Monthly Archives: July 2009

AnnAlysis: The Gentleman in Room 205

Another reason I love Twitter, it has introduced me to some really cool people. And without Twitter, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon Bart Harper and his books.

I had Bart send me both books, Adventures of a Fat Kid and The Gentleman in Room 205. I probably should have read the Fat Kid first, since it was his first book, but I grabbed the other one instead. I normally try to read a light book then a serious book and continue that pattern to switch it up.

Within the first page and a half of this book, I was wiping my eyes. I knew this book was based on the death of Bart’s father, which shows he is family man (it takes a lot to write about your family and a hard experience) but you don’t realize who someone is until you see how they feel about their family. Just in the prologue, I saw how much Bart’s dad meant to him and that set the stage for the rest of the book.

I am also automatically connected to this book because Bart’s dad had a stroke. Last Christmas, my Grandma had a stroke, so I definitely understand his pain from the beginning and I think that actually the connection intrigues me to keep reading.

And even though I knew this had a sci-fi twist, it wasn’t what I expected. It turned out to be much more. This is a great book. It’s a page turner, very creative and just the right length. Every chapter is a great addition to the book. There are many that by the time I’m done, I realize I could have cut the book in half. Not this one. Any longer and it may not have had the same effect on me.

I sent the author some questions. It’s nice to be able to chat with someone and get the answers to all of the burning questions that come up when you’re reading.

INTERVIEW WITH BART HARPER:

1. How much of this book is based on real life events?

-my father fell ill from a second stroke in 2007, we were in a nursing home for a year before he passed. He did have 17 brothers/sisters, grew up poor, was a football star, …..dad would have these breathing fits and was ventilated several times til i finally let him go one night when he coded, held his hand as he went, still having problems with that…don’t think it will ever go away….. There was a Lena (not blonde and beautiful tho lol, but very helpful) … max was based on my son Trey who went with me to visit grandpa. Mrs. Kessler, Mr. Pyle, and Mr. Rent were made up characters. Dad did want me to play football, and i was good, but I preferred basketball. He was a very caring father and put me first. Of course, my grandmother did not have an affair with superman lol……..

2. Did the idea for this book just hit you, or was it a work in progress deal? It had some twists and turns all through out it. Were those things you know you wanted to do, or did they come as you were writing (I want to write a book, these are things I think about when reading).

-to tell you the truth, i just typed and things popped in my head. No outline really! I typed the book in a little over a couple weeks. It was lacking, so i added the characters Max and Mr. Pyle, the demon. I can’t remember when i decided to make Mr. Rent an aging superhero, but like i said…i just let it flow. Most authors do a detailed outline, I just go with what pops in my head.

3. What is your favorite part of the book?

-Gee, I really love the part where Mr. Rent rises from the chair to go into the burning building and picks the cop up lol ( i get choked up when reading that part)….. I also like the part where the young man tackles the demon and flashes back to when he used to hit the old tackling dummy “Unleash it, let it go!” got choked up there too. And I like the ending where the young man realizes he has the powers too (Mr. Pyle shoots him)

4. Is there anything you’d change?

-MMMM there is always room for improvement. I wish I could have made the book longer. It seemed a little rushed, perhaps added more about when the father and son were younger! I had several people proofread it, and some didn’t get that Mr. Rent was a superhero, so I added more hints to the epilogue. I have some good reviews. My mother didn’t really get it. lol

5. What are you working on now?

-My next book will be called Pet Peeves. This will be like the first book “Fat Kid” ….comedy…….. this will also be the first book that i know of that is being written completely on facebook. Should be out in October 2009.

Most importantly: Where can people get your book????

-amazon, barnes and noble, target.com.. but for a better price and signed copies www.authorbartharper.com

I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, easy read, but it was very creative and a great story. Plus, who doesn’t love a book by a local author? Drum roll please, I give The Gentleman in Room 205 4 bookmarks!

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Holy Hot Dog!

As I’m watching Hot Dog Paradise on the Travel Channel and in honor of this weekends Hot Dog Fest in Huntington, I’m reminded of one of my favorite websites in West Virginia.

It’s WVhotdogs.comWe found this site last year when we were looking up information on the Hot Dog Fest.

The site gives reviews to hot dogs all over the state. The better your weenie, the more weenies you’ll get 🙂

It also has a super cool map letting you know where you can find slaw in the state. I’m not a slaw fan, but for those who like it, it’s nice to know where you can and can’t ask for it.

This site has everything you want to know about hot dogs. If you love “dawgs” like I do, you may want to check this out. Or, if you just want to see a cool site. I mean, when you travel around the state, you are primarily doing it to find hot dogs right? 🙂

While you’re at it, if you don’t know about the Hot Dog Fest, check out the site I linked above. It’s Saturday (July 25th) at Pullman Square. Everything from Weenie Races, to a Bun Run to 13 different vendors showing off their weenies!

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AnnAlysis: A Job to Kill For

A Job to Kill For

A Job to Kill For is the second book in the Lacy Fields Mystery series. I got the first book by being cheap (it was in a buy 3 for $5 bin) and I’m very glad for my cheapness because these are good books.

Lacy Fields is an interior decorator in Cali, her husband, a plastic surgeon. But she keeps getting involved in murders, good thing she has an eye for detecting.

I like these books because they are smooth, easy reads, but they also keep me turning the pages.

I like a mystery that I can figure out, but what’s the point of reading on? In the first Lacy Fields book, Looks to Die For, I had a hunch and was right, but in A Job to Kill For, no clue until the end. Kaplan does a good job of throwing out curve balls to keep you on your toes.

And much like Janet Evanovich with her Stephanie Plum series, what woman doesn’t want to read about a woman who straight up kicks butt and cracks the case? Its empowering, although I wouldn’t last a minute.

I mentioned these are easy reads, I started this book Sunday evening, immediately after I finished Son of a Witch (yes I know I am a chain reader). I read it Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday morning before work and both of those days before bed. Didn’t take me much time to get through it, but that doesn’t mean it was a good book.

I’m kind of torn about how to rate this book. If I gave half book marks, it’d be easy, a 3.5. But since I don’t, I think I’m going to go with a 3. If it would have made me laugh out loud, I’d give it a 4. Also, its not necessarily a book I think I’d read again, I don’t think there was much I missed, so, 3 it is.

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AnnAlysis: Son of a Witch

Son of a Witch

Son of a Witch is Volume 2 in the Wicked Years series by Gregory Maguire. If you don’t know anything about the series, it shows you the other side of the Wizard of Oz. The first one, Wicked, lets you see the life of Elphaeba, the Wicked Witch of the West.

The series is a little more difficult to read compared to the girly murder mysteries I normally read. In both books, I’ve had to re-read parts and even look up words.

Speaking of words, I took note of a few words I had to look up: Quions, Unguents and Grousing. Those were all on the same page 😦

One thing I like about this series, much like Harry Potter, is that the world you read about is completely made up. I don’t think it’s as well written as the Harry Potter books, because JK Rowling was very good at being descriptive. These books are very detailed, but I didn’t feel like the explanations were great. I like to be able to close my eyes and see what I’m reading and in these books, I can do that at times, but not all of the time.

One thing I suggest is that you read these books back to back. I haven’t read Wickedin over a year and forgot most of it. So when it referenced some things, I had a hard time remembering. It came back eventually, but I wish I would had read them closer together.

One thing I really liked about this book was in the beginning, it bounced back and forth from the past to the present until finally they caught up with each other and went forward. I thought that was written very well.

The thing I liked the most about the first book was Elphaeba, and since she was killed, there wasn’t as much about her in this one. It took me a while to read because there were parts that really just lagged.

It was good, then it got slow, then it got good, then it was slow for a long time until the very last line. Then it ended. Crap! Now I’ll have to make sure I read A Lion Among Men which I guess is looking at the Lion’s life.

I only give this book 2 bookmarks. It wasn’t bad enough to be trashed, but it wasn’t good enough for me to read again.

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WordPress for Blackberry

I downloaded this app about a week ago, and I’m in love.

I’ve only used it a couple of times, but it’s very easy to use and very helpful when I’m not at my computer.

The thing I think I’ll use it for most is my book reviews. Before I got this app, I would write notes in my note pad on my phone when I was reading. It’s easier to have notes then try to remember everything when you’re done with the book. Right now I’m reading “Son of a Witch” and I copied and pasted all of my notes to my app and they’re waiting for me in my drafts when I’m ready.  It’ll be nice to take out a step. I won’t have to retype everything from my notes.

It did take me a while to figure out how to get a draft sent to WordPress on my computer so I can just edit it from there, but turned out being easy. Just save your post as a draft and then submit it and voila, it’s on your computer too.

I have mine set up to show me my 10 latest posts when I sign on. It also gives me the option to choose my KariAnnAlysis blog or my Wedding Blog.

One thing I don’t think I’ll be using on the app is the photo adder. Most of the posts on my blog are ones that I work on at home when I have been thinking about something for a few days. I don’t think I’ll ever be on the run and need to post pictures. But, you never know. At least I have that option.

As of right now, I am planning on just using this as a note holder until I have time to sit down with it, but I like the fact that if I want to post a blog on the go, I can.

If you use WordPress for a blog, I HIGHLY suggest this app.  You never know when you’ll get inspired to write something. And if you don’t do it at the time, if you’re like me, you’ll most likely forget it.

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AnnAlysis: He’s Just Not That Into You

Although this is a chick flick/chick read, they both made me uneasy.

I was in a single stage when I read the book, but it made me feel like I’d never find a relationship. Every reason it gave for a guy not calling you or liking you was something that I had been through, MANY TIMES.

I’d taken my time in watching the movie. It wasn’t necessarily a movie I wanted to watch with Michael. I try to watch the chick flicks before I go to work and watch action/fun movies with him.

Last night, there was nothing else to watch, so we checked it out.

Again, I felt completely uneasy after watching it.

Ben and Jen’s relationship was the only one that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable.

A married man cheating is not something you like to see, especially when you’re getting ready to get married. Michael reassured me the guys in the movie were douche bags, but seeing how naive the girl was and seeing how easy it was for the guy to cheat. Mahhhh!

All paranoid notes aside, I thought the movie was pretty cute. There were a lot of stars in the movie, which always makes for a must watch.

I thought it was well-written. Although I haven’t had all of the relationship experiences in the movie, the way it was written made it easy for me to relate to.

I give He’s Just Not That Into You 3 popcorns:

But I am going to set out this warning: If you are uneasy about your relationship or if you are a paranoid person, don’t watch this movie. It will not help!!!! I think there are more exceptions than rules, but the movie doesn’t agree!

Oh, and never let your husband/boyfriend go to yoga;)

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Twitter Sites: 7/7

1. So we all know how dangerous it is to play on your phone while driving. Twitter doesn’t help that cause much. I know I spend a little too much time on Twitter, lately jamming to MJ has helped me steer clear. But now there’s a site that will let you Tweet, hands off. It’s called TwitterFone. You sign up and when you want to Tweet, you call and record your Tweet and it’ll be updated. You can also listen to others Tweets, reply or DM them. Seems like a cool concept, let me know if you try it and like it.. or not.

2. TweetLateris a site that takes Twitter to the next level for you. And it gives you a couple of options. You can do the free route or the professional route that will cost you some cash. Some of the things you can do on here is schedule a tweet to send later (I’d like to think I wouldn’t use this, but I always forget to do a 10pm news tease. I could use it when I’m thinking about it), you can track the number of clicks you get on links, follow and unfollow new and old friends and you can use all of this on many accounts. That’s just the free stuff. For the pay to play options, you can … well, there’s really nothing on there I think I would use. It’s a lot to do with Auto DMs and filtering and blah, blah, blah. But I’m sure its good for some.

3. I know I added a Twitter poll like site before, but here’s another one. It’s call twtpoll. I have never really seen use for a poll, I may start adding them and doing some stories about them on our nightly Twitter segment, but when I looked at the most popular ones, I see how they can be used. Yahoo! News did one about Sarah Palin. I guess I never thought big names would use these. Pretty cool.

4. Twitterholic has potential if you like numbers, and you can get it to work. I’ve tried it a couple of times in the last week, and nada. I got it to work back in March, but since then, it’s been a bust. It tells you where you rank on Twitter by followers. We all know @aplusk is first blah,blah… but the first page shows you the top 100 users. When you put in your name, it’ll tell you how many followers/followings you have, where you rank worldwide and where you rank in your area (or the city/state you put in your location). I am pretty sure this one also tells you when you started. I always forget this date, but would like to check it out so I can find out how many Tweets  I average (I’m a dork).

5. So I’m still not 100% sure what Twidroidis. From the shots on the website, I think it’s a mobile app for TMobile. It looks like a nice app. It looks clean and has one feature I WOULD LOVE! The follow/unfollow feature would be GREAT on my bb. I don’t get on Twitter.com that often, I do most of it through my phone. I see people I want to unfollow, but always forget. I make a list of them in my note pad, but then don’t feel like looking them up later. I don’t have TMobile, but would check this out if I did.

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