Thursday, July 30, 2015

#OTSPSecretSister Chat Questions

To my secret sister,
Here are my answers to the OTSP Secret Sister chat from this week. I thought having them all in one place would be easier.

Favorite fandom shops?
I don't even know what these are. Sorry

Favorite local place?
I travel so Amazon is my favorite. Non-bookish would be Target or Walmart.

Preferred book format?
Used books are perfect. I hate spending money on new books. Seems like a waste when you can get a used one. I'm also a fan of my new Kindle so ebooks are perfect as well.

On you usually add the edition of the book that you want?
I rarely use GR so don't follow those lists. Editions of books make no difference to me in the slightest bit.

Do you enjoy signed books?
Don't bother. Unless it is a book I really really want to keep, once I'm done with a book I list it on Paperbackswap or donate it to the library.

Starbucks order, favorite superhero, animal and color:
Vendi Chai latte, Wonder Woman, cat, pink or purple or orange (oops that's more than one)

Most wanted DVD or music album?
I rarely listen to music. I would love a dvd of Gone with the Wind or To Sir With Love. That's it really. Oh, wait. Maybe Sleepless in Seattle or You Have Mail or It Could Happen to You. Totally dating myself here, but I have them on VHS. lol

Favorite show or show returning in the fall?
Love Orange is the New Black as well as a slew of others. TV addict

How about jewelry? Also accessories? Hate'em? Love'em? What kinds?
If I wear jewelry, it is silver and earrings. Accessories, not at all.

Favorite character of all time from any literature and favorite mythical creature?
Claire from Outlander. Seriously, she is the best and her man isn't bad either. Mythical creature, errr, ummmm, I haven't the slightest idea. Maybe fairies.

Kids or pets to spoil?
I have both but neither live with me. My kids are adults. My daughter is my buddy. Probably should tell her about that. Don't worry, I will. She is amazing and knows me the best.


Reading (obviously), writing, photography lately, scrapbooking, back into the latest craze of adult coloring (I've always had some sort of coloring book, ask my daughter, but usually I use crayons. However, I am loving the new colored pencils I bought. Need a larger pack)

Favorite decade and why?
The 80s. It was my teen years. How can you not like the 80s? We were cheesy and loved it. Love old school rap from the 80s.

Who loves Funko Pops? Top 3.
What the heck are Funko Pops???

Themed box?
Paper, food or travel related

Attending any bookish events where we might be able to meet in the next year?
I am planning on attending BEA in Chicago. Woohoo! Lived there for 2 years and can't wait to revisit some of my favorite restaurants.

Is there anything from your childhood that you would love to get? Or something you collect?
I would love the start of the Little House on the Prairie series. I haven't read those books since childhood. I do collect bookmarks, journals and postcards. I would love to get either from your area or anywhere you visit whether you write on them or not. They do not have to be an interest of mine. They can totally be about you and your area. I love to learn and see new things.

I realize this project is about "me" but I would love to learn about you too.

What would I take on a deserted island?
Hmmmmm, chocolate (NOT white chocolate), as many books as I could carry, wine, soda (Pepsi) for that moment you need some carbonation

If I could have one thing right now, what would it be?
At the moment, I really want a piece of peanut butter pie.

Note to the sis: Since I don't use Goodreads, the best list to follow is my Pinterest Books Wanted board. When I was at the library today, I realized I need to create a new board specifically for you so I don't accidentally get one from the library. Yikes. My Amazon wish list will always be current too. Don't feel limited by your special list. Feel free to look at any of my lists or whatever you think I may like.

I'm into re-reading this year and would love ebooks of the Outlander series (except book 2 as I already bought it), East of Eden (my favorite book of all time) and Gone with the Wind. I plan to only take my Kindle when I travel for the winter. I greatly appreciate any stocking up of this device that you do. Do you use one? I love the "making notes" feature. It is an awesome feature for the beta reading it do for certain authors.

Be aware, I will be moving and traveling mid-session. I will give the organizers my new address. Don't worry. I'll give you a reminder. :)

Thanks in advance for everything you do!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Bloggers We Read: Katie @ Doing Dewey

Introducing....Katie @ Doing Dewey

Why did you start blogging? 
I actually started blogging to keep track of my project of reading one book per Dewey Decimal number. I was shocked when people actually started to read my blog and equally shocked when I discovered ARCs. I had no idea there was this entire world of book bloggers out there! Now I love the ARCs, but I stick with it for the community. Bloggers are great! (Bloggers are great. I totally agree)

Do people in your personal life know about your blog or is it your private spot?
At first, I didn’t like to mention it to people. Responses to blogging as a hobby can be negative or positive and I wasn’t sure about having my friends or coworkers potentially judge my writing or taste in books. However, I’ve gotten a lot more confident in my blog, so now I tell people about it and just remember when I’m writing it that my mom or my boss could be reading it. As you might expect, this is mostly a problem for reviewing romance or erotica, so I mostly just don’t! (hahaha)

What are some blogs (bookish or not) people should check out that you enjoy?
I wish I could just share all the blogs I read, but here are a few I’ve particularly enjoyed recently:

Opinions of A Wolf – Amanda writes the most thoughtful discussions of every book she reads
The Book Wheel – I’ve been enjoying Allison’s foray into non-bookish posts on everything from exercise to politics
The Oddness of Moving Things – Geoff also writes longer, more thoughtful book reviews which I love
Books Speak Volumes – Leah’s creative posts inspire me to break out of my routine on my blog too

What do you do for a living?  Anything book related that the rest of us can be jealous about?
No, nothing bookish, but I think that helps keep reading fun for me. I’m a grad student at Cornell working on my PhD in computational biology and while that probably inspires my love of popular science, my work reading is almost exclusively journal articles. (wow, impressive)

What do you think of forcing students to read certain books especially the classics? Yes or No? Harmful or helpful to their reading life?
I’d really like to see more of a focus on exposing students to a wide variety of genres, not just classics. Although I do believe that classics have mostly lasted because they are well written and tap into basic human concerns, but I don’t believe they are the only books worth reading. I’d much rather see a curriculum that exposes students to some of everything in hopes that something will stick! (great answer. I agree)

What suggestions or advice do you have for new bloggers?
If it’s not too late, wait to make your blog public or to start advertising heavily until you have a few posts ready to go. It’s nice to be ahead and much harder to get there once you’re started!

I know everyone says this, but get out there and socialize! I really started loving blogging when I started having bloggers that I regularly comment back and forth with. It’s fun to feel like part of a community. I also recommend focusing on one form of social media at a time. Once you’ve mastered one, it gets easier to take on another. (too true)

Favorites Section:
Favorite Author: I don’t have one favorite, but recently I’ve been craving some Ray Bradbury. I love everything he’s written! (have you read Bridget's posts about Bradbury at Dog-Eared & Dog-Tagged?)
All time best Book: Again, it’s hard to pick one, but I’ve loved The Wheel of Time series for years
Blogging event/challenge: Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon
Food: black bean quesadillas – they’re easy and tasty!
Addicted to Drink: I almost exclusively drink water
Item you couldn't do without: My computer! I use it for work and for fun.
Dream vacation spot: Italy (I think I'm going to Italy this winter. Have you every been?)
TV show: Firefly
Summer or winter: Spring! We’ve gone from summer to winter this year and I’m missing my spring weather.

Thanks for participating Katie!

You can follow Katie on:

The Bloggers We Read is a regular feature on The Things We Read
If you would like to have the spotlight shine on you, send me an email
or leave a comment and I'll get ahold of you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fascination with the Romanovs


Vying for 2015 Best Book

The Family Romanov
Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia
Candace Fleming

Continuing my fascination with the Romanovs and Russia, The Family Romanov truly enriched my learning experience. I have read many young adult books on the subject. This one is by far the best ever. I prefer young adult history books versus those geared towards adults because the YA version is more entertaining and easier to digest. Most times adult history books get bogged down with citations, footnotes, and 'technical' details that are just plain boring.

Many of the books I have read about the fall of the Romanovs are written from the Romanov's perspective so to speak and the tragedy they incurred. The only perspective the reader received was how horrible life was for them and all that was taken away from them. What I really liked about Fleming's book is the opposite viewpoint. She rounded out everything else I have read and wrote mostly from the people's viewpoint. It was refreshing and eye-opening.

The reader learns about the awfulness of peasant and worker lives. Actually, I should rephrase that and say the awfulness of all Russian citizens besides the nobility. I loved the insight into life as a salesgirl or as a farmer or any number of other people she wrote about.

She delved into the irresponsibleness of the royal family, the immense amount of frivolity and waste of the nobility. Yes, it was a tragedy what happened to the Romanovs and nobility but to forget what happened to the rest of the population before, during and after is truly awful. Fleming captures all of it. She does not make the Romanovs out to be heroes because they were murdered.

Book description:
"Here is the tumultuous, heartrending, and utterly mesmerizing true story of the Romanovs' at once an intimate portrait of Russia's last royal family and a gripping account of its undoing."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Links We Read and other daily stuff

Hi, my name is Bree and I'm a list addict. Welcome to my weekly list love. 
  • Possibly use this theme or this theme for Wordpress
  • Has anyone tried Inbox by Google? Sometimes their improvements are really not as good as initial product.
  • More airline travel hacks from one of my favorite travel bloggers
  • Foodie stuff
    • The Food Charlatan's Puffy Bacon Twists
    • One of the best Portland food guides by Foodie Crush, a definite must if visiting the city
    • I make most of these burger mistakes, do you?
    • Ice cream without an ice cream makers? Hell yes.
    • Grilled corn and flavored butter, yum yum

    This week was a week of decisions. With decisions come mental relief. For the last few weeks, I have felt restless but lazy. Now, I feel focused again. I love feeling focused. Sometimes I have too many projects going on and I loose sight of what I'm doing. This week was filled with aha moments.

    I decided:
    Ahhhh, relief.

    Plus I cooked some really good food. :)

    Expect to see lovely Alaskan photos here every week till November.

    The Land of Rainbows, Mountains and Sunsets

    Last Week:
    1. nothing
      This Week:
      1. Affiliate links
      2. Update author page
      3. email Goats regarding sunset pictures
      4. Add footer widgets
      5. Make list of conferences for next year - travel, book, writing
      6. Purchase Hungary JPeg July bundle
      7. Download/upload/organize Alaska photos

      Currently reading:

      How was your week?

      #30tasks30days Master List

      Welcome to my daunting challenge! For the next 30 days, I'm going to complete one task a day, kind of like a really long Bloggiesta. Seems simple but each task is computer or blog related. I tend to go off-task when I'm trying to complete my to-do list. I decided if I focus on only one item a day I should be able to finish said item, at least in theory. hahahaha From July 26 to August 24, I will complete this list! I plan to go in order.

      Master List

      1. Affiliate links
      2. Update author page
      3. email Goats regarding sunset pictures
      4. Add footer widgets
      5. Make list of conferences for next year - travel, book, writing
      6. Purchase Hungary JPeg July bundle
      7. Download/upload/organize Alaska photos
      8. Email my parents (said but it has been awhile since I've sent them photos and updates)
      9. Travel interviews
      10. buy new theme or switch 
      11. Mechanical Turks
      12. short codes?
      13. Photo websites
      14. Create logo and brand
      15. Add feature photo to old posts
      16. Stumbleupon
      17. Add Bloglovin and Feedly buttons
      18. Add author box to posts
      19. Child Theme?
      20. Back up blog
      21. Update newsletter 
      22. Tastespotting and other food sites
      23. Expert Experiment update
      24. Reach out for guest posts - any interest in trading, hit me up. 
      25. Create book page
      26. Shutterstock
      27. Update wine notes from Evernote
      28. Add Paypal donation button
      29. Make header photo full length
      30. Make "leave a comment" bigger
      Now the thing with this list is if some of the early tasks go the way I want them to then some of the later items will already be done which creates a Free Day. Woohoo!

      By August 24, I will be exhausted from computing. Maybe. But I'll be starting vacation on the Kenai Peninsula so who cares!

      Any tips? Suggestions? Thoughts? Helpful hints?

      Bring it!

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