Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Final Thoughts

I had not been planning on making a year-end post, but here I am telling you my favorite books, and some 'to come' books

I've narrowed down from all the books I've read and reviewed in the last 365 days, and have come up with a list of eleven books books.

Wildwood Dancing
Celia's House
The Princess Bride
The Penderwicks
Mara Daughter of the Nile
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Book of a Thousand Days
A Curse Dark as Gold

There are already quite a few books on my TBR09 list... This is by no means all I will be reading, but it is my starting list:

Shakespeare's Secret
Pride and Prejudice
The Anybodies
The Little White Horse
Tuck Everlasting
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Sense and Sensibility
Princess Academy
The Hunger Games
Dandelion Fire

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008



I have been getting a LOT of sleep this Christmas Break. Its probably not good for me, but on average I have been getting 10-11 hours of sleep a night. It is going to be really hard to start waking up at 5:30/6:00 again...

I did not know that is was possible to get too much sleep. But it is. I know first hand.

The night before last I could not get to sleep. I tossed and turned. I put more blankets on by bed. I took all the blankets off my bed. I tried all kinds of tricks I had heard like not letting your tongue touch the roof of your mouth, and counting (I just counted numbers, though. Not sheep). I got all the way to 150 something when I decided it was not working. I tried orange juice, egg nog (its not that bad at 2 in the morning...), and even reading nonfiction!

Still no sleep. I decided it was useless trying to sleep when my body was not tired, so I pulled out my bible and read for a while. I finally fell asleep somewhere around four. To my amazement I woke up around nine. And I was not tired at all that day.

So, now I'm going to be more careful how much sleep I get. I know I wont be able to sleep in at all in about a year, so I plan on taking advantage of it while I can, but not 11 hours a night for five straight days...

What experiences have you had with sleep, or lack thereof?

The Chirstmas Linebacker

Friday, December 26, 2008


This is my one year annaversary with this blog. On Wednesday, December 26, 2007 I posted my first review on The Westing Game. Oh the memories...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Adoration of the Shepherds

This painting by Gerald van Honthorst was done in 1622. I love how light and shadow is used here to direct the viewer attention to the baby in the center, and Mary. The light that seems to be coming from him also highlight the wonderful expressions of all the people looking at him. One sheperd is excited, and the other two seem amazed. Why, even the ox is interested! Merry Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Instead of reviewing a book today, I am posting part of the Christmas Story from Luke Chapter 2.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Today, I am sharing more notes from my modern fiction class.

Types of Commentary
(commentary is good because later you can look back and see what you thought about a specific passage.)
* questions
* connect one thing to another
* evaluate what is happening or how the author is writing
* predict
* clarify

All of these will help you remember what you were thinking when you read something. It is good to use when you have to write a paper on a book, or when you just want to remember more about what you read.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Christmas Shoes

I have heard this song countless times, but when I watched this video, I cried.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bible Blurb

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quite A Week

This has defiantly been quite a week. We had our last regular day of school on Monday, Tuesday was a review day, and finals started Wednesday. Well, they were supposed to... Only I could get sick on the first day of finals. Needless to say, I stayed home. I sat in front of the TV most of the day watching reruns. I watched an episode of Hart to Hart (and really liked it!), a painter named Bob Ross (he is amazing!), and so many other shows that they are all running into each other.

Thursday I had two more finals and a 'homeroom' sort of hour for make ups. I made up my American Government final, and took the constitution test (I passed!), and then started my art final. After the first final, they made an announcement on the loud speaker that because of a coming storm we were starting school two hours late the next day- at 10 am. Most of us were not happy- we wanted to get our last day of finals over with- but there was nothing we could do about it.

Some storm!

It was supposed to be an inch of ice, up to 6 inches of snow, and there was even supposed to be a thunderstorm... We got some hail, and a couple inches of snow that all turned as hard as a rock. After finals were over, I was recruited, along with my sisters, to shovel the driveway... Not fun. The snow/ice was so hard that we had to use metal dirt shovels to break it off the driveway! And there is still a thin layer of ice in some spots that we gave up on.

And then, Friday night at about 6 pm, I was taught that I need to be more careful when I write things on my calendar... I had been planning on sitting The Twins TONIGHT, but I had written it down wrong and it was Friday night... I was scrambling everywhere trying to get ready and we were off in about 5 min..

We had a lot of fun- The Twins are 7 years old and are very energetic. They played on the computer until dinner, and then we played games while listening to Christmas music. We played Old Maid, Uno, The Go Fishing Game (NOT go fish), and even Chutes and Ladders. And then they broke out the Light Sabers. We were all running around like crazy and I was getting tired fast. But not The Twins. Eventually they tired- about an HOUR later- but the timing was perfect because it was time for bed.

So, yes: this has been Quite A Week.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Well, I have finals all this week. I cannot believe that the end of the semester is here already! Anyway, because of the finals I will be kinda preoccupied this week, so no posts until the 20th. See you then!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Las Meninas

Another piece from Spain. Do you see a trend? Let me explain quickly, we are looking at some spainish artwork in my Spainsh 4 class and I decided it would be good to start with these. Anyway, this was painted in 1656 by Diego Velázquez. In this painting, the princess is the girl in the white dress(notice how the light shines on her? this painting was supposed to be a portrait of her), and the king and queen are relected in the mirror. The artist in the painting (Velázquez himself) is supposedly painting the king and queen, and we see the scene the same way King Philip IV and his wife Mariana would have. The perspective of this painting is very unique, especially to Velázquez's time. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Basil In Mexico by Eve Titus

Basil In Mexico is a very fun, very quick read. Funny word games are played, where Basil and another character throw around words... they come up with "pride and propriety, snobs and society; chocolate and cheeses, bridges and breezes..."(18) and much more. Later, Titus plays with words again. There are cute street children who become Basil's Irregulars. One says the following while introducing his friends and himself to the famous detective over a meal: "To my right, Ricardo, Edourdo, Bernardo. To my left, Roberto, Alberto, Gilberto. I'm Hector" (50). Women's rights are talked about at an extent, and many more historical accounts are thrust into the story. Aside from history, language is also 'taught'. The reader is told the spanish word for cat (gato), and some verbs: comprar (to buy), volar (to fly), llorar (to cry), mandar (to send), prestar (to lend), and terminar (to end).

Basil is a mouse. He lives near Sherlock Holmes and takes notes of this detective's theories and strategies. He says : "My only aim is to follow in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes" (107). To the mouse world, Basil is Sherlock. He is well loved by everyone and has a reputation for his mystery-solving. This is why he is going to Mexico. They need his help, something very important has been stolen, and they want Basil and his assistant, David Q. Dawson, to help them find the crook. Was it the museum curator, the nosey file clerk, the work mouse, the guard, the arch villan, or the dictator? Only Basil can find out.

(If you are interested, Disney made a movie in 1992 biased off of Titus' books; it is called 'Basil, the Great Mouse Detective')

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Marking text

Today, I am sharing some notes from my modern fiction class.

Methods of Marking a Text

* Post-it notes
this is my favorite type. You don't mark up the book forever, yet the notes are still right there next to the text
* Margin notes
this works alright if the book belongs to you, and if you dont mind that anyone who ever picks up the book in the future will be able to see what you thought...
* Highlinghing
same as above, also you don't always remember why you highlighted something
* Journaling
this works great... if you don't loose the notebook... it is good for when you dont have post-its handy, but cannot mark the text

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Persistence of Time

The original name for this painting is la persistencia de la memoria , translated out of Spanish and into English it is persistence of time. It was painted by Salvador Dali in 1931. Personally, I believe it can be interpreted many ways. My preference is that time is no match for memory. That time may try and erase our good memories, but no matter how persistent it will lose. What do you think it means?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Raucous Royals

The Raucous Royals has rumors about the following people. Prince Dracula, King Richard III, King Henry VIII Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Anne of Cleves, Mary Queen of Scots, Queen Elizabeth I, King Lois IV, Czar Peter the Great, Queen Marie Antoinette, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Empress Catherine, and George III. What are the rumors about them? Are they true? False? Unconfirmed? To find out, read The Raucous Royals.

I'm going to try to guide your blog-hopping now, a little.

For general information on the book presented in different ways, visit these sites:
A Mom Speaks

Becky’s Book Reviews

Quiverfull Family

Reading is My Superpower

SmallWorld Reads

SMS Book Reviews
Homeschool Buzz

The Friendly Book Nook

Reading is My Superpower

For Various Interviews:
Becky’s Book Reviews

Dolce Bellezza

Maw Books Blog

For quick sneak peaks, try these:
Cafe of Dreams

Dolce Bellezza

Maw Books Blog

For a 'chat review'
, visit Never Jam Today

For the definition of 'rumor'
visit the 160acrewoods

To enter a book give away,
visit All About Children’s Books

For a book trailer
, visit
Maw Books Blog

Cafe of Dreams

To learn Shakespearean insults
, visit Never Jam Today

For a mini-guide around Beccia's blog
, visit SMS Book Reviews

And for a Technorati rating update
, visit

Hope this helps!

(if your blog was not listed, I am sorry. (leave a comment with a link to your blog, and what is featured at your blog) The information I used was last updated at 8:15 PM last night.)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Raucous Roayals

The Raucous Royals is a disguised history book. Beccia cleverly hides this fact. Honestly, how many history books have you seen with colorful cartoons, quizzes, and codes to crack that talks about some of History's scandals? The Raucous Royals is a very interactive book that can easily keep the reader engaged from page one to sixty one. For the official website, follow this link; and for the author's very own blog, visit this link.

And now for the rest of the interview:

ME: Do you listen to music while you write? What kind?

BECCIA: No. I have to have complete quiet when I write. The opposite is true when I paint. I usually listen to music, an audio book or a lecture on Utunes. I am currently listening to all the Berkeley History lectures. They are wonderful. I am a geek when it comes to this stuff.

ME: What is the fist thing you do when you get a new story idea?

BECCIA: I tell my husband about it. He’s a lawyer and a very rational person. If he says it is crazy and it will never sell…then I know I have a good idea.

ME: What are some of your favorite books?

BECCIA: Anything by Jeanette Winterson, Alison Weir, Ken Follet, John Green, or Antonia Fraser. I read Plaidy when I am feeling indulgent.

ME: Who influenced you the most to write, and how?

BECCIA: My editor was a big influence. When I submitted art for Who Put the B in the Ballyhoo?, she wrote back that she loved the art, but asked me to also write a story around it. My immediate response was that I was not a writer. I was ONLY an illustrator. She asked me to submit something anyway. I did and Houghton accepted that book. If she did not have faith in me then I would never have got my start.

ME: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring with you, and why?

BECCIA: Hmmm…I know these questions are asked to reveal what you value, but whenever someone asks me this type of question, all I can think about is how I am going to get off the island. I have a deadline to make and a 1 year old at home who needs her mom. So I will have to say that I would take a cell phone to call for a ride. I would probably take with me my Kindle and a pizza too. That would hold me for a few hours.

ME: Any other comments?

BECCIA: For more raucous royals, readers can visit the book’s web site: and the blog: I feature a new scandalous royal each month on the blog and the site has tons of information and resources for anyone writing reports.

Thats it for the interview. No more sections to be revealed tomorrow... Before I give you the links to other blogs, let me point out one more thing. Carlyn has agreed to answer any questions you have for her until the end of the tour- that's today and tomorrow- so leave a question if you have one!

(and now for the links)

01 Charger, the 160acrewoods, A Mom Speaks, All About Children’s Books, Becky’s Book Reviews, Cafe of Dreams, Dolce Bellezza, Fireside Musings, The Friendly Book Nook, Homeschool Buzz, Hyperbole,, Looking Glass Reviews, Maw Books Blog, Never Jam Today, Our Big Earth, Quiverfull Family, Reading is My Superpower, SmallWorld Reads, SMS Book Reviews

Monday, December 01, 2008


Well, this is the way to start December. Snow. I think its only three inches, but it is still snowing lightly. It was kind of random. Yesterday there was a lot of sleet, and I woke up this morning and look out my window. I can tell you I was NOT expecting everything to be covered in white! Although I'm a little nervous to drive in the snow, it has put me more in the Christmas mood. MERRY early CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!

Raucous Roayals

Today, I am going to give you some interesting facts from Beccia's book, The Raucus Royals, and part of an interview I had with her. Enjoy!

Shakespear invented the word gossip.

In Elizebeathan times, tooth decay was faked.

Lous XIV was king for 72 years.

In 1776, Americans melted the statue of King George III to make bullets

Henry VIII's estimated weight was over 300 punds.

And now for part of the interview:

ME:How long did it take you to write ‘The Raucous Royals’?

BECCIA: I started researching The Raucous Royals in 2005. It took about 2 ½ years to research, write and illustrate.

ME: Where did you get your inspiration for ‘The Raucous Royals’?

BECCIA: Mary Queen of Scots. Now there’s a woman who caused a lot of raucous. Over 450 years later and still no one can agree on whether she was a silly tart or a victim of unjust rumors. She was the first royal that I fell in love with. That led to my next love…Elizabeth I. And that led to another and another. I kept thinking – all these amazing stories…why didn’t I hear them in high school and college? I felt jipped! The biographies that were taught to me were so watered down that I hardly remembered any of them and what I did remember were mainly just rumors: Napoleon was short. Marie Antoinette said let them eat cake. Anne Boleyn had six fingers. Catherine the Great had a thing for horses. How did I miss the real people behind these rumors? All those court intrigues, love scandals, murders and follies committed – those are the stories that I wanted to tell. And that is the reason for the book’s format. I wanted the reader to hear the rumor alone first and then guess if it was true or false. You often don’t get to hear both sides first. The book’s format invites readers to experience how a rumor is told and then dive deeper into the truth behind it.

ME: What did you think of the researching process that you went through?

BECCIA: It was more like truth seeking then research. It’s amazing how history can be interpreted differently by so many scholars. I remember being taught that famous people in history fell into these neat columns of good or evil. I didn’t want to do that to readers. I wanted readers to come to their own conclusions and see all the different areas of gray, and most importantly, judge these royals in the time period in which they lived.

I hope in the end that readers will always question everything they read.

ME: What was the hardest part about writing ‘The Raucous Royals’?

BECCIA: Being objective was tough. It’s human nature to interject our own opinions.

ME: What part did you enjoy most about writing ‘The Raucous Royals’?

BECCIA: I always change my mind about which part I loved the most depending on my mood. Some days I say the research because I love treasure hunting for the juiciest tidbits. But the illustrations are the area that I really put my heart and soul into.

ME: How long have you been writing in general?

BECCIA: I started copywriting in various ad agencies over ten years ago. I didn’t start writing for young adults until 3 years ago.

ME: Do you have any advice for young authors?

BECCIA: Read. Read. Read. My dad used to tell me that reading was mental gymnastics. It will train you to write well.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the interview. While you are waiting, you have several choices. You could check out The Raucous Royals website, Beccia's blog, read the press release, or look at all these other posts about this book:
01 Charger

the 160acrewoods

A Mom Speaks

All About Children’s Books

Becky’s Book Reviews

Cafe of Dreams

Dolce Bellezza

Fireside Musings

The Friendly Book Nook

The Hidden Side of a Leaf

Homeschool Buzz


Looking Glass Reviews

Maw Books Blog

Never Jam Today

Our Big Earth

Quiverfull Family

Reading is My Superpower

SmallWorld Reads

SMS Book Reviews