Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spotlight: The Johnson County Christmas Bureau

I have recently been appointed to the board for my company's charitable foundation. I will not name it as I wish to always keep my online persona and my personal/work life separate, but I don't see any problem with passing along information on these organizations as I receive it, considering they always need all the help they can get, so you can expect more of these in the future. I realize that most of my online friends and followers are not local, but I urge you to take a look at these organizations anyway, and then see if perhaps your own area has something similar. Sometimes it takes very little to make a real difference in someone's life.




Today we were visited by the Johnson County Christmas Bureau. They are an organization that tries to help families in need have the holiday that so many of us take for granted.

From their facebook info page:

"The Johnson County Christmas Bureau is a 501(C)(3) non-profit, non-denominational agency created to provide the county’s low-income families with groceries, clothes, toys, hats, gloves, socks, adult and teen gifts, books and personal care items for the holidays. The Bureau began as an adopt-a-family project in 1960 by a group of women from the Shawnee Mission Chapter of AAUW; the Holiday Shop format was introduced in 1977.

Although Johnson County has a reputation for affluence, the rising level of poverty in the county is swelling the number of families seeking holiday assistance from the Bureau.

The Holiday Shop, held over a nine day period in early December, annually serves more than 2,800 families, (more than 10,000 individuals), who otherwise would go without during the holiday season. Many are working families trying to make ends meet; more than 70 percent are women and children. Nursing home residents also are served by our program.

Qualifying clients are referred by SRS, Catholic Community Services, schools, and other agencies. Upon completion of an application, clients are given an appointment to shop. With the help of volunteers, clients select a prescribed number of food and gift items pegged to the size of their family. Clients pay a small dignity fee.

All items provided to our clients are new, with the exception of gently used coats and books.

Our volunteers work year-round purchasing items at a discount and seeking new donated items to prepare for each year’s Holiday Shop. Over a two week period from set-up to take-down, more than 3,000 volunteers help at the Holiday Shop, held in donated space."

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WWW Wednesdays 9/29/10



To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?

Then head on over to Should be Reading and leave a comment with a link to your post so others can see!

I'm currently reading:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comFirespell (Dark Elite #1) by Chloe Neill -- Ah, the dangers of boarding school!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comDragon Temple Saga #3, Forged by Fire by Janine Cross -- this has been a very dark and gritty fantasy trilogy, I can't really say that I like it, but I also have to know how it turns out, so I would say that does mean it's good! The story is very solid, it's just brutal!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comI'm listening to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson -- it's just not keeping my attention very well yet, I'm about an hour into the audio, however, the book's namesake is just now being described, so I'll give it a little while longer to work it's magic on me!


Since last Wednesday I finished reading:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comOnce Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison - Excellent! Paranormal Teen, but with Angels, not a vampire or werewolf in sight! Madison is dead, tied only to life by an amulet that she stole, and in training to be a light reaper, though it's not going so well. None of the living know she's dead, and all she wants is to be back to normal, and I thought I had it rough as a teenager! Highly recommend, and looking forward to the next one!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comSlightly Single by Wendy Markham -- Tracey and Will have been together for about 3 years. She followed him to New York. We see right off that Will is a jerk, but it takes Tracey the rest of the Summer with Will being gone to realize that it was pretty much a one sided relationship all along. During her friend Raphael's birthday party she meets Buckley, who she originally believes is gay, and therefore not someone she has to try and impress, so she's herself, right from the beginning, and then she finds out that he isn't, after he kisses her. But she has a boyfriend, doesn't she? Yet somehow she keeps ending up running to Buckley whenever she's in trouble, because he's nice, and he takes care of her, he's a great friend. But she loves Will, and Will loves her, right? Except she finds herself thinking about what it would be like if Buckley was her boyfriend. Typical Chicklit, which is fine, because it's what I was in the mood for.
Free image hosting at imagecave.comDarkyn #5: Evermore by Lynn Viehl -- My 100th read for the year! This was another fun ride, this time about the big Scottish Darkyn Aedan mac Byrne and his female Seneschal Jayr. They've wanted only each other since she was made into a Darkyn, but have kept it from each other, believing it to be wrong. Byrne has decided to hold a tournament of the Kyn at his Realm, normally a medieval dinner theater for the human public's entertainment, to help decide who the successor of his suzerain should be, as he feels he is becoming too unstable to continue as it's leader. Quite a reveal at the end as well, related to who Jayr really is. As always, Alexandra is her irreverent self during the whole affair. Looking forward to the rest of the series, I have 2 more novels and a novella to go!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comFragile Eternity by Melissa Marr - 3rd book in the Wicked Lovely series, I'm really enjoying these, Lots of changes going on! Looking forward to seeing how it plays out. I definitely recommend this series, these are not your cutesy kind of faeries!


Possibly up next:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comYour Big Break by Johanna Edwards -- Dani Myers has become an expert at romantic breakups ever since she was hired to "facilitate" them for clients of Your Big Break, Inc. In other words, she dumps people for money. But company rule #5 (do not get personally involved) is getting harder to obey. One of her dumpees is turning out to be the kind of guy she might just want to pick up on the rebound. and a new client has just walked in, begging for Dani's help breaking up with The Big Jackass, who's been leading her on all this time-and now turns out to be married. It would be a routine job except for one problem: the so-called Big Jackass is married to none other than Dani's mother.
Free image hosting at imagecave.comThe Summoning (Darkest Powers #1) by Kelley Armstrong -- My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again. All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don't even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost - and the ghost saw me. Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won't leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. Yet the home isn't what it seems. Don't tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It's up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House . . . before its skeletons come back to haunt me.


If you made it down to the end here and haven't already seen it, be sure and check out my giveaway offering on the sidebar, a $25 GC to the Literacy Site Store, to be awarded on 10/10/10!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Personal Reading Challenges

I took a break on reading challenges this year after a very "challenging" 2009, only signing up for reading Lynn Viehl's Darkyn series, and have been thinking ahead to next year. I'm going to be on the lookout for interesting hosted challenges, but have decided on a couple personal challenges. I don't think I will "host" these as I'm pretty sure I don't have a big enough following for that, but if anyone wants to follow along and challenge yourself similarly, I would love to hear about it!

The first one I've decided I will call the "Stranger Than Fiction" Challenge, and you guessed it, will be for non-fiction. This will definitely be a challenge for me, as I can count on one hand the number of non-fiction books I've read since leaving college, lo these mumble-mumble years ago. I'm going to make it easy on myself and just try to read 4, one per quarter, I think I can do that, but I won't hold my breath just in case!

The second one I am going to call the "Catching Up With Old Friends" Challenge, and will be reading books by authors that I would list among my favorites, but haven't read anything by in some time. I seem to be trying to keep up with the paranormal craze, losing touch with many of the authors that truly got me to be a reader in the first place! I'm going to try for 12 of those, 1 per month.

That doesn't sound too hard, right? 16 books out of the 100+ that I hope to read next year. I'm looking forward to picking out the books now that I've decided what I want to do, and I've created a separate page to keep track of them here.

So now, what challenges is everyone else interested in or hosting for 2011? I'd love to hear about them, and maybe join in some!

Teaser Tuesdays 9/28/10


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!

Free image hosting at imagecave.comHi, Dad. Evil Father Time is going to kill Josh. Not to worry, since I'm going to steal his source of power again. I'll be back before lunch. Kiss-kiss! -- Once Dead, Twice Shy, pg 119 by Kim Harrison


I couldn't decide if this was a spoiler or not, since I haven't finished the book myself yet, and I just thought it was funny!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WWW Wednesdays 9/22/10



To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?

Then head on over to Should be Reading and leave a comment with a link to your post so others can see!

I'm currently reading:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comI'm listening to Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr - 3rd book in the Wicked Lovely series, watch out for scary faeries!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comDarkyn #5: Evermore by Lynn Viehl -- I'm taking part in a challenge to read this series by the end of 2010, I think I can make it!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comSlightly Single by Wendy Markham -- I already don't like Will, and I've only read about 20 pages!


Since last Wednesday I finished reading:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comBeastly by Alex Flinn - A modern day Beauty and the Beast retelling. Fast and cute, the perfect and shallow boy gets a spell cast on him by a witch, and learns what is really important in life as he tries to break the spell put on him by finding true love. This author has done a few other fairytale retellings, so I'll have to be on the lookout for them.
Free image hosting at imagecave.comFantasy Life by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- Very misleading cover picture of a bunch of stereotypical fantasy creatures that aren't even in the story. Anchor Bay is a small coastal town in Oregon where the Buckinghams have always lived as guardians for the refuge where the Fantasy Life lives. There is a disaster brewing on the horizon that could destroy the town, and it will take all the Buckingham women to hold it off as the truths of the past come to light. A well done story, I would have liked to know more about Cliffside House, as it seemed to have a mind of it's own, and there were some threads that seemed important, but didn't manifest by the end. Almost like they were setting characters up to continue on, but there isn't a sequel that I can see. I will likely read more by this author.


Possibly up next:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comDragon Temple Saga #3, Forged by Fire by Janine Cross -- this has been a very dark and gritty fantasy trilogy, I can't really say that I like it, but I also have to know how it turns out, so I would say that does mean it's good! The story is very solid, it's just brutal!


If you made it down to the end here and haven't already seen it, be sure and check out my giveaway offering on the sidebar, a $25 GC to the Literacy Site Store, to be awarded on 10/10/10!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays 9/21/10


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!

Free image hosting at imagecave.com"Oh, look, honey," Alex said sweetly. "Conan and his barbarian army are here." She checked her watch. "How about we head home? If Phil floors it, we could make it back before the learjet cools off." -- Evermore, pg 60 by Lynn Viehl


Okay, that was a little more than two sentences, but you really needed the whole thing! ;)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WWW Wednesdays 9/15/10



Woohoo it's my second time, let's see how I did!

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?

Then head on over to Should be Reading and leave a comment with a link to your post so others can see!

I'm currently reading:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comFantasy Life by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- Good so far, a daughter who had left comes home as her own daughter's powers manifest tragically, and a murder mystery involving a mermaid, we'll see how things develop!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comI'm listening to Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr - 3rd book in the Wicked Lovely series, watch out for scary faeries!


Since last Wednesday I finished reading:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comThe Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards -- I admit it, I've watched my share of Big Brother, Survivor and Celebrity Fit Club, just to name a few. They're like a train wreck, thankful it's not you, but it's still fascinating to watch. All you have to do is watch for a few minutes and you've already picked out who you like and who you don't. This was a good story about a girl who goes on a Weight Loss Reality TV show, and even though the absolutely unimaginable happens to her, she comes out the other side a winner, and definitely better off than she was before, it just takes her a little bit to realize it. Recommend it!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comMind Games by Carolyn Crane - Really liked this one, will definitelly be getting the next one! Justine is a hypochondriac that believes she could die at any moment from a vein star in the brain. In order to control her fear, she becomes part of a group of disillusionists who each use their particular neurosis as a weapon, "zinging" it into their target and freeing themselves, while de-stablizing their criminal victim in order to eventually reboot them so that they see the error of their ways and make a turn around in their lives. Very interesting concept, I highly recommend this urban fantasy!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comI'm listening to The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry -- An archaeological thriller where Cotton Malone, ex government agent is on the trail of the Library of Alexandria. Continent hopping, shooting, plane jumping, kidnapping, political intrigue, biblical questions, very interesting and exciting, with a couple twists, and in some cases, you can't decide who the good and bad guys really are! Recommend this series and am looking forward to the next one The Venetian Betrayal about Alexander the Great!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comUnicorns of Balinor: The Road to Balinor by Mary Stanton -- The princess and her unicorn are stranded in our world with no memory of who they are. Definitely one for rainbow/fantasy/horse/unicorn loving young girls! It kept my interest though, and although we're privy to who the princess and her unicorn are, we don't know where the dog came from, so I'll have to keep reading! I recommend it for young girls that love fantasy.


Possibly up next:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comDarkyn #5: Evermore by Lynn Viehl -- I'm taking part in a challenge to read this series by the end of 2010, I think I can make it!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comDragon Temple Saga #3, Forged by Fire by Janine Cross -- this has been a very dark and gritty fantasy trilogy, I can't really say that I like it, but I also have to know how it turns out, so I would say that does mean it's good! The story is very solid, it's just brutal!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comSlightly Single by Wendy Markham -- write up on Fantastic Fiction: Following her college sweetheart to New York City, Tracy Spadolini is stunned when he leaves her for the summer, and, determined to change her life and get things into perspective, Tracey, with the help of her friends and one special guy, becomes a new woman, one with confidence and determination.


If you made it down to the end here and haven't already seen it, be sure and check out my giveaway offering on the sidebar, a $25 GC to the Literacy Site Store, to be awarded on 10/10/10!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trying out a change - what do you think?

So I got tired of just plain old black and saw that blogger options were a lot more varied than when I first started doing this. The current layout, rainbow dot background, purple posts and blue gadgets seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I'm not sure if it's pretty or painful. What do think? Nice, or too hard on the eyes?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Giveaway: GC from the Literacy Site Store


Reading is my favorite past time, in fact I can't go through the day without reading for awhile or I really feel like I've left something undone. I can't imagine not being surrounded by books, or at least having easy access to them via the library.

I will be participating in Dewey's 24 hour Read-a-thon in about a month, and while there is not a read-a-thon sponsored charity event, some people do their own thing for it. I think that's a good idea, and have decided I'd like to give away a $25 Gift Certificate to the Literacy Site Store. How will this help? Here is the blurb from their site:

"The Literacy Site was founded to help promote literacy among children from low-income families nationwide. Partnering with First Book and Room to Read, the site makes books available to children around the world, giving many children their very first book. With the generous support of our sponsors, each click provides 1% of a book. Making books a part of a child's life is the best way to encourage the love of reading, and literacy is key in breaking the poverty cycle.

In addition to clicking the "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button, visitors can help make books available by shopping in The Literacy Site store. With each item purchased, shoppers generate funds for free books for children in need. The store offers a wide array of unique and meaningful items, including apparel, jewelry, home accents and gifts from around the world."

To enter this drawing, simply comment on this post and tell us the title of one of your favorite books. I will choose a winner on October 10th after the Read-a-thon so that all my fellow 'thoners can have a chance to enter if they like! This giveaway is open internationally, as I will be e-mailing the GC to the winner, just please be aware that shipping charges may vary depending on customs, which they discuss in their FAQ here.

Happy Reading everyone!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

WWW Wednesdays 9/8/10



I've decided to start taking part in WWW Wednesdays!

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?
* What did you recently finish reading?
* What do you think you’ll read next?

Then head on over to Should be Reading and leave a comment with a link to your post so others can see!

Right now I'm actively reading a few things:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comMind Games by Carolyn Crane - An urban fantasy about a hypochondriac that learns to use her fear as a weapon on criminals -- really enjoying so far, getting ready to start chapter 9 pg. 86
Free image hosting at imagecave.comUnicorns of Balinor: The Road to Balinor by Mary Stanton -- a kids fantasy about a princess and her unicorn steed, crippled and stranded in our real world (at least that's what I've read so far), I was going to save this for the Dewey's Read-a-thon, but that's okay, I have 5 more of them to go in my possession! -- pg 93, hoping to finish tonight!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comI'm listening to The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry -- An archaeological thriller where Cotton Malone, ex government agent is on the trail of the Library of Alexandria, also hoping to finish this week, sometimes you just need an exciting romp across several continents and a jump from a plane, you know?


Since last Wednesday I finished reading:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comThe Sons of the Zodiac: Warrior Ascended by Addison Fox -- The idea was intriguing, this was the story of the Leo Warrior, but the execution just didn't do it for me, I'm afraid I have to say I can't recommend it, and I probably won't continue the series.
Free image hosting at imagecave.comFinal Notice, a Miss Zukas Mystery #6 by Jo Dereske -- Helma's aunt comes to stay with her after a "brain incident" that has left her a little confused and unsteady. We get some of Helma's family history during prohibition. I really like the Miss Zukas series, Helma is very particular and quirky, but that's what makes her endearing. Her relationship with Boy Cat Zukas is just funny! A fun cozy mystery series I would recommend


Possibly up next:

Free image hosting at imagecave.comDarkyn #5: Evermore by Lynn Viehl -- I'm taking part in a challenge to read this series by the end of 2010, I think I can make it!
Free image hosting at imagecave.comFantasy Life by Kristine Kathryn Rusch -- sounds like a story of fantasy creatures hiding in the real world.
Free image hosting at imagecave.comThe Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards -- from the write up on Fantastic Fiction: a plus-size heroine becomes a reality TV show contestant and discovers she's already beautiful enough to be the next big thing.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The DaVinci Code versus Angels and Demons


I have just finished watching Angels and Demons, which I was told by many was even better than The DaVinci Code. Now this statement was made to me in regards to the books themselves, and honestly, while this one was an intriguing movie, and I'm sure I'll still read the book in the future to get all the interesting details, I was drawn into The DaVinci Code much more. I know exactly why, it seems to me there was more artwork and interesting historical locations in it, not that the Vatican isn't interesting, but I think the whole idea of The DaVinci Code just drew me more.

I did listen to The DaVinci Code before I saw the movie, so in essence I had already read it, and have not yet read Angels and Demons, so maybe it's just that I don't have the backing of the book knowledge to fill in the gaps. I would be curious to know which story you prefer, and why, and what you thought of the movies? Okay friends, discuss! :D

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Picking out books for the read-a-thon

I'm really looking forward to the read-a-thon in October, since I'm not a newbie anymore, and I know how much fun, and what a challenge it was. During the last read-a-thon in April, I spent about the last hour of my reading time standing up or pacing in my computer room, just to stay awake and finish the book I was on, silly probably, but I was determined to finish it! Part of the fun is picking out what books to read! I've been thinking about this for awhile, actually since the last read-a-thon as I spotted books on my shelves that would be good candidates. Here are some of the ones I'm considering:

Free image hosting at imagecave.com Free image hosting at imagecave.com Free image hosting at imagecave.com Free image hosting at imagecave.com

Free image hosting at imagecave.com Free image hosting at imagecave.com Free image hosting at imagecave.com Free image hosting at imagecave.com


As you can see there is a wide variety there, and I'm certainly not expecting to read all of them, or even necessarily those, since we all know that our tastes can change on a whim! Even as I'm getting ready to post this, I just thought of several others I'll likely add to the stack!

I can't wait to see what others choose! Is it Oct. 9th yet? Heehee!
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