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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Music: Lindsey Stirling - A Dancing Violinist? YES!

I have been gushing about my newest music find to anyone that will listen. Her name is Lindsey Stirling and she plays the violin AND dances! This is something that has become more popular in the last few years, and even though we're seeing more string players liberated from their orchestra chairs, it's still just amazing to me that this is even possible. I was in marching band in high school, I know it is not the easiest thing in the world to move and play at the same time!

I have seen the music described as dubstep (I had to look that up!) which is a genre electronic dance music, and it definitely makes you want to dance! It also makes me wish I could just pick up a violin and express my emotions, but alas my instrument is the clarinet and I am woefully out of practice lo these many years since college. Rather than struggle to describe how wonderful she is, I encourage you to check out the videos Lindsey has posted on Youtube under her Lindseystomp channel, there is a great mix of the beautiful and the fun there! Here are a couple of my favorites:

My husband and I were lucky enough to get to see Lindsey and her crew recently at a sold out concert, and also were able to attend the meet and greet before hand. That room was full of energy and joy! This girl is adorable in addition to being so talented and so sweet and fun! Gavi on keyboards and Drew on drums are great backups for her, they all three have fantastic personalities and I would love to just be able to hang out with them, and also Becky and Sandra, but you'll have to watch Lindsey's "My Girls" video on her second YouTube channel to fully appreciate that experience!

We discovered Lindsey through another recent music find, The Piano Guys, who we are so excited to get to go see in May! You should definitely check them out too, their Cello Wars video is fantastic! Here is the video that introduced us to Lindsey, also a lot of fun!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

From Goodreads:



Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

I participated in a read-a-long for Under the Never Sky hosted by On a Bookbender and Books with Cass. They had some questions for us to answer about it, so I think I will let those serve as my review, and tease you a bit! I really enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to Through the Ever Night, and also getting a hold of the short story about Liv and Roar.

1. What do you think of Aria’s adjustment to living outside the Realms?

It seemed almost too easy for her, compared to what was happening when others were cut off from the realms, but we later found out why! Not that it was a piece of cake for her, I was impressed by her fortitude. She was so determined, and not going to be bested by the elements, her own condition, or Perry. She was a very strong character.

2. These two worlds are so different from each other, which would you want to be in?

This is a tough one because the realms have a lot of appeal, but you just can't beat Mother Nature and the peace it brings to be outside among the trees and the sky. I think the realms would eventually pale in comparison to reality, so if I can't have both, then I'll have to pick outside the domes.

3. If you had a Smart-Eye, what would you do? Where would you go?

Archaeological sites for sure! Egypt, Mexico, Greece, all those places I can't afford to go to right now. I think it would be a lot of fun to have the fantasy realms as well.

4. Who was your favorite character and why?

I have to go with Perry, I'm a softie for the tortured heroes. Though again, I was very impressed with Aria, she was a strong girl, and got through all the nasty surprises that were thrown her way. I think Perry must have had a little more admiration for her when he got to walk a bit in her shoes through the Smarteye. I'm also looking forward to getting to know Roar better!

5. Make a few predictions about what you think will happen in Through the Ever Night.

Without being spoilery... I think they will find what they're looking for, I think there will be hurt feelings over information held back, but I think they'll "win" out over the dwellers, or find a way to to "win" for everyone. I'm all optomistic like that!

Check out Veronica Rossi's Website for more info!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

From Goodreads:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes continues the extraordinary story of 18th-century Scotsman Jamie Fraser and his 20th-century wife, Claire.

The year is 1772, and on the eve of the American Revolution, the long fuse of rebellion has already been lit. Men lie dead in the streets of Boston, and in the backwoods of North Carolina, isolated cabins burn in the forest.

With chaos brewing, the governor calls upon Jamie Fraser to unite the backcountry and safeguard the colony for King and Crown. But from his wife Jamie knows that three years hence the shot heard round the world will be fired, and the result will be independence — with those loyal to the King either dead or in exile. And there is also the matter of a tiny clipping from The Wilmington Gazette, dated 1776, which reports Jamie’s death, along with his kin. For once, he hopes, his time-traveling family may be wrong about the future.

I am continuously amazed by the depth of detail and character building in these books. There is so much packed in here, from historical events to medical knowledge and beyond, it exhausts me to think of how much research has to take place for each and every one. The Outlander novels stand apart for me on an untouchable pedestal of their own, spotlighted in my mental museum of all time favorites. You know that question of what books would you take with you if you were stranded on an island? I would take these, because it would take many many re-reads before you might remember everything and connect the dots, AND because with all the things that Jamie and Claire and their family go through, being stranded on that desert island would seem like a vacation in comparison!

I highly recommend the audiobooks read by Davina Porter. They are long, this one was 57 hours and took me just under two months (with a break for another audio in the middle) but so very worth it. The characters come alive with Davina's amazing performance. It's very difficult to come back to reality after finishing one. It seems to be a series you either love, or just can't get interested in, but I am firmly in the love category! I hope to get to the next book before the end of the year, as part of the Seriously Series Challenge, it's about 10 hours shorter, which is the length of a regular book in some cases! Just another reason to be in awe of Diana Gabaldon!

The Outlander Series on

Diana Gabaldon's Website

Friday, March 01, 2013

Read-a-long: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

From March 1st - March 29th On a Book Bender and Books with Cass are hosting a Read-a-long of Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi.

I will take part by reading the first book (pictured at left), I rarely read 2 books by the same author back to back, I have to skip around.

Click on either blog link above to be taken to the sign up page for the schedule and the first round of questions. There is also a Twitter hashtag #UTENreadalong for updates, come join us! I've only read the first 10 pages and I'm already sucked in! So far it feels like this might appeal to you if you liked The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, or Divergent by Veronica Roth. I'm intrigued to see where it goes.
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