Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Diary of a Player - Paisley

*This book was an advanced reading copy sent to me, free of charge, for my honest review and opinion.  All comments in this review are the honest opinion of the blogger.

Shortly after deciding I would only accept review books that were already on my TBR list, I was conveniently offered Brad Paisley's Diary of a Player. I jumped at the chance because not only was it already on my list, but it was rated as a #1-must read! And, it was worth it.  This is a great book!  

"When life gets intense, there are people who drink, who seek counseling, eat, or watch TV, pray, cry, sleep, and so on. I play."  ~Brad Paisley

A Christmas present in 8th grade, a used guitar from his grandfather, changed Paisley's life. With his grandfather's passion supporting him, Paisley fell in love with the instrument.  By fourteen he found himself in a band with his much older guitar teacher and the teacher's buddies.  Dubbed Brad and the C-notes (named for the $100 paycheck they seemed to always bring home), he spent his high school years performing on weekends, eventually ending up on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

In college, Paisley found himself with a variety of internship opportunities in Nashville, one of which led to his playing some of his writing for a co-worker, a song which was courted by the likes of Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson but eventually dropped by all. So Paisley decided to cut it himself on his first record deal, earned via his internship contacts. And the rest is history!

Even if you are not a Paisley fan, you can not help but enjoy the story of Paisley's  life via his musical journey. Honestly, this book is a love story between a man and his passion. Oh, and there is mentioned of his wife and kids too. Let's make no mistake here, Paisley is a guitar geek and proud of it. Paisley gushes not only about his guitars and amps, but about the amazing people he was lucky enough to work with and, often, eventually call friend. 

A deeply personal coming of age story, as a man and a guitar player, this is a well written memoir. Reading it is like sitting in the kitchen with the boy next door and swapping stories. 

Only because this book will likely appeal mostly to musicians and country music fans...

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Musings - 06/25/12

Over at Should Be Reading Musing Mondays is taking place. And what is the question.......

Do you set goals for yourself, while reading? For example, “I want to get this book finished this weekend“, or “I will read __ pages today“, etc. Why, or why not?

I have never really set goals for myself regarding reading. 

For the first time this year, I did enter a "total year read" goal on Shelfari and joined a few challenges, which I quickly fell behind.   But I am making a concerted effort to see these as just that, challenges, and not goals or expectations.

I have never thought of reading as work. It is, in fact, one of the few hobbies I have that I have not managed to create some sort of work or effort around (singing or theater for example, where I have commitments to others to perform, rehearse and/or serve on the Board). It enables me to calm my crazy life a bit every day. Setting expectations of myself just seemed counter-productive to this and just creates pressure, more pressure, on my already hectic life.

I am not a particularly competitive person, so if I accomplish my challenges, that's great. If I fail, so be it. I should admit though that every once in a while, I look at that TBR list and say, "Come on, pick it're falling behind!" because with over 5,000 books listed I've got a lot of ground to cover!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Salon - 06/24/12

If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

Outside my window: A lovely summer evening, warm, but not too muggy given the anticipated rain this week.

I am listening to: Sister Wives...uh, yes, I actually watch this show. Embarrassing!

I am reading: what Teachers Make by Taylor Mali and  Section 132 by Helga Zelner.

I am going to read: Varies, made a great library trip his weekend!

On the Blog: Had a slow blogging week...

Around the Book Blogosphere: Slow reading week too...

I am thinking: I'm counting the days until I officially go on vacation, something I rarely do during the summer...and all the things I need/want to accomplish before and during said vacation.

I am grateful for: Being able to go on vacation...

Around the house: Too much to do, too little time and motivation.

In the kitchen: A clean floor!

High of the Week: Singing with my PV gals!.

Low of the Week:  A tiff with the hubby.

Family Matters: Much of my family went to a "celebration of life" this weekend for my stepmother's father who recently passed. Hamilton "Hammie" or "Baga" Heard was a really nice guy who loved his family. A loss that is felt by many. My thoughts are with all who are missing him.

The coming week: Busy work week.

Words of Wisdom: Nothing this week...

Have a great week, everyone! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In Zanesville - Beard says: "Jo Ann Beard shows us that...within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant and unforgettable." Unfortunately, In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard is not that "something".

The story, of an unnamed 14-year old narrator (Beard indicates the character is loosely connected to herself and there is mention of her name being the same as one of the Little Women girls) and her best friend Flea (Felicia), explores that time in a girl's life when she is no longer a child, but not quite a teenager (cue Britney Spear's Not Yet a Woman as a background track).  

Difficulties such as an alcoholic father and an unresponsive mother, babysitting the local hoodlums, discovering that the school marching band is not a route to popularity, and making small (unrealistic) efforts at successfully finding one's way into that world of cheerleaders and football players despite being a plain-Jane, make up this a cute but forgettable novel.

Other bloggers have called the book "hilariously funny", there are a few cute moments, and "a wonderful coming-of-age story". Perhaps I just couldn't connect with it, but while I found it pleasant, little of the narrator's journey struck me as eventful or interesting.

While the book is well written, nothing about it stood out for me.  Ho-hum.

2/5- Just okay.  Choose with extreme prejudice.

More opinions at:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Monday Mailbox - 06/18/12

Courtesy of
Mailbox Monday is on tour at Burton Book Review for the month of June.
I do not usually have the opportunity to take part in Monday Mailbox! 
Most of my reading is courtesy of my local library. When I started my blog, I jumped on the ARC bandwagon, but quickly found that I either could not read them in time or they were not what I expected and therefore weren't receiving great reviews from me. Besides, with a TBR list of over 5,000, who has time to waste on books that just weren't on your list to start with?!

So, I quickly decided that I wouldn't do ARC's much anymore.
But, after avoiding them for a while, a couple offers came in that were already on my TBR list and any chance to reduce that list is a go!
So, I asked for and received them both. I've just started reading the first, Brad Paisley's Diary of a Player and so far am LOVING it! It is no surprise that I am a country music fan and, honestly, Brad seems to just be a really nice, normal guy...who got incredibly lucky. 
I also got Helga Zeiner's Section 132 and I've started it, so I just haven't gotten far enough in to decide what I think.  So, you will just have to come back in July to see my full reviews!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Various Children's Books - Various Authors

I've found myself with access to a bunch of children's books this month and have plowing through them. Rather than review them separately, I figured I would combine and conquer...

Zipping, Zapping Bats by Ann Earle is a short book that provides children with an interesting look at those nighttime mammals that so many fear. This provides some great information, even for adults like me, while being entertaining. Its a great starter book for kids to gain some ease with non-fiction.

Harry and the Lady Next Door by Gene Zion is one book in a series about a cute little dog named Harry who is naughty. In this book, Harry is not too fond of the next door neighbor's singing and goes to pains to remove the "noise".  Though he is naughty, he is clearly misunderstood and you can't help but fall in love with Harry. This series is illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honor winner Margaret Bloy Graham.


Over and Over by Charlotte Zolotow is the story of a little girl learning about the holidays and seasons. The writing itself is nothing impressive, though the author is famous and very successful, but the illustration is beautiful thanks to Garth Williams.

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner is a little story of four children whose parents have died and left them alone in the world, depressing. The children are meant to go live with a grandfather, who they assume is mean and hates children, and so they have run away. They find an abandoned box car in the woods, after wandering town to town to find food and shelter, and decide to create a home there. Eventually they are found out by a doctor who introduces them to a millionaire in his town, who it turns out is the dreaded grandfather who ends up being loving and kind.  Blah...  The whole story is unbelievable and silly. One of those books written years ago that just doesn't stand up to the new millennium's understanding that children actually have brains and can think.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black is the first book in a series of five about the Grace children (Mallory, Jared and Simon) whose mother is recently divorced and moves them to a dilapidated family estate. Upon their arrival, the children discover the estate holds more than dust and desolation. They discover things living in the walls, which leads them to a secret room that holds an old book that leads to a world with special creatures like dwarves and trolls. They only question is, will they enter?! A very simply written chapter book which inspires children to read the others in the series (even those of us who generally don't like series).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday Salon - 06/10/12

If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links.

A little late, but late is always better than never...

Outside my window: Gorgeous, sunny day, supposed to be 77 - Thank God summer has arrived!

I am listening to: Doing this a day late so, sounds of work, lawn mower outside, and Eagles on the radio.

I am reading: Trauma by Dr. James Cole and  Section 132 by Helga Zelner.

I am going to read: About to start Diary of a Player by Brad Paisley for a review.

On the Blog: Just finished up BEArmchair, working on a several upcoming reviews.

Around the Book Blogosphere: BEArmchair!

I am thinking: Of all the stuff on my plate these days: family, work, Purely Vocals and newly added performances, Footlight Club annual meeting tonight with review of membership year, etc....

I am grateful for: Believe it or not, all of the above!

Around the house: Ripped out the hedge row, as noted, and have decided that in order to get rid of the weeds in the lawn we will pretty much have to "roto-till" down to dirt and then reseed. Bummer, but not unexpected.

In the kitchen: As little as possible!

High of the Week: My a capella group, Purely Vocals, had the opportunity to perform on a local cable channel, which was really cool. Hopefully it will get our name out there more and get us performances. Also, we were offered a really great gig opportunity for later this summer...we are still working out the logistics, but if it works out we could be seen by thousands at this one event! That would be so very cool! I'll keep you up to date.

Low of the Week:  Everyone is sick! A co-worker has bronchitis and the hubby's got a sore throat. I am trying desperately to avoid all these germs!

Family Matters:  This coming weekend is the hubby's bday. I won't give away any secrets early, but it should be a nice day for him.

The coming week: Reviews at work (ick!) - hate giving them, hate getting them. Father's Day. Hubby's birthday. Busy, busy, busy!

Words of Wisdom:  

"Sometimes, we have the illusion that hurrying will get us there faster."  ~Unknown

Have a great week, everyone! 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Armchair BEA 2012 -Let's Talk Networking


“Let's Talk Networking”:

"Share your positive experiences of using your blog to get involved in your community.  This can involve partnerships with the local literary scene, attending author events and signings, or getting together with bloggers in your area.  We want to hear it all!

Yes, we do!  

Being fairly new to blogging (and having spent much of my first year essentially house bound due to a broken foot) I have done very little in the realm of networking. I did join my library's Friends group, but have never gone to any meetings or anything.  I haven't even gone searching for local bookstores in my new hometown. Now that the summer is finally here this will definitely be on my list of things to do!

I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone else has been doing and getting some great ideas!

Following Atticus - Ryan

Tom Ryan, the author of Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship was an older, single, overweight guy who owned and wrote a local, one-man newspaper in Newburyport, Massachusetts. His life consisted of fighting untrustworthy politicians with his mighty pen and trying to connect with a standoffish father, who got shafted by life and was vaguely abusive to his children.

Then one day, Ryan's friend emailed him about a homeless dog. Ryan was moved and offered to give Max a forever home, despite having a no-pet policy at his apartment. The two quickly became inseparable and the town of Newburyport quickly fell too as Max followed Ryan on his fact-finding missions and meetings for his paper. But Max was an older dog and sadly he passed less than two of years after finding his home.

Ryan sadly went in search of something to fill the gaping void, eventually finding a breeder who, after many failed options, offered up a runt - one she fully intended to keep herself.  Ryan quickly realized that the dog was special and purchased the miniature schnauzer.  Dubbed  Atticus Maximillan Finch (both for his lost friend and for the father in Too Kill A Mockingbird), this little dog quickly becomes a lifeline for Ryan. 

An impromptu hike with his brothers, and the death of a friend to cancer, inspired Ryan to hike all forty-eight of the 4,000 footers of New Hampshire and raise funds for charities, including Angel Memorial Animal Hospital, with varying results. As little as Atticus is, many cannot believe Ryan and Atticus' efforts and worry about their safety. But the two became extensions of each other and forge on to each new adventure.

Ultimately, Atticus (and his breeder) bring new life to Tom Ryan and change his world forever.

This was a fantastic book! Not only is it well written, with many references to amazing literature, but it is also full of exciting hiking and climbing stories, while also being a great animal story. I happen to love all those pieces and they come together so perfectly in this memoir that I could not put it down.  A must read!

5/5- Excellent. Keep it, treasure it, reread it.

More opinions at:
Agatha & Louise

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Armchair BEA 2012 - The Crem Della Crem: Our "Best of 2012" Link-Up

“Best of 2012”:

"Share some of your favorite books so far this year, and/or the the books being promoted at BEA that you hope will end up among your favorites for the year!"

As noted previously, it's been a slow reading year for me. I've had tons of other things going on, like getting married and finally attacking a fairly neglected house purchase, so I don't have a lot to choose from this year. But, even putting that aside, I really enjoyed Following Atticus by Tom Ryan.

Pets, hiking, New England, maybe even a love story...

I'll be posting my review tomorrow, so you'll just have to stop by to learn more!


Teaser Tuesday - 06/05/12

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! 


My Teaser:

"The stinking man's blood trailed along my arm and torso, and then ran down my leg, soaking through my scrub pants. My foot swan in a pool of the sanguineous fluid, which saturated my sock and was welling up inside my operating room shoe...

It is in these "Holy shit" moments that all eyes glance toward the trauma surgeon...." 

Trauma: My Life as an Emergency Surgeon (Dr. James Cole) - pg.1

Armchair BEA 2012 - Introduction

Well, I may be behind the proverbial 8-ball, as always, but I jumping in anyway! Hopefully there's still some room for me on the chair's headrest of something...

Ok, so Intros are in order:

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

Hi, I'm Shannon. I've been blogging about a year and a half...though that is somewhat debatable... But for all intensive purposes, I've been around since January of 2011. I got into blogging because I read and I talk, a lot, and figured I might as well merge the two.

2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?

Currently, I am reading Trauma: My Life as an Emergency Surgeon by James Cole. It's pretty interesting. So far, I haven't read much this year...but my favorite has to be Following Atticus by Tom Ryan. Animals, hiking, New has it all.

3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

Uh...I am a newly wed. I just got married in January (though I've been with him for about six years now). He is kind of shy, so I refer to him in my blog as "hubby".

4. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

I'm still discovering things, finding my place with the for now, I'll say the reviews.

5. Where do you see your blog in five years?

Goodness, who knows?! Hopefully with a few more followers!

6. Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

My reading tastes, no not really. What I actually read, yes. I still like what I like: some fiction, lots of memoirs, some YA and children's, more memoirs, and some historical fictions. And more memoirs.  But before blogging, I sort of read whatever crossed my hands. Now that I am blogging, I have focused more on my Shelfari list and, frankly, there are just way too many options. I had accepted some ARC's which were not on my list and, while I enjoyed them, I felt like I wasted time with them. So, I try to read only what I find important enough to put on my TBR list - which mind you is 5,000+ strong! 

What's that old saying?

"The good Lord put me on the earth to read a certain number of books, and at this rate I will never die..."
(thank goodness!)

So, there's my five intro questions! I'll try to catch up on all of yours soon!

Enjoy the Armchair!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

May 2012 ReCap...


May 2012 Update

May has flown by! I can not believe June is nipping my heels and I am nowhere close to halfway done in my challenges. I better get my busy bootie in gear and focus, focus, focus!

This month I read:
Total Read: 18
Adult: 3
YA/children's: 15
Abandoned: 0

YTD - 33

Heaven Is Here - Stephanie Nielson
The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Warner
Following Atticus - Tom Ryan
Circus - Unknown
Buster Keeps Warm - Rod Campbell
The Sorcerer's Apprentice - Wald Disney Books
Over and Over - Charlotte Zolotow
Dinosaur's Halloween - Liza Donnelly
Socks for Supper - Jack Kent
Dear Zoo - Rod Campbell
Sometimes I Pretend - Kirk Roberts
Zipping, Zapping Bats - Anne Earle
Peter Pan & Wendy - Unknown
Harry and the Lady Next Door
One Fine Day - Nonny Hogrogrian
Waldo, The Jumping Dragon - Unknown
Zoobilee Zoo: The Big Mess - Unknown
InZanesville - Joanne Beard

Favorite Book(s) of the Month:
Following Atticus (Tom Ryan)

Challenges Update:
Memorable Memoirs = 5 of 10+
Support Your Local Library Challenge = 16 of 37+
Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge = 20 of 50 (2011) + 15
E-Book Reading Challenge = 1 of 5
A-Z Book Challenge 2012 = 14 of 26
What's in a Name Challenge = 4 of 6

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