Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Battlestar Series Finale

I can't believe that Battlestar Galactica is over . . .sniff, sniff. On one hand, I am very happy that it was able to go out in style and complete it's storyline, but on the other, I really enjoyed watching it and wish it could continue on forever!

After watching the finale last Friday, my first thought, was good, but not great. But then I thought about it for a few more days. I realized that most shows lose my interest LONG before the series is able to complete, or the shows I like get cancelled without fulfilling their purpose. In fact, there are only a handful of shows I've actually watched from beginning to end. And out of those shows, I realized that Battlestar had the best finale by far.

What did I like . . . I loved that most of the ends were tied and that we got to see what the future would hold for most of our favorite characters. I also liked that the series did not end on a depressing note. There is hope for our characters to lead a happy life on the new earth . . . although this has all happened before and will happen again the future. I really liked the action sequences. I also liked the present day NYC Six and Baltar reading about how Hera was all of our Mitocondrial DNA mother. I know others thought it was cheesy and wrong, but I liked it. Especially with the music and Ron Moore appearance!

I didn't like how Cavil just shot himself. After everything, his suicide felt like a cop-out. I didn't like how Starbuck's story line was never resolved. Sure she is an angel,but it didn't explain how she got back to the fleet, her father, why did she know the song from childhood, etc. I want to know! I also didn't like how Adama, Lee, and the Chief are going to live solitary lifes forever on Earth. That just seemed depressing.

Overall though, I thought the finale did an excellent job. Battlestar was a great show and had a good run. I only hope we can get another excellent program like this to watch in the future.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Ben and I watched Fireproof this past weekend and really enjoyed this movie. It was nice to finally see a movie about what marriage is really about, and good to see a quality Christian movie.

Caleb (Kirk Cameron) and Catherine have reached a point in their marriage where they can't seem to make things work anymore. Both have their own agendas and needs and do not work together on them. Caleb would rather be surfing for porn and saving for his dream boat instead of helping out around the house. Catherine pretty much blows up at Caleb over anything. It is not a pretty picture. After Catherine tells Caleb that she wants out of the marriage, Caleb's father challenges him to follow the "love dare" and try to save his marriage over a 40 day period. Caleb finds faith and realization of what true love means.

While the acting and dialogue were cringe inducing at times, the overall story was fantastic. The fight scenes at the beginning were brutal (not physically, but verbally), but much progress was made through the movie. Ben and I both really liked the firefighting action scenes. They were stellar and nail-bitting.
Overall is was a great movie about marriage and what it means to be married for better or for worse. It made Ben and I appreciate what we have in our marriage. I would highly recommend this movie to all married couples!


For some reasons, the word wanted makes me think, "Wanted, Dead or Alive" as sung by Jon Bon Jovi. I may have listened to that "cassette" a little too much in my youth:-)

Wanted is an action packed movie starring James McAvoy (Wesley Gibson) and Angelina Jolie (Fox). I read an excellent review of this on J.Kaye's blog (and also knowing Ben's passion for Angelina Jolie) and decided that I should check it out from my local library. A few months later, I finally received it!

Wesley Gibson is a panic attack prone "account manager" who has a really crappy life. One day he discovers that he is the son of a murdered assassin and joins "The Fraternity." At "The Fraternity" he is trained by Angelina Jolie to become a top assassin in order to track down his father's killer.

The real star of this movie was the special effects - they were fantastic. I especially loved the chase scene where Angelina Jolie spun her Dodge Viper and scoped up Wesley. Cool. The entire movie had the feel of a comic book to it . . . so I wasn't too surprised to learn it was based on a comic. While I could believe in bullets that curved, I had a hard time with Fox running in high heels. Why is that considered sexy in an action movie? It's hard enough to walk in 4-5 inch heels, how the heck could you run in them? I'm just saying . . . :-)

Overall, I enjoyed this move as did Ben. The story, effects, and stars were great. It was VERY violent though so it is not for the faint of heart or young children.

Midnight Bayou by Nora Roberts

Midnight Bayou was a light romantic read involving a haunted southern mansion. I am a giant fan of ghost stories and of southern mansions so this was perfect for me. This book gave me a vibe of Roberts "In the Garden" series - a series that I really loved. I read this book to be prepared for the Lifetime movie of it that is premiering this weekend.

Declan Fitzgerald has given up his fiancee and law career in Boston to pursue his dream to fix up the Manet Mansion in New Orleans. He finds himself mysteriously drawn to the mansion and discovers that there are ghosts and memories of a past tragedy still living there. He is drawn to Lena Simone, a local girl who has a past link to the house. Will he be able to win the love of Lena and also come to terms with the Manet mansion's past?

While I tired of the overuse of the word "Cher" and thought the ending was a bit too rushed, I thought this was an entertaining read overall.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster by Alison Weir

I first discovered Anya Seton when I was a teenager and I bought her novel The Hearth and the Eagle at a used book sale at a library in Vicksburg. I was hooked by that one book and have spent the years since scouring used book sales to collect all of her works. I now own them all . . . except for Smouldering Fires (If you'd like to sell me a copy - I'm game!). I was very happy in the past few years to see most of her novels come back into print again and for people to rediscover what a great historical fiction author Seton was. One of my favorite novels by Anya Seton is Katherine, a historical fiction story of Katherine Swynford, mistress and then wife of John of Gaunt in the 14th century.

I was very excited to see that Alison Weir has just published a historical non-fiction biography that looks into the details on Katherine Swynford's life. I was even more excited to see that she not only discusses how Anya Seton's novel has shaped what we know and think about Katherine Swynford, but she has a small section about the novel at the end of this book. Fantastic!

Katherine Swynford was the daughter of a knight who grew up in the court of King Edward's wife, Queen Phillippa in the 14th century. She marries a knight, Sir Hugh Swynford and has a few children by him. After Sir Hugh's death, she becomes mistress of John of Gaunt, King Edward III's third son. John is married to his second wife Constance during this period of time. Katherine has four children with John. After a period of separation and the death of Constance, the two marry and their children are legitimized. It is an amazing story - no one married their mistress . . . and having a relationship that lasted for as long as it did was also unique. Katherine's brother-in-law also just happened to be Geoffrey Chaucer. Katherine and John's children grew up to become great people and to shape much of England's history. The current Queen is descended from them as were six American Presidents including both George Bushs.

I enjoyed reading this book. I liked learning about the politics and happenings of 14th century England and how they shaped the next century and the War of the Roses. It was amazing to me that so much information was known about a time period 700 years in the past. As much as there was known, there was a lot unknown about Katherine's life and there was a lot of conjecture. I liked the genealogy tables and information about their descendents at the end of the book. I did not like the constant use of the phrase "as we will see" or something like that was used throughout the novel.

This is a must read for fans of Katherine, or for history buffs that would like to learn more about 14th century England or the politics that shaped the War of the Roses.

The Agency by Ally O'Brien

I started this book this morning, read it off and on while nursing the baby, and had it finished by the end of the day. So . . . it is a very quick read!!

At first I did not like this book. There are a lot of crass statements in the first few chapters that I didn't like reading. The heroine, Tess Drake, is also very unlikeable. I thought about giving the book up, but the plot sucked me in.

Tess is a high powered agent in London. Her personal life is non-existent unless you count sleeping with other women's husbands. After the mysterious death of her boss, Tess is thinking about striking out on her own and starting her own company. The only problem is that two women have a vendetta against Tess and are trying to ruin her. Add to that fact that her star author is being accused of plagarism and she has been framed for murder. . . and you have an interesting situation.
I loved the mystery and couldn't put the book down until I knew how it was resolved. I didn't like Tess, but I did admire her gumption by the end. I also liked how she called her lover by the nickname of "Darcy." Any Pride and Prejudice reference always brings a smile to my face.

If you are looking for a quick, light read, I would recommend this book. If you do not like explicit language, I would skip it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Battlestar Galactica . . . almost the end.

Some quick thoughts on last Friday's episode of Battlestar Galactica. I thought it was an interesting episode . . . but I must admit that I am starting to get worried that all of my questions are not going to be answered. I'm trying to have faith in Ron Moore and crew as I have enjoyed the ride so far. That being said, there is a lot of questions they still need to answer in the last two hours. Such as. . . why does Baltar have a Six in his head? And why is he in her head? What is up with the opera house scene? Why has this all happened before and will happen again? Where will our rag-tag fleet end up? What is Starbuck? I could go on!

I wasn't sure how I felt about the flashbacks on this past episode. On one hand, I liked the look at how carefree and happy our main characters used to be juxtaposed with the people they have become. Even the drunken Lee chasing pigeons while at first seemed like nonsense, but then seemed more like look how far Lee has come . . .from a drunken fly boy estranged from his father to a responsible leader who is close to his father. I guess I liked learning more about our favorite characters, but I could have seen this awhile ago . . . I wanted more action, more answers!!! The flashbacks also seemed like I needed more information, I hope the last episode finishes them out perfectly.

I did like how Galactica is going on one more mission . . . to rescue Hera. I couldn't believe the old man would let Hera go and wouldn't let Helo try to rescue her in the past episode. I liked the line on the deck, but I kept feeling like Baltar was going to cross that line and finally make his selfless act. Speaking of Baltar, I enjoyed his flashbacks and learning about his old man and his initial set-up with Six. Anyone else think that Six might have helped Baltar's father find the "farm" by killing him? "The Last time I saw him, he was smiling" sounded awfully fishy to me.

I am still confused about Starbuck. I was convinced she was a hybrid and Daniel was her father. Now she is an "angel" that has crossed over. What is she? How did her viper crash killing her, yet she was in a different viper and came back to Galactica? I want to know!

My wild and crazy predictions:

1. Baltar will find a way to stay on Galactica and he and Six will rescue Hera as in the Opera House scene.

2. The blackhole they are traveling too will send Galactica and crew back to earth thousands of years before. They will populate the planet and will procreate with the cyclons creating the race that will eventually kill itself. "It has happened before and will happen again."

3. I don't know how the heck to explain Starbuck. I still think she is a hybrid.

4. Baltar and Six have someone mind printed with each other and will have hybrid babies together on earth.

What are your thoughts? The series finale of Battlestar on Friday will be a fantastic, yet bittersweet birthday present.

Nights in Rodanthe

Disclaimer: I have never read the book Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks, I've only watched the movie. I don't have a good review of how well the movie did or did not follow the novel since I didn't read it!

I enjoyed the movie Nights in Rodanthe. It reminded me of a good sixties romantic weepie that I would watch with my mom. It was not high art, but it was entertaining. I loved that it was a story of second chances and love later in life.

Adrienne (Diane Lane) is an almost divorced mother of two that has traveled to an island B&B to help her friend out by watching it for the weekend. There is only one guest, a troubled doctor named Paul (Richard Gere) who has come to Rodanthe to find a man who's wife died while he was performing surgery on her. Adrienne and Paul bring out the best in each other and find love during a hurricane. They soon separate when Paul flies to South America to help his estranged son with his medical practice. Adrienne and Paul continue their romance via old fashioned romantic letters. Then tragedy ensues . . .

Diane Lane and Richard Gere have great chemistry. My one complaint was that this movie was too short to adequately build up some of the characters. I didn't like how Adrienne's daughter was bratty and full of teen angst one minute and then suddenly caring and the perfect daughter the next. The drastic change was unrealistic. I also didn't like how Adrienne didn't bother to board up the windows for the hurricane until it was practically there. I don't think the tiny hooks they had closing the shutters would have worked. I don't know why I was bothered by this . . . but I was! Otherwise I enjoyed the light romance . . . and yes, I cried!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Musings on Lost

I was very unhappy to learn last night that Lost was a repeat. I thought that was why Lost started after the New Year so we could have non-stop Lost without any repeats. Oh well.

I really enjoyed last week's episode - Lafleur. I loved the focus on Sawyer and am using that excuse to put a shirtless picture of him on my blog! Our time traveling islanders have finally settled into one time period thanks to John Locke. That time period is 1974 with the Dharma initiative. This episode flashed back and forth between 1974 when they first hooked up with Dharma and 1977. . . three years later.

Sawyer really seems to have found his groove with Dharma. He has a responsible job as the head of security and has found love with Juliet. I was always a big fan of Sawyer/Kate, but the Sawyer/Juliet pairing is inspired. They both bring out the best in each other and it seemed that Sawyer had finally forgotten Kate . . . until he spots her on the beach at the end. NOOO! I am sucked back into caring about the love triangle/quadrangle again!

A few questions I had after this episode . . .
1. Where are Bernard and Rose? I ask this to Ben each week . . .I really want to know! Are they with the "others."

2. Where is young Ben? He should have been with the Dharma group. I hope he is shown soon.

3. Are Locke & Crew in 1977 or present day? And are all of the "Oceanic 6" besides Aaron in 1977. (Where is Aaron?)

4. How are the heroes going to get out of 1977 and what about the purge?

My questions could go on forever, but that's what I have for now. What did you think about last week's episode? Post away!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blog Award

Jo-Jo gave my blog this fantastic award. This makes my day! I'm always happy to find out that people like to read my blog and my rambling about books, movies, and TV that I enjoy. It has been great reading your comments - please post more! I've also enjoyed reading other blogs and learning about many new books that I've found interesting that I wouldn't have found without you. Thanks again for reading and enjoying my blog!

Romance Reading Challenge 2009

I've entered (and completed) the 2009 Romance Reading Challenge at this link the bookworm: Romance Reading Challenge 2009. I love romance!

My completed books for this challenge are:

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2. Beloved Enemy by Ellen Jones
3. The Ghosts of Old Bay Road by Marie McFaddon
4. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
5. Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs
6. Ride the Thunder by Janet Daily

I plan on reading more romance this year and hope you'll join me in this challenge! Thanks for showing me this challenge J. Kaye!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ride the Thunder by Janet Dailey

Ride the Thunder is an early 1980's romance novel that I borrowed from my friend Jenn almost a year ago. I really felt like reading a romance and thought it was about time I gave poor Jenn back her book!

Ride the Thunder is the story of Brig, a hardened ex-mercenary Idaho rancher and Jordanna, a beautiful huntress/heiress. The two meet up and have an explosive attraction to each other. Jordanna and her father Fletcher go on a hunting trip in Idaho with Brig leading them on his ranch to the illusive prey. The trip does not go as planned, with misunderstandings, action, and a death.

Overall I thought the book was very dated with Brig being a word I should not type on this blog. He was VERY sexist and aggrevating. Jordanna was an interesting strong woman though. I really liked how she liked to hunt. I had the overall plot line figured out from the beginning . . . yet something about the book kept me enthralled and reading. Even though I know what would happen, I wanted the mechanics of it and wanted to know whether the two main characters would get together at the end.

It was a good, but not great romance novel.

Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber

Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems is a good informational book that helps one understand a child's sleep problems and also has sections describing particular sleep disorders and how to solve them.

While the book had good information, it was not as good as an information source as it could be for a nursing mother. It also lacked specific plans for how to implement ideas. There were some good ideas in the book that I am trying, but it would have been nice to have more detail and implementation examples.

Overall, when your child is not sleeping, any helpful tips are welcome.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs

Just Breathe is the March pick for my Lakeshore Mom's book club. It was an enjoyable women's fiction novel that was a relatively quick read.

Sarah Moon has been through a difficult period in her life. Although her and her husband Jack are both in their twenties, they discovered that Jack had testicular cancer. After succesfully battling the desease, the two have been trying to get pregnant for a year using fertility treatments. Sarah's world comes crashing down when she discovers that Jack is having an affair. Sarah leaves Jack and Chicago behind and returns home to her small town on the California coast. She discovers herself as a woman without Jack and as an accomplished cartoonist. To say more would ruin the plot!

I enjoyed the book, but I wouldn't read the flap on the cover of the book again - it gave away EVERYTHING. I think some things were supposed to be left as plot twists, but I knew them going in because of the cover, which was disappointing. I liked the secondary characters, but thought they could have been a little more developed. Overall, a satisfactory read - but skip the cover summary!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Quick Thoughts About Lost and Battlestar

I have been enjoying watching my two favorite shows, but have not had much time to blog about them. Here are my quick thoughts after watching this week's episodes.

Lost - Wow. It was great getting to see what happened to John after he left the Island. I guess we know now that Ben really is a bad guy!! I'm still wondering why Ben was all bloody and late for the plane. I am afraid that the promise Ben had made to an old friend is that he went after Penny. I hope Desmond beat the crap out of him and that my favorite couple and child are okay. And I really hope that the show shows me what happened soon! Next week it looks like we get to see everyone reunited on the island. Is anyone else getting tired of the Kate-Jack-Sawyer triangle? I just want Kate to be offed so I don't have to watch it anymore! :-)

Battlestar - It looks like my prediction (that I didn't blog about, but did comment on about) of Starbuck's Dad being the mysterious Daniel or lost #7 cylon is probably true. Starbuck being the first hybrid would solve some myseries, but certainly not all. Poor Chief was screwed over again by Boomer. The Chief is one of my favorite characters, but he certainly never has an easy path. Only three episodes left . .. I don't want my favorite show to end!!

Your Favorite Literary Couple . . .

It turns out that not only is Mr. Darcy your favorite literary hero from last month's poll, but that Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett are overwhelmingly this blog's readers' favorite literary couple. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth handily thrashed Edward and Bella from the Twilight Saga 63% to 27%. Jamie & Claire from the Outlander series got a shout-out with 9%.

I think I can take it from this poll that my obsessive reading of Jane Austen spin-off literature and reviews of it are something that you all would like to read. I go in fits and spurts of reading this type of novel. The fall of 2007 was a period where I read a lot of it.

What is it about Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth that you love? Please feel free to comment!!

Your Favorite Current TV Couple . . .

It turns out that my favorite TV couples are not anyone elses' - LOL! "Other" was the winner of the poll. What other current TV show couple do people enjoy watching? I want to know! Please comment! "Jo-Jo" said on one comment that she enjoys Robert & Kitty from Brothers & Sisters. I don't watch that show, but my Dad enjoys it. Is this the favorite couple I was missing.

Otherwise Desmond & Penny (Lost) felt the love at number two, with Pam and Jim (The Office) coming in at number three. I feel very concerned for my favorite couple Desmond and Penny as I will blog separately about soon.

1. Other (41%)

2. Desmond and Penny (Lost) (33%)

3. Jim and Pam (The Office) (25%)

Your Favorite Romantic Comedy to Watch on Valentine's Day

It turns out your favorite romantic comedy to watch on Valentine's Day is When Harry Met Sally. I must admit - I have never seen this romantic comedy. I have seen the "fake orgasm" scene on TV a million times and have also seen different scenes as I have flipped the channels, but have never sat down and watched the entire movie. Since everyone likes it so much - maybe I should!

Your favorite three movies where as follows:

1.When Harry Met Sally (32%)

2. Bridget Jones's Diary

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Tie each with 25%)

3. The Wedding Singer (12%)

I didn't have an "other" option on this poll. What other romantic comedies do you enjoy? Did anyone else scorn the AFI's Top 10 Romantic Comedies last year as I did?

The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard

The Pale Blue Eye was my Kewaunee Library Book Club pick for March. While it had a slow start, the book definitely picked up and had a fantastic ending that totally surprised me. I love when you can't see the ending coming!!

This novel is a mystery set at the West Point Academy in 1830. A cadet has been murdered and his heart removed. Augustus Landor, a local retired investigator originally from New York, is called in to help solve the crime. He recruit a cadet, one Edgar Allen Poe, to help him solve the mystery deep within the heart of West Point.

Overall I enjoyed the novel. It was not a quick mystery, but I enjoyed the characters, particularly Poe. You won't know who the killer is until the last page. Bravo - I love a good mystery!

I liked Bayer's The Black Tower more than this novel though if I had to pick only one to read. One of this days I will have to read Bayer's Mr. Timothy, it looks good.