Sunday, July 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Bella!!

Tuesday is actually Miss Isabella's 7th birthday, but we had a party today. This is a picture of her and her best friend, Mallory. It was a day filled with a cookout, Chocolate cake with yellow frosting, and lots of High School Musical presents. At 7, she has a major crush on Zak Ephron! That's why I've been gone for the last few days. Trying to get ready for the party!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Best Moustache-Twirling

Who’s the worst fictional villain you can think of? As in, the one you hate the most, find the most evil, are happiest to see defeated? Not the cardboard, two-dimensional variety, but the most deliciously-written, most entertaining, best villain? Not necessarily the most “evil,” so much as the best-conceived on the part of the author…oh, you know what I mean!

Now this is really a fun question! I mean, what's a good book without a good villain?? In the literary world, they come in all shapes and sizes. And I'm sure many are going to choose Lord Voldemort, since it's been a Harry Potter couple of weeks. But if I had to to choose just one, I'd have to say Randall Flagg from The Stand by Stephen King. He was truly evil! Trying to take on a such a sweet spirit like Mother Abigail?? What was he thinking?? Stephen King KNOWS how to write a villain, too. Flagg is evil incarnate. And he was not just out and out bad. He was a master of using a person's weaknesses against them. Very psychological he was.

Classically, there a quite a few villains that I could throw in the mix. Inspector Javert in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. Of course, with Javert all is kind of grey. Is it fair to label a man a villain when he was trying to do his job? Then again, it is fair to label a man as a convict for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family? But my love for Valjean made me hate Javert....ALOT! So he gets the label of villain from me.

What about Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier? She spent so much time trying to undermine the second Mrs. de Winter, I was constantly rooting against her. The second Mrs. de Winter was so insecure, it made all of Mrs. Danvers actions seem even worse. But she was just plain mean!!

What about Iago in Othello by William Shakespeare? I mean, he was supposed to be Othello's friend?? What could be worse than a villain posing as a friend? He actually made Othello believe that Desdemona was unfaithful, ruined his reputation and caused him to commit suicide. Pretty sick stuff!!

Finally, just for fun, see who your movie villain inner-self is:

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blogging Tips Meme

Blogging Tips Meme

What fun!! (And since I'm feeling rather blah today, and don't have anything else to post, thought I would join along!)

Angela from SciFi Chick has tagged me with the Blogging Tips Meme. And as they say, this isn’t your usual meme. But here are some helpful blogging tips that fellow taggers can add to…

-Start Copy-

It’s very simple. When this is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside those that you like. (Check out especially the * starred ones.)

Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.

After that, tag 10 other people. Link love some friends!

Just think- if 10 people start this, the 10 people pass it onto another 10 people, you have 100 links already!

1. Look, read, and learn. **-

2. Be, EXCELLENT to each other. **-

3. Don’t let money change ya! *-

4. Always reply to your comments. ****-

5. Link liberally — it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. *-

6. Don’t give up - persistence is fertile. *-

7. Give link credit where credit is due. ***-

8. Pictures say a thousand words and can usually add to any post.*-

9. Visit all the bloggers that leave comments for you - it's nice to know who is reading! -

-End Copy-

Don't you just love fun things? And this one is rather helpful too!! the spirit of things, here are my 10 links!!

and a bonus blogger, Kookiejar at A Fraternity of Dreamers (Since she is just so damned fun!)


Monday, July 23, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger

Wow! According to Kelly at Kailana's Writtern World, I'm a Rockin' Girl Blogger!! Now, let me ask cool is that?? And kind of ironic too, since she is the one that actually talked me into STARTING this blog!! So...I'm supposed to nominate 4 others that I feel are Rockin' Girls too! It seems a lot of my 'daily' bloggers have been nominated, but I do have a couple to add to the list!!
  • Darla D at Books and Other Thoughts has wonderful reviews, especially on children's and YA books!! I love to read her Other Thoughts!
  • Trish at Trish's Reading Nook is pretty new to the blogger world, but she has some wonderful insight in her book reviews. Check them out!!
  • Kimmie at Kimmie's Krap is a reader and a crafter! I love reading her opinions about books and other stuff! just have to LOVE her blog name!!
  • and finally Erin at The Paperback Stash is a new-to-me blogger. She has a wonderful blog, with book reviews, book news and other literary 'stuff'. A must-read for the bibliophile!!

Truthfully, all the blogs I read on a daily basis are Rockin'!!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Vivaldi's Virgins, A Musical Story

Vivaldi's Virgins by Barbara Quick (304 pgs, Harper Collins) is one of the books I got from the First Look Program at HC. It really was an excellent book.

The story is told by Anna Maria dal Violin, one of the elite musicians of the Ospedale della Pieta, the foundling home whose maestro and composer is the ambitious and eccentric "Red Priest" of Venice, Antonio Vivaldi.

If you would like to read my review of this book, please check it out Here: At Historical Tapestry!!


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Beautifully Written Tale That will Live On

O' Pioneers by Willa Cather (212 pgs) was a book I choose to read for the Decades challenge. One of the reasons I ended up with this title was I've heard wonderful things about Willa Cather and her writing. I'm very glad I did!

As the story opens, we meet 16-year-old Alexandra Bergson. She and her family had immigrated from Sweden years before, and are now settlers on the wind-swept Nebraska prairie. As her father was dying, he told the children that Alexandra, as the oldest, was to be in charge of the land. A land he wanted to keep in the family, no matter what the cost. He didn't trust the boys to do what was right, and he knew that Alexandra would.

Many people at that time were cutting and running, selling the land for so much less than it was really worth. And the boys wanted to do this as well. But Alexandra knew better. She knew that the land would be worth a lot some day, and talked the boys into mortgaging the land to buy more. She traveled to different counties and universities to find the newest farming techniques and crops -- much to the dismay of her brothers, who were always so worried their neighbors would be "laughing" at them. And yet, as time went on, the Bergson farm flourished and grew. Lou and Oscar, the two older boys, each found a wife and moved out on their own. But Emil, the youngest, was Alexandra's heart. He was sent to the university to become more than just a farmer. She wanted him to have a life beyond just the land.

And just as Alexandra is starting to really feel the lonliness of her life, an old family friend, Carl, reappears to visit. She has some decisions to make about her life, her family and her land.

This tale spans a space of 25-years in the life of Alexandra. She is an incredibly smart business woman and a wonderful strong character. She is not given to do things based on appearnces, which is an attribute that I love about her character. But she is lacking a lot of the social awareness that most women have. Especially since the character was written by a woman! But through all the hard times and the good times, Alexandra is there to hold this family of pioneers together. This is truly a fantastic book, well deserved of the title "Classic"! If you haven't read anything by Cather, I strongly urge you to read this one!! 4.5/5
Also reviewed by:
Chris @ Book-A-Rama

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just Wild About Harry

Okay, love him or loathe him, you’d have to live under a rock not to know that J.K. Rowling’s final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, comes out on Saturday… Are you going to read it?

Yes, I'm wild about Harry!! And yes, I'm going to read the book!

If so, right away? Or just, you know, eventually, when you get around to it? Are you attending any of the midnight parties?

My son, Chad, and I went to the last midnight party and had a ton of fun. So we will definitely be going this year too! I have my books already on reserve at Barnes & Noble, just waiting for us to pick them up! I will probably read it right away, only because I'm afraid of all the spoilers that will be hitting the blog waves!

If you’re not going to read it, why not?


And, for the record… what do you think? Will Harry survive the series? What are you most looking forward to?

OK.....Here is my take on the whole Potter mystery. I love Harry Potter. The WORLD loves Harry Potter. And yes, we will be incredibly sad if Harry dies. But J.K. Rowling said there would be 7 books. Then it would be ended. I think that unless she kills Harry, the pressure on her will be awful to keep the series going. So, unfortunately, I do think that Harry Potter will meet his demise in the Deathly Hallows. That being said, if he DOES die, he will only die if Voldemort dies. Good MUST win over Evil. There can't be another ending than that. Again...this is just MY opinion. But we shall soon see!!

What am I most looking forward too? Closure. I just need to know what happens. I do like series reading, but I tend to need closure too. If that scary creature gets away at the end of a book or movie, it tends to make me jumpy!! I also need to find out what will happen with Snape! Borders has the "Friend vs. Foe" thing going....and I would fall into the friend category. Again...we will see in just a couple of days!

Happy Thursday!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reading Slump???

Sheesh! I don't know what's wrong with me right now!! I think I'm kind of in a reading slump, or something. I just can't seem to get into anything right now! The books I'm reading are really good. I just can't seem to stick with them!! I am almost finished with Vivaldi's Virgins, by Barbara Quick. I will be posting a review for it soon over at Historical Tapestry.

I DID receive my book yesterday, from Graeme's Fantasty Book Review. You know...that book I WON! And guess what?? It was SIGNED! How cool is that?? I was pretty pleased. Maybe that will help me get out of this slump.

I also got a call from the library yesterday. Some of the books I had requested came in. So I tripped on over there to pick them up...and nabbed a few others before I got out of the door. Maybe THAT will help!! I got some good ones too!!

  • Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
  • Dreams of my Father by Barack Obama
  • The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
  • Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
  • Alentejo Blue by Monica Ali
  • Flaubert: A Biography by Frederick Brown
  • Restoration by Rose Tremain
  • The Zahir by Paulo Coehlo

Now if those books don't bring me out of this slump, I may just have to resort to Vampires and Zombies!! May be the only way. What do you do if you find yourself in a reading slump? Do you ever find this a problem? Help!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bookworms Carnvival

If you get a chance, you should trip on over to Dewey's, at The Hidden Side of the Leaf and check out the first Bookworms Carnival!! The topic for carnival #1 is Novels and you might just find something new to add to your TBR!!

You might also find some really great new blogs to check out!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Yes, I admit it! I'm a geek when it comes to Harry Potter! I have seen all the movies. I have all the books. And yes, I will be at the Midnight Release of Book Seven: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I did make it to the opening day showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was a great movie. I really don't know what can be said about it that hasn't already been said. I'm not a movie reviewer, but here's a quick snippet for those of you that don't know:

Our story opens as Harry and his cousin, Dudley, are attacked by Demonators. He has to use a Patronus spell, which is illegal to use A. in front of Muggles and B. outside Hogwarts. Harry is notified that he will be expelled from Hogwarts and must appear before the Ministry of Magic for a hearing. Order of the Phoenix members pick up Harry at home and take him to their HQ. The Order of the Phoenix was founded by Dumbledore to take on "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named", Lord Voldemort. Harry's godfather, Sirius Black (played by the FANTASTIC Gary Oldman) is one of the members.

This movie is just loaded with amazing performances!! Daniel Radcliffe has grown so much since he was first introduced in The Sorcerer's Stone, and his acting is so much more convincing. He is an amazing Harry. Maggie Smith, as Professor McGonagall, is always wonderful. Alan Rickman, as Professor Severus Snape (another genius casting move) is once again creepy and dark. But this time we get to see a glimpse into his past and maybe a couple of the reasons he is the way he is. Helena Bonham-Carter, is only in the movie a short time, but her portrayal as Bellatrix Lestrange is indeed memorable. I honestly think she really is a little unbalanced!! She just plays it too well. And newcomer, Evanna Lynch, as Luna Lovegood, is exactly how I pictured her to be!!

I thought the movie was fantastic! With every movie, as with every book, things just get better and more powerful. The most memorable scenes of the movie come when Harry is training some of the other students in the Dark Arts to help combat Voldemort. Even if you don't read the books, you will get alot of excitement from the movie!

If you'd like to read a great editorial by Uncle Stephen King about the release (and the end) of Harry potter, go to this EW article. It's good to know that other adults out there will be as heartbroken as I will be when it all finally ends!


Friday, July 13, 2007

Something About Me Reading List

And I thought it was hard coming up for 5 books that says Something About Me? That was nothing compared to coming up with a reading list for this challenge!! There are SO many books out there that look good! What's a girl to do?? Well...I narrowed it down to what I THINK is going to be my reading list. But as a woman, I reserve the right to change my mind at any time!

  • Booked to Die by John Dunning (Bonnie)
  • Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (Wendy)
  • The Erye Affair by Jasper Fforde (HeidiJane)
  • The Echo Maker by Richard Powers (3M)
  • Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbert (Raidergirl)
  • Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult (Heather)
  • The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood (Ellen)
  • The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Dewey)
  • I am the Messenger by Markus Zuzak (Jill)
  • Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck(Kookie)

Pretty sure I won't get to all of them...but it will be fun trying!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

In Honor of the release of Order of the Phoenix

Find out your Harry Potter personality at LiquidGeneration!

Since we went to see the movie yesterday, I thought this was appropriate!! Thanks Dark Orpheus! I'm stealing from you!

Movie was out of this world, by the way!

i'm in gryffindor!

be sorted @

Booking Through Thursday - Celluloid

Booking Through Thursday:

1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?

2. The worst?

3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference? (Personally, all other things being equal, I usually prefer whichever I was introduced to first.)
And, by all means, expand this to as long a list as you like. I’m notoriously awful myself at narrowing down to one favorite ANYTHING. So, feel free to list as many “good” or “bad” movie-from-books as you like. (Heaven knows that’s what I’ll be doing….)

1. Well....this is a really hard question. Without a doubt, I almost always prefer the written word to the movie version. That being said, there are some AMAZING adaptations out there. Let's just go down the list of some of my favorite books/stories:

First, I will have to say To Kill a Mockingbird. Not only is it one of my favorite books, but it's one of my favorite movies as well. Gregory Peck made Atticus Finch come to life. He was fantastic!

Gone With the Wind was an amazing book. The movie is a Classic!! Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh were born to play Rhett and Scarlett. (Although, in the book, Scarlett wasn't nearly as sympathetic as Leigh made her out to be in the book. She was a Royal Bitch!)

The Stand is my all-time Favorite Stephen King book. I thought the mini-series (and let's face -- mini-series is the ONLY way this would have worked on film) was exceptionally well done. The casting alone was phenomenal!! (except for maybe the addition of Mollly Ringwald as Frannie!) Gary Sinese, Rob Lowe, Ossie Davis, Rudy Dee, Matt Frewer, Ray Walston. Suburb!! And casting Bill Fagerbakke as Tom Cullen was a stroke of Genius!!

I am rather hit or miss with Stephen King adaptations. I do so love his books. But sometimes they just don't translate all that well. Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery, The Shining (although Kubrick took a lot of liberties with this one) and The Green Mile were all amazing.

2. I guess we should just start with some of Stephen's worse adaptions. Umm....can we ever forget Maximum Overdrive or Children of the Corn? True, they were only short stories, but the movies were complete garbage.

There aren't a lot of movies from books I've read that I really disliked, to be honest. The latest version of The Count of Monte Cristo wasn't too bad. Exciting, and all. But it pales in comparison to the book.

3. I very rarely go see a movie without reading the book first. But that's just me. I can honestly say, though, I read the book The Devil Wore Prada and absolutely HATED it!! But the movie surprised me. The characters were so whiny in the book, I hated all of them. But Meryl Streep was amazing in the movie. She gave the "Devil" a little bit of a soul....not much, but more so than the book!!

I could probably go on all day about this one!! Any of you have any other ideas???

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Random Posting....and More Free Books!

Yes, it must be my lucky week. Not only did I win a new Sci-Fi book, but the lovely Tanabata from In Spring it is The Dawn was giving away a copy of Anthony Doerr's About Grace for Buy a Friend a Book Week. And guess what? She drew my name too!! Yeah!! Thank you so much Tanabata!! I'm really excited. This looks like a great book too!!

John, at The Book Mine Set, is doing his Weekly Compare again this week. Last week's winner, Jane Austen, is squaring off this week against Kurt Vonnegut. contest for me. I'm a HUGE Vonnegut fan.

Speaking of Jane, they are releasing a movie about her life starring Anne Hathaway. It is called Becoming Jane. I saw the previews for it a few weeks ago, and it looks really good. Except, Anne Hathaway is WAY too pretty to play Jane Austen. I don't know much about this movie, or how factually it is supposed to be, but I still think I would like to see it.

Finally, I found something new. It is called the "Pay-It-Forward" Book Exchange and it is hosted by Overwhelmed With Joy! Click on the pretty picture for more details or to join up. It looks like the first book to be exchanged is Lucky by Alice Sebold. Looks Like fun!!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Historical Tapestry.....Something New

For those of you that like Historical Fiction, I have the site for you!! I have been fortunate enough to be invited to join a group blog that is dedicated to Historical fiction in all forms: historical mystery, historical fantasy, general fiction, etc. There are five participating members:

Ana from Aneca's World
Kailana from Kailana's Written World
Marg from Reading Adventures
and Louise, who at the present time, does not have a blog of her own.

We are an eclectic group from the US, Australia, Canada and Portugal. Hopefully we will have something that will interest you!

The plan is that Historical Tapestry is going to focus specifically on Historical Fiction of all eras, including Historical Fantasy. Hopefully with a good group of people we will get an interesting mix of different eras and subject matter including our different countries. We are also hoping to have a mix of Author Spotlights, book reviews and general info on the Historical Fiction that we like to read.

Hopefully you will stop by and see us at:

Wahoo!! I Won a Book!

Last week, Carl posted about book giveaways at his blog, Stainless Steel Droppings. He listed a bunch of giveaways that were going on right now, most in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Of course, I have no problem with freebies!! I'm easy, what can I say?

So....I was logging on this morning and I got an email. I won a copy of Saturns Returns by Sean Williams from Graeme's Fantasy Book Review! He has a great site. If you like fantasy and sci-fi, you should really check it out!! Thanks Graeme!


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Around the World in my Chair

Yes...I finally succumbed to the temptation of yet another challenge. But since I have most of these books on my list for my Around the World in 80 Books reading group, I figured this one would be an easy challenge to complete. Besides, I just like to sign up for challenges!! Whether I complete all the reading or not, I seem to meet some of the nicest people!! The Armchair Traveler Reading Challenge is hosted by A Life in Books. The trick is to read books that will take you around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. It runs from July to December of this year. Should be fun!!

Here is a list of books that I am going to try to read for this challenge:

  • Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson - England

  • In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson - Australia

  • The Zahir by Paulo Coelho - Paris, Madrid and Kazakstan

  • The City of Fallen Angels by John Berendt - Venice, Italy

  • Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa by Karin Muller - Japan

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - Afghanistan

  • Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert Massie - Russia (this one is an extra that I really hope to get through!)

That should take me around the world to places I may never see in person!


Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Short Story with a Great Plot

The Black Tea Experiments by Ray Atkinson (pgs. 152 American Books) was sent to me by Lea, from Spotlight Publicity. Thanks Lea! It is only 152 pages, and is described by the author as an "airplane" that can be read during a routine airplane trip.

As the book opens, we meet Brent Johnson. He seems like an average college student, except he is on his way to the Ukraine for 10 days. And he is fluent in Russian. He is searching for the infamous Dr. Rostov, a mysterious man with known Russian mafia connections and for his involvement with something known as the "Black Tea Experiments". Although everyone in the city of Sevastopal KNOWS of Dr. Rostov, no one can tell Brent where he is. The trail is cold and he has to go back to the US without any answers.

Logan Bauer is also a college student at the University of Central Illinois. Logan is on scholarship to the university, having won a science fair when he was in high school. With a little hard work and an incredibly brilliant scientific mind, Logan designed and created a digital imagining telescope that uses a new technology that he calls binary refraction. It is such an impressive feat, that scientists from NASA have traveled to Iowa just to see it. And it was Logan's ticket to college. He now has it mounted on a building near his dorm so he can scan the heavens for new images.

But one day, he goes to retrieve the images and notices the telescope had slipped out of position and was pointing at the street. A waste of imaging, he's afraid, until he hears the news. The body of college student Brent Johnson has been found along the same street his telescope was recording images. Brent was shot twice in the head and his kidney was removed. What if Logan has recorded the murder on his telescope??

Let me just begin by saying I don't generally like short stories or "Novellas". I prefer novels because it seems like the character development is much better, as is the plot. And I have to admit, I would have liked "more" with this book. The plot was fantastic, and the idea of "The Black Tea Experiments" is a really interesting one. I was fascinated by the concept. Although Atkinson did a good job with a complete story, I still would have liked more. It was sparsely written, but not in a bad way. Atkinson knew what he wanted to get across to the readers. And he did that. He created a nifty little thriller in a very small package. If you like shorter tales, this one is definitely for you. Personally, I would have liked to see more, but that's just my opinion. 3.75/5

Great American Novel

What, in your opinion, is the (mythical) Great American Novel? At least to date. A “classic,” or a current one–either would be fine. Mark Twain? J.D. Salinger? F. Scott Fitzgerald? Stephen King? Laura Ingalls Wilder?

It doesn’t have to be your favorite book, mind you. “Citizen Kane” may be the “best” film, and I concede its merits, but it’s not my favorite. You don’t have to love something to know that it’s good.

Now, I know that not all of you are American–but you can play, too! What I want from you is to know what you consider to the best novel of YOUR country. It might be someone the rest of us haven’t heard of and, frankly, I think we’d all like to get some new authors to read.

In fact, while we’re at it–I’m curious about the geographical make-up of this meme. So, while you’re leaving your link to your post, tell us where in the world you are!

The Great American Novel?? To choose just one seems like The Great American Injustice since there are so many great novels. I'm fairly partial to the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It is such a great book written in the 60's. Not only did it win the Pulitzer Prize, but it brings to light a horrible time in our country. It was written during a time of racial inequality, and yet, it showed sympathy and courage. It will always be my favorite novel.

But what about books like Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell about the American Civil War, Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, a wonderful coming of age story, or any book written by Mark Twain? Is is fair to not include such wonderful books by writers like Stephen King or Anne Rice because they are considered Horror novels? The Stand by King is a book about a killer virus that wipes out 99% of the population, and has a good vs. evil twist as the remaining people try to settle themselves into a world that is no longer what it used to be. It is certainly one of my very favorites. The Vampire Chronicles by Rice are a series of books that revolve around a group of vampires and has characters that are unforgettable described in beautiful prose.

What about more recent books? Will books by Cormac McCarthy or Jonathan Safron Foer stand the great test of time? I guess only time will tell. But The Road by McCarthy is this years Pulitzer and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Foer is a post 9/11 book that is as unique and beautiful as it is heartbreaking.

Who really knows what will be considered the next "Great American Novel"? I don't. But I love trying to find out!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Less Talking.....More Reading !

I just got a notice from Harper Collins that I was selected to review a book this month. GREAT! I love that.....EXCEPT I am WAY backed up on books that I need to review! I think I've decided I need to do a little less blog hopping and a LOT more reading!!

Here's my list of books I owe to Harper Collins: (I'm really bad, because I skipped over one of these to get to the Warren Ellis book!)

  • Along Comes a Stranger by Dorie Lawson (the daughter of renowned Biographer David McCollough)
  • Vivaldi's Virgins by Barbara Quick (historic fiction about the composer Antonio Vivaldi)
  • The Sound of Butterflies by Rachel King (debut novel from New Zealander. )

On top of those, I have some books I have promised to review for authors and Spotlight Publicity.

  • The Black Tea Experiments by Ray Atkinson( a small novel, almost novella. Thriller.)
  • Chance Murphey and the Battle of Morganville by Josh P. McClary (New author from a small Chicago based Publisher. About a boy growing up in the 80's).
  • The Quest of the Seal Bearers: Books One and Two by A. W. G. Coleman (fantasy tales)

Finally, I signed up to review for Great!! Except they sent me some books and I need to get on it!!

  • Marked: A House of Night Novel by P.C. and Kristin Cast (Teen Vampires!)
  • The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan (Serial killer Thriller)
  • The Last Nightingale: A Novel of Suspense by Anthony Flacco
  • Thunderstruck by Erik Larson
  • Goodbye Evilwood: The Murders in Tinseltown by Vladamir Chernozemsky

Later!! I've got to get some reviews done!!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Any Discworld fans out there??

After reading a post over at Jean Pierre's, I thought I would maybe look into the Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett. Nymeth was even kind enough to post a link to a Discworld reading order guide. Then I went to Terry Pratchett's website. And I have to be honest....I'm more confused now that I was before I started!! I get there are a couple of series within the series. But where do I START?? Does it matter which "series" I start first? Since my library only has about 1/2 the books and NONE of the first books, I thought I would come back here and post for help!

On another note, I had a job interview today. Same company, just a different division. Although the interview went well (almost too good), I do know I'm not even close to being the best or most qualified candidate for the job. And that has left me feeling rather discouraged. I should be happy, that I got an interview, since only 3 did with over 85 applying. It still doesn't make me feel better knowing I'm probably not going to get the job. I really wanted this one. Oh well....the supervisor was great. And he did promise me no matter what happened, he would be on the lookout for somewhere else to place me. (which makes me believe he's definitely leaning toward someone else). Regardless, I'm making serious steps to getting out of a really bad situation.

Hope it's a better Monday for everyone else!! Later!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

And the Winner is......

Much thanks to all of you that read my review! And much thanks to those that signed up for my drawing. I wish I had a book for everyone!! But alas, I only have one copy. So thanks to Anastasia (my five-year-old) who picked a name out of the hat.
Jeff S.
So, if you could just email you address to me, I can get your book sent out this week!

A Wonderful Coming of Age Story

The Tender Bar by JR Moehringer (432 pgs, Hypernion) is the memoir of a an award-winning journalist. It is the first book that I read for the Non-Fiction Five challenge, and I can only hope the rest will be as good as this one!

Manhasset, on Long Island, was famous for a two things. One, it was the backdrop for F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Two, it was famous for it's bars. Plandome Road, the main drag in Manhasset, was wall-to-wall bars. But none made on impact on JR the way Dickens did. JR and his mother were living with his grandparents, and that was exactly 142 steps from Dickens. When JR was 9-months old, his mother left her husband and moved on. A single woman trying to raise her son and working 2 or 3 jobs at a time, Dorothy tried to make it on her own. But time and time again, Dorothy and JR ended up back in Manhasset with family. At any time, the house could be filled with cousins. But JR was content there. He would sit out on the stoop with his radio and listen for The Voice. The Voice was his father, a radio DJ that JR couldn't even remember. He even talked to The Voice, to this mother's dismay. And he worried about taking care of his mom.

Eventually, JR and his mother moved to Arizona. But every summer JR returned to Manhasett to live with his grandparents. When JR was in need of guidance, he turned to his Uncle Charley, a bartender at Dickens. Uncle Charley, along with some men from the bar, would take JR to the beach, Mets games, and eventually, into their circle. They raised him with love and compassion, these "fathers".

This book is filled with themes. Fatherless boy looking for a man in his life. Single mother trying to raise a son. Blue collar kid attending the Ivy league. Coming of Age. Trying to find yourself. And I could go on because this book is all of that and more. Beautifully written and heartbreaking at times, JR Moehringer tells the story of his life. The good AND the bad. He's very candid about his faults, probably more so than his amazing talents. I laughed and cried while reading this book. Maybe it appealed to me on some level because it's the story of a boy that loves his mother. And maybe it appealed to me because the characters in this book are real: full of faults and problems, just like me. But regardless of why, this book made me FEEL all kinds of emotions. And that is the makings of a great book!!

This is probably my favorite passage in the entire book:
I didn't want a ring. I told my mother about my aversion to men's jewelry, and I pointed out that Yale rings were expensive. She wouldn't listen. You must have a ring, she insisted. Fine, I said, send me the catalog. I'll order a ring. But I would pay for it myself, by working extra hours at the bookstore cafe.
Over dinner at Publicans my mother knew I hadn't kept my word, that the money for the ring had gone the way of the money for the name change. "You promised you were going to get a ring," she said in a disappointed voice.
"And I did."
From the breast pocket of my blazer I removed a velvet box and slid it across the table. She cracked the box open. Inside was a Yale ring. A woman's ring. I explained that Yale had been our dream, and our accomplishment. I told my mother that I couldn't have gotten into Yale without her, and certainly wouldn't have gotten through without her. "As far as I'm concerned," I said, "you graduated from Yale today too. And you should have some proof. Sparkling proof."
Her eyes welled with tears, and she tried to speak, but her voice caught in her throat.

See? Simplistic, but touching. I loved it!! 4.75/5