Tuesday, March 31, 2015

It's Tuesday! A Recap Of March

Hey peeps!  It's Tuesday already!  I somehow missed Monday...again.  Ah, well, at least I'm trying :)

My March, it feels like

Well, another month has come and gone, and God, am I looking forward to saying good-bye to ths busy, snowy March!  What a crazy four weeks it's been!  Not only did I hit an all-time personal record of private lessons this month (60 hours!), but I spent a huge chunk of my free time practicing for a performance/competition that I volunteered for.  It was crazy, and I had literally only one day off this month, but it was worth it!  Not only am I in good shape financially (just in time to pay the IRS what I owe them for the year), but I also came in second in the competition!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Book Review: His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1), by Naomi Novik

Title: His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, Book 1)
Author: Naomi Novik
Date Published: January, 2006
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Audible
Length: 353 pages, or approximately 10 hours on audiobook
Genre: Fantasy, parallel universe

Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible
Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hello Monday. We Meet Again....

Well, it's Monday already.  I'm not entirely sure what happened to last week, but it's time for a weekly recap!

So last week, something amazing happened.  I mean really amazing.  Something I've been dying to have happen for years now.....

You ready?

Here goes....


Do you have any idea how long I've been wanting him to read Harry Potter?  Do you?!  I finally managed to convince him to read at least the first book and we just finished it yesterday!

It was a rather nice morning routine actually.  Each morning we'd get up, put together our breakfasts, and then sit down and listen to a chapter or two (or three) on audiobook.  Last night we were coming to the end and I warned him before continuing the final chapter, "the last chapter is 39 minutes long.  We can stop now if you like."  His response: "Oh, go ahead.  You're such an enabler."  *Tee-hee!* I think he liked it!

So now we're into Book 2 and we've just finished the second chapter (the one where Dobby came to visit and destroyed Petunia's pudding).  I'm not entirely sure if Dave is continuing the series to placate me, or if he is actually enjoying it a little.  I mean, ideally I would be ecstatic if he read the whole series, but honestly I'm content with him just finishing the first one.  But he's pushing for the whole series.  I think he's powering through it a little, the same way I powered through all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad for his sake (I enjoyed Breaking Bad, but I felt obligated to watch the whole thing for his benefit).

I also finished the majority of books on this month's TBR!  Double Yay!  Here's the list of books read this week:

Books Read:
(click on the cover for the review)

So this week, I'm going to keep it simple with only 2 books to read.  Well, 4, since I want to read the Harry Potter textbooks :)

Books Planned For This Week:
(Click on the cover for more)

Well, that's it for now!  I'd better get cracking!  Happy reading everyone!
-Lisa The Dancing Bookworm

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Date Published: February 11, 2014
Publisher: Crown
Source: Audible
Length: 384 pages, or 10 hours and 53 minutes of listening time
Genre: Sci-fi thriller

Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there. It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's Friday! Time For A Blog Hop!

Hello Friday!  I've missed you terribly!  How've you been?

Well, it's time for me to get cracking here!  It's time for a blog hop!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Wednesday's Rantings: Trying to find a day off....and figuring out what to do with it.

Hello folks!
Well, I'm late posting....again.  Part of it is procrastination.  Part of it is because I'm not a fast writer and I quite simply Don't. Have. Time!

I've tried setting aside a few hours of my free time to write for my blog and update my sites, but it's hard!  Being a self-employed dance teacher means that I'm responsible for my own schedule, and since my monthly income depends on getting as many private lessons as possible, my schedule becomes very irregular from week to week, so I frequently end up with much less time to blog than I originally intended.

I know, I know, I should just say "no!" to some appointments, but I gotta say, I like having money!  I like being able to pay my bills and have a lot of money left over for the inevitable tax return that I have to fill out, which will tell me that I owe the IRS money in the 4-digits range.  I like the feeling of success and the knowledge that I have students who think I do a good enough job that they want to come back.  This month has literally been the most successful month I've had in a while.

The erratic schedule of the past few months is taking a toll on me, though.  I looked back through my calendars, and I've discovered that I have been working every day since March 1st!  I've been dancing for 5-10 hours each day, every day.  The only day that was kinda a day off was last Friday, and that was only because I had one private lesson.  The lesson still broke my afternoon in half, though, and I still had to dedicate 2-1/2 hours of my time to said private lesson, so that really can't count as a day of relaxation.

Thank God Saturday doesn't have anything scheduled.  I checked, and once I saw it was clear, I made sure no appointments would be made that day.  I have a day off this Saturday! Whoo-hoo!!!!

God, I need a break.  I apologize to those who are reading this (especially if any of you are my students), but I felt like ranting a little.  I put myself into this insanity and now I'm facing the consequences.  I'm doing a good job, and I love it, but I'm exhausted!  I'm starting to feel a little more introverted and anti-social now, which is unfortunate because I need to be a perky, energetic person for my job.  The past couple of days have especially hard; it's just so difficult to keep smiling and stay positive for the sake of your students, when all you really want to do is go home, lie down on the couch with the cat, and do things that don't involve talking to real people (besides your husband, of course).  It's even harder when you feel so tired and frazzled that you can't remember what you did the last time you worked with that student, and you're feeling frustrated with, and distracted by, your memory loss.

I ended up playing hooky tonight instead of helping out with the group classes like I normally do (it helps when the owner of the studio is your mother).  I just felt like I couldn't focus clearly on the dancers, nor could I bring up enough energy to talk to them and socialize, and just be nice in general.  I had a feeling that I was going to have to fake a whole lot of my behavior tonight, which our studio's dancers don't deserve, so I decided to just go home and recuperate.  So far, it feels like I did the right thing, because now I'm starting to relax a little, and I feel like I can get a good night's rest tonight.  Plus, I get to catch up on my blogging!  Yay!

So now that I know I'm going to get a whole day off this Saturday, what am I going to do with it?  I have no idea!  The important thing is that I have nothing that needs to be done, and no place I need to be at a specific time.  My biggest fear is that I'm going to waste the day on a T.V. binge; an easy thing to do when you've got Netflix.  What I hope to do though, is to go for a walk (if the weather is nice), listen to some more Harry Potter with my husband, read a bit, and just catch up on things that I haven't had the time to do lately (such as clean the friggin' apartment!)  Here's to hoping that this little spot of optimism will come true!

Well, I'd better stop for now; the laundry needs folding and the bed is saying "co-ome to meeee!" (talking inanimate objects--first sign of insanity. Crap.) Have a good night everyone!

-Lisa The Dancing Bookworm

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review: The Girl On The Train, by Paula Hawkins

Title: The Girl On The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Date Published: January 13th, 2015
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Source: Audible
Length: 336 pages, 10 hours and 59 minutes on audiobook
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

It's Tuesday and my husband is reading Harry Potter!!!!

It's Tuesday (Monday went quick)!

I couldn't do my usual update yesterday due to the fact that I to select a nice-sounding tango song, cut it down to be only one minute and thirty seconds long, and then create an easy choreography for it, all within about 4 hours.!  The task took up my entire morning, so blogging was completely out of the question.  I decided therefore that I would at least do a weekly update today, and try to catch up on things.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Review: The Tales Of Beedle The Bard (A Wizarding Classic From The World Of Harry Potter), by J.K. Rowling

Title: The Tales Of Beedle The Bard
Author: J.K. Rowling
Date Published: December 4th, 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Length: 109 pages
Genre: Children's Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: The Tales Of Beedle The Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J.K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbity Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairy tales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

My Review In A Sentence: 
A fun continuation in the Harry Potter world

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Book Review: First Frost (Waverley Family #2), by Sarah Addison Allen

Date Published: January 20th 2015
Source: Audible
Length: 304 pages, or 8 hours and 30 minutes on Audible
Genre: Magical Realism
Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible
From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a story of the Waverley family, in a novel as sparkling as the first dusting of frost on new-fallen leaves... It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store. Claire Waverley has started a successful new venture, Waverley’s Candies. Though her handcrafted confections—rose to recall lost love, lavender to promote happiness and lemon verbena to soothe throats and minds—are singularly effective, the business of selling them is costing her the everyday joys of her family, and her belief in her own precious gifts. Sydney Waverley, too, is losing her balance. With each passing day she longs more for a baby— a namesake for her wonderful Henry. Yet the longer she tries, the more her desire becomes an unquenchable thirst, stealing the pleasure out of the life she already has. Sydney’s daughter, Bay, has lost her heart to the boy she knows it belongs to…if only he could see it, too. But how can he, when he is so far outside her grasp that he appears to her as little more than a puff of smoke? When a mysterious stranger shows up and challenges the very heart of their family, each of them must make choices they have never confronted before. And through it all, the Waverley sisters must search for a way to hold their family together through their troublesome season of change, waiting for that extraordinary event that is First Frost. Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins...

My Thoughts In A Sentence:
A fun sequel to an enjoyably promising series

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Review: Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1), by Sarah Addison Allen

Title: Garden Spells
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Genre: Magical Realism
Year Published: 2007
Source: Audiobook
Length: 304 pages (7 hours 43 minutes)

Shelfari | Goodreads | Audible
In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small house in the smallest of towns, is an apple tree rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it. The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. A successful caterer, Claire prepares dishes made with her mystical plants--from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her cousin, Evanelle, distributes unexpected presents whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys--except for Claire's sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before. When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down. Together again in the house they grew up in, the sisters soon realize they must deal with their common legacy--if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom...or with each other.

My Rating:
★★★★ 1/2

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hello Monday! Time For A Weekly Update!

It's Monday and it's sunny!  Yay!  Spring is coming!

So this week feels a little more optimistic than last week, especially now that that weather is nice and warming up a little.  I'm definitely looking forward to the end of all this snow, that's for sure!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Book Review: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter Year 7), by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter Year 7), by J.K. Rowling
★★★★★ and a ♥

Synopsis: (From the book flap of the U.S. 1st edition) We now the seventh and final installment in the epic tale of Harry Potter (I found this sooo aggravating when I first read this!)
In A Sentence: Officially my favorite of the entire series

Friday, March 6, 2015

Hello Friday And Happy Feature Follow!

Happy Friday everyone!  Time for a blog hop hosted by parajunkee and alison can read!

Here are the rules:
1) go to the hosts' blogs and enter your website into the linky thing
2) create a post answering the weekly question
3) Follow, follow, follow!  Following the hosts and the featured blogger is a must, but you can follow as many more as you would like!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #1), by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1), by Ransom Riggs
★★★ ½

Synopsis: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
In A Sentence: An enjoyable read with unique qualities

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), by J.K. Rowling
★★★★★ and ♥

Synopsis: The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
And yet…
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate—and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort—and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.
In A Sentence: My least favorite of the Harry Potter books, but still amazing

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hello Monday! A Weekly (And Monthly) Update

Ugh, it's Monday.  You'd think that now that it's March, the weather gods would decide to stop dumping snow on my neighborhood, but no!  It's still f#%*ing snowing outside!!!! (Can you tell I'm done with winter?)

Well, anyway, it's Monday, and it's time to tell anyone who's interested what's been going on.