Sunday, August 30, 2015

Beat the Heat Readathon Week 1 Summary


Today I am halfway through the Beat the Heat Readathon.  

My Goal and Progress:
Between August 24 through September 6, I said that I would read 3 books: Landline, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Three Shirt Deal. Here is my progress to date:


Landline by Rainbow Rowell (2013)
308 pages, 9 hours and 3 minutes (audiobook)

8.24.15 - Started! Listened 1 hr. 16 mins.
8.25.15 - Listened 2 hrs. 6 mins.
8.26.15 - Listened 3 hrs. 8 mins.
8.27.15 - Finished! Listened 2 hrs. 33 mins.

My MINI review in 200 words or less:  Overall, I enjoyed Landline.  I thought the premise was clever and the characters were unique and likable enough.  (Four year old Naomi a.k.a "Nomi" - meow! - was a hoot!)  I thought some of the phone conversations between Georgie and the "Neil of 1998" via the magic landline phone were a little drawn out and repetitious, but perhaps they had to be in order to accurately reflect the phone conversations of young love.  (I remember talking on the phone for 5 hours one night with my high school sweetheart and I can imagine that our conversation, due to sleepiness and fatigue, sounded like it was in slow motion, too.)  Georgie and Neil's landline phone conversations also evoked memories of when my husband and I were dating.  It's essential to remember those moments, to remember why you fell in love with that person, after you've been married for a while and have fallen into the marriage/kids/work/life routine.  The book was cute, entertaining, and served as a reminder to essentially never take the ones you love for granted and to always keep trying. 

Rating: ★★★


Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (1959)
127 pages, 2 hours and 52 minutes (audiobook)

8.28.15 - Started! Listened 2 hrs.
8.29.15 - Finished! Listened 52 mins.

My MINI review in 200 words or less:  I honestly don't have a lot to say about this novella other than it was OK.  For me, listening to it was like eating a Digiorno frozen pizza.  It wasn't bad and it was satisfying on a basic level, but it wasn't good enough to make a lasting impression like a Chicago-style Giordano's pizza.  I don’t regret listening to it, but honestly, I feel no better off having listened to it than I did beforehand.  Having only seen the movie once or twice, and not remembering much about it, I didn’t have any expectations.  I did picture Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, even though Holly is blonde in the book – I just couldn’t help it!  The image of Audrey wearing that black dress, eating breakfast while looking in the window at Tiffany's is an iconic American motion picture image. I was a little surprised by Miss Golightly’s crass language.  From what I remember, Holly was much more sophisticated and classy in the movie.  The “book version Holly” wasn't classy by any stretch of the imagination; she was simply a wanna-be.  All-in-all, the book was OK.  I felt neither happy or sad at the end, just neutral.

Rating: ★★★


Three Shirt Deal by Stephen J. Cannell (2008)
(Book # 7 in the Shane Scully series)
336 pages, 9 hours and 33 minutes (audiobook)

8.29.15 - Started!  Listened 1 hr. 21 mins.







Are you participating in the "Beat the Heat Readathon"?  How's your progress towards your goal?  

Happy reading and thanks for stopping by!


My rating system:
★★★★★ = Awesome!  Good chance I own a print copy!
★★★★ = Very good.
★★★ = Good.
★★ = Not good.  I finished it, but did not like.
★ = Absolutely loathed it!  I may not have even finished it.

Friday, August 28, 2015

2015 Audiobook Challenge

  
I LOVE audiobooks!  I owe a lot to audiobooks, like my sanity and making my commute much more tolerable.  Audiobooks also renewed my interest in books after many sporadic on and off again years of reading.  The majority of the books I have "read" this year have actually been audiobooks.

I just happened upon this challenge the other day and thought I'd join. True to form, I am late in joining, but better late than never, right?  I have missed the first 2 check-ins and have a little under a month until the 3rd check-in.

Linking up with The Book Nympho and Hot Listens for the 2015 Audiobook Challenge.  


Reading challenge details:

  • Runs January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015. You can join at anytime.
  • The goal is to find a new love for audios or to outdo yourself by listening to more audios in 2015 than you did in 2014.
  • Books must be in audio format (CD, MP3, etc.)
  • ANY genres count.
  • Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
  • You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, Shelfari, Booklikes, Facebook, LibraryThing, etc. – I’ve created a Goodreads Group for the challenge, feel free to join.
  • If you’re a blogger grab the button (on the sidebar) and do a quick post about the challenge to help spread the word. If you’re not a blogger you can help by posting on Facebook or Tweeting about the challenge.

By request, a new level (Marathoner) has been added this year for the hardcore listeners and the numbers for My Precious has been changed from 30+ to 30-50.

levels:

  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5 
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30-50
  • Marathoner (Look Ma no hands) 50+
We’ve decided to go back to having quarterly updates to help keep everyone motivated and to snag new participants through out the year. There will be posts on the following dates for you guys to check in to let us know how your listening is going for 2015.

update schedule:

  • March 27th: 1st Quarter Update (missed!)
  • June 19th: 2nd Quarter Update – Giveaway included (missed!)
  • September 25th: 3rd Quarter Update
  • December 18th: 4th Quarter Update and Wrap – Giveaway included


My Goal:



Audiobooks

MARATHONER LEVEL!



Are you participating in this challenge, too?  How are you doing in terms of reaching your goal so far?

Thanks for stopping by!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
9.25.15 Check-in Books 1-47
  1. The Transfer by Veronica Roth
  2. The Initiate by Veronica Roth
  3. The Son by Veronica Roth
  4. The Traitor by Veronica Roth
  5. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  6. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  7. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  8. The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan
  9. Galveston by Nic Pizzolato
  10. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
  11. Fifty Shades Darker by E. L. James
  12. Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James
  13. Tell No Lies by Gregg Hurwitz
  14. Raine Falling by Paula Marinaro
  15. Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan
  16. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  17. Easy by Tammara Webber
  18. Breakable by Tammara Webber
  19. Wicked Ties by Shayla Black
  20. Sunset Express by Robert Crais
  21. Indigo Slam by Robert Crais
  22. The Last Detective by Robert Crais
  23. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  24. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  25. Grey by E. L. James (review here
  26. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  27. Explosive Eighteen by Stephanie Evanovich
  28. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (review here)
  29. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (review here)
  30. The River is Dark by Joe Hart (review here)
  31. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (review here)
  32. All the Light We Cannot See by Jonathan Doerr (review here
  33. My Mother Was Nuts by Penny Marshall (review here)
  34. Sweet by Tammara Webber (review here)
  35. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (review here)
  36. A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron (review here)
  37. Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner
  38. YOU by Caroline Kepnes (review here)
  39. Landline by Rainbow Rowell (mini review here)
  40. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (mini review here)
  41. Three Shirt Deal by Stephen J. Cannell (mini review here)
  42. On the Grind by Stephen J. Cannell (mini review here)
  43. Lick by Kylie Scott (mini review here)
  44. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (review here)
  45. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  46. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  47. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Thursday, August 27, 2015

YOU - A Review

YOU, by Caroline Kepnes, is the story of Joe, a NYC bookstore manager, and Guinevere Beck, a.k.a “Beck,” a customer with whom Joe becomes completely smitten.  Strike that - smitten is too weak of a word and does not adequately express the intensity of Joe’s feelings.  Joe becomes completely infatuated and obsessed with Beck.  With the help of digital media (Facebook, Twitter) and Beck’s conveniently “misplaced” cell phone, Joe studies Beck and learns her likes, her routines, and often her whereabouts as he insinuates himself into her life on a quest to make this seemingly “perfect girl” his and live happily ever after with her.  Little does he know, but Beck is not as she appears to be and she has some secrets of her own.

YOU is written in the second person narrative and it makes complete sense for this thriller.  This writing style allows the reader to tag along in Joe’s head and experience his innermost thoughts and emotions in a completely unfiltered and unrestrained manner.  (Seriously, so many of his thoughts were long, rambling, run-on sentences which served to emphasized how manic he was at times.)  Being privy to his mental state allows for an intensely intimate and often creepy experience.  

Despite the fact that Joe is a seriously messed up individual, I actually found myself liking him and even rooting for him.  I wanted him to get the girl.  I wanted him to be happy.  I wanted him to have a happily ever after. Even though Joe is a complete narcissist and a psychopath, he is charming, well-read, and intelligent and knows how to use those qualities to his advantage, allowing him to mask the fact that he is a stalker and capable of horrendous things. 

As for Beck, I didn’t care for her character at all.  I didn’t feel so negative towards her in the beginning.  However, once her true colors started to show, her neediness, flightiness, lack of self-discipline, and egocentric behaviors completely turned me off.  Poor Joe, so enamored by this outwardly perfect girl, was oblivious to her flaws, blinded by his "love" and devotion.  At one point I thought, “Joe, you could do so much better than Beck.”  Apparently, even I was under Joe’s captivating spell.

Carolyn Kepnes has crafted an incredibly intriguing character in Joe.  In real life, Joe could be anyone that you or I know, because from the outside he looks normal.  It’s only because we, the readers, are able to witness his thought processes firsthand, that we know exactly how creepy, manipulative, and unstable he really is.  It is supporting evidence for the old saying, “You cannot judge a book by its cover.”  YOU is also a testament to the dangers of living in the digital age.  It is a reminder to be careful about what we publish online because in truth, we really don't know who is out there reading our tweets, Facebook updates, and blog posts all the while, studying us

YOU is an extremely compelling, well written, intensely addictive read (or in my case - listen).  Despite the creep factor, I enjoyed it immensely.  I found many of Joe's uninhibited ramblings (spoken as well as inner monologues) to be absolutely hilarious because they appealed to my dark sense of humor.  Readers who do not appreciate noir humor may not have the same experience. 

As with most of the books I have read in 2015, I utilized the audiobook format of YOU.  Santino Fontana's narration was un-freakin-believable!  It was out of this world awesome!  He breathed a uniqueness into each of the characters and completely owned the character of Joe.  Oh, and his deep voice was pure bliss to listen to.  I could listen to Mr. Fontana read medical journals and stereo instructions on repeat all day long... 

DISCLAIMERYOU is not for everyone.  It contains very mature, graphic, and explicit language.  If you are easily offended by this type of language, then you may want to give this book a pass.  Consider yourself warned!  

I give YOU ★★★★  and I eagerly await the release of the sequel Hidden Bodies, which is expected to be published sometime in 2016.

Have you read YOU?  If so, what did you think about it?  Love it?  Hate it?  Feel free to comment below and thanks for stopping by!

My rating system:
★★★★★ = Awesome!  Good chance I own a print copy!
★★★★ = Very good.
★★★ = Good.
★★ = Not good.  I finished it, but did not like.
★ = Absolutely loathed it!  I may not have even finished it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday: Sidekicks Who Stole the Show

As I mentioned in a post back in July, I love the movie Pretty in Pink starring Molly Ringwald and it is one of my ultimate guilty pleasure movies.  I watched it a few days ago and during a scene with Phil “Duckie” Dale (played by Jon Cryer), the Otis Redding lip-syncing dweeb who is in love with Molly’s character, Andie, I wondered what the movie would've been like without Duckie Dale. Molly Ringwald may have been the lead character, but I really think Duckie stole the show and made it so very memorable.  Honestly, most of what I love about Pretty in Pink, besides Andie’s fortitude to be her own person in an age where most teens are easily swayed, is Duckie’s hilarious antics.

Thinking about Duckie and how vital his role was in Pretty in Pink, made me think about other movie “sidekicks” who really stole the show as well.

After much consideration, here are my Top 10 Movie Sidekicks:

Honorable Mention - Chunk (Goonies, 1986)

#10 Spicoli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982)

#9 Cedric (Think Like a Man 2)


#8 Alan (The Hangover Trilogy)

#7 Genie (Aladdin, 1992)

#6 Dory (Finding Nemo, 2003)

#5 Donkey (Shrek, 2001)

#4 Mater (Cars, 2006)

#3 Duckie Dale (Pretty in Pink, 1986)

#2 Fat Amy (Pitch Perfect, 2012)



#1 Cousin Eddie (National Lampoon's Vacation franchise)




What do you think?  Do you have a favorite sidekick who really made the movie that I don't have on my list?  Feel free to comment below.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bon Jovi's Burning Bridges - The End of a Chapter or the Beginning of a New One?


Bon Jovi's new LP, titled Burning Bridges, was released on August 21 and it's the first album in the band's thirty-two year history in which Richie Sambora does not perform. (At least I think he doesn't play.  There are no musician credits that I can find at the time of this writing, so I'm speculating.) Richie did receive a songwriting credit for one of the songs, though. 

In the weeks before the album dropped, Burning Bridges was promoted on an unusually small scale and was said to be a "fan album."  Not entirely sure of what that term meant, I honestly had no idea of what to expect in terms of the final product.

I listened to Burning Bridges twice on Spotify Friday evening, the day of the album's release.  Earlier this summer, rumors circulated that this album would essentially be a collection of songs from previous recording sessions (i.e. songs that didn't make the cut on previous albums) and two new songs.  After listening to the album in its entirety, I believe those rumors to be true.

I don't hate Burning Bridges, but I'm not ecstatic about it either.  There were a few songs I liked: "Saturday Night Gave Me Sunday Morning;" "We All Fall Down," despite the over abundant use of cliches (seriously, how many cliches can one song contain?); and the typical, in true Bon Jovi fashion, it's us against them anthem "We Don't Run."  The remaining 7 songs, with the exception of the 10th and final track, "Burning Bridges" (more on that in a moment), left me feeling rather... Meh.  

Overall, I'm not impressed, but given the fact that the majority of these songs are essentially rejects, I suppose that's to be expected.

Now, about the last song on the album. When I first learned that the album was titled Burning Bridges, I was a bit concerned that it and the accompanying title track were meant as a jab at Sambora for his decision to leave the band.  

Small side note here:  I've been a loyal fan of Bon Jovi since 1986.  Yes, during those 29 years I've had a crush/mental love affair with their frontman, Jon, but I have always been, first and foremost, a true fan of the band.  Although I'm sad that the Bon Jovi that I have known and loved for 70% of my life is no more, I hold no ill feelings towards Richie for his departure.  The way I see it, Richie had to do what he had to do as a parent and as an artist.

Anyway, before listening to the 10th and final track in full on Spotify, I listened to a portion of it on iTunes.  Listening to that snippet, still under the impression that the song was about Richie, I was appalled. Honestly, I sat in my living room and stared out the window with my mouth open in shock and thought, "Seriously, Jon? Was this kind of dig really necessary?"  However, after listening to the song in its entirety and paying very close attention to the lyrics, I discovered that it's not about Richie at all.  The timing of Richie's departure and the release of this album and its title is just a coincidence.  I think the song is directed towards their record company.  


My theory is this: "fan album" = "contractually obligated album" and Jon is not happy about it; hence the use of leftover songs and the symbolically titled last song on the album, "Burning Bridges," a campy, slightly country, sing along type song that expresses Jon's sentiments, no holds barred.
"Sayonara, adios, auf wiedersehen, farewell.  Adieu, good night, good (...?)  Here's the last song you can sell.  Let's call it Burning Bridges, it's a sing along as well.  Chao, adieu, good (...?)  Play it for your friends in hell."
Once I realized that the song was not attacking Richie, I couldn't help but appreciate Jon's candor and found amusement in the comedic aspect of the song.  Leave it to Jon to get the symbolic, musical last word.

The band has indicated that they are, despite the recent release of Burning Bridges, currently working a full scale studio album that is set to release sometime in 2016.  This also supports my theory that they are parting ways with their long time record company.  

Final thoughts:

Burning Bridges is mediocre and I would advise anyone to listen to the album on Spotify before committing to the purchase of the album.  As for me, I will probably buy the few songs I like from iTunes, but I will not buy the entire album.

Even though this is technically the first album without Richie, I think it's too early to determine the sound of "post-Sambora" Bon Jovi. I do not believe this album is a good indicator given the probable nature of it being a "let's fulfill our contract and get the heck out of Dodge" album.  Also, given the lack of musician credits, there is no definitive way to know who performed on which songs or when the tracks were recorded.  Some of what we hear on Burning Bridges may in fact be Richie's work.  I think fans will have to wait until 2016 to truly hear what Bon Jovi sans Sambora sounds like.

As for my answer to the question, I think that Burning Bridges is the end of a chapter.  I think Bon Jovi's new chapter will truly begin in 2016.  Of course, time will tell.

Have you listened to Burning Bridges?   What did you think of it?

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Beat the Heat Readathon - Let's Do This!

Earlier this month I completed the Semi-Charmed Summer Reading Challenge. Last week, I finished the Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge. So, I'm currently without a challenge and I feel that my reading is somewhat unfocused. I like the structure of reading challenges, because when I am participating in them I make reading a priority.

I stumbled upon this "readathon" yesterday and it looks fun enough, so I'm going to give it a whirl. 


My Goal:
During the next 2 weeks (after I finish the book I'm currently reading), I will read the following books:
Two of them have been on my TBR list for at least a year and I've already purchased them on Audible, so they are essentially sitting on my virtual bookshelf collecting virtual dust.  The other (Landline) is a book that everyone and their brother seems to have read this year with the exception of me.  I think it's time to remedy that.

Yes, I know it's only three books and by many blogger/readers' standards that's a piddly little number.  But, for me, especially now that I am back to work, three books in 14 days is a big deal.  I know, I know, technically Breakfast at Tiffany's shouldn't even count as a full book given how short it is, but I don't care.  It's still a book and this is, after all, my goal! :) 

Week 1 Update/Summary (click here)
Week 2 Summary/Finale (click here)

The Rules:
  • The Beat the Heat Readathon runs from August 24th at 12:00 AM to September 6th at 11:59 PM. What does this Readathon entail, you ask? Well, read as much or as little as you want – the main point is to READ! You set your own goal, and for two weeks you read as many books as you can/want to reach your goal!
  • There will be mini-challenges throughout the Readathon for participants, along with a grand prize giveaway at the end!
  • Sign up at Novel Heartbeat or over at Phantasmic Reads. You may join whenever you like, but to be eligible for our grand prize giveaway, you must sign up by August 28th.
  • To join, all you have to do is make a sign-up post – even if it’s just a “Let’s do this!” thing – and add your post URL to the link. You can put your goals and progress (will be required for the final giveaway) in your sign-up post, or you can make it separate. Totally up to you! (You are welcome to use the template we provide in the kick-off post as well.)
  • In order to enter for the grand prize, you must have a post to keep track of your progress so we can see that you participated.
  • Follow along on Twitter and share your progress with the hashtag #BtHReadathon!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Literary Ladies Summer Book Challenge - 2nd Month "Progress Report" (I'M FINISHED!!!)

Today is the second check-in for the Literary Ladies Summer Book Challenge (hosted by Kari @ bykariparker, Kristen @ seeyouinaporridge, and Krystal (aka Kay) @ thekaytimes) and I'm happy to announce that my second summer reading challenge is officially in the books!  
Here is my final list of books that I completed for this challenge. If a book title appears in red, you can click on it and it will direct you to my review of that book. If a title is crossed out, this indicates that I considered that book for that category but ditched it for some reason.

One word title book - Grey by E.L. James 
(576 pgs, 3/5 rating, read 6.21 - 6.26.15)

YA book - Looking for Alaska by John Green 

(221 pgs, 3/5 rating, read 6.27 - 6.29.15)

Book by non US author - A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 

(368 pgs, 5/5 rating, the author is Swedish, read 7.6 - 7.7.15)

Suspenseful book - The River is Dark by Joe Hart 
(223 pgs, 2/5 rating, read 7.10 - 7.15.15)

Book recommended by a blogger, "Goodreads-er,"  etc. - Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

(272 pgs, 4/5 rating, recommended by my friend Jen @ Goodreads, read 7.16.15)

Book written by comedian or celeb (or memoir) - My Mother was Nuts by Penny Marshall

(326 pgs, 3/5 rating, read 7.27 - 7.28.15)

Book about summer, has summer in title, or is any way related to summer The Summer I Turned Pretty *Update: Sweet by Tammara Webber

(340 pgs, 4/5 rating, *the story takes place during the summer, read 7.29 - 7.31.15)

Book that has been/will be made into a movie/TV showPaper Towns *Update: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

(382 pgs, 3/5 rating, *slated to be an HBO movie, read 8.2 - 8.6.15)

Book that has been on my TBR list for 1 year or moreMy Bluegrass Baby *Update: A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

(319 pgs, 4/5 rating, read 8.6 - 8.13.15)

Book w/ a kickass female characterFear Nothing (DD Warren series) by Lisa Gardner
(416 pgs, 4/5 rating, *Detective DD Warren is the epitome of KICKASS!, read 8.13 - 8.20.2015)
10 categories.  
10 books.  
8 1/2 weeks. 
107 hours of listening time. 
Finished.

Are you participating in the Literary Ladies Summer Book Challenge?  How's your challenge going?  What are your thoughts on reading challenges such as this?  

Feel free to comment below.  I promise, I do not bite.  :)  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Travel Wish List - Iceland

Iceland has been on my travel radar (and my husband's) for about a year now. Our interest in the small island country in the north Atlantic was initially sparked after we watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) starring Ben Stiller. Earlier this summer, when a friend visited Iceland and shared pictures of her adventures, I developed a serious case of travel envy.

Although I have no immediate plans to visit Iceland, I do feel that my husband and I will visit it within the next five years or so.  Here are some things that I would love to see/do when we visit:

The Blue Lagoon
Via
Via
The Blue Lagoon is actually at the top of my husband's Iceland wish list   Me? Well, I'm not much of a fan of hot tubs in general, because sweating while submerged in hot, bubbling water makes me feel like I'm making "Ericka stew." Despite my aversion to steamy baths, I would make an exception for this quintessential Iceland experience.

Iceland's most popular attraction is approximately 40-45 minutes from the capital city of Reykjavik and 20-25 minutes from Keflavik International Airport, making it easily accessible to most visitors.  Visitors come to soak in the relaxing, milky blue, mineral rich geothermal seawater for its positive effects on the body and mind.


Glacier Hike/Walk
Via
I haven't seen a glacier (yet), let alone walked/hiked on one.  I think taking a walk on a massive chunk of ice and seeing it up close and personal would be an uber cool experience.  I read somewhere that glaciers have a habit of melting, so one should never pass up the opportunity to walk on one.

There are a variety of tours that offer hikes that vary from mild to extreme intensity, so it seems there is an option for most everyone and for most ability levels.

Puffin Watching
Via
My first exposure to these cute little birds was in one of my aunt's glossy travel magazines when I was a kid.  One look at these big beaked birds and I was hooked.  I knew I must see them one day.

The Atlantic Puffin is the breed that is found in Iceland.  These stout little black and white birds can also be found in northern Europe, Greenland, the Atlantic coast of Canada, and in Maine.  However, over half of the world's population of Atlantic Puffins (approximately 8 to 10 million) resides in Iceland making the odds pretty good that you will get to see these funny little birds.


White Water Rafting
Via
Both my husband and I are white water enthusiasts.  Viewing the natural, rugged beauty of Iceland from a glacial river while rafting the rapids sounds like something that is right up our alley. 

Iceland has four glacier-fed rivers that are ideal for white water rafting: the Hvita, in the Golden Circle area about an hour from Reykjavik; the Eystri-Jokulsa and Vestari-Jokulsa, both in northwest Iceland; and the Holmsa, for more experienced and thrill seeking rafters, in south Iceland.


Ride an Icelandic Horse
Via
I've never been a big fan of horses.  Okay, okay, I admit it...  I'm rather timid of them and the few times when I rode a horse when I was younger, I didn't really care for the experience.  My derriere didn't care for the saddle soreness that lingered well into the next day and the day after that.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm for equines, I would like to ride one of these short, furry horses.  Apparently there is something special about their gait (called a fifth gait) that makes their ride ultra smooth and (I'm assuming) more comfortable in comparison to riding a regular horse.  Skipping or at least minimizing the saddle soreness sounds good to me.  And, given that Icelandic horses are known for their friendliness and for being docile, they are perfect for this hesitant gal.


Aurora Borealis
Via
Viewing the elusive, dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, is one of my bucket list items.  It's not necessary that I see it in Iceland, but I definitely wouldn't pass up the opportunity to see it there if the timing was right.  

Only viewable between September to mid-April, the Aurora Borealis can also be seen from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska.


Dog Sledding
Via
Although not an authentic Icelandic activity, dog sledding still sounds like a fun outdoor pursuit that I would like to experience.  Advertised as a quiet, non-polluting alternative to snowmobiles and ATVs, dog sledding is available all year and takes place on both dry land and glaciers, depending on the season.

Have you been to Iceland?  If so, what would you recommend?  Is there anything you would love to do in Iceland?

Disclaimer:  1) None of the pictures used in this entry are mine.  I have included the website where each photo originated in the caption (via).  2) I do not endorse any of the tours or tour operators that may be included as links (under pictures).  3)  At the time of this writing, the information was accurate to the best of my knowledge.  4) This entry is for general information and entertainment purposes only.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Dog's Purpose - A Review

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron is a charming tale of dog who is given the unique gift of reincarnation.  With each new life, he draws upon all the knowledge and experiences of his previous lives and uses that information to fulfill his life's purpose. 

This book is a delightfully lighthearted, easy "read."  It was a perfect audiobook to listen to as I started the new school year because it didn't require much thought on my part.  It was pure and simple entertainment.  I enjoyed the dog's canine perspective on cars, being a "front seat dog," air conditioning, cats, school, skunks, vets, washing dishes, and other everyday aspects of life that we humans do not give much thought to. It made me wonder about the perceptions of my own dog.

A Dog's Purpose has some hilarious, laugh out loud moments as well as moments that tug on your heartstrings.  It is a book that I think most dog lovers will enjoy and appreciate.  

I give A Dog's Purpose ★★★★.


My rating system:
★★★★★ = Awesome!  Good chance I own a print copy!
★★★★ = Very good.
★★★ = Good.
★★ = Not good.  I finished it, but did not like.
★ = Absolutely loathed it!  I may not have even finished it.
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