Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Last Summer by Ann Brashares is a love story not only between a young man and a young woman, but between three friends and two sisters. Alice loved Paul for as long as she could remember. Alice's sister, Riley, was Paul's best friend. It made for an uncomfortable situation when Paul discovered he loved Alice, too. They hid their love from Riley, but of course, she found out. Then, Riley found out something else, but to tell you would spoil the book.
Paul's summer house was right beside Alice & Riley's on Fire Island. They grew up "in each other's pockets" so to speak. Paul walked into their house when they were cooking dinner, for breakfast, etc. They had a secret shortcut between their houses, they had a past together. They spent every summer on Fire Island, but lived elsewhere during the off-season. Paul and Alice were in their early twenties when they finally succombed to their attraction to each other. Riley was always the active one, the daring one, the leader of their adventures. They didn't want to mess up their friendships with each other by telling her about their love affair. But she knew...
At first, I didn't think I was going to like this book, but as usual, halfway through I got attached to it. It stirs up emotions in you and they are much heavier than an ordinary romance novel. The writing is done really well, too. You can feel the sand and hear the sea gulls and the ocean. I love the ocean. I read a review of the book before I read it that wasn't very good and it clouded my opinion. I totally disagree now. I think the book is well-written and worth reading. It isn't just a beach read - it gives you the feel of the beach, though.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Weekly Geeks - 23 Reading Challenges

I love reading challenges! Maybe I'm too new at this to be objective (I started reading challenges at the end of May), but I'm having a great time. My TBR pile is stacked alphabetically...it makes me feel good when I can add another title to my BIR list! And I have found so many books and authors that I would never have known about if it weren't for reading challenges. They also give me an excuse to read some of my favorite genres. I think the key is to choose your challenges wisely. I've actually decided NOT to sign up for some challenges so I can work on the ones I have chosen. Know your limits and don't become a "challenge-aholic." (Don't mind me, we just watched "Confessions of a Shopaholic.")

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My TBR Pile goes down

I took 3 books back to the library and gave The Thirteenth Tale to my sister so my TBR pile has gone down a bit. That being said, last night I ordered Shantaram, The Angel by Carla Neggers, and an anthology entitled More Than Words: Stories of Strength by Neggers, Mallory, and Harper. So, take off 4 and put back 3 - well, I'm still ahead 1 book!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What IS on my Nightstand? (or my EndTable - do people call them that anymore?)

I just finished "The Horse and His Boy" by C.S. Lewis this morning. I'm reading it as part of the Chronicles of Narnia Challenge. The books belong to my daughter, but she is letting me read them.
Now I'm reading "The Last Summer" by Ann Brashares. (The Fun in the Sun Challenge) When I'm done with it, I will go back to Narnia and read "Prince Caspian."
Our book club meeting is tomorrow. We will be reviewing "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. The selection for July is "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls.
One of the recommendations I received from the 4Rs Challenge is "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts. I'm planning to read it on the way to Ireland in July. It's 920 pages, but it is supposed to keep your interest right from page one. We'll see.
If you want to post what's on YOUR Nightstand, go on over to 5 Minutes for Books

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Myself My Enemy" by Jean Plaidy

I had never read a Jean Plaidy novel before and I was a little skeptical, but this book was very good. It is the first in Plaidy's "Queens of England" series. Henrietta Maria was small in stature but had a big personality. She was spunky and had a bad temper. She was born in France, the daughter of King Henri of Navarre and sister to King Louis XIV. Henrietta married Prince Charles of England who soon became King of England upon his father's death. Their relationship was turbulent at the start but developed into a love that endured until her death. One of the points of conflict was the fact that she was Catholic and England followed the Church of England. She adamantly held to her faith throughout her life attempting to convert her husband and later each of her children. Her youngest, Henriette, was the only child to grow up in the Catholic faith which was a disappointment to Queen Henrietta Maria. She had many disappointments in her life, the biggest when the people of England turned against she and Charles. He sent her to France and fought to keep his throne. Unfortunately, he lost his crown and his head when the Roundheads (Puritans) under Oliver Cromwell defeated him. After Cromwell died, the English people asked Henrietta's son Charles to take the throne again because they were so displeased with Puritan rule.
Henrietta always tried to do whatever she could to help her husband and later, her children. Some of her attempts ended badly, but she always did them out of love. Her love for her husband, Charles, resonates throughout the book and even if you know he comes to a tragic end you don't want to believe it when it happens. In her later years, she kept attempting to arrange things for her children even when they were old enough to do so for themselves - a typical mother, I guess. Personally, I would have pulled back when I saw that I was about to alienate my child, but she did not. Of course, I'm not a queen and don't live in those times. She did truly value her family and, in the end, was reconciled to the remaining living members of it.
I would recommend this book. Perhaps from my description, you would think it is depressing, but it isn't. I really liked it and I'm thinking of reading another...ANOTHER book on my TBR pile??? Of course, who can't resist a good book about royalty?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own by Doreen Orion

"A pampered Long Island princess hits the road in a converted bus with her wilderness-loving husband, travels the country for one year, and brings it all hilariously to life in this offbeat and romantic memoir."
When one of our book club members suggested reading this book, I didn't know what to think. The title is kind of crazy and it turns out, so is the Long Island Princess. I ended up identifying with Doreen more than I expected. Actually, my husband takes care of me a lot like Tim takes care of her. I'm not quite as dependent as she first was though. Doreen's journal of the trip was quite entertaining and the way they got closer and closer over the year quite inspiring. I wonder what would happen if my husband and I tried that? Hmmm. Well, I would be okay, but he doesn't really like to drive and there wouldn't be enough to clean and putsy around doing.
I liked the fact that they both changed for the better by making this trip. It also gave some great ideas for places to visit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oh My Goodness, Narnia is on TV Tonight!

I LOVE this movie: "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". I'm blogging while I'm watching it so I can tell you the best parts. The VERY BEST scene is when Lucy pulls on the covering of the wardrobe and it flows down around her. That scene will never get old - it is so magical. Then, the snow when she first goes out of the wardrobe reminds me of when our family went to Disneyworld to the "Narnia" exhibit. It was so "cool" and felt as if you were actually in Narnia in the middle of winter. The White Witch is so perfect for the role and Mr. Tumnus and the beavers are endearing. I feel really sorry for Edmund - he's so distraught about his father and just makes such big mistakes. Peter is arrogant, but so brave and such a big brother. Susan is a wonderful big sister and the Professor is precious.

Well, I'm sure everyone has either read or seen this volume of the Chronicles of Narnia. It has made me want to read the rest. I know I will see the movies as they come out - many times.

Happy Reading everyone!

June 14, 2009 ---------------------------------------

I just finished "The Magician's Nephew". Since I actually already read "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," though it was many years ago, and watched the movie several times, my daughter (the Narnia expert!) suggested I start over and read the books in chronological order. This book explained some of the things I was wondering about. It was so much fun thinking of the Professor as a young boy. And I found out how the wardrobe came to be magical! I didn't like Uncle Andrew very much. He only seemed to care about himself. I also learned how Narnia came to be and how some of the animals are able to talk. And I met the Witch - such a horrible woman. I'm ready to move on to the next book - "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Be back soon...

June 20, 2009 -----------------------------------------

I took "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" on vacation with me and finished it while we were driving the 3 hours to the beach. I liked it better than the movie, but I'm really glad I saw the movie AND read the book. There are things that weren't in the book that were in the movie - for example, the river sequence. I thought the river scene in the movie was very exciting and fit right in. Also, the little group celebrating Christmas that the Witch turned to statues was not in the movie. They only used the fox. How sad! I guess it would have been worse to have seen the little baby animals being turned to stone just for delighting in their Christmas pudding. And, of course the battle scene was so much more dramatic in the movie - "For Narnia and for Aslan!" - just great! So, my question is... "Were the children who grew to young adults in Narnia still young adults in children's bodies when they returned? or were they children who just remembered being in Narnia - as in a dream?" Hmmm...

It's on to "The Horse and His Boy"...

June 23, 2009 -----------------------------------------

This morning I finished "The Horse and His Boy". I really liked it. I thought it was a wonderful Narnian tale - something Narnians would have told their children. Loved the horse, Bree. He was so good to Shasta. Aravis was my favorite kind of heroine - spunky and independent; not afraid to get dirty; and able to ride a horse or climb a tree or any other thing that a boy can do. I knew at once that Corin and Shasta were twin brothers - no doubt everyone does - but I was still curious to see how the story played out. And King Lune was so jolly. I can imagine his joy when he saw Shasta. And, of course, Aslan - always there when they needed him. I guess I have given enough of the story away. There may be one or two people who haven't read it yet, so I won't tell all of the ending. Nevertheless, if you haven't read it - you should, and if you have - read it again!

July 5, 2009 --------------------------------------

Prince Caspian, what can I say, loved the book...loved the movie, for different reasons. I just love reading about Narnia, but the movie made it so much better. The scenes they added "for affect" really did make the story come alive. I especially love the scene where they attack the castle and Edmund uses his new "torch" to signal the troops. When he jumped off the castle and was whisked away, so magical. Having seen the movie first, it made Narnia seem so much bigger. When I was reading the book, Peter & company were traveling round and round a seemingly smaller place even though it took them days to get to Aslan's How. Reepicheep was my favorite character - what a spunky mouse. So sad that Peter and Susan are growing up and won't be back to Narnia. Who will be on the Dawn Treader? I have to hurry and read that book before the week is out! Be back soon!

July 9, 2009----------------------------

"The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" is now my favorite book of the Chronicles of Narnia series. There are so many adventures and they travel to such interesting places. And what did you think about the Pevensies' cousin, Eustace? At first he was such a brat! I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say that his adventures shaped him into a much nicer fellow...most of the time. And good old Reepicheep - my favorite knight - was daring and brave as usual. The book was just so packed full of interesting characters and magical places. As I was reading, I was thinking that this book would make great movie! And, lo and behold, they started filming it while I was reading!

My daughter and I also watched "Prince Caspian" last night on DVD. This challenge has been such fun. I love being in Narnia, reading and watching videos. I have to submit this blog post early because I am going to Ireland on Saturday. I'll get to see castles and listen to people speaking with a brogue. I'll be imagining I'm in Narnia while I'm there. Thanks for running this challenge, Carrie. I've loved the experience.

"For Narnia!" - The Chronicles of Narnia Challenge!

This is from http://www.readingtoknow.com/ who is hosting the challenge.

In short, spend as much or as little time in Narnia as you would like! There are seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. (I'm listing them in the order that Lewis numbered them and the links lead to my reviews of December 2008.)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 6/17/09
Prince Caspian 7/5/09
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader 7/9/09
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy - 6/23/09
The Magician's Nephew - 6/14/09
The Last Battle

You are perfectly welcome to read one book or the whole series! Perhaps you'd just like to make family nights movie nights for a month and watch various adaptations of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe which have been translated to film. That's your call. I merely extend the invitation into Narnia to you and you may explore it to whatever your heart's content. The only thing I ask is that you write up a blog post sharing what you have learned while in Narnia to share with the group at large.

DATES FOR THE CHALLENGE:Sign up will be Friday, June 19th. Come back here to Reading to Know and I'll have a Mr. Linky ready to go. Link up so that we'll know that you are participating in the Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge and we'll be set!The challenge will conclude on Tuesday, July 17th. At that point in time I will put another Mr. Linky up. You are invited to link up all the blog posts that you have written up over the course of the Reading Challenge (June 19th - July 17th). If you bloged about a particular character from the series, or a book, a movie, a song, or whatever! Come back and share your thoughts on July 17th. (I'll, of course, post reminders from time to time.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One More Book for the TBR Pile

My daughter just finished reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman and brought it to me so I could put it on my TBR pile. She says she really liked it. I asked her if the ending was satisfactory and she said, "It's complicated." Then, she crawled up on my lap (she's 17) and said, "I love you, Mommy." I asked her if that was because of the book and she said, "Yes." Hey, anything that gets my daughter to sit on my lap and tell me she loves me has to be a good thing, right?

Now, where shall I put it on my list?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Book Thief Challenge

I'm almost a Pickpocket on the Book Thief Challenge!

I've read:
"The Book Thief" by Marcus Zusak - 5 Stars
"The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan - 4 Stars

One more to go!

Four Month Challenge

Virginie Says…
So, I decided to make up my own challenge – mostly to push myself to get off the computer and read more! Plus, it will help me whittle down that TBR list…lol Here it is. Join if you like. It runs from June 1 to September 30.
5 Point Challenges
Read a Chick Lit book
Read a historical fiction book
Read a book just because you like the cover
Read anything by Jean Plaidy
Read a book with a number in the title
10 Point Challenges
Read a book about Royalty (biography or fiction)
Read a classic
Read a book by an author you’ve never read before
Read a celebrity biography/autobiography
Read a hardcover book
15 Point Challenges
Read a book with a one word title
Read a book based on a Biblical character
Read a book that was made into a movie
Read a book by an author born in June, July, August or September
Read a book with a summer word in the title (summer, sun, sand, hot, etc.)
20 Point Challenges
Read a book in a series AND the one after it
Read a Danielle Steele AND a Maeve Binchy book
Read a book from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list (http://www.listology.com/list/1001-books-you-must-read-you-die)
Read a book considered Christian Fiction
Read a book of your choice BUT read it outside
250 Points total
Anyone who joins me and posts their progress to my blog (I’ll post how I’m doing and you can comment how you’re doing) will be entered to win a book by Jean Plaidy.

4Rs Challenge Recommendations

I've received some recommendations in the 4Rs Challenge! I think I'll start a list here and update it so I can see them all together.

fantasy by Charles de Lint - have to look him up
"Innocent Traitor" by Alison Weir (about Lady Jane Grey) - could use for Romance Challenge
"Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford
"Mistress of the Sun" by Sandra Gulland
"Black" "Red" "White" by Ted Dekker
"The Other Boleyn Girl" by Phillipa Gregory
something by P.G. Wodehouse
something by Lisa Kleypas

This is so cool! I have to read some of the other posts to see if I can come up with some recommendations.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Royal's Romance Reading Challenge

For this challenge you will need to read seven books in six months. To complete the challenge the title or author's name will need to begin with the letters R-O-M-A-N-C-E and must be classified as a romance novel (this includes as romance sub genre including contemporary, historical or paranormal).

I will participate in this challenge!

R - "Time and Again" by Nora Roberts
O - "Once Upon A Rose" by Judith O'Brien
M - "More Than Words: Stories of Strength" by Carla Neggers, Susan Mallery, Karen Harper
A - "Almost Heaven" by Judith McNaught
N - "The Angel" by Carla Neggers
C - "Pendragon" by Catherine Coulter
E - "Envy" by Anna Godberson

I'm not sure what I will read yet, but how exciting to have an excuse to read romance!

4Rs Challenge

A wonderful challenge organized by Fyrefly and Literate Housewife.
The 4 Rs Challenge was created as a way for people to find new books and new authors, as well as a way to let bibliophiles share the love of some of their favorite books.
The way it works is this: You create a thread asking for recommendations for yourself. At the same time, you visit other people’s threads, and make recommendations for books you think *they* would like. Once you have your list of recommendations, you pick one of the books, read it, and review it! Simple!
We’ll repeat this process every three months, so that you can sign up only when you think you have the time (although we hope to see you every round!)
It’s minimal-commitment: In order to complete the challenge, you only have to read one book, plus make recommendations for others.
Visit The 4 Rs Challenge site here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I'm going to the Library today to get a book for my "Fun in the Sun" Challenge and look for a Science Fiction book. Actually, I have a whole list of potential reads...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My TBR List

Right now I am reading "Queen of the Road..." by Doreen Orion

These are stacked by my chair:
"The Amber Spyglass" by Philip Pullman
"Atonement" by Ian McEwan
"Eating Heaven" by Jennie Shortridge
"The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls*
"The Inheritance of Loss" by Kiran Desai
"The Innocent Man" by John Grisham*
"The Ivy Tree" by Mary Stewart
"The Last Summer" by Ann Brashares
"My Heart Remembers" by Kim Vogel Sawyer
"Myself My Enemy" by Jean Plaidy
"The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young*
"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See
"The Smart One and the Pretty One" by Claire LaZebnik
"Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson
"The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield*
"Waiting for Snow in Havana" by Carlos Eire

*book club selections

Pretty eclectic list, huh?

My Challenges

These are the Challenges I'm working on:

1% Well-Read Challenge
Fun In The Sun
Four Month Challenge
A~Z - Books 9/26
A~Z - Authors 3/26
Book Awards III Challenge
Final Frontier Challenge
Book Thief Challenge 2/3 for Pickpocket status

My First Post

Well, here I go. I'm actually starting my own blog. Let's see what happens!