More About Me

If you agree with what I think about books, you might like some of the things I have written, which is why this blog is a mix of things I've read, and what I've done.

But I can do more than just read and write. For example, I can wiggle my ears, move to a new state while pregnant (done three times), and lift things off the floor with my amazing toes. I also graduated from college with 2 and a half majors in 3 and a half years.

If you want to know more, then you can contact me by leaving a comment by a story, or emailing me at Stephanie_L_Neilan@hotmail.com.

Wednesday

Memories

Recently, my Grandma passed away.  While those she left behind will miss her, we are happy to think that she is reunited with her husband, parents, and other loved relatives who have also passed on.  In her memory, I would like to share a short story about one of my trips to visit her.

It was one of those awkward junior high summers, and it was my turn for a "Cousins Trip" sponsored by my Grandparents. With my same-aged cousins, we were all headed to Yellowstone National Park.  Of course, since it was on the way, we stopped at Rigby and saw where Grandma and Grandpa had lived when they were first married and then visited the graves of some of their ancestors (not my favorite part).  Then we got inside yellowstone and I remembered the herds of buffalo and the stinky geysers.  I rembered staying in the log cabin they had rented, and even seeing a local play, Into the Woods, which I particularly enjoyed at the time.  But mostly I just remember talking.  It was great one on one time with my grandparents and also my cousin, who I didn't get to see very often. 

While I mostly remembered it as a great time, I see now how sneaky they were.  My grandparents were very dedicated to family, and they wanted us to feel as close to our cousins as they did to theirs.  They knew that nothing was as important as time and proximity when trying to get to know someone, and being trapped in a car for several days gave us plenty of time to get to know each other.  When I think of them now, I remember all the time, money, and energy they put into helping us develop loving relationships not just with themselves, but our extended family as well.

Tuesday

Obama Care (A Parody Song)

ObamaCare the Promised Fix
(To the tune of Shoo-Fly)

They saw the Poor and suffering
The pain made tender hearts a wring
Dems blamed it on their health care plan
And foretold change across the land

Obama Care, the promised fix
Obama Care, the promised fix
Obama Care, the promised fix
Just not for politic - ians

They spread their hope both far and wide
ObamaCare - the nation's pride
Better plans, for lower fees
Only fools did not agree

Obama Care, the promised fix
Obama Care, the promised fix
Obama Care, the promised fix
Just not for politic - ians

On its debut it signed up six
Not bad for all its glitchy tricks
But fees they promised to decrease
Instead we saw them all increase

Obama Care, the promised fix
Obama Care, the promised fix
Obama Care, the promised fix
Just not for politic - ians

True to its word and master plan
It caused change across the land
For everyone, but congressmen
Who said the plan was not for them

Obama Care, the promised fix
Obama Care, the promised fix
Obama Care, the promised fix
Just not for politic - ians

Note: I don't normally go political, but there was too much fodder to be had in the distance between the plan's hope and its reality, and the politicians who are still trying to make it work...as long as it doesn't have to apply to them.

McDonald's Happy Meal Books-Review

Dizzy Dodo goes to Orlando/The Goat who ate Everything.

Age group: Preschool/early readers

Premise: Dizzy Dodo tries to go to Orlando, but gets swept off course. And a goat tries to eat EVERYTHING.

Review: I was secretly excited that McDonald's was giving away books.  I loved the ones that Chick-fil-a had given out years ago, and was hoping these would be as good.  They were not.  The Chick-fil-a books, were just fun stories.  The McDonald's tried to force a moral (eating healthy).  Granted, this is a cause I support.  I think people should eat healthy, however, the idea was not integrated well enough into the story.  It was just added to the mix of what could have been very cute stories.  For example.  The goat ate everything, and then they suggested that he eat lean meats and vegetables and that solved everything.  If they had at least added a line about "Goat, you'll never eat enough, if you don't eat the right stuff.  Chairs and Sweets and big hair-dos, won't fill you like good food can do..." It or something like that would have been all that was needed to integrate the theme into the story and explain WHY he should do it. 
The dodo story was a little better integrated, and focused on how he ate right so he could keep his strength up to keep journeying.  However, its placement and disconnect from the rest of the story left me shaking my head in disappointment. 
I just think McDonald's could have done better because the ideas really DID have potential, they just needed a little bit more. 

Saturday

The Divergent Trilogy- Review


The Divergent Trilogy
By, Veronica Roth

Age Group-Young Adult and above

Premise: Society has divided into factions based on personality traits.  Each group has their own duty to perform in society.  When the children come of age, they decide what faction, they will join.  To help them make that decision, everyone is given a serum that is designed to help clarify the type of people they are.  Those who fit into more than one category are called divergent.  Unfortunately, somebody wants all those people dead, and they have the tools to do it.

Review: It was an interesting premise. I liked the first and third book the best.  The first did a good job drawing you into that world, and the last had a good realm of discussion associated with it.  Overall, I thought it ended with a good message related to the problem that defined the last book.
Some nitpicks: One of the characters, 4, is honored because he only has four fears. However, I think their society should have honored someone who was able to get past their fears the quickest.  I did like how she defined Tris and 4’s relationship with each other, but there was more under the shirt action than I needed between the two of them.  I also  think the author didn’t do a good enough job defining the purpose behind the “great experiment”  in book 3.  She gave an explanation, but it still seemed a little farfetched to me.

Wednesday

#Serina

The following story is compartamentalized into tweet lengthed pieces.  I posted them to my twitter account, but it is blocked out from beginning to end for you here.  You are so lucky.


#Serina

I walked across the deck and into the captain’s compartment. Among the gathered watches, gold, and jewelry, a book caught my eye.  #Serina1  

The Odyssey! I flung it through the port window and let out a scream of rage.  I HATED him.  #Serina2

I wanted to wrap my long thin fingers around his neck and squeeze until his eyes popped out.  #Serina3

He had long since turned to dust, but they still worshipped him. They celebrated his exploits, but he, HE, had caused their deaths. #Serina4

He had a chance. He could have saved me, but he left me to become…this. #Serina5

I glanced down at my body with its disproportionate ribcage - then to the trail behind me. The sight would have sickened me – once. #Serina6

Once, I was desperate for a way out – would have done anything to break free. I thought I had found a way. #Serina7

A man reverenced by the sailors.  A great leader. A great seamen. Blessed by the goddess Athena, and coming my way. #Serina8

I tricked my sisters so I could be alone, and then I called, luring him to our safest shores.  I could escape my fate. #Serina9

I promised him gold, power, secrets.  I would have betrayed my sisters.  I would have done anything, if he had just let me aboard. #Serina10

His was the one ship that didn’t stop - didn’t crash – didn’t stay.  I watched the one ship that could have saved me sail away. #Serina11

The heart break that followed was only matched by the pain my sisters bestowed upon me once they knew. #Serina12

Snide comments, tripped feet, and discarded meat. The only offerings to give the sister who failed. #Serina13

They were right of course, but not for the reasons they thought. Odysseus condemned me in more ways than one. #Serina14

I attacked the next ship with a vengeance – Hardened my heart to any pleas. Just as Odysseus had done to mine. #Serina15

He took away my options, so I embraced my fate.  My anger gave me volume, my passion gave me voice. #Serina16

I sent our voices further, expanded our domain. Triangulated all our strengths, and reigned as queen again. #Serina17

You didn’t know that?  You wouldn’t.  No one has escaped me again. #Serina18

Saturday

Fly Guy (the Series) Review

Fly Guy (the series) review
By, Tedd Arnold
Age Group- Preschool
Premise: A boy befriends a fly and they have fun together.
Review: My 4 yr old LOVES them. I have read them dozens of times over the last few days. They are quick, easy, early reader books.  Personally, I was really impressed by the author's non hokey version of the old woman who swallowed the fly.  By themselves, they aren't as strong, but as a collection, they compliment each other very well.

Monday

The Big Dipper Changes His Name

The Big Dipper Changes His Name

Everytime a child makes a wish, it is recorded by the stars.  One day, a star heard, "Please, help me not to be a bucket dipper."  This made the star very sad, because he was part of the BIG dipper.  He didn't want to be a bucket dipper either. 

So he ran away.  "I won't hurt anyone here," he thought to himself.

But then he heard a prayer.  "Please help me to never get lost."

The star remembered that the big dipper wasn't just a constellation.  It pointed the way to the North Star.  That star had helped people find their way home for thousands of years.  People counted on him to show the way. 

He hurried back to his spot in the sky and pointed the way home.  He was determined to do his part to help. 

The next night he heard a child say, "Please help me be a bucket filler."  He smiled becuase that's what he knew he really was.  People may call him a big dipper, but he was really a big filler.

The End

This is a fast fiction story inspired by the "Fill a Bucket" series by Carol McCloud that my children have all read for their elementary school.  For those of you who haven't read it, bucket dippers are mean people and bucket fillers are nice people. 

Saturday

Fancy Nancy - Review

Fancy Nancy – the Series
By, Jane O’Connor
Age group- k-2nd grade
Premise: A young girl loves being fancy, and lets that color her world as she uses fancy words and always tries to look her best.
Review: My daughter loves them, and I think it is a very cute series for little girls. The “fancy” words are integrated well into the stories, and she uses her imagination to make up for the fancy things she doesn't actually have.  Each book also teaches a little something, which is nice. For example, one book was about eyeglasses and another book was about poison ivy. I would recommend the first one and then adding to your collection based on things that you think your child would relate to most.

New Blog Rules

While I was reading about successful blogs, they pointed out several things I was doing wrong. 

One- Inconsistency
Now THIS one, I intend to change. My new goal is to post something at least once a week. (Either an excerpt of something I'm writing, or a review of something I've read.)   I'm not sure what day that will be yet, but when I do, I will let you know. 

Two-No pictures
Sorry, I don't think that one is going to change.  That extra step, for whatever reason, always pushes me back from my intended publish date, so in an effort to fix error number one, I will leave error number two on for now.

Three-Lack of links/Self-promotion
One day, I will add those Google plus type features, so you can share it with the world for me.  (Here's me thanking you in advance.)

Four - Lack of Pizazz
Yes, I do realize this blog is more functional than it is pretty.  I have an idea to remedy that at least partially by creating a fun cover.  While I am working on it, you will just have to put up with a boring cover. 

Five- Too Diversified
Yep.  Sorry.  That's not going to change much.  There are too many different types of books that I read and styles of writing that I like to experiment with.  I am to literature like a kid is to a candy store.  There are so many types and styles available, that I can not rest until I've tried them all. (With the possible exception of black licorice.)

That's all the pontificating I have planned for tonight, so you are now free to return to your regularly scheduled browsing.

Will Solvit and the T-Rex Terror

Will Solvit and the T-Rex Terror
By, Zed Storm

Age group- 3-4th grade

Premise: 10 yr old Will Solvit's adventure with his family goes awry, leaving him alone with his Grandpa, a T-Rex, and mysterious letters.

Review: For a book with so much going on, I got bored.  And I don't think it would even appeal to the dinosaur obsessed, because raptors were flying and a T-Rex was standing upright (which modern palentologists don't believe happened). I also didn't buy the fact that his parents decided to take a trip to the world of dinosaurs and didn't bring anything to protect themselves.  Not recommended.