Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dewey Read-A-Thon - 2 AM Update

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How has it already been three hours?! This isn't fair! I'm having a great time! Yes my stomach is feeling rather acidic; my head has felt better; and I'm having a few problems thinking straight, but it's still fun! I can do this! I just need to stay awake for another 6 hours! Woo hoo! 


Still working on my fourth book. My reading has slowed considerably, but I'm sure that's no surprise to anyone.


Going to be going back to it for a bit after a bit of a break. People are dropping like flies! We must work together to stay awake!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dewey Read-A-Thon - 11 PM Update

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

We are moving right along! A lot of people are going to start dropping soon, but I will remain strong! I have some people on Twitter helping me out. I'll be taking a shower to wake me up. Worst case scenario, I'll take a quick walk in the cool/cold night. The 24 hours shall be mine!


I recently finished William Shakespeare's Star Wars and am now working on Earth: The Book by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I have been having a lot of good laughs from my books today (except for The Religion War). I figure I may as well keep the trend going and will be focusing on humorous books for the next 8 hours. 


I do enjoy the cheering. It is of vital importance now that we're getting into the later hours. We can do this! We shall make the 24 hour goal!

William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher


I really do think the title says it all. It's Star Wars, but written in the style of a Shakespeare play.


WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS?! I was laughing and admiring the brilliance of Doescher's verse the entire book. There are some pictures throughout that are both amazingly well done and add to the fun. This book, for me, is one of the quintessential geek books! I'm going to have to get the rest of the series now!


Dewey Readathon - 8 PM Update - 12 hours down!

1. What are you reading right now?

William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher

2. How many books have you read so far?

This is only my third book.

 3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

The silliness after being awake for so many hours!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

No real interruptions!

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

How quickly the time is passing!

Dewey Read-A-Thon - 5 PM Update

Wow. 3 hours have already passed! I'm having so much fun reading! And this community is so much fun to interact with!


I have finished The Religion War by Scott Adams and am now working on William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher. In the first 30 pages of the latter I have laughed more than at today's other two books combined! Verily, it is even affecting the speech patterns inside mine own head!


Really enjoying getting to people and helping out! After this gets posted I'm taking a break so I can focus on moving around some and cheerleading a bit more!

Dewey Read-A-Thon: 2 PM Update

Wait, how'd it get to be 2PM already?! I know I've got another 18 or so hours to go, but why must time go so quickly when reading?!


I finished up Dead Eye and am now working on The Religion War. While I was really slow with the former, the latter is looking to be quite a fast paced read!


I haven't done any cheerleading for a while now. I feel so bad! But I will be using a good portion of this reading break catching up and encouraging others to keep reading!

Dead Eye: The Skinwalker Conspiracies by Jim Bernheimer


In this sequel to Pennies for the Ferryman, Mike Ross is traveling through the American Southwest in a search for the Skinwalker who kidnapped his father. Along with his travel companion, Father Silas, the two help ghosts at great personal cost to Mike.


Bernheimer is a master at keeping things realistic, even in the face of the supernatural. Using Mike Ross as the narrator, there were several times that his voice made me laugh because of his cynical nature. The characters were so natural in their reactions and dialogue. And there was nothing in this book that felt out-of-place or unnecessary. I rushed through the last few chapters of this book because the battles were so intense!

If you like ghost stories, or alternative perspectives on history* you will love this series. Bernheimer is a wonderfully fun author! I give this book 4 hoots!


*Lee Harvey Oswald was technically innocent. He was possessed! 

Dewey Readathon - 11 AM Update

Trudging right along to the first of several updates on my Read-A-Thon progress!


I still haven't finished book one, Dead Eye: The Skinwalker Conspiracies by Jim Berhneimer, but I am absolutely loving it! I will be finishing it in the next hour. I'm almost at the final boss fight!


I managed to do a little cheerleading. I generally wait until the later hours when people are really struggling to continue. But I do like sending messages of "You can do it!" After all, having a reading buddy is a great way to continue reading.

Dewey's Readathon - Hour 0; Opening Meme

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I am reading from my apartment in Ann Arbor, MI!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Probably William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Probably my homemade breakfast hot pockets.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I am a Geek/Nerd/Dork combo. FEAR ME! (just kidding)

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This time I'm actually going to try to read outside for when I need a change of setting. The weather is still kinda cool/cold, but even just a few minutes of fresh air and outside reading should help out.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Headstrong by Rachel Swaby

Swaby has collected information on, and written mini-biographies for, 52 women whose contributions to math and science helped us all to better understand the world we live in.

This book covers the lifespans of women ranging from 1647 (Maria Sibylla Merian) to 2014 (Stephanie Kwolek). It is almost impossible to read this book without learning, not just about each woman, but also about the science she worked on and at least some the history of her time-period. 

This book is highly informative and well researched, as any book on scientists should be. However, Swaby is also able to bring in an emotional aspect that does not distract from the science of the contributions. Most of the emotions involved are anger at the unfairness of women not being paid for their work or not being given actual lab space despite their well demonstrated abilities. I also appreciate Swaby including other emotions, like love, “When [Gerty] could no longer make the trek from one room in the lab to the other, [her husband] scooped her up and carried her, working together until the end.”** But the biggest feeling you get from this book is the dedication these women have to science. Be it because they love science itself or they love the mental stimulation, it is impossible not to pick up on this.

I was personally amazed at just how many women were involved in science that I’ve never heard about, especially given their major contributions. Alice Ball found a way for oil based, injectable medicines to be easily absorbed by the body. Hedy Lamarr gave us the foundation for Wi-Fi. How did I not know about these women before? I also appreciated that Swaby did not include a mini-biography about Marie Curie “[b]ecause Marie Curie is who we talk about when we talk about women in science…”*** We all know her. This book was created for the lesser known, yet incredibly influential, women scientists.

Not only is Headstrong well researched, it’s well written. Swaby is unable to give any one scientist more than 6 pages due to the sheer number of people. Yet I found this to be a perfect way to read this book. I am introduced to each scientist, their work, and their life in a very succinct yet still meaningful manner. Because of this, the reader never feels bored or bogged down by facts.

I happily give this book 5 hoots!

*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review from Blogging For Books.
**Pg. 18
***Pg. xiii

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 2015 Dewey Read-A-Thon: Tentative Plan

It's that time again! The Dewey 24 Hour Readathon! Again I'll be aiming to stay up for the full 24 hours AND cheerleading! If things go as they did back in October, I'll be okay until around 3-4 AM. At that point, I may need to get an audiobook and listen while going for a walk to the gas station to get some more caffeine.

I will, of course, be checking twitter and Dewey's blog for hourly updates, but will remind myself to set the books down for a bit every 3 hours. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to eat and read at the same time, I've done it before. I'm also allowing myself to get up and walk around as I need to. The late night shower is because I'm used to taking a shower when I need to wake up and really did help last year.

Tentative Schedule
7 AM - Wake up, Prep
8 AM - Starting Post on Blog
11 AM - 3 Hours Post, Challenges, Visiting other blogs (30 minutes)
2 PM - 6 Hours Post, Challenges, Exercising/Stretching (30 minutes)
5 PM - 9 Hours Post, Challenges, Visiting other blogs (30 minutes)
8 PM - Halfway There Post, Challenges, Exercising/Stretching (30 minutes)
11 PM  - 15 Hours Post, Shower (30 minutes)
2 AM - 18 Hours Post, Challenges, Visiting other blogs (30 minutes)
5 AM - 21 Hours Post, Challenges, Exercising/Stretching (30 minutes)
8 AM - Final Post, Shower, SLEEP

I'm planning on using the Read-A-Thon to at least try to finish several books that I have started but just haven't gotten around to finishing.. With this in mind, I created a list of 5 books to read, but with the understanding that fewer than 5 is acceptable as well as interjecting some comic books and web comic archives.

Tentative Reading List

1) The Religion War by Scott Adams
2) Dead Eye - The Skinwalker Conspiracies by Jim Bernheimer
3) William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Drescher
4) The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell
5) Earth by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Let me know if you have suggestions for audiobooks!

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor


Onyesonwu is an Ewu child. Ewu are almost always the result of an Okeke woman being raped by a Nuru man. Onyesonwu is also a girl. Girls are considered lesser and are not expected to be able to control magic. And yet, Onyesonwu grows up tall, strong in body, spirit and magic. And it is her destiny to free the the Okeke from slavery and genocide at the hands of the Nuru.


If I had things my way, I never would have put this book down. Throughout the reading, I knew the book would be at least a four. When I read the ending, I had to push it to a five.

Onyesonwu is an incredibly strong female lead. She has so many prejudicial obstacles thrown at her, but rather than let them drag her down, she makes her own voice stronger. She does not follow the narrative norms of her world's Great Book. She is the lead while her male companion, Mwita, has the lesser magic. She is the loud warrior, he is the quiet healer.

Okorafor touches on so many topics in this book: war, racism, rape, and the ignorance of the people removed from these things. It was ignorance that led to so much of the hate in this book. An unwillingness to see another's perspective, or an acceptance of things, "because they are tradition." Even when the people of her home village are confronted with images of the war, the Elders say not to worry, it'll never reach the village. And the ignorance continues.

But Onyesonwu does not care for ignorance. As Okorafor states, "Onyesonwu's very essence was change and defiance." The ending of this book left me shaky and feeling as though I'd shed a hundred tears, though my eyes were dry. This book is not for everyone and can get quite graphic, but I give it a full 5 hoots and will be looking for more books by Okorafor.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Act of God by Jill Ciment


A story of ordinary people whose lives are thrown off course by an infestation of toxic, bioluminescent fungi.


This was a rather emotional, engaging book. I almost missed the bus a few times because I was completely engrossed in the story. The characters are very real and their stories are relatable. There are a lot of heart-wrenching moments and I was nearly brought to tears. The ending fell a little flat for me. I get that Ciment wanted the beautiful, open, cosmic ending, but I didn't get the closure that I really wanted. Still, it's an incredibly engrossing read and I gladly give it 4 hoots.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Oreo Cupcakes

It's been a long while since I've done a recipe review so I decided to record my baking for Easter Sunday. I ended up making Oreo Cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes with an Oreo at the bottom and crushed Oreos in the frosting. I used a generic chocolate cupcake recipe for the cupcakes and my usual recipe for the butter-cream frosting.


For the generic chocolate cupcakes:

                          3 Cups Flour                         2 Eggs                         1 tsp Vanilla
                          2 Cups Sugar                         1 Cup Milk
                          1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder         1 Cup Water
                          2 tsp Baking Soda                 1 Cup Vegetable Oil

For the butter-cream frosting:

8 oz Cream Cheese       1/2 Cup Butter            ~1 lb. Powdered Sugar


The overall recipe is pretty simple. Mix the ingredients together and pour into the cupcake tins. However, because these are Oreo Cupcakes, we start out with cookies in the bottom of each cupcake.

THEN we fill them up to the brim.

The frosting is just as simple, though I'm adding in crushed Oreos that are getting further crushed by the hand mixer.

Then it's just a matter of combining the cupcakes and the frosting and the product is finished!


Between me, Fluxxdog and Veonoss, we can all agree that these do taste pretty good. Unfortunately there is room for improvement. The chocolate cupcake DEFINITELY tasted generic. Next time, I'll replace the water with either coffee or Bailey's Irish Cream. 

Still, it tastes pretty good and I will be baking it again. 4 Hoots!

Also, if you'd prefer to see the video, you can watch it here or go to my YouTube channel!*

*Thanks again, so much, Fluxxdog for editing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Brief Synopsis:

Red Queen takes place in a dystopian future where you are judged based on the color of your blood. The Red Bloods have nothing but hard work and poverty while the Silver Bloods have power. And not just economic power, but actual magic-like abilities. Mare Barrow is born Red but discovers, quite publicly, that she has her own ability. She is inducted into the Silver world where every action could give away her true blood and result in her death.

What I Think:

The book is well written and engaging. Aveyard does a wonderful job world building and doing it quickly. Red Queen is an easy read and the story is definitely interesting.

Unfortunately one of the book's greatest strengths is also, for me, its greatest downfall. Mare is constantly warned not to trust anyone. "Anyone can betray anyone". Aveyard does such a wonderful job of keeping you guessing who you can trust that, as a reader, it kept me at an emotional distance from everyone. I ended up feeling nothing for any of the characters because I didn't know who to trust. 

The book also has the problem of having a familiar formula. A teenage girl tries to change her dystopian world and ends up in over her head. The Queen can read and control minds, yet Mare acts as though she can have secrets. I wish I could be half as sure of my plans as teenage protagonists are of theirs. 

But, overall, Red Queen is a good read. It took me to another world and I never had a problem picking the book back up. It's quite likely that this book just isn't my genre. If this is your genre, by all means, pick up a copy! I give Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 3 Hoots!


I've also started a YouTube channel recently and this is my first book review! Hope you enjoy!