Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Monday, December 31, 2007

Princess Mia



Yes, I am one of *those* adults who reads The Princess Diaries series. I love Mia, the "princess" of these books; gawky and self-conscious, she is definitely an everygirl that teens can identify with. These books are often funny and heart warming, and they've pulled me along with them, though I have to admit that a few of the recent ones weren't quite up to par as the beginning of the series.

Now we come to #9, Princess Mia, and I'm pleased to say that Cabot's back in top form with this one. Mia's beyond depressed over the loss of her beloved Michael, and it shows; she refuses to leave her bed or even shower. Her parents eventually decide she needs therapy, and Mia reluctantly begins the climb back out of the depths of despair. Her relationship with Lilly seems to be over (hurrah!), and there's even a hint of love-to-come with J.P. There are no quick fixes for what ails our Mia, but she displays courage and maturity when faced with the decision to help Genovia convert to democracy.

The best in the series so far, my amazon review can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ysz6au. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, even if you've not read all the others. It's definitely worth it!

~taminator40

Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Top Ten of 2007

The following qualify as my Top Ten Reads for 2007. Beyond the first listed, the others are in no particular order:

  • A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick (read this book...it's so rich in language, place, and character, a truly stellar experience)
  • Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (A unique story that moves along thrillingly)
  • Companions of the Night by Vivian Van Velde (raises YA lit to a new level)
  • Helen of Troy by Margaret George
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Ride of Our Lives by Mike Leonard
  • The September Girls by Maureen Lee
  • The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost

Overall, it wasn't an outstanding reading year for me. The 10/10s were few and far between, and many of my reads fell in the 7/10 category (good but not great). I am hoping that next year I'll choose my reads more wisely and read what I want when I want without worrying over reviews or what I *should* read. As my friend Maudeen said, guilt-free reading should be our goal!

~taminator40

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Slumpiness

Bah, humbug. Well, it's not actually a Christmas humbug--more of a book humbug. Despite being surrounded by literally hundreds of books, with several gift certificates for more, two more set to arrive from Amazon any day now, and the prospect of purchasing even more while shopping tomorrow, I am, officially, in a reading slump. My book friends will know how frustrating this is. When all you want to do is read, and nothing sounds good, and your mind wanders ceaselessly, you know a slump has hit. Arrgh.

I'm currently reading A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter. It's my final book for the tbr_challenge for 2007 and I am determined to finish it. It's a good book but it does take some concentration for me to keep everyone straight, which might be part of the problem. I keep thinking I need to just set it aside and pick up something light, but there's this nagging sensation that I MUST complete this book in order to have closure for this challenge. Goofy, huh? But that's how I am. However, I do promise myself if the latest book in the Princesss Diaries series shows up in the mail tomorrow, I am going to read it. I think it would be just the thing for my state of mind, which apparently has deteriorated rapidly this fall and winter. I just can't find myself concentrating on actual reading for long periods, damnit.

All readers go through this periods when they feel stuck and no book is really grabbing them. The trouble is, it doesn't stop me from wanting to add to my ever growing TBR mountain. Rational people would see the lack of logic in this statement. Readers just nod their heads and agree.

I know this too shall pass, but dang, I feel as though I'm wasting a perfectly good two week opportunity to lose myself in the pages of an "unputdownable" story. I suppose I should just take a deep breath and let the pages flow as they will, but I'm not like that. I KNOW things will improve, but, like patience, I want it and I want it NOW.

~taminator40

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Enchantress From the Stars

I first read Sylvia Engdahl's fantastic fantasy novel, The Far Side of Evil, when I was in sixth grade. For years I never saw the book afterwards, but I remembered the details from it vividly. Only after I discovered the wonderful world of book lovers connected by the internet was I able to locate a copy of it and reread it a few years ago. It was just as good the second time around; a true feat when you consider that I was 12 when I first read it. So when I discovered that there was yet another novel set in the same time and world, Enchantress From the Stars, and found that many of my online friends even preferred it to TFSOE, I was anxious to read it and see for myself. Having just finished it, I can say that I did indeed enjoy it, but TFSOE will always remain my favorite of the two. This one is different in tone, probably more for a younger audience. I did enjoy the way the novel flowed between points of view, and I liked how there was a fairly large twist towards the end. Engdahl is an excellent writer, and I feel comfortable recommending this one to all lovers of fantasy. Also, finishing this novel makes it my #11 completion in my tbr_challenge quest for 2007! One more to go, which I'm picking up tonight. My amazon review can be found at http://tinyurl.com/25yqgr.

~taminator40

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Review of Dark Lover

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward is yet another vampire book...yes, I realize I have a problem. Anyway, recommended to me by an online friend who likes the same sorts of books as I do, I borrowed it from her recently and decided to dive in. The vampire world as portrayed in this book is definitely different than I'm used to, and this one is definitely a "romance"--in fact, it's definitely an erotic romance. That didn't bother me, but I would have liked more build up between the characters before they pledged undying love based on x number of orgasms. Still, I kept turning those pages, so that must mean something, and I can say I did enjoy it though it wasn't what I'd thought it was going to be. I keep vascillating between three and four stars on this one; three because the story was weak and four because it was engaging. Anyway, my review at amazon can be found at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/28ox4f. Follow it and vote if you are so inclined.
~taminator40

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Keith Urban Concert



Hannah and I went to the Keith Urban concert last night with her friend Olivia and her mom, Lisa. I really like Keith Urban but after last night, I might possibly be in love with the man.


The show opened with Keith unceremoniously stepping onstage singing "Once in a Lifetime". From there he segued into all his hits and then some; Keith's quite the accomplished guitarist and most of the songs included some sort of guitar solo. To say I was blown away by the man's finesse is an undertatement. His guitar skills and his vocals were spot on, and better than that, he went out of his way to showcase each of his musicians and recognize them before his "hometown" crowd. After a few upbeat songs, he moved down a long runway to a smaller stage nearer us and did a couple of slower numbers. Best of all, he noticed a sign a young girl had made in the audience which read "Don't let another day go by without a hug from Keith!" so he invited her onstage for her hug. I didn't think she was going to let go--and Keith apparently didn't either because he laughingly had a stool brought up for her while he and his band went on to the next song. Engaging and down to earth, he kept the show going non-stop for two plus hours, even doing a spectacular turn on a piano with just his rich voice.


The encore, though...that's when the show got totally fun! At 11:15, Keith and his band reappeared onstage. Keith laughingly had the entire arena do a "cell phone wave"---the lights were turned out and we did the wave with the lights from our cell phones. It was hilarious! As he said, we paid all that money and then we got to be the show. Then he announced that he had no intentions of going anywhere, especially since his home was so close by! After one very long set of Steve Miller's "The Joker", which showcased every member of his band, Keith told us he was pulling Martina McBride out from backstage to sing with him. This is where his talent really stood out for me; it was obvious between the quiet conversation the two shared that he and the band hadn't played her song "Broken Wing" before, but with just a bit of coaching, he did it as well as her regular band. Keith also made it a point to dedicate his newest song "I Think I Got It Right This Time" to his wife Nicole, who unfortunately couldn't be there (though of course we all spent time looking around to see if she had slipped in).


Rocking, rolling, soft and strong, fun and engaging, this is hands-down one of the best concerts I've ever been to. When Keith finally quit around midnight, I found myself wanting it to go on and on, despite the fact that I'm usually dead on Friday nights. I could've stayed through several more hours! This man is a true entertainer and left no doubt that he's all about the music. If you get a chance, go. I'm a fan for life now.




~taminator40

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Getting Stoned With Savages


Getting Stoned With Savages by J. Maarten Troost is the second travelogue I've read by this funny author. While not quite as good as the first, Sex Lives of Cannibals, this one still has its moments and I happen to love the snarky way with words Troost uses. While I wished for more of the life adjustments Troost and his wife faced in the first book, I could appreciate the vast differences in life in the South Pacific and my own daily existence, and I am absolutely awed that Troost and his wife Sylvia chose to leave their cushy lives once again to live in such a remote area. I just completed my review on amazon and it can be found at http://tinyurl.com/24hkga. I enjoyed this one and hope that Troost finds another island paradise to write about soon!

~taminator40

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

American Classics With Meg Cabot

This has got to the funniest video I've seen in a while! Thanks to Gillian and the blog at http://litsoup.blogspot.com/2007/11/for-writers-in-all-of-us.html. Enjoy!

~taminator40


Friday, November 23, 2007

City of Dreams Review

I finished City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling recently, and at almost 600 pages, I feel pretty good about getting this one out of Mt. TBR (plus it was a tbr_challenge book, so that's a good feeling as well). While it's very well written, and extremely well researched, I'm afraid I'm not one of those people who is left gushing over it. I understood the need to show life as it was--brutal, unforgiving, deceptive--but the gore level was simply over the top. I began to get the feeling that Swerling was going out of her way to show how barberous conditions were, but it wasn't just about the medical conditions (which is central to the novel), but about the need to show just how filthy people can be. I also was left not feeling very sympathetic toward any of the characters because in the end, no one showed much integrity and everyone let everyone else down. Still, I can give it a 7/10 because I did keep turning the pages and I did feel I learned something from Swerling's meticulous research. I give more information as to why I felt like I did on my amazon review, found at http://tinyurl.com/2bqtt4.

~taminator40

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Red Hill Mining Town Video

Ah, vintage U2 and a smokin' hot Bono...what more do I have to be thankful for?

~taminator40

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Accidental Mother Review

I read The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman as a review book for Simon & Schuster. Brit Chick Lit at its best, this is an engaging tale of Sophie Mills, thoroughly satisfied with her life, and the 180 degree turn that's made when she inherits her dead best friend's two young daughters. Sophie agrees to watch the girls until their absentee father can be found, but of course the sailing isn't smooth, and Sophie comes to realize that perhaps her "perfect" life is anything but. While there were moments I was a bit frustrated with Sophie and her choices, I found this book to be light reading at its best. My biggest complaint is that I won't know how things go with Sophie since the book leaves us with a bit of a cliffhanger, IMHO. But overall I can definitely recommend this one as brain candy that is above average. My review can be found at amazon at http://tinyurl.com/2xeteu.

~taminator40

Saturday, November 10, 2007

At the Lake



We went to Mom's today to celebrate our birthdays (Jeff's was yesterday; mine's tomorrow) and to have our pictures made by a friend of my sister-in-law's. While we stood around waiting for the pictures to be made, I snapped a few of the lake I grew up on. It's so peaceful and pretty in the fall; the summertime boaters have returned home and the colors are beautiful. I stood on the edge of Mom's property and was once again glad I grew up where and when I did.


~taminator40




Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bifocal Review



I received Bifocal from Amazon as part of its Vine program. The synopsis sounded promising, and since I enjoy young adult fiction, I chose it for this month's review. I am so pleased to be able to give it a five star rating; the story of Haroon and Jay after a terrorist plot is discovered in their small town is intriguing and could be taken from today's headlines. Told in alternating chapters from Jay's and Haroon's points of view, we see how prejudice grows once it's nurtured by those in charge. Excellent, thought-provoking, and timely, this one should be read by high school students everywhere. My amazon review can be found at http://tinyurl.com/yraeto. If you enjoy young adult fiction at all, pick up this book now. It's well written and well told.

~taminator40

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Sacrifice


The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble is a young adult entry into the Salem Witch Trials genre. It's a fast, easy read; I picked it up and finished it within a day. There are bits about it that bug me, most of which have to do with giving the narrator a modern penchant for speaking up and breaking the rules. Why on earth do authors do this? Do they think we won't read more realistically written stories?
That being said, however, I really enjoyed this fast-moving story and I liked especially that Abigail, our heroine, was based on an actual ancestor of the author's. I feel that the author achieved her purpose, which was to introduce the Salem Witch Trials to the pre-teen (not young adult) set in such a way that leaves no doubt as to the helplessness and hysteria of the times. I've reviewed it at amazon at http://tinyurl.com/yozfql.
Next up is a book I need to review for Amazon Vine, and hopefully it'll be a fast read. I've finally returned to enough time to read, so I'm set to find some books that truly engage.
~taminator40

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Companions of the Night Review


I finally finished another book, Companions of the Night by Vivian Van Velde. It's a vampire story (well, it is close to Halloween!) and it's very well done. Definitely a different take than Twilight, but good nonetheless. You can read my amazon review at http://tinyurl.com/37k2tc.
~taminator40

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Amazon.uk Review

My review at Amazon.uk of A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick is up. I'm pleased with it! Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/3424q2

~taminator40

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Place Beyond Courage Review



Because it sometimes takes a few days for reviews to be posted to amazon.uk, I decided I would go ahead and copy and paste my review here so I could get the word out about this absorbing, superb (insert more gushing here) historical novel by Elizabethe Chadwick. I can't say enough good things about it! I do believe I'm slightly (okay, rabidly) in love with John Marshal. Do yourself a favor and seek this one out at amazon.uk. You won't be sorry. I swear.

~taminator40 (Review posted below)

Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels never fail to engage from the first word, and A Place Beyond Courage is yet another excellent example of first-rate history brought to life. The story of The Greatest Knight's father, John Marshal, A Place Beyond Courage treats us to the equally full and engaging life of a man who knew his own mind and lived his life with gusto and fortitude.

Ms. Chadwick begins her tale with John's early years as Marshal to Henry I, King of England, and follows him through the tumultuous period of warring factions for the crown after the king's death. John is shown to be very adept at achieving his goals and maintaining his own fortunes as he switches sides between Henry's daughter Matilda and Henry's nephew, Stephen; his personal life, however, leaves him feeling cold as his marriage to the mouse Aline dwindles into random meetings in the hall. Enter Sybilla, the sister of the Earl of Salisbury, and equal in fire and spirit to John; the hapless Aline is set aside as a love of deep understanding and desire develops between the two. Chadwick does an outstanding job of balancing the romantic aspect with the historical; never once does the novel steep into the vein of overblown romance as she shows the commitment between the two.


Following the steps of John Marshal through history is as well-told by Chadwick as it can possibly be. As I finished the predecessor to this novel, The Scarlet Lion, I'd thought I loved William Marshal. If that was the case, I'm now in love with John Marshal. Don't miss out on one of the best historical novels I've read in a very long time. It just doesn't get better than this.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Carol Update

A quick little update on my friend Carol, who is battling lung cancer. We knew the tumor on her eye was improving because her vision is so much better; she's even gotten behind the wheel of her huge white Cadillac again! (Which, as I've often told her, isn't necessarily a good thing--Carol's a bit of an agressive (read "scary") driver). But the best news came from her doctor today...her lung tumors are definitely shrinking so the chemo is doing what it's supposed to do! We are all so overjoyed. I strongly feel that she's in excellent hands with the doctor she's seeing, and the fact that so many people, many of whom do not even know this remarkable woman, are praying for her recovery has to have something to do with her progress. She's mid-cycle of chemo right now, and then the doctor will move on to another form of treatment that he feels will continue to cause the tumors to shrink.


So for all of you wonderful people who have wondered, the news is good...and keep the faith that it'll stay that way. We all deserve a friend like Carol in our lives.

~taminator40

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cougar Critiques

One of our teachers at school has helped a small group of students launch a blog for critiquing books they are reading. I am so happy to see middle schoolers enjoying reading anything, and to see this group so enthusiastic as to want to keep up a blog dedicated to them makes my heart sing! With that in mind, I would be remiss if I didn't give them a plug of recognition. The blog can be found at:

www.cougarcritiques.blogspot.com


To keep it safe, the kids are only using their initials in reviews at this point. But they would be beyond thrilled to think others had taken the time to stop by and comment. For middle schoolers, they're doing a great job and I'm happy to reinforce the love of reading in their lives. Please stop by and do the same.

~taminator40

Monday, October 08, 2007

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade

Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade by Diana Gabaldon is the second entry in the series featuring one of the minor characters from Gabaldon's Outlander series. In this one, Lord John is striving to find out the secret behind his father's "suicide"--which Lord John knows for a fact was a murder. His quest to discover the truth takes a roundabout journey through friends, family, and the military and along the way, a romance develops for John despite the fact that his heart belongs to another.

Lord John is a fascinating character. He's complex, he has integrity, and he's deliberately deceitful when the circumstances warrant. He is also a homosexual in a time when just the thought of such unnatural love would banish a man into exile and possibly even cost him his life. Gabaldon gives Lord John a well-rounded personality so that his homosexuality is not what defines him; it's what complicates him. Well-written and intriguing, this is a good addition to the series and a nice companion to the Outlander stories.

The reviews at Amazon range from the gushing to the digusted, and many of those who are disgusted seem to be most offended by the graphic sex scenes. I tend to believe that if the sex was heterosexual rather than homosexual, there would be more praise for the novel as a whole than cries of depravity. I admit to feeling as though I didn't really need all the information I was given, but I do feel it made me understand Lord John the person better and it did make a gut-wrenching betrayal even more poignant. As I state in my own review, more puzzling to me was a scene between Jamie Fraser and Lord John late in the book; I'm still unclear why Lord John felt the need to say what he did, though I do understand his need to speak frankly and honestly to someone who could be objective.

My own amazon review can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2mprlx. I hope you'll take a look and decide for yourself if you like it. I can recommend this one, but I'd advise anyone who is at all squeamish when dealing with homosexuality to take a pass.

~taminator40

Monday, October 01, 2007

On Going Bump in the Night


If you know me, you know I'm fairly interested in the paranormal. I'm not exactly sure what fueled my initial interest, but I can say that some odd stuff has happened to me in my life and as I age, I am much more open to the idea that there's something else out there.
I'm a huge fan of the Sci-Fi television show, Ghost Hunters. I love their scientific approach to the paranormal; they believe 80% of what people term as "haunted" can actually be rationally explained, and that's what they set out to do. It's the other 20% that cannot be explained that becomes evidence for ghosties and their activity.
When I learned that Jason Hawes of Ghost Hunters was publishing a book on his ghost hunting experiences, I was eager to snatch it up when it was published. I sped through it almost as soon as it arrived, and found that it's a very credible retelling of many of the episodes of the show, as well as a few other experiences that haven't been shared via t.v. The book is a fast read, and fun as well. Jason's ironic, grumpy but loveable tone comes through and I enjoyed hearing his take on many of the paranormal investigations he's been on. And while Grant is secretly my favorite of the two main ghost hunters, I did love this book. My review at Amazon can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2xrkwg.
My reading has screeched to a halt with band season and school. I'm still reading Diana Gabaldon's Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade. The excellent news is up next after that is Elizabeth Chadwick's A Place Beyond Courage. I cannot wait to sink into that one--made all the more special by Susan having sent me a copy herself ! Through reading her notes on John Marshall, I'm fairly certain I'm going to be in love soon.
~taminator40

Monday, September 24, 2007

"Quotation Marks"

What a "great article" this is! My friend Nanci shared this with a list we're on, and I "loved" it. The use of "gratuitous" quotation marks is probably at epidemic levels---and don't even get me started on those "highly annoying" misplaced apostrophes! http://www.newsobserver.com/print/saturday/front/story/712480.html

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Band and Hope for the World

I haven't been reading much lately because, honestly, my plate's pretty full right now with high school band, teaching, worrying about Carol, family, and whatever else is out there. So this post isn't going to be about the latest book I've finished, but instead will highlight that I've received a bit of hope to contrast my "where are we going and why are we all in this handbasket?" mentality.



Yesterday we literally spent all day and half the night with Hannah's high school band. They were involved in two band contests which meant we were at school at 9 a.m. and got home at 2 a.m. the next day. It was hot (90 degrees), sunny, and steamy, and I'd been pretty worried about the band's chances as they're quite young and inexperienced this year. When all was said and done, however, they received all ones at the first contest and then won their division and came in fourth overall at the second. Whew...we were exhausted but delighted.



But what this post is actually about is the state of the world and band kids' position in it. I admit I've been down lately when I survey the state of the middle schoolers I teach (and this is in a good school). They are obnoxious beyond what is expected of middle schoolers; their parents are enablers; they have no motivation and they only care about what makes them feel good for the next 30 seconds. Beyond them, I keep hearing horror stories on the news of sick children who set fire to animals, disenfranchised youth who join gangs and wreak havoc, and kids who hurt other kids simply because they can. It's beyond depressing; it makes me want to run and hide and not let my own girls go out into the world again.



However, high school band gives me hope. These kids willingly give an entire day of their lives (not to mention all the practice time and football games) to go to a contest where they prove that they take life and band seriously. They do what we moms and dads ask because it's expected. They listen to their band directors and do the best they can because they are motivated to do so. And besides all that, they support one another. Of course they support their fellow band members, but they also support bands they are competing against. When they pass other bands, they yell encouragement and they receive it in kind. They clap and cheer for all bands, even those that didn't do that well. In return, the same applies to them. It's not only uplifting, it's hopeful.



One of our boys from last year moved over the summer. He's now in a competing band (one that actually came in second overall). Our kids were so excited to see him. I heard the whispers before the band even came through the gates: "Kevin's here!" When his band marched by to take the field, our entire band (even those who didn't know him) stood and in unison yelled, "Good luck, Kevin!" Talk about being touched...it's making me smile even now to think of it.



Life's not perfect and band's not perfect, but I have to say that I'm no longer riding in that handbasket (at least until tomorrow!). I think it's going to be all right.



~taminator40

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The September Girls Review


The September Girls by Maureen Lee is just what I needed right now...a truly wonderful family saga following two girls born in the same house on the same night in 1920 and stretching through the World War Two years. Very reminiscent of Rosamund Pilcher's writing, this book grabbed me from page one and literally crawled into every pore of my being as I enveloped myself in the lives of these two families. I loved how the author tied the two families together: one rich, one poor, but bonded over children and crumbling marriages and hopes and dreams. We got to see the devastation of Liverpool as the bombs fell and the fortitude of its citizens as they resisted being brought down by Hitler's forces. We see Cara and Sybil, the two daughters, grow into very different young women who are ultimately forced together through military service, and we follow them as choices are made which affect both of them forever. I cannot recommend this book highly enough...it's compelling and well-crafted, and I will be adding more of Maureen Lee's books to my mountain of reading material.
My amazon review is found at http://tinyurl.com/2lrnqr. I hope you'll stop by and give it a look because I go into more depth of the story and basically just wax on about how special this one is. It's going on the keeper shelf!
~taminator40

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Deep Dark Depression

There was a time as a child that I'd watch the syndicated country music show HeeHaw. (I know, I don't often share that information publicly). One of the recurring songs on the show was entitled "Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me" and I still recall all the words to this day (yes, this post gets scarier). One of the lines was "Deep Dark Depression, Excessive Misery." That's how I've been feeling lately, and though the song's humorous, this depression isn't. I can't shake it and it won't go away and no amount of antidepressant is going to make it better.


My friend Carol has cancer. A lot of cancer. A scary amount. The kind that's hard to treat.


Carol and I have been friends for about 15 years now. We taught together at Glendale Middle School and when our current school opened, we moved there together. She's taught both of my daughters, my youngest just last year. She's taught them about math, using sales and hiding new clothes from your husband to make a point. She's taught the youngest one to sew, a domestic art I seriously don't have a gene for. She's picked them up from school when I've been sick or detained, and she's brought me food when I've been sick. She came to my house to visit me when I had Katherine eleven years ago. She gave me hand-me-downs and gave my girls personalized bags. She's incredibly giving, taking care of her elderly mother and her two sons and her adoring husband, Bill. She took Bill's two sons into her heart when they married and calls his grandchildren hers as well. She's a shopaholic with a closet stuffed to the brim with gorgeous clothing. We've shared laughter and fun and tears.


Now she might not even live a month if this round of chemo doesn't work.


I want to question God but there's no point because I won't get an answer and it won't change anything. I should have faith. But how can you have faith when someone so good and loving, who was looking forward to a cruise with her husband this fall, will be lucky to live 6 months and probably not see her youngest son graduate high school in the spring?


Carol is on my mind constantly. If I find myself laughing, I feel bad because of her situation. When I spoke to her last week, she told me she was so scared. So am I. How did this non-smoker get lung cancer so invasive that it's spread to her brain before it was discovered? Carol's always been sickly but that means she's been under a doctor's constant care. How on earth could this have slipped by?


I'm also ashamed.


I'm ashamed because I want to run away from this. I want to pretend I don't even know Carol so it'll make the hurt and fear less. I want to protect my girls from this devastation. How can I, as a friend, feel like this? I saw her picture today and I wanted to get rid of it. I don't want to face this; I don't want to see her. And that's my own personal hurt and fear; I can only imagine what she's feeling now.


I've got to push myself to visit, to call, to let her know how much she's meant to me over the years of our friendship. This cannot be about me; I've got to reach beyond myself. But how do I do that? I don't want to lose my friend. In my heart, I know I'm going to and it makes me sick to my stomach. Running away won't help, but I still find myself wanting to. Carol has so many people praying for her that I've got to believe God's going to hear us. I'm so helpless and so wrapped up in this. How can my friend be dying? She was just at school on the first day, preparing her classroom and getting ready for a new year. Now she's already retired in order to focus herself on the biggest fight of her life.


Sometimes life just ain't fair and there's not a damned thing you can do about it.

~taminator40

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Carpe Demon


Julie Kenner's Carpe Demon is lots of fun...definitely not deep reading, but good for my need for lightheartedness. Our heroine is Kate Connor, former Demon Hunter turned housewife, who is suddenly thrust back into her old life when a demon attacks her out of nowhere. After she realizes that she's going to have fight again, Kate plunges into her dual lifestyle full-throttle, taking martial arts lessons, stopping demon dogs, searching the church archives, and yes, hostessing impromptu dinner parties at the same time. While I realize that this is, of course, a paranormal fantasy novel, there were a couple of things that stretched my imagination to the breaking point, including the fact that Kate first springs an elderly stranger from his nursing home, and then brings him home to live (possibly forever?). But overall it's a pretty fun read, and I appreciate my friend Barbara sharing it with me. Here's the link to my amazon review: http://tinyurl.com/2jbbel .
Next I've picked up The September Girls by Maureen Lee. The reasons are two-fold: it's on my tbr_challenge list, and it's September! I read September by Rosamund Pilcher a few years ago during the month of September, and I thought why not try it again? And so far I'm absolutely loving it. I have a feeling it's going to receive a glowing review when I'm done.
~taminator40

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Sex Lives of Cannibals


I feel really good about recommending The Sex Lives of Cannibals to anyone and everyone! This one had been languishing unread in Mt. TBR far too long, and with school starting, I felt like I needed something uplifting in my life. This fit the bill perfectly! Maarten Troost tells his story of moving to a remote atoll on Kiribati, an area of the world I knew next to nothing about. While it's truly hilarious, at times it's a bit poignant as we meet people who know life is hard and the odds are against them. Still, Maarten and his girlfriend Sylvia persevere, and when they do decide to leave, it's with misgivings and a sense of loss. This one's going on my keeper shelf...I think it's safe to say it's a book that will appeal to readers of almost all genres.
The link to my amazon review can be found at http://tinyurl.com/2zll5b.
~taminator40

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blood and Chocolate


I wish I had good things to say about Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. It's not a bad book by any means, but I just never connected with any of the characters like I wanted to. Vivian, the main character, is sympathetic but I just kept wanting to like her more than I did. The mother was so self-absorbed and the entire pack of werewolves was dysfunctional. Aidan, Vivian's human boyfriend, was very interesting for a while, but then even he degenerated into someone I couldn't understand or like. This book has such an interesting premise but it just didn't deliver for me. Parts of it were good, I'll give it that much, and I'll probably try another Klause book in the future. However, take away the werewolf fantasy, and you've got just another teen angst novel.
Here's my review at amazon: http://tinyurl.com/33ndft
~tamintor40

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Come Juneteenth


Come Juneteenth is a well-written historical novel for young adults written by one of my favorite authors, Ann Rinaldi. The story of a Texas family on a ranch in the last days of the Civil War, Rinaldi gives us a plausible plot of a mixed race slave girl who is basically raised as a member of the family alongside the youngest daughter of the house. The family makes the decision to keep the Emancipation Proclamation a secret from their slaves until their hand is forced, and it's this secret which devastates the family as Sis Goose, the young slave girl, feels betrayed by those who claim to have loved her most. Rinaldi peoples her story with Yankees, both good and bad, sent in to take over the area, as well as slaves who refuse to leave and those who are anxious to taste freedom for the first time. Added in is a romance between Sis Goose and one of the brothers of the house, and a recipe for disaster is brewed.
While I enjoyed this novel and felt it was quite well-written with interesting characters, there was a lot of coincidence and unreasonable attitudes. I was also annoyed beyond reason by the name Sis Goose; surely to goodness Rinaldi could have found a more likely nickname for an "almost daughter" of the house. Why not just shout "Hey, this girl's really a slave!"? The twist at the end is well done and I could appreciate the author's gift for character development. You can read my amazon review at http://tinyurl.com/33e7yq.
Now I've picked up Blood and Chocolate from our school's library based on its werewolf premise. I wasn't sure in the beginning whether or not I was going to enjoy it in the first few pages, but it seems to be picking up nicely and I should finish it within a couple of days.
~taminator40

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Ugliest Cover




I came across this cover for the wonderful book Twilight by Stephenie Meyer while on goodbooks a little while ago. It's truly horrific! I swear when I first glanced at it (it was even smaller originally), I sorta thought the lockers were actually an extension of Bella's stomach. Try it. Just glance at the cover out of the corner of your eye. I bet you'll see it, too.


Not sure where/when this cover was issued, but let's hope it never sees the light of day in a bookstore again. It truly disservices the book. Not only does Bella look like one of those little claymation figures from the 60s, it makes the whole saga seem unreal because she looks unreal. I much, much prefer the cover of the copy I have.

This version seems to lend an air of mystery to the book, and the bright red just jumps off the black and white background, much as blood would do. When I look at these two polar opposite covers, I cannot imagine that they are even about the same book. I wonder if others see this the same way I do.
~taminator40


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Eclipse



I finished Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer earlier this week. It's the third book in the series that began with Twilight, and it was excellent. OF COURSE Bella is a drama queen; of course Edward is one hot vampire; and of course things don't go smoothly. I have to say that Jacob, Bella's werewolf friend, really irritated me (the exact opposite of what Andi, my online buddy, thought: check out her opinion here: http://estellascribbles.blogspot.com/). Teens being teens, I thought Meyer captured the angst and drama fairly accurately, and I liked the interplay between natural enemies Jake and Edward, and the tense understanding they had to reach. My biggest gripe? Good Lord, if Meyer used the word "chuckled" one more time, I might've wall-banged the book! Where on earth is her editor? Grab a thesaurus, woman! It got to where I was not only expecting to see "chuckled" on every other page, I was actively looking for it (and sadly, succeeding). It really pulled me out of the story. Why doesn't anyone else ever comment on this? Anyway, you can check out my amazon review at http://tinyurl.com/yrfhqx.

I'm just not reading much right now; life sucks and I'm ready for it to be over.

~taminator40

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hotter Than Hell

It is seriously hotter than hell here in Tennessee right now. I know we're not alone in this heat wave, but it's just awful. Stifling. Overwhelming. Drenching. You name it, and if it's bad, it'll apply to the heat. With actual air temps hovering at 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and the humidity unbelievable, it truly feels like a sauna whenever you step outside. When I walk out to the mailbox, a short 25 feet, I feel like running just to make it back to my AC quicker. Unfortunately, I can't run because I'd need a machete to slice through the deadly air around me, so I trudge slowly, losing my will to live as I move.



One of my good friends is very pregnant right now; she's due September 7. She's miserable. Beyond miserable. Today at inservice we had to choose a picture postcard that showed how we feel right now. V. stood up and told how hers applied. It was a picture of a man with his hands held over his head in supplication, a pained expression on his face. V. said the poor man was saying it was hotter than hell. She understood his pain.



I'd much, much rather it be cold than this hot. I can always add another blanket or a sweater. In this heat, if I lose more clothing, people are going to run screaming down the streets. I get in my car and it takes ten minutes for the AC to feel as though it's actually doing something. Our upstairs AC is plugging along as best it can, but the rising heat makes its job impossible. It's doing all it can just to keep up.


It's 80 degrees at 7 a.m. That's ridiculous.


The only good thing about this heat is the fact that it gives you a topic of conversation. We're all in this together. We all understand. It's a shared bond of torture.


Bring on autumn and winter! I swear if I complain about the cold then, somebody can find me and shoot me under all my blankets and sweaters. Until then, I'll just sit here in my AC and dream of cooler days to come.


~taminator40


Monday, August 06, 2007

Mediator: The Ninth Key


I finished the second book in Meg Cabot's Mediator series last night. The Ninth Key is a fairly good sequel, and actually I probably liked it better than the first book. This series is definitely not meant to be heavy; teenaged Suze is a mediator who helps ghosts find their way to the other side. This one takes the ghostly story a little further into outside factors and Suze finds herself mixed up in an intrigue quite by accident. I like reading these books for a quick, light fix. You can find my more in depth review of this book at amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/yo4f8z .
I'm sooooooo beyond excited that I found a copy of Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer at Target tonight! It's not officially supposed to be on sale until tomorrow, and while I'd preordered it at Borders, I was beyond thrilled because I'd been looking for a short book to fill in this evening's reading time until I got my hot little hands on Eclipse. I'm so ready to find out what happens to Bella and Edward!
~taminator40

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Stardust


Stardust is a little gem of a novel, an imaginative story of a boy searching for a fallen star in order to impress the girl he "loves". Set mostly in the land of Faerie, it's peopled with lots of strange creatures, some helpful and some malevolent; Tristran (our hero) must learn to navigate his way among them, discovering that perhaps his own heritage is going to lead him in a way he'd never expected.
It took me a while to get into this story for some reason. I wanted to love it from the get-go, but it just didn't capture me at first like I'd hoped. However, perhaps 100 pages in, I found the story picking up and the adventures becoming more interesting. I still think the story itself could have been fleshed out more, and I do think some of the things involved were thrown in to pad the story along. But overall, it's pretty delightful, and Gaiman's twists are superb. I reviewed it more fully at amazon at http://tinyurl.com/3dxsk6.
~taminator40

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wicked Lovely Review


Wicked Lovely is just that; it's a wicked little tale of faeries and fey folk, and a lovely young girl named Aislinn who can see them. Taught by her grandmother from her youngest years how to avoid them, Aislinn finds life increasingly difficult as she realizes that she's being singled out by the faeries for some reason, and she can't ask why. Add to this her friend Seth, who wants to be much more than a friend, and Aislinn begins to fight against the unseen forces at work around her. Quite well written and extremely imaginative, I found it hard to put this one down once I got into the story. My amazon review can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/33jjqx
Now I'm going to pick up Stardust by Neil Gaiman, and try to contain myself until Eclipse comes out on Tuesday.
~taminator40

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cats, Cats Everywhere!




Here are the latest photos of the McCann Family Cats:




Fiona and Athena scout the neighborhood.



Angus doing what he does best.

Can you tell we love our cats? lol

~taminator40

Monday, July 30, 2007

All Together Dead


I'm all caught up on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, having completed All Together Dead last night. Definitely better than the last book in the series (Definitely Dead), this one centers on the vamps and a Mid-West summit meeting they are attending. Our friend Sookie is brought along for her telepathic abilities and naturally, murder and mayhem ensue. There was much more of sexy vampire Eric (thank goodness!) and though I do like Quinn, he's just not who I want Sookie to be with. This book is definitely darker than the last couple, and it ends on a bit of an emotional cliffhanger. Now I have to wait until next May (geez louise, that's a long time!) for the next installment. But by visiting the author's website, I was able to learn that HBO is planning a series called True Blood based on this series. Apparently Anna Paquin is going to play Sookie. This *might* be worth investing in HBO for.
My amazon review is found at http://tinyurl.com/2h7v94. Please visit and vote.
Now I picked up Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. Dark so far, it's an interesting premise of a teen girl who is fey, and the faeries who are tormenting her. I think it'll be a quick read.
~taminator40

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Private Peaceful Review



I finished Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (how's that for a name?) last night. I picked it up because it was a short read (202 pages) and looked good. And honestly, it was good, but frustrating at times. Tommo, the main character, didn't seem to make much emotional growth over the course of the book, which is set against the backdrop of World War 1. He remains childishly in love with his brother's wife throughout, to the point that I just wanted to shake him! But it is a story with a deep brotherly/family bond theme, and it does show the tragedies of trench warfare. I could easily see it being used in a U.S. history class, and I think the author did a good job with the subject matter. My amazon review can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/36csj2. ~taminator40

Friday, July 27, 2007

Definitely Dead


I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now. I'd made a mental promise to myself to get to 45 books for the year by the end of the summer, and right now I've finished #47, Definitely Dead. For some reason at the beginning of this year, my reading had really slowed down and I'd only gotten to #25 when the summer began. So I'm officially pleased with myself that I've gone beyond my own self-imposed goal, and now I'd like to see #50 before that dreaded date of returning to school (which I'm sooooo in denial about!). Go, me!
Definitely Dead picks up the story of barmaid and telepath Sookie Stackhouse (don't you just love her name?) after the death of her estranged cousin, Hadley (who was also a vampire). Sookie is called in to clean up her cousin's estate, as well as deal with the vampire queen of Louisiana. This being our beloved Sookie (and the sixth book in the series), naturally things don't go smoothly and her life is in mortal danger a few times throughout the book. My biggest personal disappointment is the lack of relationship between Sookie and Eric the vampire (but yes, I still have a soft spot for Bill!). I suppose I like Quinn, her current squeeze (and weretiger) well enough, but he just isn't doing it for me like the vamps do. I can't get excited about a bald guy, even if I do try to picture him as looking like Chris Daughtry. I miss my vampires! However, I've got book #7 sitting here waiting for me, and it may be the next one I pick up. The preview for it at the back of this book had Sookie sitting in Eric's office with several vamps so hopefully they will be more of the focus. We'll see.
Anyway, overall I enjoyed Definitely Dead; its humor is great and the story itself is good, even if it does seem to wander a bit at times (hello? missing child sideplot? why?). I reviewed it at amazon at this link: http://tinyurl.com/35h49x
I picked up Private Peaceful because it's short (200 pages) and it looked good but when I was reading it this afternoon I was having to force myself on through it. :( I will finish it, but I'm not exactly enjoying it. But at least it'll be a solid #48 on my list! Hey, at least I can accomplish another goal, right?
~taminator40

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Finishing Fearless


I finally finished Fearless by Lucia St. Clair Robson. Well, perhaps finished is not quite the right word, since I spent the last 50 pages or so just skimming to get to the end. Having read (and loved) other books by Robson, I can say this one was a big disappointment. While it had its moments, it certainly didn't live up to Ride the Wind or Mary's Land. It was just so boring in spots! There were times when I would find myself interested in Sarah Bowman, but after a while it seemed as though much of her life was repetitious. Robson's an excellent writer and usually her well-researched historical fiction just grabs me, but this one, which I read as part of my tbr_challenge, just fell a bit flat for me. I reviewed it at amazon at http://tinyurl.com/yvwzv9, giving it 3 out of 5 stars, which is probably a gift because I've enjoyed the author so much in the past. But at least I did finish it.
Next up will be the next entry in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mysteries, Definitely Dead. I figure I need to get away from both Harry Potter and historical fiction for a bit, and since I love this series, it will hopefully be more fun than Fearless.
~taminator40

Monday, July 23, 2007

Leaving Hogwarts...

Wow. I finished J.K.Rowling's 7th Harry Potter novel this afternoon. I'm exhausted! Not because it kept me up, but because of the range of emotions I've experienced since late Friday night. Anger, desperation, fear, devastation, hope, grief, jubilation...I've felt them all repeatedly. I've been hungry, tired, hexed, trapped, confused, resigned, and relieved; annoyance has festered as things didn't move as quickly as I'd hoped, and then the realization came that it couldn't have moved any quicker or the story wouldn't have come together as it did in the end. 759 pages later, I'm so grateful to have experienced this set of books, and I cannot imagine not going back to Hogwarts with Harry.

I won't go into specifics in reviewing Deathly Hallows because I know there are still people out there reading. I will say that the action toward the end is fast and furious and makes so much sense after all of the preceding books and events. Rowling must be a genius to have plotted this book out so intricately! I was a bit irritated in the first half of the book that things weren't moving faster; however, I was conscious as I read that if things did move faster, the book would end even sooner than I was dreading. Without giving anything away, I will say this is indeed a quest, and Harry faces his future with courage and fortitude. Where is the little guy we saw as he first got on the Hogwarts Express? Luckily, Rowling included enough references to him and his friends over the years that those memories kept reminding me along the way of why I love these characters and this setting so much. Keep tissues handy; Rowling tried to prepare us ahead of time for the losses but I am still reeling. Finally, the ending is what I'd hoped it would be, and I am satisfied.

I haven't reviewed this book on amazon yet; I'm waiting for all the teenyboppers who like to vote NO just to be voting to calm down and quit checking the review pages. Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll be ready to post my final thoughts on this book. I know for certain I won't be letting go of the story or the emotions. Gut-wrenching, gripping, and grand, this is a book not to be missed. Read it, savor it, then revisit Hogwarts often. I will.

~taminator40

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Ride of Our Lives


I just finished Mike Leonard's The Ride of Our Lives and it's one I cannot recommend highly enough. Mike Leonard is a Today Show correspondent, and a few years ago he decided to rent two RVs and take his elderly parents and his kids on a cross country trip. The results were hilarious and tear-jerking and every emotion in between. The grandparents are so funny that I found myself giggling repeatedly throughout, but they are also poignant in many ways. This book celebrates family, and it's definitely going to be in my Top Ten for the year. You can check out my amazon review here: http://tinyurl.com/36p3c9



Next up...well, I'll probably go back and read a bit more of Fearless by Lucia St. Clair Robson, a book I'd been reading before setting it aside to pick up the Leonard book. It's all secondary to waiting for HP7 anyway...


~taminator40

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter Mania


Harry Potter Mania. As the days creep forward to the 12:01 a.m. release of the seventh Harry Potter book this weekend, I imagine it'll become all Harry, all the time on several websites and on television. Since when has a book EVER created such a buzz? And how on earth could someone EVER believe that's a bad thing?
Well, let me give you a couple of examples of people who believe that Harry Potter is, indeed, a bad thing. A few years ago when I was teaching fifth grade, a sixth grade teacher fielded a telephone call from a parent who objected to her using the first Harry Potter book as a literature lesson in her classes. The teacher asked me if I'd listen in to the parent's arguments, and ever the nosy person, I agreed. The father, who sounded intelligent, laid out his reasons in a clear, non-threatening voice: magic is wrong, it's against his religious beliefs, witches and wizards go to hell. No, he hadn't read the books but he'd heard about them and he believed his child shouldn't be exposed. My teacher friend agreed, though she tried to reason that the books were actually about good vs. evil to no avail. No harsh words were exchanged, and a different book was procured for the student. This was around 2001 or so.
More troubling to me was a conversation I had last week with a parent as the two of us worked a parking event to raise money for our daughters' band accounts. I mentioned in passing that we'd been to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that afternoon. The mom, a very nice woman, asked me if I'd heard that the books were evil and we shouldn't allow our children to read them or to watch the movies based on them. Apparently her preacher had recently invested time and energy into denouncing the books as evil personified, complete with demons and all sorts of things which will turn our children to the devil. This lady was concerned because she'd allowed her daughter (a senior in high school) to read the books and watch the films.
I really really wanted to roll my eyes and scream, but I didn't. First and foremost, I'm against censorship, though I do agree that there are age levels that are more appropriate for some things than others. More than that, however, I'm against ignorance. So in the interest of being fair, I simply told her that my entire family had seen all the movies and so far we'd not practiced any spells, been possessed by demons, or turned away from God. (I did say this in my sweetest voice). I also said that the books were about good vs. evil, and I feel strongly that in the end, good is going to win, that love will conquer all. My final shot: Had she read fairy tales to her daughter? Those were just as scary (especially if you read the Grimm versions) and they all contained magic as well, so they'd better be shunned as well if you put aside Harry. She nodded and said she'd never felt the books or movies were bad, but what her preacher had said had made her wonder.
Wonder is a good thing, I'll add. But if you allow someone who has not read the books or seen the movies to dictate fear and unreasonable beliefs into your life, then something is wrong. Beyond all the wonderful qualities inherent in these books, anything that can get millions and millions of people so excited about READING A BOOK in this day and age simply has to be a good thing. And if you don't like them after you've read them, you're justified in your opinion. Just don't be a drone who listens to the ignorant.
All this said, I'm literally tingling with excitement to get my hands on #7. We're going to a midnight party at our local Border's, just like we did for #6. I'll hold the book tightly and race home and open it, and yes, I'll probably read the last page because I'm like that (it won't ruin the ending, I promise!). And no matter how I feel once I'm done (sad, disappointed, elated?), at least I can say it's been quite a ride and I'm glad I was there for it.
~taminator40

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Finished Two More!

I had a good afternoon today...finished two books! I admit I was a lazy slug, lying around reading with the cats napping on the bed with me, but I am glad to have whittled down Mt. TBR by two more books. And then what did I do? Go to http://www.paperbackswap.com/ and order another one! There MUST be something wrong with me.




Anyway, the first book I finished is a sequel to another one I'd read earlier this summer, Kilgannon by Kathleen Givens. The Wild Rose of Kilgannon picks up where the first book left off; the Jacobite rebellion has failed and Alex, our hero, is now on trial for his part. The action is fast and furious and the sex is nonexistent in this book; it is a page turner but a couple of nitpicky things just bugged me throughout. I guess I overthink when reading historical romances because I want to scream when I see inconsistencies, which is probably why I don't read as many as I used to. This one is similar in some ways to one of my favorite books, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but really could have used a better editor. Still, not a bad read overall. Here's the link to my review on amazon: http://tinyurl.com/yoterr

The second book I picked up and read is called Cathy's Book by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman. It's quite an interesting premise; it's written in journal form by Cathy, a teen whose boyfriend has just dumped her. Enlivening the reading are the massive doodles Cathy does all over the pages and a packet of "evidence" enclosed inside the front cover. I can see high school girls in particular just loving this title, and I feel safe in recommending it to my middle schoolers. It was a bit slow in parts but the uniqueness of the story makes it a good read, and I'm sure a sequel is out there being written as I type. The link to my amazon review is http://tinyurl.com/2o5eve)

Not sure what I'm picking up next as I'm keeping the release of HP7 in mind all week. I may try to get into one of my tbr_challenge books to stay ahead before school starts back, or I might continue trying to grab short but intriguing ones out of the mountain beside my bed. Guess I'll make up my mind when I get ready for sleep in a few hours. Stay posted!

~taminator40



Thursday, July 12, 2007

Echoes in the Night Review

I'm a Titanic buff. I admit it. I'm sure it was spurred by the film, but once I got into learning more about the real disaster, my interest was piqued and I began collecting volumes of work on the subject. I don't always read as much as I'd like about the disaster, but I do check into Encyclopedia-Titanica frequently to see what's new and I try to catch all documentaries I can whenever they're on tv.
I picked up this slim volume written by Frank Goldsmith almost a year ago and decided it would make a good, quick summer-time read. While learning nothing new, I did find it interesting to read the impressions of the then 9 year old Goldsmith as he made it onto the last lifeboat launched. Mr. Goldsmith was not an author, but he did do a credible account of giving his tale, and a bonus for me was the included correspondence between his mother and some of her fellow survivors that showed the sort of aid received from many organizations but not the White Star line. I also liked reading about Goldsmith's attempts to correct the seemingly erroneous assumption that the captain of the Californian, a ship known to be in the area, deliberately chose not to go to the aid of the Titanic, thus ensuring the great loss of life. This is recommended reading for all who are still, nearly 100 years on, fascinated with this ship and its demise.


Here's the link to my amazon review: http://tinyurl.com/38opn7


~taminator40

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Do You Believe in Ghosts?



Do you believe in ghosts? I'm 95% sure I do, but even if I didn't, I do adore watching Ghost Hunters on Sci-Fi on Wednesdays, and I like reading about others' possible encounters with the spirit world. This book, Will Storr Vs. the Supernatural, written by Will Storr, British journalist-at-large, is his take on paranormal investigation and the possibility that something else exists beyond death. Storr is not only a skeptic, he's agnostic; this adds a different dimension to his research since he grapples with his Catholic upbringing that he'd thought well behind him. So what does he surmise by the end of the book? I won't tell you (very evil grin inserted here) but I will say that lives are changed and thought processes are examined very closely. Nice and creepy, humorous and philosophical, this is a must-read for those who enjoy the possibilties of the paranormal.

The link to my amazon review can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/3xokrg

Now I'm reading an account of the Titanic sinking from a survivor's point of view. This is a short one that likely will not be reviewed at amazon as it's lacking an ISBN number since it was published by the Titanic Historical Society. I will review it here when I finish, which should be tonight since it's very short.

Tomorrow I'll review the Harry Potter movie, which we saw today.

~taminator40

Monday, July 09, 2007

HP Spoiler of Doom

Sent lovingly by Gillian in Oz, here is my own personal Spoiler of Doom for Harry Potter:

My Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom is:
A man with an orange on his head joins a Beatles tribute band, as John Lennon by using ingardium Leviosa
Get your Harry Potter Spoiler of Doom



~taminator40

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Another Vampire Book Finished! Plus Some HP News


Yesterday I finished #5 in the Southern Vampire Mysteries, Dead As a Doornail. Like all the Sookie Stackhouse books, this one was a fast, fun read. Certainly not great literature by any stretch, but the characters in these books are funny and fascinating and I'm definitely enjoying getting to know them over the course of the series. My biggest complaint about this one is the lack of Eric the Vampire...I was a Bill fan, but Eric's got me now. In fact, it's a complaint in general that the story didn't focus more on vampires, but then again, I *may* have a vampire problem. Here's my link to the amazon review:






We are all beside ourselves with excitement over the new Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. We've got tickets for the 12:30 show on Wednesday, the day it opens. I absolutely adore these books and movies. I love that the movies have had the same actors throughout for almost all the roles, with the grand exception of Dumbledore (which couldn't be helped, of course). I love seeing how these kids have grown up. It makes it all so much more believable. I love the music and the adaptations. We've spent the weekend rewatching the first three films on ABC Family, and we may try to get in the fourth film tomorrow night. I've got happy tremors just thinking about it!


~taminator40

Friday, July 06, 2007

On the Rack of Love


My next review is the eighth installment of Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicolson series, Love is a Many Trousered Thing. I adore this series...I have yet to read one of the books without having at least one laugh out loud moment, and often have found myself dissolved into tears as I read of Georgia and her teenage exploits. This one starts on the cliffhanger of the last one, Startled by His Furry Shorts, wherein poor Georgia, recently told by Italian Stallion Masimo that she will be his one and only, finds the original Sex God, Robbie, suddenly back from Kiwi-a-go-go land. What's a girl to do? Well, if it's Georgia, it's certain that she doesn't know! This one, while still vintage Georgia, does suffer from a bit of "I wish the story would move along a bit more", though I did still find myself giggling over her actions, especially at the beginning of the book. The camping expedition is a riot! And why on earth won't Georgia realize that Dave the Laugh is THE guy for her? Oh, well, the course of luuuuuurve is never easy.
My amazon review can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/38572h. It's currently the third one on the page.
Now I'm going to finish Dead As a Doornail by Charlaine Harris, and then I've got several books calling to me. Who knows which one will win in the war of t0-be-read next?
~taminator40

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Restoration Review


As I say in my Amazon review, I very nearly wall-banged this one midway simply because the main character, Robert Merivel, seemed so self-absorbed and foolish. But I decided to give poor Robert one more chance to redeem himself, and fortunately for him (and me), he did. I would not say he completely changed his life, but it was indeed a major radical reform for a man who once believed a simple blackbird was an Indian Nightingale. Rose Tremain is a good author, whose prose keeps you engaged even when you are despising the character's lack of moral fiber. I read this one because the yahoogroup historical_favorites, of which I'm a member, is reading it soon and I figured this would be a great opportunity to get it out of Mt. TBR. And while I cannot say it's a favorite read, it was overall fairly engaging and I can recommend it to those who like historical fiction in particular.
Here's the link to my amazon review:
And now on to decidedly lighter fare--Georgia Nicolson's back in Love is a Many Trousered Thing and I'm already laughing at her fabbity-fab life. :)
~taminator40