Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Mrs. DallowayMrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

Only Virginia Woolf can take an ordinary day and make a book out of it. "Mrs. Dalloway" is the story of a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party she is giving that evening. That sounds so simple, but the book is anything but simple. Virginia weaves in and out of the characters' heads with such wonderful descriptions, then seques from one character to another before you even realize it. After I finished the book, I read the Reading Guide questions. How did I miss all that? I was so enthralled by the language that I totally missed the clock striking the hours and the variety of women she used as opposed to the lack of comparable men figures. I mean I realized these things after I read the questions, but I guess I wasn't reading "like an English professor". Anyway, Virigina Woolf is amazing. She was so talented and her descriptions are incomparable with anyone else. She is my favorite classic author. I love Virigina Woolf!!!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

City of Fall Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Cassandra Clare is amazing! Her books never fall in to that "sequel" status. Each book just continues to be as incredible and exciting as the last one. This book is primarily about Simon. Since he is a "Daylighter", a vampire who can go out in the daytime, he could be very valuable to Downworld groups, but he doesn't want to have anything to do with them. He's dating two girls at once -- one a werewolf and one a Shadowhunter, he's decided to leave home and live on his own, and of course he still loves Clary. Now I haven't spoiled the story by telling you any of these things because you find out right off and everyone who has read the other books in the series knows that Simon loves Clary and would do anything to protect her. Of course, Clary loves Jace and that couple has challenges in this book, too. All the characters are just as stunning as they were in the first 3 books and having read "Clockwork Angel", some of the back stories become clearer. If you loved the first 3 Mortal Instrument books, you will love this one, too. I can't wait until the next volume is printed!

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Follow Friday -- April 8th

To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:

1.(Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list

2.(Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers -

3.Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing at .

4.Grab the button and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments

5.Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"

6.If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers

Every Friday we also answer a question. This week's question is:

My answer is: Yes, definitely. There are some books I won't even take off the shelf because of their covers (those are the ones with the bare-chested men on them) AND others that I immediately grab because of the covers. It may be superficial of me, but I have to feel comfortable walking around with a book and if the cover is embarrassing, I won't read it. It's just me.

What do you think? Make a comment and let me know!

World of Pies by Karen Stolz

World of Pies: A NovelWorld of Pies: A Novel by Karen Stolz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First-time novelist Karen Stolz has created a cozy, poignant and exquisitely written episodic tale of family, food, and love. Set in a small town in Texas in the 1960's, where "there wasn't a lot to pick from, summer-wise: counter-girl at Jerry's Dairy King, shampoo girl at Barb's Tint n' Clip; the maid job at the Bluebonnet Motel," a young girl named Roxanne comes of age. Whether it's a pie-baking contest that becomes a lesson in racial politics and courage; a crush on the new mailman (who is a woman); or dealing with the death of her beloved father and her mother's remarriage, Roxanne never fails to touch our hearts. And if that weren't enough, the recipes following each chapter--which range from Christina's Lemon Meringue Pie to Doreen's Frozen Fruit Salad--evoke a cozy sweet sensation that makes it seem as though there could be no better place to live than tine Annette, Texas.

I read this selection because our book club decided to read books set in the 60's for this month. We will each read a different book. I looked up "books set in the 60's" and this was one of them. This book is about Roxanne, who is heavy into baseball at the beginning of the book but her mother wants to teach her how to make pies because there is going to be a Pie Fair in their little town. The book follows Roxanne through her life and stops at eventful periods to give us a taste of how it is. I liked it because I remember some of the things that were happening. I grew up in the 60's too. Roxanne would have been a little older than I, but not much. The story tells how it was to live in a small town, but the things they were dealing with could have happened anywhere -- racism, old flames coming for a visit, the assasination of President Kennedy, the war in Vietnam and its affect on those who fought it, homosexuality, losing a parent, getting married, deciding whether to have children, aging parents...this book dealt with everything! And it was entertaining while doing it. I really liked it.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Monthly Mixup Mania Challenge

The Challenge is to read a book for each letter in the year. That's right, a title for the J in January and the A in January, etc.... 74 books total!  Official Start date: April 1, 2011, because we're fools to try this but any book read since 1-1-11 counts ;)  End date: March 31, 2013, yes, two years, because well, we have other challenges to do ;)


1. only one letter per book
2. books can be moved around if it fits better somewhere else after you've read it
3. the letter doesn't have to be the first word, just the first letter of a word in the title (a, an, and the do not count)
4. reviews aren't necessary but a quick "I read for letter... it was about... I did/not like it" would be nice.
5. if you decide to join in, create a post on your blog telling others then go to Monthly Mixup Mania and link up (to the actual post, not just your blog's home page)
6. a blog is not necessary, just comment on that month's post
7. if you get stuck, an author's name will do in a pinch but try to have more titles than names
8. the most important thing is to have fun!

If you want to join me in this challenge, go to the dedicated blog here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

State of the Onion (White House Chef Mystery, Book 1)State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

This was an interesting, dramatic, quick-moving book. There were puzzles to figure out and several chase scenes, but nothing too graphic or bloody even though there were shootings. Olivia Paras, Ollie to her friends, was a quirky, independent young woman living in Washington, D.C. and working as an assitant chef at the White House. She is also in the midst of a relationship with a Secret Service agent and in line for the executive chef position when her boss retires -- which is very soon. She gets caught up in an assassination plot when she gets between the Secret Service and an intruder on the White House lawn and clobbers him with the engraved silver skillet meant as a retirement gift for her boss. Of course, our heroine has lots of curiosity which doesn't work to her advantage and gets her several warnings from her Secret Service boyfriend and his colleagues. Meanwhile she has to deal with another set of personalities and problems in her daily work in the White House kitchen including the TV-show host who also wants the executive chef position. There is a lot happening in this book, but it's all good. I liked it especially since my son is a chef and I could relate to the problems the White House kitchen experienced planning state dinners and dealing with personal tastes in food. This is a the first book in a series. I expect the others to be just as entertaining.

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