Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New HP Trailer

Ah, the joy of a new Harry Potter film!

Also, for some odd reason, I'm really having difficulty getting into The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason. I've only ever heard glowing reports, but so far it's just eh for me. Could be my mood; could be I'm having Edward Cullen fever...come on, Saturday!


Monday, July 28, 2008

The Luxe Review

Having committed the cardinal sin of reading these books out of order, I can still highly recommend The Luxe by Anna Godbersen as good fun, even if it does indeed have some stereotypical characters who often act out of the norm for the historical times. Set in 1899 New York, we follow the lives of society girls Elizabeth, Diana, and Penelope; one is in love with a servant, one is in love with her sister's fiancee, and one is out to get it all for herself. How they accomplish their goals--or don't--is great good fun, a young adult chick lit that certainly is a page-turner. There are nitpicky things, of course: Is anyone truly good? How is it that no one gets pregnant with all the sex? Those are indeed good questions that the author does need to reveal in future sequels.
I enjoyed this one despite knowing ahead of time what is going to happen in the sequel. I am eagerly awaiting the third in the series because I foresee interesting things ahead for all three girls. Come on, January!
My amazon review is found at I hope you'll visit to see a fuller review of this very interesting young adult novel.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Read This Book. I Mean It.

Having received The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (how's that for a title?) as an Advanced Readers' Copy for the Amazon Vine program, I wasn't precisely sure what I was getting into, though I'd heard a few people discussing how wonderful the reviews were for this book. After reading the description, I decided I should give it a go. And am I glad I did! This one will land in the top ten of 2008 for me.

TGLAPPPS is set just after World War 2, when author Juliet Ashton begins a correspondence with a man on Guernsey Island after he spies her name on a second hand book they both enjoyed. Juliet is so delighted that she not only writes with Dawsey, but soon other Guernsey Island inhabitants; soon she is plotting a book based on the WW2 occupation of the island by the Germans. When this idea entails a trip to the island, Juliet becomes even more immersed in the people and culture. But will she stay?

Told in epistolary style, this book is just a delight. I loved the characters and Juliet in particular. The pages fairly flew because I needed to know what would occur next. My only complaint was that it took me nearly 50 pages to begin to get the correspondents straight--I kept having to check back to see who was whom. But that's a small price to pay for such a delightful read, and characters I will think about for a very long time.

My amazon review is at Please stop by and vote if you feel like it.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Rumors Review

I received Rumors by Anna Godbersen for review from the Amazon Vine program. I have its prequel, The Luxe, on my bookshelves waiting to be read, so I thought this would be a good book to choose from the monthly list. For some reason, I decided to go ahead and read this one before reading The Luxe (I know, I know, that's Rule #1: Thou Shalt Read All Books in a Series In Order). Don't get me wrong; I loved this book! I just wish I'd read its prequel first (though I do intend to go back and read it just for the style and fun).
Rumors is chock full of NYC society in December 1899, and characters who might just be found on the pages of a Gossip Girl book if the setting were present-day. We meet the decidedly undead Elizabeth Holland (who has escaped her high society marriage of convenience by running off to true love Will in the west), Elizabeth's younger sister, Diana, who is in love with Elizabeth's cast-off fiance, and Penelope Hayes, who knows way too much and is determined to have Henry all to herself. Mix in Lina, Elizabeth's former maid who is passing herself off as a lady using Penelope's blood money, and a host of other interesting people and situations and you've got the right mix for a page turner. I loved how each chapter begins with an "outtake" from a society page full of pure speculation, and I love how the mores and manners of 1899 are readily available throughout. This one's a good one---I'm going to have to pick up #3, Envy, when it comes out in January. Excellent fun and high good reading.
Amazon Vine review may be found at Please stop by and vote if you can.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Tenth Gift

Recommended and sent to me by my reading sister Lonny, I picked up Jane Johnson's The Tenth Gift to see what had her rating it in her top five of the year so far. It's indeed an excellent read, traveling between the present day and 1625, woven together by small book of embroidery that has also been used as a journal. In the present day, Julia Lovat's erstwhile lover has broken things off and given her a parting gift, though he mistakenly gives her the far more valuable copy of a book and begins desperately to try to retrieve it. Julia becomes lost in its pages as she reads the musings of seventeenth century Cat, who longs for a life beyond her Cornish shores (and should be careful what she wishes for). While I wasn't enamored of Julia (her choices alone gave me no sympathy for her), the historical parts where Cat is taken captive by Moroccan raiders and sold into slavery were riveting. I liked the idea that these two women's lives were brought together over the centuries, but a few of the plot points were way too coincidental (though, I must admit, satisfying for a romantic). There are a few mystical elements involve as well, and while their presence is not disturbing, the novel could just as easily have done without them. Still, I did enjoy this one and would look for another book from this debut novelist.

Amazon review? Coming right up at Stop by and vote if you get a chance.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Every summer I try to read at least one classic that I somehow missed in previous years. There are so many of them that I could literally spend an entire summer doing nothing but reading classics. I usually discover that I missed gems in my early years, and never more so than when I read a Jane Austen novel.

I love Jane Austen. I love the whimsical characters and the happy endings, the subterfuge and the misunderstandings. Persuasion has all of these things, yet it's not my favorite Austen novel. It was published posthumously and maybe had Austen had time to polish it a bit, it would have read a little better. There is less dialogue in this novel than in other Austens, and the beginning is slow. But by the time Anne Elliott and her erstwhile beau, Frederick Wentworth, are reunited, I was smiling. Any Austen is many times better than a lot of what's published today.

Here is my amazon review: . Please visit and vote if you are so inclined.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Queen of Babble Gets Hitched

Ah, chick lit at its finest! Meg Cabot sure knows how to pull me in. The story of Lizzie Nichols, wedding dress restorer, picks up precisely where the last one left off: Luke, her boyfriend, has reappeared and asked her to marry him while Chaz, her best friend, lies in her bed upstairs. Will she actually marry Luke, or will her heart lead her back to Chaz? Someone get this girl a Diet Coke so she can figure it out! This one did what chick lit is supposed to do: it made me smile. A lot. Check it out.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lost on Planet China

I love J. Maarten Troost. His wry sense of humor and his writing grabbed me in both of his previous travelogues, The Sex Lives of Cannibals and Getting Stoned With Savages. In his newest book, Lost on Planet China, we get to travel with Maarten as he tackles that great unknown, China. Thinking I knew something of the place, I was surprised to find out I was actually quite ignorant. I've got a whole new perspective on the 2008 Summer Olympics to be held in Beijing now; I wonder how the television studios are going to be able to put a good spin on that city's pollution in particular. I loved how Maarten takes us through lesser known areas and shows us the peoples of China up close and personal; his sense of humor is often the only thing keeping him from willfully hurting someone. I'll be looking forward to seeing where we'll be traveling next.
My amazon review is at Please drop by and give me a vote if you are so inclined.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

7 Things About Me as a Reader

My buddy Diane sent this to a booklist we both belong to, but I thought it would be fun to post on my blog as well. The idea is to just randomly list 7 things about you as a reader. Of course I probably could've thought of about 25 things, but I used the first 7 that popped into my head. And consider this your personal tag to do the same thing on your blog!

7 Things About Me As a Reader

1. I don't remember ever not wanting to read. I recall my mother reading to me when I was very little and my dad was on his way home from work. This is the greatest gift my parents gave me. My dad always said I could spend whatever I wanted on books (and I learned this lesson very, very well).

2. I used to memorize books when I was little and really couldn't read so I could "read" them.

3. I have an entire bookcase filled with books from my childhood/teen years. Those books are my oldest friends.

4. My father in law (also a bookaholic) just conceded this week that I probably have more unread books than he does. I'm not sure if this is a victory or not. :)

5. I will read just about any genre except horror. No, vampires aren't horror. I promise.

6. Sometimes I am almost overcome with despair because there are so many books I want to read and I just don't have time to get to them all.

7. I am one of the go-to people on our staff at school about books. If someone wants to know about a book, he or she comes to me. I've acquired this reputation over the course of many years--and I like it. :)'re up!


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Sugar Queen

I finsihed Sarah Addison Allen's The Sugar Queen last night. After reading and liking Garden Spells by the same author, I was hoping this one would be just as good. And it is good, but somehow I didn't feel as engaged with it as I did with Garden Spells. It's not really anything I can put my finger on; the writing is similar, and the story's similar, with magical realism and failed relationships driving the plot. I get the feeling that I should have enjoyed it more than I did. Still, I gave it four stars on my amazon review, rounding up from the 3.5 I actually feel it should have earned. You can check out that review by visiting And keep in mind that it could just be me with my very high expectations and not the book itself at all.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Observations From a Band Mom Seeing People Go to a Poison Concert

I had so much fun with my Observations From the Beach, I am going to snarkily (my favorite word in all its derivative forms) share with you my observations from today. My daughter's high school band earns $ by having members and parents work parking events downtown (Predators Games, Titans Games, concerts, etc.). Tonight was the Poison concert. Yes, Poison seems to still be alive and touring. I know, I was shocked, too. And as much as I like "Talk Dirty to Me", I cannot imagine shelling out my own hard-earned dollars to attend such an event. But apparently 5000+ Nashvillians did. Whatever.

Anyway, here is my list of observations. Take heed.

  • Were all those kids going in with their parents going willingly or were they being dragged? No one was crying but that's not really an indicator. I just cannot imagine anyone under 10 belting out "Talk Dirty to Me." That's a very disturbing image in anyone's book.
  • What on earth was my daughters' orthodontist (a truly gorgeous man, btw) doing going to a Poison concert? It took me a moment to recognize him since I've never seen him outside of the office or in a t-shirt and shorts. He recognized me though. He was with two boys and another man. This puts him in a whole new light for me. I think I'll ponder it for a bit.
  • Yes, there are men STILL with mullets. The cop who was our attendant (very friendly African-American who kept me laughing) was on the lookout. When we spotted one, he announced that his day was now complete.
  • Amazing the number of people going to the concert who went to the smoking area outside the arena. I think someone needs to do a study on this.
  • Faith Hill and Tim McGraw had 20 big rigs for their joint concert I worked a year or so ago. Poison had one.
  • Why would a two foot tall redneck motorcycle rider refuse to pay for parking just because he was on a bike? I can squash bugs bigger than him. (he did pay, btw. I don't think he knew who he was dealing with).
  • NashVegas in the summer heat is the 8th circle of hell. This has been confirmed just now on the local Fox News station.
  • Teenagers working parking with their parents must look incredibly bored at all times. It is the law.
  • Men who are obviously past their prime shouldn't wear leather pants. Nor leather shirts.
  • Lots of mini-skirts with cowgirl boots. If you are a teen in spectacular shape, this can be cute. Not so cute on a forty plus body.
  • Poison fans must be highly delusional. People my age and older were dressed like they must've done 20 years ago. I would love to know the thought processes involved. Did they think they looked good? Did someone confirm this for them?
  • Honey, Bret Michaels is not going to look at you even if you're wearing his trademark cowboy hat. You lost that possibility when you hit menopause.
  • As the policeman said, "There goes two former groupies who refuse to let the dream die." It's time for it to die, my friends.
  • Poison does, however, attract all kinds. Besides our orthodontist and the rednecks, we saw people who looked remarkably sane; we saw handicapped and someone with "Dope Love" tattooed on her back; we saw little kids and those well past their prime. Scariest thought for me was the realization that, if AC/DC comes back to town, Jeff and I will be two of those people going to see them. Egads.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Georgia Nicolson Is At It Again

I know it says The Sugar Queen just above as "currently reading", but before I even cracked the book, the next installment in Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicolson series, Stop in the Name of Pants, arrived in the mail. So eschewing TSQ, at least temporarily, with a firm hand, I picked up SITNOP. I adore Georgia. She is Bridget Jones for the young adult set, and she is far, far funnier on a consistent basis. She is so typically a teenager with a language all her own. Where else can you find "lurking lurkers" or "Baldy-o-Grams"? This entry is just as good as the most recent ones, but I will admit to being caught up short when, as I merrily read, something of a tragic nature came along. And while it was out of character for these books, I have to say I love how Rennison inserted it and how it showed a side of Georgia previously unseen. Add her parents' troubles into the mix, and we've got maybe a *slightly* more mature Georgia, still dating Masimo (Italian Stallion and not my personal choice), hoping to break up former love Robbie and Wet Lindsay, and not yet realizing that Dave the Laugh is THE man for her. I loved this visit with the Ace Gang, but I could kick myself for gulping it down as I did because now I have to wait another entire year for the next entry. So much for not wishing my life away! Bring on more Georgia.

My amazon review, positively glowing, can be found at Currently it's the third on the page.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Observations From the Beach

While sitting 'neath a big ole beach umbrella on our recent trip to Destin, FL, many things flitted through my rather nimble, airy mind. Take these observations for what they are worth, though some could be quite invaluable to those without an inner voice.

  • Ladies, (and I use the term rather loosely), who are of a certain *ahem* weight, do not need to wear bikinis. Ever. Especially not in the presence of others who do not love them for who they are. How is this to be determined? If you have to ask yourself "Should I wear this?" the answer is no. If you don't ask yourself this, you are an idiot.
  • Men with back hair really, really need to evaluate the trauma this may inflict on others. Hair removal is not all that expensive and it's worth it.
  • Men should never, regardless of sexual orientation, wear leopard print swim trunks. Ever. I mean it.
  • If you've got fake boobs, don't think you are fooling anyone. These things are easier to spot than a blimp over a football field. I'm not saying don't get them, but don't think we all don't know how those perfect little globules of silicone got there.
  • Naked children? Cute in the privacy of your own home. Not so cute elsewhere.
  • Tattoos are glorious expressions of your inner being (or something). They are not so glorious once you've gained weight and they have stretched. Keep it in mind when you decide to get inked. You need to select the area for the tattoo very, very carefully because you aren't always going to look like you did at age 21. Trust me.
  • Never, whatever you do, consider getting a tattoo of a spinal column down your spinal column. It's not attractive and might just scare small children.
  • If you're going to read on the beach, be kind enough to hold your book where I can see the cover. I love to know what everyone else is reading.
  • Be aware that if you choose to play beach volleyball, and you really suck at it, someone is probably watching you from their balcony and laughing. And laughing.
  • Smoking is not attractive and never more so than on the beach. Nothing ruins a beautiful body quite like the lighting up of a cancer stick. Not to mention the smell and smoke you are inflicting on everyone else.
  • Full body wetsuits are, in general, not standard beach attire for just sunbathing. Far from actually hiding any faults, you've now really piqued my interest as to what you feel must be so covered up. I'm going to stare at you until I figure it out.
  • Dads who play with their kids always make me smile. Love it when they jump into a pool and try to splash the dickens out of unsuspecting daughters. Keep up the good work.
  • I have to wonder at those people who bring what seem to be all of their earthly beach supplies to the beach/pool, take 15 minutes to set up and oil down, then disappear 10 minutes later, taking all said equipment with them? What's that about? ADHD at the beach? Take your meds and relax.
  • Likewise, the mother of two rather small children who headed to the beach at the exact same time a rather ominous cloud was pushing in and the lifeguards were telling everyone to leave the beach? And she didn't--she just took those two kids right on into the ocean. Hello?

There may be more points of interest that will spill forth from my ever tumbling brain so stay tuned. Consider this your PSA for the day. :)


Queen of Babble in the Big City

I like chick lit at times, and Meg Cabot provides some of the best. Queen of Babble in the Big City picks up where the first book left off, with Lizzie and Luke moving to NYC. Luke is studying to be a doctor, while Lizzie is hell-bent on finding work in her chosen field: refurbishing wedding dresses. Things, of course, do not go as planned; Lizzie immediately begins living with Luke in his mother's posh NYC apartment rather than moving in with her BFF, Shari and there's no work to be found in the fashion industry. Somehow, though, our indomitable Lizzie not only finds a job (non-paying) doing what she loves, but she also lands a receptionist job while she dreams of Luke asking her to marry him. But do things go smoothly? Of course not. And I'd not want them to, since that's precisely why I picked this book up in the first place. You can read my more comprehensive review at amazon found at


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

I wish I had more words to describe how much I love The Host by Stephenie Meyer. From its earliest pages, I was captured by the alternative Earth Ms. Meyer creates; we meet Wanderer, the alien who has been inserted into a young woman's body in order to live a lifetime here on Earth. Thinking things will go just as they have in her other eight lifetimes, Wanderer is jolted to learn that Melanie, her human host, has no intentions of leaving her body and her mind to be taken over. That Wanderer is a sympathetic character makes the story more than just an us vs. them tale; the relationships between the characters bring forth so many emotions that I found myself literally peeking ahead to see what was going to happen next. This is a tale that's crawled into my own soul, and one I can highly, highly recommend. I give it a much fuller review at amazon: Read this book.


Ink Exchange

I finished Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr while on vacation in Destin, FL. As much as I loved Wicked Lovely, I sort of had to force myself through this one. Not that it was bad, precisely; I just wasn't as into the storyline. Still set in the faery world, this time we follow Leslie as she is made the conduit for emotion for the Dark Faery Court, much against her will. It's been a couple of days since I finished it, but I still don't have much strong feeling one way or the other about the book. Wicked Lovely kept me turning the pages and fully engulfed me in the faery world; this one just didn't. I'm not sorry I read it, but I do hope the next book set in this world is more engaging. You can find my amazon review at