Month: March 2016

Bloggiesta Wrap-Up!

I know, I am late with this. But I really wanted to give a final wrap on it. Bloggiesta is a really cool idea, and I will definitely do it again. As it happens, I kind of get a Fail in execution this time, though.

My list was not long, or every complicated. What I managed to do was this:

I participated in three Bloggiesta chats, which were very helpful! And I met some cool folks, so that’s always good. Each chat was on a different topic, and I would like to go back and read the chats for the topics I missed, but not sure if I will be able to do that. Twitter only goes back so far sometimes. (I actually participated in five chats total and that was probably a little bit of overkill on my part, because the other two were purely for fun.)

I rearranged my widgets, bringing some of them up from the footer into the sidebar, so that they would be more visible. I didn’t add any new ones, though.

I looked into the documentation on UBB, and read through some of it. I even got a specific answer to one of my questions from NoseGraze herself, because she was participating in one of the chats! So thanks, Ashley, for the link to how to create a Book Review Archive! I will have to implement much more of the UBB plugin, because I know it will help me manage my blog.

Sadly, I did not finish my Q&As, write two blog posts, or set up my email. I also didn’t order the tote bag but I’m working on that tonight! I organized a little bit of my reading schedule but I could always use more of that, right?

So the bad news is I didn’t do what I set out to do. The good news is that part of the reason for this is that I suddenly got three writing assignments, so I had to step up my work schedule to get some things done earlier than I had thought, to get them out of the way. So it was a busy week last week, and this week is even busier. It’s always something, right? I am not complaining! The life of a freelancer is fraught with those kinds of situations.

I do have some wonderful things planned, though. So please check back soon! Or better yet, you can either subscribe to the blog (see that handy widget in the sidebar? “Join five other subscribers!”), follow me on BlogLovin’, or follow me on Twitter! If you have participated in Bloggiesta or any of the other blog challenges, leave a note, let me know how you did!

Oh, and speaking of Challenges – I will be participating in two Instagram Challenges during the month of April! I’ve just started my bookstagram, but I really do love it. It combines two of my favorite things: books and photography! So check out my posts under the hashtags #BookApril, hosted by @rac.onteur or #AmpersandApril16, hosted by @commasandampersands or heck, just follow me on Instagram! I’m @LindaBookMania there!

Now I’m off to read the galleys that just arrived. I’ll be interviewing three authors next week for the BEA PW Show Daily. Look for my articles there if you go to BEA!

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(Bloggiesta buttons courtesy of bloggiesta.com)

Bloggiesta Spring 2016 To-Do List!

I have high hopes for this blog – and here it sits, languishing in stagnant anonymity. So I need to get on the ball and here comes the Bloggiesta Challenge to the rescue! I had heard of this over the last year or so, but it was blogger MC of Blame It on the Books who kind of cheerleaded me to check it out. (Check out her post and you will see what I mean!) And it will suit my purposes just fine!

Bloggiesta-ButtonM21I just have to figure out what to do. Okay, one, make a list of things to accomplish this week. Two, write a post. Three, link it up (um, okay? Not sure how to do that but I’ll figure it out). Participate in chats – because we all know chats are where it’s at, and that is where you really get the support, encouragement and advice that you need. I missed the first chat today (stupid work) but there is another one tomorrow night so I will be there!

Now, I just need to schedule my time this week so that I ACTUALLY HAVE TIME TO WORK ON MY BLOG! I have been toying with the idea of a book blog for a long time. I side-stepped the issue by writing a column on Examiner.com for five years. Yes, folks, I was the Minneapolis Books Examiner. Never heard of it? Exactly. So it’s high time I took the matter into my own hands.

Enter BookManiaLife! I have my brand spanking new custom banner from wonderful illustrator Rebecca McConnell, I have the UBB plug-in from NoseGraze, and I have many piles (stacks, bags, boxes) of books. I just need to sort this all out and get it turned into blog posts! Right? Right.

To-Do List:

  • Organize reading schedule, including Way Back Wednesday feature twice monthly, and specifically blocking off reading time during the week.
  • Work on two author Q&As for which I have already read the books. Get them done already!
  • Complete two blog posts.
  • Set up my email with my blog domain.
  • Rearrange my widgets on my blog, add new ones as needed.
  • Explore UBB plug-in. What the heck is all this stuff?
  • Order custom tote bag that I won from Emily Reads Everything, with blog logo emblazoned on it!

Whew. Okay, that’s enough. The list is obviously longer, but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew. I also have actual work to do, and those folks are paying me, so I better get that done too. However, it is Holy Week, and a lot of people are off, so I am hoping my email calms down FOR JUST A MINUTE so I can catch up and have some free time on the weekend. This is how we rock this blog!

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(Bloggiesta buttons courtesy of bloggiesta.com)

Way Back Wednesday BookRev: Silhouette of a Sparrow

I’ve got a lot of books laying around. I mean, lots. That’s one of the reasons that I started this blog. It just didn’t seem fair. And now, I get to share them with you! So I’m going to periodically (on Wednesdays) be taking some of my old review copies, ARCs and purchases out to give them the light of day. This is the first post for Way Back Wednesday, when I share with you a lovely book that I got at the Heartland Fall Forum about three years ago. I put it in a pile, and there it sat, with its lovely cover beckoning to me. Then I realized it had not only won the Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, but that it was written by the wonderful Molly Beth Griffin, one of the most generous writers ever, who hosts #1kTuesdays on Facebook. So I picked it up for the #24in48 Readathon, and oh my. What a lovely read.

Also, this week, I want you to take a peek up at the top. Yes, up there. See my lovely new banner? I had it custom-designed by illustrator extraordinaire Rebecca McConnell, and it was such fun to work with her on it! I hope you think it is as cozy as I do. This is my dream station in life, folks.

SilhouetteSparrowAll right. Now, without further ado, let me tell you about Molly Beth Griffin’s Silhouette of a Sparrow!

This is a wonderful story, full of the place and time and thoughts of a girl perched just on the cusp of her life, watching it unfold before her in so many ways. A heroine for the ages, someone to root for.

Griffin pulls you in right away, making Garnet Richardson into a completely sympathetic character, a smart, serious girl who is growing up in a time when old habits die hard. When flappers are scandalous still, and her family wants her to settle down and marry, and be a good wife and mother.

SilhouetteDetailBut she likes birds. I love that she likes birds. Birds are things that I never gave two cents about, until suddenly, once I bought a house, there they were. And I gave my two cents. And now I love them. I’ve seen all the birds she counts, the ones she snips out in her miraculous silhouettes. (I can’t imagine how anyone could do that!) I was enamored of the cutouts that served as chapter headings, and often found myself flipping back during the chapter to look at the bird shape. I loved how each chapter somehow touched on this bird, and how it applied to the story. It’s a marvelous framework.

Much of the charm of this (aside from Garnet) is in the time and the place. Like the sweet little book Through No Fault of Her Own by Peg Meier, we are tossed right into a privileged world (though Garnet is reminded constantly how firmly she is on the outside looking in), here it being epitomized by that languid summer lake life, the one that takes place at grand hotels, when women of a certain class really didn’t have much to do but sit around and gossip and embroider. And the gist of the story is that anyone with half a brain could simply go stark raving mad in that environment.

Like many who have grown up in Minnesota, I have heard many times about the amusement park that used to be in Excelsior, which is a sweet little lakeside town. Still, I have lamented that I was just that much too late to ever get to ride the roller coaster next to the lake. I’ve been to Excelsior, and I’ve been to the lake, and I can easily imagine with Griffin’s pert and direct prose the lush green lakeside with the white hotels, and cool breezes, the hats, the park rides. The storms, the birds and the facial expressions. It’s all right there.

What a lovely book, exquisitely designed. What a lovely story, with the will-she-won’t-she tug throughout – there are so many wrong decisions that Garnet could make! And we are rooting for her! This is a coming of age book that deals with issues that might be slightly different than you might expect. (Let’s just say that it may be on the upper end of YA.) And in the end, well, in the end Garnet is Garnet.

Jacketed Hardcover, 224 pages
Milkweed Editions 2012
ISBN 1571317015 (ISBN13: 9781571317018)

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