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 Do yourself a favor and pick this one up, even if you've not read all the others. It's definitely worth it!


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'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!


Wednesday, December 26, 2007


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.


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


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: Follow it and vote if you are so inclined.

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.