Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quarter One complete

I am working on 5 challenges. The first quarter of the year is done.I have listened to 7 books and read 17 books. I have read 6684 pages (not counting books I am still completing). Wow that is a lot of literature.

Historical Fiction 2010 Challenge 6/12 Addicted level.
Fantasy Fiction 2010 Challenge 8/12 Addicted level.
Speculative Fiction 2010 Challenge 10/24 Obssessed level
Austen 2010 Challenge 2/4 Lover level
451 Challenge 2010 3/7 Blaze level

Favorite Book of the quarter: The Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce. Seriously, I could hardly put the book down and when I discovered the rest of the realm of Tortall, I was thrilled. I have loved reading about Beka Cooper and Keladry. However I hold a special place for the story of Ali. If you want to start reading Tamora Pierce books, this book is a good place.

Least Favorite Book completed: The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. I was quite interested in the fable of the Mermaid Chair and the book did not delve into the mystery of the chair, but rather the mystery of Jessie's past.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Kiss in Time

Jack is an American boy who isn't pleased with his European vacation. Talia is a princess from the 1700's who has been asleep after pricking her finger on a spindle. Jack believes his parents barely notice him. Talia believes her parents smother her. When Jack kisses Talia, she is magically awoken and the pair of them are entertwined into each others problems.

This book is cute. Now I realise that may not be a great introduction to a review. However, that is my first impression of the book. At one point about halfway through I put the book aside, and then it called to me. I had to know the story of Jack and Talia. The book alternates narrators between the two and provides interesting insight into their lives. Imagine living in the 1700's when Virginia is still a colony in the Americas and waking up to a world of airplanes and cell phones. Sleeping Beauty has always been retold where she wakes up and eveyone lives happily ever after, but what about the changes in society while she slumbers? That is one reason I had to keep reading. Then there is Jack. As he continues to interact with Talia, his own perspective on life changes.

I stand by cute.
3 out of 5

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mailbox Monday

I received one book for review in the mail.

Lamb Bright Saviors by Robert Vivian It is new out this March.

Saturday was the annual County Library book sale. I came away with a bag full of books. I only took cash to keep within budget and spent exactly what I took. I came away with 17 books. I’ve divided them up into the reasons they made it into my shopping bag.
The first list from the sale is all books I have read. When I first read all the Anne McCaffrey books, I checked them out from a library. Each time I have wanted to re-read them I have had to locate them again at the library. Now I can read these five about my beloved Pern any time I want.

The Renegades of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Dragon Drums by Anne McCaffrey
The Chronicles of Pern: the First Fall by Anne McCaffrey
Moreta by Anne McCaffrey
Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey

Then there are the books on the to be read list from all the lovely reviews I keep reading by my fellow bloggers

The History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Mara Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Add to that a few books that are part of my many book challenges.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis (and Perelandra in case I love book one)

 And then there is this group of books

Brave New World Revisted by Aldous Huxley ( I love Brave New World)
The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd (His book London was outstanding)
Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Because I can hardly believe I’ve not read anything by him but The Little Prince)
Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce (Another book from the Kingdom of Tortall)
War and Peace by Tolstoy (Because I just started my library copy and realize I won’t finish it before it is due.

As always hosted by The Printed Page. Visit there to read others peoples finds on Mailbox Monday

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Remember Me: Movie Review

I was told that this movie was more than a love story starring Robert Pattinson. I can now say I agree. The characters in the movie were individuals with lives and families. We meet Ally, who is coping with consequences of dramatic childhood events. She eats desert first. We then meet Tyler, who is not exactly coping with his past. I was very impressed with Robert's portrayal of Tyler. The character had passion and anger, but also laughs and shows compassion. My favorite charactor was Tyler's sister Caroline. I felt as though when she looked at people, she saw much more than they meant her to see.

Okay no spoilers. The movie had me in tears more than once. I left the theatre in awe of the screen play writer. 4.5 out 5 stars.

Movie Trailer

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins: Isn't it a wonderful Friday.

 1. The right word can make or break a conversation, so choose your words wisely.
2. The babyis sleeping so go play outside in the sun and shut the door quietly, please.
3. Up, up its a Great Day for Up .
4. After I get my urgent work done on the computer, outside in my garden is where you'll find me.
5. Ooh! What is that on the shelf A new Jamie Oliver Cookbook, oh how I would love Food Revolution?
6. making fresh bread for dinner is a good idea.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to catching up on all my favorite bloggers, tomorrow my plans include getting outside in the sun and Sunday, I want to have fun at church and eat yummy food!

For more lovely fill-ins visit Friday Fill-Ins: #169

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Posting will not be regular this week

I am quite over busy at work this week. Although I might poke my head in at some of your blogs, I don't really have the time to construct posts worthy of all my followers, so until Friday Fill-ins, ...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Ramblings

My nephew is two. I remember recieving the phone call when he was born. I remember seeing him when he was tiny and now he is a barrel of energy. I love talking with him and his big sister. They are vibrant and so full of life.

I was thinking about Spring Cleaning. What exactly does that entail? I was thinking at my place it ought to include the drapes, but then how do I clean them? Can they go in the washingmachine? What if they don't survive their bath. I do think my kitchen cabinets could use a good wipe down. Maybe if I made a list of all things spring cleaning entails I would have fun crossing off the things when they are completed.

I'm trying out the bounce dryer bar. I had a coupon. The first load smells really nice. I guess the real test is then how long the bar lasts.

I picked up War and Peace to check it out. Do normal people do that? Do I want to be normal? I've not read any of the crazy long Russian novels, but I like Nabokov and Chekov so I might like it. I think I'm a bit ambitious to try and read it. Even if I like it, It will take time to read.

I watched the river otters at the zoo yesterday for pver 30 minutes. It was fantastic. There were other interesting scenes at the zoo, but nothing beat the three otters swimming and cavorting in their exhibit. They are very cool animals. If they weren't wild I think I would like one as a pet. The Meerkats were pretty fun to watch as well. They're a matriarchial society, which I think would be interesting to study. Actually watching these two animals got me thinking about animals living in community. There were animals who prefered to be alone, but most seemed happy in a community. Any type of community one can imagine seems to be present in animal life. Is there a  democractic animal community? I should look that up.

I was reading about Sarah, the wife of Abraham this week. Interesting story, You know we don't know much about her life before she was 65. What we do know is in a life where childrengave value to the wife, she was barren. It's not surprising then if she wasn't perfect. I'm guessing she was laughed at or shunned at the watering hole.

Okay, I think that's enough

Movie: Where the Wild Things Are

You know when you finish a movie, and your first thought is huh that the movie isn't going to get a good review. When the 7 year old and 15 year old also expressed disatisfaction, I knew I wasn't being overly critical. I sat on this review for a few days before writing it. I think I was still hopeful that the movie would grow on me. Sometimes they do even after they are finished. This one did not.

I have not diliked a movie as much I disliked this one in a long while. I kept hoping it would get better and it did not. The plot was lacking, the connection to the characters did not occur. At times I was quite confused, and those confusions were not cleared up. The climax was unrewarding and the ending was rather uneventful.

Additionally the book is a children's book. The movie is NOT a children's movie. It was scary. Not Harry Potter and the Scorcer's Stone scary. Really Scary. I jumped. I closed my eyes. If one must watch this movie, I would not recommend watching this with kids.

On a positive note, I will say the scene design and the costuming seemed spot on with how to turn Sendak's illustrations into a three-dimensional reality. I truly appreciated the dwelling structure's design. 

I did watch it until the end. There are films I quit on.

1 out 5 stars to the film.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins: #168

Okay I'm posting quickly before I run off to enjoy the day. I'l back this evening to read the other wonderful fill-Ins.

1. Today I will be at the zoo, you can find me with the birthday girl or observing the otters.

2. People say you can;t have your cake and eat it too and I say why not?

3. What do you think of when you recall the zoo? I think of tall giraffes, powerful gorillas, and graceful otters.

4. At Starbucks there's a lot of groans among the staff, when they do events like, it's free Pastry Day til 1030 Friday!

5. People say that what we're all seeking is greater meaning in life, but I say we all searching to fill our Jesus shaped whole in our heart, and Jesus is the only one who can fill it perfectly.

6. The image I cherish most is my brother playing with his kids.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing the work I would be doing during the day if I wasn't at the zoo, tomorrow my plans include a walk, some gardening, some housecleaning and watching Inkheart and Sunday, I want to read in a nice warm  and shady spot!

Friday Fill-Ins: #168

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

I recieved Cleopatra's Daughter in a giveaway contest earlier this year and put it on the stack by my bed right under the current read. Finally, earlier this week, I began reading it and could hardly put it down. First off, I love the merging of the Greek, Egyptian, and Roman cultures. Secondly, I loved Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra. She was determined and at times a bit rash. However, she was also courageous and honest. The book was refreshing and delicious. I cannot say there were any low points in the text. I even skipped my Wednesday morning nap to read more pages. Since I knew nothing about Selene prior to reading, I was able to enjoy the unpredictable plotline. The beginning captured my attention, the people kept my attention and the ending was gloriously rewarding to me as a reader. Seriously, this is my favorite Historic Fiction book of the year. I simply must find more out about the real people within the story and read more books by Michelle Moran. If you have not acquired this book, run, don't walk, and get this gem for yourself. I sure don't say that often.

Additional reasons I loved this book:
1. The architecture described in the book was fantastic. Actually quite a lot was constructed during the era the book was about. I've always been a bit fond of architecture since I learned how to draw floor plans.

2. I'm an admirer of ancient structures. So, the added element of Caryatids and Corinthian columns added to my delight in an already wonderful book.

3. The interaction between the various cultures was absolutely fascinating. From Gallic people to Nubians, all people seemed to converge on Rome by the will of the Roman rule.

Michelle Moran has two other books about Egyptian women and I will get my hands on them. If you want to know more about her, visit her website.
Cleopatras Daughter at Borders and at Goodreads
This is part of my Historical Fiction Challenge 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It was the perfect audio book. The words filled my car as I drove down the road and I followed Meggie through the highs and lows she went through as the book progressed. The book opened describing Meggie and her father Mo. From that moment, their adoration for books won my heart. I would have followed the pair on any adventure they had desired to take. However, I was quite unprepared for the actual adventure we took in Inkheart. Written originally in German by author Corneilia Funck, the names were a bit unusual, but as they were sounded out for me, I did not have to stumble over them.

If you have not managed to read Inkheart, do consider it. Within the covers are book lovers, thieves, fairies, and fire eaters. I shall not write more about the plot, for if like me you have not watched the movie, then I do not want to spoil the joy of learning what occurs along with the characters in the book. I now have the movie and shall let you know what I think about it as well.

The book is part of

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mailbox Monday.

I have really not been acquiring new books much in the last month. I went a bit crazy in January and so tried to stay away from Bookstores. My library usage skyrocketed in February and March, but my budget was not blown. So I have been gone for a month from this meme.  Last week I recieved one book for review and acquired four books at a local used book store.

For Review: Jane Austen: Christian Encounters.

From the used book store:
Alanna: The First adventure by Tamora Pierce: I am a big fan of her Tortall Universe.

Doctor Who by Terrance Dicks: I hope I enjoy it as much or even nearly as much as the TV shows.

Sarah by Orson Scott Card. : I am planning on ending the sad fact that I have not read anything by this author.

Two Plays by Bertolt Brecht: The Good Woman of Setzuan and The Caucasian Chalk Circle.: It was in the free box and how can I pass up a free Brecht script.

Thanks to The Printed Page for Hosting this weekly meme.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Robin Mckinley was introduced to me in the 90's during my elementary literature class. We had to read the Hero and the Crown. I remember being uncertain of the book. It was within my beloved fantasy genre, yet it read differently than I was used to reading. I've decided that I have grown fond of her writing style. Last summer I read Chalice. It was mesmerizing. Mirasol the Beekeeper was beautifully created. My only sadness was the shortness of the book. I could have read pages and pages more about Mirasol.

Now onto the book Sunshine.
"Rae, nicknamed Sunshine by her stepfather, is the baker at her family’s coffeehouse. She’s happy getting up at 4 am to make cinnamon rolls for the breakfast rush, and dealing with people and food all day. But one evening she needed somewhere she could be alone for a little while, and there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years.
She never thought of vampires.
Until they found her." -This is written much better than my attempts. I kept including spoilers. It was at Robine McKinley's Website.

I had a bit of a time getting into the book, but about part way through I realized it was because my mind had been dulled by all the books centered around a romance I had read lately. If you are tired of Girl meets unusual boy and falls in love, this book may be just the book to cure you. While I don't claim it is free of relationships, it is refreshinginly centered around a plot that does not involve pining, Robin McKinley has a beautiful way to create worlds. I certainly would love to see her revisit this one. There were plenty of peripheral characters that would be lovely to flesh out.
Sunshine was delcious. The people and placed were all described through Rae's eyes. I followed her as she struggled with instense fear, hidden potentials, and long standing belief systems. Each time she struggled through a new opportunity, she was changed. She would make choices that would alter to fabric of her existence and the way she understood the world around her.

4 out of 5 stars. Difficult to dig into and hard to let go of.

Included are both book covers, the one on the top was mine, the one on the bottom I like better.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins

1. I am so looking forward to my extra day off on Tuesday.

2. I will be with my friends at the zoo later.

3. When you get to video chat with your preschool niece and nephew, it's a very good day.

4. Learning is a big part of my life.

5. If you need anything, ask ad maybe someone can help.

6. It takes a lot of time and energy to plan a trip.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to hanging out with Genevieve, tomorrow my plans include My arts group and tax time and Sunday, I want to sleep in if I actually did my taxes on Saturday!
For other people's fill-ins check out the website Friday Fill-Ins: #167

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Trickster's Queen

Trickester's Queen is the Sequel to Trickster's Choice (My review of Trickster's Choice). I read that book back in January and finally snagged a copy of the 2nd book. It was faboulous. I seriously love Tortall, and all the surrounding countries. I think I even enjoy Tortall more than Pern and that is pretty momentous.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars

***The remainder of my review below the book cover will contain spoilers for book one.***

Okay so here it is, The book was great. We return to the Copper Isles as the Balitangs return to the capital. As they sail into the harbor, we are reaquainted with Aly, Dove, Sarai, and Winnamine. Now Aly is even a more precarious position, Leading spies in a rebel uprising in the Copper Isles, while she happens to be trained in Spy by Tortall's own Spymaster. Enter Darkings, which I won't describe, lest I ruin it for someone. The intrigue continues from book one as the Raka continue to increase the troubles for the Rittevon rulers. I thought the pace was spot on, the dialogue was believable, and the necessary charactors fleshed out beautifully.

As the book is a YA book, I must mention there was one scene where sex occurred, it was tastefully not described, however for some children on the cusp of YA literature it might be a bit much. Honestly I appreciated how Tamora Pierce dealt with it.

I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

(aka the book of the tea spill from the Leviathan post) The White Queen by Philippa Gregory is my third book by her. I have read the Other Boleyn Girl and The Other Queen. I enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl Immensely. I chose to read the White Queen for two reasons. I knew little about the War of the Roses, also called the Cousins war, and I was dreadully curious about the tale of the Princes who dissappeared from the Tower of London. Both are referenced in Tudor era books enough, that finally I picked up a book on the Plantegenet royals.

Okay so I know it is fiction, but wow, I had no idea what went on durind the Lancaster/York battle for the throne. I loved this one. It was great fun following the life of Elizabeth Woodeville. She was in love with her husband the King. She was devoted to both him and her children. Really, I know there were probably embellishments, but I didn't care. I agonized and cheered alongside Elizabeth as her fortunes rode the rollercoaster historians call the War of the Roses.

As I have sat with this book, I would say if you enjoy reading Historic fiction do not miss this one. It's a good time and it will prepare you for the Red Queen which comes out in August.

This book is part of the Historical Fiction Challenge 2010.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday Musing.

The weekend afforded less down time than I imagined.My two hour comuter task became a 7 hour task, then I discovered today that the last two hours were not saved. Ergh. My back was still hurting over a week after it started and I'm still unclear what set it off aching (I think moderate exercise might be good for it though) Sore bodies make everything take longer. I did get to watch Dr Who: The Waters of Mars. For David Tennent fans, it will not dissappoint. He is brilliant in this episode.

Monday has come and I am determined to make the best of my week. So far I've had some successes and some areas to grow. School went well today. I managed to avoid buying ice cream on the way home, but did buy a Dr Pepper. I'm not sure if that is better or not, but I feel like it was a better choice. I did not exercise, I will try to on Tuesday. Why is it so easy to consume sugar, and so difficult to work out.

I did limit my TV watching. I'm trying to limit it to 1 hour a day, which is much different than the 3-4 hours it is usually on. My roommate is trying to do no hours, so we are in this together. We even cut our cable to minimum However that had the interesting side effect of now providing me with the Syfy channel. Oh how I love Science Fiction. I could watch Stargate or Dr. Who repeatedly. I love Battle Star and Santuary. I;m even giving Caprica a go.  Until Friday, we had no syfy channel. I was limited to watch I could get on Hulu and Netflix. I have no idea how I got syfy, but I am beside myself with glee.

So now it is 8:25, my chores are done, my grading is done, my emailing is done, and I can the last 80 pages in my current read. Robin McKinley's Sunshine. Look for the review in the near future. I do have things to say.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Why are you making a mess (since you are terrible at cleaning them up)?
2. I want you to take time to savor the sunshine, because it's supposed to rain later.
3. I will wait until everyone else has gone and then it will be on my terms.
4. Experiment with your favorite ingredients in the kitchen and see what happens.
5. I could use a a bit of magic to design healthy ice cream and then I would have less guilt when I indulge.
6. The rain dripped steadily all night long threatening to cancel the exbidition and then as dawn arrived, the sun began to shine through the clouds, driving away both the largest puddles, and the children's fears.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to experiementing with rolled magazine paper, tomorrow my plans include a walk and cooking something yummy and Sunday, I want to enjoy me day with the Entlings!

Visit Friday Fill-Ins: #166 where the mem is hosted and were you can find more fun fill-ins.

Magazine idea come's from Life with Liane

Factoids #1 (those bits of knowledge that would be great on a game show)

I love learning. I think I enjoy collecting and dissemenating random bits of trivia as well as practical knowledge. I guess teaching is pretty good profession for me. I am constantly learning things. I have decided to share some of my random collection knowledge with the world. So below are things I learned this week.

  • Ostriches are flightless birds. I read about them for a 4th grade class assignment. I learned they can run over 40 mph. They can be 9 ft tall. Their eggs weigh at least 3lbs and would take over one hour to boil it. They are bred in over 50 countries. Their plumage was most popular in the past. Now their hide and meat are more popular. For more information try these two sites  American Ostrich Association and San Diego Zoo.
  • I studied The Plantagenet Family Tree as I was reading the White Queen. The Mysterious Princes in the castle were Richard and Edward. They were in the house of York. They were sons of Edward the IV. They were brothers to Elizabeth of York. She married Henry VII, the first King from the house of Tudor. Which means the missing boys were Henry VIII's uncles. I found that bit of trivia very interesting. Here I was just one generation back from the Tudor reign and in a whole new world of court intrigue.  British Family Trees

What new facts have you learned this last week?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Mermaid Chair

I listened to the audio book, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd. I have heard such great things about this author, that I imagined I would love The Mermaid Chair. However, I was dissapointed. I quite honestly only finished it because I had no other audio books left.

The book began promising. Jessie returned to her childhood home of Egret Island. Her mother had chopped off her finger. The island's two primary methods of livelyhood are the tourists and the fishermen. The tourists come for the Gullah graveyard, the aviary sanctuaries, and the Monestary of St. Sonora. Then the book seemed to drag itself along. Between beautiful descriptions of scenery, the plot lacked a beauty to echo the serenity of the island. In the early stages, I had hope of improvement, but by the halfway point, I was tired of listening to Jessie and her problems. The book's climax was also dissapointing.

What I did like was how Sue Monk Kidd crafted the scene with her pin. I could see the mermaid chair, hear the bird's calls, and smell the ocean's fragrence. I think at one point, that is what kept me listening.

2 out 5 stars.