Saturday, April 28, 2012

Meg Cabot Read-Along

I am a fan of Meg Cabot and her light and funny chick lit novels.  I've read and enjoyed the Queen of Babble series and Boy Next Door in the past, but I haven't read the Heather Wells series.  The title Size 12 is Not Fat intrigues me!  I also have been a great fan of Meg Cabot's blog.

I'm joining this fun read-along that runs through July with the publication of Size 12 and Ready to Rock.  The details on this read-along from William Morrow are below . . .

About the “Boy” series - We'll Read The Boy Next Door
Told in emails, IMs, and brief journal entries, these loosely connected (but each also stands alone) romantic comedies will keep you laughing: "Full of clever e-mail banter and tongue-in-cheek humor, this cheeky novel should be enjoyed in one sitting" (Publishers Weekly on Boy Next Door). Have fun "devouring this fluffy, fun urban fairy tale" (Publishers Weekly on Boy Meets Girl). And be sure to follow it up with Every Boy's Got One, a "frothy concoction of love, friendship and true romance" (Publishers Weekly).

About the Queen of Babble series - We'll Read The Queen of Babble
Lizzie Nichols can't keep a secret to save her life. Now she's graduated from college and is ready to start her new life pursuing her lifelong dream of...refurbishing old wedding dresses? The only thing is, she can't seem to keep her mouth shut long enough not to screw it up...or ruin her relationship with dreamy Jean-Luc. What's a girl with a big mouth, but an equally big heart, to do? "Cabot delivers another charmer, sweet to the core" for graduates of The Princess Diaries Publishers Weekly

About the Heather Wells series - We'll Read Size 12 is Not Fat
Heather Wells used to be a teen pop sensation...until her label dropped her for gaining a few extra pounds. Now Heather's walked out on her famous ex, moved in with his brother (but will things stay platonic with Cooper forever?), and found a job in a freshman dorm at New York College...who knew it was nicknamed Death Dorm? Check out the series that "will leave readers begging for time-outs to control sudden laughing fits" (Publishers Weekly)

As an added bonus to get you started, the e-book of Boy Next Door is $2.99 for a limited time beginning May 1, so order up today and get reading!

The read-along officially kicks off today (but don’t worry, our first discussion won’t take place until May 22) and it runs through the publication of the brand new Heather Wells, Size 12 and Ready to Rock (on sale 7/10).We'll end the read-along at the end of July with a Book Club Girl on Air Show with Meg Cabot herself to discuss all the books in the read-along and especially Size 12 and Ready to Rock.

Here's the schedule of when I'll post questions about each book for us to discuss:
  • May 22nd—Boy Next Door discussion on Book Club Girl
  • June 12th Queen of Babble discussion on Book Club Girl
  • July 3rd - Size 12 is Not Fat discussion on Book Club Girl
  • July 10th -Size 12 and Ready to Rock goes on sale
  • July 31st -Size 12 and Ready to Rock discussion on Book Club Girl on Air, post questions for Meg’s Book Club Girl On Air interview at 7PM
Look for updates along the way here, on Twitter (#megreadalong), and on the Book Club Girl Facebook page.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson a Guest Blog by Author and Scholar Jerome Charyn

Emily Dickinson died more than 125 years ago, yet it is as if she’s usurped our landscape and our language – Emily is everywhere.
Last week an article about the virtues of walking one’s dog appeared in the New York Times, bearing the cryptic title: “Started Early, Took my Dog.” The author had burglarized one of Emily’s poems, and never even mentioned her - or Carlo, the wondrous Newfoundland who accompanied Emily for sixteen years.

It was while mourning Carlo that she began to wear white. She was lost without her mute Confederate. But that’s another matter.

Started Early, Took my Dog. We don’t even have to attribute her lines anymore. She’s become one of the most poignant icons of our new century – a full-blooded renegade -rather than a reclusive spinster with red hair – or a helpless agoraphobic trapped in a room in her father’s house.

Last year Holland Cotter, an art critic for the New York Times, wrote about this metamorphosis in an article entitled, "My Hero, the Outlaw of Amherst.” Her upstairs bedroom was no secret sanctuary; it was “an empowerment zone.” [I felt that same power when I first visited her room in 2008, a kind of crazy thrill.]

Thirty-five years ago Emily was still the Belle of Amherst, as personified by Julie Harris, a harmless, asexual mouse. The play by William Luce was an enormous success, and it might have crippled Emily forever if Julie Harris hadn’t found other roles to play.

But around the same time that Belle romped around in her white dress, the late Adrienne Rich worked on one of the most perceptive essays ever written on Emily Dickinson – “Vesuvius at Home.” Rich dealt with Emily Dickinson as one poet contemplating another. She understood the depth of the problem. We’d turned Emily into some kind of “gnomic Garbo,” sentimentalized her in our own private menagerie of five or six poems. “I have come to imagine her as somehow too strong for her environment, a figure of powerful will, not at all frail or breathless.” Nineteenth-century women had no voice; intelligence was a curse for any female.

Dickinson invented “a language more varied, more compressed, more dense with implications, more complex of syntax, than any American poetic language to date.” I would ever go further than that. She has wormed her way into the psyche of the West.

Harold Bloom hated to teach her, because looking at her poems with his students always gave him a headache – it’s a headache I’d love to have. And Bloom admits in The Western Canon that “except for Shakespeare, Dickinson manifests more cognitive originality than any other Western poet since Dante.” I see her as a kind of female Hamlet with daggers in her mind. She’s murderous and playful, and ultimately unknowable. And her language shifts from second to second, so that we’re never standing on solid ground. Consider Hamlet driving Polonius a little crazy as he compares a cloud to a camel, then to a weasel and a whale. All we would have to is supply the dashes, and we’d be right inside one of Emily’s electric whirlwinds.

But finally, it’s a whirlwind all her own. That’s why we celebrate her again – and again.

’Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch

* * *

Not all Pianos in the Woods

Had power to mangle me —

* * *
I started Early – Took my Dog –

And visited the Sea –

The Mermaids in the Basement

Came out to look at me –
* * *

I felt a Cleaving in my Mind—

As if my Brain had split—

I tried to match it—Seam by Seam—

But could not make it fit.

The thought behind, I strove to join

Unto the thought before—

But Sequence ravelled out of Sound

Like Balls—upon a Floor.

* * *

No one else on earth could have written those last two lines – these are her bolts of Melody, her invisible signature.

As Brenda Wineapple tells us in White Heat: “ . . . language like this had never been seen before; nothing like it, really, ever appeared again.” Emily was, according to Wineapple, a woman of secrets, who wanted her secrets kept but wanted you to know she had them: “. . . she seemed to exist outside of time, untouched by it. And that’s unnerving. No wonder we make up stories about her: about her lovers, if any, or how many, or why she turned her back on ordinarily life and when she knew the enormity of her own gift (of course she knew) and how she combined words in ways we never imagined and wished we could.”

Everyone seems to have his or her own version of Emily. In Aife Murray’s new book, Maid as Muse, we have a marvelous menagerie of ghosts – Emily’s servants, named and unnamed. Aife Murray relies on her own Irish roots to rescue these servants from oblivion, and she also rescues their habitat – that architecture of the unseen, where these servants labored and some of them lived – like Margaret Maher, who came to work for the Dickinson in 1869 and had a tiny room above the kitchen. Warm and wild and mighty, as Emily called her, she’s the real heroine of the text. It seems that Emily stored her “fascicles – her forty hand-sewn booklets of poems – in Margaret’s trunk. This explodes the whole notion of Dickinson’s “Immortality,” whether she ever wanted these booklets to be seen by another soul.

Why was Margaret the only one in Amherst who knew about the existence of these booklets and the rest of her mistress’ menagerie – that secret stash of poems. Emily wasn’t cavalier about other things. She left her own will and instructions about her burial – six Irish handymen from the Homestead were to carry her remains to the burial ground. But she left no instructions, to her own sister or her sister-in-law, Susan, about the most important matters of her life. Margaret didn’t burn this stash, as Emily had instructed her to do, and now, we have these poems, the wondrous shards of Emily’s existence, almost by accident.

Emily was an aberration, a female poet, who survived that terrible winter of nineteenth-century New England, where women weren’t allowed to think for themselves or reveal their own rage.

- Jerome Charyn

Jerome Charyn's most recent novel is The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson. He is currently working on a study of the reclusive poet for Harvard University Press.

 Contact the author through the Facebook Page dedicated to Emily Dickinson in the 21st Century:

If you would like to see more about this blog, it goes with this video: (blog was taken from his recent talk at The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA.)

Thank-you Jerome Charyn for this great guest post!  I can't wait to read The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly

I love Victoria Connelly’s trilogy about Jane Austen addicts.  As a Jane Austen addict myself, it is truly wonderful to read a novel about women that share my addiction.  The jokes and references to Austen’s original novels and the many spin-offs, movies, and TV adaptations always gives me a good chuckle and a nod of appreciation.  My husband probably thinks I’m crazy at this point!

Mr. Darcy Forever is the third novel in this trilogy, but you could read it on its own merits without having read the other two (although why would you want to skip them when they are so good?).  Sarah and Mia Castle are sister and best friends.  Older responsible Sarah raised Mia in her teenage years after their mother abandoned them.  One perfect summer, Sarah surprises Mia with a vacation to the Barton Cottage of the 1995 movie Sense and Sensibility.  While there, Mia has a slight accident and meets the very handsome Alec Burrows.  This vacation causes a rift between the sisters, but the mystery is what exactly caused the rift?  The novel passes back and forth between the present when each sister is separately making their annual trip to the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, and the past trip to Barton Cottage. 

I was intrigued by this novel and I read it very quickly.  I really wanted to know what had happened between the two sisters, and I must admit - I was surprised.  I always love a good plot that keeps me guessing.  What I love even more is the very unique characters in Mr. Darcy Forever.  Sarah and Mia were two flawed, but loveable sisters, and I loved their friends and love interests.  The love for Jane Austen is an ever present third character and I really wanted to visit Bath (and Barton Cottage!) even more after reading this book.  I love Sense and Sensibility and this book was a great modern homage to that novel.

This book is not to be missed by any lover of Jane Austen or by anyone looking for a great character story about two sisters and the ups and downs of their relationship.

If you would like to read an interview with Victoria Connelly and have a chance to win a copy of this novel, please follow and comment on this link.

Book Source:  Review Copy from Sourcebooks.  Thank-you!

A Light on the Veranda by Ciji Ware

I enjoy Ciji Ware’s novels, and I really enjoyed reading Midnight on Julia Street last year.  After the book ended, I did wonder what happened to Daphne Duvallon (sister of the male lead) after her dramatic exit from her wedding in Chapter One.  A Light on the Veranda solves that mystery and gives Daphne’s backstory as well as her life after the wedding disaster.
Daphne Duvallon is a classical harpist in New York City, but she is fired for taking off the weekend of a very important concert to play at the wedding of her brother King to Corlis McCullough in Natchez, Mississippi.  While in Natchez, Daphne decides to stay for a while and try her dream at playing jazz harp in a band.  It helps that she has met a handsome photographer, Sim Hopkins.  Unfortunately her old finance, Jack Ebert is also on the scene to make sure that Daphne does not have her happily ever after.
While in Natchez, Daphne starts to “time slip” to the late eighteenth century to the life of her ancestress, a tragic harpist named Daphne Whitaker.  With a mad mother and father, Daphne Whitaker looks for love in all of the wrong places and does what she can just to survive.
I really enjoyed A Light on the Veranda; I liked it even more than the Midnight on Julia Street.  It was fun to read more about some of my favorite characters from Midnight on Julia Street, but A Light on the Veranda can stand alone without having read the prior book.  I am a great fan of “time slip” novels and while Daphne Whitaker’s story was tragic, it was very, very interesting to read about the history of Natchez from the visit by Marie Antoinette’s cousin, Louise-Philippe, the duc d’Orleans, to the devastating tornado of 1840.  The plantations and mansions of Natchez and the surrounding area are true stars of the novel.  I really would love to visit there now! 
Overall, A Light on the Veranda is a wonderful time-slip novel with riveting stories both in the present and the past and delightful characters.  I enjoyed the love story between Daphne Duvallon and Sim.  To read more about this novel, check out this great discussion with CijiWare that was posted on Laura’s Reviews last month.
Book Source:  Review Copy from Sourcebooks.  Thank-you!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog’s Purpose is a book that put me through an emotional wringer.  I was laughing at funny one liners one minute, and then crying another minute.  I keep thinking about this book and I consider it one of the best books I’ve read this year or indeed for quite a while.

A Dog’s Purpose is the story of one dog’s journey through many lives to find his ultimate purpose.  At first a stray that finds his life cut short, Bailey is reborn as a golden retriever and is adopted by an 8-year old boy, Ethan.  Bailey and Ethan have a special bond and they both grow up together.  There is nothing that Bailey wouldn’t do for his boy.  The best part of the book is Bailey’s interpretation of events.  He is always puzzled why the family has a cat and after the cat dies and is buried in the back yard, he is unsure why they aren’t grateful that he digs back up “a perfectly good dead cat.”  The thoughts that go through Bailey’s head were at times laugh out loud funny, but also seemed like thoughts a dog really would have in trying to puzzle out human behavior.  I’ll say no more of the plot as it is wonderful and something you should experience for yourself.

As a pet owner with two dogs and two cats, three of whom are rescue animals, I really identified with this book.  I think it is the fact that I kept thinking about my dog Jack that the book made me very emotional.  The book is a wonderful interpretation of the great bond that does exist between human and dog.

A Dog’s Purpose was the April book club pick for the FLICKS Book and Movie Club.  I still am unsure if I was the only person that cried while reading the book.  At least I was the only one that admitted it . . . I should really post pictures of the spread that W had at her house hosting this event.  It was a beautiful dog themed night complete with dog cupcakes and wine glasses with dog tags.

Book Source:  Kewaunee Public Library

Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs

Death Du Jour is the April book club pick for the Kewaunee Library Book Club.  The Kewaunee Library Book Club loves mysteries and Death Du Jour is an interesting one.  Dr. Temperance Brennan is a Forensic Anthropologist that teaches at a University in Charlotte, North Carolina, and also works in Montreal during her breaks.  It is during the harsh winter in Quebec that Brennan helps to discover the bones of Sister Elisabeth Nicolet, a candidate for sainthood, and also discovers a gruesome mass murder at a burning chalet.  The mass murder becomes a larger web of lies that envelopes Brennan’s entire life.  She works with sexy Detective Andrew Ryan to solve the mystery.
I really enjoyed this book.  It was a fast paced murder mystery and I really enjoyed the anthropological insights.  I’ll admit that we didn’t discuss it too in depth at book club today as one member did not read it.  Death Du Jour is the second book in a series, but it was a good stand-alone novel.
I’ve loved being a part of the Kewaunee Library book club for the past six years, but I’m starting a new job in Green Bay in two weeks and will be unable to make the lunch time meetings.  I’m very sad, but I’ve enjoyed the company of my fellow book club members and the great books!
SPOILER ALERT:  There is a scene where Brennan thinks that her cat, Birdie, has been murdered.  She is ecstatic to discover Birdie alive, yet the rejoicing over the cat rings hollow after all of the human death that keeps piling up in the book.  And I love cats. This is my only negative about Death du Jour SPOILER END
Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library

Friday, April 20, 2012

Interview with Victoria Connelly, author of Mr. Darcy Forever (and GIVEAWAY!)

I love Victoria Connelly's Jane Austen Addicts series.  They are smart, romantic novels for the Jane Austen lover in all of us. The latest in the trilogy, Mr. Darcy Forever is another wonderful novel.  I'm still catching up on my reviews, but I should have it posted within the next week.  Until then, you can read this fantastic interview with Victoria Connelly herself and leave a comment for a chance to win the novel.

LAG:  Say it isn’t so . . . I read all three and loved all three of your Jane Austen Addicts series. Does this trilogy really need to end? Is there any way you can be persuaded to continue the series?

VC:  Well, I am actually writing a novella sequel which I’m hoping to bring out on Kindle in November/December. It’s going to be called ‘Christmas with Mr Darcy’ and it will reunite the main characters from the trilogy as they gather for a special Jane Austen conference at Purley Hall in Hampshire. There’s also a bit of a mystery when Dame Pamela’s first edition of Pride and Prejudice goes missing!

LAG:  What was your inspiration for Mr. Darcy Forever?

VC: I kept thinking about Elinor and Marianna in Sense and Sensibility and wondering what they’d be like it they were alive today. I also wanted to write about the amazing Jane Austen Festival in Bath – people come from all over the world to take part. It’s really inspirational and I knew it would make a great setting for a story.

LAG: Would you consider yourself more of a “Marianne” or an “Elinor?” Why?

VC:  I think I have elements of both. The creative side of me that grabs hold of a new idea for a novel and runs with it is very ‘Marianne’ but I’m also very cautious like Elinor in most areas of my life. I plan and I think things through carefully.

LAG:  Do you have a sister? If so what does she think of the sisterly relations in Mr. Darcy Forever?

VC:  I’m afraid I don’t have a sister. I have a brother but I don’t think he’ll be reading the novel!

LAG:  I love how part of the novel took place in Barton Cottage from the 1995 Sense and Sensibility. Did you stay in Barton cottage yourself for research? How did you find out about it as a place to rent out?

VC:  I discovered a marvellous company called Pride and Prejudice Tours and they hire the cottage out so you can stay there. I went in a weekend in May and it was glorious – all the bluebells, red campion and cow parsley was out. It’s a beautiful house overlooking the estuary and I kept imagining that Willoughby and Colonel Brandon would turn up on horseback at any moment!

LAG:  I love how the story is set in Bath. Do you attend the Jane Austen Festival?

VC:  I was lucky enough to attend for three days in September 2010 and I loved every minute of it. I went to a dance displays and a talk about costume, and I followed the amazing promenade through the streets of Bath.

LAG:  What Jane Austen “knick-knacks” do you have around your house?

VC:  Other than the Jane Austen’s books, critiques, spin-offs and DVD adaptations, I have Jane Austen bookmarks, a locations calendar, keyrings and a framed picture of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy on my desk!

LAG: What is next for you? I’d love to read more of your novels.

VC:  In the UK, I have a romantic comedy called The Runaway Actress about a movie star who swaps Hollywood for the Highlands. I’ve also published two collections of short stories on Kindle – The Retreat and One Perfect Week and will be publishing an autobiography soon called Escape to Mulberry Cottage about our move from London to rural Suffolk.

Thank-you for the great interview Victoria Connelly!!
Giveaway Details

Sourcebooks has graciously offered a giveaway of one copy of Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly.

If you would like to win a copy of this book please leave a comment about what intrigues you about the this book or this interview with Victoria Connelly.

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

For an additional entry, blog about this giveaway or post it on your sidebar. Provide a link to this post in your comment.

I will be using (or a monte carlo simulation in excel) to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).

No P.O. Boxes.

The deadline for entry is midnight on Friday May 4, 2012.

Good luck! 

April Posts for the Victorian Challenge – Emily Dickinson Month!

I hope everyone is enjoying spring so far! It has been a very hectic one for me and I have gotten behind on posting on Laura’s Reviews. I’m working on catching up, but I now find that half of April has passed me by and I have yet to put the link up for April’s posts. I apologize! We are finally closing the reviews on the month of March– Robert Louis Stevenson month. We had a total of 21 reviews. I listened to the audiobooks The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Treasure Island by Stevenson. I also watched Muppet Treasure Island with my family. I was hoping to read and watch Kidnapped, but alas, I ran out of time.

Fittingly for National Poetry Month, April is Emily Dickinson month for the Victorian Challenge 2012. You can post any Victorian related item you like this month, but I am going to focus on Emily Dickinson and you are allowed to focus with me! We will hopefully have two guest blog posts on the Emily Dickinson before the end of the month also to celebrate. Please post your April reviews below in Mr. Linky (and not on the January, February, or March link-up). If you haven’t signed up for the challenge yet, go to this sign-up link.

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was an American Poet born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830. After going to school at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Dickinson returned home to live the rest of her days as a recluse in white. Most of her relationships were carried about by letter, and she also wrote almost two thousand poems through the course of her life. Less than a dozen of these poems were published during her lifetime and they were considered radical poems for the Victorian era. Dickinson died in 1886. Her poems have been continuously in print since 1891.

It has been quite some time since I’ve read any of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. I have a collection of her poetry buried in one of my bookcases. I’m going to hunt it down this weekend and read it. Do you plan on reading any Dickinson this month? If so, what works of or about Emily Dickinson interest you?

I look forward to reading your reviews this month!

Please post the name of your blog followed by the item you reviewed. For example, Laura’s Reviews (The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (audiobook)

Title: Treasure Island
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
Read by: Frederick Davidson
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Length: 7 CDs, approximately 8 hours
Source: Wisconsin Public Library Consortium from the Kewaunee Public Library Website (Digital Download in Overdrive Media Console

Somehow in my youth, I managed to miss Treasure Island.  I had heard of the novel, but I never read it nor watched a movie version of it.  As the month of March focused on Robert Louis Stevenson, I vowed to rectify this omission.
Treasure Island was a rollicking adventure novel that was a perfect audiobook adventure.  I listened to the Blackstone Audio version on my Droid while doing household tasks and I really enjoyed it.  Frederick Davidson was a wonderful narrator that was able to bring the pirate crew and cast of characters brilliantly to life.  I especially loved his interpretation of Long John Silver.

For those like me that somehow missed this novel, Treasure Island tells the tale of a young lad, Jim Hawkins.  He lives in an inn with his mother and father and their lodger, Billy Bones.  Billy Bones is an old seaman and likes to drink and tell swashbuckling tales.  He has Jim on the look-out for the “one-legged man” and lives in mortal fear of him.  Jim’s father dies and soon afterwards an old blind seaman stops to see Billy Bones and give him a “black spot.”  Bones dies of “apoplexy” at this pirate summons.  Young Jim and his mother search Bones belongings for the money owed to them and Jim finds a mysterious oilskin packet during the search.  While they are searching, they hear a tap, tap, tap as the blind pirate approaches with his cane.  As pirates overtake the inn and Jim and his mother try to escape, the book has one of the best suspense sequences that I have ever read (or listened too).  I was in mortal fear myself!
The adventure continues on as Young Jim shows the magistrate, Dr. Livesey, and the local Squire, Squire Trelawney the packet and they are excited to find a treasure map within.  The three decide to search for the treasure together.  Squire Trelawney obtains the ship the Hispaniola, hires Captain Smollett, and a cook Long John Silver who requisitions the rest of the crew.  As the voyagers near their destination, it is soon discovered that treachery is at hand.  Will young Jim be able to navigate his way through this treachery of the crew to find the treasure?

I really enjoyed this novel.  It was a fantastic adventure story and I couldn’t wait to hear what would come next.  As I said before, some scenes, such as when the pirates come to the inn, have the reader at the edge of their seats with suspense.  What elevate this story above “just” an adventure story are the great characters, particularly Long John Silver.  Is he a bad guy or a good guy?  He is wonderful character and I think I could read an entire novel just about him. 

I loved all of the pirate lore in Treasure Island that has become common place in the movies, music, and novels of today.  The “black spot” was in both Pirates of the Caribbean as well as on Doctor Who.  According to the expert (Wikipedia),   this is the first story in which “x marks the spot appeared. A lot of the pirate tunes we think of today were in the novel and I wonder what Stevenson used for a source.  The entire language of the pirates, their dress, wooden legs, and parrots or in other words, everything we use to describe pirates was included in this novel.  I want to read a book that delves deeper into the history of pirates and Robert Louis Stevenson.  Does anyone know of a good book?  Treasure Island takes place in the mid-18th century, which is at the height of piracy.
Overall, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is a great story with fantastic characters and adventure with suspense that is not to be missed. 

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

I was a great fan of the Muppets as a child, but this movie came out just when I was graduating from high school so I wasn’t at the right age to go and see it.  My sons love pirates and my husband and I wanted to introduce them to the Muppets so we watched this movie last month.
Muppet Treasure Island tells the class tall of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson if Treasure Island was a musical and the supporting roles were taken by Muppets.  Kermit is Captain Smollett and Miss Piggy is “Benjamina” Gunn.  Humans play the characters of Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver.  The plot line follows similar to the book, but with key differences (such as young Jim being an orphan and the ending). 

My sons LOVED this movie and really want to watch it again.  They particularly liked the music and thought the Muppets were pretty funny.  I enjoyed the music too except for the occasional “off” piece such as young Jim’s solo at the beginning and the rendition of “cabin fever” in the middle.  I thought Tim Curry’s performance as Long John Silver was a bit over the top in a mustache twirling type way. In the book I thought he was more of a mystery on his motives.

Overall though, Muppet Treasure Island is a good family movie to watch together with the basic plot of Treasure Island.

Movie Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library

Monday, April 16, 2012

Winner of The Three Colonels by Jack Caldwell

As I stated in my previous post, I've fallen a bit behind on my blog.  Look for mini-reviews this week as I attempt to tackle my stack of books/audiobooks that need review.

I really enjoyed The Three Colonels by Jack Caldwell, and especially enjoyed the interview with Mr. Caldwell.  The winner of this novel will have a very enjoyable book to brighten up their spring.

The winner was chosen using and picked lucky number 1!  Linda is the winner of The Three Colonels and has been contacted via email.  If I don't hear from her within a week, a new winner will be chosen.

Thank-you to all that entered the giveaway, to Jack Caldwell for the wonderful book and interview, and for Sourcebooks for allowing me to host this giveaway. 

Stay tuned for more great giveaways on Laura's Reviews.

Winner of A Light on the Veranda by Ciji Ware

I'm sorry that I have been missing in action the past few weeks.  I will have some exciting personal/professional news to hopefully share soon, but overall work, teaching, and kids have been keeping me very busy with little sleep lately!

Now looking at my giant stack of books/audiobooks that I need to catch up on writing reviews makes me slightly depressed.  I think I will write mini-reviews this week to try to get myself caught back up . . . so stay tuned!

First of all, I have a winner to announce.  The winner of the wonderful novel, A Light on the Veranda by Ciji Ware is Colleen Turner!!  Thank-you for commenting on Ciji Ware's wonderful interview.  I hope that you enjoy the book as much as I did.  I have notified Colleen by email.  She has one week to respond with her mailing address.  If I don't hear from her by that time, I will select a new winner.  Colleen was chosen using

I will post the winner of The Three Colonels by Jack Caldwell next.  I will hopefully have a new giveaway up soon so stay tuned.