Thursday, March 31, 2011

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

 Alice's Adventures in WonderlandAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an audiobook narrated by Jim Dale -- my absolute favorite narrator! I had never actually read the book, so listening to it was very entertaining. What an imagination Lewis Caroll must have had. Alice's mind worked in very amusing ways. I burst out laughing in several places. I'm sure the people around me who had no idea what I was listening to were questioning my sanity. One adventure after another kept getting stranger and stranger. I suppose it was to be expected since, as Alice says, "so many queer things have happened today". I loved listening to this book. It was so much fun. I also especially liked the two additions at the end of the book -- one a Christmas message from Lewis Caroll and the other from a faery! Great way to experience a Victorian classic.

View all my reviews

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Monday, March 28th, and What Am I Reading?

This week I am reading two books at once...I know, but...

The first is "Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf.

Virginia Woolf's stream-of-consciousness masterpiece follows Clarissa Dalloway through the course of a day as she prepares to host a party in the evening.  The beautiful June day brings back memories from her happy schoolgirl years. She wonders about her choice of husband—was she wrong to have married reliable Richard Dalloway, refusing the exciting Peter Walsh, and what was the place of her schoolgirl love? The story travels back and forth in time, densely weaving the texture of an intelligent, upper class woman's life lived within the strictures of post-WW I England.

The second is "State of the Onion" by Julie Hyzy (such an interesting name).

Never let them see you sweat-that's White House Assistant Chef Olivia Paras's motto, which is pretty hard to honor in the most important kitchen in the world. She's hell-bent on earning her dream job, Executive Chef. There's just one thing her nemesis is vying for it, too. Well, that and the fact that an elusive assassin wants to see her fry.

They are both good for very different reasons. "Mrs. Dalloway" is classic Virginia Woolf and that should be all that one needs to say. She is just brilliant, in my opinion. "State of the Onion" is exciting from the very first page -- I'm only on page 22, but it's been very exciting so far.
At the end of this week, I will start my April book club selection, "World of Pies" by Karen Stolz. We decided to have each member of our club read a book set in the 1960's. We like to do "booktalks" where each of us reads a different book and reports on it. We intersperse booktalks with all of us reading the same book.
So, what are YOU reading this Monday?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

The False PrincessThe False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.

I didn't know exactly what to expect from a debut romance author, but this story is intriguing. The romance between Sinda and Kiernan grows from a long-standing friendship. You can feel the connection, but there aren't any sexy scenes to distract from the plot. It is true love. There is a mysterious puzzle to figure out along with an interesting map containing old runes, wizards and magic, mistaken identities, a villain, an oracle, and a girl who never knew she had magic until one day it was released. I really liked this book. The twists and turns kept me reading, so it went fairly quickly. The characters were believable and lovable. I look forward to reading more from Eilis O'Neal.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 24, 2011

FOLLOW FRIDAY -- March 25th

Hello Friday friends! This is a stop on the Follow Friday blog hop tour hosted by . Every week lots of bloggers link up and hop from one blog to the next. There is also a question or task to answer to help us get to know each other better -- or just for fun! This week's task is:



1. I do laundry just so I can read while the clothes spin...
2. I listen to audiobooks by the fireplace until I wake up and realize I dozed off and missed a chapter...
3. I convinced my husband to buy me a bookcase to get my books off the floor by my chair -- now there are books on the floor in front of the full bookcase...oh well
4. I bought an MP3 player so I could listen to my audiobooks while walking around the house doing chores...
5. I believe you can never have too many books...(well that's not silly, but I ran out of silly facts)

Off you go to to link up and join the blog hop fun!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011




I had 149 entries in the giveaway and I used to choose the winner.
The prize is a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card purchased from
our parish Catholic school.
The winner gets a gift card, the school gets a percentage of the sale, and I get to participate in a great giveaway hop! It's a win, win, win!

This was so much fun. Thanks to the organizers and to all of the bloghoppers who visited my blog. I also want to thank Response-O-Matic for providing a way to make a form easily and my daughter for pointing the way to their site.
I think I'll do another giveaway hop soon.

Have a great Monday everyone!

Heist Society by Aly Carter

Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)Heist Society by Ally Carter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I feel as though I am giving every book 5 stars, but they really deserve it. I have been reading some great books lately. This one in particular was really fun to read. I'm reminded of the television series I used to watch with my Dad, "To Catch A Thief". It was a combination of that and "Mission Impossible". This group of young thieves put their heads together to re-steal (apparently not really stealing) some masterpieces to rescue Kat's father all the while dodging a notorious crime boss. The story moved all around Europe which kept it very interesting and the relationships between the characters were obvious but not overdone -- a thieving family who stuck together. Their solution to cracking the security of a very secure museum was very clever and when I finished the book, I wanted to read another one right away. I have to wait until June though. Oh well, my bookshelves are very full so I'll have plenty to read until then.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop! (#222)

Welcome to the
Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop!
This hop was organized by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer. This is the groundbreaking giveaway for my blog! There are over 270 blogs participating in this Hop and offering book-related giveaways. We are all linked together so you can hop from one blog to another easily. The Hop runs from Thursday, March 17th to March 20th. (The post goes up at 12:01 AM on March 17th!)

Since this is my first giveaway, I'm starting out small and simple. The prize will be a Barnes & Noble gift card for $25. The winner will be chosen using

To enter, just FOLLOW this blog, leave me a comment, then complete the entry form on the right side panel. Last day to enter is March 20th.  Until then, grab a link and hop around!



Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish. They love to share their lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

All you have to do is create a post with your own Top Ten Tuesday list and link back to The Broke and the Bookish AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

This week is all about those characters in books that we wish were in our family! Next week the topic is Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves (all those things that annoy you in a story, with book covers, bookstores, etc.)

So here it goes---these are some characters that I would adopt into my family.

1. Mom – Molly Weasley from Harry Potter – anyone who could raise that brood is awesome and I have always wanted red hair. Actually, Molly reminds me of my own mother. She was a character in her own right although she may not have wanted her children to think so – I know how that is since I’m a lot like her.

2. Having Fred & George for brothers would be a blast, too. They were always up to something entertaining and they were very loyal to their family. Life with the Weasleys would never be boring. (Can you tell I just finished the Harry Potter series?)

3. Dad – I would agree with Jamie on Liesel’s Dad from The Book Thief. That is one of my all-time favorite books, too. He does remind me of my Dad. He works hard and stands up for what he believes in in a quiet but strong way. Yes, that's him.

4. One Sister would be Hermione from Harry Potter because I think she could use a sister although having one might have meant that she wouldn’t hang out with Ron and Harry as much, but having a sister that is that smart would be amazing, wouldn’t it?

5. Another sister would be Katniss from The Hunger Games. Was there ever a more devoted sister? I would be safe in every situation – except the last one, I guess. But in my fictional story that wouldn’t happen.

6. I would have to have Eliza Makepeace from The Forgotten Garden as a cousin. Even though she left Ivory on the ship alone (that was silly), I liked her spunk and her independent nature. And she told great stories.

7. Virginia Woolf would be my bosom friend. I love her attitude in A Room of One’s Own and the way she said things just clicked with me. Maybe I could avoid her walking into that river. I would hope I could have stopped her if she was my friend.

8. Another friend would be Cassandra from The Forgotten Garden. She was loyal and true to her grandmother and I think she would be a loyal and true friend, too.

9. And Luna from Harry Potter. She is one of my favorite characters just because she is so out-there and dreamy all the time. Definitely an optimist. Maybe she could be my daughter. I could definitely see myself blowing up because I miscalculated a spell. Anyway, I love Luna.

10. Finally, I have to agree again with Jamie, I would want old Jacob from Water for Elephants for my grandpa. I never knew any of my grandparents so I always adopted some of the elderly people in the neighborhood as my own. Jacob was amazing. He had great stories and a lot of spunk which I value highly. I would want my grandpa to do what he did at the end of Water for Elephants – not telling what it is here, but those of you who have read it will know what I mean.

Wow! I actually got 10 on my list! Granted the selections are limited, but I drew from things I have read recently. That was fun!

P.S. -- I just thought -- I would add Church from The Mortal Instruments for our cat!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

The Forgotten GardenThe Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, a maze, an aristocratic family, a love denied, a mystery - The Forgotten Garden is a captivating, atmospheric and compulsively readable story of the past, ghosts, family and memories from best-selling author Kate Morton.

Thirty-eight year old Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything known and dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra's life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace Rutherford - the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century - as well as a cliff-top cottage on the other side of the world, Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell, on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.

This was a very long book, but the way it was laid out kept you reading without getting bored. This is really a tale of 3 women whose mothers abandoned them in one way or another. Eliza's mother died, Nell's mother put her on a ship and never came back, and Cassandra's mother dumped her at her grandmother's house. That may not have been how the authoress planned to have the story perceived, but that's how I saw it. The tale is fascinating. It begins on a ship bound for Australia and a little girl. The authoress gives you just enough to start you asking questions, then switches to one of the other threads. I can't tell you which one because I listened to the story on an MP3 player and I can't go back and look. Nevertheless, my point is you get a little bit here and a little bit there, then you are taken back to fill in gaps in the first bit, and so on. It really is genius. I love puzzles and figuring out plots, so this book was perfect for me. And the narrator was Australian which made it even better! The descriptions of Australia and Cornwall made me feel as though I was there. I could smell the earth in the garden and the maze. The characters seemed very real with personalities all their own. Eliza, the little independent orphan; Rose, the beloved invalid cousin; Cassandra, the obedient granddaughter; Mary, the loving village girl and true friend. Don't be discouraged by the size of this tome. You will read it quickly and long for it not to end. I'll be looking for more books by Kate Morton.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 11, 2011


Book Blogger Hop

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop hosted by is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, go to, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list there!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get over 200 links every week!!


Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

1. Enter your book blog link in the Linky List.
In your link, please state the main genre that you review: eclectic, contemp. fiction, ya, paranormal, mystery, non-fiction, etc.       
Example: Crazy-for-Books (contemp. adult fiction)

2. Post about the Hop on your blog. Spread the word about the book party! The more the merrier! In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!).

This week's question comes from Ellie who blogs at Musings of a Bookshop Girl:

"If I gave you £50 (or $80) and sent you into a bookshop right now, what would be in your basket when you finally staggered to the till?"

3. Visit other blogs in the Linky List! Make new friends! Follow new book bloggers! Talk about books! Rave about authors! Take the time to make a quality visit! Check out other posts and content, make a new friend! Don't randomly follow someone if you never intend on actually following them! No spamming please! (Please do not leave your link and not visit other blogs - it's just not cool and not in the spirit of the Hop!)

And just as an FYI - this event is not something you should feel that you have to participate in every week. If you want to join in and link up once a month, GREAT! It's up to you how often you participate!

Oh, and this tour DOES NOT accept Twitter links. If you add them, they will be deleted.

Sooooo, here's my answer: I just went to a going-out-of-business sale at a Borders store, so this should be easy. Of course, things were 50-70% off so that made a difference, but...I would buy a classic that I have never read, a book for my Victorian Reading Challenge like "Jane Eyre", a book of poetry - a relatively short one, a hard-cover historical about a Queen, and a biography for my husband. That should do it!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't believe I'm finished with the whole series! It was definitely amazing! J.K. Rowling is a genius. This part, the Deathly Hallows, was crammed full of action. And it wasn't that hard to follow. I mean there were surprises, but Harry's and Hermione's calculations seemed reasonable. I liked getting the backstory on the various characters -- Dumbledore, Snape, Lily. Yeah, that was great. And the ending lived up to the rest of the books. Wonderful, exciting, dramatic! There's only one thing I didn't really like and that was the Epilogue. I thought it was cheesy. I mean you read all through this book, all of these adult things happening, and then the Epilogue gives you a childlike finish. Just my opinion though. I mean it was a nice epilogue, but kind of childish in my opinion.

Regardless, if you are one of the 1% of the population who hasn't read Harry Potter (like I was), you should definitely read it. Better yet, get it on DVD or cassette tape and listen to Jim Dale read it to you. He is fantastic!

View all my reviews

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being EarnestThe Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This play was hilarious! It was certainly Victorian in its words and the things that the characters believed. Very well-done. I could just see the characters acting it out in my mind. Lady Bracknell was so obviously high-brow and uppity, and the girls very silly. I loved it!

View all my reviews