Author Archives: Stacie Penney

Reading Challenge: March 2017

March was a tough challenge month for both Word Nerds.  The challenge was a “Best Books before…<insert your age here>.” One of the Word Nerds has a milestone birthday this year. We liked the list from here: http://www.listchallenges.com/oprahs40book

Each chalks up a DNF, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for “Must Read” book lists for either of us…Read on for more details.

download.jpgStacie’s Pick:  I selected Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  A friend loaned me a copy and a few days later, the audio version from the library showed up as well.  It was a win all around…until it was time to read the book.  I really liked the style of the author and the narrator, but given the already heavy brain work I was doing in order to pass the exam (results in 5-7 weeks time) I couldn’t absorb this book.  I need time to pause, reflect, and process against my own journey.

I’m starting to recognize a pattern for myself with books like this.  I put them down to think about them, and don’t always pick them up.  I definitely read for entertainment, primarily, and thoughtful books like this are always good, but take me time to actually finish in a way that applies them to my life (I’m still working on the January Reading Challenge book, which was along these lines as well.)

Bethany’s Pick: Mine was a DNF. Technically, a DNS (Did Not Start.) All the books on the list seemed so heavy and I was not in a place for a heavy book. I checked out Ann Patchett’s “State of Wonder” with the best intent… but I took it back unread.

Book Banter: The Invasion of Tearling

Title: The Invasion of Tearling41MT-Ny8w6L._SX294_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Author:  Erika Johansen
Genre:  Fantasy
Length:  544 pages
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From:  Oshkosh Public Library
Plot Basics:  The kingdom of Tearling is facing invasion from the Red Queen after her shipment of slaves does not arrive. The treaty between the two countries is void and only one thing will satisfy her. At the same time, Kelsea is learning more about the founders of Tearling as the Tear Sapphires reveal it to her through the memories of Lily.
Banter Points:  The questions I had after reading Book 1 — The Queen of Tearling — were answered. The founders of Tearling fled the U.S. for a New America, one where they could create A Better World, which also serves as their rally cry. One of the founders, Lily, a house wife who stumbles into the rebellion, serves as Kelsea guide. It is through Lily’s memories that Kelsea sees what the founders envisioned for the world she now rules.

Like all good trilogies, the protagonists are in peril at the end of the book, leaving the reader wondering how on earth they are going to get out of the mess that they are in. Added to that, I now have questions about what happened between the founding of Tearling, specifically the nobel ideals that were to guide them. The vision painted of Tearling’s ideals and the reality facing Kelsea are polarizing opposites. I don’t yet understand how this happened, but the author has gained my trust so far of answering my questions.
Bummer Points:  No bummer points. I’m eager for book 3.
Stacie’s Recommendation: This is a solid read. I think Book 3 — The Fate of Tearling — will make or break this one for inclusion on the top ten list this year.

Reading Challenge

New month and a new challenge! The March Challenge was to read a “Best Before…” book since I had a significant birthday year.

April’s challenge is to read a book with food in the title. Bonus points if there are recipes in the book from the author. Triple points for making one of the recipes.

Post Exam FAQ

Q: How do you feel?

A: I feel good about how I did, relieved that it’s completed, and impatient for the results.

Q: When will you know?

A: Crazy enough, four to six weeks, assuming nothing happens. It was a Scantron based test so it seems nuts that it isn’t faster, but that’s the way it is.

Q: What are you going to do next?

A: Sleep. Definitely sleep.

Q: No, for reals. What is next on the list of things to accomplish?

A: Sleep. And stalk the mailbox.

Open Notes

All that paper is the open notes of the test I’m taking next Monday.

The rack on the table has 11 inches of paper to use to answer somewhere between 15 and 20 questions.

April 4 has never looked so lovely.

Making friends

Last night, I helped out a friend with an envelope stuffing party. I realized that this person introduced me to seven people in the last year, invited me to dinner multiple times, and pretty much makes this meme true for me.  She is one of two extroverts in my life and I’m so glad for her.

Who are you grateful for today?

Book Banter: The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title:  The Queen Of Tearling514XGcRc9SL.jpg

Author:  Erika Johansen

Genre:  Dystopian

Length:  643 pages

Where Stacie’s Copy Came From:  Oshkosh Public Library

Plot Basics:  The rightful queen was hidden away shortly after her birth to protect her life.  Kelsea Raleigh is now 19 years old and seeks to reclaim her throne.  Her journey reveals that the task is larger than she ever envisioned, if she survives the journey to her holdings.

Banter Points:  I know that this was a recommendation either from a Goodreads friend or a Facebook friend but my typically referrals haven’t read it.  This frustrates me because I’m enjoyed the book and have moved on to book two already,  It would be nice to tell them “thank you” and then ask what else they are reading.

I like the pseudo fairy tale feel to the telling of this story.  Rather than it being historical, it’s future.  Something has happened and the world has lost technology, gained magic, and The Church is an influence similar to medieval times.  Society has reverted in other ways too, losing advancements in equality and medicine.

The how and why of this world is fascinating to me.

Bummer Points:  By the end of the book, I was fascinated by the “why” of what happened.  How did the world step back from technology?  Why did they run to the new place?  What were they running from?  I tried to find some additional information, but wasn’t able to find an author website or book website outside of bookstores or the publisher.

Stacie’s Recommendation:  Read it.  I’m half way through book two and have high hopes for how this trilogy will end.

Wishing for Spring

Winter in Wisconsin has been a roller coaster of temperature options. Mostly, I’m thinking spring and it shows up in my latest coloring project.