Thursday, May 31, 2007

Booking Through Thursday - E-Books or Paper?

Booking Through Thursday
Do you read e-Books?
If so, how? On your computer, or a PDA?
Or are you a paper purist? Why?

I do NOT read e-books. Never have. I don't really know why. I just have never had that particular inclination. Maybe it's because I already have hundreds (if not thousands) or actual books already lining the walls of my house!!

So I guess that would make me a paper purist. I love to pick up a book. Feel it in my hands. I love the SMELL of new books. You can't do that with e-books.

Thursday Thirteen #11

Yeah...I know. I've been slacking this week. Tons on my mind....just nothing I want to put in print, if you know what I mean!! But I thought I'd come out and add a TT! I was looking back at my last couple of post and saw a trend. Lots of Pirates!! I was thinking about the reasons I liked Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End so much. I think this one appealed to me more because of Keira Knightly. I LOVE a movie with a great, strong, female lead!!! Maybe that's just the inner feminist coming out in me. Or maybe I just get sick and tired of the heroines sitting around waiting to be rescued when they are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves! honor of all that jazz, I give you today's TT:

Thirteen Kick-Ass Chicks in the Flicks!! (or on TV)

1…. Buffy Summers. Ok...I will admit it. I'm a HUGE Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. I LOVED this show!! (I even liked that cheezy, campy movie with Kristy Swanson). There is nobody tougher than Sarah Michelle Geller as Buffy. I mean really. How many people can survive moving to the Hellmouth AND look good doing it? She is my #1 KickAss Chick!!

You know me, not much with the damseling.

2. Elizabeth Swann - Keira Knightly has really taken this character and made her a PERSON. She was pretty pampered and spoiled in the first movie, but by At World's End she was commanding her own ship!! Besides, she could handle a sword with the best of them!!

Jack, it would never have worked out between us.

3. The Bride - Uma Thurman's Bride in Quentin Taratino's Kill Bill movies was one of the baddest chicks to ever grace the screen!! When she was almost killed on her wedding day and her child stolen, this gal fought back against the team of assassins that she used to be a part of. Hers was probably the highest body count ever!! Talk about Bad Ass. NO ONE needed to protect her!

The Bride: You can relax for now. I'm not going to murder you in front of your daughter. Copperhead: That's being more rational than Bill led me to believe you were capable of.
The Bride: It's mercy, compassion, and forgiveness I lack; not rationality.

4. Ellen Ripley - Let's face it. Sigourney Weaver is the MOTHER of all kick ass movie babes! She was a pioneer. She was a renegade. She was one the first women to stand up for HERSELF and take action. Although I though Alien was great, Aliens is truly my favorite. When Ripley takes on the mama alien at the end of the movie.....Classic!!

Get away from her, you bitch!

5. Willow Rosenberg - Didn't I say I was a big Buffy fan?? Well.....Willow was actually my favorite character. And talk about an evolution over the seasons. She started out vulnerable and mousy and scared of her own shadow. What she eventually became was one incredibly powerful witch...that could take care of herself. I mean, really. When her girlfriend Tara was killed, she extracted her revenge by SKINNING the guy who did it!! Don't mess with Willow!

Willow: Then, talk. Keep eye contact. Funny is good, but don't be glib. And remember, if you hurt her, I will beat you to death with a shovel.
[Riley looks frightened]
Willow: A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend.

6. Trinity - Carrie-Anne Moss played Trinity in the Matrix movies. Not only could was she tough and could kick some serious butt, she looked AWESOME in black leather!! I mean, really. It takes a lot to pull off those clothes!! In the end, she knew all along (just as we did) that Neo was "The One"! Her faith never wavered.

Trinity: My name's Trinity.
Neo: *The* Trinity? Who cracked the IRS d-base?
Trinity: That was a long time ago.
Neo: Jesus...
Trinity: What?
Neo: I just thought... you were a guy.
Trinity: Most guys do.

7. Dana Scully - Again....another TV show I LOVED!! Gillian Anderson as Scully was so good because SHE was the skeptic. She was smart, beautiful AND always the voice of reason in a world that really didn't have any use for reason!! And she could definitely take care of herself. One of these days, I'm going to have to sit down and watch the entire series...from start to finish!

Hello, Mulder? Can you hear me? I'm at the hotel. Where are you? What do you mean, "What hotel? Las Vegas. I'm in Las Vegas, aren't you? You called me. What do you mean you didn't call me? Oh, man, I am going to kick their asses.

8. Sydney Bristow - Jennifer Garner plays Sydney in the TV show Alias. She is an international spy recruited out of college and trained for espionage and self-defense. She's part of a covert branch of the CIA. Family ties, betrayal, murder and lies are just a few of the obstacles that Sydney has to overcome. But doesn't she look good doing it???

I just wanted to rip his finger right off again. Does that make me a bad person?

9. Hermione Granger - Emma Watson is literally growing up on screen. She plays an excellent Hermione. She is brilliant and beautiful. She has overcome being raised by muggles. And she is more than just a sidekick. Hermione rocks!! All little girls want to BE her! She can cast any spell there is, and yet she is incredibly aware of the repercussions.

What's got your wand in a knot?

10. River Tam - Summer Glau plays the hyper-intelligent powerhouse in the TV show Firefly (and the movie Serenity). The people that had her at The Academy trained her to be....something. Probably an assassin, but since the show was cancelled, I guess we will never know!! (This STILL brings me to tears!) River is kind of cryptic and a bit of a loose cannon, but her brother Simon is around to help her out. And she can kick butt on her own!! Just ask Jayne!

You take care of me, Simon. You've always taken care of me. My turn.

11. Alice - Resident Evil - Milla Jovovich plays Alice in all the Resident Evil movies. After surviving the Zombies from The Umbrella corporation, she was given an injection of the T-Virus and now has some killer super-human strength and speed. She's going to need it to kill a world invaded by Zombies!!

My name is Alice. I worked for the Umbrella Corporation, the largest and most powerful commercial entity in the world. I was head of security at a secret high-tech facility, The Hive, a giant underground laboratory developing experimental viral weaponry. But there was an incident. The virus escaped and everybody died. Trouble was... they didn't stay dead.

12. Kate Austin - Lost is probably one of the coolest shows to grace the airwaves in since Twin Peaks! Evangaline Lilly plays Kate and she is COOL. She was onboard Oceanic 815 as a captured fugitive, who killed her evil step-father. She's is tough, beautiful and in the middle of a love triangle with two of the major hotties on the island. Kate can take care of herself and that's why she is on this list!

Sawyer: You taste like strawberries.
Kate: You taste like fish biscuits.

13. Thelma from Scooby-Doo - I know....Everyone always liked Daphne. Cause she was pretty. I liked Thelma. She was smart and could take care of herself! She is the very first...the start of the smart ass-kicking generation of women!!


OK...That's it for now. Happy Thursday Thirteen!!


inks to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Blogroll Game

Like I said....Rainy Day!! Nothing better to do than Blog hop!! And I found a fun little game called The Blogroll Game. Dewey, from The Hidden Side of the Leaf, is giving us a chance to visit and meet other book bloggers. Easy to join in and fun to meet new people!! Give it a try!


Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day to all my fellow American Bloggers!! The weather's not too bad today, so just maybe I'll get to have my BBQ after all!! I have a couple of steaks in the frig along with a whole lot of brats! I wasn't feeling so hot yesterday, so I spent most of the day in bed. I think stress is getting to me. I really need a week on a beach somewhere peaceful. A book in one hand and a margarita in the other!! dream!

We did go see Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End this weekend. I'm not going to write a long review. Books I can do.....movies, not so much! But I am going to say that for me personally, I loved it! I love action movies anyway, but Pirates are so much fun! I loved the killer action sequences, the fights, but most of all I love the characters. I'm a huge Johnny Depp fan anyway, but Jack Sparrow is his character, and he owns it. He is fantastic!! In this movie Keira Knightly is kick-ass as Elizabeth! She is tough, beautiful and especially fun to watch. And Orlando Bloom is a lot than in the previous movies. Not so sullen. (I do have to say my favorite part is the 5 minutes that Keith Richards is onscreen!)

All that being said, it's a BIG movie with a lot going on. We took the kids and it might not be such a good bet for smaller children. It's really long....going almost 3 hours from start to finish. And there is SO much stuff going on that it got kind of confusing. My 10-year-old spent most of the movie asking questions about this and that......but at least he got it! The girls had no idea about the plot. They just liked the action! It was fun. If you've seen the other two, then you will probably have to see this one!!

Well....I can now hear the rain hitting the patio roof, so I guess I may be ordering pizza instead of BBQ. Oh well.....

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Rainy Weekend

Well, it looks like it's going to be a wet one this weekend!! Since it's a holiday weekend, Monday is a non-work day. We have no big plans this weekend. Traveling is almost too expensive, with the price of gas these days! So....we are planning to see Pirates of the Caribbean sometime, and maybe throw some steaks on the grill Monday. That's about it.

We have a house guest at the moment. A friend is staying with us until she gets back on her feet. I'm not sure I'm too happy with this arrangement. We are kind of tripping over ourselves as is. And our friendship has been a bit strained.....LOTS of baggage there. Too much to go into in one post. Anyway, it's only supposed to be for a few weeks. I can probably handle that.....I guess only time will tell.

Hope to get some serious reading done this weekend, since it's going to be so rainy! I have about 15 books out of the library at the moment. Got to try to get through them:

  • The Lady of the Forest by Jennifer Roberson (STILL!)
  • Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cromier
  • Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier
  • Let's Don't Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Thyme of Death by Susan Wittag Albert
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • O' Pioneers by Willa Cather
  • The Tender Bar: A Memoir by J. R. Moehringer
  • Death Match by Lincoln Child
  • Burmese Days by George Orwell
  • The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes

At least that's all I can find right now!! Most are for challenges and reading groups and such. How's that for a really eclectic group of books??? We'll see how many I get through!

On another note, I'm sending out my prayers to Nattie from Nattie Writes. She is our host for the Newberry Challenge. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer this week and is going in for surgery. If you could all just say a prayer or light a candle, I'm sure she could use the well wishes.

If you've reviewed any books on your blog this week, you can post them at Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books! Just a thought.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!! Later!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Booking Through Thursday - Parlez Vous

I've never done a Booking Through Thursday, but I was blog hopping today and thought, "I DO have a book related blog!! Why haven't I done this before?" So I thought I would join in!!

Booking Through Thursday
Here’s an idea from Julie:
I had an idea for a BTT question when I was taking a peek at one of my bookcases yesterday and spotted my old copy of the Aeneid in Latin sitting there. Maybe this question has already been done—but if not… Do you have any foreign language books and if so can you (still) read them?

Actually, I took 4 years of French and I can still READ a lot of it. (Speaking or understanding someone talking VERY fast......well that's another thing altogether!) I don't have any of my School French books left, but I have 3 of my Grandmother's Poetry books in French, as well as a copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. I haven't picked them up in a very long time and I'm rather rusty, but I think I'd do OK!!

Thursday Thirteen #10

I have been SO EXCITED all week!! Starting tomorrow is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. I'm a HUGE Johnny Depp, Jack Sparrow fan, and I'm counting the minutes until I get to sit in the theater with my big bucket of buttered popcorn, large Diet Pepsi and bag of Twizzlers! So I thought I would do a TT on Summer Blockbusters.


1…Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (May 25) - Yes....this is it!! I love, love, loved the first movie and was pissed as hell that the second ended the way it did. There was such a lead-in for the last movie that it ended without an ending, if that makes sense. No closure. And I NEED closure. So I'm ready for tomorrow!!

2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 13) - Yes....I'm a Harry Potter geek too!! I've loved all the movies so far, but The Goblet of Fire was fantastic!! I'm expecting great things out of this movie too!! Helena Bonham Carter is in this one...and I think she is cool as hell!

3. 1408 (June 22) - OK...I have to say just one more time for the record, I LOVE JOHN CUSAK!! It wouldn't be a great summer without a great John Cusak movie, now would it?? And one that is based on a Stephen King story? A good fright is just what is needed this summer! With Samuel L. Jackson, how can you miss?

4. Live Free or Die Hard (June 27) - I have been a Bruce Willis fan since Moonlighting! Since this is the summer of movie sequels, it seems fitting that John McClane is back! Besides....Kevin Smith is in it! That alone would be enough for me to want to see it. Yippee-ki-yay!

5. Stardust (Aug 10) - Neil Gaiman's novel is going to hit the big screen. I haven't read this one (YET), but I've become a big fan. This movie has lots of big names like DeNiro, Danes and Pfeiffer. Looks like it's going to be a fun one!

6. Transformers (July 4) - I never actually played with Transformers, but my brother had a ton of them! I saw previews for this movie last night and it looks fantastic! Steven Speilberg at his best! This one looks like it's going to be a lot of fun!

7. Ratatouille (June 29) - Ok...I have kids. What can I say? I love a good cartoon, and Pixar does them better than anyone! I haven't been disappointed yet by one. Ratatouille is one that the whole family will enjoy!

8. Evan Almighty (June 22) - I wasn't a huge fan of Bruce Almighty...mostly because I'm not a huge Jim Carey fan. This was better than most. (It's the silly slapstick stuff I really dislike). But Stever Carell CRACKS ME UP! The Office is one of my favorite shows, and Steve Carell building an Ark? Who could resist??

9. Ocean's 13 (June 8) Hello?? Gorgeous men alert?? George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia....need I go on?? I loved the first and hated the second . This is a chance for redemption folks!

10. Halloween (Aug 31) To redo a CLASSIC like Halloween takes something special. Especially if I want to go see it. Rob Zombie is that special something. I was absolutely blown away by House of Thousand Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. If anyone can make this movie, it's him! I can not wait to see what surprises Mr. Zombie has in store for us!

11. Bourne Ultimatum (Aug 3) Not much to say here. Loved the first 2. Figure Matt Damon will be able to pull this one off as well. Should be non-stop action, just like the others.

12. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (July 20) - I love Adam Sandler. But I love Adam Sandler best when he's doing comedy. I like his weird sense of humor. With Kevin James, this one should be a riot! Two straight guys pretending to be married??? Can't wait!

13. The Simpsons Movie (July 28) - I dare you to try to find one Gen X'er out there that hasn't sat down and enjoyed at least one episode of The Simpson's! How could you not go see the movie?? 18 years in the making!

Hope you all enjoy a great summer of movies!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Book Meme

This little meme seems to be making the rounds these days, I've stumbled across it on a few different blogs, mainly Chris' at Book-A-Rama, Bookfool's, Kookiejar's and the Literary Feline's! Figured I would try it out too!

A book that made you cry: The Book Thief by Mark Zuzak. I read this at the beginning of the year. So much buzz about it that I had to try it. Turns out the buzz was for good reason. I was literally sobbing throw the last 50 or so pages of this one!

A book that scared you: The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I don't scare very easy, or at least I don't when it comes to books. But this one kind of did it to me. There is a section of the book where Atwood describes the systematic removal of all freedoms to women; it gave me chills. Truly frightening stuff!

A book that made you laugh: Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding. This was the first "Chick Lit" book that I ever read (besides the occasional romance). It was absolutely hilarious!! I found myself laughing out loud in many parts. I even thought the movie was good with Renee Zellwigger. She did a GREAT job as the wonderfully neurotic Bridget and Hugh Grant as the cad Daniel Cleaver.

A book that disgusted you: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson and Naked Lunch by Willam Burroughs. Ok...I actually like Hunter S. Thompson. But the rampant drug use in this book was enough to make me sick! And Naked Lunch. Well...I just didn't get it!

A book you loved in elementary school: The entire Nancy Drew Collection by Caroline Keene. I LOVED Nancy Drew. I wanted to BE Nancy Drew. (I STILL want to be Nancy Drew!) I started reading these books in 2nd grade and read through most of them by the time I was in 4th grade. They had a serious impact on me!!

A book you loved in middle school : The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. I thought this was one of the best books I've ever read at the time. I even added it to my list for the Newberry Challenge so I can reread it as an adult. Then again, the next book on my list would probably be Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I can remember reading this in 8th grade. I thought it was SO good!!

A book you loved in high school: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read this for Mr. Cook's Fiction/Short Stories Class. To this day, I count it as one of my all-time favorite had that much impact on me!! It is such a wonderful story!!

A book you hated in high school: Lord of the Flies by William Golding. In the same class, we read this and I hated it!! I don't know whether it was the story or the writing I hated it so much. I was appalled at those boys and felt so sorry for Piggy.

A book you loved in college: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Again, this was a book I read for a class. It was kind of empowering reading about a woman like Emma Bovary!

A book that challenged your identity: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. This book is about having a dream and following it. My only regret is that I didn't read this book sooner in life. I think if I had read it in college, I would be in a much different place than I am today.

A series that you love: Stephanie Plum Number Series by Janet Evanovich. Until just recently, I was never much of a series reader. But these books are hilarious!! Stephanie cracks me up!! She's funny and bumbling and has 2 hot men vying for her. Gotta love it. A close second to this (and the jury is still out, I guess since I have finished it) would be The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King.

Your favorite horror book: The Stand by Stephen King. My all time favorite King book. Ranks up in the top 3 of my all-time favorite books, period. A timeless tale of then end of the world and Good vs. Evil.

Your favorite science fiction book: The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. Sci-Fi has never been my genre, but I read this at the beginning of this year and LOVED it! I'm definitely starting to read more sci-fi and fantasy.

Your favorite fantasy book: American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Again, a genre that I'm just starting to get into. My answer for this might change next year, but I don't know. This book sucked me in and refused to let go!!

Your favorite mystery book: Ten Little Indians (or And Then There Were None) by Agatha Christie. I read this in high school. I think I take all mysteries and compare it to this classic! It was fantastic!

Your favorite biography: Any book about The Kennedy's. For some reason, I love reading about JFK and RFK. I've read good and bad. The Dark Side of Camelot was pretty revealing.

Your favorite “coming-of-age” book: Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. This is probably the perennial Classic when it comes to coming-of-age books. Maybe it just depends on WHEN you read it. Because I know people that don't like it. I read it in High School, so maybe I can just relate!

Your favorite classic: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This book has everything: romance, murder, revenge, money, is a phenomenal read!! I could read it again and again!

Your favorite romance book: Romance book has such a horrible connotation for me. I don't like "Romance" books. Makes me think of Harlequin. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is probably my favorite love story. The relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester is timeless and one for the ages!

Your favorite book not on this list:
I have so many books that I love. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See, Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut just to name a few.

If you haven't done this meme and would like to play along, it's fun!! I love to see what everyone else says!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Young Adult Book PERFECT for all Ages!

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (pgs. 225) was a Newberry Honor Book in 2005. This should have told me something right away. I actually thought this was going to be a silly book. Silly name = silly book, right? Oh how wrong I was. My only complaint is that it didn't win the AWARD in 2005, because this is one fabulous book!!

Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. Alcatraz sits smack in the middle of the bay -- so close to the city of San Francisco, I can hear them call the score on a baseball game on Marina Green. Okay, not that close. But still. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew a prison could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you are me. I got here because my mother said I had to.

This is the story of the Flannagan family. In 1935, the family of the guards were actually housed on the island prison of Alcatraz. Matthew, or Moose, Flannagan is a 12-year-old boy that loves baseball and tries to be normal. His older sister Natalie is severely autistic, though in 1935 no one actually knows what is wrong with her. Only that she is different. Moose's dad took a job as a prison guard/electrician and moved the family to Alcatraz for one reason. To be close to San Francisco so Natalie could go to the Esther P. Marinoff School. It was a chance for her to learn to be "normal". Natalie had tantrums, didn't communicate like other children and had a box of buttons that she never left without. She could multiply numbers like 1,654 X 358 and knew and the page numbers in every book index the Flanagan's owned. Moose just wanted to make friends and play baseball.

Also on the island, besides criminals like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly, were other kids. Piper, the warden's daughter was a beautiful albeit scheming girl that was always trying to make a buck and seemed to be the unquestioned leader of the gang. When she tried to rope Moose into helping her "Sell" convict laundry services to the kids at school, he realized he was going to be in trouble. All the kids wanted their shirts done by the famous Al Capone, after all. But Piper was mean. She made fun of Natalie, blackmailed the other children into helping her in her outlandish schemes, and ran to tell her daddy of anything done wrong.

When I started this book, I had no idea where it was going. What materialized was a coming-of-age story about a boy that loved his sister, no matter what her differences were. It's about a family that is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that Natalie gets a fair shake in life. And it's about friendships that will last no matter what the odds are. I loved this book. It was touching, heartwarming, and had enough humor to make me laugh. I think any adult would love this book, probably more so than the age group it's actually intended for. As an adult we can see how much this 12-year-old boy actually puts on the line for his sister. I highly recommend this book to everyone!! 4.5/5

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another Winner from Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (464 pgs) is a book that I choose to read for the Spring Reading Thing Challenge. I'm glad I did. I was so disappointed with The Tenth Circle that I almost passed on this one. In the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, it's a timely piece and one that makes a person think, as do most of Picoult's books.

In Nineteen Minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes you can bake scones or get a tooth filled at the dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five. Nineteen minutes is how long it took the Tennessee Titans to sell out of tickets to the play-offs. It's the length of a sitcom, minus the commercials. It the driving distance from the Vermont border to the town of Sterling, New Hampshire. In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can sew a hem. In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off of it.

In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

And so starts the story of Josie Cormier and Peter Houghton. Josie is the daughter of Alex Cormier, a single mother AND a superior court judge. Josie is beautiful, smart and one half of the "IT" couple at Sterling High School. Peter is a geek. He has spent his life trying to blend in to the woodwork. If you aren't noticed, then you aren't picked on. When they were younger, Josie was the only friend Peter had. She was always there trying to help him when the others were being mean. Alex and Lacy, Peter's mother, were friends until they had a falling out when the kids were in grade school. From that moment on, Josie wasn't allowed to go to Peter's house any more. But they were still friendly at least until Josie got noticed by the popular kids and started hanging out with them. And this hurt Peter immensely.

Could it be possible that this mild boy is the same one that methodically walked into Sterling High School one morning with 2 sawed-off shotguns and 2 Glock pistols? Is he the same kid that executed 10 people that day and injured 19 others? Hundreds of witnesses will say that it was. But did they really know WHO Peter Houghton was? Did anyone?

As with all of Picoult's books, this one brings up issues that are incredibly sensitive. You want to be able to hate a person that is cold-bloodied enough to plan an attack on a high school. You want to think of him as a monster for executing his teachers and class mates. But Picoult shows a side of things that we normally don't see. She shows us the killer, and how he was victimized his entire life. She creates an empathy for this boy that was pushed so hard he snapped. And she shows us that just because kids are beautiful and popular they aren't always happy. I sometimes have a hard time reading Picoult because I know she is going to say things I don't want to hear. But her writing is so smooth and addictive, it grabs you by the throat and won't let go. As always, there is a "surprise" ending....this time I figured it out long before the climax of the book. That being said, this is one of Jodi Picoult's best books, at least of the 5 or 6 that I have read. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have children. 4.5/5

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Book, A Meme and me!

I just finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. I will probably be posting a review tomorrow. I need time to let this one sink in a bit. As with most of Picoult's books, this one definitely gives you something to think about. It's about a school shooting, reminiscent of Columbine. Having kids of my own, it's hard to think about things like this. And yet, I read it anyway!! Picoult's writing always sucks me in!!

Bookfool tagged me for a short meme. Since I'm tired of house cleaning and laundry, I figured this would be a lot more fun!! You simply have to grab the book nearest to you (no cheating here), turn to page 161, and post the text of the fifth full sentence on the page along with the body of the instruction on your blog. Then you tag 3 people. Not bad. Since the nearest book to me just happens to be Nineteen Minutes, that's the one you get!!

You can feel people staring; it's like the heat that rises from the pavement during the summer, like a poker in the small of your back.

Yeah...that's how the book goes!! Not a bad quote, not at all!! Tag 3 people?? OK. How about:
Wendy, the Literary Feline at Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Well...I guess this means I have to get back to work. I had such a bad week last week, I really was hoping for a day to decompress. Yesterday we went to see Shrek 3 with the girls. Fun movie. I'm having some horrible times at work right now. The next two months will be spent trying to find another position. I think that will make me a lot happier. Oh well......

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday was a Graduation......

My baby, Anastasia, graduated from Chicken Little Preschool on Friday!! We had a ceremony complete with cap and diploma (and a little stuffed doggie!) Then we all went out for pizza!

I had one of those "I-can't-believe-how-fast-she's-growing" moments. It really does seem like only yesterday I found out I was having her. I never ever planned on 3. I had my requisite boy and girl. But things happen for a reason, or so I'm told. And Ana truly is my little angel. She's smart, loving and compassionate. She wants to be a "pet doctor" when she grows up.

Is there any way to hold on to them just a little bit longer???

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Tale of a Trickster

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (pgs 336) is a book that I read for the Once Upon a Time Challenge. This book is my second foray into the world of Gaiman, and I am now certain I'm a HUGE fan!!

It begins, as most things begin, with a song. In the beginning, after all, were the words, and they came with a tune. That was how the world was made, how the void was divided, how the lands and the stars and the dreams and the little gods and the animals, how all of them came into the world. They were sung.

"Fat" Charlie Nancy was an unexciting man living in London in an unexciting flat, working at an unexciting job while planning an unexciting wedding with his fiance Rosie. And he was fine with that, until one day it all changed. Fat Charlie's father died in a horrible Karaoke incident, once again causing Charlie major humiliation. When he flew to Florida to the funeral, he once again met up with old neighbors and friends of the family. And Charlie found out a secret....his father wasn't just any of man. He was a God.....the human form of the trickster Anansi. And not only that.....but Charlie had a brother who inherited all the God "stuff" from good ol' Dad. All he had to do was whisper to a spider, and his brother would come. Now to Fat Charlie, this was all too much. He didn't really believe any of that nonsense. Of course, that didn't stop him from whispering to a spider one night in London after a few too many glasses of wine. From here, the quest to find out more about himself begins for Fat Charlie.

What I loved so much about this book is Gaiman's sense of humor. Where American Gods was more of a serious book, this one showed his sense of humor. This definitely falls in the folklore category of the Once Upon a Time Challenge. There were a lot of stories about Anansi, the Trickster. Since ALL stories are Anansi's! Gaiman wove a tale, like that of a spiderweb. All things are tied together somehow. And when Charlie opens the Pandora's box by whispering to a spider, it's really kind of a coming-of-age story. Gaiman sucks you in immediately and all you have to do is enjoy the ride!! 4.5/5

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Eight Things About Me

My friend Chris at Book-A-Rama tagged me for the "Eight Things About me" Meme. Hmmm...I not sure this will be all that exciting....but got give it the old College try!!

Here are the rules:

1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Sounds simple, right? OK....Here goes!

  1. I grew up on a farm. Yes, I was really the Midwestern Farmer's daughter! I could drive a tractor by 12, a car by 13, rode horses, walked beans, and even detasseled corn one summer. In my heart, though, was a city girl waiting to get out. I left at 18 to go to college and never looked back!
  2. I am a two-time cancer survivor. When I was 4, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. It was in the muscle tissue in the back of my neck. I spent many a night in Barnes Hospital in St. Louis (which is a WONDERFUL place). I was given about a 10% chance, so I count my lucky stars nightly that I'm still here to tell about it. The second cancer was Thyroid cancer found in 2002. My doctor actually thinks it was caused by the radiation treatments I underwent as a child.
  3. I was Valedictorian of my graduating class. I'm reluctant to tell you that I went to a very small high school, but in my class competition was tough. We had more kids go to college than any class ever in Mt. Auburn. (And I got a killer scholarship because of it!!)
  4. I was in a sorority in college. Yes. Me. To know me now is to laugh, but my freshman year in college, I went through Rush just to make my roommate happy. Found a lot of cool girls, and today I am a Pi Beta Phi alum.
  5. I had a Pen Pal from Singapore for over 12 years. I wrote to one of those addresses on "Big Blue World" (the TV show on PBS when I was 10). Her name was Yip Yuet Wah, and we wrote and sent packages to each other until she got married!
  6. I've been to over 200 concerts in my lifetime. Starting with Huey Lewis and the News when I was in high school....all the way till today. The last concert I saw was Disturbed and Stone Sour this past January. I've seen NIN 6 times, U2 4 times, Ministry 6 times and the Smashing Pumpkins 4 times. I've been to Lollapolooza, Ozzfest and a bunch of Q101 fests in Chicago.
  7. I broke my toe on a beach in Mexico on my honeymoon. Actually a big-hairy man jumped on it while playing beach volleyball. The doctor at the hotel took me to his clinic and wanted to put a cast up to my knee!! I told him to give me some pain meds, straighten it out, and tape it up! (Then I had a podiatrist that was staying at the hotel tape it for me the rest of the week!)
  8. My son is named Chad after my little brother. He was killed in a car accident when he was a senior in high school and I was a sophomore in college. My son is the spitting image of him too.

Now to tag others. Don't hate me!! Just join in the fun:

Chris at Stuff As Dreams are Made On

Margreet at Margreet's Musings

Marg at Marg's Reading Adventures

Suey at It's All About the Books

Kookiejar at A Fraternity of Dreamers

Lisa at Books. Lists. Life.

Gentle Reader at Shelf Life

Amy at The Sleepy Reader


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 9

I wasn't going to do a TT today. Been a busy week, I hadn't thought of a topic, and didn't feel like listing the things on my desk! But I got an email this morning from my friend Kris. You know the of those mushy, make-you-cry, Chicken Soup for the Soul kind of stories. (and yes, I fell for it and actually shed a tear!) It was about a little boy that wanted to be a fireman and it got me thinking. What did I want to be when I was growing up? I can tell you, I certainly never spent my time dreaming of sitting in an office all day, dealing with office politics, going to hours of boring meetings and trying to hit deadlines! I had bigger dreams than this! But once you get to college, it seems the push is finding a career in which you can earn a decent living, not necessarily be happy. Which brings me to today's TT:

Thirteen Things I wanted to be when I grew up!

1….Writer - Oh come on. This is a book blog! Isn't it every reader's secret dream to BE a writer?? I can write. Give me a topic and I can write. For hours. I was great in Creative writing and speech classes....when given a topic. It's sitting in front of a blank piece of paper or a blank screen that was the kicker. I just don't think I have the creativity to come up with my OWN ideas! But that's ok....there are lots of people out there that can, and I can just read their stuff!

2. Doctor - When I was little, I was very sick. I spent a lot of time in hospitals and around doctors. I thought, "Wow. I could do this. I'd love to take care of kids just like me." Then one day, I was at a park in Pana. My brother was in a baseball tournament, and I was at the playground. I was probably 9 at the time. A little boy decided it would be a good idea to stand on top of the monkey bars and jump to the next set. Of course, he fell. He landed on his arm and it broke....right out of his skin. I happened to be standing there at the time. I almost passed out, and decided then and there that I could never be a doctor!

3. Girl Detective - Ok....YES, I read a lot of Nancy Drew books when I was younger. AND Trixie Belden. I can remember thinking what would be cooler than driving around in a blue convertible, having a boyfriend like Ned, and solving mysteries and crimes for the police??? I SO could have done this one!

4. Ballerina - Don't all little girls dream of being a ballerina? When I was 5, I took ballet lessons. I did this for a couple of years. I loved the outfits...and the shoes. I just hated the dancing lessons!! I started taking tumbling lessons at the same time, and found I liked the speed and power of tumbling over the grace and elegance of ballet. Figures!

5. Circus Acrobat - Yes....I really did want to run away and join the circus!! I loved to tumble. I was always doing cartwheels and flips around the house. Every year my grandfather would take me to the Shriner's Circus. Now my grandpa was a Shriner and a Mason. A real big-wig. (I didn't know this until his funeral) So he got great seats and we even got to go "back stage" and meet some of the performers. I loved the acrobats the best. They had beautiful, sparkly outfits and lots of makeup. Yep.....I thought I could do that!

6. Jockey - What can I say? I grew up on a farm and we had horses. I loved to ride. I had my own pony when I was little. Her name was Princess....and she was dapple grey, and I used to race her around the pastures. I was going to win the Kentucky Derby one day. But the hats killed it for me.

7. Singer - In 1978, my friend's mom took us to see Grease! Of course, I was only 7, and there was a lot about it I didn't understand. But I did know I wanted to be Olivia Newton John! She was so pretty and boy could she sing! Later on, I wanted to be more like Madonna. She was so cool.....but sadly, I don't have the talent! Still doesn't stop me from singing in the car though!

8. Astronaut - or just Starship Captain! My dad watched a lot of Star Trek, and I wanted to be part of that crew. Actually, I wanted to form a coup and overthrow Captain Kirk. I thought I would be WAY better than him! They needed a woman's touch! I actually thought going up in space would be cool, till I realized just how tight the space is in a rocket!! I'm WAY too claustrophobic to do that!

9. Vampire Slayer - I wasn't a little girl. I was a grown woman! Sue me. I still wanted to be Buffy! That girl could totally kick ass and take names. And I really liked Faith, the "Bad" Slayer. She was wicked cool. Still in the back of my head, I'm thinking I could do this!

10. Reporter - Again, back to the writing thing. After I saw Superman, I wanted to be Lois Lane. Super cool reporter that falls in love with Superman. (of course, that dream faded when I realized she couldn't be THAT great of a reporter if she wasn't smart enough to figure out Superman was Clark Kent without the glasses!)

11. Lawyer - I know, I know.....too many lawyers in the world today. But I actually thought when I went to college, that I would go on to law school. I lived 20 minutes, from Springfield, IL, and when I was in high school, I got a chance to be a page in the State House of Representatives. Now it sounds better than it really was.....running after pens, folders and lunch. But I loved being in the Sessions and feeling important. Of course PoliSci in college sucked!! I was way too liberal to get along with my very conservative professors. And it wasn't fun anymore. I was just too burned out on school to go another 3 years anyway.

12. Teacher - Looking back on things now, I realized I wanted to teach my junior year in college. I spent 10 hours a week tutoring some 3rd and 4th grades from the "other side of the tracks". They were great kids that had some serious disadvantages in life. I loved each of them and they worked hard for me. But I already had too many business hours in and didn't think I should change majors so late in the game. Not enough money to go another year or two. I should have just stuck with it.

13. Book Reviewer - I love books. I always wanted to see my name in print, in say the New York Times or the Chicago Trib reviewing books. Won't happen, but you can always look for my byline and reviews here!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Something About Me and Southern Reading Challenges

The point of this challenge is to pick 5 books that tell "Something About Me". I struggled with this for awhile, until today I finally decided that I was making this much harder than it is supposed to be. Nothing has to be perfect. Just pick a few books that could possibly give an idea about who I am. The neat thing about this challenge, is that once we make our lists, we don't actually have to READ those books! We can choose our reading list from everyone ELSE's About Me list! The challenge doesn't actually start until August 1st, so there is still plenty of time to join up......and if you are like me, to finish a couple of other challenges first!!

These are the 5 that I came up with:

  • Lincoln by David Herbert Donald - This is a non-fiction bio on Abraham Lincoln. Growing up in Illinois, a stone's throw from Springfield, I've been to every "Lincoln Site" about 10 times. From the Old State Capitol Building to Lincoln Law Offices, from Lincoln's tomb to New Salem State Park, I've seen them all! And I do live in the "Land of Lincoln!" This looked like a good book to throw into the "Stephanie" mix.

  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin - Although no one that I know from my life here in Peoria nor my college life would believe it, I actually GREW UP on a farm! I read this when I was a kid and although she's a little more wholesome (ok, ok.....a LOT more wholesome), I think I did get some of her spunk!

  • Oh My Goth by Gena Showalter - This is the story about a girl in high school (for me it was college) that is a nonconformist and who values individuality. She dresses "Goth", wears all black. Then one day her smart mouth gets her in trouble at school. ( THIS sounds like me!) She wakes up to find that whole world has gone Goth and she is no longer different....but POPULAR! I've been known to wear a LOT of black, even the black lipstick and nail polish. I always liked being different. Guess this one is really me!

  • I am Legend by Richard Matheson - HUGE vampire fan here. Anyone who knows me knows how much I wanted to be Buffy (not the dumb movie version, but the totally Ass-kicking TV one!) And this is one of the Classics of the genre. "Robert Neville is the last living man on earth ... but he is not alone. Every other man, woman and child on the planet has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood. By day he is the hunter, stalking the sleeping undead through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn."

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - My very favorite book. I read this in high school and fell in love with it. Enough said. Can't have a list without this one.

While I'm at it, I thought I would go ahead and list the 3 books (that I may or may not be able to read) that I choose for the Southern Reading Challenge sponsored by Maggie at Maggie Reads. Maggie has a great site and is posting tons of great information about Southern Writers and books. See....I'm actually LEARNING something with this challenge!! It's a summer challenge: June, July and August. 3 Books by Southern Writer's Dealing with the South. Sounds easy? It was tougher than I thought it would be to find the books I want to read!

Without further adieu, here are my 3 picks for the Southern Reading Challenge:

  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (I do realize I'm probably the only person in the free world who HASN'T read this book!)
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy -'s not The Road, but I've heard it's just as good!
  • The Moviegoer by Walter Percy - Actually, my friend Kendra recommended this to me about a year ago, and I never did read it. Figured now was my chance!!

Any other suggestions? Comments?? Let me know!


Cute Book if You Like Fluff!

Scot on the Rocks (or How I Survived My Ex-Boyfriend's Wedding with My Dignity Ever-So-Slightly Intact) by Brenda Janowitz (pgs 304) is published by Red Dress Ink, a division of Harlequin. I started reading these books when they first came out, and get a book a month directly from the publisher. Most are really cute, but I definitely have to be in the mood for one.

Manhattan attorney Brooke Miller seems to have everything going for her. A great high-paying job (if you don't mind working till 9 o'clock ever night and most weekends), a wonderful Scottish boyfriend that is going to pop the question any day now, and a gorgeous apartment. So what goes wrong? Said boyfriend breaks up with Brooke because he decides to marry someone else! Said apartment just happens to be Douglas's. So not only is Brooke out of a relationship, she's out of a home! And all this just days before her ex-boyfriend's wedding -- to Hollywood's latest "IT" girl. A wedding that she was supposed to be attending with HER fiance!! So what's a girl to do?? Brooke comes up with a plan that involves her best friend Jack wearing a Kilt and getting her wonderful, gorgeous (albeit cheating) Scottish man back! I had the book figured out by Chapter 2. I still enjoyed it. I mean, it makes you FEEL GOOD when all sorts of bad things happen to a person and in the end, they win out. That's why people READ "Chick Lit". To know that the "fairy tale" ending is out there! It gives them hope....and a bit of comic relief. Scot on the Rocks was pure fluff. If you don't expect more than that, it's a very enjoyable book. 3.75/5