Archive for the 'Books' Category

Copy Editor JoAnn Rasmussen

My friend wrote a book (one of many).
Yesterday, I got a nice surprise in the mail!
There is something magical about seeing your name in print.

Copy Editor JoAnn Rasmussen

Book Review: Release by Hope Russell Nunki

Release CoverThere were lots of surprises hidden in Release by Hope Russell Nunki.

I love the point when you can find the title of a book within the pages, and I always anticipate the moment of finding it and making that connection with the author. Although this happened relatively early in this book, the meaning behind the title shifted and morphed throughout, and that was an interesting twist.

Speaking of twists, there are some others, too! I love a book that can keep your mind engaged with just enough predictability to feel like home and then surprise you with a twist you weren’t expecting.

Although this is a work of fiction, the author writes in such a way as to describe the different settings in this book perfectly. Having graduated from a small private college in Iowa, I can attest that Hope Russell Nunki is spot-on in her depiction of that experience. At times, it was as though I was looking back at footage of my own college days. As odd as it sounds, in addition to my Midwestern roots, I have also fallen in love with the desert southwest, so it’s never a surprise for me when a main character does as well.

Release wasn’t just a book of happiness and light, though. In fact, for those of us with certain triggers, parts of this book were hard to read. As someone who has suffered a miscarriage I will tell you, the heartache, pain, confusion, and second-guessing of every minute detail and the hysteria it can cause are very real. Some work through things in more efficient ways than others. The sting of such a loss may never truly die, and the rate at which it fades is based on a myriad of factors. Again, the author succeeded in making this fictional story very real.

Was it worth reliving personal pain to experience this story along with Mandelyn? Yes, it was. As uncomfortable as this is, it’s an integral part of Mandelyn and Henry’s story.

I loved the journey this story provides, with all the ups and downs, and twists and turns. I found myself crossing my fingers for various characters in this book. At times my wishes were granted, and at others, not so much. I couldn’t wait to see how it would end.

Reading Challenge Goal Met!

Reading Goal Met


She did it! Look at the number!
She said it was meant to be.
Make a wish!


6,210 Minutes And Counting…

…that’s how many minutes Claire has logged in her reading log. We started the log on May 24th, the day after school got out for the summer!

Yes, really.
Yes, that’s over SIX THOUSAND minutes.

The first school reading program goal was set at 120 minutes.
The stretch goal was set at 240 minutes.

Yeah, she had that completed the very first day.

What can I say? She loves to read. We don’t do a lot of TV screen time in our house (maybe a show here and there…), and when she’s not playing outside or doing her chores, she’s reading. Sometimes, she’s reading while outside. That’s great, too.

Even when we travel, she has a book with her. Here is Claire in Tucson on our Spring Break, during some down-time.

The other day, she hit an interesting milestone, one I knew would happen eventually, but I wasn’t sure when. I held Claire as she cried over the death of a character in a book. “Now keep reading,” I said as I dried her tears. “You’ll love how it ends.” This is truly a life lesson.

What was she reading? Harry Potter. …Seven. Yes, she’s only 8.5, but here’s where I explain myself!

I started reading the series to her ages ago, and we got up to Book Six. I told her that when she was old enough to read the entire series herself, she could do so and then continue on to Book Seven.

Well, challenge accepted! What I thought would take months (if not years) took not much time at all, and there you have it.

We talked about how if the book got too intense, it was okay to put it down and come back to it later, but she did really well with it. This brought back such vivid memories for me of when I read Henry James’ Turn of the Screw for the first time. That book scared me so much that I was completely terrified but couldn’t put it down. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it! *shudder*

Claire and I talked about the fact that some of her favorite characters in Harry Potter were not going to make it to the end of the series. There are lovely characters who die, and that’s sad, but you know what? That’s life. Lovely characters die, and we find a way to deal with it and move on, replacing the sadness in our hearts with happy memories.

She has since finished the whole series and is really glad she did. Now, she’s moved on to The Sisters Grimm, all by herself this time.

…so if you ever need to find Claire, I suggest you look in a book. That would be a great place to start!

A Magical Night on Twitter


Claire’s favorite author right now is Michael Buckley. We’re knee deep in his series, “The Sisters Grimm,” and are LOVING it. Imagine my surprise and her utter delight when he responded to a tweet from me!

Say what you will about Twitter, but last night it MADE OUR NIGHT.

Edited to add: Here is a photo of the "Box Set" I'm creating for Claire. Our Collection so far...

Connecting with the author of a favorite series, real time, just like that?



One of my gifts this holiday season was a Nook!  If you don’t know, a Nook is Barnes & Noble’s answer to Amaz0n’s Kindle, both of which are eReaders for reading electronic versions of books.  I’m sure the Kindle is great, too, but for reasons we won’t get into, we’d rather support Barnes & Noble than Amaz0n, plus, my hubby wants to get the Nook Tablet eventually, and the sharing capabilities led us in this direction.

I wasn’t sure if I’d like it.  I mean, I look at screens all day.  My reading time is a break for my eyes from the electronic stimulus.

My hubby assured me that he’d heard great things about the “screen” and the “ink” used and that I’d be impressed.  He even said there’s be no glare, so I could read outside if I wanted.

Also, the Nook came for free on Eva, and due to her screen size and the speed at which I read, I was too distracted by all the scrolling than I was with following the story.  Would I like the way the Nook felt when I “turned pages” with a swipe of my finger?

Bottom line?  I love it.  I’m carrying around 1431 pages of a trilogy I’ve been dying to finish, and it’s smaller than a paperback!  The screen looks just like a paperback page to me.  It doesn’t seem like I’m looking at a “screen” at all.  In fact, I was so engrossed one evening that I accidentally turned my little Nook completely over while trying to turn to the next page.  Ooops!

Despite that little blip, “turning pages” comes naturally to me on this device, and I love it!

When I’m done with this trilogy, I can download my next adventure directly to my Nook with a click of a button.

Then again, time will tell if this is really a good thing or not.  😉

We’ve started a new chapter at our house.

Check out this post I wrote for Mile High Mamas back in January. I’m replaying it here in its entirety, because we’ve just finished By the Shores of Silver Lake, and Claire begged to go back and read Little House in the Big Woods. This was the perfect breaking point to do that, so I obliged. (The explanation of why we need to read Little House in the Big Woods out of order is told below…)

I just love these books!

So, without further ado, here is the post:

A New Chapter

We’ve started a new chapter at our house.


We’ve started reading Chapter Books to Claire at bedtime!

(Photos provided by The Casual Perfectionist.)

When she turned 4-years old at the end of November, I thought it would be a good time to see how she’d do with a Chapter Book. Moving on to books that are more words than pictures is a big step. These books make you create the pictures in your own mind. Sitting still long enough to get the images to form is a skill, and I just knew she was ready to tackle it.

And, she was!

What books did I decide to use on our maiden voyage to the land of Chapter Books? The Little House on the Prairie series. I loved these books as a child. My school district had a special reading rewards program (RIF = Reading Is Fundamental), and through that program, I collected Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, amongst others. In addition to the single books I collected, I thought for sure I had the entire set. I could picture the pale yellow box, with the neat little books standing tall.

But, I couldn’t find it in my box of treasures. All I could find was a handful of the pale yellow books, and there were some major gaps in the storyline.

I wasn’t even sure if Claire would like them, so rather than insist on starting at the beginning (with Little House in the Big Woods, for those of you playing along at home), I got out Little House on the Prairie, technically the second book in the series.

She loved it.

Go read about it at Mile High Mamas today!

Every night, we’d read a chapter, and she was enthralled. She wanted to read more than a chapter a night, but I held firm. I think a chapter is a good unit of measure, plus the thought of reaching the end of this one without being able to go on to the next one, On the Banks of Plum Creek, made me twitch. I couldn’t believe I couldn’t find my box set!

So, I turned to the Internet. I found the box set, and it was on super-sale. It arrived much quicker than anticipated, and just last week, we moved on to read about Laura’s adventures on the banks of Plum Creek.

Purists would have problems with me skipping Little House in the Big Woods, and also Farmer Boy, but those people didn’t see the look on Claire’s face when I told her we had to wait until the next book to see what happened to the Ingalls family as they were forced to ride away from the homestead they’d built in “Indian Territory.” We’ll read Farmer Boy at the end, and Little House in the Big Woods will be a good way to start the series again, because I have a feeling she’ll want me to start all over when we’re done.

Every night, she begs for the next chapter. In all honesty, we’ve never had a lot of bedtime struggles. There was a time when she was three that we had to resort to trickery to get her off to bed, but it was never really a full-blown issue. (Yes, I know we’re lucky!)

But now? Now that the Chapter Book is waiting for us? Now, she never hesitates when we tell her it’s time to go to bed. We do our bedtime routine, and she snuggles under her covers, waiting to hear what happens next. She loves seeing the few pencil drawings there are in the chapter, but then lets her own images fill her head. There is a glimpse to another world waiting for her, and I’m thrilled that she’s discovered it hiding in a book.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s writing is just as colorful as I remember, and I love ending the day submerged in another way of life. I love that my daughter is getting to experience a time that is so important in our history, even if it is one chapter at a time.

I love the memories these books conjure up for me, too. I’m enjoying the books this time around just as much as I did well over 25 years ago. My view has shifted a little, in that rather than seeing things only from Laura’s viewpoint, as I did all those years ago, I can also see things from the adult standpoint. The things Caroline and Charles went through are very real to me. I find myself fighting back the tears at things that mean so much more to me now than they did when I was little.

Even though I’ve read them over and over, I, too, can’t wait to see what happens next. And, if you must know, I have a confession: In my mind, Pa will always look and sound just like Michael Landon. Always.

What about you? Were you hooked on Little House on the Prairie (the books and/or the show) when you were little? What chapter books are a favorite in your house?  (Feel free to comment here or pop back over to the original post to see what others have said!)

The font needed to include all your names on one page would be too tiny.

Have you taken my survey yet?

A lot of you have taken my MLM survey, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

The results are amazing and make me giddy.  (Maybe it takes a true data-junky to be excited about survey results?  Guilty as charged.)  To be honest, I can’t say the results are shocking. In fact, they’re pretty much what I was thinking, but you never know unless you ask.

So, I asked.

I can’t wait to share my findings with you, and your help has been instrumental in moving my book project to the next step.

I’m not ready to close the survey yet, so if you haven’t done so, please go take the survey. It’s a short survey, and quite painless.

If you have taken it, thank you! I will have to remember to include a formal thank you to you on the dedication page of my book. It will have to be a sweeping generalization of thanks, though, because it’s an anonymous survey.

Plus the font needed to include all your names on one page would be way too tiny.

The first question is answered when you actually agree to take the survey.

Have you taken my survey yet?

It’s short.
It’s sweet.
It’s giving me all kinds of cool information.

(You can read more about it here.)

Of course, the “Are you the kind of person who takes surveys?” question is implied.

So, really, the information I’m getting is great…as it applies to people who take surveys.

There’s really no way around that…is there?
Luckily, a lot of people are falling into that category.

What about you? Are you the kind of person who would agree to take a survey? Click here if you know the answer to that question.

I can totally see this on the dust-jacket of my book.

A couple weeks ago, I got together with the Mile High Mamas gang for a night of pampering. It was an awesome Girls’ Night Out, and amidst the massages, facials, makeup, and hairstyling, our very own Mile High Mama, Aimee took headshots of us.

JoAnn Headshot Jan2010

This is one where they were trying to get me "to smile for real this time." I smile for real when I see this one.

I love this one, too! And, I'm using it right now as my Twitter Avatar.

I love this one, too! And, I'm using it right now as my personal Facebook Photo.

…until I switch it again.  I’m funny that way.

JER Headshot 01.2010And, this one is my favorite.  I put this one on the About Page, too.  It looks like it could be on the dust-jacket of my book.

Have I mentioned I’m writing a book? Well, I am…and I’ll share more about that later.  Seeing this photo inspires me to keep writing.  Who knows where this photo will end up?