high-velocity approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: you will be writing a lot of strange stuff, and some of it will be just plain bad. But that's a good thing! For 30 days, you get to lock that inner editor in the basement, let your imagination take over, and just create!
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants of all ages are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel.
In 2009, 167,000 adults participated through our main site, and 35,000 young writers participated through our Young Writers Program.

So, to recap:

What: To meet your word-count goal and write a novel from scratch in one month’s time. You will be able to enter your chosen word-count goal in your profile starting October 1.
Who: You!
You should sign up on the Young Writers Program site if you are:
  • 17 years old or younger participating on your own.
  • In a K-12 teacher-led class that is participating in NaNoWriMo.
  • An educator facilitating NaNoWriMo in your classroom.
If you are 13 or older, you can sign up on the main site at Just know that you will have to write 50,000 words since the adult site doesn’t allow you to set your own word-count goal.
Why: The reasons are endless! To write freely without having to stress over spelling and grammar. To be able to talk about how cool your novel is any chance you get. To be able to make fun of real novelists who take far longer than 30 days to write their books...
When: You can sign up whenever you’d like to add your name to the roster of budding young authors and participate in the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach your word-count goal by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the celebration begins.
Still confused? Just visit the How NaNoWriMo Works for Young Writers page! If you are an educator, visit the How NaNoWriMo Works for Educators page.
See you in November!

Children from Kindergarten through 12th grade can sign up for the Young Writers program.  My husband and I signed up for the adult program which you can access here.

So, needless to say, I will probably not be posting as detailed posts each week for our homeschooling.  Pictures take way too long to upload on my computer so there will be a minimum.  I do not foresee this affecting our lessons as I will be writing my novel while the children are sleeping.  I am really excited about seeing where my imagination will lead me.  I wish my girls were old enough to participate.  

Would love to know that there are other bloggy families out there who will be participating.  Hope to hear from you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: Masquerade

I was sent a copy of Masquerade by Nancy Moser by Bethany House in order to review it.  This story is set in the late 1800's during the gilded age (learned that term from the book, I don't remember learning about it).  Charlotte Gleason resides in England with her mother and father.  She has always been pampered/spoiled; she has been sheltered from the world.  What she doesn't know IS going to hurt her and change her life.  Events out of her control make it imperative that she agree to an arranged marriage  to an American who is an heir in a very influential family.  She resents, objects, resists, but finally heads for America with her maid and friend Dora Connors.  Because of her reluctance to be forced to marry  to save her family and herself she devises a plan to switch places with her maid.  This leaves naive Charlotte to fend for herself in poverty ridden streets of NYC, while Dora struggles to fit in with the elite under constant threat of being found out.

When I first saw the description of this book my mind went straight to The Prince and The Pauper, and I thought it sounded like a neat twist on that story.  Rich trading places with the poor.  As I was reading I also realized I was recognizing some of the story line from Titanic as Lottie was traveling by ship to America and faced with the dilemma of an arranged marriage to protect against financial ruin.  She felt trapped as Rose did and was looking for a way to escape.  There is also a scene that the author admits was inspired by a scene in Titanic.  I'll let you read it to see if you can figure it out.
I loved the character development in this book.  We truly see growth in the two main characters.  It did take me a while to get used to having the story told from two points of view (Lottie's and Dora's).  Lottie begins this tale as a spoiled rich girl who expects everything to go her way and is quickly brought to reality when she has disaster after disaster happen to her.  Dora is shown as the religious one from the beginning and questions the morality of agreeing to Lottie's scheme.  She really struggles to come to terms with what they are doing.  At first I thought some of the disasters were just too convenient, but then I realized it could very well have happened the way it was written.
I feel the plot moved along very well and I enjoyed the twists.  
The descriptions of the clothing and the surroundings were so vivid, I could really see this story come to life in my mind.  The historical detail was spectacular.  And the author includes some more detail in an appendix.
We see that God doesn't always answer prayer in the way we want or expect.  His plan is what is best for us, not what is easiest.
There were times I was frustrated by Lottie's jealousy and self-centeredness, but I guess that fits her character.
I give this book 5 stars. It was a real page turner and the characters have stayed with me, I got to know them and love them/feel for them.  That is a true requirement for me to really falling in love with a book.

As I stated I received this book from Bethany House as part of their blog review program.  The opinions I expressed were my own.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Fun October 22, 2010

Book Blogger Hop


Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.
1.  Enter your book blog link in the Linky List below
In your link, please state the main genre that you review:  eclectic, contemp. fiction, ya, paranormal, mystery, non-fiction, etc.

Please do not list every genre you review - if you are review a variety, please put eclectic!  The Hop gets jumbled up if the title is too long, so please limit to one genre.  I will be limiting the number of characters in the title to ensure the Hop doesn't look messy!  Thank you!

Example:  Crazy-for-Books (adult fiction) 

NOTE:   You no longer have to enter the length of time you've been blogging, but do let us know if this is your first time hopping with us!

2. Post about the Hop on your blog.  Spread the word about the book party!  The more the merrier!  In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!).  If you have a suggestion for a future HOP question, click here to fill out the form!  Thanks!

This week's question comes from Becky who blogs at Becky's Barmy Book Blog:

"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

3.  Visit other blogs in the Linky List!  Make new friends!  Follow new book bloggers!  Talk about books!  Rave about authors!  Take the time to make a quality visit!  Check out other posts and content, make a new friend!  Don't randomly follow someone if you never intend on actually following them!  No spamming please!  (Please do not leave your link and not visit other blogs - it's just not cool and not in the spirit of the Hop!)

My answer:
I love to read sitting on the couch.  The answer used to be in bed to get to sleep.  But with the baby in the room I can't have the light on to read.  I read in the car and in the bathroom.  But sitting on the couch, with out the baby would have to be the best.  It has become very hard to read while the baby is nursing now because she has entered the curious, nosy stage.

Now onto The Friday 56, hosted by Tonya over at Storytime with Tonya and Friends

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blogor (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

I am reading another suspense book by Kathy Herman, just started the Seaport Suspense Series after finishing The Hunger Games Trilogy.  Here is my Friday 56:

A Shred of Evidence  by Kathy Herman
"'Well, you ain't gittin' me to help you.' He held open the door. 'You can leave the same way you come in.'"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Mockingjay


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I'm was a little behind the times as usual, only just recently learning about The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  I do have to say having this book blog has really introduced me to a bunch of books I would never had read otherwise.  Anyhow, while I didn't have to wait for the conclusion of the trilogy because I started reading it right after Mockingjay was released I am still engrossed in this series, a lot more than I ever thought possible.  I am having a really hard time putting these books down.  The first two were amazing.  Maybe I am preaching to the choir and everyone who reads my blog has already read the books.  However if you didn't I would definitely recommend them.  I just finished my review of The Hunger Games, the first book, and I will write the review for Catching Fire shortly.  Right now, I am a short way into Mockingjay, which is where my teaser for Teaser Tuesday comes from.

page 82, "Now that the flurry of activity leading up to this mission is over, I realize I have no idea what I'm facing on this trip to District 8.  In fact, I know very little about the actual state of the war."

Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a book I never thought I would be interested in reading. Yet I found myself caught up in the story and towards the end I couldn't put the book down.  This book is set in the future, after the destruction of what we now know as America, due to natural disasters and non natural disasters.  Out of the remains of the old world a  new world called Panem arises which consists of The Capitol and 12 (used to be 13 districts).  The districts are kept in line by the mighty hand of the Capitol by Peacekeepers and electified fences and the annual Hunger Games.  As a reminder and punishment for an uprising/rebellion almost 3/4 of a century earlier each district is to send one boy and one girl "tribute" to the Capitol each year where they will fight to the death, with only one Victor.  The book begins on the day of the "Reaping"-the day where the tributes are chosen at random-and we are introduced to the main character, in whose voice we read the entire book, Katniss Everdeen.  We follow her as she volunteers as tribute and journeys to the Capitol with her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta.  I really did find myself connecting with the characters.  The author brought them to life for me.  Even though I had a hard time at first reading it in the voice it was written in, I got used to it.  I really thought it was going to be filled with lots of bloody battle scenes, but even though there were a few scenes that were a bit graphic and gory, the remainder of the time in the actual arena consisted of quite a few lessons on survival skills as Katniss kept to herself in order to stay alive, utilizing the skills she learned while hunting illegally in the woods behind District 12.  There were a lot of twists in this book enough to keep the reader on his/her toes and it made this book very hard to predict, keeping the suspense level just right to keep the reader reading just a little bit more, a little bit more.  The author kept the plot flowing perfectly.  Not to mention the surprise ending.
And while there are those few scenes that might bother the faint of heart, I was really pleased to find no foul language in this young adult novel.
The author has quite the imagination and was able to bring this future fictional world to life in all its horrors.
Oh, and there is a bit of a love story being told here which is extremely important to the plot.

This book is definitely a 5 star book.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall into Reading Question#3

It's Tuesday and a new question has been posted over at Callapidder Days.  Head on over there if you wish to play along.  If you haven't signed up for Fall into Reading yet, it is not too late to enter.  Just head on over.
Here is this week's question:
 Do you eat and/or drink while you’re reading? Or do you keep food and liquids far away from your books?

I had to think for a moment, but then realized I no longer eat when I am reading. Seeing as I am either reading in the bathroom, in bed or feeding the baby more than likely I am not eating. Even in the car I have just been reading. Though I guess I did read during lunch today for the first time in ages, because I just couldn’t put my book down. So to answer the question, I guess, no. Which I guess is good because I would just sit there eating mindlessly.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall into Reading Update

Well I am a little late as I just realized there was a question posed last Tuesday over at Callapidder Days in conjunction with Fall into Reading.  I left a comment over at her blog, but thought I would post about it too.

"[She] mentioned in the Fall Into Reading 2010 launch post that every Tuesday this fall, [she] will post a question about reading. Why am I doing this? Well, for one thing, I love reading and talking about reading with others. And for another, I thought it would be a great way to keep Fall Into Reading participants connected throughout the course of the challenge.

So without further ado, here’s your first question, .

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to your reading? What prevents you from reading as much as you’d like?

Here was my answer:

 I know I would read more if I was not blogging and hopping around other’s blogs. The main obstacle, however, is the baby not letting me read now while she is nursing. When she was younger I could, now she gets distracted, or doesn’t want me distracted. So when I have free time, like now after the kids are in bed or during naps I am more likely to be found on the computer than buried in a book as I once used to be. I do take my book in the car if I am not driving and get some good reading time usually, but that doesn’t happen very often. The bathroom is a favorite reading place too, always has been.

Now for the update:
So far I have read one book not on my list:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

And I am reading another one not on my list:
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (the 2nd book in the series)

I am in the middle of Masquerade, a book that is actually on my list. 

One is in the upstairs bathroom, the other downstrairs. I did take Masquerade with me in the car yesterday as we traveled to the Buffalo Bills game. I know I have to read this one as I received it to review.  But I have had a really hard time putting down The Hunger Games series.  In fact the last books that were this hard for me to put down were the Twilight Series.