Friday, February 27, 2009

Booking Through, Friday?

Better late than never right? I meant to answer this week's BTT yesterday, of course, but it ended up just being a crazy busy day! But, since I liked this week's questions, I've decided to still post it even though it's now Friday. I'm such a rebel.

BTT questions are in green :)

Hardcover or paperback?
I prefer paperback since it's easier to carry around and makes my bag a little lighter, but I really love having the hardcovers for my series (like Harry Potter and Twilight) and my favorites. Paperbacks are a little easier to curl up with though.

Illustrations or just text?
Most of the things I read are just text. I do like how the Harry Potter books have a little illustration at the beginning of each chapter though. I guess my answer to this would be that I like illustrations when they fit in with the text and are well done. My favorite children's author/illustrator is Leo Lionni. I could look at his simple, yet brilliantly done illustrations all day!

First editions or don't care?
Eh, I don't really care. I'm not a HUGE book collector. I just like to have my favorites around for easily accessible re-reads. I don't need to have any fancy editions. As a matter of fact, the copy of Middlesex that I'm reading right now (and almost finished with!!!) is a paperback that looks like it once took a dip in a pool. I don't care, as long as it's legible!

Signed by author or not?
I would say not for this one. If I had copies that were signed by the author then I don't think that I would actually read them. I would set it on the shelf so that it would always look pretty and never get damaged. My books usually take quite a beating since I tote them around with me everywhere, just in case I have a spare minute to read. I think that the only signed books I have right now (well, somewhere in storage) are As, A Surfeit of Similes which is signed by the illustrator, David Small, and Night of the Full Moon by Gloria Whelen. Both Small and Whelen had come to my elementary school and we were able to buy one of their books and have it signed. I haven't actually gone to any signings as an adult.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: Middlesex

As always, sponsored by MizB.
TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
My Teaser:

The chief imperative in cases like mine was to show no doubt as to the gender of the child in question. You did not tell the parents of a newborn, "Your baby is a hermaphrodite."

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides pg. 413

So far, I'm really liking this book but it's taking me longer to get through that I anticipated. Hopefully I can pick it up a bit this week!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Book Review: Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
105 pages

This book fell under the "read a book you read in high school" category of the Winter Book Challenge. I feel like I remember surprisingly few books that I read in High School. To Kill a Mockingbird, Romeo and Juliet, The Grapes of Wrath, and Of Mice and Men are all that really come to mind. I know that there are more, but I just can't think of them! Anyways, I picked Of Mice and Men because it's the one that I remember the least about even though I remember the class that I read it for very well since the teacher, Mr. Bailey, was one of my favorites! He was a laid back, free thinking, varsity baseball coaching, former (?) hippie kind of teacher who every one thought was awesome. Unfortunately, the themes of this book got lost in my memory of that class in exchange for Mr. Bailey's stories of hitch hiking across the US in the seventies. (Don't worry, he always told us that this was a poor decision on his part and hitch hiking is dangerous! haha).

Anyways, this book is about two men, George Milton and Lennie Smalls, who are traveling together and working on ranches during the Great Depression in California. George has promised to take care of Lennie since he is "not too bright" and it is evident that Lennie has some mental handicaps. George has a plan to make some money and buy a piece of land so him and Lennie can live off their own land and Lennie will be safe. Lennie just seems to get in trouble because he doesn't understand rules, social conduct, or his own strength.

As George and Lennie begin working at a new ranch, their dream of owning their own place seems to be becoming more of a reality until Lennie accidentally kills the ranch owner's son's wife while trying to stroke her hair (he likes to pet soft things). A lynch mob is formed to go get Lennie but George finds him first and takes his friend's life himself to save him from a painful death.

I definitely got more out of this book this time around. There are several themes running through this short novella that I didn't remember from reading it the first time such as loneliness, love, dreams, and friendship. All through the book, George is questioned for traveling with Lennie since most migrant ranch workers travel alone and for having a dream of owning his own place when few men actually achieve it. And in the end, with Lennie gone, George just becomes another lone migrant worker with a far fetched dream that will probably never happen.

8 out of 10 stars. Definitely a good read, especially for the hour and a half or so it would take to finish.

Musing Mondays: The Library

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca.
Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the library…
How often do you visit the library? Do you have a scheduled library day/time, or do you go whenever? Do you go alone, or take people with you?

I probably visit the library about once every other week. My library's check out period is 2 weeks so I tend to stop back in sometime in the second week, once I've finished my books. It's only about a mile or so from my house making it really easy to take a trip to the library whenever the mood strikes me. Usually, I just stop in after work, before heading home. Since lately I've had a specific list of books that I want, I normally just run in, grab what I want, and run out. It's only been taking me 10-15 minutes to find what I'm looking for. My library is teeny tiny!!

I almost always go alone to the library. Hubs is only an occasional reader and is not very good at finding things that he would like to read, especially with our library's limited selection. He tends to get bored quickly and then hang out at my shoulder asking me if I'm done yet. Definitely not a good time for me! Although he did do good at the monthly library sale this past Friday! We stopped at it for the first time after having dinner out and oh my gosh! I'm going to go every month now! He was very patient as I sorted through the boxes of books and didn't say anything about our full bookshelves as I walked out with 8 new books! Of course it helps that I only spent $2.75 on them. Paperbacks are a quarter and hardcovers are a dollar. What a bargain! Next book sale though, I think that I'll go alone. Since he was there, I was careful not to spend too much time looking at books I had never heard of because I didn't want to push my husband's patience by reading back covers or first pages. I could have spent a lot longer there than I did...oh and next time I'll be bringing a reusable shopping bag to fill up!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Friday MeMe

I've never done a meme before, so why not start today? This one from Pop Culture Junkie looked like fun because it's all about TV.

1. Name a TV show series in which you have seen every episode at least twice: Scrubs and Everybody Loves Raymond

2. Name a show you can’t miss: One Tree Hill

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show: hmmm...I might watch Dancing with the Stars this season because Steve-O is on it...does that count??

4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show: I can't think of anyone in particular...

5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from: Um, Scrubs.

6. Name a show you like that no one else enjoys: haha probably One Tree Hill...although my Sister-in-law is in possession of my DVDs as we speak.

7. Name a TV show which you’ve been known to sing the theme song: One Tree Hill just because it's a Gavin DeGraw song, Boy Meets World and Full House are the oldies but goodies.

8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch: Dexter, it's so good.

9. Name a TV series you own: One Tree Hill, Scrubs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dexter

10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting choices in television: Ya know, Britney Spears was pretty good on How I Met Your I was surprised by that.

11. What is your favorite episode of your favorite series?

12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven’t gotten around to yet: most recently I've had the first episode of Dollhouse on my DVR for a week now...

13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad? ummm yea. Grey's. I'm sure that I will rent this season on DVD when it comes out though.

14. Name a show that’s made you cry multiple times: One Tree Hill. I'm such a sucker for teenage melo-drama

15. What do you eat when you watch TV? ummm cookies or popcorn or any salty snack :) oh and sometimes dinner.

16. How often do you watch TV? probably 1-4 hours a day depending on what we're up to that day. A lot of time it's on in the background or my hubs is watching something while I'm reading though.

17. What’s the last TV show you watched? Nip/Tuck and Hell's Kitchen

18. What’s your favourite/preferred genre of TV? probably drama and comedy. current weekly faves are Big Bang Theory, HIMYM, Nip/Tuck, Criminal Minds, Hell's Kitchen, and One Tree Hill.

19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with? Probably Full House or Boy Meets World or any of the other TGIF shows from my childhood :)

20. What TV show do you wish you never watched? America's Next Top Model because now I'm obsessed with the drama and watch all the marathons and it wastes my weekend.

21. What’s the weirdest show you enjoyed? probably Nip/Tuck. It's gotten really weird.

22. What TV show scared you the most? When I was younger, definitely Tales of the Crypt Keeper and Are You Afraid of the Dark?

23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched? I crack up at Big Bang Theory. Maybe it's my inner-nerd that finds puns about the String Theory just hilarious. That and Scrubs of course. The Janitor is just great.

24. What show was cancelled too early? October Road. I was really enjoying that one!

Feel free to take these questions and answer them on your blog! Just leave a link for my in the comments :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book Review: Dragonfly in Amber

Dragonfly In Amber (Book 2 of Outlander Series)
by Diana Gabaldon
747 pages

Wow oh wow. I love this series. LOVE it. (see Outlander review here) Alright, here's the jist of this one:

At the beginning of the book, Claire is in 1968 and has lived in her correct time for 20 years, none of those years being in Scotland. Frank has died. She has a daughter, the spitting image of Jamie, with whom she finally returns to Scotland with to reveal her true, yet bizarre, time travel story. Of course her daughter doesn't believe her and is all upset and angst-y. So *flashback* while Claire tells the story of how she came to be back in present time, pregnant with Jamie's child.

Claire is back in 1744 and is married to Jamie. Jamie has survived some serious injuries (thanks to Claire) and they've now decided that they must try to stop the Rising of '45 (with Bonnie Prince Charlie and all that) and the battle of Culloden from happening. So, they head on over to France, Jamie takes over his cousin's merchant business while he's away, and they make nice with members of High Society. Jamie makes friends with Prince Charlie to become closer to him and hires a boy, affectionately renamed Fergus, to pickpocket letters to Prince Charlie and other influential people from mail carriers. Through the pick-pocketed letters and their correspondences with people, Claire and Jamie think that they've prevented Prince Charlie from coming to Scotland and initiating the Rising. While all this is happening, Claire is pregnant and a very bad person from the first book comes back into their lives.

Through a series of unfortunate events, Claire loses the baby and Jamie is put into prison (again). Claire manages to get him out but they must go back to Scotland, not really knowing if they'd accomplished their task or not. Once back in Scotland, life at Lallybroch goes on quite nicely for a while until a letter is received saying that Prince Charlie is coming over to Scotland to take over the thrown and it is signed by several clan leaders, including Jamie. Outraged by the Prince forging his signature, Jamie really has no choice but to join in the battle and back the Prince and help him win. Once again, Jamie and Claire are thrown back into a life of traveling, outlaw, battles, and injuries.

In the end, the Battle of Culloden is inevitable but Jamie knows that if he's going to die, then Claire must go back through the stones so she will be safe. Also, they discover that she is pregnant again. Yet another reason for her to go back. Their goodbye is heart wrenching, especially when Jamie tells her that he knows that she has the worse end of the bargain since he will go on to the battle and die, yet she will be the one living with her heart broken. Oh, this definitely brought on my tears! Finally, Claire goes back through the stones. Frank is still there, after three years of her being missing, and continues to be with her even after discovering that she's pregnant.

Come back to current time (1968) and Claire is finishing her story to her daughter, Brianna, and a historian, Roger. Roger believes her and has been helping her find out what happened to the Lallybroch men after Culloden. Claire has been sure this whole time that Jamie died at Culloden but Roger discovers a piece of text indicating otherwise. Pseudo-spoiler alert! (or maybe not since there are several more books in this series...) Jamie didn't die. Somewhere back in the 18th century, he is still alive. Will Claire risk going back again to find Jamie?!?! Duh duhn duhnnnnnnn....

9.5 out of 10 stars. Outlander was slightly better because this one did have some slow parts. Still, it took all of my willpower not to pick up Voyager (the next in the series) when I returned this one to the library. I have to read other books for the WBC!!

Booking Through Thursday: bookshelves

This week’s question is suggested by Kat:

I recently got new bookshelves for my room, and I’m just loving them. Spent the afternoon putting up my books and sharing it on my blog . One of my friends asked a question and I thought it would be a great BTT question. So from Tina & myself, we’d like to know “How do you arrange your books on your shelves? Is it by author, by genre, or you just put it where it falls on?”

My bookshelves aren't organized at all! I just put the book in where it fits. The only exception to the bookshelf chaos, is series (like Harry Potter) are all in order. Other than that, it's total randomness on multiple shelves, in multiple rooms. And, since I'm currently in need of another bookshelf, some books are just in piles in our office closet. Someday, I will take care of that...

I think that I like having all the books in a random order. I like going into a room and just searching the random titles for my next read.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday Teaser: Dragonfly In Amber

As always, sponsored by MizB.

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

My teaser:

"I suppose we could go to Rome, or to Germany," I suggested, tentatively. I wanted nothing more than to go home to Lallybroch, and heal in the quiet peace of the Scottish Highlands. My heart sank at the thought of royal courts and intrigue, the constant press of danger and insecurity. But if Jamie felt we must...

~Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander Series #2) pg. 405

Not really a teaser for me since I've already read this part (I'm only 60 pages or so away from finishing this coming tomorrow) but, it's a good one! I'm definitely loving this series. Although, I think that I will take a break from it for a bit after this one to read other things for the WBC.

I made a wordle with my blog :)

Wordle: my book blog wordle

Pretty sweet huh? You can make one too at

I like that mine proudly features Jamie and Claire from Outlander!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Musing Mondays: Book reviews

So I've been dipping my toes into some weekly posts to decide which I like and I've come across Musing Mondays hosted by Rebecca. I really have been liking her questions so here's my first Musing Monday!

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about book reviews…
Do you read any non-blogging book reviews? If so, where (newspaper, library etc)? Do you have any favourites sources you'd like to share?

Most of the book reviews I read are from book blogs. I like that I can read multiple posts on lots of different books and figure out which bloggers have my kind of reading tastes. Then I know who will recommend a book that I will like.

I do tend to check out the Amazon and Barnes and noble dot com reviews if I'm buying from them (or if I'm bored at work and looking for some new books...). These reviews just can't be trusted as much as the book blogger's though.

I think that my favorite kind of review though is a in-person-stranger-review. I love when I'm at a bookstore or library and someone sees a book in my hand and goes "Oh my gosh, you HAVE to read that!" (I'm guilty of doing this ALL the time. I'm sure that some people think that I'm a weirdo stranger, but I love recommending books to people!) It just shows that this book really left an impression on them so it must be worth the read.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Review: Outlander!

Outlander (1st in series)
by Diana Gabaldon
627 pages

The ladies on The Nest Book Club board have been RAVING about this book since I've been frequenting over there (and I'm sure longer than that). The WBC was definitely a good excuse to finally read it! And wow, I'm just so in love with this book, I can hardly stand it. (although I'm not so in love with the romance-ish cover art that my library copy had...)

The story begins in Iverness, Scotland in 1945. Claire and her husband, Frank Randall, are on a second honeymoon to revitalize their marriage since the were separated for most of the war. Frank, a historian, was some sort of officer for the British military and Claire was a military nurse. One day, Claire discovers a stone henge and upon walking through the stones, she is transported back some 200 years to Scotland circa 1743.

Claire doesn't know where (or when) she is at first and is discovered first by Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall, her husband's 6-times great grandfather. Turns out, he's really not so grand and actually a big perv. Then a band of Scottish thieves kidnap Claire and take her to a cottage where she first meets Jamie Fraser. She mends his dislocated shoulder (much to the shock of the Scots, I mean who IS this crazily dressed, odd Englishwoman!?) and they take her with them to the castle of their clan's Laird (er, Lord? in English...).

Well, Jack Randall is definitely NOT done with Claire, and it turns out that he has a wanting for Jamie (an outlaw with a price on his head) as well. This unfortunate series of events leads to Claire having to marry Jamie so she's safe from the English (since now she's a Scot). Anyways, things aren't really "happily ever after" for the Fraser's and Claire is almost persecuted as a witch and Jamie almost gets hanged and it's kind of a big mess. But a wonderful mess that made me want to hug them and cry for them, then hug them some more!! And Jamie, oh Jamie...I love this character. He's strong and brave, and handsome and loving and funny, yet pig-headed and stubborn. And did I mention handsome? and strong?? ummm yea, he's just an amazing character. While reading this, and after finishing it, I would find myself just daydreaming about Jamie and Claire. I loved them so much that I just didn't want to stop having them around yet. Which is probably why I've found a way to fit the next book in the series, Dragonfly In Amber, into my WBC even if it is reading a 700+ page book for only 5 points!

Now the question of the day, if I had my choice of literary crushes, who would I choose? Jamie or Edward (from Twilight)?? Hmmm...I think that Edward may eek this one out by just a smidgen only because Jamie seems to ALWAYS be getting gravely injured and it tears my heart out to read about that!

Rating: 10 out of 10! Go read this NOW! it's amazing and full of love, history, humor, just has it all!!!

Life update

Whoa, what a busy week this past one was! Lots of excitement and some work here and there. First, I'm now an AUNT!!! Yup. Auntie Em. Don't think that my sister won't use that one at all.

Here's Lukas Hall B. weighing in at a teeny tiny 5 lbs. 8oz. We found out the day after he was born that he was 3 weeks early...her due date was miscalculated...but oh well everyone is happy and healthy!

Just look at that squishy face! he's just SO cute.

THEN, I went to a concert with my friend Angela. We saw the band 100 Monkeys!!! Yup, that's Jackson Rathbone's band. Jackson Rathbone, AKA Jasper Hale from the Twilight movie. And I got THIS CLOSE to him.

Yes, he's hot. and talented. VERY talented. and the band absolutely rocked! I was very impressed. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet him though. bummer.

In other exciting news, we've been getting quotes for our kitchen partial-remodel and adding a dishwasher! I can't wait until I don't have to wash every dish by hand, you have NO idea. We'll have to shuffle around some cabinets (we're not getting new yet since we're either going to move or put an addition onto the house in 10 or so years so what's the point in doing it now?) and we'll be getting new countertops! Hopefully we will have our contractor picked out and have the kitchen done within a month or so depending on our contractors' schedules. I'll post before and after pics then :)

Oh, I also finished Outlander and love, love, love, LOVED it! Review to follow later today!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

BTT: Author TMI?

Click the link f you want to join in the BTT fun!

Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse - a biography has made you love an author more?

Nope. I'm not really the type to judge a book based on its author. I'm also not one to read something by an author then run out and read everything else that they have written (series are excluded from this statement though). For me, it's about the story, not about who the author is or what they believe in, have lived through, etc.

For example, Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, is a stay at home Mormon mom. While I haven't read a biography so to speak on her, I have read her bio on her website and seen several interviews with her. I can't say that I really LIKE her or that I agree with her at all, but I love the story that she wrote and the characters that she created. Of course, I absolutely hated some parts of her books (mostly during the ridiculousness that is Breaking Dawn), which might have been written that way because of Stephenie Meyer's belief system, but I'm not going to judge her other books just because of that.

James Frey is another author that I don't particularly care for as a person since his "memoir", A Million Little Pieces, wasn't actually a memoir at all. Parts of it were completely fabricated. I still read it though, and thought that it was amazing. Maybe this was because I read it after it was discovered that he wasn't truthful about it, so I read it like it was fiction. I don't agree with his decision to market the book as a memoir (why in the world would you not just call it fiction??) but I suppose he just wanted his 15 minutes. This won't stop me from picking up (or not picking up) another one of his books.

In the end, I guess that judging a book by its author is just about the same as judging it by the cover. Sometimes you'll get a really great one, and sometimes not. But that's not necessarily because the author is or isn't a certain type of person.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Outlander Teaser!!!

It's Teaser Tuesdays, so you know what that means!

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

    Hearing her name spoken in that casual Highland lilt-"L'heer"-suddenly made me irrationally angry. "Oh, so you have been with her!" I snapped.

From Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (Hardcover), p. 313, lines 7-9. This is a teaser for me too since I haven't gotten this far yet. I *love* Jamie so far though and I had a hard time not reading more!!!

Crazy February Holidays

So I just found out that February, along with being Black History Month, is also Library Lovers Month! I just thought that I would get the word out because, well, I LOVE the library. Sure, my library is teeny tiny and when I picked up a copy of Breaking Dawn that I had reserved I asked the librarian working if she had read it yet and she said "Oh no, it's just SO long!" (*le sigh*), but where else can I go and spend an hour (or more) just meandering around and leave with an armload full of books for FREE??? I mean the library is just cheap entertainment folks. So make good use of Library Lovers month and be sure to check out your local library! I know that I'm planning on checking out the brand spanking new county library sometime this month! It's humongous compared to my local city library.

Also, February 1-7 is Children's Authors and Illustrator's week. In light of this, I've decided that I should share my very most favorite book ever from my childhood. I read this book over and over and over again and just LOVED the illustrations on top of that. This will definitely be a book that I will have on my someday-children's bookshelves. It's called Frederick by Leo Lionni. And oh, how I love it!

Frederick is a mouse whose family is preparing for winter by gathering food and preparing shelter. They begin complaining because Frederick doesn't seem to be helping at all, and is instead basking in sunlight, looking at flowers, and daydreaming. When the first snow falls, all the mice go into their shelter and learn what Frederick has really been doing all summer long. He's been collecting the sunshine and colors of summer to share with his family through the long winter. In the end, Frederick also discovers that he's "a poet, and he didn't even know it!"

This book always brings a smile to my face by showing you that the arts (creativity, colors, poems, and literature) are so very important. And that's a lesson that everyone should learn.

Monday, February 2, 2009


For all you Nestie readers...

I'm just starting the much talked about on the boards Outlander! I'm pretty excited :) Hopefully I like it!

Review: The Chicago Way

The Chicago Way
by Michael Harvey
303 pages

My mom and I picked up this book off the "buy two get a third free" table at Barnes and Noble a couple weeks ago. We each picked one book then needed a third. As we were browsing we picked this one up, read the back (which looked intriguing), saw that John Grisham pimped it on the front, and I needed a book with a city, country, or continent in the title for WBC so we got it. And I got to read it first.

This book is about Michael Kelly, an ex-cop turned Private Investigator in downtown Chicago. His former partner, John Gibbons, who he hasn't seen in years, shows up at his office on day to get his help on a attempted murder/rape case that occurred years before and was somehow "lost" and never solved. The girl who had been the victim had come to John recently since he was the one who had found her and originally arrested the suspect (who was released for some unknown reason). Later that night, Gibbons was found murdered. Michael Kelly began investigating the murder of Gibbons, the attempted murder/rape cold case, and serveral other murders that seem to somehow all be connected.

I got so into this book! The writing style was very fitting for a Chicago, Irish P.I. so I fell right in with the character. And the ending, oh I didn't see this one coming at all! It was a great example of the "good guys" not always being good and "bad guys" not always being so bad, and I kind of love that. I've already told my mom that this book was definitely worth reading, told my husband that he should read it (he's not really much of a reader so it's tough finding things that he might like!), and I put Michael Harvey's second book on my PaperBackSwap wishlist! And maybe I'll even start watching Michael Harvey's show Cold Case Files on A&E, which he hilariously plugged in the book. Hey, can't blame a guy for getting new people to watch his show!

9 out of 10 stars.