Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Bet Me is our October pick for the FLICKS Book and Movie Club. This book was chosen as we were looking for a “trashy” romance and used Smart Bitches, Trashy Books fun site to help us chose a good read.

This book did not disappoint. Bet Me is a nice, fluffy read. It is the story of Min, a slightly frumpy actuary with a biting sense of humor. Min is dumped at the start of the story by her boyfriend David as they have been dating for two months and she hasn’t slept with him. Bitter boyfriend David decides to bet the handsome and successful Cal that he can’t get Min to go out to dinner with him . . . and to sleep with him. Cal takes him up on the dinner offer and asks Min out to eat. The two spend the evening fighting and decide to never see each other again. Strangely they keep running into each other, and find that they are attracted to one another.

Both Min and Cal have interesting families that cause much heartache and are included in a trio of friends. Their friends are lively and entertaining. Perhaps the best part of the book though was the use of food. I’ve never read a book before that made eating donuts so sexy. And can that be a bad thing? Chicken Marsala was also featured and makes me wish that I lived near my favorite Italian restaurant in Milwaukee again. Overall, the book made me very hungry. And not to disappoint, there was one love scene toward the end to laugh about at book club.

If you are looking for a fun book to read with fantastic characters, a lot of humor, and good food, I highly recommend Bet Me.

Winner of the Song of Solomon Giveaway!

Barb of Meditative Reading won a copy of Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Congrats Barb! was used to pick the winner. Barb - please respond to the email I sent with your mailing address and I'll get the book put in the mail early this upcoming week.
If you didn't win, I will have a new giveaway up next week that is more of a Halloween theme . . . stay tuned!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Song of Solomon Giveaway Ends Tonight!

This is just a quick reminder that I am giving away one gently used Trade Paperback copy of Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Details are located here and the giveaway ends tonight at midnight! The lucky winner will be notified via email tomorrow.

I haven't had too many posts this week as work and life have been a bit hectic and I am trying my hardest to finish my book club book and not read An Echo in the Bone. I started it yesterday and am going to force myself today to finish the other book before I continue reading. I have about four posts started about various topics and will hopefully get them finished and posted soon!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

It is hard to believe that I have not read Fahrenheit 451 yet. I’ve been meaning to read it since I was 15 and actually have an old tattered copy of it for about ten years or so. I have always loved the tagline, “The temperature at which books burn.” Luckily The Classics Challenge came along to finally get me to put it on the top of the pile!

Fahrenheit 451 is the story of Guy Montag, a firefighter who loves his job. In the future, firemen do not put out fires (houses are fireproofed), but instead start fires to destroy illegal books. Society has disintegrated. War is eminent, but society is obsessed with talking to their “family” on their 4 wall interactive televisions. Life is not respected; suicides, abortions, hit-and-runs are rampant. Literature has been downgraded to brief summaries on TV. Books are not needed, and are viewed as objects that cause thought and depression.

Montag has always believed in the evil of books. One day his thoughts start to change when he meets a young girl named Clarisse. Clarisse looks at the world through a different point of view. She likes to stop and smell the flowers and think about things outside what she is told to think. Her ideas, coupled with his wife’s attempt at suicide, and other events put Montag on a path of self-discovery. Montag attempts to change his life and the future of man-kind.

Bradbury had fantastic prose throughout the book that often had me stop to admire the beauty of the language. I enjoyed this book immensely and feel that its message is more than highly relevant today. This book was first published in 1953 during the height of the Cold War. In modern times we have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a public that cares more about the results of American Idol. We do live in a time in which people sometimes spend more time on the internet (blogging like me!) talking with Facebook friends or texting rather than talking to their friends or family in the same room or house. I think at times this is a bad situation, but at other times, I think that the internet and television actually help people in their understanding and reading of books. I love reading other peoples blogs and “talking” to them about books that my own friends and relatives don’t read.

Another way to interpret this book is as a treatise against the banning of books and censorship. Indeed in a fantastic “Coda” at the end of the book, Bradbury states,” There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine/FourSquareGospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.” Bradbury then goes on to describe how Fahrenheit 451 was censured in 75 sections to make it more suitable for school children. I know of nothing more ironic then the censoring of a book about the censuring of books.

In a world were people do not want the President of the United States to talk to school children about staying in school as it might be offensive, I find this highly relevant. I am very much against the banning and censorship of books. I could not believe that when I was in college, my own hometown attempted to ban The Catcher in the Rye from the high school American Literature required reading. The reason why was that people had flipped through and had noticed a few swear words. I always thought these people should have sat in the back of the school bus and realized there was a lot worse going on at school. Attempting to force only one message on people and shelter them from reality would be against everything that is America.

I could talk on this subject all day, but I’ll end here with a quote from the book, where Montag comes to a realization about society. “We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively knew was gone was the books I’d burned in ten or twelve years.”

Monday, September 21, 2009

It’s a Grand Old Flag by George M. Cohan and When Johnny Comes Marching Home by Patrick S. Gilmore – Both Illustrated by Todd Ouren.

It is hard to get my 17-month old son Danny to stay still too long for a story at nap and bedtime. We have been trying different books to interest him, and one thing that is sure to grab his attention is a good song book. He may be dancing before bed time, but at least he’s paying attention and hopefully wearing himself out!

Two favorites that Danny and my 3-year old son Kile enjoy are It’s a Grand Old Flag by George M. Cohan and When Johnny Comes Marching Home by Patrick S. Gilmore. Both of these books have great illustrations by Todd Ouren and are part of a patriotic songs series published by Picture Window Books from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The illustrations do a good job of putting a picture to what is going on in the verses of the songs, which give my 3-year interesting vocabulary such as “jubilee.” Also included in the back of the book are the complete song verses, and a great explanation about the song origins. The explanation of the song origins always entertains my husband and my self and we always learn something new.

We check these books out from the library fairly frequently, but tomorrow we’ll be searching for something new to entertain Danny!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange

I love Jane Austen, Mr. Darcy, and vampires, therefore the book Mr. Darcy, Vampyre seemed tailor made for me. This novel starts on the day of the wedding of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. After their wedding, a change in plans is made and Lizzy finds herself headed to Europe for a continental honeymoon instead of the planned vacation at the Lake District. The Darcys’ find many adventures in Europe and Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy’s extended family. Elizabeth begins to wonder if something is not quite right about Mr. Darcy, especially after he fails to visit their bedchamber every night.

While the story started off vintage regency romance, it quickly turned into a gothic thriller that would be the dream of Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey. Indeed, the book is dedicated to Miss Morland, which gave me an occasion to smile.

I really enjoyed the book at first, as it continued on though, I found it rather lackluster. While I know Elizabeth would be adventurous, I really don’t think she would go along with getting chased through the Alps by angry villagers without asking more questions. Mr. Darcy never fulfilling his marriage obligations would also be a sore point.

Overall, I really enjoyed the first part of the novel with getting to see the Bennet family and the double wedding. The gothic story found in the rest of the book was okay, but I was underwhelmed. I enjoy the “Diary” series by Amanda Grange much better. I would really like to see a P&P sequel from Ms. Grange that does not involve vampyres.

This is item number 10 in my Everything Austen Challenge List.

I enjoyed the passion that Darcy and Elizabeth had for each other, and this is my favorite quote from the book.

Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth:

“I love you to distraction. I thought I would go mad, being with you every day but never able to touch you. If only you knew how I longed to do this, to feel your skin, to run my fingers through your hair and over your face, to feel you, touch you, be with you. . . but I couldn’t, I couldn’t.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moose and Magpie by Bettina Restrepo and Illustrated by Sherry Rogers

I was very excited to win Moose and Magpie from Tiff Talks Books. My 3-year old son Kile loves to “read” with me. He loved when it came in the mail and has spent a lot of time looking through it when I am not reading it to him.

Moose and Magpie is the story of the title characters, who are best friends. Magpie loves to tell jokes, but Moose lacks the self-confidence needed to tell his own jokes. Magpie accompanies Moose on his migration. Fun facts are sprinkled throughout the book.

Kile and I think the illustrations are fantastic. Kile really liked the character of Moose. He also really liked learning the fun facts about him. The only negative I have for the book is that the story is rather jumpy. In other words, the story doesn’t seem to flow at times. I thought I had skipped a page, but I really hadn’t. Kile didn’t seem to notice though and really liked it.

Overall it’s a cute book, and a great way to learn about Moose, Magpie, and other animals of the northwoods.

Twilight Your Favorite Book

I just had a great laugh of today. I am a fan of the Twilight series, but I know things can get carried a bit too far. There has been much chatter lately about a recent release of Wuthering Heights, which has a "Twilight" cover. Not only does it look like Twilight, but has "Edward and Bella's Favorite Book" on it (although they discuss Wuthering Heights in Eclipse, I'm not sure it is their favorite novel). While some are outraged, I think it is a smooth marketing move.

The ladies at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books took this a step farther and had people submit "Twilight" covers for their favorite books. The results are HILARIOUS! If you need a good laugh today, I suggest you take a look and vote on your favorite cover. (Make sure you click on the "more, more, more" tab to be able to see the covers.) There is only a 24-hour period to vote. I only wish I were as creative as the ladies who submitted entries!

What were your favorite entries? I had many favorites. I few that made me laugh included the Bible (we had the apple thing first), Gone With the Wind, the baby name book, the Stephen King book (King once acknowledged Stephenie Meyer's existance - LOL!), etc.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Outlander Giveaway on Mom-Musings!

As readers of this blog know, I love Outlander and the entire series and am eagerly waiting for An Echo in the Bone to be released next week. For BBAW, Mom- Musings is giving away a copy of Outlander AND one audiobook copy of your choice of one of the books in the series. Pretty cool! If you want to check out the series for yourself, now is a good time!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon (audio)

Only a slightly over a week left until the publication of An Echo in the Bone, and I am getting more than a little excited.

I had a six hour round trip voyage to make last Friday for a work related conference. I finished listening to the audiobook of The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon as I drove and it made my trip go by much faster.

I once again listened to the abridged version of the book as read by Geraldine James. James does an excellent job reading the novel. The music has also been vastly improved as compared to the earlier audiobooks. The abridged version leaves out considerable detail that is contained in the actual novel, but it is a good refresher for someone who needs one before reading An Echo in the Bone.

The Fiery Cross is the fifth novel in the Outlander series. This novel moves more slowly than previous novels and encompasses only about two years from 1770 to 1772. Claire, Jamie, Brianna, Roger, and Jemmy are all together at Fraser’s Ridge in North Carolina. The novel starts at a gathering of the highlanders, and Brianna and Roger prepare to get married. Further plot points include a squirmish with the militia, a near hanging of a major character, the Tory gold mystery, and more information about another time traveler, Otter Tooth. The best part of the novel however is the rich detail of life in the eighteenth century and the love between Jamie and Claire, and Brianna and Roger. It is so hard to describe these novels. They contain so much – a passionate love story, historical fiction, adventure, time travel, etc. I love them!

I had two favorite passages in this novel:

The first is when Jamie fears he is dying and he tells Roger:

“Tell Brianna I’m glad of her, “ Fraser whispered. “Give my sword to the bairn.”

. . .

“Claire?” he asked quietly. “Is there anything ye’d have me tell her?”

. . .

“Tell her . . . I meant it”

My other favorite quote is the last passage in the novel that Jamie says to Claire:

“When the day shall come, that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’ – ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Giveaway - The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

In the spirit of discussion on this blog of American classics last month, I am going to give away my gently used trade paperback copy of The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison.

Summary (From the Publisher):
Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, a novel of large beauty and power, creates a magical world out of four generations of black life in America, a world we enter on the day of the birth of Macon Dead, Jr. (known as Milkman), son of the richest black family in a mid-western town; the day on which the lonely insurance man, Robert Smith, poised in blue silk wings, attempts to fly from a steeple of the hospital, a black Icarus looking homeward...

We see Milkman growing up in his father's money-haunted, death-haunted house with his silent sisters and strangely passive mother, beginning to move outward--through his profound love and combat with his friend Guitar...through Guitar's mad and loving commitment to the secret avengers called the Seven Days...through Milkman's exotic, imprisoning affair with his love-blind cousin, Hagar...and through his unconscious apprenticeship to his mystical Aunt Pilate, who saved his life before he was born.

And we follow him as he strikes out alone; moving first toward adventure and then--as the unspoken truth about his family and his own buried heritage announces itself--toward an adventurous and crucial embrace of life.

This is a novel that expresses, with passion, tenderness, and a magnificence of language, the mysterious primal essence of family bond and conflict, the feelings and experience of all people wanting, and striving, to be alive.

About the Author (from inside the book):

Toni Morrison was born in Lorain, Ohio. Song of Solomon won the 1978 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. She is the winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Giveaway Details:

There is one gently used copy of this book up for grabs. If you would like to enter this contest do any of the following:

1. Leave a comment on this post. You must include an email address in at least one of your comments. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner. (1 entry)

2. Blog about this giveaway or post about it on your sidebar. Leave a separate comment with a link to your post. (1 entry)

3. Become a follower or leave a comment that you already are a follower of this blog. (1 entry)

There are three ways to enter, but you must LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each one or they will not count.
I will be using to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday September 25th.

Good luck!

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

I am a fan of historical fiction in general and Phlippa Gregory specifically. I think my love for historical fiction first started when I read the Little House on the Prairie series and the autobiographies of famous folks in elementary school. After reading these true life tales, I longed for something more. I read every historical fiction book I could find and by my teenage years I was entertained by the works of John Jakes, Jean Plaidy, and Anya Seton among others. I am always excited to find a new historical novelist that I enjoy, and about five or more years ago I discovered Philippa Gregory. Gregory has written a fantastic series based on the Tudors that included The Other Boleyn Girl amongst others.

I love English history and am fascinated by the Tudors, but I will admit, I was beginning to hope that Gregory would move on to a new dynasty. Luckily in The White Queen, Gregory has done just that and written a riveting account of Elizabeth Woodville, the wife and Queen of Edward IV, the mother of the two princes in the tower, and one of the major players in the War of the Roses.

Elizabeth is a young widow and mother when she first meets the King. They fall in love, but she refuses to be with him unless he marries her first. He gives in and they have a secret wedding. This secret wedding and Elizabeth’s family’s growing power drives a wedge between King Edward and his cousin Warwick, the “kingmaker.” The country goes through much turmoil and Elizabeth does what she can to survive.

I realized through the book that I felt really bad for the “common” people that lived during this time. With brother against brother, treason, constant warfare, it must have been hard to just survive. The War of the Roses was certainly no bed of roses.

I love how often in her novels Gregory takes a rumor that was floating around about a Queen and says that it was exactly the case. In this book, the rumor was that Elizabeth Woodville was a witch. She does practice a couple of pagan rites as passed down to her by her mother, although she is a Christian.

I don’t want to ruin the end of the novel, but I love Gregory’s sequence of events. I was left hanging at the end though as I really want to know what happens next in Gregory’s version of the tale. It looks like this series will continue!

Overall a great read for lovers of historical fiction and fans of Gregory. The book felt a bit rushed at times because there was just so much happening during these troubled times. If you loved this book and want to read more about the time period, I highly recommend The King’s Daughter: A Novel of the First Tudor Queen and Lady of the Roses both by Sandra Worth. If you’d like to read other Gregory books, I recommend The Queen’s Fool, one of my favorites.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009)

I just went and watched The Time Traveler’s Wife yesterday evening with my FLICKS Book and Movie Club. My overall impression was that it was good, but not great. I enjoyed it. This review is meant as a companion to my review of the audiobook.

I liked how the movie got rid of most of the things I didn’t like about the book. I still was a bit creeped out when Henry first appears naked to six year old Claire, but they got rid of the other creepy scenes. I liked seeing the story unfold over time and loved the chemistry between Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams. The ending was good, but I was kind of sad that it wasn’t old Claire as in the book.

I didn’t like how the characters and their story were not as well developed as the book, but that is a very common problem in trying to translate a complex work to the screen. I also didn’t like how the movie started with the accident scene. I like how the book builds to this revelation. I personally wanted Eric Bana to shave throughout the movie. He is a hot guy, but I didn’t like his scruff!

Reactions to the movie by the club were mixed. Mostly there was a lot of confusion about time travel and Henry’s ability to exist in the same time with himself (no one was able to get the book from the library in time before the movie). Also many missed the build-up of romance between Henry and Claire. They chopped out all of their first getting to know each other as romantic individuals in the meadow. A couple people liked it and a couple didn’t. My favorite quote by a friend who shall remain nameless was, “I can believe in Vampires and Werewolves in the Twilight series, but I just can’t believe in time travel.” I love time travel books and movies so I thought it was funny!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mansfield Park (1999)

I watched Mansfield Park as my ninth item for the Everything Austen Challenge. I own this movie, but it had been quite a few years since I had watched it.

Overall, as a movie, it was quite enjoyable. As a production of Mansfield Park the novel, it was not so much. Overall the movie generally followed the plot of the novel, but there were many changes in characters, situations, and settings. One of the major changes was to “spice up” Fanny. In my review of the audio book, I discussed that Fanny is a hard heroine to love because of her shyness and tendency to hide behind the scenes. The writers of this movie must have thought the same thing as they gave Fanny a makeover. She is now an opinionated authoress who loves to exercise. She becomes the author of Austen’s juvenilia and letters. While she is a more spirited girl and easier to empathize with, she is not Austen’s Fanny.

The other major personality change was of Sir Thomas Bertram. He is now a harsh taskmaster and abuser of slaves. I like abolition movies, but I don’t like when abolition is thrown into movies based on material where it didn’t appear previously. It feels forced. I didn’t like Sir Thomas as an evil character.

Sex was also added in with Fanny catching Henry and Maria in the act at Mansfield Park. I didn’t approve.

I did like the actors and actresses who portrayed the parts, they were perfectly cast. I especially loved Johnny Lee Miller as Edmund. I also really liked how this movie had Fanny’s visit to Portsmouth. That is one of my favorite parts of the novel.

I do not think there has been a great adaptation of Mansfield Park yet. There were numerous problems with the 2008 version that I reviewed previously and all I remember of the 1980’s version was that it was long and very boring. It has been probably 15 years since I watched the 1980’s version so perhaps I should give it another try.

This ends my tour of Mansfield Park. I have a couple of books I want to read first (including Mr. Darcy, Vampyre and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict) and then I will be on a Sense and Sensibility binge!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mr. Knightley (or your favorite Austen hero if Mr. Darcy didn’t exist)

I had a poll last month on this blog on who my readers’ favorite Austen hero was, besides Mr. Darcy. Mr. Knightly won a narrow victory with 31% of the vote. Captain Wentworth and Colonel Brandon tied for second with 27%. Edward Ferrars came in third with 9% and Henry Tilney came in 4th with 4%. Poor Edmund Bertram received zero votes.

As the hero of Emma, Mr. Knightley is a man in his prime in his thirties. As the owner of Donwell Abbey, he is a man used to being in charge, but makes good use of his authority by being kind to people in need. As a friend of Emma, he is not afraid to criticize her moral failings, especially if they hurt other people. His friendship soon turns to love and these two friends find happiness together in wedded bliss. He is the ultimate in understanding men, he agrees to live with his father-in-law to further Emma’s happiness. If that is not love, I don’t know what is!

Mr. Knightley has one of the great romantic lines an Austen novel, “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. – You hear nothing but truth from me. – I have blamed you, lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it. . . But you understand me. – Yes, you see, you understand my feelings – and will return them if you can.”

My own personal favorite Austen hero (besides Mr. Darcy) is Captain Wentworth from Persuasion. I base that on this letter that he wrote to Anne:

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means that are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to understand my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am ever instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do use justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among mean. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

I must go uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your part, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”

I love this! What is your personal favorite Austen hero (besides Mr. Darcy), and why? Please comment!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (audio)

I must admit this, I read The Time Traveler’s Wife back when it first came out and did not like it. We are going to the theatre as part of my FLICKS Book and Movie Club this week to watch the movie so I thought I would refresh myself and read the book again. There is a VERY long wait on the actual book at my library, so I listened to the audiobook instead.

The audiobook was read by William Hope and Laura Lefkow. I really liked having the book read by a male and female narrator depending on whether the chapter was narrated by Claire or by Henry. It gave the book a voice and personality if you will. I enjoyed it.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a much beloved book that is the story of Henry DeTamble and his wife Claire Abshire. Henry first met Claire when she was 20 and he was 28; Claire first met Henry she was 6 and he was a middle aged man. Henry has chrono-displacement disorder, which means that he travels through time spontaneously. Life as a time traveler is dangerous and also causes a lot of heartache for the people that Henry loves.

This book is first and foremost a love story. It is the story of two different people and how they get together and cope with the disorder of one of them. Henry and Claire both are well rounded people with flaws and quirks. I really liked them both. I also liked the mystery of how it would all end. The love story and the time travel elements were fantastic to me – and I loved this part of the novel. I am a great fan of time travel literature in general.

I really didn’t like other aspects of the novel. SPOILER ALERT. My biggest problem with the novel was the weird sexual stuff going on. My biggest dislike was the fact that 40 something year old Henry travels back in time to deflower 18-year old Claire. It seems like every man’s fantasy, but really, would I want my 40 something year old husband to travel back in time to deflower my 18-year old self. No. I just found it weird and distasteful. I still felt the same way this second time through the novel. Call me a prude, but I think Niffenegger could use some help writing romantic scenes. They were a little too detailed and clinical at times. I also didn’t like how a time traveling Henry and Claire have a night of passion, with another Henry slumbering right next to them. What?? Claire and her best friend’s husband going at it while her friend is out with her daughter. Classy. And last of all, what the heck was teenage Henry caught doing with another teenage Henry by his father? I’m sure I probably don’t want to know.

I also didn’t like how Henry was a cad around town, but he felt different about his wife when he discovered that she had one other lover and hadn’t been faithful to only him throughout her life. It seemed more than a bit sexist to me.

I thought Claire’s grandma was very wise when she said that in fairy tales the children have the adventures, but the mothers stay home waiting. Good premonition for Claire’s future. I also liked Niffenegger’s descriptions, especially of the Gomez house looking like a glacier of toys had passed through depositing toys. That sounds like my house!

To me, one of the main themes of the books was whether one has free will or whether life is predetermined. I think this book plainly states that life is predetermined. I often felt kind of sorry for Claire. She obviously loved Henry, but she seemed to have no free will. This is how life is and will be and you have no choice on the matter. I do believe in destiny, but I also believe in free will.

I liked the setting of the book in South Haven, Michigan and Chicago. I am originally from Michigan and we often went to the beach in South Haven while I was growing up. Niffenegger was born in South Haven, but moved to Chicago at age 2 when her dad (a civil engineer like me!) got a new job. She spent a lot of time in South Haven visiting her extended family.

Overall, it was a good book, but not great. I know this book is much beloved. Am I in the minority here or did anyone else not love this book? I did like it better this second time through. I’ll also admit that I did cry at the end with the bittersweet meeting at the end with old Claire and Henry.

My favorite quote, as stated by Claire: "It's hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he's okay. It's hard to be the one who stays."

This and That . . .

I am still a bit behind on reviews and I still blame it on my hectic work schedule. I will be slowly catching up over the next couple of weeks. I had a few things that I really wanted to comment on and decided I should do it in one post!!

Books and Bards is doing a very unique Jane Austen Mix-and-Matching Mini-Challenge. My sister Kristi participated in the challenge and her results are quite hiliarious. Check it out for yourself! I can't top her answers, so I don't think I'll even try!

Stephanie at Stephanie's Written Word is hosting a Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters giveaway. You know I'm excited about that!

I was also rather lucky this past week and won a copy of Moose and Magpie by Bettina Restrepo from Tiff Talk's Books. My son Kile will be very excited when this comes in the mail!

I also won a copy of My Name is Will from Miss Remmers' Review. Very exciting! Thanks again Tiff and Reagan!

I hope everyone is having a great Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Race to Witch Mountain (2009)

Finally, we found a children’s movie that my husband actually enjoyed. My husband and I both had fond memories of the 1970’s era Disney Witch Mountain movies and looked forward to this movie. My son Kile really likes space ships so he thought it looked cool too.

Race to Witch Mountain stars Dwanye Johnson (The Rock) as Bruno, taxicab driver that picks up two kids, Seth and Sara, with amazing powers. With Major Henry Burke, an alien being known as a Siphon, as well as random thugs in pursuit, Bruno and the kids race to retrieve their ship on Witch Mountain. The kids had to retrieve important information from earth and return to their home world with it to save their planet and ours.

Race to Witch Mountain was an enjoyable light flick with lots of action and pursuit. You might not want to ponder the plot too much, but it is a good movie for kids. My 3-year old son liked it, but it was a bit violent and scary for him (mostly the Siphon – he was in a scary outfit). He was okay watching it on Daddy’s lap. He liked the kids, the dog (Junkyard) and most especially the flying spaceship. It would probably be a good movie for kids older than Kile.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August Awards!

I have received many kind awards this month! I have been a bit backed up by work so I am just now posting these awards. Thank-you very much for the awards and for reading and enjoing my blog! I love doing it and I love reading all of your blogs too! In fact, it seems like I received an award from most of my favorite blogs. Very cool to know that you guys are reading and enjoying my blog too!

I'm passing these awards on to a lot of blogs that I read, love, and enjoy. I'm sorry if I award someone an award they already received. Know that it's only because you have a truly excellent blog! I tried to make sure that didn't happen, but know it probably did! I also may give some people a couple of different awards for different reasons!

First a thanks to Heather at Gofita's Pages for the B-I-N-G-O Award. I first found Heather's blog after joining the Everything Austen Challenge, and I find myself reading it quite often these days!

This award was started by Bookin With BINGO and here are the rules: This "B-I-N-G-O" Beautiful Blog Award means that this blog is:

B: Beautiful- The Book Addict (I love the Cat!)

I: Informative- Trish's Reading Nook

N: Neighborly- Miss Remmer's Reviews

G: Gorgeous- Peeking Between the Pages

O: Outstanding- Laurel Ann at Austenprose

Thanks to Lit and Life for the Heartfelt Award. I love the book reviews on Lit and Life. She seems to read a lot of the type of books I enjoy and has insightful reviews.

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when your relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside.

The Rules for the Heartfelt Award are:

1) Put the logo on your blog/post.

2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.

3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.

5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I'm passing this award on to:

1. Gofita's Pages
2. Outlandish Observations
3. vvB32 Reads

4. Linda Kage

5. Lakeside Musings
6. 2 Kids and 2 Tired Book Reviews

7. Stephanie's Written Word

8. Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia
9. An Evening at Almack's

I also received the Your Blog Rocks Awards from Velvet at vvB32 Reads. I have really enjoyed reading Velvet's blog since starting the Everything Austen Challenge.

Here are some recent blogs I've visited that rock:

1. Red Lady's Reading Room
2. Author Kelly Moran's Blog

3. Writer's Blocks Reviews

The Literary Blogger Award was given to me by Jo-Jo at Jo-Jo Loves to Read. I have enjoyed reading Jo-Jo's blog for the past year or more. I enjoy her great reviews and she also posts a lot of great give aways! I also received this award from Linda Kage at Linda Kage Contemporary Romance Author blog. I like reading about Linda's work as a writer and also her thoughts on life. I can't wait until her book is published! Thanks so much to the both of you!

Here is what the award signifies:

The Literary Blogger Award acknowledges bloggers who energize & inspire reading by going the extra mile. These amazing bloggers make reading fun & enhance the delight of reading! I pass this award on to the following:

1. Miss Remmer's Reviews
2. Bostan at In This World
3. Trish's Reading Nook
4. Black Sheep Books
5. A Bibliphile's Bookshelf
6. Peeking Between the Pages
7. Books 'N Border Collies
8. The Curious Reader
9. Stemen Thoughts and Reviews

A huge thank you to Miss Remmer at Miss Remmer's Reviews! She's awarded me with this awesome Let's be Friends Award! I've discovered Miss Remmer's blog this summer and have really enjoyed reading her reviews. I can't wait until she begins teaching! I also received this from Velvet at vvB32 Reads. This is my second award from Velvet on this post and I feel honored! I enjoy her blog too . . . especially her posts on Zombies and Jane Austen. Celia from The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia also gave me this award. This is another great blog that I just found this summer and really enjoy reading!

"I am now going to pass on this award to eight other friendly blogging type people, who comment, host challenges, and follow my blog. Congratulations, and display your award with pride! Please pass on the award to eight other bloggers and share the bloggy love!" (It seems like everyone has this one . . . so I don't have eight!)

1. The Reading Journey

2. Lit and Life

3. Tif Talks Books

4. Jo-Jo Loves to Read

I received the Zombie Chicken Award from Karen Henry at the Outlandish Observations blog. I love Karen's blog as it is all things Outlander: Diana Gabaldon, Jamie, Claire, etc. I could read about that all day! Thanks a lot Karen!

Here is the description of the award:

"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all."Here are my five sites. Hope you enjoy them!

1. Suko's Notebook

2. Books and Bards

3. Historically Obsessed

4. A Novel Menagerie

5. Passages to the Past

Thank you so much to The Book Addict for this great award, thanks for including me in your list! I love reading your blog too!

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award that shows great attitude or gratitude. Here are the rules for accepting this award:

• Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.

• Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude. (I didn't get to 10!)

• Link your nominees within your post.

• Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

• Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

1. Stacy's Books

2. Linda Kage

3. Care's Online Book Club

4. Missy's Book Nook

5. Musings of a Booking Kitty

I received this very cool award from Nicole at Book and Bards, another one of my favorite blogs.

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

And these are the five blogs I'd like to pass this award to:

1. Suko's Notebook

2. Gofita's Pages

3. The Book Addict

4. Becky's Book Reviews

5. vvB32 Reads

And another award from Velvet at vvB32 Reads. I'm glad you like my comments - I enjoy reading your blog and making comments!

The award is for:

This award is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendship through the blog world.

Rule: Nominate 10 bloggers you feel deserve the Humane Award.

1. Book and Bards

2. Tif Talks Books

3. Jo-Jo Loves to Read

4. Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia

I also received the Super Commenter Award from Michelle at The Book Addict. Thank-you so much! I'm glad that you like my comments, I enjoy reading your blog and making comments. I also enjoy the comments you make on my blog!

I am in turn giving this award to a couple of my super commenters:
1. Suko's Notebook
2. vvB32 Reads

Winners of The Blue Star by Tony Earley!

Congrats to the following winners of The Blue Star by Tony Earley:

2. Suko at Suko's Notebook
4. Andrea
5. vvB32 of vvB32 Reads
Sue just gracously informed me that she won this book on another another blog. Using random dot org, our new winner is . . . Luvdaylilies. Congrats!!

Winners were selected using I will be sending you all an email. Please email me your address ASAP so I can send it to the publisher and get you your book as quickly as possible.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this giveaway!