Friday, April 30, 2010

Last chance to win The Stolen Crown!!

The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England


Ends May 2.

Island of the Blue Dolphins - Scott O'Dell

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O'Dell

This is the only book that I read for the Shelf Discovery Challenge that was a reread and I saved it for last because I remembered loving it when I was little.  I was not disappointed reading it again!  I'm kind of in love with it, and really what's not to love?  You have a young girl alone on an island that is shaped like a dolphin fighting wild dogs while taming birds and otter and then you get to the author's note and find out it was based on a true story!!!  How did I not remember that?

It was a quick read but I loved every second.  It was strange to read the one part I remembered the most and how it was barely even a part of the story:
On the sixth day, when the storm had ended, I went to the place where the canoes had been hidden, and let myself down over the cliff.  This part of the shore was sheltered from the wind and I found the canoes just as they had been left.  The dried food was still good, but the water was stale, so I went back to the spring and filled a fresh basket.

The part that stuck with me was about the water.  Reading this in elementary was the moment that I found out water didn't last forever, it became stale.  This was such a shock to me that the image of the canoe with water baskets in it has stuck with me and it is what I think about anytime stale water comes up.  I'm ashamed to say that the image in my head did change over the years and without my realizing what happened I switched out the baskets for plastic water jugs...come on Jess there's no plastic on the Island of the Blue Dolphins!

Basically read this book.  It's like Snow White meets Hatchet, without prince charming or the creepy dead pilot in the plane that crashed in the water.  Okay so clearly you know what part of Hatchet has been burned into my skull, and I couldn't stop thinking about Snow White and the animals that constantly follow her around.  I'm not making this sound right, just read it. 






*I read this book as part of the Shelf Discovery Challenge.

**Source: I bought this book with my own sweet loot.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Flowers in the Attic - V.C. Andrews

Flowers in the Attic/Petals on the Wind

Flowers in the Attic
by V.C. Andrews

I was and still am very confused by this book.  It has been a long time since I read V.C. Andrews and I thought this would be a good choice for the Shelf Discovery Challenge.  I mean come on, 4 kids locked in an attic...I was intrigued by what motives their captors could possibly have and what the outcome was.  Seriously though...390 pages of 4 kids in an attic, it got a bit old...fast.

Then, surprise! Part 2 is much better.  I finally cared what was going to happen to these kids and felt like there was something worth reading about.  There was danger and drama and a mouse named Mickey...how cute is that!  the problem was that throughout the entire book I just kept going back and forth between needing to know how it ends, to make sure revenge is had and then being bored enough to want to give up and move on to my next book.

The end finally became more steady with the intensity and after reading the last page I quickly flipped a few pages to the second book in the series (the book I bought includes the first 2).  The last chapter took on a kind of horror story feel (which I guess it kind of was but I didn't really feel it until then) and I really enjoyed that part.  My biggest issue was part of the storyline.  I read all kinds of books, true stories that have harsh details of all kinds, but I had a seriously hard time dealing with the way the relationship between Cindy and Chris played out  Maybe it's because I wasn't expecting it, but I was surprised at how much it bothered me, especially since it was fiction.  

Have you read Flowers in the Attic?  What did you think?






*I read this book as part of the Shelf Discovery Challenge.

**Source: I bought this book with my own sweet loot.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anne of Green Gables, Avonlea, and the Island & LibriVox

The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, ... Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside)
I found an awesome new thing...well 2 new things...well more than 4 new things.  Okay I am getting ahead of myself.  A few months ago I discovered a website.  I was in desperate need of an audiobook to fill some time (this was before I became completely sold on the gloriousness that is audiobooks) and I came across something wonderful in iTunes, free podcasts of audiobooks.

Where do you find these you are surely asking?  LibriVox.org I say.  Check out the website to see all the books that you can listen to for free or you can search iTunes for LibriVox.

Okay now on to the wonderful new books I have listened to.  Anne of Green Gables!  I know, I have to be one of the last people in the world to read all about Anne but I have to admit I just never really cared.  When I was in college, my roommate owned the movies and I got about 10 minutes into the first one and decided it was a waste of time.  Oh was I ever wrong.  How have I gone so long without loving Anne.  Oh oh and Mrs. Rachel Lynde with her "that's what!" I love it all.

So after Green Gables I moved on to Avonlea and finally Anne of the Island.  Here is where I come to my problem...I can't find the next audiobook anywhere!  It may actually be a good thing because now I have a good excuse to buy the whole book set.  The thing is that I would listen to it at the gym and I LOVED it.  so I am going to have to read Anne of Windy Poplars fast so I can get back to my audio.  I started and am just about finished with Tristan and Iseult by Joseph Bedier (not as good as the movie but still enjoyable).  I have a ton of audiobooks to choose from when I'm finished but I WANT ANNE BACK!!  I love her and I want more.  Who knew that I would fall in love with this sweet redheaded girl.  I thought she was blah and was convinced the books didn't have anything to interest me.  Clearly I was wrong.

Does this mean I should also read the Little House series?

Moral of the story:  Read Anne of Green Gables and check out LibriVox.org.

** I was not compensated in any way by LibriVox I just know an awesome deal for free stuff when I see it and wanted to pass it on.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Stolen Crown - Susan Higginbotham

The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England
The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England
By Susan Higginbotham

Let me just say that when you take the drama of the War of the Roses and the fascinating, easy story-telling of Susan Higginbotham, you can’t go wrong. I loved reading about the excitement that unfolded from the point-of-view of Harry Stafford, the person who betrayed a king but about whom little is actually known, as well as the perspective of his wife Kate Woodville who was the sister of the queen and to who history has not been the most kind.

I don’t know about you, but for me this is a very confusing time period. I’m not talking about keeping all the details straight (which, hello, is ridiculous to attempt during a cousin’s war) but oh my emotions, I couldn’t keep them in check. One chapter I am living this person and wanting them to succeed and the next chapter I am wishing them dead. I think the changing narrations between Kate and Harry also added to this effect and I loved it.

I also love the spunk that Higginbotham writes into her female characters when they are young. I think it makes them seem more real because I know if I was raised prim and proper (which of course I am) I would be doing absurd things whenever I could get away with it. Plus, it just makes the story that much more entertaining. It was quite amusing when I found young Harry to have similar qualities.

“I told Grandmother when she talked to me this morning that I thought you were too French,’ Harry said solemnly. ‘But she told me that I was being foolish, that when I was older I would be delighted with your French ways. She didn’t say why. Anyway, she told me that it was either you or the Earl of Warwick’s girls…she thought that I would enjoy marriage to you more. And she said that you would probably be a better bearer of children for me…So I said that I guessed that you would do, and Grandmother said that I was shaping up to be a man of sense after all.”

Please Harry, don’t hold back. The dialogue throughout the story is entertaining and it builds such fantastic chemistry between the characters. I know that there are many versions to every story but I like to believe it happened the way that Higginbotham tells it…full of drama and passion and betrayal and redemption.

If you want to check out this book (you know you do) I am giving away a signed copy.  Check out my post from last week to enter.


**Source: This book was purchased with my own sweet loot.

Quick update with a quote from Friends

I feel like I have been off in a far away land for a while where reading and blogging are at the bottom of my to-do list and at the top is me staring at my computer screen browsing...and browsing...and browsing.  What am I browsing?  Well I don't want to jinx anything because it is still early and uncertain but Monday night I bought a ticket to California, Wednesday I was on a plane, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday I was working (actually able to go into the office instead of work from home because it is located in CA) and looking at something... Sunday I flew back to NC and here I am now exhausted, overwhelmed and trying not to think about what I want to think about. 

Allow me to quote Friends with a clue:

Chandler: Come with us. You'll see how close it is to the city.
Joey: No, it's not close! You said it was in Escrow? I couldn't even find that on the map! 

That's it...that's all I can say for now. 

The good news is I am finally going to post my review for the Stolen Crown...tomorrow.  And don't forget to enter my giveaway for a signed copy.

I'll keep you updated if I move on to a place that Joey can find on the map. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mailbox Monday


Thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for putting on the weekly Mailbox Monday, a place where I discover so many wonderful new books.

Check out her blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.

 
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant (ARC from publishers via Shelf Awareness)
THE VANISHING OF KATHARINA LINDENNot since The Elegance of the Hedgehog has a book arrived in America from Europe on such wings of critical praise and popularity. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is an unforgettable debut—at once chilling and endearing, haunting and richly insightful—the story of one girl’s big heart and even bigger imagination, and of a world full of mystery, good, and evil.

It isn’t ten-year-old Pia’s fault that her grandmother dies in a freak accident. But tell that to the citizens of Pia’s little German hometown of Bad M√ľnstereifel, or to the classmates who shun her. The only one who still wants to be her friend is StinkStefan, the most unpopular child in school.

But then something else captures the community’s attention: the vanishing of Katharina Linden. Katharina was last seen on a float in a parade, dressed as Snow White. Then, like a character in a Grimm’s fairy tale, she disappears. But, this being real life, she doesn’t return.

Pia and Stefan suspect that Katharina has been spirited away by the supernatural. Their investigation is inspired by the instructive—and cautionary—local legends told to them by their elderly friend Herr Schiller, tales such as that of Unshockable Hans, visited by witches in the form of cats, or of the knight whose son is doomed to hunt forever.

Then another girl disappears, and Pia is plunged into a new and unnerving place, one far away from fairy tales—and perilously close to adulthood.

Marvelously morbid, stunningly suspenseful, and exceptionally winning, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden is a new coming-of-age classic, and the most accomplished fiction debut in years.

The Tulip Virus by Danielle Hermans (From Marcia at The Printed Page as part of Read It Forward.  Thanks so much Marcia!!)
A gripping debut mystery set in contemporary London with roots in 17th century Holland and the mysterious tulip trade
The Tulip VirusIn 1636 Alkmaar, Holland, Wouter Winckel’s brutally slaughtered body is found in the barroom of his inn, an antireligious pamphlet stuffed in his mouth. Winckel was a respected tulip-trader and owned the most beautiful collection of tulips in the United Republic of the Low Countries, including the most coveted and expensive bulb of them all, the Semper Augustus. But why did he have to die and who wanted him dead? 
In 2007 London, history seems to be repeating itself. Dutchman Frank Schoeller is found in his home by his nephew, Alec. Severely wounded, he is holding a 17th-century book about tulips, seemingly a reference to the reason for his death moments later. With the help of his friend Damien Vanlint, an antique dealer from Amsterdam, Alec tries to solve the mystery, but soon comes to realize that he and his friend’s own lives are now in danger.  
The Tulip Virus is a fast-paced, fascinating mystery based on the real-life events surrounding the collapse of the tulip bubble in 17th century Holland—the first such occurrence in history—a story that plunges readers deeply into questions of free will, science, and religion, while showing the dark fruits of greed, pride, and arrogance.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel by David Mitchell (ARC from publishers via Shelf Awareness)
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A NovelIn 2007, Time magazine named him one of the most influential novelists in the world. He has twice been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The New York Times Book Review called him simply “a genius.” Now David Mitchell lends fresh credence to The Guardian’s claim that “each of his books seems entirely different from that which preceded it.” The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a stunning departure for this brilliant, restless, and wildly ambitious author, a giant leap forward by even his own high standards. A bold and epic novel of a rarely visited point in history, it is a work as exquisitely rendered as it is irresistibly readable.

The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fianc√©e back in Holland.

But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings.  As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?”


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Go Ask Alice - Anonymous

Go Ask Alice
Go Ask Alice
By Anonymous

Go Ask Alice is a book I had been curious about from the moment I first heard about it. I don’t know how old I was but I remember that it seemed like something my mom wouldn’t want me to read, so of course I was immediately interested. At the time I thought it was a true story but I think some of my friends telling me it may not be had an effect on the fact that I never read it until now.

It is heartbreaking and intense and feels so real. I would recommend it to everyone who can get through the subject matter. There were moments that were very difficult to read but in the end I think the story was worth it. There were moments in the story where the writing was so vivid it was frightening.

I don’t really know how to talk about it without giving parts but the basic details are obvious. Girl goes to a party, has her first experience with drugs, and the rest is the roller-coaster ride of her successes and failures trying to get her life back on track. I will say when she would have good times after doing something stupid, I would almost hope it didn’t work out for her because I didn’t want it to look too easy. I was worried that the things she went through would be taken too lightly. There were, however, enough ups and downs throughout the story to satisfy me. I was so satisfied with the end of the book and then I read the epilogue and it took my breath away.

I am so glad I finally read it.






*I read this book as part of the Shelf Discovery Challenge.
**Source:  Purchased with my own sweet loot.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hugh and Bess - Susan Higginbotham

Hugh and BessHugh and Bess
By Susan Higginbotham

After reading The Traitor’s Wife, and loving it, I was excited to read more from Higginbotham. I actually finished Hugh and Bess at the end of last year but somehow my review got lost on my computer and never found its way to a post. So long overdue, here it is. Basically, if you enjoyed The Traitor’s Wife, but haven’t read Hugh and Bess what the heck are you waiting for?

Hugh and Bess continues in time with Hugh the son, filling in how he went from being the crown’s prisoner to a decade later marrying 14 year old Bess. We see Bess learning to overcome her fears of marriage and facing the trials of her time.

The story is captivating and wonderfully written. At times I felt the issues Hugh and Bess faced were almost wrapped up a little too neatly but I’m a pessimist, I can’t help it. I loved the relationship Hugh and Bess had and the strength Bess showed when faced with losing everyone she held dear.

This is a wonderful story and a great follow-up to The Traitor’s Wife. Higginbotham creates a beautiful story laced with some moments that had me chuckling to myself.
A woman cackled to her companion, “Pretty little chick, but not ready for our lord to bed, I’ll wager!” Bess, whose mouth had been fixed into a smile, forgot herself and glared daggers at the woman. She sat up straighter and thrust her chest forward a bit, trying to create the illusion of a bosom.

Although the book covers a great deal of time, many of the details were passed over so the book was over too soon. A lot of this was because it was detailed in The Traitor’s Wife. There were parts at the end I want to know more about. I would have kept reading and reading but unfortunately the pages ran out.


Also check out:
Susan Higginbotham's website
My review of The Traitor's Wife


**Source: Personal copy I purchased with my own sweet loot.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Book Signing & A Giveaway



Well it has been a crazy week around here lately, but in between all the craziness I did manage to make it to Borders in Apex yesterday to see Susan Higginbotham.  I read Hugh and Bess at the end of last year, wrote up my review and somehow it never made it to a post (I have no idea how that happened), so I will be posting that review Tuesday and then I will have my review up for The Stolen Crown (the short version: read it).  I did, however, successfully post my review for The Traitor's Wife last year.  Check it out.

The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of EnglandSusan was nice enough to not only sign a copy of The Stolen Crown for me but also a copy to give to one of you (details below).  This was my first book signing and I was so nervous, my husband Mike was laughing at me because it was so obvious.

Susan was really nice and she didn't even laugh at me when I talked.  At one point this is how my side of the conversation went:

You're books are...(me trying to think of a word that makes me sound intelligent) awesome (damn that's not what I was going for).  Thank you for writing them.  (okay Jess stop talking now because you sound like an idiot).

By the way, I was also laughing nervously because I was holding back the excited giggles.

Seriously, I shouldn't be allowed out in public. I felt a little better when we got out the door and I turned to Mike with what I'm sure was an excited goofy grin on my face and he said "I waved to her on the way out and she waved back."  See it wasn't just me that was excited, apparently my excitement rubbed off on Mike and a wave goodbye was all he needed. 

Moral of the story is I have to work on my game face.

Now on to the sweet loot...

Giveaway details:

You can have up to 3 entries:
  • 1 entry just by leaving me a comment on this post with your email address.
  • 1 additional entry if you subscribe to my rss feed or follow me via blogger (new or current subscribers).
  • 1 final entry for blogging about this giveaway (in your sidebar is okay).
Open to entries from US and Canada only.

The deadline to enter is May 2nd.

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Girl Who Chased the Moon - Sarah Addison Allen

The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel
The Girl Who Chased the Moon
 By Sarah Addison Allen

Oh this book, this sweet, delicious book. I have to admit that when I first picked it up I didn’t really know what it was about. I had skimmed the summary as I posted it under my "Waiting On" Wednesday but that was it. I didn’t need to know because it’s Sarah Addison Allen and I love her. Besides, summaries don’t do her books justice, so I didn’t pay much attention. That is until I opened to her dedication page and went “huh?”

To the memory of famous gentle giant Robert Pershing Wadlow (1918-1940). At the time of his death at age twenty-two, he was eight feet eleven inches tall—a world record that has never been broken.

So yes, there is a giant in this book, and the wallpaper changes to suit your mood, and baking a cake may do magical things. Do these things matter? Sure they do, but you would know about them just by reading the summary, the truly magical parts are within. Seriously…just go read the book.

Do I love this book even more because it is about North Carolina and all the things I actually love about North Carolina and will miss desperately when I leave but refuse to think about because I’ll be sad so I focus on the things I can’t stand? Maybe. But it is also because this book is filled with everything sweet and magical you could wish for.

The only issue I had was with the ending. It was one of those “I’ll lead you right up to the point of what you know is going to happen so you know how it's going to end but that’s it. I’m not going to write out that final scene because you know how it goes, you can see it in your head right now. You have been playing it out for the last two pages.” Unacceptable! I want to see it on the paper. What if Armageddon hits at that very moment and the ending I’m imagining never happens? It’s too risky; I need to see it on paper just to be safe. But then I thought...really Jess, could she have written it any better than I am imagining it? (well duh yes, but…) No, because I am imagining it in my perfect world with all the emotion and moments that I need, so it’s my ending. So…okay Sarah, I’ll allow it…just this once.

I will leave you with one of my favorite parts. It is one of my favorites because I have lived it. I grew up in California and barbecue was what you did on a nice summer day. It consisted of meat on a bun, there were no fancy sauces, just ketchup and mustard...if you were lucky, if not, it was still delicious. When I came to the east coast, I was enlightened…and confused.

“This isn’t barbecue,” Emily said. “Barbecue is hot dogs and hamburgers on a grill.”
Vance laughed, which automatically made Emily smile. “Ha! Blasphemy! In North Carolina, barbecue means pork child. Hot dogs and hamburgers on a grill—that’s called ‘cooking out’ around here,” he explained with sudden enthusiasm. “And there are two types of North Carolina barbecue sauce—Lexington and Eastern North Carolina. Here, look.” He excitedly found a container of sauce and showed her, accidentally spilling some on the table.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mailbox Monday


Thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for putting on the weekly Mailbox Monday, a place where I discover so many wonderful new books.

Check out her blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.

I missed last weeks Mailbox Monday so today is for the last two weeks.

The Lotus Eaters: A Novel by Tatjana Soli (from LibraryThing Early Reviewers)

From Amazon:
A unique and sweeping debut novel of an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War, as she captures the wrenching chaos and finds herself torn between the love of two men.
The Lotus Eaters: A Novel
On a stifling day in 1975, the North Vietnamese army is poised to roll into Saigon. As the fall of the city begins, two lovers make their way through the streets to escape to a new life. Helen Adams, an American photojournalist, must take leave of a war she is addicted to and a devastated country she has come to love. Linh, the Vietnamese man who loves her, must grapple with his own conflicted loyalties of heart and homeland. As they race to leave, they play out a drama of devotion and betrayal that spins them back through twelve war-torn years, beginning in the splendor of Angkor Wat, with their mentor, larger-than-life war correspondent Sam Darrow, once Helen's infuriating love and fiercest competitor, and Linh's secret keeper, boss and truest friend.

Tatjana Soli paints a searing portrait of an American woman’s struggle and triumph in Vietnam, a stirring canvas contrasting the wrenching horror of war and the treacherous narcotic of obsession with the redemptive power of love. Readers will be transfixed by this stunning novel of passion, duty and ambition among the ruins of war. 

 Keeper by Kathi Appelt (ARC from Simon and Schuster via Shelf Awareness)

From the publisher's website:
KeeperTo ten-year-old Keeper, this moon is her chance to fix all that has gone wrong...and so much has gone wrong. But she knows who can make things right again: Meggie Marie, her mermaid mother who swam away when Keeper was just three. A blue moon calls the mermaids to gather at the sandbar, and that's exactly where she is headed -- in a small boat, in the middle of the night, with only her dog, BD (Best Dog), and a seagull named Captain.

When the riptide pulls at the boat, tugging her away from the shore and deep into the rough waters of the Gulf of Mexico, panic sets in, and the fairy tales that lured her out there go tumbling into the waves. Maybe the blue moon isn't magic and maybe the sandbar won't sparkle with mermaids and maybe -- Oh, no..."Maybe" is just too difficult to bear. Kathi Appelt follows up to her New York Times bestseller, The Underneath, with a tale that will pull right at your very core -- stronger than moon currents -- capturing the crash and echo of the waves and the dark magic of the ocean.

She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott (ARC from Simon and Schuster via Shelf Awareness)

She's So Dead to UsPerfect, picturesque Orchard Hill. It was the last thing Ally Ryan saw in the rear-view mirror as her mother drove them out of town and away from the shame of the scandal her father caused when his hedge fund went south and practically bankrupted all their friends -- friends that liked having trust funds and new cars, and that didn't like constant reminders that they had been swindled. So it was adios, Orchard Hill. Thanks for nothing.

Now, two years later, Ally's mother has landed a job back at the site of their downfall. So instead of Ally's new low-key, happy life, it'll be back into the snake pit with the likes of Shannen Moore and Hammond Ross.
But then there's Jake Graydon. Handsome, wealthy, bored Jake Graydon. He moved to town after Ally left and knows nothing of her scandal, but does know that he likes her. And she likes him. So off into the sunset they can go, right? Too bad Jake's friends have a problem with his new crush since it would make Ally happy. And if anyone deserves to be unhappy, it's Ally Ryan.

Ally was hoping to have left all the drama in the past, but some things just can't be forgotten. Isn't there more to life than money?


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring is here, spring is here, happy happy spring is here

(what you don't know is the title of this post should actually be sung not read and there is even a little dance I do with it)

It is crazy that on January 31 I was posting pictures of my snow day and we just had March 31 and it has been in the 80s. Only 2 months later and things have completely changed. I mean, I am actually sunburned!! I love it! Not the burn, just the sun getting/absorption.

It also blows me away how things can literally change over night. Two weeks ago my husband came home saying that he heard on the radio that "everything bloomed today." He was like "uhh things just don't all bloom overnight." Well apparently they do because let me tell you those dogwood trees had exploded into beautiful white flowery goodness and they were boring buds the day before. (Photo courtesy of my husband who snapped it while we were driving around and I started yelling at him "It's so beautiful, take a picture, take a picture, you know I would but I can't because I'm driving, bust out your phone and take a picture, quick")

Here we are 2 weeks later and again overnight things have changed. I had been watching the dogwood blossoms slowly fade with the sadness that I wouldn't be here next year to see them and when I woke up yesterday and looked outside, my car, along with every other car in the area, was covered by the yellow-green pollen that is so bright it almost looks toxic. It's a good thing I was planning on washing my car this weekend and not yesterday.

I will admit that I was an overachiever yesterday and washed my car the moment I got off work, fully aware that the pollen probably hadn't settled and would be covering my car again. I was laughing when I noticed that a light dusting had settled before I even had the chance to finish drying it. Oh well, it wasn't so much removing the pollen that was the final goal, I just knew it needed a good wash and I was all wound up so I was excited to have something to do outside.

Friday, April 2, 2010

LOTR Readalong - Two Towers: Ends - Return of the King: Begins

Well, we have finally come to the last transition in the Lord of the Rings Readalong. Teresa at Shelf Love has been a great host for The Two Towers and now Maree at Just Add Books has stepped up for the final book of our journey.

I have to admit I really missed the rest of the characters in book 4 but I love Gollum (I know I say this every post but it doesn't get any less true) so the focus on Frodo, Sam and Gollum didn't slow the story down for me. I actually thought it was going to slow it down but I really enjoyed book 4.

I will admit it started off a bit rough. I was annoyed with Sam right off the bat because he was so whiny. I threw a little post-it in to mark the spot (even though I didn't need to because it was the second page of book 4) and moved on. Then, before I knew it my little book was flooded with ripped post-its marking all the things I LOVED (see picture). I guess if only one out of all these marks something I was annoyed with we are doing all right. One of my favorite parts is when Gollum (of course it's about Gollum) promises on the ring and then becomes excited after Sam releases him from the rope:

At once Gollum got up and began prancing about, like a whipped cur whose master has patted it. From that moment a change, which lasted for some time, came over him. He spoke with less hissing and whining, and he spoke to his companions direct, not to his precious self.

I love it. I imagine Gollum frolicking around flapping his arms in a ridiculous way. Another time I love Gollum is when he is leading them across the marshes:

He went on again, but his uneasiness grew, and every now and again he stood up to his full height, craning his neck eastward and southward.

I know I'm crazy but here I am imagining a meerkat popping its heaad out of a hole and peeking around in that way they do (yes I also love meerkats and watched Meerkat Manor). My last piece of Gollum obsessiveness is when he is arguing with himself:

'No, sweet one. See, my precious: if we has it, then we can escape, even from Him, eh? Perhaps we grows very strong, stronger than Wraiths. Lord Smeagol? Gollum the Great? The Gollum! Eat fish every day, three times a day, fresh from the sea. Most Precious Gollum! Must have it. We wants it, we wants it, we wants it!'

Lord Smeagol...how can you not love that? Ok I am over my I heart Gollum ramblings. I think you get the point. It broke my heart when he finally turned on Sam, even though I knew it was coming but I can't wait to see what kind of joy and heartbreak The Return of the King brings me. Yes I have seen the end of the movie and therefore know the basics of the ending but I just know it is going to be harder for me to read it.

It killed me to wait but I haven't started reading ROTK yet because I wanted to get this post up before I started. I was worried that if I started reading I would lose sight of anythign else and this would never be written. Now that it is done...it's reading time!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When the shock wears off I'm buying a book

Holy mother....I was playing the evil little game/reality check hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, how much $$$ did I spend on books!!!

Oh it's bad folks...it's really bad.

I went into this thinking that I would be impressed with myself. I mean honestly I didn't start buying books until March 1st. I had a deal with my husband about that and I actually kept it!!! It was a big deal for me. I had March 1 circled on every calendar I own. So imagine my shock when I added up everything and the total was.....


$92.30

In one month!!!! One month where I completely held back on my book buying madness!

What's worse is I was just at Bibliophile by the Sea and Diane has only spent $91.88 all year! Oh Diane you are so much smarter with your money. You have spent less than me (barely) but you have bought more books...so many more books! I need to take a lesson from you. My goal for this month is to spend less than you.

I just need to get over the fact that on every day off I have I find myself at the bookstore. It is the only place I enjoy in this town. And what do I do when I go to the bookstore, look around, and know that I can't leave with anything? Panic, hyperventilate, cry. I go home in a deep lonely hole of depression and sit on the couch looking at my bookshelf knowing that my books know they won't have any new company so they are sad and I am sad that they are sad and all of this sadness can only be healed by one thing...a new book. So I go to the store and buy one and it's painless and all is right in the world and suddenly I realize that I am such a drama queen. Next time I'm not going through all this "oh I'm saving money bull" because I know in the end I will break down and buy the stupid book so I may as well skip all the dramatic wallowing/rationalizing and just buy the book to begin with.