Saturday, July 30, 2016

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #2)


Title: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer 
Hardcover, 452 pages
Published: February 5, 2013 by Feiwel and Friends 

This is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer. The books are loosely based on fairy tales which is why I was drawn to them. 

The first book, "Cinder", is based on Cinderella and follows Cinder, a cyborg, as she struggles through her life with a step-mother and two step-sisters. She meets Prince Kai and he invites her to his ball where he will announce he plans to marry Queen Levana from Luna. Cinder discovers a message that Queen Levana plans to kill the prince after they are married and take over the Commonwealth and eventually all of Earth. Cinder goes to the ball to tell Prince Kai and ends up threatening the life of the Queen, getting arrested, and discovering a fun fact about herself in the process. Lots of other things happen, background things and family things, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so... 

Scarlet is based on Red Riding Hood. It continues Cinder's story with her escape from prison. She is trying to get away, hide from Queen Levana and the military that is looking for her, and find out something about her past. Scarlet lives with her grandmother on a farm in rural France. Her grandmother is kidnapped and Scarlet tries to find her when she meets Wolf, a street fighter. He says he will help her find her grandmother, but he is not what he seems. Meanwhile, Cinder is also looking for Scarlet's grandmother because she thinks she can tell her about her past - the years she doesn't remember. 

This book is action-packed. I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened next. The female characters are amazing! Even Cinder's favorite android, Iko, is tough! I was expecting to be disappointed with the male characters when I started this book, but they weren't all weak and disgusting. Thorne, Cinder's fellow escapee, is growing on me. Scarlet's father WAS a wimp. But Wolf makes up for him. He is strong and I know eventually he will be more of a hero. And I believe Prince Kai wants to be a good leader. He will figure it out. Maybe in the next book! I can't wait to get started reading it! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

High Summer Read-a-thon Wrap Up!

This is the first time I have ever truly participated in a Read-a-Thon...I mean actually reading instead of doing other things like watching television or housework. So, my results may seem small to others, but for me it was pretty cool. 

It's definitely High Summer here in Pennsylvania and this week temperatures were in the 90s, so it was no trial to stick it out in our family room where the air conditioner is. I finished my Nancy Drew book, #4 "The Bungalow Mystery" which was a mere 180 pages. No sweat - literally! I also made progress on all 3 of the other selections I chose: 55 pages of "The Betrothed" ending up at page 492 of 720; 17% of the "Pride and Prejudice" audiobook advancing to 69% completed; and 57 pages of "Footsteps in the Dark" ending at page 101. That's 292 pages read and 17% of the audiobook. I'm happy with that. I wish I could have finished another book, but I spent lots of time reading and that was the point - at least that was my point in participating. 

Thank you, Seasons of Reading, for hosting this Read-a-Thon! I look forward to doing this again! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Nancy Drew and The Bungalow Mystery


Title: The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #3) 
Author: Carolyn Keene 
Hardcover, 180 pages 
Published May 1, 1987 (first published 1930)

from Goodreads: 

While trying to help a friend out of a difficulty, teenage detective Nancy Crew has a perilous experience in and around a deserted bungalow. 

Alleluialu's review: 

Another Nancy Crew mystery solved! I am really enjoying reading these books that I read when I was young. The adventures are exciting even if the language is vintage. For example, this is the way Nancy's friend, Don, described her after she made a surprise discovery: 

"Good thinking, Nancy," said Don admiringly. "You're a whiz of a detective, all right." 

Amusing! And so much fun to read! 

I gave it 4 stars - my 13-year old self would have given it 5 stars, but I'm not 13 anymore. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

High Summer Read-a-Thon

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I have started on my High Summer Read-a-Thon! I have quite a diverse group of books here I want to work on. The first is "Nancy Drew and The Bungalow Mystery" from my local library. I am working on a project to read at least 12 books that I read when I was a young girl including Nancy Drew books and the Bobbsey Twins. I used to get so much enjoyment out of those books and the ones I have read so far have lived up to my memories. You can tell by the language used that they are vintage, but the stories are fun! 

Next, I plan to make some headway in "The Betrothed" by Alessandro Manzoni. My daughter gave me this book for Christmas. It is a book in translation and apparently, a classic that many Italian students are required to read. I am over halfway through it. She was right predicting that I would like it. Maybe I will finish it this week. 

"Footsteps in the Dark" by Georgette Heyer is from my TBR pile. I will read it on my iPad whenever I can get my iPad away from my other daughter who is playing an ongoing game on it. I have read another Georgette Heyer book and enjoyed. I'm just getting started on this one. 

Lastly, "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, a classic audiobook performed by Rosamund Pike. I listen to this while I am exercising - riding an exercise bike or walking. Haven't been doing that alot lately, but I plan to give this a listen this week while I am working around the house. 

Is that an ambitious list? Perhaps. A children's book (although the protagonist is 18 years old), a book in print, an ebook and an audiobook. It's doable. Better get back to it! Good luck with your list! 

Book Review - One Summer by David Baldacci


Title:  One Summer
Author: David Baldacci 
Paperback, 384 pages 
Published May 28, 2013 by Vision 

This book is our July Book Club selection. I don't think I would have just picked this book up on my own. I have just read some of the reviews listed on Goodreads and perhaps my 4 star rating is a bit high. There were lots of 2 stars on Goodreads. The story was filled with dramatic events that were kind of over-the-top. I found myself wondering what  "fantastic" thing would happen next. It wasn't boring and the ending wasn't tragic. But, how much drama could happen to one family? I liked the characters and I liked the heart of the story. Maybe they will make a Lifetime movie out of it. Basically, it was a summer read - what do you expect? 

My 4 stars stands. It wasn't a page-turner, but it wasn't bad. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Wow! I have to update my blog! OBVIOUSLY! Did anyone else know Christmas was only 160 days away? 

I have decided to participate in the High Summer Read-a-Thon. I have been inspired by some of the Book Tubers I follow, so I'm doing it! Here is the scoop from Seasons of Reading

High Summer is just over a month away! It has been read-a-thon mania this summer. 

You can find the official sign up for the High Summer Read-a-Thon here! Dates are July 18 - 24, starting at 12:00am Monday and ending at 11:59pm on Sunday. That's central time (U.S.), but you can adjust your times according to your time zone. Of course, like most read-a-thons, the books read must be novels or novellas, adult or young adult are fine, and you can read children's books too (as long as you do read some novels too). Note: Non-Fiction is also okay! You DO NOT have to participate the entire week. Join in when you can, start in the middle, end early...whatever works best for your schedule. The read-a-thon will be a week of relaxed reading during which we can personally challenge ourselves and whittle away that ever looming TBR. 

I am planning to finish some of the books I am reading concurrently so I can move on to some other selections. I'm looking forward to it! Join us! 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Catching up with my Christmas Reading Challenge

These are the Christmas novels I have read so far this month: 




Yes! They all got 5 stars. Melody Carlson writes the best Christmas stories and "The First Christmas Carol" was a unique blend of the story of Jesus' birth and "A Christmas Carol" - very good. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Fa La La Films: Candace Cameron Bure Night! November 28th

Tonight, I only watched one Christmas movie. This one -- 

A Christmas Detour

Two New York City-bound travelers find themselves inextricably linked when a snowstorm reroutes them to an airport hotel in Buffalo. Ever the eternal optimist and hopeless romantic, Paige desperately needs to find a way back home to meet her fiancee’s parents before her forthcoming wedding. And it’s somehow up to fellow passenger Dylan MacKenzie, who is permanently soured on romance following a recent heartbreak. Yet Dylan somehow rises to the occasion to become Paige’s chivalrous helpmate. The pair are joined on this misadventure by an older couple named Frank and Maxine trying to get to Connecticut. As their madcap journey ensues, our foursome will find plenty of surprises in store. 

My ratings are getting rather boring - mostly 5 stars - but I love Christmas movies!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fa La La La Films - November 27

Royal Movies tonight!

Crown for Christmas

After getting fired from her job as a maid at a ritzy New York City hotel, Allie reluctantly accepts a temp gig as the governess to a young girl who is part of a powerful family in Europe that lives in an actual castle. After arriving, Allie learns the girl is named Princess Theodora and her father is Maximillian, the King of Winshire. The King informs Allie that the Princess has a tendency to terrorize authority figures, a predilection that has grown worse since her mother’s death. Yet governess and Princess wind up hitting it off while at the same time a spark forms between Allie and Max. However, Countess Celia is expecting to wed the King. Will Max take a stand for his feelings for Allie and make it truly a merry Christmas for all (or at least, most)?

I've seen this one before, but I was happy to watch it again!

A Princess<br /> for Christmas<br />

When Jules Daly's sister and brother-in-law are tragically killed in an accident, July Daly (Katie McGrath) becomes guardian to her young niece, Maddie, and nephew, Milo. On top of balancing the daily hysteria of becoming an overnight parent, Jules was recently laid off at work, her car is on the fritz, and the kids' shenanigans have caused a dozen nannies to flee.

When an ominous knock on the door comes late one evening, Jules wonders, what now? At the door is Paisley Winterbottom (Miles Richardson), a proper English butler, with a curious invitation: a Christmas holiday with grandfather, Edward (Roger Moore), the Duke of Castlebury Hall, who was absent from the kids' lives, but wants to reconnect out of love for his late son. Jules initially wants to decline the trip, but her eventual acceptance makes for a magical Christmas season for everyone.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fa La La La Movies - November 26th

Thanksgiving Evening
Video from 12 Gifts of Christmas

12 Gifts of Christmas 
When Anna, an unemployed painter, is unable to make ends meet, she is hired to become a personal Christmas shopper for Marc, an uptight corporate exec. As they work together, Marc learns that Christmas giving has less to do with the amount of money spent and more to do with the importance of the gift, while Anna discovers she might find success as an artist in a way she never expected. Stars Katrina Law, Aaron O'Connell and Donna Mills.

Video from Northpole: Open for Christmas
When Mackenzie Reed inherits her beloved aunt’s once-majestic hotel, she decides the sensible thing to do is sell it before Christmas. But fixing up the rundown place while managing the hotel staff (including the handyman and his kids) and dealing with demanding guests is more challenging than she had anticipated. That’s when the magic of Christmas intervenes. Mackenzie gets some unexpected help as Clementine and a group of Elves arrive on a special mission from Santa to repair the hotel and at the same time help her to rediscover some hidden talents along with the true meaning of Christmas.