Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Club Dead Review

I finished the next installment in Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries, Club Dead, in the car on our way to an Atlanta Braves baseball game yesterday (which the Braves won! Yeah!). This is a great installment; poor Sookie finds her heart broken as Bill, her vampire boyfriend, leaves her high and dry when his former flame, Lorena, calls to him. Sookie is then enlisted by Eric, Bill's boss, to help locate him; Sookie is thrown together with Alcide the Werewolf, and the two visit Club Dead to see if Sookie can mind read anything as to Bill's whereabouts. As usual, this book is peopled with fun characters, both supernatural and ordinary, and this is light brain candy that seems to keep me riveted! On to the next installment...
Here's the link to my amazon review:
Please visit and vote if you feel so inclined.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Real World

My parents did a pretty fair job of raising me to expect to pay my way in life. I never wanted for anything, but they made sure I understood that if I did indeed want something, I needed to work and pay for it. They bought my first car (I'll never forget the lesson of watching my father deal with the salesman, getting what he wanted for the price he wanted), but I paid them back for it in small installments over the course of two or three summers. I suppose I thought it unfair at the time, but I'm so glad they were that way now.

And then we have Hannah. She's spoiled, and yes, it's our fault. She can keep a handle on her spending when it's her money, and she doesn't necessarily overspend when we give her money. But the child really doesn't get the whole the car thing. We've told her all spring and summer that if she's planning on driving, she's going to have to be responsible for her own insurance and gas money, and that means getting a job. So far, she's spent a good deal of time sitting on the couch waiting for the windfall to drop.

When I look around and see how many of her friends are simply given cars, I suppose I can understand where she gets her idea that one is going to magically show up. I was really hoping that she'd come to understand that no one is going to hand her anything; she's got to have responsibility for herself. Apparently I was speaking to her while the iPod was inserted because it hadn't really sunk in...until her Sunday School teacher spent an hour with her yesterday working on her first "adult" budget. She left the class exclaiming that she had no idea what things cost and how much of her income would be on the outgo. We might have spent most of her life trying to impress this upon her but it took an outsider with the voice of reason to break through. I could do nothing other than shake his hand, and swipe the poster paper of the budget, which I intend to hang in her room at some point. The Real World's got to come knocking at some point, and she needs to keep that in mind on a regular basis.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Summer Classic Time!

Every summer I try to read at least one classic novel, and this year it was Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I love Jane Austen! Her novels just take me away into a world that is so long ago, so caught up in what others think, that I find myself smiling as I envision the settings and characters. This particular novel is quite small (216 pages) and the characters are perhaps not quite as well developed as some of her other novels. I do love her sense of intrigue and the misunderstandings that abound throughout her books, and this one is no different.

Here is the link to my amazon review:

I hope you'll find time to click on my review and give it a positive vote, if you are so inclined. I love doing those reviews because it gives me a way to reflect on just why I did or didn't like a novel, and it exercises my latent writing skills (something I intend to rectify this upcoming week, btw).

Next up? Club Dead by Charlaine Harris. To say I'm addicted to her series is an understatement!


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The God of Animals

I received this book as part of the Simon & Schuster Advisory Board recently and picked it up over the weekend. It's not what I'd normally read; I'm really not into dysfunctional families (and this one is a doozy), but the theme of the horse farm and the narrator, twelve-year-old Alice, appealed to me. This is a debut novel, and the author obviously knows how to write; she pulls you in seamlessly and keeps you turning the pages. But this book is relentless in its depression and dysfunction; poor Alice is standing on the outside of a family that is ready to combust and there seems to be no one to whom she can turn. There is very little redeeming value in any of the adults involved in this story; all of them seem to want things for Alice that will only appease them. I wanted to scream at the father for letting Alice work herself to death and also for allowing the mother to stay in the house with her depression: did it never occur to him to get her professional help? So this one provokes quite a reaction within me, which I suppose it what every author actually wants. Mission accomplished then!
Here's the link to my amazon review:
If you like these sorts of stories (I call them "Oprah" stories), you will love this one.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Living Dead in Dallas Review

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris is the second book in the Southern Vampire series, and I finished it this afternoon. Not as good as the first in the series, it's rather chaotic in its storyline as it moves between a murder into a maenad into a Fellowship that hates vampires and then back to the murder. However, it is filled with Sookie Stackhouse, barmaid and telepath, her vampire boyfriend Bill, and lots of excellent secondary characters who seem to develop quite nicely over the course of this book. It's still a greatly enjoyable read and I can truthfully say I loved it, but it really did need a clearer storyline (though I do suppose one thing led to another overall). I'm looking forward to reading more in this series because it really is a delightful way to spend some time! Follow the link to my review:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Helen of Troy Review

I finished Helen of Troy by Margaret George this afternoon. It was part of my tbr_challenge list, and at 600+ pages, I was afraid it might take me all summer! Fortunately, it was such a great read (much, much better than George's last foray, Mary Called Magdalene), that I could hardly put it down at night and found myself thinking about it throughout the day. This is not an era of history I'm very familiar with, and I might not have picked this book up had it not been written by Margaret George, whose works, with the exception of MCM, have all been excellent works of historical fiction. I'm very pleased to have finished another tbr_challenge book that might have languished a very long time unread without the push to get it done. Makes me wonder what else I'm overlooking in that massive amount of books I own? Hopefully I'll get a chance to get to a few more soon.

Here's the link to my review:

Don't let the size put you off. This one's a keeper.


Monday, June 11, 2007

On Turning Sixteen and Twenty

Time for a shocking admission...I don't really remember my sixteenth birthday. No, I wasn't drunk or anything , but apparently my parents treated it as another birthday and I didn't do anything too out of the ordinary. I didn't go get my license right away (that came a couple of months later...I was in no hurry) and I couldn't say I was Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed (well, I HAD been dating for a few months before I turned 16). I know Jeff remembers his sixteenth birthday because...drumroll, please...he got his license and drove to MY house for dinner that night! I'm still suprised his parents let him take the car out on the first day he got his license. I don't think I'd let my child do that.

Hannah turns 16 tomorrow. Part of me thinks "Well, yes, it's about time," and part of me is just flabbergasted to think my child could possibly be that old! I'm not a maudlin type person so I won't sit around bemoaning the loss of my baby (well, maybe I will if I think it's annoying enough to her, lol). But where did that little red-haired, curly topped sweetie go? And the truth is, she's still here in the presence of my gorgeous, well-rounded, smart, Christian daughter of whom I am oh so proud. She's all I could have hoped for, even with the sarcastic mouth (gee, where DID she get that?) and the "I can argue with a fencepost" attitude. She works hard in school and she's a decent person. I could not ask for more, and so if we make a slightly big deal over her birthday with a new TV/DVD player and half a new wardrobe, well, she's worth it. (No car yet though...we're still discussing that). We'll go out to eat and we won't let the waiters sing to her because she hates that. It'll be great.

And part two of this is the fact that it will also be our twentieth anniversary. Yes, our little bundle of joy came on our fourth anniversary, thus negating the anniversary aspect for many years. But this is a big deal, too; though we've been together almost (gasp!) 27 years, being married to Jeff is one of the best parts of my life. I cannot imagine what I'd be like without him because he balances me; he makes me laugh; he supports me; he's my best friend. I'd much rather spend time with him rewatching Seinfeld or Scrubs than do anything else with anyone else. When people say they don't enjoy being with their spouses, I feel so badly for them because I cannot imagine not being with Jeff. We grew up together and I expect that, with the grace of God, we'll grow old together, or at least grow more ornery together.

So Happy Birthday, Hannah, you special child, and Happy Anniversary to my best friend. I'm a blessed woman.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Teacher Funny

Because the current book I'm reading (Helen of Troy by Margaret George) is quite a chunkster (600+ pages), I thought I'd update not with a book review but with a teacher funny I found recently on youtube:

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'm doing this correctly!


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dedication Review

Yesterday I finished Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, the authors of The Nanny Diaries. I received it as a review book from Simon and Schuster, and I was glad I did because it's really a fun, tightly-written piece of chick lit. I loved how it moved back and forth in time, giving us the backstory of the relationship between Katie and budding rock star, Jake Sharpe. Having enjoyed The Nanny Diaries, I'm pleased to say I can recommend this one! Here's the link to my amazon review:

You could find far worse ways to spend a summer afternoon! This would make a great beach read for those so inclined.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Dead Until Dark Review

I stayed up to finish Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris last night, actually finishing it a few minutes past midnight, thanks to kittens jumping on me, lol. More fuel for my vampire obsession, this book is the story of Sookie Stackhouse, a mind-reading waitress who develops a relationship with the undead Bill. Together they work to solve the murders of Sookie's fellow waitresses and Sookie finds herself pulled deeper into Bill's dark world. Luckily for me, this is the first in a series and I'll definitely be looking for the rest of the books later this evening when I troll in Borders Bookstore while waiting for a table with my in-laws.

Here's the link to my amazon review: Visit if you feel like it.

Our month of birthdays has begun, with my mother-in-law's (and sister-in-law's) today, and another sister-in-law's tomorrow. Tonight we are celebrating dinner out at the ungodly hour of 8:30 p.m. and hopefully it will be good after waiting so long. But at least we're getting a trip through Borders out of it--my father-in-law is just as big a bibliophile as I am and it was easy to talk him into it.